Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
A man whom authorities are not identifying has been transferred to a federal holding facility in Wichita, Kansas after making threats against President Ford. Sheriff Ron Krueger would only confirm that the man was originally taken to the Marathon County Health Care Center after deputies had contact with him and he provided a false name before making the threats. The United States Secret Service interviewed the man at the health care center and then transported him to Wichita. Sheriff Krueger added that the Secret Service would not share with his agency the man’s true identity or a reason for the transfer.
Holy Cross Hospital is once again on the leading edge of medicine with the latest diagnostic tools. Hospital Administrator Sister Mary Charles announced that Holy Cross is now using a stress test machine. The machine is hooked to a patient who is then placed through physical exertion so doctors can watch the strain it puts on the heart and check for damage caused by previous heart seizures. Dr. T. P. Simerson is pictured on page six as a patient is tested on the machine; he estimates 20% of the area’s population is vulnerable to heart attacks. Mayor Ralph Voigt has proclaimed February as Heart Month.
In local news briefs: Trinity Lutheran Church has donated a piano to Park Place. Pictured are church pastor the Rev. Donald Schulz, president of the congregation Gordon King, and chairman of the Trinity Elders Miles Zimmerman. The piano was purchased through the church’s Christian Welfare Fund. The Jaycee Club’s Sweetheart Ball will be held Feb. 14 at Lincoln Lanes. Mary Sterzinger, Nancy Polack, and Charlene Seetan are pictured making decorations for the event. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Nelson’s Drug Store, Zettler’s Bakery and WJMT. The March of Dimes campaign was once again a success, falling just pennies short of the goal of $2,500. Merrill City Clerk Bob Klug is the local director of the effort; he led the radiothon which broadcasted out of Lincoln Lanes. Pictured supporting the effort is Police Chief Charles Johnson who was on hand to accept donations and the Alleluia Ringers from Trinity Lutheran Church who performed for the listeners. Clifford D. Livingston has been elected President of the Holy Cross Hospital Board of Directors, he succeeds Harry Seidell who has served since 1973.
The primary for Merrill Street Commissioner is only two weeks away to narrow the field to two from three. Don Hanneman, Ken Plawman, and Ralph Sturm are all vying for the position which will be vacated by the retiring Phil Erickson. Hanneman, who has challenged Erickson every two years since 1978, thinks his experience makes him the right man for the job. Hanneman has worked in every position within the department in his 23 years there. Ken Plawman worked for the Wisconsin Rapids street department for 23 years, has been an alderman in the sixth ward, and recently served as the assistant street commissioner. Ralph Sturm thinks an outsider’s approach is what is best to lead the agency. He has worked the past 14 years in a manufacturing plant, the last seven in productivity improvement and cost control. Sturm also studied at the Milwaukee School of Engineering and noted he feels too many man hours are being wasted at the department.
The Merrill Teachers Union and the MAPS Board of Education have finally resolved their contract conflict. The board settled with the union last week according to Junior High teacher and union bargaining team member Scott Nocco. The new contract calls for an 8.2% pay increase this year, and 7.8% next year. The contract also restructures the pay steps based not only on seniority, but on continuing education. Merrill High School Principal Lanny Tibaldo called the contract fair and stated it makes Merrill more attractive and competitive in the Valley for teacher recruitment.
Eugene “Skipper” Schulz has been awarded the highest honor in the Boy Scouts, the Silver Beaver award. Schulz received the award at the annual ceremony of the Samoset Council in Wausau last week. He has been the scoutmaster of Troop 304 for the past 20 years, and has long supported youth programs in the community. He also coaches football, basketball, is an active church member, and is a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Merrill High School boys basketball coach Bob Wojtusik has resigned his position. Wojtusik had intended on resigning at the conclusion of the season, but after a meeting with Superintendent Tom Strick, director of pupil-community services Jack Ader, and Merrill High principal Lanny Tibaldo, Wojtusik changed his plans and decided to make the resignation effective immediately. Merrill assistant coach Pete Miller will take charge of the team for the remainder of the season after which Ader will decide the direction of the team. Wojtusik stated that his desire to coach had rapidly diminished in the last few years, especially after losing two star players to injury. Wojtusik’s teams went 38-93 overall and 28-77 in the Valley since he took charge in 1979. After playing basketball in high school for four years, college for four years, and coaching for 24 years, Wojtusik said he is looking forward to having a Friday night fish fry for a change instead of being on a basketball court.
Merrill and Lincoln County are still trying to dig out after a blizzard followed by a cold snap slowed traffic to a crawl. Last Friday the snow flurries soon turned heavy and the foot of snow that followed could set records for a January snow amount in the state. Residents not only had to battle piles of snow but also below zero temperatures and dangerously cold wind chills. All Winterfest activities scheduled for last weekend were canceled. The chamber and Park and Rec announced that the events including the Ice Drags, Community Bonfire, snow sculpture contest and senior dance will all now be held the weekend of Feb. 3. Eighteen teams had registered for the snow sculpting contest and the chamber hopes they all show up on the new weekend, noting that there is now plenty of snow at their disposal at Normal Park.
The Winter Thaw contest is in full swing. The winner will enjoy a Las Vegas weekend for two. You can register at: Diamond Dave’s, Drew’s Piggly Wiggly, Howland’s Ace Hardware, Lincoln Jewelry Company, Double R Realty, Lincoln County Bank, M&I Bank, Snyder Drug, Carl’s Foodlane, VIP Office Products, Stark GM, Merrill Federal Savings and Loan, and Pine Ridge Convenience Center.
Good Samaritan Health Center has taken ownership of the Menard Center and plans to expand their services in the building. The building was constructed in 1942 to house the Our Lady of Holy Cross High School. When the school closed in 1968 it was briefly called Holy Cross Junior College, then Menard Junior College in honor of Father Menard, a Jesuit Priest who vanished while serving the area in the 1660s. In 1974 the college closed and since then it has housed dance classes, employment offices, day care, and other community programs until renovation in 1980 led to it being rented as office space. Good Samaritan is still finalizing plans for the building but they will probably include Eldershare, its day care program, and the early learning center.
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.