Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
Mother Nature has reminded us that winter is not over. Last week temperatures soared into the 50’s and many residents shook off the doldrums of winter and got out and enjoyed the return of warmth. But March roared in like a lion dropping four inches of snow on the area while temperatures hovered around 20 degrees. The front page shows the Merrill Street Department removing snow from Second Street.
The Merrill Police Department is seeking some chicken thieves responsible for an armed robbery at a local restaurant. Just before 11 p.m. on Friday two masked men entered the Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant via the rear door. There they encountered the manager, a 24-year-old Merrill woman. The pair robbed the cash register of an estimated $700 before cutting the phone lines as they fled. The only description of the suspects that was released is that the suspects were in a dark van; the manager was not hurt.
The Merrill City Clerk has received a petition signed by over 1,000 residents demanding the City of Merrill Common Council re-visit or rescinded their recent action to change the school board make up. The council voted recently to change the membership to a system which elects nine residents by district. The previous system had elected three members per year from an at-large pool. Spokesperson for the group of citizens, Alice F. Krueger stated if the council does not take action on the petition the group will seek legal action via the courts.
A single vacancy on the fire department has attracted 134 candidates; that is how many took the written test this past Saturday. Chief Harvey Emanuel reports that the top 30 candidates will take a physical agility test next week at the east side fire station.
After 60 years of providing health care to the Merrill area, the Sisters of Mercy of Holy Cross are hanging up their stethoscopes. The religious order took over the newly built hospital in 1926 after local residents raised $250,000 ($3.3 million today) to build it. But with only eight of their 68 local sisters still working at the hospital and the recent retirement of hospital administrator Sister Mary Charles Rydzewski, the order felt they could no longer effectively oversee the hospital while managing two other hospitals in Breese, IL and Dickinson, ND. The Sisters have paid to buy out their contract and transfer the title. The original agreement that brought them to the city required the property remain theirs as long as they provided the city’s health care. They are now actively seeking a Catholic health organization to take over the facility.
On the obituary page a short notice reports the death of former resident Dr. M.P. Kendall. He was a dentist in Merrill until 1979 when he moved to Arizona. Kendall died at the VA hospital in Phoenix this past week.
The Merrill Bluejay girls’ basketball team is one step closer to the WIAA State Tournament in Madison after crushing defeats of Wausau East and West. The Jays captured the WIAA Regional title by first defeating West 61-15 and then East 58-30. The girls, backed by the number one defense in the conference, will now head to Stevens Point who is equally as gifted in defense according to Coach Bob Yuska. He predicts free throws will probably be the factor in that game. The boys’ team took home a victory against Wausau West Friday with a 72-66 score, snapping a 15-game losing streak. Seniors Dean Becker and Dale Simon each scored 18 points for the home team as they became the first Merrill team to defeat West. Merrill’s own Bob Semling, coach of West, noted turnovers were his team’s downfall in the contest. (I foresee Bob heading on to bigger venues)
A spirited debate took place this past Thursday evening as the seven candidates for four open seats on the MAPS Board of Education faced off. Gregory W. Smith, Joe Fink, Guy Schweigert, Gail Rogers, Gary Broesch, Patricia Weber and Martha J. Sandholm all participated in the debate which was moderated by Merrill High School English teacher Sue Brockmann. The candidates were quizzed on their thoughts on the major needs of the district, the administrative team, how they would influence the curriculum, and the results of a recent audit of the system. This Monday a forum of candidates for various city and country races will be held at River Valley State Bank. The Rev. Robert Smallman will preside over the event whose invited guests include: Kurt Helmstadter and Goldie Touchette, candidates for the city district 3rd alderman spot being vacated by Dan Jackson; Charles Johnson and Mike Wahoske, candidates for the 8th district post being vacated by Dennis Grefe; incumbent Melissa Schroeder and her challenger Emily Pfingsten for Lincoln County District 4; write-in candidate Frank Saal Jr. and incumbent Gordon Schroeder, district 5; incumbent Lloyd Buck and candidate Harvey Woodward for district 10; the Eugene’s, Eugene Mootz and Eugene Sense, district 11; and incumbent Clifford Mosser, candidate Alfred Wendland, and write-in Guy Schwiegert for district 22.
The Pamida store appears to be clearing their shelves quickly. In an ad on page 12 it states prices are reduced from 20% to 50% storewide and you can also take an extra 10% off by clipping the coupon. Clothing items are now reduced up to 70% and jewelry is 40% off.
After a stellar season that included a 16-0 Valley record the Merrill Bluejay girls’ basketball team was defeated for the second year in a row by Pulaski at the sectional tournament by a heartbreaking one point. Coach Bob Yuska expressed disappointment that not only would his seven senior players not have another shot at state but also for the officiating of the WIAA officials who sent four controversial plays the way of their opponents. Melissa Yuska was the high scorer in the contest with 20 points, despite a stomach bug that had her sidelined in the days leading up to the game. Pulaski is now 24-0 and they will face 14-9 Lacrosse Logan at the Barn on Tuesday. (Milwaukee Washington went on to crush Pulaski in the semi-finals and win the state championship in division one)
The boys’ basketball team also lost a one-point contest at the Merrill Regional, 51-50. Coach Tom Andreska noted that the game was a reflection on how the season went, where despite holding their own for most of the contest they did not come away with the win. Seniors Carl Schenzel, Jesse Zuelsdorff, Jason Voigt, Jon Rattman, David Roe, Jon Parkes and R. J. Gennrich played their last game for the Jays.