Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
A final recap of next week’s ballot is on page two. Seven people are vying for three spots on the school board including incumbents Lester Voigt, Wayne Schulz and Vivian Borchardt. Challengers are Henry Rathjen, Albert Iwen, Gerald Decker and Edward Norris. Incumbent Mayor Ralph F.J. Voigt is being challenged by newcomer Roman Weber. Two alderman spots are also being contested; in the first ward incumbent Gerald Bauer is being challenged by Jean Rogers and in the eighth ward incumbent Walter Proft is being challenged by Anita Gebert raising the possibility that a woman, or two, may for the first time serve on the council. Those running unopposed on the city side include Clerk Robert Klug, Treasurer Al. Seeger, Street Commissioner Kermit Meyer and City Attorney William Wulf. Uncontested on the council are Ellsworth Plautz, Stanley Frisch, Alfred Kohler, Patrick Nugent, Gilbert Sabatke, Roger English and Elmer Kleinschmidt.
Over 600 people gathered at Lincoln Lanes this past Sunday for a testimonial dinner for 12th District State Senator and Merrill resident Clifford “Tiny” Krueger. Several speakers addressed the group including keynote speaker, former United States Defense Secretary and Marshfield native Melvin Laird. Former U.S. Congressman Alvin O’Konski of Rhinelander noted that Krueger was more than a politician, calling him a statesman and suggesting Krueger make a run for the Governor’s Office in 1978. Laird told the group that Krueger was the type of politician he was proud to be associated with. In his address Laird also spoke of the need to modernize our military and of his support for President Ford whom he sat next to for 16 years when they served together on the defense appropriations committee. Offering further proof that the road to the White House goes through Merrill, Bambi Udall, daughter of Mo Udall who is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for President against Jimmy Carter stopped in Merrill as part of her 34-community tour of Wisconsin prior to the presidential primary next week. Mo Udall, a congressman from Arizona and former professional basketball player with the Denver Nugget, is known as the more liberal candidate compared to Carter. Udall stated her father is a candidate for the future as the nation faces economic uncertainty.
After over 12 years of being the Merrill Postmaster, Orlen Heldt has delivered his last letter. Heldt, known as Porky to his friends, rose through the ranks at the post office before being appointed postmaster in August of 1963. He explained in a recent interview that to be appointed the postmaster he took several tests and did an interview, but what the job boiled down to was his having the right political connections. At the time the local political party sent their recommendation to their U.S. Senators on who they thought should be the postmaster, and the Senators would then make the nomination to the President. The entire process took six months and Heldt’s papers announcing his appointment were signed by John F. Kennedy. During his terms as postmaster Heldt stated the biggest change was the rate increases and manpower cuts. Heldt will retire to his tree farm in the Town of Scott with his wife Madeline; his replacement has not yet been named.
The spring election was held yesterday and the results show several upsets in local races. Robert Monti, a Junior High school teacher, defeated incumbent alderman Anita Gebert to take the 7th ward post. Fourth ward alderman Ronald Schroeder lost his seat to Bryan Stimers, and Patricia Woller defeated incumbent Phil Krause. The voters of the city agreed with a proposal to consolidate the city clerk and treasurer jobs but by a three to one margin said no to letting the council appoint that position, wanting instead to keep that in the hands of the voters, with the final vote on that proposal 1556-597 to keep it elected. In the city’s street commissioner race, newcomer Ralph Sturm defeated longtime street department employee Donald Hanneman. Sturm gave credit for the victory to his wife Rosemary who pushed for him to pursue the job. In his weekly column Norm Heideman notes the Street Department might have an easy year as it seems the phone company forgot to put their listing in the phone book. Heideman razzes the acting street commissioner Tim Frazier for being the only such department with an unlisted number.
Don’t worry about those new stops signs, they aren’t an April fools joke and they are just temporary. Those would be the new stop signs that were unveiled at West Main and States streets on Monday. The signs were placed in response to the anticipated increase of traffic that will travel on State Street as the Center Avenue viaduct is replaced. The Merrill Police Department placed two marked squad cars at the intersection until Wednesday to get motorist used to the extra, temporary stop. (The bridge is done, guys)
The bridge project is slightly ahead of schedule according to Edward Kraemer & Son’s, general contractor. The intent was to close the bridge on April 15 but it may stay open longer to allow emergency traffic to flow south of town. Large beams were put into place for the new bridge last week; each weighs 111,000 pounds. Concrete will soon be poured to forms on the beams which will be closed an estimated six months.
The Merrill Police Department has arrested a Merrill man for crimes related to drug sales near the high school. The man was taken into custody last week on Logan Street on charges related to the sale of marijuana near a school after officers confiscated 13 grams of the drug which the man admitted to selling to a confidential police informant. Lincoln County District Attorney Jim Blask is prosecuting the matter.
Dave Scharbius is on the sports’ page letting it be known he is perfect, or at least one of his bowling games is. After 40 years of bowling he finally hit the perfect score last month while bowling at Lincoln Lanes. The closest Scharbius came prior to the perfect game was back in 1985 when he hit a 298 game, his perfect game that night ended in the final frame when his last ball rolled into a 7-10 split. Scharbius noted part of the credit for his perfect game goes to his wife Ruth. She joked he never would have hit it if she wasn’t at home that night praying for him. Scharbius bowls for the Eagles Club in the Men’s Thursday night 800 League.