Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
The nation is preparing to celebrate its bicentennial and locally St. John’s Lutheran Church is celebrating its centennial of praising God. Rev. Arnold Ludwig of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Eagle River will lead services this Sunday along with Pastor Eberhard G. Klatt and Pastor Gerhard C. Michael. Pastor Ludwig previously served the congregation from 1954 to 1971. The church also will show off its new 21-stop Schlicker organ at a vesper service Sunday night. At the late service on Sunday, Mayor Ralph Voigt will address the congregation and honored guests will be Selma Rehwinkle of Merrill and theologian Dr. Alfred Rehwinkle of St. Louis, both children of the church’s first pastor, Wilhelm Rehwinkle. Also after the late service, a dinner will be held in the school cafeteria and tours will take place. The building which housed the first church was dedicated in November of 1881. The second church was known as the brick church on the hill and served from 1892 to 1952 at a cost of $11,700 to erect and was funded almost entirely by the congregation.
Three brothers have joined together and returned to Merrill to operate a funeral home here. Dean Waid of Dallas, WI, Alan Waid of Lacrosse, WI, and Paul Waid, currently employed at the Boston Funeral Home in Stevens Point, are all sons of Deforest Waid of Grand Avenue in Merrill. Alan and Dean are both graduates of the Cincinnati School of Mortuary Science and have worked in Montana, South Dakota and Wisconsin prior to moving back to Merrill. Paul will attend mortuary school at Milwaukee this fall. In an advertisement on the obituary page, Dick Buettner thanks the community for their trust over the previous 10 years and noted he and his wife will move to Tomahawk where they will operate a men’s clothing store known as the Golden Ego.
In area briefs: Ken Oldenburg, a member of the Merrill Optimist Club for the past seven years, will be awarded the club’s Heritage Award. The County Board will hold a yet to be scheduled hearing on duck breeding management on the Harrison Flowage. Michael Nolan of Merrill has been tapped to head a citizens committee to discuss problems of pollution on the Prairie River. Tom Geiger has announced tractor safety training will take place this spring at NTCI; the class is aimed at youths aged 14 to 15. The Merrill Knights of Columbus will soon be selling tootsie roll candies, Gerald Bauer and Gene Freiburger head of the drive. Second ward alderman Ellsworth Plautz will head the city council for the seventh straight term; he has been on the council since 1954. Paul’s Pub took number one in the Monday men’s pool league, pictured are team members, Sid, Mort and Russ Sukow along with Paul Werni, Don Iattoni and sponsor Terry Doering. Alternates for the team were Tom Tepper, Jake Ament, and Glen Hartley.
Alan Vecchio of Merrill has passed away. The 19-year-old young man was well known in the community as an advocate for the disease he suffered from, Muscular Dystrophy. Vecchio was a 1985 graduate of Merrill Senior High School and while attending Merrill Junior High he received the school’s Good Citizenship Award along with a certificate for superior achievement at a school art festival in 1985. He was a member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Merrill where Rev. Dan Olson and Rev. John Henning will preside over his services tomorrow, burial will be in Merrill Memorial Park.
The Bankroll at Drew’s keeps growing, it is now up to $1,000, sorry again this time to Lisa Smith whose card was not punched. John’s United Foods also has something big going on, their sixth anniversary sale finds not only a microwave but 25 pounds of meat as door prizes.
After what seemed like an endless wait, Spurgeon’s Department Store will open in downtown Merrill tomorrow. The chain was founded in 1907 by H.F. Spurgeon in the state of Iowa and began to grow throughout the Midwest with Merrill being the 84th store in the chain. (The company went bankrupt and closed all its stores in 1991.) The advertising department is enjoying the new kid on the block as seven full pages of ads tout the bargains and grand opening. Not to be outdone, The Guy’s Shop, Thelma’s and Caylor’s also have full page ads in this week’s paper. Contractors involved in the Spurgeon store opening are wishing the store well with a full page ad; they include Lavern Borchardt, general contractor; David Schwartzman, carpet and tile; Travis Brothers Painting, Electrical Wiring and Supply, Quality Furnace, Trantow Building Center, Weaver and Son’s, Bruce’s Cover-All, and Lorraine’s Decorating.
Rising waters on the Prairie River caused issues for homes north of the dam at the Ward Paper Mill this past week. The water started rising around 9 a.m. Friday morning and within hours backyards became flooded and basements began to fill with water. Fourteenth Street resident Mark Kanitz reported that frantic phone calls to Ward Paper did not alleviate the problem as a security company that operates the dam was reporting one flood gate was broken and the poor condition of two others hindered their operation. On Monday representatives of International Papers, the parent company of Ward told residents to just file claims with their home owners insurance. When Kanitz explained he was not covered for flooding he was referred to a company attorney. Foto News Columnist and Cedar Street resident Norm Heideman does not spare any words in his weekly column as he takes Ward to task for their handling of the situation. He notes his home was spared but others in the neighborhood were not.
Three new businesses are open in Merrill. The Italian U-Boat has opened at 1323 E. Main St.; Laurie Lee’s, Merrill’s new premier Blues Bar, is open in the former Gil’s tavern; and Park City Realty will open its doors on May 1 at 2402 E. Main St. with Jim and Liz VanDerGeest, Jay Wicke, John Lane, Mandy Bishop and Mary Ann VanDerGeest staffing the new business. And in the Pine Ridge Plaza, Classic Touch Boutique is closing. In an ad offering store wide clearance, the owner notes they are moving operations to the Cedar Creek Mall.
In a picture on page two, the 1931 Center Avenue viaduct continues to shrink away. The contractor told business owners who attended a progress meeting that the bridge was in poor shape and it was a good thing that it was being replaced now. Business owners expressed their frustration over the attitudes from the bridge construction workers which the contractor promised to address. To muddy things up just a bit more along the detour, City Engineer Chuck Pierotti indicated that Riverside Avenue will undergo a facelift in May which should last 10 days. Riverside Avenue is the main detour route for residents heading to the south side of town.