Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
The topic of hunting is a sacred topic to many in the north woods and that was made clear at the Spring Conservation Hearing held Monday at the Lincoln County Courthouse. The most controversial topic of the night, as it is always, was the number of antlerless deer to be harvested this year in unit 32, the unit that covers most of Lincoln County. The number of antlerless deer was at 400 in 1975 but the quota this year will be raised to 700. That question passed by the narrowest of margins, 45-43. The idea to start the season on Wednesday instead of Saturday brought a clearer response with a 58-10 vote opposing the measure. The ability to use a magnum caliber handgun passed 72-17. Items brought forward that were defeated included a measure to prohibit hunting within 200 feet of a hard surface road and permitting a bow to be strung or uncased one hour prior to hunting hours. The idea of a year round fishing season was also soundly defeated as was the idea of allowing trolling motors.
The County Forestry Department brought in a new tool this past week and it quickly won over those who came to view it. Ole Hanson and representatives of three counties viewed the power of the Mo-Trim machine. It is a large arm that connects to an oversized tractor and stretches out and down into the ditch lines to mow grass and clear light brush. Hanson said the county could use the machine to trim out areas where snowmobile trails flow during winter months. The machine comes with a price tag of $7,000. In other county news residents of Pine Crest got to have high tea and meet with the new director of the facility. Michael Berry came to Pine Crest from Janesville where he oversaw the Rock County Health Care Center. His wife Mary is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Forest Perkins, former Merrill residents.
The county Traffic Safety Committee met this past week to discuss issues plaguing the county. County Emergency Management Director Norm Heideman hosted the meeting which is held quarterly. Chief of Police Charles Johnson of the Merrill Police Department discussed the issue of bikes in the city and the safety rules that they are ignoring such as using lights at night and stopping for stop signs. Both Johnson and Heideman reported that special deputies and volunteer police assistants will monitor traffic and conduct bicycle surveys in the coming weeks. Highway Commissioner Francis Fox reported that the Center Avenue viaduct will go through re-surfacing next summer closing the bridge to all vehicular traffic. Chuck Crass from the Town of Bradley spoke of the problem of youths driving dirt bikes on town roads and asked for police enforcement, but other commission members felt instructional films in the schools will curb this ongoing problem.
After over a year of intense work, area residents will now have more choices when it comes to automobile purchases. Stark Motors will soon open its doors on South Center Avenue in Merrill and offer a full line of Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillacs. Ron Hornischer and Bruce Giese from Lincoln County Bank met last week with Bill Stark to finalize the deal, and the dealership hopes to be open by the end of May. Stark told the Foto News that his father’s dealership in Menominee Falls is the biggest in the state and that gives them buying power which will soon be felt in Merrill.
Merrill Senior High School students got up close and personal with Congressman Dave Obey this past week and quickly put him on the hot seat over the efforts of Congress to enforce a 21-year-old drinking age nationwide. Currently states decide what the drinking age will be but if Congress has its way they will all be 21. The Wisconsin Legislature changed the legal drinking age from 18 to 19 in 1984, but if they fail to change it to 21 the state will lose out on millions of dollars in highway aid coming from the federal government. Obey thinks the idea is “dumb” and notes his own sons are highly opposed to the change but the students are just going to have to live with it for now. In the end he thinks the congressional mandate will not be upheld by the courts. Obey also spoke on the issue of terrorism and cautioned a hawkish approach to dealing with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Obey notes that if Gaddafi is removed from office his replacement may be even worse. Obey feels the best approach to dealing with Libya is to cut off the supply of oil companies’ money going there, $130 million last month alone, which according to Obey is doing nothing but sponsoring terrorism as oil companies use that money as tax write offs in America. Obey stated after the event he enjoyed meeting with the students and recalled when Congressman Alex Wiley and Mel Laird did the same at his school when he was a student.
In area briefs: Holy Cross Hospital was more like an airport this past week as two different helicopter transports came to town to take sick patients out of the area for more specialized care; pictured is a unit from Minnesota which landed in the hospitals parking lot. (With only two helicopters in the state at the time it was very unusual to see one in Merrill, now with over a dozen it is much more common.) High School teacher Fred Tealy received the 1986 Liberty Bell Award from the Lincoln County Law Auxiliary last week. Tealy was recognized for his work with the Mock Trial team. Donna Kolbeck is the lucky winner. Her card was drawn and she had it punched at Drew’s this past week netting her the $1,000 jackpot in the progressive weekly Bankroll drawing. Steve Drew is pictured with Kolbeck. Looking to do some traveling this summer? Omni Travel out of Wausau has an ad on page 15 showing some of their air specials, all flights are out of CWA, are round trip and destinations include: Anchorage – $333, Washington D.C. New York, Denver- $178, Dallas – $198, San Francisco $258 and Seattle $238.
The Lincoln County Board met for their annual re-organizational meeting on April 16. Gordon Schroeder was voted in as chairman on the second vote after the first vote found him tied with incumbent chair Bob Sumnicht. The board also approved Curt Moe acting as the county administrative coordinator on an interim basis, approved forming an entirely new department dedicated to building maintenance and making the current maintenance director a department head, and acknowledged the arbitrator ruling in favor of the Lincoln County Highway Department union over health insurance.
Local golfer Jim O’Day scored his first ace after 26 years of golfing. O’Day was golfing at the Merrill Golf Course this past Tuesday with his regular foursome of Buck Schneider, John Thompson and Larry Holl when he hit the 140-yard shot on the ninth hole. (Surprised he did not have this on the front page, I would have.)