Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Ward Paper Company is showing off their new wastewater treatment plant and touting the environmental impact it will have on Merrill. Ward invested $1.3 million in air and water pollution abatement equipment in the past year and expects to spend $80,000 a year in operational costs to keep the equipment in place. Ward hopes to remove the foul odor that most neighbors can smell in the neighborhoods surrounding the mill which is a byproduct of the waste discharged into the Wisconsin River via the city storm sewers. The DNR required Ward to install the equipment, but Ward did so a year before the mandated deadline.
In area briefs: Walter Schuster is pictured on page three turning over the first shovelful of dirt for the new Church Mutual office complex off of State Rd. 17 and Johnson Street. The new complex will come with a price tag of $1.9 million and will become home to 100 staff members with that number expected to climb to 225 in 10 years. Dieter Nickel announced that Kraemer Brothers Construction of Plain, WI has won the general contract for the new facility. The Police and Fire Commission will meet Monday to discuss potential hires on the fire department. NTC has graduated their latest police recruit school class, local officers graduating include Robert Hartkopf and Pete Annis from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Mike Kunkel of the Merrill Police Department. Dick Holt has been selected to head the Optimist Club for this next year. Charles Johnson, Dale Plamann, Paul Jesberger, Andy Semling, and Jerry Boettcher are other officers of the club.
Merrill will soon have a new bank. First Financial is scheduled to open their doors at their new facility on North Center Avenue. John Seramur, the executive vice-president of First Financial, advised the 1,100-square-foot building will be located at the intersection of 8th Street and Center Avenue and will open in mid-June. The new bank will feature a full time manager and secretary–teller position. The bank itself will have a drive up window, night depository, off street parking, and Saturday hours. First Financial owns banks in Stevens Point, Plover, Wisconsin Rapids, Abbotsford, Wausau, Minocqua, and will open a new location in Marshfield about the same time as the Merrill office.
There are no winners in the solid waste problem in Lincoln County and soon we might all be paying for the lack of landfill. The former landfill in the Town of Merrill closed earlier this year and the county has been shipping waste to Wisconsin Rapids and charging $35 per ton at the newly constructed transfer station. But according to Solid Waste Manager Robert Reichelt the $35 per ton tipping fee is not even close to the actual cost of collecting waste. The county collected 730 tons of garbage in February and with it $25,100 in tipping fees. But the cost of hauling all of that garbage to Wisconsin Rapids was $26,600. If that deficit continues Reichelt predicts the county will lose perhaps up to $250,000 hauling waste to the alternative site. Wisconsin Governor Anthony Earl has proclaimed next week as Wisconsin Recycling Week but that may not be the answer to the garbage deficit. Costs to collect, house, and transfer recyclables to Schulz’s Wrecking still does not come close to matching the money saved by not shipping the waste.
Merrill’s newest business is a cool place to be. Cup and Cone has opened on Merrill’s east side. New owners Vern and Karen Otto are pictured greeting the chamber ambassadors as they serve up some soft serve to Mayor Richard Holt. The pair will be serving until 11 p.m. on summer nights. In another ribbon cutting the mayor and the ambassadors are shown welcoming the Clothes Line at 809 E. 1st St. Helen Olund and Kay Hanson are the new owners of the business which will specialize in secondhand clothing.
Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend and specials on the Entertainment page include: Free wine with mom’s dinner at Diamond Dave’s or take mom dancing as Schmidt’s Ballroom will have six hours of continuous music on Sunday with five bands performing and admission is only $2 at the door. The Rit’s Restaurant (LA Salon now) will have a Mother’s Day dinner featuring a turkey dinner special, the Outlaw Bar & Supper Club in Gleason will have smorgasbord for only $6.95 which features prime rib, Skipper’s will be open Mother’s Day and will have a special brunch beginning at eleven, Club Modern has their buffet for $5.50, Kozy Korner has a ham dinner for only $3.95, Phil’s Supper Club on Lake Nokomis has the Jacksons performing this weekend and a special menu on Sunday, Kentucky Fried Chicken on North Center Avenue will have a take-out 21 piece dinner for only $9.25, the Studio Bar on County Rd. J has leg of lamb all day Sunday, the Lincoln House Lounge has a Cornish game hen dinner for $7.25, the Fairway Supper Club has a prime rib buffet for $6.95, Champ’s has a brunch with free ice cream for mom, Trinity Men’s Club has a special brunch in the school cafeteria for only $4, kids are $2, or take mom South of the Border where they have what else but chimichanga’s for only $3.95.
Taco Bell is open in Merrill. The new restaurant has opened inside of the Pine Ridge Mobile convenience store. Earl Welker of the town of Schley will manage the restaurant. Welker moved to Merrill in 1973 after working in the Milwaukee area for 20 years. He and five other men have begun an investment group and own Taco Bell franchises in five other cities including Marshfield, Antigo, Rhinelander and Wausau and plan 16 more stores. Readers may know Welker for his time on the Merrill Area Public Schools School Board.
Members of the MAPS staff have been recognized as educators of the year by their peers. Ron Schneider, Karen Westerhouse, Kathy McCoy, and Biran Artac all received the honor at the district wide in-service on March 15. Those nominated will now see their names go to the Kohl’s Fellowship committee and could find themselves the National Teacher of the Year.
In an anonymous letter to the editor a reader takes the city to task for their plans to move the fireworks to Ott’s Park. The writer of the letter is concerned about the residents of Pine Crest who like to watch the annual show on the Fourth of July.
Super 8 Hotel in Merrill is the tops. The hotel received the company’s “Top 8 Award” at the chains convention in Las Vegas this past week. Local owners of the hotel, Barb and Dick Barry of Ashland, were on hand to accept the award. Marie Galella manages the Merrill location which is one of 1,350 Super 8’s nationwide.