Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Authorities and residents all breathed a sigh of relief after an accident north of Merrill which could have had fatal results. Local school bus driver Ruth Phillips of Route 3, Merrill, was driving 27 students south on Hwy. 51 Monday morning. When Phillips stopped to pick up another student just two miles north of Merrill she suddenly found her bus in the path of two speeding southbound pulp trucks. The pulp trucks were being driven by two men from Butternut. The first truck was able to pass the bus on the right while the second struck the bus’s bumper before slamming into the first pulp truck which had now stopped on the shoulder. Despite the damage, including the second pulp truck’s cab being completely smashed in, the only injury was a hand injury suffered by the second pulp truck driver. All of the children made it safely to school.
It is Memorial Day weekend and the local VFW will be marking the somber occasion with services at St. Francis Cemetery. VFW Chaplin Norman Wais will lead the prayer at the service which will begin at 10:30 a.m. The Merrill City Band will perform before the address by Rev. Dale G. Kuck of St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ. Master of Ceremonies for this year’s event is Lloyd Schmitz, past commander of the local VFW post. With the holiday there will be no school on Monday. Students’ last day of classes is June 3, and commencement exercises will be held that evening in the Senior High East gym.
The Merrill Shopper and Foto News has reason to brag, bringing home seven top national awards at the National Association of Advertising Publishers’ annual convention held in San Francisco this past week. Awards included a first place award for color advertising done for Mel’s Big Dollar Supermarket, a series of ads done for R.O.W. Cash and Carry, the M&I Citizens American Bank photograph of a candy jar used in a Christmas Club promotion. Other awards given for photography and news production were bestowed on Phil Ziesemer whose severe weather photo from February of last year earned first place, and a third place award for a picture Ziesemer had taken at the Lincoln County 4H Fair this past summer. The last award given to the local paper was the second place award for general excellence in production of a local community newspaper. The Foto News was beat out for first place by the Forum of Hackettstown, NJ.
After months of studies, meetings, and a lot of county money, it might just come down to a sit down with two people, Glenn Hartley, legal counsel for Lincoln County, and Walter Nelson, property owner in the Town of Merrill. The county’s Solid Waste Committee directed Hartley to negotiate a land deal with Nelson for 160 acres which can be used for its much needed landfill. Ironically, the Nelson property was the first one considered for the landfill; the county could have bought the land for $100,000 plus an exchange of 80 acres of county land currently under the forest crop program. The committee also agreed to dismiss a letter sent by Marathon County regarding the transfer of clay from a location on their County Rd. Y. Marathon County sent Lincoln County a letter telling them they needed to negotiate the use of that road for the transfer of the clay to cap the former landfill site. Hartley informed the group that this does not affect Marathon County at all and the group should not legitimize their claim by responding to the letter.
At last a truce, even though we did not know there was a feud. The city of Merrill East and West Side Businesses Associations have agreed to a truce as of last week. The Merrill Chamber of Commerce set forth the agreement and hopes a sit down dinner at Club Modern this evening will provide the structure for the new organization. Chamber executive Dee Olson stated this is the most progressive act the two sides have performed since her arrival in 1978; she hopes the first project the group tackles is a unified Crazy Day celebration.
Merrill Area Public Schools fills the paper this week with both good and bad. On the negative side, School Superintendent Thomas Strick will present dozens of options to cut funding or raise fees in order to balance a budget projected to have a $117,439 deficit in 1987. The district was looking at a fiscal tax increase of 11.5% but the board would like to keep it around 7% which will mean they will need to make cuts in order to keep the increase in the single digits. Possible ways the district could save money include: raiding the cash reserves $100,000, not replacing the retiring Ralph and Norma Wehlitz $71,500, adding a student athlete towel and supply fee $17,600; selling a handicapped bus $1,250; having current staff do the annual transportation re-evaluation instead of hiring a consultant $12,000; projecting gasoline costs for 1987 at $1 a gallon instead of the budgeted $1.12 as experts say gas will stay right at $1 a gallon for the year and if that is the case the district will save a projected $13,680; dropping some summer school programs, $2,199; cut the Junior High weight room $1,500. Strick will bring another $100,000 in potential cuts to the board room tonight. In good news, the awards keep stacking up for the Merrill Marching Jays. The Merrill Evening Lions Club presented the group with an award recognizing their first place finish in recent statewide parade competition. Don Taylor from the Lions is pictured presenting the award to band president Tom Pfotenhauer; also pictured are Lion District Governor Oscar Kretzschmar and band members Tanya Rice, Amy Sukow, Renee Rell, Ken Sparr and Dave Schepp.
The city of Merrill is looking for input as they seek to renew their cable franchise contract. According to the city, the contract with Time Warner Cable is expiring in April of next year and the city’s Cable TV Committee wants to know what direction the residents want to head for its next contract. The survey is an insert in the Foto News this week, or residents can attend a public hearing on the topic on June 13 in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Time Warner will be on hand at that hearing to answer the public’s questions and detail their plans for the future of cable in Merrill. The CATV Committee, which is chaired by Ron Schroeder, thinks this is an opportune time to sign a new contract as the city might be able to get wired for something called “the internet.”
Reindl Printing in Merrill is expanding. The company broke ground recently on a 38,000-square foot addition to their facility. The expansion will house the company’s printing and bindery operations under one roof. Richard and Lynne Reindl started the company in 1979 with two employees, now 70 full-time employees call the company home with sales offices in Fond du Lac, Beaver Dam, Eau Claire, and Salem.