Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
The summer is just starting and already summer events are being discussed. Crazy Days is set for July 21. The Chamber is finalizing events for the day which will feature things to see and do on both sides of town. The City Band will play at the Cenotaph that evening. On the Fourth of July church bells throughout the city will begin ringing at 1 p.m. for two minutes straight to recognize our nation’s Bicentennial. This is part of the Great American Birthday Party which is being handled locally by a committee under the direction of Mayor Ralph Voigt. Faith Lutheran Church, which is located five miles south of Merrill, is conducting a paper drive to raise money for their new church. So far, 25 tons of paper has been collected for the new church which is still in the planning stages. Contact Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Raasch for more information. The fences are up already at the fairgrounds for this weekend’s Polka Fest. Cliff Hoffman of Irma and Roy Haffemann of Merrill are shown preparing for the dancing. If you want to be in the Demo Derbies at the fair in August you need to sign up soon. Trophies this year will be presented for each heat and the championship. This year’s trophy sponsors include Lincoln County Bank, Mel’s Big Dollar, Schulz’s Auto Wrecking, American Family Insurance, Bloechl’s Motors, Park City Motors, Whitburns Motors, Reinke’s Motors and Sharon Chevrolet, Plautz’s Oil, GTC Auto Parts, and Caylors.
The Merrill City Council has agreed to sell the city owned parking lot on Scott Street for the new high rise apartment building. The council voted 6-3 to go ahead with the sale with the “no” votes coming from Aldermen Anita Gebert, Jean Rogers, and Elmer Kleinschmidt. The city will now hold a meeting to decide if Scott Street on the eastern edge of the project will be closed to accommodate parking. The difference between the two governing bodies, which had been a city price tag of $30,000 for the land, has apparently gone away.
Quick action by two city rescue workers has resulted in the life of a city man being saved. Norman Johnson, who is partially disabled, discovered a fire near a dryer vent in his home at 2600 E. Main St. He alerted the fire department but then became trapped in his home due to heavy smoke. Police Officer Ned Seubert was the first one on the scene; he broke down the front door but was not able to reach the man. After firefighters arrived, fireman Doug Brandt and Seubert removed the screen off a bedroom window and were able to pull Johnson safely from the building. He was treated and released from Holy Cross Hospital.
Detours will soon be in place for the East Main Street construction project. East Main Street will soon be closed between Drew’s Supermarket at Memorial Drive and Pine Ridge Service Station on the east city limits. The State and City have partnered to widen the road to four lanes. The work will continue until November. City engineer Charles Pierotti announced the construction timeline at the city Board of Public Works meeting. Also at the meeting, the board decided to charge $2.50 per roll per day for rental of snow fence. A recent change to city ordinance requiring the fencing at outdoor alcohol venues such as the fair or Riverfest has put a demand on the street department to provide the fencing. A deposit of $20 per five rolls will also be charged. The city also signed an agreement with Schulz’s Wrecking of Merrill to handle the recycling program. Street Commissioner Ralph Sturm says he fears having the program run out of the city garage but notes he realizes it is a “necessary evil they are just going to have to live with.”
Despite uncertainty as to its future membership, the Rural Fire Board has agreed with Merrill Fire Chief Harvey Emanuel to purchase a tanker truck for rural fires. Emanuel pointed out the current tanker, a 40-year-old American LaFrance, is now disabled and the group would have to count on mutual aid in order to shuttle water during a fire. Emanuel is hoping he can borrow a 1,600-gallon tanker from the Town of Maine but stated the board had to do something to ensure a water supply. The group ended up voting to allow Emanuel to spend $60,000 on a 3,000-gallon tanker truck which will be outfitted by the Oshkosh Police and Fire Equipment Company of Oshkosh. Neither the towns of Corning nor the Marathon County town of Texas will be involved in the purchase as both of those towns have indicated they are going independent with volunteers possibly as early as Jan. 1.
The Merrill High School Band is the tops! The group went to Canada this past week in hopes of making a respectable showing of the 18 marching bands in the competition. What they got instead was a slam dunk, 99-yard touchdown, a home run and a 300 game all rolled into one. Under the direction of Dan Nordall and Dale Smith the band took first place in the Class AAA marching competition, first in the performance and parade competition, and the band’s color guard and drum majors were voted best in the field of 18 bands. Nordall stated they were cautiously optimistic when they left but they truly “cleaned house” and were very happy with the results. Beyond summer band camp the plans for the next big competition are undecided right now with Nordall stating they are just starting to look at the future for competitions.
The City of Merrill has decided to move its annual fireworks display to the MARC Center. The article does not cite the source of this move but it explains that unexploded shell hazards, traffic problems, lack of space for larger shells and falling debris are a concern. (As a former eastsider I still say things went smoother at the fairgrounds)
Town of Scott Town Chairman Emil Pederson and Rock Island Express Snowmobile Club President Ron Mittelsteadt are showing off their new shared facility on Joe Snow Road. The Town was in need of a new town hall as their building had been condemned. It also just happened that Rock Island Express, which is the name of the merged snowmobile clubs of Hillside X-Press and Rock Island Snowdrifters, had been looking for a home and a place to store their groomer. The two groups will share the building for each of their monthly meetings and for voting during elections. Rock Island Express built the building and they will now lease it to the town for $1 a year.
It’s not the Superdome, but something is going up next to the Lincoln County Highway Shop. Highway Commissioner Peter Kachel explained to the Foto News that the new structure rising over the trees is a salt storage facility. The structure can hold up to 4,400 tons of salt, and the state is paying a share of the $200,000 cost of building it. The theory is if you have a place to store it you can buy by the truckload in the summer when costs are low, and then store it for winter use.