Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
Lincoln County District Attorney Dennis Montabon has resigned. Montabon will have his final day in officer on Aug. 14. He has accepted a staff attorney position with the law firm of Brosshard-Sundet and Associates of La Crosse. He took over the office in 1972 and was re-elected in 1974; he is a graduate of UW Madison and received his law degree from John Marshal Law School of Chicago. (A native son of Tomahawk, Judge Montabon retired from the bench in La Crosse in 2006 and officially retired as a reserve judge and counselor in 2015. He spent 27 years as a circuit court judge)
Even though it’s getting late in the summer, the Merrill Senior High School KEMOs are finally ready for distribution. Staff advisor Jim Richardson explained that the delay in getting out the KEMOs had to do with the smaller staff of the KEMO and the 20 extra pages that were added this year as compared to last. Richardson is hoping to attract more students to be on KEMO staff next year, and if you are interested you should contact him at the start of the school year. To get your KEMO, you have to go to the school concession stand Friday night or Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon. You will be allowed space to collect autographs from your fellow students when you pick up your book. You must also have your last payment at that time if you have not yet paid in full.
According to an ad on the Things to Do page: After an absence of two years, Art and Marge Hanson are back in business at the A&W Restaurant and are happy to serve you at their North Center Avenue location.
Merrill High School Seniors will most likely return to school to find campus closed. Recently the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction reviewed the policies and procedures of MAPS and noted that the open campus policy, known as the Senior Privileges Program, is in violation of Wisconsin State Statutes. The law does allow students to have free time within the school hours, but they must be spent on campus under staff supervision. MAPS board of education members and district staff are currently working on an alternative to the program before the school year begins.
The Lincoln County Solid Waste Committee appears to have come to an agreement with landowner Walter Nelson to purchase part of his property for the future landfill. Nelson was presented with two options depending upon how much land he is willing to sell to the county. The county is willing to pay Nelson $130,000 for 170 acres in the Town of Merrill, and if he is willing, another $85,000 for two attached 40-acre parcels. Nelson signed papers agreeing to sell both sections of land allowing the county to go ahead with drilling on the land to conform with DNR regulations. Merrill Attorney Glenn Hartley brokered the deal and now Solid Waste Manager Robert Reichelt is working to get the required testing done as soon as possible. In the meantime, City Engineer Chuck Pierotti has come up with a landfill in Weston that may take some of our solid waste; if we can change the destination from Wisconsin Rapids to Weston this could save up to $62,000 in shipping costs.
It appears Lincoln County Supervisors do not support the concept being offered by Pine Crest administrator Elaine Roskos for expanded housing at the elderly care complex. Roskos would like to see apartments added onto the existing building at Pine Crest to allow the elderly to live independently while having Pine Crest staff available in case of an emergency and to help with meals and housekeeping. Supervisor Harry Osness noted that the private sector could operate such a housing project at a much lesser cost than the county. Roskos said despite the board’s lack of action, she may pursue having the Pine Crest board of trustees fund a study of the proposal for feasibility.
Motorists in Merrill are adjusting well to the new speed limit set in place recently on East Main Street. According to Lt. Michael Caylor of the Merrill Police Department, a few warnings were given but no citations have been written in the wake of the change. The speed limit heading out of town has been raised to 35 MPH from 25 MPH, but the stretch between Eagle Drive and Pine Ridge Avenue has been lowered from 45 MPH. In the last four years there have been four fatalities on that stretch of road prompting the city to request the change from the state. Merrill Police will continue to monitor the roadway for speeders in the coming weeks.
In a story preparing voters for the upcoming school referendum in November, readers are informed of one of the three elements that MAPS feels will better equip them to head into the future. With the recent merger of the Catholic parishes in Merrill to one facility on the east side, the former St. Francis property on West 8th Street is up for sale. MAPS examination of the property found that with the age of the buildings and the existing asbestos within, it would be less expensive to knock the current building over and build a brand new school on the site for an estimated $7.5 million. It will also allow a natural playground with grass for the children, something that is not available at Franklin and Lincoln schools. If MAPS were to forget about the new school and just upgrade Franklin and Lincoln to code, it would cost $11.5 million, so building a new school and abandoning the old would save them $4 million dollars. So far at most meetings participants have made it clear they would like to see a new centralized school making the St. Francis site more appealing. Improvements would also be made at Washington and Jefferson schools, providing three centrally located modernized schools spread throughout town.
Residents have a new place to take their laundry with the opening of the Rainbow Laundry on East 2nd Street. The new business is owned by Al Shidell and features 30 top-load washers and 28 driers. The laundry is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year. If you are bored Mr. Movie’s is located right next door in the former John’s United Foods building. Chamber members are pictured cutting the ribbon to open the new laundry with Shidell last week.
The Entertainment page is filled this week, you can find dining specials from: The Italian U-Boat, Club Modern, Highway 51 Truck Stop, Diamond Dave’s, or Champs. There will be live music at Piggot’s Pub, Harry-O’s, Laurie Lee’s, and Time Out Sports Bar. If you want to see the Badgers play this fall, Central Wisconsin Travel has airfare from CWA, three nights at Circus Circus, and tickets to the UW Madison UNLV game for only $585. Lastly, don’t forget Merrill Airport Days this Sunday at the Merrill Airport.