Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
In area briefs: The Merrill Police Officers union has accepted a contract offer from the city. The union has agreed to a 7.8% wage increase retroactive to Jan. 1. The officers’ longevity will also increase .25 per month. A Tomahawk woman was killed in a car crash this past Saturday morning. The incident took place on Hwy. 51 north of Tomahawk at 4:45 a.m. Police suspect Linda Teal, 18, of Tomahawk, fell asleep before she crossed the centerline and struck a vehicle occupied by a couple from Riverside, IL. They suffered serious injuries in the crash and remain hospitalized. Det. Sgt. Dave Haskins of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office has attended a special school at Appleton for crime prevention. Topics in the class, which was offered at Fox Valley Technical Institute, included lock security and parent youth relationships. This was the first such class offered in Wisconsin. Robert Southworth has announced the opening of his dentistry office at 110 N. Prospect St.
How is that for a serenade? More than two dozen Girl Scouts hiked from the newly created Girl Scout camp on Olivotti Lake to the home of William Olivotti the man who donated the land for the recreation area which now hundreds of young girls will call home throughout the summer. After a picnic on his lawn, William gave the girls a hay ride back to the camp.
A new restaurant is coming to Merrill. Donald and Gerald Whitburn, owners of Whitburn Motor Company in Merrill have announced their intention to build a restaurant in the Pine Ridge area east of Merrill off of State Rd. 64 and US Hwy. 51. Jim Lee of Marshfield has agreed to sign a long term lease for the facility which should be open by this fall. Lee plans on naming the restaurant Pine Ridge; Lee currently operates the Patio Restaurant in Marshfield but will be moving to Merrill. Lee predicts the restaurant will create a significant number of new jobs and will not only accommodate Merrill residents but travelers from the nearby highway as well.
The summer ball season is wrapping up with the city and county leagues. Thanks to Mark Simon’s no hit shut-out pitching performance the Merrill Giants captured the Lincoln County Baseball League crown this past Sunday, cruising to a 9-0 win over the Beacon Bar. Simon’s stellar pitching performance was almost spoiled after Beacon’s Bob Grunenwald hit what appeared to be solo homerun, only to have it pulled back by the Giant’s Greg Ament who had his back up against the fence as he made the catch with two out in the ninth inning. In the city slow pitch league Bud and Dee’s held off a 14-hit attack from the Blatz Bombers with a 6-4 victory. With the National Division title in hand Bud and Dee’s will now move to take on Paul’s Pub in the championship contest.
School is back in session as of Monday and Merrill’s Police Chief Charles Johnson is reminding motorists to use caution in school zones. The public awareness program is called “School’s open – drive carefully,” and it includes posters and bumper stickers which will be placed around the city to remind motorists of the need to use caution. Police Lt. Don Trantow is pictured on page one with Gabriel Steinagel, one of the patrol members of the safety patrol at St. John’s School.
The Family Medical Clinic in Merrill has announced two firsts this week, the first female doctor on staff and the first husband and wife doctor pair in the city. Dr. Greg Gill and his wife Dr. Kathy Krohn-Gill have taken up residence in Merrill and both will begin in September with the Gills splitting their work days in order to spend maximum time with their four-month-old daughter Molly. Dad will work Monday through Wednesday while mom will work Wednesday through Friday. Dr. Greg Gill is a native of Wisconsin Rapids, but you can expect to find him wearing blue this fall as he takes on the responsibility of team doctor for the Merrill Bluejays. Dr. Kathy Krohn-Gill is a native of neighbor Port Edwards; she does not have an emphasis in medicine but expects she will be seeing mostly children and women as her patients. Both doctors are graduates of UW Madison Medical School and were drawn to Merrill by their love for the north woods, excellent schools, and the family oriented community that Merrill has to offer. (Still here, still caring for the sick)
Hardee’s has a new burger and a big ad on page 11 bragging it up. This is called the mushroom and Swiss burger, and you can get it in a combo for only $2.59.
The first annual Irma State Fair is in the books and except for the lack of people it was a smashing success. The star of the weekend Forrest Tucker shared his comedic look at life with the audience and his anecdotes brought smiles to the faces of both young and old. Other headliners at the weekend event were Jaye P. Morgan, Tiny Tim, and Bill Halley’s Comets. Florence was also crowned Rock and Roll Queen for the weekend. Bill Rebane was the promoter of the event, and he noted that special commemorative 90 minute videos will be available for sale featuring Tiny Tim and the Midnight Wind Band. Rebane hopes to find some other local talent to add onto the video and is also looking at hosting an Octoberfest at his Shooting Bar Ranch and Motion Picture Studios. He also hopes to grow on the success of the Irma State Fair by bringing such acts as Tiny Tim, Bill Haley’s Comets, and the Beach Boys to Irma, with perhaps having Tucker back as well. (As I noted earlier, Tucker fell later this month when he was on his way to the ceremony for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, dying by October)
A large feier will be held this weekend as congregants of Faith Lutheran Church in the Town of Maine celebrate their 125th year serving the Lord. In the early days of northern Wisconsin traveling preachers known as circuit riders worked as pastors to the settlers. Soon pioneers from Mecklenburg, Pomerania, Hanover, and other German cities decided to organize themselves as a Christian congregation in order to have a regular service instead of having to rely on the circuit riders. By 1870, 22 families had organized and purchased an acre of land from C. Erdman for use as their own church and cemetery. By 1871 the congregation was officially organized as Zion Lutheran Church and Rev. William Rehwinkel was the pastor. By 1876 fire had destroyed the first church but a second church was built and soon it was replaced by a much larger structure in 1901. The majority of the services were said in the German language until 1928 when they recognized the children had trouble following the services.
The trip north will be a little shorter as paving is underway for the expansion of the US Hwy. 51 expressway. The project will provide a four lane road from where it ends just north of Merrill until just south of Tomahawk. It is hoped to have the new road open by October.