Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
The Center Avenue viaduct is closed to traffic for at least two months as Lunda Construction works to resurface the bridge deck. The area on the south side of the bridge will also be closed as the area is repaved. A pedestrian walkway will be maintained during the repair project.
The shutdown at the Ward Paper Mill will continue as workers continue to replace dryers in the facility. Eleven dryer heads in all are being replaced; they are custom manufactured in Beloit by the Beloit Iron Works Company. The company hopes to have the plant up and running again by Sept. 27. The mill produces 75 tons of paper daily.
The Merrill Giants have dominated the Lincoln County Baseball League for the last nine years and now they have been crowned champions of the Wisconsin Baseball Association after a tournament in Abbotsford this past weekend. The Giants went through five games of the tournament without defeat, felling Tilden 3-0 in the championship game Sunday. Merrill did struggle to get on board through five innings before they broke things open on a Dale Zimmer double followed by singles off the bats of Dave Detert and Dan Thompson scoring the first runs in the sixth. Bill Helmuth and Dale Klug both scored in the seventh after getting on with singles. The MVP of the tournament was Merrill’s own Mark Simon after he allowed only one run in the two games he pitched in the finals. He fanned 11 of the Tilden batters in the championship allowing only five hits in the contest. The Henrich’s Club and Beacon also participated in the tourney but fell in their opening games.
First it was 40 trucks, then 100 cars and trucks all coming from Appleton to Merrill. By Monday morning they had all traveled through town and on the west side soon emerged a small village centered with a big top tent as the Clyde Beatty – Cole Brothers Circus set up camp. A total of 250 performers put on the show, the last known circus if its size to be operating under a canvas tent as most circuses have turned to arenas. The Merrill Lion’s Club sponsored the show, with State Senator Clifford “Tiny” Krueger acting as local host, as crowds spent most of the day drinking in the atmosphere which made the west side of the Park City the home of the greatest show on earth at least for a few hours.
The Merrill Area Board of Education will take up a controversial matter next Monday at their monthly board meeting, could students in Merrill soon be allowed to wear shorts? The two measures that will be presented to the board are to either outright ban the shorts or to allow shorts but only at mid-thigh or below.
The Merrill Bluejay football team has opened up the season with a win over Eau Claire Memorial, but it took an extra frame to clinch the win. The boys were tied 10-10 at the end of regulation play coming on a Tom Weix touchdown. In overtime, quarterback Rod Akey executed a perfect double reverse which led to the Jays’ go ahead touchdown and a 17-0 win over the Old Abes. The locals gained 118 yards of offense, averaging 5 ½ yards per carry. Memorial had 52 yards on the ground with the Jays all but halting their run game in the second half. On Friday the Bluejays will host their rival from the east, the Antigo Red Robins, under the lights at Jay Stadium. Those attending the game on Friday will enjoy some tasty treats at the new Merrill Band Booster concession stand. A grant from Aid Association for Lutherans helped fund the stand as well as assistance from such local contractors as Electrical Wiring and Supply, J&J Construction, Merrill Gravel and Trantow Building Center. Dan Frick is pictured along with BOE President Tom Wardall as the keys to the new stand are turned over for the first sale. Joining the pair are Dr. Tom Strick, Jean Ravn, Sandy Schneider, Dennis Krenzke and his son Jason. (Think big cookies)
Be sure to study up for the primary election next Tuesday as plenty of races will be found on the ballot. Lincoln County Clerk Marlene Fox is not running for re-election so Republican candidates Bruce Severt and Robert Kunkel are facing off in the primary with the winner being the likely next clerk as Democratic candidate Ellen Marlowe has withdrawn her candidacy from the race. There is no primary contest for the Clerk of Court, Cindy Kimmons, the appointed Clerk of Court, is running on the Republican ticket and Christine (Thomaschefsky) is running on the Democratic ticket. Kimmons was appointed to fill the remainder of the term of Janet Beyer-Thums who resigned to take a job out of the area. Three veteran Sheriff’s Office employees are running for the top cop job as Incumbent Sheriff Ronald Krueger is facing opposition on the Republican ticket from Paul Proulx, a Sgt. in that agency and William D. Voigt, a deputy in the agency, is running unopposed on the Democratic side. For the district attorney race things are a bit more complicated. Incumbent DA James Blask did file papers to run on the Republican ticket but he has since been removed from office by Governor Tommy Thompson due to issues within the office of the DA and Blask’s actions outside of the court house including an altercation with a basketball referee who Blask shoved in a locker room after a game. Blask remains on the ballot and is seeking the voters’ help to return him to office. On the Democratic side, Merrill resident and assistant Marathon County DA Mike Gravely is seeking the post. Also running is former Madison attorney and recently appointed Lincoln County DA, John Schellpfeffer; he is running for the DA’s spot on the Republican side as a write in candidate. Governor Thompson appointed Schellpfeffer to the spot after he removed Blask last month.
Of course the bigger race on the ballot on Sept. 10 is a measure to allow the Merrill Area Public Schools to build a new elementary school and then abandon Lincoln and Franklin Schools. The current high school would be moved to the junior high whose building would be greatly expanded, and the current high school would be turned into a middle school. Plenty of letters to the editor are getting the last words in on that subject this week as well.
Merrill High School Coach Duane Gray is not disappointed with his new team despite the 27-0 loss to division rival Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders. Gray noted the team was much improved compared to the scrimmage that was held the week prior. He also noted the enthusiasm of the team is greatly improved and the further behind they got the harder the team played. The Raiders enjoyed the spoils of several Jay turnovers. Merrill heads to Marshfield this Friday to take on the Tigers.