Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Janet Kudick has resigned from her position as head of the Lincoln County Nursing Service. Kudick began working for the county in 1964 and has been heading the agency since 1965. She has accepted a position at Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh where she will oversee the discharge planning process for patients. Kudick stated she felt the able staff will continue the programs she started while working for the county. As one leaves two more take employment with the government as two Merrill men, Tom Koth and Brian Sladek, begin their law enforcement careers. Koth has been hired as a deputy at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office while Sladek has accepted a position as a patrolman on the Merrill Police Department. Both men graduated from Merrill Senior High School and furthered their education at NTC in Wausau. Sheriff Ron Krueger and Chief Charles H. Johnson announced the hires.
In area news briefs: Two Merrill men escaped a blaze in an apartment building in the Sixth Ward. Careless use of smoking materials is believed to be the cause of the fire which broke out Friday morning at 120 S. Foster St.; it was reported to the fire department at 6:10 a.m. by a downstairs neighbor who also escaped unharmed. A rural Merrill man was killed Monday morning when his vehicle crashed on Rainbow Drive in the Town of Maine. The man apparently fell asleep behind the wheel before leaving the road and striking trees. Two Gleason men were injured in an accident Saturday night south of Bloomville. The vehicle the men were in left the road on a curve and struck a tree. The state’s fall primary election is this upcoming Tuesday and the only local race is the Coroner contest between Dr. James Janowiak and Merrill Police Officer Jay Proft as both men are running on the Republican ticket. Chip’s Drive In is seeking job applicants, stop and see Cal Hinz if you are interested. At the Cosmo this week two up-and-coming actors Robert Deniro and Jodie Foster star in “Taxi Driver.”
The Merrill Bluejay football team made its Valley debut this past Saturday over the Shawano Indians. Scott Ackley started the scoring for the home team by stripping the ball from an Indian running back which bounced in the Jays’ end zone and was quickly covered by Merrill’s Rich Genrich. Quarterback Keith Donner converted a quarterback sneak just before the half was over to put the Jays up 13-0. The Jays scored one last time in the fourth quarter to give them a 20-0 victory over the Indians; they travel to take on Point this Friday night.
The Merrill Area Public Schools Board of Education is caught between a rock and a hard place, but for now they will make no decision on the future of dress in MAPS buildings. The controversy began when a group of citizens approached the district about banning shorts in classrooms. Currently the dress code has no restriction on what students may wear below the waist, and administrators like Strand Wedul, principal at the Junior High, stated that puts him in a tough spot as he wants to be fair and consider student rights, staff needs, and community expectations when it comes to dress. Attorney Dick Olson advised the board they can ban certain dress but they have to be able to articulate why that dress would prove disruptive in the classroom as prior federal court cases have struck down vague dress codes with Federal Judge James Doyle opining in 1969 that dress codes should train students to cope with diversity, not conformity. In the end BOE member Jay Tlusty recommended tabling the measure until further study is done noting that the district hasn’t had a dress code for 13 years and there was no need to push one through in one week.
September is Emergency Care Month in Wisconsin and Holy Cross Hospital in Merrill is celebrating by announcing the expanded training to EMS in the field in the Merrill area. Dr. Ole Ravn, medical director, is working with Dr. Mark Mirick of the Wausau Hospital Center to expand the Merrill EMT’s to EMT Intermediate level. Currently all of the Merrill Firemen are EMT’s and 11 are at the EMT-D level which allows them to use the department’s defibrillator, a pilot program begun last year with the help of Dr. James Janowiak. With the new program the EMT’s will be able to start IV’s, inject certain drugs, and place an airway in someone who isn’t breathing. In a series of pictures EMT’s Norm Hanson and Mike Kleinschmidt show off emergency equipment along with emergency room nurse Kay Slewitzke who is in charge of the local emergency room which employs 10 people locally.
One thing everyone could agree on after watching the battle between Merrill and Antigo on the football field, it wasn’t pleasant. Merrill Coach Greg Schofield took on the Antigo Red Robins and their head coach and his father, Gordon Schofield. Antigo blew out Merrill 42-7 in the contest with the local boys gaining only 133 yards on the ground versus Antigo’s 420. Merrill quarterback Rod Akey carried the ball six times for 38 yards while Rocky Bolder ran 12 for 39. The only scoring came from a 45-yard gain by Tony Mann which set up a Tom Weix touchdown in the fourth quarter. Merrill will host Wausau East this Friday under the lights at Jay Stadium.
Results are in from the primary election and it appears a new sheriff and DA will take office in January. Republican Paul Proulx defeated incumbent Sheriff Ron Krueger and will now face Democrat Wiliam D. Voigt in November. Write-in candidate, Republican John Schellpfeffer, defeated former DA James Blask who was removed from office last month by Governor Tommy Thompson. Schellpfeffer will now face Democrat Mike Gravely. County Clerk candidate Robert Kunkel defeated fellow Republican Bruce Severt and will be the lone person on the ballot in November. Republican Scott West will now head to the November election against incumbent Dave Obey for the Seventh Congressional seat, and Republican Nancy Levanetz will battle against Democrat Roger Breske for the 12th State Senatorial seat.
The other big contest on the ballot yesterday was the referendum on the future of Merrill Area Public Schools. Voters voted 3,271 to 1,923 to go ahead with the plans to replace Lincoln and Franklin schools with a new elementary school and then switch the Junior and Senior High buildings creating a middle school at the high school site. The project is expected to cost taxpayers an estimated $29.7 million dollars.
Looking for something to do this weekend? The Merrill Historical Society is planning a church tour so stop in at Trinity Lutheran, Christ United Methodist, First Presbyterian, Bethlehem, or Our Savior’s any time between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday for a guided tour and history lesson of the church. Also watch out for motorcycles this weekend. The annual ride in Tomahawk may bring up to 10,000 bikes to the area, with organizers reporting the event just keeps growing. (Some say 40,000 come now)