Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Mayor Ralph Voigt has appointed several committees to assist in the transition as city government prepares to move into the new city hall building. The city purchased the building on East First Street from Church Mutual Insurance Company, as CMI is preparing to move to a new world headquarters which is currently under construction on the far east side of Merrill. The actual date of the move is not known, but it is expected to take place in the early spring of next year. Ray Hinch, Wayne Marrier and Roger Dupke will serve on the move committee with Charles Pierotti serving as the chair. The committee who will study what to do with the vacated city hall was also appointed. Robert Opsahl will chair that group, and James Bloechl, Otto Johnson, Dave Detjens, and Mrs. George Natzke will all serve with city building inspector Gary Hartwig acting as an ex-officio member of the group. The mayor also appointed Monica Talbot to fill the vacancy on the Status of Women Commission. Julie Montabon resigned from that post.
In area briefs: The only contested election on the ballot for the fall primary was the Republican race for Lincoln County Coroner. Dr. James Janowiak outpolled Merrill Police Officer Jay Proft for the spot on the November ballot. Proft noted that he would have won the election if more people would have voted for him. Wisconsin Public Service has drawn down the water above the Merrill dam. Concrete work and hole patching will continue for an unknown period on the structure. It is so dry in Wisconsin right now outdoor fires have been completely banned, with the ban going so far as to prohibit smoking outside as well. Fire wardens are fearful of what a discarded match could do if dropped in a forest preserve. Greta Rusch has been named head of the Lincoln County Nursing Service. As noted last week, Jane Kudick resigned that post to take a job in Oshkosh. The deer bow season opens this Saturday and the DNR is predicting a banner harvest. Bill Meier is the local game manager and he states in section 32, which encompasses much of Lincoln County, most areas contain 28 deer per square mile which is up slightly from numbers last year. (Every modern day hunter just laughed at that number.) St. John’s Lutheran Church will dedicate their new Schlicker organ this Sunday as a part of the church’s centennial celebration. Mrs. Ellen Bowlin will lead a recital at the church at 2 p.m.
The Merrill Bluejay football team is 2-0 after handing the Stevens Point Panthers a loss on the road this past Friday. The Jays jumped out to an early lead when on the first play from scrimmage Keith Donner scored a 57-yard touchdown. The Panthers pulled even at half time after the local boys gave up a 92-yard run to Point. Phil Borchardt opened up the second half by converting a 34-yard field goal. Donner completed a pass to Matt Pankow on the one yard line which was quickly followed by a one-yard sneak by Donner to make the final score 16-7. Coach Ira Rebella credited his defense for keeping SPASH off the board with continuous pursuit of the elusive Point quarterback and three interceptions, two alone by Merrill’s Tom Weckwerth. The Jays will host the D.C. Everest Evergreens this Saturday at Jay Stadium.
Pavers are working at a furious pace to install the new cement for the four lane project on Merrill’s far east side. Four lanes of 8” concrete are being laid between Memorial Drive and Pine Ridge Avenue. The only problem the paving crew ran into was a lack of material as the trucks hauling the concrete could not keep up with the paving machine. The stretch of roadway between Drew’s Supermarket and Carl’s Foodlane remains closed and is being closely monitored by local police.
The Lincoln County Board has not met in six weeks, but they took swift action Tuesday on several matters. The board accepted the resignation of Supervisor James Severt with regret, according to Board Chair Neil LeMay who noted Severt was been a very active member. The board also agreed to a 25-year lease with the City of Merrill for the corner property at E. 6th Street at Memorial Drive; the city intends on establishing a recreation area there such as a skating rink. The board approved a 4% wage increase retroactive to Jan. 1 for the corrections officers at the sheriff’s office. It authorized the highway department to spend up to $75,000 on a silo for an asphalt plant. The county also recognized the first week of October as 4-H week in Lincoln County. At the Merrill Common Council meeting the aldermen learned that state revenue sharing may soon leave the city short $1.8 million. The state is looking to re-work the formula which would change from cities getting .80 on every dollar to them getting .50 on the dollar. The message from the Wisconsin Alliance for Cities is to expect taxes to go up if that happens.
The weekly Bankroll drawing at Drew’s is up to $700 this week so make sure to get your card punched.
The Merrill Bluejay football team recovered from their loss at Antigo by handing the Wausau East Lumberjacks a 10-7 loss. Rod Akey recovered an East fumble at the 22 yard line and then added his own 20-yard gain and two-yard sneak to put the local boys up 7-0. Cyle Cantrell, who is spotless so far this year kicking, hit a 22-yard field goal to put the boys up 10-0 early in the fourth. Akey was the top ball carrier, gaining 106 yards on 18 carries while the quarterback for East, Marty Glavich, completed 11 of 19 passes for 137 yards. Merrill hosts Marshfield this Friday at Jay Stadium.
A mainstay of the Sixth Ward of Merrill, a seasonal employer in which many a resident and college student found summer work, is closing. Stokley USA, known to some as the pea cannery or the beanery has been operating on Merrill’s far west side since 1920 when a new production company known as the Lincoln County Canning Company opened, producing 32,000 cases of peas in its first season. Over the years the vegetable line began to include sweet corn, beats, and potatoes just as the owners changed over the years most recently from Oconomowoc Canning to Stokely USA which does $230 million in business worldwide. Vern Warren, local plant manager, stated the plant will close for good the first week of October and hourly workers will be given a severance package if they stay until the plant closes. It was noted that some of the seasonal employees have been working there for 29 years.
Looking for something to do this weekend? Look no further than the Entertainment page: Piggot’s Pub in Pine River has the music of Carl & Jeni, Laurie Lee’s has Muddy Aces Blues Bank, Harry-O’s is having a Packer party this weekend which includes $1 brats and jello shots, 3’s Company will be giving away two Packer tickets for the 49’ers game on Oct. 14 and the more you visit the more you can enter. The Arena Sports Bar is having free pizza and beer during half time of the Packer game. Central Wisconsin Travel has airfare deals with Cancun only $389 or with hotel packages starting at $599 for six nights and Las Vegas is only $289 from CWA. At the Cosmo it is “King Pin” in Cosmo 1 and “A Time to Kill” in Cosmo 2.