Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
The committee that studies space needs for Lincoln County has shelved plans to add onto the Lincoln County Court House. The committee was looking at adding a large addition to the west side of the building to accommodate space needs. A staunch opposition was launched against the project with Judge Donald Schnabel being the most outspoken of the group. Letters to the editor and stories within the Foto News were often followed by the names and phone numbers of the committee members which most likely added voices to the discussion. In the end the committee did decide to do remodeling to the existing structure at an estimated cost of $267,000. Plans for the remodel will be presented to the full board at their monthly meeting today.
If you are heading out this weekend for the annual nine-day deer hunt, the DNR has good news. According to local game manager Bill Meier, the herd is up by 30 to 35 percent over last year which means there are 4,000 more animals in the area than it can handle, or 28 deer per square mile. The DNR is hoping that hunters help rein in the population and get it to a more manageable level in the coming weeks. (Again, I say any hunter just snorted loudly after reading those numbers). The DNR is also urging hunters to stick with the blaze orange over the red clothing, noting it is much safer in the woods wearing the bright orange. As he prepares for the gun hunting season, County Clerk Ken Oldenburg will hold office hours Friday night until 9 p.m. in order for hunters to get their last minute licenses. If you need a duplicate permit after Friday, Oldenburg’s home number is listed for your convenience.
Sharon Thatcher has an interesting piece remembering an original of Lincoln County, forgotten history. One of the most famous cartoonist of his times, Harold Tucker Webster was born in Parksburg, West Virginia but his family soon moved to Tomahawk. At the age of 15 Webster, who used to draw pictures of his boss on customers’ shopping bags at the Standard Mercantile Store as a delivery boy, moved to Chicago in about 1900 after selling his first cartoon for $5. Once he hit Chicago, Webster enrolled in an art school which soon locked its doors; he then started pounding the pavement looking for work. Eventually he landed in New York working for the Herald Tribune who would later syndicate his cartoons. While he was in New York he met and married Ethel Worts after a two-week courtship. Webster seemed to have the world at his feet with his new wife and good job, but then in 1927 he lost the use of his right, or drawing hand, due to acute arthritis. But, in three moths he taught himself how to draw just as well with his left hand. When he died due to a fall the day after his 67th birthday, Webster had drawn an estimated 15,000 cartoons along with 13 collection of drawings he had published. Webster had never returned to Tomahawk after he went out to seek his fortune, but he never forgot his hometown. Throughout his cartoons there are many references to Tomahawk. Webster’s mail carrier Wally Ostrander would find his name in print, along with his boyhood friends and, of course, references to his former boss Matt Stutz or the Chief of Police McWithey. His widow donated 4,000 of his original drawings to the Wisconsin Historical Society, and three of his books can be found in the libraries at Tomahawk and Merrill.
Another visitor came to Holy Cross Hospital from the sky as the new UW Med Flight landed recently. The crew from Madison was paying visits throughout Wisconsin to let hospitals know of the value of the service which will officially launch next Friday from its base at UW Hospital in Madison. Dr. Joel Wacker, one of the flight physicians, is pictured on page one explaining to Dr. Geoffrey Kloster of Merrill the advantages of calling upon the helicopter which could be in Merrill within 50 minutes of being called. Representatives of Holy Cross and UW Med Flight noted this new service certainly reinforces Merrill’s role as a health care facility. (Once a rare event to see, this area is blessed to have a dozen medical helicopters within an hour’s flight from here, and we all know someone who has been saved thanks to the flight crews that staff them.)
The jail is filling up, but the city police are still looking for at least one armed robber. Sheriff’s deputies arrested three people, two men and a woman connected to a burglary west of Merrill. The trio is suspected of being involved in at least three other burglaries locally and may also be involved in crimes in Marathon County where they are from originally. The Merrill Police Department has arrested three juveniles after burglaries to J&J Bakery and Jet Spray Car Wash along with Franklin and Washington Schools. On Saturday evening a man using a handgun entered the United Station on North Center Avenue in Merrill and demanded money. The suspect, who was wearing an army type jacket, fled with $185 in cash. The police hinted at press time that they were about to serve a search warrant in connection with the crime.
Drum roll please! Local band director Dan Nordall has been recognized by Lawrence University as one of the outstanding teachers in Wisconsin. Nordall came to Merrill via Wild Rose and Park Falls after earning a bachelor of music degree from UW Stevens Point. In the letter of recognition Nordall was cited as a teacher who “brought respectability to Merrill’s music program, taught respect for all kinds of music, from Bach to Gershwin to Souse, and changed not only students’ attitudes, but also those of the community and administration.”
Local scribe Norm Heideman is calling for the head of UW Badger Football head coach Barry Alvarez. A disappointing game against Big Ten rival Iowa is the reason for the discontent. Heideman noted that it appeared Alvarez’s only offensive weapon was Ron Dayne and when that failed the Badgers fell flat. Heideman thinks big Barry might be better back as an assistant at Iowa. (Easy, Jigg’s, Barry has nine more bowls ahead of him including two more Rose Bowls)
Four local keglers have been inducted into the Merrill Bowling Hall of Fame. Ann Eckman, Russ Sukow, Dave Krause and Joni Volz all received the honor at a ceremony at the beginning of the month. Eckman has been a member of the Merrill Bowling Association for 28 years, Sukow for 30, and Volz has been rolling on Monday night for 30 years. Krause started as a pin setter at Golden Arrow Lanes and has been involved in the local bowing scene for 49 years. Ruth Radlinger nominated and presented Eckman with her award, while Jerry Leopold nominated Krause, Shorty Ament nominated Sukow, and Joy Annis nominated Volz.