Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
A total of 69 new residents of Pine Crest Nursing Home are enjoying new rooms this evening after a massive move took place on Monday morning from the old original building into new north and south wings of the facility. Mary Persike, at 103 Pine Crest’s oldest resident, was the first person brought into the new portion of the building. Pine Crest Administrator Mike Berry felt the move went very well with the staff completing the task in just two hours. A remodel of the original building’s first and ground floors is already underway and work on the second floor should start in January. Berry hopes to have the entire remodel of the original building finished by February.
A Merrill resident will receive this nation’s highest award for heroism at a ceremony next Wednesday at Merrill City Hall. A bronze medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund will be presented to Melvin “Butch” Pernitzke of 9th Street in Merrill for his rescue of an elderly neighbor during a fire in June of last year. Pernitzke was a former employee of the Merrill Fire Department and retired in 1975 following open heart surgery. He had previously served 21 years on the department. On June 11, 1975, Pernitzke was alerted by neighbors who reported that their neighbor Albert Zietlow had smoke pouring from his home. Pernitzke alerted the fire department, dressed and ran across the street and entered the smoke filled building. Crawling on his hands and knees, he discovered Zietlow lying on his kitchen floor unresponsive. Pernitzke dragged Zietlow out of the home and then performed life-saving CPR on him until he regained consciousness. Mayor Ralph Voigt will award Pernitzke his medal just prior to the city council meeting.
Guess who is coming to town? It is Santa Claus himself and his first stop will be in Merrill’s Sixth Ward. The Sixth Ward Business Association is sponsoring Old St. Nick where he will be in his red house next to Golde’s Bar. Members of the association who are sponsoring Santa include: Club 64, Co-op West Station, The House of Merrill, People’s IGA, Golde’s Bar, Park City Liquor, Grunty’s Bar, Walk Straight Inn, Semling Menke Plant 2, 6th Ward Barber Shop, Self Service Gas Station, Wilde’s Oil, Storm Oil, Bill & Nona’s Sixth Ward Floral, Jean’s Beauty Shop, Schendel’s Dry Goods, Northern Door, Knotty Pine Bar, Beacon Bar, Archie’s West End Service, KB Body Shop, Merrill Evergreen, Ma&Pa’s Silver Spur Bar, Merrill Iron & Steel, Mitchell Metal Products, Merrill Millwork, Emerich Electric, Baumgarts Waste, Ament and Son’s, The Drapery Den, Seegers Dairy, Zuelsdorff Roofing & Sheet Metal, Band Music Repair, Knispel & Latzig, Weisneski Insurance, Schulz’s Wrecking, and Otto Engel.
The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors have approved the implementation of a .5% sales tax. About 30 people packed the board room yesterday to seek information on the proposal. Board supervisors explained that they had little choice but to implement the tax after land values in the county continue to fall. In 1986 Lincoln County lost $16 million dollars in land value in last year’s valuation and another $15 million this year. Supervisors Walter Proft, Art Schaefer, and Gordon Schroeder were the only three to vote against the authorization of the tax.
The Tomahawk community is grieving after three people were killed this past weekend in a traffic crash south of the city. A 28-year-old Tomahawk man and two women, both 18, were killed in the crash on County Rd. E near County Rd. O. The accident happened when a vehicle being driven by a 27-year-old Wausau man left the roadway and struck a power pole. The lone survivor of the crash, the man identified as the driver, is currently in stable condition at Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff.
Employees of Lincoln Hills School in Irma have filed a $350,000 lawsuit against the Department of Health and Social Services alleging discrimination and retaliation for criticism regarding job qualifications and policies. A similar lawsuit was filed last November by present and former counselors. That $1.5 million lawsuit alleged that a former policy was discriminatory and violated the Civil Rights Act. The policy that was referenced prohibited counselors from working in cottages that contained juvenile offenders that did not match their sex. This policy resulted in faculty members losing wages and the opportunity to transfer to other assignments. The plaintiffs also alleged that the policy did not allow promotions and overtime pay. Local No. 6 President Michael Sadlier is leading the local cause on the matter.
A warning is given on page 2 of the dangers of building construction when it comes to fire safety. The west side of Merrill is still recovering after a devastating fire destroyed the former Alfred Fleischfresser building in the 400 block of Grand Avenue. Firefighters were hampered in their efforts to put out the flames by numerous remodel jobs, partitions, false ceilings, and other fire traps. Although the front of the structure would have led most to believe that two separate buildings occupied the lot, in fact a common attic connected the two and it created a chimney which brought deadly smoke throughout the structure. The cause of the blaze will likely be ruled due to careless use of smoking materials, but investigators have not officially completed the task of determining the cause. Either way, a landmark of the west side and a place most west side natives have a story or two from their early years is now nothing but a pile of rubble.
MAPS has issued a preliminary plan for the daunting task of overhauling most buildings in the public school system. The plan starts on Feb. 14, 1997, when MAPS will officially take possession of the St. Francis Church and School site on West 10th Street. Demolition will soon follow pending formal approval by several city committees. The High School project should being in April, the Middle School construction in February, and the new elementary school should be standing by December of next year. The Middle and High School projects should be completed by August of 1998 and the gym at the new High School by October of 1998 and the auditorium by December of 1998. Ten committees in all are overseeing the project. They range in titles from the communications committee, the colors committee, and the ground breaking committee all the way to the new name committee. The opening day committee hopes to have it all wrapped up with a grand open house in September of 1998.