Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
The Merrill Common Council has sent a clear sign that they are supporting the Recreation Director. The position is held by Dennis Cramer and is mostly financed by a grant. With the grant running out this May, the Council on Tuesday voted to continue funding the position with city money for the foreseeable future. Cramer noted he expects to offer a progressive recreation program to residents of all ages in 1977. The Council also passed an ordinance which lowers the fee on a parking ticket from $5 to $1 as long as it is paid in the first 48 hours after it is issued.
Will Sears remain in downtown Merrill? That is a question even store manager Jim Schymanski can’t answer. Shymanski reported that the Merrill outlet store is supposed to close its doors on Jan. 31 even though they still have 13 months to go on their lease of their building located in the former JC Penny building at Court and East Main streets. On Monday Shymanski was told by Merv Berkland, manager of the Wausau Sears store, that the district office in Minneapolis had not heard what the destiny of the Merrill outlet would be, noting they were waiting for word to come from Chicago as to its fate. The Merrill store is known as a catalog store where customers select and pay for their purchases from the Sears Catalog. The store also carries appliances on their showroom floor.
In local sports action: The girls’ basketball team split two games over the weekend, downing Antigo 44-41 and then falling to Wausau East 53-47. They now travel to Shawano to take on the Indians on Friday. The boys’ team did not fare any better, getting blasted by Antigo 61-40 on Friday and dropping the Saturday game to East 77-59. Erik Finanger, Jay Heldt and Brian Koehler led the team in scoring. The grapplers fared much better over the weekend. At a triple duel in Cadott the wrestling Jays blasted Boyce Ville, Adams-Friendship, and Cadott giving them an 8-0 dual meet record. On Thursday before the meet the Jays impaled Antigo 58-3; two quick pins helped boost that score with Gary Osness pinning his opponent in 19 seconds while Todd Hass lingered a little longer, pinning his opponent in 45 seconds.
The City of Merrill Common Council wants more information and Mayor Dick Holt wants them to speed up their research as a measure to accept waste water from the proposed Lincoln County Landfill was put on the back burner last night at the monthly meeting. The council rejected a motion to accept the waste known as leachate and according to Mayor Holt this could set the landfill back one to two years. A Committee of the Whole meeting has been scheduled for next Wednesday to discuss the item again, with the Mayor noting the county has set a February 1 deadline for a decision on the waste. In other council action, the resignation of Carol Schwartz, Senior Center coordinator, was accepted. Jane Britten has been appointed to fill her role.
With the fear of AIDS causing great concern about the nation’s blood supply, Holy Cross Hospital and their partner Community Blood Center of Appleton wish to assure the public that their blood supply is safe. The disease known as AIDS first was discovered in 1981 in the United States and now many patients facing the prospect of a blood transfusion are deeply fearful that the blood may be contaminated. Dr. Leroy Krueger, Pathologist at Holy Cross, points out that most of the donors who supply blood to Merrill are local donors with the occasional supplemented blood from the Appleton area. The donors themselves are screened to make sure they are not in a risk category for contracting the disease, and the blood itself is tested using the most advanced equipment in the industry.
Also at Holy Cross this week, Fire Chief Harvey Emanuel, Lt. Dan Deml, and Head Nurse Kay Slewitzke are all pictured checking out the new radio system that was recently installed. The system will enhance communication from the field to the emergency room and assist with the new EMT-I program in which 12 firemen will soon start training. Dr. E.O. Ravn is coordinating that program which will allow the firemen to start IV’s in the field and administer drugs. The radio was purchased with grants from Holy Cross, Wausau Hospital, and funding from the City of Merrill.
The World Day of Prayer will be celebrated this Sunday in Merrill. This year the location for the gathering is St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Participating churches and pastors include: Bethlehem Lutheran Church: Rev James Primley; Christ United Methodist Church: Rev. Paul Nulten; First Presbyterian Church: Rev. Merle Porter; Holy Cross Spirituality Center: Fr. Joseph Fichtner & Deacon Reinhart Wessing; Immanuel Covenant Church: Rev. Arthur Gustafson; Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church: Revs. John Henning and Dan Olson; St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church: Fr. Edward Powell; St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church: Fr. James Kraker & Deacon Richard Heckman; St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ: Revs. Dale G. Kuck and James Martin.
In sports: The Blue Jay Girls’ basketball team stomped on D.C. Everest this past Friday in the field house 55-36. Merrill is now the only unbeaten team in the Valley Conference. The boys’ wrestling team claimed its 13th victory of the season last Thursday after beating up on Rhinelander 35-15. The boys’ basketball team is also flourishing with their second victory on the season, beating Medford 67-45.
There is a new sheriff in Title Town and he is an old Westsider of Merrill. Tom Hinz was sworn in recently as the top cop in Brown County. Hinz, who grew up in the 800 block of Grand Avenue, found his first ever job selling popcorn and peanuts at Merrill Ranger games. He also used to peddle the Milwaukee Sentinel, was a carryout at Red Owl, played hockey and football in the streets while being a faithful member of Trinity Lutheran Church, and now he is responsible for the safety of over 200,000 people and is the boss to over 200 staff members. Hinz told the paper he moved to Green Bay after getting out of the Army where he saw service in Vietnam. He was an usher at Green Bay Packers games and a Green Bay police sergeant talked him into going into police work. He was hired as a patrolmen on GBPD in 1966 and achieved the rank of Assistant Chief before he was elected Sheriff of Brown County. Both jobs have perks as he travels regularly with the Packers serving as part of the team’s security staff. (A finalist for the Merrill Police job in 1996, one only wonders what would have happened if he would have accepted that job).
Otto Settele has died. The owner of the Cosmo Theatre and his wife Sophie entertained thousands of Merrill residents over the years, owning theaters not only here but in Waupaca. He was a member of the Merrill Kiwanis Club and is survived by two sisters and two brothers.