Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
Five people will run for three open spots on the Merrill Area Public Schools School Board this spring. Of the three incumbents, only two have chosen to attempt to retain their spots. Dennis Knott and Elmer Kahre will face challenges from Lorraine Trantow, Lee Wegner and Thomas Sazama. Incumbent Barbara Hanson has opted not to run for re-election. Mrs. Trantow is employed part-time at Lincoln Lanes as a babysitter and is vice-president of the Eagles Auxiliary. She and her husband Don have four children and reside at 505 East St. Dennis Knott has already served three years on the board; he is employed as an installer for General Telephone Company. He and his wife Judeen live on Adams Street in Merrill with their two children. The other candidates have not made official announcements for the paper and their biographies are not included this week. In briefs: The County Board approved spending up to $173,000 on renovations to the historic Court House but voted 9-8 to cut the $61,000 allotted for the elevator installment which was part of the proposal. The city of Merrill and its firemen have settled most of their new contract but are headed to arbitration over the schedule. The firemen want to switch to a schedule that is similar to other career departments in the state, something the city opposes. The Chamber has set this weekend as city wide clearance sales weekend. This weekend is when most retailers will be slashing prices to clear out winter and Christmas stock. Downtown merchants will place bags over their parking meters in order to ease parking during shopping hours. The Wisconsin Winnebago Club has set the week of June 22 as their Merrill rally week. Winnebagos and their owners will flock to the fairgrounds so their owners can interact, and it just happens that is also the weekend of Polka Fest in Merrill.
Coach Norris Hattlestad is anxiously awaiting our neighbors from Wisconsin Rapids this Thursday as his own Merrill Blue Jay wrestling team looks to stay undefeated in the Valley. Both teams will go into the East Gym tomorrow night with perfect records, and Hattlestad expects the night will come down to the final two or three matches as the two teams are so equally ranked. There won’t be much rest after that contest as Merrill will host the Merrill Invitational Wrestling Tournament this Saturday with teams coming from as far away as the UP for that event.
Some changes and advancements and briefs around town: Tom Olson, pharmacist at Merrill’s Fowler Drug Store has been elected chairman of the Merrill Business Council. He succeeds Mary Vandehey in that post. Others elected to the council are Kevin O’Day and Lisa Crawford. Jane Britten will assume full-time duties as Merrill’s Senior Citizen’s Coordinator. She succeeds Carol Schwartz who left the city to go work for Holy Cross Hospital in their HMO program. Previously Britten worked as the activities coordinator at Pine Crest and at the Guy’s Shop. Robert Akey Jr. has been appointed to the fire department as a firefighter. The space for Akey was created by the retirement of Fred Heller; Dan Deml was also appointed as a Lieutenant on that department.
A train versus car crash on 2nd Street in Merrill has left a Merrill man injured, The man told officers he was following the car ahead of him over the tracks by Frisch’s when it stalled, leading to his getting struck by the southbound train which dragged his vehicle over 300 feet. A- Locksmith has moved. Jeff and Lyn Burby had established their locksmith shop on River Street but have now moved to more spacious accommodations on East 2nd Street across from John’s United Foods. Jeff and Lyn, along with Dee Olsen, Bob Roe, Dave Christianson, and Gary Hartwig from the chamber, are pictured celebrating the move.
After 72 years of operation, the Wistein Funeral Home has closed its doors permanently. The funeral home was started by Anton Krueger in what was a store front in downtown Merrill after Krueger left the services of Henry Little John and J.A. Nusbaum. Krueger operated out of the Main Street store across from the German American Bank (he was in the Abegglen Chiropractic building) before moving his operation to the former T.B. Scott home on East Third Street. The Krueger Family ran the business there until 1974 when the second generation morticians sold out to Milton Wistein. Wistein passed away this past June and his son Jerry has been running the business with the assistance of Earl Janssen. In an ad on the obituary page Jerry Wistein is asking those with pre-arrangements to contact the funeral home of their choice in order to forward the trust.
In perhaps what was the largest lopsided victory in Merrill sports history, the Merrill Blue Jay girls basketball team trounced the Wausau Newman team Tuesday night in the field house, 107-34. Everyone on the team scored except for Robyn Schulze and Beth Martindale – both sidelined by injuries. Stephanie Hoge shined on the court with 19 points, LaNae Jabas had 17, and Gena Rusch threw in 13. Merrill had an astounding 71 field goal attempts, sinking 41 of them while Newman was 10-31 from the field. On the boys side they saw a bit of a lopsided game as well, coming up on the short end of 62-20 loss to Wisconsin Rapids Friday. They are now 0-7 on the season. The Merrill wrestling team knocked off D.C. Everest this past week 33-12 in a packed fieldhouse. They now travel to the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders on Thursday. Rapids is ranked second in the state and just knocked off top ranked Stoughton on Saturday.
After an absence of over 30 years, the Green Bay Packers are heading back to the Super Bowl. Quarterback Brett Favre will lead the team as they head into New Orleans this weekend to take on the New England Patriots. As the Super Bowl halftime show comes across our TV screens a little bit of Merrill will be on that field in the Super Dome thanks to Merrill native Deana Sterr, daughter of Julia Zahn and the late Stanley Zahn. Deana is part owner of a company that adds visual effects to national celebrations with paper magic as she called it, mostly thanks to large confetti machines. Sterr has done work in the past for Disney which led to the creation of her company, Artistry in Motion. Her company has also worked for the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, Miss America, the Academy Awards and the Tonight Show.
Area businesses are going wild over the return to the Super Bowl and the biggest bargains are on the Entertainment page: The Italian U-Boat has a 14” pizza and 20 pieces of chicken to go for $24. 3’s Company has a special TV section set up in the dining room with free food throughout the night. Harry-O’s has free prizes throughout the game, Laurie Lee’s tailgate party offers free shots with every Packer score, and Spike’s Bar and Grill is starting their party at 1 p.m. with prizes throughout the game. Grund’s Bar has free beer and food throughout the game, Kathy and Cal’s Club 64 asks people to stop down for the free snacks and announces there will be no band due to the game.