Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
A Town of Harding man is lucky to be alive this morning after fire destroyed his home early Monday. The man told Fire Chief Ray Priebe that he had filled the downstairs fireplace with wood just prior to retiring for the evening on Sunday. Intense heat woke the man around 5:40 a.m. and drove him from the home. The man was able to re-enter the structure and rescue two dogs and some clothing. When the Merrill Rural firemen arrived, the home was entirely engulfed in flames. The owner did suffer burns on his back during the event. Firemen worked until 8:15 a.m. to extinguish the fire and were then called back an hour late when the fire rekindled in the basement of the home. Fire Chief Priebe expects the cost of the damage to near $30,000.
The Merrill Sears Catalog Store will close at the end of business on Monday. Local manager James Schymanski reported that orders placed prior to the store’s closing will be delivered to homes. If you failed to pick up previous orders, they can be found in Wausau at the store there. The store mainly dealt with catalog orders and sold appliances from their East Main Street location. In an article that just happens to be next to the Sears article, Gruett’s Appliance Center on Merrill’s West Side is celebrating four generations of selling Merrill appliances. Paul and his wife Vernette along with his son Edward run the store at 414 W. Main St. Paul tells the reporter his preference is being on the sales floor helping customers while Vernette keeps all the bookwork straight.
The new Merrill Youth Center is officially open for business. Mayor Ralph Voigt is pictured cutting the ribbon on the new facility this past Sunday. Also pictured are Dick Baumgart, Richard Gerritts, Pat Zimmerman and Becky Brose, all members of the Youth Advisory Committee. The center is open nightly and Sunday afternoon for students in grades 9-12.
Arnold’s Drive-In is celebrating their grand opening this weekend. On Friday fish plates are $1.19, on Saturday the famous Arnie Burger is only .39, and on Sunday it is free soft drinks with every order. You can register for numerous prizes with the grand prize being a seven piece porcelain clad cookware set. (Why would a restaurant make their grand prize something that would keep them away from their restaurant?)
Weekend fires kept firefighters throughout the area busy and claimed the lives of two area residents. On Saturday morning the Merrill Fire Department was called to the Whispering Pines Trailer Court where they found a home engulfed in flames. Fire Chief Harvey Emanuel stated that the victim was found just feet inside the door of the trailer while his wife was able to escape the flames with minor injuries. Careless use of smoking material is the suspected cause of the fire. At about the same time that the Merrill firemen were responding, the Antigo firemen were called to a blaze just outside of that city in which an elderly woman living in an upstairs apartment was killed. Her renters and downstairs neighbors, Steve and Heidi Jackson, were able to escape the fire but lost all of their possessions. Steve Jackson is the son of Gleason Fire Chief Dave Jackson. As those two fires were being fought, firemen from Gleason and Tomahawk were battling a fire in the Town of Harrison. A home on Seven Island Lake Road burned to the ground as firefighters also fought sub-zero temperatures that caused pumps to freeze. All eight people in that home escaped.
It appears the Lincoln County Landfill may be delayed once again. The DNR is telling the county that they will have to wait at least 30 days before they issue the permit while hydrology testing is completed at the site. Meanwhile on page three an article describing the haggling between the nine municipalities who previously used the Merrill Landfill is continuing; at stake is the estimated $525,000 which will be needed to officially close and seal that facility. The Merrill Common Council at a Committee of the Whole meeting has agreed to take wastewater from the future landfill after the original proposal to process the waste at the Merrill Waste Water Treatment plant was rejected with aldermen stating they did not have enough information on the topic to proceed. And speaking of the boys at the sewage plant, they have received an award for all they take, that being 1.8 million gallons of waste per day with the Zimpro sludge unit which the city has used for 13 years. This process allows the waste to be treated with heat and not chemicals. Pictured are operators Tom Rein and Myron Oestreich, lab tech Terry Vanden Heuvel and head operator Jack Hofele.
Could Kwik Trip be coming to Merrill? That is the plan if zoning changes proposed for North Center Avenue go through. Kwik Trip wishes to purchases the three houses on North Center Avenue north of Hardees to install a convenience store in that location possibly by April. Attorney Craig Nienow is representing home owners in the area who oppose the re-zone, noting the area is generally termed a historic district of the city and the increased traffic would only decrease property values.
Denis McCarthy has been named the interim Chief Deputy Sheriff of Lincoln County. A law enforcement veteran, McCarthy served 20 years with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, the last six as their Chief Deputy. Following eight years of service with the United States Marine Corps, the Chicago native worked for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and the Chicago PD before joining Marathon County. McCarthy and his wife Christine have four children including his son Sean who is a deputy in Marathon County.
Merrill along with all of Wisconsin and Packer fans throughout the world are celebrating the Packers win over the New England Patriots Sunday in Super Bowl XXXI. The team returned to Green Bay on Monday and participated in a parade that could only crawl through the crowded streets of Green Bay before arriving at a sold out Lambeau Field three hours late. Over 1.5 million people tried calling to secure tickets for the award ceremony with 66,000 of them being awarded the hottest seats in town. Desmond Howard was the Super Bowl MVP; the team is coached by Mike Holmgren.
In his weekly column, Norm “Jigg’s” Heideman apologizes to his readers and neighbors for his gloomy prediction for the Packers’ record this year. Heideman noted he should have believed Jerry Sullivan who told Jiggs that the boys would go all the way this year.