Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
A Merrill man accused of endangering the lives of three law enforcement officers has voluntarily committed himself to the Marathon County Health Care Center. Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Soucy and Merrill Police Officers Kirby Stoelting and Glenn Schaeppe responded Sunday evening to the man’s town of Merrill home after a report that the man was despondent. While those officers were monitoring the home the suspect fired a .303 caliber rifle in their direction. It took about three hours to convince the man to surrender peacefully, and the man was brought to the Lincoln County Jail where he was charged with endangering safety. Judge Donald Schnabel gave the man a signature bond, but ordered him to comply with any treatment dictated by health officials. (I believe my father was the person who talked him out of the house)
Myrtle Natzke has learned a thing or two about the soon to be abandoned City Hall in Merrill, and the group tasked with the disposition of the building is hoping they can secure designation of the building as a National Historical Site. City Hall itself was built between 1888 and 1889 in the Richardsonian style of architecture. The style, originated by Henry H. Richardson, has features of the Romanesque style such as towers, conical roofs, gabled dormers and brick with massive sandstone trim. It was in October of 1887 when the council approved purchase of the triangle of land for $650. According to minutes of meetings reviewed by Natzke it was common if an alderman did not support something on the agenda they would not show up for meetings, leading police officers to be sent to find the alderman and haul them in so a vote could be taken. Due to the inability of the council to decide on construction of the building, a city wide referendum was held in June in which 581 voted for, and 332 voted against spending the $10,000 to construct a new city hall. The contract to build the building was awarded to James Ruby, but the second lowest bidder, John Frederickson, was hired to oversee the project for which he was paid $69. City Hall operations will be moved to the current Church Mutual building later this year when Church Mutual will be moving into brand new facilities with enough space to last them for years.
Merrill wrestlers edged D.C. Everest for the WIAA Regional tournament title Saturday at Wausau West. The Blue Jays came home with 150.5 points, compared to 146 for the Evergreens. Five of the 12 Jay grapplers that qualified for the Wausau event fell while fighting their way through the ranks. The remaining seven that qualified for the sectional at Schofield this weekend are Mike Mann, John Fehlberg and heavyweight Doug Brandt as champions along with second place qualifiers Todd Hass, Jeff Hanson, Dave Wendorf and Dan Yorde. In hoop action the girls’ basketball team suffered a disappointing loss to D.C. Everest on Friday, 60-32. The girls have one more conference game against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders before hosting the WIAA Regional Tournament next Wednesday in the East Gym. On the boys’ side, D.C. Everest boys’ basketball teams improved to 4-12 on the season after knocking off the Jays 65-44. They now head into a tough home contest against Antigo on Friday; Antigo is currently second place in the WIAA region at 12-4 on the season.
A snapshot about the man who clothes a large portion of the Merrill area, Clifford Livingston, is found on page 8 this week. The Livingston family established their store in downtown Merrill in 1890, and thanks to his family’s financial status Clifford was able to attend college, graduating from the law school at UW Madison after attending the University of Michigan where he earned his undergraduate degree. After all of his education and experience in the world Clifford found himself sitting in his cubicle at a law office on LaSalle Street in Chicago when he realized that this just wasn’t Merrill. Now 30 years later, Livingston is carrying on his family tradition of offering Merrill the latest in clothing and fashion from their Main Street store. Livingston and his wife Joyce are the parents of four children and are very active in other community concerns such as the Holy Cross Hospital Board, T.B. Scott Library Board, Chamber of Commerce, Merrill Federal, the Rotary, the VFW and even volunteering at Lincoln Hills.
Church Mutual Insurance Company is out of space. The company moved into its new facilities on the far-east side of Merrill in 1977 and now they are planning a $5.5 million expansion according to President and CEO Dieter Nickel. The expansion not only will provide room for the growing local employee base but Nickel explained it will allow for future expansion as well, with Nickel hoping to have enough space to provide for the company’s needs up to at least 1995. When the current building was erected in 1977 Church Mutual moved 100 employees into it. By 1984 the company had 183 employees and by the time the expansion is complete Church Mutual expects to have 275 employees under its Merrill roof. Besides making space for employees the expansion will also allow room for the expansion of the company’s computer system with computers now becoming an everyday part of the insurance industry. The company was established in 1897 and now insures over 38,000 churches and church related institutions in 30 states. (Current numbers per their web site are 50 states of coverage, 1050 employees, 800 of them in Merrill)
The Merrill based unit of the National Guard Armory has some new wheels with three M60/A3 tanks being delivered to the post this past Friday which are three of 14 which will soon be assigned to the local group. This summer during their annual deployment the men will be headed to Camp Shelby, Miss. The new tanks weigh 56.6 tons and run on diesel fuel from their 385-gallon tanks. The cost for each tank is $1.2 million; they will be on display in April when the Armory hosts their open house.
There is a sign of spring: the Jaycee’s are looking for some Riverfest Queen Candidates; contact Phil or Barb Borchardt if you are interested. A kick off dinner for the annual June event will be held on April 1 at South of the Border.
A fatal shooting in Merrill has left one man dead and another in the Lincoln County Jail. The incident occurred last Thursday evening in an apartment in the 1300 block of East Main Street. According to police reports, the men were friends and were playing with a revolver before the weapon was fired striking the victim in the head. He died early Friday morning at the Wausau Hospital Center. Police have indicated that alcohol played a role in the event.