Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
The spring election is next week and voters will find a host of items on the local ballot. Rural voters will vote on their town supervisors and officers, MAPS district voters will decide between four candidates who are vying for three seats on the school board. The State Superintendent of Public Schools is trying to retain her seat, a state appeals judicial spot is on the ballot along with five statewide referendum questions, four of which deal with court issues but the fifth would if passed allow non-profit groups such as churches and other charities to hold raffles in the state. In a recent debate for the school board race the candidates discussed the issues. Lee Wegner stated the local system needs to stop building and instead focus on coping with the declining population of students. Dennis Knott, who is seeking his second term on the board, extended his commitment to make the district more accountable to spending, noting the tax payers deserve a fair return. Thomas Sazama stated he feels the board needs to work on better communication with the taxpayers as in his opinion a general apathy toward the board by taxpayers and he feels more citizen input into the board needs to be sought. Incumbent candidate Elmer Kahre was unable to be at the forum.
Park City Credit Union held its 39th annual meeting this past week and a financial statement shows the institute has grown considerably. Committee Chairman Warren Weckwerth presented the financial status of the facility which saw a growth in assets to $7.6 million, that is up over $1 million dollars as compared to last year. Last year nearly 2,500 loans were processed amounting to $4.13 million. The most common loan by the bank was car loans, with $1.07 million being used for new cars and $834,000 was lent for used cars. Robert Koth and Dorothy Gibson were both re-elected to the board which Harry Dahm will now chair, August Braatz will be vice-chair and Everett Lange of Tomahawk is treasurer. Executive officers of the credit union are Dave Bagley president and Linda L. Osness vice-president. (According to the internet, a slight growth at PCCU which lists over $120 million in assets)
We now know what the Ali Baba is on the east side of town. In an ad on the entertainment page the grand opening of the new tavern is announced. The bar will feature its very own disco, a first in Merrill. The building which sports two bars is open at 1 p.m. daily and has cocktail hours from three to six. Bill Thomas will spin the tunes on the lighted dance floor every Friday night.
David Kohnhorst of Merrill has pled not guilty in the slaying of an elderly couple in the rural Marathon County Town of Hamburg. Kohnhorst was arrested along with another 22-year-old Merrill man who acted as driver during the crime. The attorney for Kohnhorst filed motions requesting the trial be moved outside of Marathon County due to pre-trial publicity and evidence collected by the defense be tested at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory. Kohnhorst remains jailed on a $250,000 cash bond.
Dr. Michael Aldrich has joined the team at Family Medical Clinic. Aldrich is actually a native of the Rothschild area and has enjoyed the Merrill area for years thanks to his grandfather’s cottage on Lake Alexander. The Aldrich family has settled into their Jefferson Street home and his wife Linda along with sons Christopher, Joseph and Nicholas. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison and in 1983 received his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He has a twin brother Mark who is also a doctor in Antigo. (A long-time member of the emergency room staff, he now practices out of the Marshfield Clinic in Minocqua)
Six people are on the ballot to fill three seats on the Merrill Area Public Schools School Board. Three-year incumbent Jay Tlusty is an attorney with the Russell and Tlusty law firm in Merrill. He was originally appointed to the board in 1980 to fill a vacancy. Currently he serves as president of the board. Charlene Seetan of Gleason was elected to the board to fill an unexpired term and considers her first year very educational for her, something she wishes to grow upon. She is a sales rep for WJMT radio in Merrill. Diane Mikkelson of Riverside Avenue has been on the board since 1979 and has served as both vice-president and president. The former high school teacher and her husband Michael have three children. Dr. Jerome Mayersak is a new candidate to the school board arena. He is a graduate of Superior Central High School and earned his medical degree from George Washington University in Washington. He joined the local hospital staff in 1971 and also works out of the hospitals in Medford, Antigo, Tomahawk and Wausau. Robert Pfotenhauer is also a newcomer, he is the branch office director for the North Central Health Care facilities and sits on the HAVEN board of directors and does consulting work for Pine Crest. He and his wife Nancy have three children who have attended schools in the MAPS district. David Reid is the sixth candidate for the board. He is pastor of First Baptist Church in Merrill and works for the City of Merrill in the Transit System. Reid has a master’s degree from Wheaton College and has worked as a student teacher at Merrill’s Junior High.
Much dirt was overturned this past week in Merrill as members of the Board of Education along with students, school administrators and the referendum committee chairs broke ground on the three school sites. Pictured on the front page is the MAPS board breaking ground at the future Kate Goodrich School which will be built on Merrill’s northwest side. This will replace the aging Franklin and Lincoln schools.
Krysta Peterson has her reward for naming the new school. She was the one who suggested the name of Kate Goodrich, the first educator to come to Merrill. Krysta is pictured receiving savings bond from Washington School Principal Garth Swanson. Peterson researched Goodrich and felt her name would be appropriate for the new school. After the story hit the media she received a call from Ontonagon, MI from residents there who were looking for more information on their native daughter, of whom they knew nothing.
Two members of the Town of Russell Fire Department are calling it a career – well, sort of. Chief Dave Jackson will step down as chief, turning the reins over to Scott Olund. Jackson has been on the department since 1959, one year after he moved to Gleason. He became chief in 1986 heading up the staff of 25 volunteers. Although Jackson will no longer be chief, he is still going to be an active member of the department “for the time being.” Also retiring is Captain Leonard Krueger who has served the department for the past 32 years, joining the department in 1965. Both men noted how impressed they were that the fleet has grown from one pumper truck to three along with a two tankers and an equipment van. Krueger predicts the extensive training required of new recruits will be a deterrent for future recruitment. (Russell just signed on four new firemen, a true sign they are doing the right thing in that community)