Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
The barricades have now been moved and the Duginski Road bridge over the Prairie River is now officially opened. Workers removed the barricades Friday afternoon according to Highway Commissioner Francis X. Fox. Fox stated the new bridge is twice as wide as the old steel structure and has a greater capacity. No dedication ceremony will be held for the bridge; David Herdt is pictured repairing water damage on the nearby landscaping on page one this week.
The Merrill Post Office finally has a new boss as Dennis Ball takes control. Ball comes to Merrill from Waupun where he was superintendent of postal operations. He takes the place of Orlen Heldt who retired in March of last year. Richard Micheals, the Wausau postmaster who oversees the 135 post offices in northern Wisconsin that start with the zip code of 544 or 547, personally selected Ball from a field of three candidates. Mel Schmidt from Rib Mountain and Robert Engelman of Rothschild filled in prior to Ball’s appointment.
In other news briefs this week: MAPS has announced the final day of school will be June 8. Dale Plaman and Paul Leopold of New Homes Realty are pictured congratulating Barb and Bob Williams as they take ownership of Club 64. The business will be closed until June 1 while they remodel the restaurant. Kathy Kraemer has been elected to the Catholic Board of Education of the Superior Diocese, becoming the first woman to serve on that board which meets in Superior. Her term runs through 1980; she is employed as a counselor at the Merrill Senior High School and is the mother of three children. A new retail store has opened up in the Lincoln House in downtown Merrill. Added Dimensions is a clothing store for ladies. The owner Marie Golde is pictured with her manager Debbie Sukow. The store carries the latest in fashion from New York to LA. The Depot Youth Center will be open over Memorial Day weekend. The summer hours have been set from 7-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Students who will be 7th graders will be welcomed on Wednesday according to Depot Director Sharon Anderson. The NEW Club 107 opens this weekend, featuring a disco dance floor and outside beer garden, it is located at State Rd. 107 and Council Grounds Drive. It’s baseball time in Merrill and Merrill Police Officer John Odegard is pictured making a $50 donation on behalf of the local police association to Roger Zuelsdorf; Tom Schmeltzer of the Police baseball team is with the two men for the presentation.
The Merrill Area Board of Education has agreed to fund a transportation study at a cost of $8,000. Board President Bruce Giese explained the projected savings from the study will not be felt for at least a year, but they are hoping to double the savings versus the cost. The BOE is still working on getting out the budget for the next school term. They recently agreed to add $24,000 in funding to the High School library which will be used to update the technology in that department. Principal Lanny Tibaldo calls the current systems in place there archaic and calls on a computerized system to better organize that department including using Macintosh computers.
A rash of incidents involving vehicles has left several people hospitalized. On Friday afternoon an ATV struck a vehicle on Tower Road resulting in injuries to a Merrill man; he is in fair condition at Wausau Hospital Center. Four people were injured Saturday evening after a two car crash on State Rd. 64 near State Rd. 107 in the Town of Corning. Four people from the same family all were injured when an Athens man crossed the centerline and struck the pickup truck they were riding in head on; one of the four remains hospitalized with severe injuries. The Athens man was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Two Merrill men were injured early Sunday morning after a crash on Duginski Road at Lake Pesobic Road after they left the roadway and struck a power pole. On Monday a Wausau man was injured after he was struck from behind while stopped in heavy traffic on US Hwy. 51 near Irma. Also on Monday three Illinois residence were brought to the hospital after they were injured in a two car crash at US Hwy. 51 and County Rd. C. when a vehicle driven by a Gleason man pulled out and struck their car as they traveled south.
The Feature Page has numerous youths in the community that are being recognized for their deeds. The annual Good Citizenship Awards were presented at the Merrill Junior High School. The 1987 recipients are: Brian Williams, Megan Mains, Jennifer Staus, Eric Storm, Eric Schotz, David Lussenhop, and Michele Galkin. Hedy Rappe has been awarded the Optimist of the Month award for May, and Stacy Volz received the award for April. Matt Badeau, a first grader at Washington School, is pictured receiving $25 from Fire Chief Harvey Emanuel as the winner in the state wide Wisconsin Firefighters Association poster contest.
Thanks to a rash of car break ins expect Merrill Police to actively enforce the city’s curfew this summer according to Merrill Police Officer Mike Kunkel. The car break ins actually began on the far east side a few months ago, but now officers are noting a large amount happening in the mid-city area near the high school. Kunkel stated police have stepped up their patrols of the area using both marked and un-marked patrol cars. It is suspected that juveniles out wandering the streets at night are responsible for the thefts which target stereos and radar detectors.
Graduation must be close by as area businesses are putting ads in the paper congratulating their staff members who will soon be receiving their diplomas. Businesses with these ads this week include: Dave’s County Market, the Highway 51 Truck Stop, Pine Ridge Restaurant, Walmart, McDonalds, Bell Tower Residence and Drew’s Piggly Wiggly.
If you have spent any time at the Eagles Club in Merrill the chances are you know what a Boomer is and likely you too are mourning his passing this past Monday. Dennis R. “Boomer” Graap died late Monday night at Good Samaritan Health Center in Merrill after being stricken at his 3rd Street home at the age of 51. Graap has served the last nine years as the Secretary of the Merrill Eagles Club and was employed full time as a Lead Man at Hurd Millwork Company. Besides being a member of the Carpenters and Joiners Union, Graap was also a member of the 32nd Division of the Wisconsin National Guard and very active in area bowling leagues. Funeral services will be held tomorrow at St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ, burial will take place at Merrill Memorial Park. (As a testament to his legend the Boomers Raffle held yearly at the Eagles Club continues to provide support to area emergency services, something dear to Boomer’s heart.)