Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
A massive power outage has affected most of the west side of Merrill this morning. As the Foto News went to press many businesses remain out of power, but Don Koll, district manager for Wisconsin Public Service, hopes that power will be restored in the next few hours. The lights went out about 9:45 a.m. when a large branch hit a 12,000 volt feeder line over the Prairie River. The production line at Weinbrenner Shoe Company went silent as the power was knocked out and workers were scrambling to protect perishable items at Mel’s Big Dollar. Residents at Park Place are sitting in the dark and operations are slow at Lincoln County Bank. Areas north of West Main Street were not affected by the outage so students at Franklin School continue to sit in bright classes this morning.
The Anson-Gilkey Company in Merrill will see major changes as C.R. Conant, Chairman of the Board announces the retirement of longtime president and general manager, Earl Day. Day began his career with the company in 1935 as a production worker. During the course of the next 42 years he has held multiple positions in the company from the production floor to the corporate offices. Day will be replaced by Donald Bice who will step into the role of president. Bice, 47, joined the company in March of last year and was previously senior vice-president. It is the goal of Bice to capture a larger percentage of the millwork market. He plans on introducing new products into the market which should easily allow Anson-Gilkey to expand in production. In another article on the Living page it is noted that Emil Semling has turned 90. His family had a birthday celebration for Semling on May 18 at the home of his son Jack Semling. Emil was born in Germany and came to Merrill with his family as a youngster; he was the manager of the Anson-Gilkey factory until 1941 when he and the late Frank Menke formed the Semling-Menke Company. Semling is a member of St. Robert’s Church, the Knights of Columbus, and is a former director of Lincoln County Bank. He also previously served on the board of education and the Rotary Club.
In area briefs: Local students Pete Tabor, 10, and Nancy Ackerman, 14, are the winners of the new bikes after the Cystic-Fibrosis bike-a-thon. The bikes were purchased through donations from Church Mutual, ROW Cash and Carry, Ward Paper, and House of Merrill. The local Kiwanis Club is helping the sheriff’s office keep in touch by donating a CB radio to that agency. Robert Schneider and Dean Waid from the Kiwanis are pictured with Sgt. Robert Lee as they make the presentation. Previously the Sheriff’s Office only had a base unit mounted in the building, this unit will now be in a squad car to aid in communication. The new members of the student council have been elected for next year. Those that will lead the school during the 1977-1978 school year are: Netti Marzahi, president; Noreen Boushley, vice-president; Roxanne Akey, secretary, and Mary Donner, treasurer. Dr. Lester Bayer was honored by the Jobs Daughter at a reception held last week at the Masonic Temple. Bayer has served as Associate Guardian of the Jobs Daughters for the past 32 years.
You are not seeing double, well, maybe kind of. Twins Traci and Terri Hopper are pictured on page one of this week’s paper trying on their caps and gowns for this weekend’s graduation at Merrill Senior High School. The twins are among 275 seniors who will walk across the stage and receive their diplomas this Sunday at 2 p.m. The graduation will feature speeches by class treasurer Lori Miller, president Steve Weix, vice-president Andy Lehman, and secretary Shelly DeMesy. A total of $227,550 worth of scholarships will be presented and diplomas will be handed out by Pastor Dan Olson, president of the Merrill Area Board of Education.
The paper is filled with news related to MAPS and the end of the school year. School Board President Dan Olson is pictured on page two giving Lorraine Muschinske the award of educator of the year. Muschinske is a sixth grade teacher at Washington School and according to Principal Bob Gruling she is an exceptional teacher who not only teaches academic materials, she also teaches her students how to make decisions and live. Muschinski is no stranger to the classroom, she began her teaching career at French Ridge School and the Brickyard School. She also worked with grades 5-8 at Irma before joining the staff at Washington in 1968. Down at Maple Grove School Mrs. Arlene Teske is calling it a career. The Marathon City native spent 29 years teaching at Maple Grove and a total of 41 years teaching after receiving her degree in education from UW Stevens Point. When Mrs. Teske began teaching she taught the kindergarten class but eventually transitioned to first and second grades at Maple Grove.
Merrill is now home to the Whopper. Burger King will be having their grand opening this weekend on Merrill’s far-east side. The restaurant boasts the area’s largest indoor playground and is located at East Main Street and Pine Ridge Avenue. Prizes being awarded for the celebration include a 26” mountain bike and free Whoppers for a year. The specials this week include .39 hamburgers and .88 Whopper sandwiches.
Residents of Lincoln County have much to cheer about as Wisconsin Public Service has sold 1,485 acres of prime wilderness land to the Wisconsin DNR. Town officials and local conservation leaders credit officials in Madison and the DNR land acquisition teams for fast tracking the purchase. Back in April WPS announced it would sell the acreage near the Grandfather Dam. This sent shockwaves through the area as many feared this would lead to development of the serene area. Bill Wengeler, County Forester, noted he was amazed at how fast the DNR worked to accomplish the sale as the grass roots effort to propel the state into making the purchase was centrally organized. Local conservationists were worried the DNR would not come up with the funding for the purchase prior to the bid deadline set by the DNR.
Merrill City Attorney Jim Godlewski explains on page two how the soon to be running Merrill Municipal Court should bring in more revenue to the city in the long run. Godlewski notes that currently motorists who are cited for offenses such as speeding are fined $116.90 through Lincoln County Circuit Court, but local municipal courts issues an average speeding fine of $61.90. The cost difference can be found in the lack of costs and fees that are tacked on in the smaller municipal court. Godlewski also feels the patrons of the court will find faster service as their ticket won’t be among the hundreds of cases filed each month in the circuit court in front of Judge J. Michael Nolan. Godlewski reports that after an extensive search the new Municipal Court Judge will be James M. Sheridan who will take the bench on June 23. He will be paid a salary of $12,000 a year and is expected to spend about 15 hours per week working for the city with four of those hours expected to be in the court room.