Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
A 48-bed new wing to Pine Crest Nursing Home remains closed as the facility works feverishly to staff the addition. Five new nursing staff members have been added and several new employees are taking a crash course in nursing assistant care in order to make the proposed June 27 opening possible. The third floor has stood empty since December of last year although the area was under construction until March. Elaine Roskos, Service Director at Pine Crest, is personally teaching the nursing assistant class which normally runs 180 hours but has been condensed down to 48 hours. Currently 13 area residents are on a waiting list to enter Pine Crest, and Pine Crest Administrator Michael Berry anticipates those 13 will be moved in as soon as the wing opens. Tours of the new addition will be open to the public June 26. In a picture on page one Pine Crest Nursing Assistant Cindy Vandre is shown assisting 82-year-old Pine Crest resident Minnie Kretschmer.
In local news: The County Board will not be funding any expansion of the court house, at least not this month. The board lacked a quorum to conduct a vote to authorize the borrowing of $250,000 which would have been used to finance the expansion. Consultant to the board Ray Ossness will be back again next month to explain to the board the bonding of the planned expansion. Carolyn Meyer has been appointed to the County Board. She will take the place of Vernon Semling who is moving out of the city. Mrs. Meyer is a legal secretary for James Rogers and previously worked for the district attorney. Robert Opsahl, chairman of the City Hall Disposition Committee, has requested the city continue to fund the heat and maintenance of that building through 1978. The city plans on vacating the building and moving into the Church Mutual facilities on East First Street and the committee has been charged with preserving the current historic structure. Opsahl also reports the group anticipates historic status from the State Historical Society by July.
Local pharmacist Meredith “Bud” Nelson has purchased the Photo Mill at 805 E. First St. in Merrill. Nelson owns the Rexall Pharmacy across the street from the Photo Mill but at this time has no plans to change the operations of either location. Doris Jaeger will remain as the manager of the camera department while Malinda Burrows will be in charge of handling greeting cards.
The soon to be 10-year-old Merrill Historical Society has scored a major victory in finding itself a permanent home and preserving a historic structure that was slated to fall to the wrecking ball. The Historical Society and Christ United Methodist Church have agreed to purchase the building from a developer and turn what was once the home of lumber baron and founding father T. B. Scott into the Merrill Historical Museum. Rev. Paul Nulton of Christ United Church and his wife Ann are history buffs, which drove their desire to work with the group to preserve the home. The Pastor and his wife also conducted research into the neighborhood it sits in and identified 39 other homes in the historic district which they deem as architecturally important. The home was built around 1881 and was home to T. B. Scott, local lumber mill owner and first mayor of the City of Merrill. Scott died in the home in 1886 as his new home was being built on top of the hill across the river. After Scott’s death the home went to his niece Minnie Scott. Property around the home was sold off or bequeathed upon the death of Scott’s wife Ann in 1887. She donated the land that now is home to Christ United Methodist Church and the parsonage next door. Frank Hixon later bought the property from Minnie, he was a business partner with Scott and bailed out the lumberman’s company after Scott’s death. In 1904 the home was sold to Mary Littlejohn for $2,500. A few years later Mr. and Mrs. John Heib purchased the home, Heib being the owner of a box factory in Merrill which later manufactured wooden handles for brooms and mops. In 1940 the home was sold to Emil O. Krueger who converted the home into a funeral home. Krueger and later his son ran the business until it was sold to Milton Wistein in 1976. Wistein ran the funeral home until his death in 1986 and eventually the home was sold to a developer from Green Lake who intended on building a multi-unit apartment building once he knocked the home over. So now the Historical Society has a new home and the church has more area for parking and possible future expansion, something that will assist both organizations as they carry on their mission of preserving and pastoring to Merrill’s past present and future. (Proud to be a resident of that neighborhood but seriously mourn the loss of that building)
A 24-year-old Antigo man is recovering and is also facing charges after he became part of the Jaycee’s Riverfest’s entertainment this past weekend. On Saturday the man decided he was going to jump into the ring which at the time was featuring professional wrestlers at Ott’s Park. The professional wrestlers did not welcome the intrusion and before the man was led away by police he somehow suffered a broken jaw and other broken bones. It was not reported if alcohol was a factor in the incident. Police did note they cited 12 people for underage drinking during the run of the event.
Lincoln County has settled the case of the Prairie Dells Dam once and for all. The saga began in 1979 when the dam south of Gleason was inspected by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and deemed unsafe. The county brought in Meade and Hunt Engineers out of the Fox Valley and the board authorized spending $280,000 to repair the dam. Eight years later and after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars the dam remains unrepaired and lawsuits clog the courts. The county, through their attorney Robert Smith of Madison, will accept a total of $329,400 in damages from Mead Hunt which will be paid out over the next five years. In other action the board authorized a hiring freeze for all county jobs with the exception of Pine Crest and the disability center. The board explained they were forced to enact the freeze after the unions negotiated a 3% wage increase.
Merrill Mayor Patsy Woller has announced that the idle Ward Paper Mill will soon be producing paper again. Woller stated an agreement has been reached with a Wisconsin development corporation which has been deemed acceptable by International Papers. The deal is still pending but those involved expect the sale to be concluded by the end of 1997 and the mill should be back open and running by spring of next year. Woller stated this is a wonderful development for the city of Merrill and the new owners are hoping all the former employees will be able to return to work at the Merrill mill.
Looking for a place to hold your wedding or other celebration? Mulligan’s Supper Club will soon open at the Merrill Golf Course and is accepting reservations.