Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Members of the Wisconsin National Guard who are tasked with providing security to Lincoln Hills School in Irma wish to assure residents of their safety. A total of 90 members of Company B out of Antigo’s 632nd Armor Division have been on duty at the juvenile facility since the unionized workers walked out on strike 10 days ago. Guard men and women work inside of the cottages and patrolling the exterior of the unfenced compound. A total of 130 male students are on grounds along with six females. Superintendent Paul Imler said the institution is running smoothly with the guard on staff, the four students who ran away in the first hours of the union’s walkout have all been captured with the exception of one. Three students tried to escape in the past week but were stopped. Violence in the cottages has also been greatly reduced and the only major incident occurred this past Sunday night when a student used cigarettes to light a mattress on fire in his room.
The Merrill Housing Authority has received the green light to build over 100 new housing units in the City of Merrill. Local director of housing Joseph Jackelen announced that the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has committed to the project which will see a seven story high rise structure erected in the Scott Street parking lot next to the fire barn. That building will house 100 of the units while the additional 10 will be scattered in the city with the old Jefferson School area being a potential option. The units built on Scott Street will all be single bedroom apartments while those scattered can be up to three bedrooms. Hutter Construction of Fond du Lac has received the contract to build the apartments at a cost of over $2 million.
Police Chief Charles Johnson has announced the hiring of Jeffrey D. Anderson as the newest patrol officer for the Merrill Police Department. Anderson is taking the place of Kirby Stoelting who resigned last month. Anderson is 22 years old and a Merrill resident.
A new alderman has been seated on Merrill’s Common Council as Russell Grefe has been appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Robert St. Clair who left the council after moving out of the city. Grefe garnered the most votes from the sitting aldermen as he competed against former alderman Elmer Kleinschmidt, local business man Fran Warchala, and Tom Fox. After assuming the post Grefe was then seated on the Health and Safety, Board of Public Works, and the Mayor’s Task Force on Parking which were all posts held by St. Clair prior to his resignation. In other action on the council floor Tuesday, the council also voted to increase the water rates 3%, the first such increase since 1981. The council also tasked Park and Rec director Greg Stezinski with adding hours onto the outdoor pool schedule this summer.
It is official; Merrill is going to the zoo. The annual Crazy Day retail celebration is next Wednesday in Merrill and the theme this year is “A Crazy Day at the Zoo.” City wide activities include the kiddie parade, the National Little Red Wagon races begin at 6 p.m. at Normal Park, those are being sponsored by WJMT Radio and the Miller Racing Association. The Lion’s Club will have their annual chicken dinner at the Cenotaph on the west side, and music will be all over town Wednesday evening. The Merrill City Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. at Cenotaph Park, rock and roll band the Renegades will perform at Double Bogies Bar, and the Hootenany band will play in the Van’s Meat Market parking lot, sponsored by Raoul’s Tavern, the Sixth Ward Business Association is sponsoring The Jackson Family along with an outdoor tent full of activities at Plawman’s Playhouse, and Caylor’s will have a square dance in their parking lot starting at 7:30 p.m. (Might want to make it to the square dance, likely the last crazy days dance at Caylor’s)
In mid-city it is Dave’s Red Owl’s 12th anniversary celebration. Specials include an 8-pack of Pepsi for only $1.49, ground beef is .87 per pound if you buy five pounds or more, frying hindquarters are priced at .39 per pound, ice cream is only $1.69 for a half gallon, and fresh coleslaw is $1.08 a pound. Register to win one of many prizes with the top prize being a three minute shopping spree. Bring your aluminum cans along as the Golden Goat out front is paying .32 per pound!
The legal community in Lincoln County is in mourning as one of its eldest statesmen has passed away. Judge Donald E. Schnabel, 86, passed away Monday, July 14, at the Wausau Hospital Center. Judge Schnabel was born in Wisconsin Rapids in 1910 and upon graduation from high school went off to the University of Notre Dame. He received his Juris Degree in 1935 from the UW Madison Law School. After graduating Schnabel came straight to Merrill where he became engaged both in private practice and with Mabel Hafferman whom he married in May of 1941. Schnabel was called to service during World War II where he saw action on the ships of the Navy in the European Theatre before he was honorably discharged in 1945 at the rank of Lieutenant. Schnabel also helped prosecute Japanese war crimes during his service to the nation. While in private practice in Merrill, Schnabel worked with the law firm of Leonard F. Schmitt. He served two terms as Merrill’s City Attorney and six terms as Lincoln County District Attorney. In 1955 he was appointed by then Governor Walter Koehler as Lincoln County Judge to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Max Van Hecke. Judge Schnabel went on to serve 25 years on the bench before he retired in December of 1979. After his retirement Schnabel remained active both as a reserve judge and as a private practice attorney. He was also instrumental in securing the public beach at Tug lake for area youth, and was a firm believer in the preservation of historical structures such as the Lincoln County Court House. Schnabel will have a funeral mass celebrating his life on Friday at St. Francis Church; he will be buried in St. Francis Cemetery. He is survived by his wife Mabel, seven daughters, one son, 19 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
In a rare but stern editorial, Foto News Publisher James O’Day tells city officials what he thinks about their plans to make the city clerk and street commissioners appointed rather than elected. O’Day states that not only does the paper strongly oppose this movement but so do 95% of the people they polled. O’Day calls the trend the city is looking at taking, to take the voice away from the electorate as “ugly” and makes it possible for a small clique of friends to literally take over a community and that the key to this process is who will make the appointments as the process demands and the people deserve, “a dedicated able and objective city council… one that is not easily influenced. One that is not a rubber stamp.” O’Day sums up his editorial eloquently with, “The Founding Fathers of the American nation agree with us on that so we are in good company. And we also have a strong suspicion that making these positions appointed has a tendency to place too much power in the hands of too few people. If memory serves, the Boston Tea Party was a reaction to a similar situation.”