Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
On Tuesday the Merrill City Council eliminated the position of the elected Street Commissioner, replacing it instead with what will become a mayoral appointment. Kermit Meyer has held this post since 1954 and the charter ordinance passed by the council in effect removes his job from under him. This measure was passed at the recommendation of the Productivity Task Force (not the end of this in 1977). The bid from Lincoln Industrial and Marine for $81,656 was approved for the renovation of the former Church Mutual building which soon will be turned into Merrill’s City Hall. Alderman removed pricey items from the renovation including downstairs bathrooms, a night depository and a public address system.
Lee Sherman Dreyfus is the chancellor of UW Stevens Point and during a recent visit to Merrill he addressed what he feels are great deficiencies in the Wisconsin DNR. Dreyfus, a candidate on the GOP ticket for governor in 1978, made his remarks at the Republican chicken dinner after he participated in the annual Labor Day parade. Dreyfus stated anyone who has an issue with the DNR has to go in front of an examiner who works for the DNR calling the agency from the field workers to the executive branch the “judge, jury and prosecutor.” Dreyfus noted that he is not a fan of big government, pointing out that at his university any program that wishes to expand has to find a cut to absorb it.
In news briefs: Could Merrill be short a principal with the new school year? Jack R. White, principal at MHS, has notified the Board of Education he has been offered the position of superintendent of the Hayward School system of Sawyer County. White said the final offer from Hayward will not come until the Sept. 12 BOE meeting there and he will make his decision by the second MAPS BOE meeting this month. Welcome to Dave and Grace Borchardt, they are the new owners of Club 107 in Merrill. They will feature hot food every day and a DJ on the disco floor starting each night at nine. The Merrill Blue Jay football team won its second game of the season this past Saturday, knocking off Wausau West by a score of 14-6. West had a strong defensive showing but made some critical mistakes like throwing a perfect pass to Merrill’s Erik Finanger on a critical fourth down. This Friday the boys take on Stevens Point. Merrill Alum Bruce Muschinske is expected to see action this season with the UW Madison Badger football team. Muschinske was initially going to play defensive back for the Badgers but has been switched to tight end. Muschinske won all-conference honors when he played for the Blue Jays. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Muschinske of Merrill.
The Merrill Common Council has enacted some new ordinances as of last night’s meeting. As of Jan. 1, residents can no longer dispose of yard waste with their regular garbage. Street Commissioner Ralph Sturm reports that one third of the garbage collected each week is compostable material. The city has opened a space behind the city garage for residents to dispose of the materials and Sturm will provide a crew to pick up the waste curb side every fourth Friday. If you continue to dispose of your grass clippings in the normal garbage the fines start at $200. The city also now restricts the parking of semi-tractor trailers on city streets. Truck drivers can park for one hour between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. but parking is completely prohibited after 6 p.m. The Council also approved a report from City Engineer Charles Pierotti regarding the installation of traffic control lights at 3rd Street and Center Avenue. Although no timetable is in place, Pierotti expects the current stop and go lights at East Main and Center Avenue will be moved to 3rd Street.
Residents of Merrill were treated to Hollywood like excitement over this past weekend as the streets of Merrill came alive for the filming of the latest Bill Rebane movie “Twisters Revenge.” Mr. Twister is a monster truck owned by Dave Staszak of Schofield who claims his crushing giant is valued at over $60,000. One of the scenes shot this weekend showed an Army tank from the Wisconsin National Guard giving chase to Mr. Twister as the tank crashed through the former O’Day home located in the 800 block of East Main Street. (where the municipal lot is next to Trophy) Filming on Rebane’s latest project began in August and he hopes to have production wrapped up by November.
The Merrill Blue Jay football team was hoping to capitalize on their first road win since 1984 when they headed into the Tigers’ den this past Friday but were turned back at the last minute by Marshfield by a score of 21-14. Merrill played catch up for most of the game but a late score set up by a Kevin Blake kickoff return to the Tigers’ 41 yard line added momentum to the cause. An onside kick with minutes left was recovered by Marshfield who held the ball to the final gun.
The Wisconsin DOT will hold a public meeting next Wednesday at Merrill City Hall to discuss the proposed expansion of the US Hwy. 51 freeway system. Currently the four lane highway ends on the north side of Merrill, but a DOT proposal would extend the four lane road north to County Rd. S south of Tomahawk.
Ann Zimmerman has been the secretary at Merrill Senior High School since she received her diploma from the facility. She has seen many staff and a ton of students come and go, but now after 21 years Ann must bid farewell to her “teddy bear” as Principal Lanny Tibaldo leaves to become the superintendent of the West De Pere School District. Tibaldo came to Merrill in 1976 and became the associate principal before taking the job as leader of the high school a year later. Zimmerman points to Tibadlo’s strong work with the Special Olympics, the local Optimist Club and Good Samaritan Board of Directors, his award for Wisconsin Secondary Principal of the Year in 1988 and the US Department of Education Secondary School Recognition Award in 1984 as just some of the accomplishments Tibaldo has enjoyed here. The growth in the schools and academic award programs and the availability of $600,000 in scholarships also shows the deep mark he has left upon the Merrill education system. Zimmerman related Tibaldo’s people skills is what carries his message, “people would go in there (his office) madder than heck, and come out laughing.” Associate Principal Bob King calls Dr. Tibaldo “Mr. Bluejay” and noted he went to virtually every sporting event sponsored by the school. (Still around and still a closet Blue Jay fan)
Fall Ride is roaring into Tomahawk this weekend and this year may be bigger than ever. A total of 11,000 bikes are expected to travel through Tomahawk this weekend as the annual benefit ride for MDA and sponsored by the North Country Riders. The 16th annual Fall Ride will feature the crowd favorite thunder parade Friday night. Harley Davidson is raffling off a 1997 Harley Davidson motorcycle to help the cause this year.