Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
The house move we told you about a couple of weeks ago was not as smooth as we thought. At least that is what residents on Pier Street are saying after the moving company cut numerous trees along that road to make way for the house’s move to the Town of Merrill. According to Park and Rec Director Dennis Donohue he thought it looked as if a tornado had gone up Pier Street when the moving company was done cutting or trimming trees, many of which did not need to be cut in his opinion. In response to the complaints the city’s Park and Recreation Committee voted on Monday to forward an amended ordinance on to the council which would require the park and rec director to sign off on any house moves. Currently only the police chief and building inspector’s signatures are required for a permit, but if the council approves the amendment the park and rec director will need to be involved in the process as well. In other action in front of the commission, the city will ask Lincoln County if they wish to contribute financially to the operation of the pool next year. The past summer the commission required youths who were not city residents to pay a higher admission fee as compared to city children. This, according to Commission Member Robert Sumnicht, likely contributed to smaller attendance over the summer. Pool Director Jack Ader added that the pool attendance was the lowest ever recorded over a season.
In news briefs: It’s official, Park City Credit Union has opened its new facilities at 300 E. 2nd St. The building was previously occupied by Wisconsin Public Service and Park City Credit Union was across the street at 301 E. 1st St. Park City decided it needed more space and WPS concluded it needed less space so the two sides switched buildings. Renovation of the new facility is an estimated $300,000. Andrew Koch has died as the result of a suspected heart attack. Koch was the owner of the Texaco Service Station in Merrill. He was hunting off of Barker Road in the Town of Pine River and apparently died shortly after climbing into his stand; he was found by his companions at noon.
Most people in Merrill where shocked at the news that Otto and Sophie Settele, owners of the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill, are having twins. But don’t envision two little bundles of joy coming out of the hospital any time soon as the twins the Settele’s speak of are the new twin movie theaters as they split the current Cosmo Theatre in two. Both theatres will feature 250 seats and will have a more elaborate sound system; and the walls of each theatre will contain a special fabric which not only is fireproof but will distribute the sound more evenly. A dropped ceiling and recessed lighting will also create a more relaxing atmosphere. Outside in the lobby the concession and ticket booth will be moved between the two theatre entrances and restrooms will now be found on the first floor. To avoid congestion in the lobby the two theatres will have staggered start times. Sophie and Otto have worked in the theatre industry since the 1930s. They began their careers in various theatre chains in New York, and they also own and manage a theatre in Dodgeville, WI. Sophie explained that with the twin theatres they can now hold over hit movies for longer and she noted the industry seems to be thriving with such recent hits as Star Wars and Jaws. She said she also expects more movies to move to the new stereo sound format that the fans are enjoying. The new theatres should be up and running by Thanksgiving; they are expecting big crowds at Christmas when hits “Oh God” and “Smokie and the Bandit” come to town. (I think the work done to Merrill’s Finest Theatre by the Lerch/Dzwonkowski family would knock the socks off of Otto, Sophie, June, and Leroy)
Merrill Area Public Schools may be getting out of the driver’s education business. On average over 250 students a year go through the classroom and behind the wheel training. They pay MAPS $75 for the training but a cost analyst shows the combined education costs the school $213.52 per student with an annual cost of $72,643. This past year alone the cost to run the program increased $8,400. The Board of Education is also considering moving the classes to just after school or during summer months to keep down costs, with the lowest cost option being to just turn the program over to a private entity.
Trinity Lutheran Church in Merrill is mourning the death of their choir director. Daniel Leikip died Monday at Wausau Hospital from the effects of his yearlong battle with a brain tumor. Leikip came to Merrill in 1972 when he became the organist, choir director, and fifth grade teacher at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Merrill, serving until earlier this month when he was no longer able to due to illness. Besides his work at Trinity, Leikip was past president of the Merrill Concert Association, a member of the advisory committee for Council Grounds, and was recently honored by the Merrill Chamber for his work with the Alleluia Ringers at the church. Leikip is survived by his wife Beth and children Melissa and Nathan at home. Rev. Donald Schulz, Rev. Donald White, and Vicar James Grobe will officiate at services this Saturday at Trinity.
The Fairway Supper Club at the Merrill Golf Course is under expansion. According to general manager Mike Lyon the addition will double the size of the banquet hall and allow them to seat 400 people comfortably. The expanded area will also add a full cocktail bar to the hall. The entire facility should be open to the public by New Year’s Eve. The Lincoln County Board has approved the tax levy for 1988; it decreases the rate by half a cent. The board also appointed Alfred King to fill the vacancy created in district three by the resignation of George Knospe.
A local chain restaurant is fighting back and urges you to watch what you say about them or you could soon find yourself in hot water. Officials from the corporate office are in town and they are intently listening to anyone who may be spreading one of the many false rumors about the restaurant. Currently the restaurant employees are taking the bulk of the consequences of the 30% drop in sales with the loss of hours.
All city elected offices will be on the ballot this upcoming April. Incumbents include Mayor Patsy Woller, City Clerk Judy Stockowitz, Judge Merle Sheridan, Street Commissioner Ralph Sturm, and alderman Susan Kunkel, Michael Willman, Kurt Helmstadter, Floyd Korpi, Roger English, Philip Krause, Robert Monti and Mike Wahoske also will have their seats up for grabs. Both Korpi in district four and Monti in district seven have filed non-candidacy forms. The spring election will be held on April 7.