Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Perhaps the first step of saving the old Merrill City Hall has been reached with the building being approved for listing on the Nation Register of Historic Places. The State Historic Preservation Review Board approved the nomination according to Katherine Hundt, State Architectural Historian. It will now take about six months for the building to go through and final phases of the procedure to be officially listed. Owners of sites on the list are eligible to receive up to 50% matching grants for the restoration or stabilization of buildings listed. The City Hall Disposition Committee is seeking ways to preserve the structure which is noted for its Richardsonian Baroque style of architecture.
If you plan on riding the Harrison Hills ski bus you are reminded to make your reservations in advance. The bus, which is sponsored by Ward Paper Company, makes stops at Country Sports at 9:30 a.m., Arlo’s Spur at 9:40 a.m., and the Gleason Shopping Center at 10 a.m. every Saturday.
Another candidate for Merrill mayor has appeared before the Optimist Club and offered his assessment of the financial future of the city. Patrick Nugent, an alderman who represents the Fifth Ward, stated that the city’s spending is out of control. Nugent stated the city was $200 off its state allowable levy for 1978, and if the shared revenue program would go away the city would have to come up with $230,000 and would never make its current budget with the way it spends. Nugent also echoed comments last week from fellow candidate Henry Golde who is concerned the city is using the revenue sharing cash to pay for operations instead of for capital improvements. Nugent cited $186,000 which was borrowed for the purpose of building a new water tower. Instead of building that tower, the city deposited the funds in the water department general fund and as far as he knows is being used to finance the day to day operations of that department. Nugent was also critical of the yearly budget process noting his desire to have department heads appear before the council no later than May 1 each year with their proposed budgets and union contract negotiations should begin no later than June 1 of each year.
The Weinbrenner Shoe Company has been purchased by a group of investors but don’t expect to see any immediate changes in the local operation. Former president of the company James V. Greenlee led the group which consists mostly of current managers of the company and some local investors. Ronald Nicklaus of River Valley Bank led the financial arrangements for the purchase from Banta Shoe Company, a company based in Toronto, Canada. Greenlee expressed his pleasure that the company will now be able to maintain factories in both Merrill and Marshfield thanks to the local purchase. Vice-president of operation in Merrill Lance Nienow stated the company will now be able to focus on the “Wood N’ Stream” and “Thorogood” lines of footwear. Merrill Mayor Richard Holt extended a warm welcome to Greenlee as he returns to Merrill and thanked the investors and Nicklaus for putting the sale together. Weinbrenner currently employs 300 workers in Merrill and 200 at a factory in Marshfield. The company was started in 1892 in Milwaukee by Albert H. Weinbrenner. Manufacturing operations were moved to the present locations during the 1930s.
Merrill lost some well-known businessmen this past week. Clifford Wendorf, Adlor Koebe and Freeman Perry all passed away. Perry died last Wednesday at Good Samaritan Health Center in Merrill. He was vice-president and general manager of the Ward Paper Company in Merrill from 1954 to 1978 and was a leader in the local rotary club. Funeral services were held at Christ United Methodist Church. Adlor Koebe was at one time the most active member of Merrill’s Westside Business Association. Starting right after he graduated from high school, Koebe worked for 58 years in local pharmacies, first with the Gruett Pharmacy and continuing on after it became the Schulz Pharmacy before he retired in 1984. Koebe was a loyal Packer and Brewer fan attending games whenever possible. His funeral will be held tomorrow at Trinity Lutheran Church. Clifford Wendorf passed away Sunday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield at the age of 59. Wendorf was president of Wendorf Bus Service when he died, a company he started in the Town of Pine River in 1959. Wendorf was a staple at Merrill sporting events and was often found in the stands for baseball and wrestling events cheering on first his sons and then his grandsons as they competed. He was also an active member of St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ where his funeral was held this morning.
Looking for something to do this weekend? Look no further than the Entertainment page where these great specials can be found: The Fairway Supper Club will be having a shrimp boil this Wednesdays only; it’s $6.95 all you can eat. Sturdevant’s Cork and Dyne has a breakfast special this week of 2 eggs, hash browns, toast, and four pieces of bacon for just $2.49. Schmidt’s Ballroom will have a benefit dance for the Trail-Mates snowmobile club this weekend where you can dance to the music of the Diana Schroeder Orchestra. Admission is $1 per person and cash prizes will be given away. 3’s Company has a long list of daily lunch specials all for $2.95, and you can upgrade to their Mexican menu for $3.95. Legion Lounge has a Friday noon buffet, $3.50 per person. LV & AV’s Country Fare will have the music of the Jackson Family Friday and the Silhouettes this Saturday. The Lion’s Club will be hosting their fifth annual Valentines Brunch on Sunday; it is at Lincoln Lanes and the cost is just $4 for adults, $2.50 for kids. Trading Post bar on Tannery Road has the music of Sundog while the Dog House in Irma will feature Rebels and Roses band. Les & Jim’s will be having their junior lip sync contest every Friday night, admission is $1.50. South of the Border restaurant has prime rib on Saturday for just $7.95, and ribeye and shrimp on Sunday is just $5.25. This week at the Cosmo you can see “Three Men and a Baby” in Cosmo one while “Couch Trip” plays in Cosmo two.
Overcrowding in the Lincoln County Jail has forced Sheriff Paul Proulx to begin transferring prisoners to other counties. The first batch of eight prisoners were sent to jails in Adams and Wood counties this past week costing Lincoln County on average $440 per day for their room and board. Others have been released on electronic monitoring to relieve the cramped quarters.
Two tie breaking votes cast by Mayor Patsy Woller has allowed the expansion and renovation of the T.B. Scott Library to move forward, but allows the public to have a chance at a say in it first. The first vote taken by the council was to use promissory notes while the second resolution was to use general obligation bonds to cover the costs. The change to bonds to finance the project means the voters can petition for a say in the decision. Residents now have until the end of February to gather signatures to place the item on a referendum for the spring election. The threshold for signatures for the referendum is small with only 356 required to place the measure on the ballot as the state requires signatures equal to 10% of the number that voted in the last gubernatorial election. The project calls for a $3 million renovation and expansion of the library, the first in almost 30 years. The current adult services wing was added in 1969; the proposed expansion would double the current space by removing the 1969 addition and building up.