Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
It is the largest bequest ever given to Holy Cross Hospital, but receiving the money was not as easy as it seemed. Sister Mary Charles announced this past week that Eleanor Collester of Madison has left $450,000 to the facility in her will (That is $1.7 million in today’s money). The only thing standing between Holy Cross and the money are Eleanor’s two sisters. Local attorney and nephew to Collester, Jake Ament explained that his 81-year-old aunt was born and raised in Merrill, the daughter of the lumberman John Ament. She left Merrill in 1925 to work as a beautician in Chicago, it was there that she met laundry supply salesman Frank Collester. After their marriage Eleanor and Frank opened Community Laundry and Dry Cleaning in Madison and from that company she accumulated her estate. Ament explained in court filings that Collester was very healthy despite her age and it was a shock when she died suddenly in November at her home on Lake Monona. Ament stated when she made out her will she left the majority of the money to Holy Cross with smaller bequests to St. Francis and St. Robert’s churches. Ament suspected because of the poor health of Collester’s sisters she did not intentionally leave them out of her will, she simply did not expect that they would outlive her. But the sisters did outlive her and through court filings they challenged the legalities of the will. A compromise worked out between Ament and local attorney George Russell would distribute 25% of the $730,000 estate to living relatives, of which 34 living heirs have signed off on the deal. Sister Mary Charles expects the compromise to be signed off by the Dane County probate court in the coming months and the hospital should see the bequest by summer.
Two youths are at large while two others remain in the Lincoln County Jail after another escape from Lincoln Hills School Sunday night. The four, who were confined to a security cottage, fled after assaulting and locking up one counselor and handcuffing another to a pipe. A fifth student who tried to aid the counselor alerted security to the escape. Immediately after the escape two vehicles were reported stolen from homes near the school. One of the vehicles was recovered in Columbia County where Portage Police apprehended two of the escapees on Monday. Those youths were brought back to Lincoln Hills where one of them immediately attacked counselor Mayward Krueger causing chipped teeth while the second attacked another counselor. This led to both of the youths being brought to the Lincoln County Jail. The two missing youths are from Waupaca and Park Falls; it is believed they stole a truck from a residence in Irma.
What started out as a small shop where the M&I Bank drive through is, has become a staple of Main Street and its founders are still working hard every day to insure its success. Gus and Gayle Kalafice opened their small record store in 1946 specializing in 78 RPM records and small electronic devices. Gus remembers that accordion music was probably one of the most popular to purchase at the time which led to lessons being provided in the back of the store and a lot of accordions being sold out the front. Over the years electronics changed in styles and shapes as well as the amount of electricity used as Gus remembers having to dim the lights as you watched TV due to the draw of the set. Kalafice predicts the VHS and CB electronics will greatly expand in the coming years and notes how Magnavox and RCA are already able to record up to four hours on one VHS tape. He also expects spin offs in the VHS market place in the future.
It turns out they didn’t need the deck of cards after all. The decision on who will represent the combined 9th District of the Lincoln County Board was decided twice last week. When the votes were originally tabulated, newcomer Phil Schneider came out on top with 295 votes compared to a two way tie of 292 votes for incumbents William Dexter and Norbert Doering. So this morning Dexter and Doering sat down and drew cards to determine the winner with Doering pulling a seven, one upping Dexter’s six. But then Dexter requested a recount of the ballots, and it turns out he did win after all with the recount showing two additional votes in his favor bringing his total to 294 compared to Doering’s 292.
The arcade on Merrill’s west side may be closed for good, or maybe not. Steve Patraw owns the Good Times Arcade at 417 Grand Avenue. After he opened his doors, the city enacted an ordinance that requires such businesses be licensed and then promptly denied Patraw a license. Patraw re-appeared before the council hoping they would reconsider the denial, but when it came time for a motion the room fell silent. City Attorney John Thiel did admit that things might not be all bad for Patraw as he was already established before the ordinance was in place; he may in fact be grandfathered, meaning the ordinance would have no effect on him. Thiel refused to speculate to the Foto News if Patraw could still operate, noting instead he would seek a second opinion from the League of Municipalities.
Lincoln County Bank has recognized Roger “Budda” English for his 25 years of service with a gold watch. Budda is pictured with bank president Ron Hornischer as they mark the occasion and he receives a plaque. English began working at Lincoln County Bank as a teller on April 15, 1963. During his tenure at the bank he rose through the ranks to his current assignment which is assistant cashier (while chewing a lot of gum, too).
In a stunning defeat, police Lt. Michael Caylor has unseated Patsy Woller for Merrill Mayor. Caylor captured 54.4 percent of the vote, ending the six year incumbent’s reign. Caylor pointed to the uncertainty of the city’s financial future and lingering questions about management after a study was done into procedures in city government.
According to City Clerk Judy Stockowitz, 55% of the voters turned out for the election. Another ballot item included an advisory referendum on bonding for an expansion of the library. That measure was defeated 1,556 to 1,404 in unofficial results. Two new aldermen will find seats on the council next week with Thomas Schotz taking the seat which was vacated by Floyd Korpi while in the seventh ward Robert Colclasure will now take the seat vacated by fellow educator Robert Monti. For the city clerk’s job, William N. Heideman was elected to that role. He and Susan Kunkel had edged out incumbent Judy Stockowitz and challenger Gary Schuster in the primary election. There were only four contested races on the county board and all incumbents were returned to office. In the fifth district Franklin Saal will take the place of Gordon Schroeder and Philipp Cohrs will take the seat of Ray Kloss in district 14; both those men were unopposed. Ronald Krueger will hold the eighth district seat representing Merrill’s east side as he defeated Mike Wahoske who will serve as city alderman in that same district; the county seat was previously held by Floyd Lemon who did not seek re-election.