Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
The Lincoln County Humane Society Board is celebrating this evening after finally having found a place for a permanent shelter. The Lincoln County Board voted 11-10 on Tuesday to lease a portion of the fairgrounds property to the board for construction of the shelter. The land selected is on the east end of the lot north of the National Guard Armory. The city and county have both pledged $20,000 to the group to build the shelter but have challenged the group to come up with the actual plans for the building. The matter was supposed to be an example of intergovernmental cooperation but that fell short when newly elected mayor Patrick Nugent appeared at the county board meeting and asked to address the group. Nugent stated he just wanted to affirm the city’s commitment to the project and encourage the board to move ahead with the sale of the land, but Supervisor Phillip Brown of Tomahawk objected to granting floor privileges. Under county board rules if one person objects, a citizen is automatically denied the right to speak to the board.
The seasons are upon Merrill. On the front page Leroy Steines and his daughter Tracy are pictured floating down the Prairie River near County Rd. C on Monday in the warm weather. Highs reached near 60 degrees in the later part of the weekend. On Tuesday snow returned to the area and highs reached near 40. It is expected the milder trend will continue. The other season starts next Monday when road construction starts in town. The city delayed reconstructing Main Street at the request of area residents, but now the repair work will go in two phases and spread through the city as work is planned on Center Avenue as well.
In area briefs: Patrick Nugent will not be sworn into office until May, but he is already talking committees and changes. Nugent, a new street commissioner, and two new aldermen will all be sworn in on May 1. Traffic came to a halt on Third Street this past week after a rail broke on the Milwaukee Road line. It took about half an hour to clear the tracks, luckily no box cars tipped. The Northwoods CB Club has donated a CB base station radio to the Merrill Police Department. Lt. Dennis Hintze is pictured accepting the donation from Jim Kleinschmidt. Merrill PD officers will monitor channel 9 for emergency traffic. St. John Lutheran Church is planning a celebration on April 23 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the dedication of their church building. The Rev. Larry Meyers will be on hand for the service; he is from Concordia College in Minnesota and will present a special sermon at two services on Sunday. (My mother and her cousin Ronald used to trespass and climb the rafters as they built the church, I think it is safe to tell that now.)
A move to sell Normal Park to the City of Merrill has suffered a setback at the county board after no one could agree on the price of the property. The county took possession of the property in 1880 for the price of $1,200 and the city has leased it to use as park after Normal School was razed (1969), and now Merrill Park Director Greg Stezenski wants to revamp the property with a shelter house, new bathroom and an improved ball field. When the board brought the matter up many supervisors voiced opposition to the $7,500 price tag with some calling for a full appraisal before the price is set, but a resolution to have the property appraised was defeated. The matter will now go back to the committee where they will try and determine an acceptable price, however that may be difficult as the board will not authorize the appraisal to set a price.
“A funny thing happened to me on the way to retirement:” Those were the words of Merrill’s newly sworn in Mayor, Ken Sparr. The Merrill Common Council met last night and Sparr was officially sworn into office. In his introductory remarks to the council he emphasized the importance of working together in the community. Sparr’s number one priority will be to provide a youth center and proposed the city actually look at two sites, one for the 13-18 year old crowd and one for the 18-20 group who are out of school but not able to gather in taverns. Sparr also spoke of his desire to further tourism in the Merrill area.
Carl and Jane Bierman and plant manager Roger Emanuel are pictured on page two; they are breaking grand on the expansion of their West Third Street plant. Lincoln Wood is adding on 62,000 square feet to that factory and hope to expand their line of round top windows. They hope to have the project completed by mid-summer and will add on 40-50 new employees. Bob Wanta has been hired as the general contractor for the project. Lincoln Wood Products began in 1947 and distributes its products through the Midwest, east and south.
The number of voters who voted, but didn’t, makes for some thoughts and an article from reporter D.W. Pfister this week. For example, the T.B. Scott Library borrowing referendum went down in defeat by 152 votes, but of all the people who voted 277 of them never made a choice in that race. Sitting judge J. Michael Nolan was unopposed on the ballot and 4,601 gave him the nod for another six-year term, yet another 674 voters would not mark the spot next to his name. Newly appointed and first time candidate for municipal court judge, Merle J. Sheridan, was unopposed on the ballot and received 2,417 votes yet 21 wrote in other names and 797 simply did not vote for him. In the city, 3,236 voters cast ballots, and of all the races, they did seem to take the mayoral race the most serious as just over 1% did not make a decision in that contest, although five people did write in other names. In Tomahawk Dave Haring and Bruce Hetzel were elected to the city council in a race where voters made two choices, but of the ballots cast, 37 for Haring and 57 for Hetzel; 43 people did not choose anyone on the ballot.
Things are getting interesting in the Town of Harding as the town board authorized the cutting of a road extending Alexander Lake Road to connect it with a new parking lot which will be built by Wisconsin Public Service. The board felt the need to have the approved work done quickly as they feared opponents might attempt to stop it at the annual town meeting which was held last night.
Lisa Standing, a reporter for the Foto News, has an interesting article on the history of the Leidiger Brewing Company. The story came to light as the Schneider Distributing Company adds onto their River Street warehouse thus exposing part of the original Leidiger building, a site where over 3,000 barrels of beer would roll out each year to meet local demand. The first beer was brewed there in the late 1800s by brewer George Ruder before he sold out to Ernest and Louis Leidiger. In the 1920s prohibition prevented the brewing of beer, but the site was converted to make cereal beverages and soft drinks. (I cannot do the story justice here, I will try to pilfer it for a future longer story.)