Fotos from the past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
It would appear the honeymoon is over between Mayor Patrick Nugent and the Merrill Common Council. The mayor vetoed a resolution passed just two days before which would have purchased the former offices of Dr. M.P. Kendall which sits between the east side fire station and the now under construction elderly high rise building. The resolution was recommended by the Police and Fire Commission and would have involved $46,400 (about $177,000+ today) but Mayor Nugent felt the measure should have gone before the City Plan Commission before it went to the common council. Some members of the council believe the veto is in response to a recent defeat of a measure which would have given Nugent broader range in calling special council or committee of the whole meetings. Nugent responded that the city needs to be run by the books and proper channels must be followed with purchases such as this. Nugent also reminded the Police and Fire Commission that a measure to hire a full time secretary/dispatcher for the fire department must be run through the Personnel and Finance Committee first as it involves federal funds and will eventually cause the city to absorb the position once those funds evaporate. Nugent requested City Attorney Michael Ravn draft a letter to Fire Chief Ray Priebe, Police and Fire chair Stanley Frisch and City Clerk Robert Klug as to the proper channels to follow for future hires under the federal program. The city intended on using the Kendall property as parking space for future needs of the high rise residents.
Want to own a piece of Merrill history? On page four is an advertisement calling for bids for the former city hall building. The ad notes that the purchaser may be eligible for 60% in matching funds for rehabilitation of the building which is listed on the state and national Register of Historic Places. Interested parties can contact the chair of the Personnel and Finance Committee care of city hall, “any reasonable offers considered.” The closing date for bids is Nov. 5.
In briefs this week: A Iron River, MI woman drowned yesterday while fishing in the Spirit Flowage outside of Tomahawk. Deputies surmised that 55-year-old Dorothy Ankerson slipped on a rock while trying to pull out a snag. Governor Martin Schreiber visited Merrill last week. He stopped at city hall and met with local officials to speak about elderly care programs. An Eagle River woman died and six others were injured after a two vehicle crash Saturday at State Rd. 17 and County Rd. G east of Merrill. Dr. E. O. Ravn is pictured assisting Merrill Fire Department EMTs on the scene of the deadly wreck. Homecoming festivities are happening at MHS, three senior queen candidates will seek the crown this Friday at the pep assembly. Jan Harkner, Tammy Folta and Beth Peplinski are the seniors, the Sophomore princesses are Amy Nolan and Cindy Ball. The Silver M Club will hold their 34th annual meeting Saturday at Club 64. The new 41 unit Best Western Motel has opened on Merrill’s far east side. Lavern Borchardt was general manager for the construction project, the hotel is owned by a group of local investors. A new pizza restaurant is opening today on the west side; Kid’s Korner Pizza will start baking pies at 606 W. Main St. Bob and Barb’s Club 64 has announced they will no longer be serving lunches. In an ad on the entertainment section they note the rising cost of labor warranted their decision.
It looks like Merrill will not be getting a new car wash. An ordinance to change the zoning for properties in the 300 block of North Center Avenue was defeated 3-5 last night at the Merrill Common Council meeting. Property owners Charles Geiss and Henry Golde wanted to sell the property to a car wash company out of Green Bay who would have developed the site. Council members cited a report from City Plan which spoke of the resident’s objections to the project and the ample space around town for building. The Long Range Planning Committee has indicated they support rezoning the 300 block of North Center Avenue for commercial projects but only as they come along. In other council action; the property on County Rd. Q occupied by the Woodchip Corporation is now officially in the city. The council voted to annex the property owned by Stuart Smith. The council also accepted the bid of $198,000 to construct a new garage at the east side fire station at 701 E. 1st St. The old garage has been declared unusable and will be removed, the new garage will have drive through bays for the expanding fleet.
The Merrill Business Council has rolled out a new plan to get residents back to shopping locally. The open for business plan invites retailers to be open on Sundays from noon until 4 p.m. A study by the group showed 65% of homes in Lincoln County have both adults working which cuts down on hours they can shop. Retailers will also be asked to remain open until 8 p.m. on Fridays.
Two notable deaths on the obituary page, Jeffery Schroeder of Rhinelander was killed in a single vehicle crash this past Friday in the Town of Schley. Schroeder was traveling north on State Rd. 17 when his vehicle left the roadway and rolled over ejecting him. He was the sales manager for Schroeder Ford in Merrill. His death is the eleventh on the county’s roadways. Jack Gilkey has also died, he passed away at Wausau Hospital after a brief illness. He was involved locally with the Fairway Supper Club and Merrill Golf Course. A graduate of Merrill High School, Gilkey moved to New Mexico where he retired as CEO of First Interstate Bank. When he lived in Merrill in the 1950s, Gilkey represented the city on the common council serving as the president for a term. Gilkey is survived by his wife Katharine Smith.
The Silver M Club will have their annual meeting this Saturday in the St. Francis School gym. New members of the organization include: Jim Alft, Bruce Boettcher, Tom Fox, Paul Gilk, Ray Guenther, Dick Hass, Don Heyel, Larry Kleinschmidt, Jim Langenkamp, Pete Lokemoen, Mike Mietz, Mike Mumma, Bob Olhoff, Pat Priebe, Ron Priebe, Roger Rahlf, Gary Schuster, Jim Wendland, Jerry Wendt, Bill Wengeler, Gary Zimmerman and Tim Sprauge. Joining the Golden M group is: James Freiberg, Earl Koehler, Willis Ruprecht, Leon Holl, Luther Kohn, Cuban Matthies, John Posey, Charles Reynolds, Robert Thoreson and Roger Heggblom.
This week’s paper is once again filled with letters to the editors condemning the county board for considering sites outside of the downtown for the proposed new jail and justice center. In response the county board took action yesterday, they tabled the proposed binding referendum to settle the location of the facility at the ballot box in November. Supervisor Melissa Shroeder asked to give the voters the choice between the two proposed locations and costs. Concerns by one committee caused Schroeder to amend her proposal for the spring ballot before the board voted to just able the proposal entirely. The board will bring the measure up again at their October meeting.
Retired Sheriff Ron Krueger got a surprise from the local deputy’s association this past week. The group presented Krueger with a plague recognizing his many years of service both as a deputy and the sheriff. Terry Sukow presented the plaque and noted 90% of those working on patrol today were hired by Krueger during his many years as sheriff. (Sorry Ron, but today 99% of them weren’t even born when he was elected for the first time)