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The Lincoln County Board was busy yesterday during its monthly meeting creating  a County Commission on Aging. The commission will have nine to 13 members who will be appointed by the county board chair, and at least 51% of the board members must be at least 60 years of age or older and none can be under the age of 30. County Board Chair Gordon Schroeder recognized Margaret Stark during the dinner portion of the meeting held at Club Modern. Stark was honored for her service at Pine Crest Nursing Home where she served as administrator from 1962-1973. Schroeder also declared by proclamation 1974 as the Centennial Year for Lincoln County with March 4 as Centennial Day. It was also the last meeting for F. Jack Shook who represents the towns of Merrill and Schley. He has chosen to enter the Baptist Ministry.

Four members of the Merrill wrestling team advanced to the WIAA State Wrestling Tournament in Madison next weekend after a hard fought battle at the Schofield Sectional. Al Osness at 98 pounds, Todd Mann at 105 pounds, Mark Richardson at 119 pounds, and Charlie Gustin at 126 pounds will make the trip with coach Norris Hattlestad. Three grapplers were eliminated in the preliminary bouts: sophomore Bob McSwain lost at 112, Jeff Heath at 138, and Scott VanDerGeest at 167 was also eliminated. Kim Reinhardt took third place at 132, Tom Voelz took fourth at 145, Randy Hill also took a fourth at 155, Mike Hill took third at 185, Jeff Jameson lost in an overtime dual with Antigo’s Tom Schremp at heavy weight and took fourth. The state tourney begins Friday night.

The boys’ basketball team has been playing behind most of the season but pulled out two strong wins this past week including shocking first place Antigo. The Jays traveled to Antigo to take on the Valley Conference leaders on Friday night and walked away with a stunning 68-55 victory. The Red Robins led early on in the contest but the local boys were ahead at half time and had 100% shooting in the fourth quarter to cement the win. On Saturday the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders came to the east gym only to get trounced 68-49. Coach Steve Kirk is impressed with the team’s play and looks forward to the game against Wausau East this Friday at Wausau. That game will be the last conference game before the regional tourney begins on March 1.

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Two people were killed in an early morning fire that probably burned for hours before being spotted by the morning paperboy. Firefighters and police officers responded to the home at 708 Cedar Street after the alarm was sounded at 6:40 a.m. Monday morning. Firemen found the body of Mrs. Wilhelmine “Billy” Taylor shortly after entering the home and found the body of her husband M. N. “Mully” Taylor about an hour later in an upstairs bedroom. Investigators speculate that the fire probably started near the furnace in the basement of the home and claimed its two victims with its smoke. Mully Taylor was a former newspaper advertising manager and founded Trees For Tomorrow in 1944. He also founded the Merrill Historical Society and was its first president in 1978. Funeral services begin this morning at the Wistein Funeral Home and will continue at St. Robert’s Catholic Church.
The fate of the Prairie Dells Dam remains in limbo after the county board voted on Tuesday not to hold a referendum asking if the county should repair or replace the dam. The county took over the dam in 1967 after obtaining it from the City of Merrill. In 1980 the state DNR told the county the dam was unsafe and ordered it breached until it could be removed or repaired. The board had decided to repair the structure and had set aside $330,000 for the project, but that was stalled after a lawsuit by Wisconsin Trout Unlimited which argued the county had not properly acquired the dam and had no right to operate it. This cleared the way for the repairs, but the matter once again stalled in front of the board. Supervisor Eugene Schmit of Tomahawk raised his opposition based on the unknown cost of continued maintenance of the dam while Supervisor James Barrone of Merrill noted in a terse observation that the board has toyed with this idea for four years now and has yet to take a direction. The board did vote 14-7 to give pay raises to all county employees including themselves.

Former major league baseball star and recovering alcoholic Ryne Duren will be in Merrill Thursday to speak to area youth about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. Duren played for seven major league teams including the New York Yankees and was known for pitching just as hard as he drank. Sober now, Duren works for a Madison hospital and lectures and conducts workshops on the problem of drug and alcohol abuse. Duren will speak with Junior High students, in health classes, and will close the day with an open public meeting at St. Robert’s School cafeteria. (Duren was the inspiration for Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn in the movie Major League)

The Merrill Blue Jay girls’ basketball team has earned a share of the Wisconsin Valley title after defeating co-champion D. C. Everest on Friday 60-52. Liz Ott hit three out of four free throws in the closing minutes of the game and totaled 14 points in the contest. Sectional and Regional tournament action is set to begin with the regional tournament being held in the field house Thursday.

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Donna Traeger spotted the first robin of the season from her East Eighth Street home. Traeger spotted the bird last Thursday along the Prairie River. The weather is continuing to warm from last week.

For your dining needs, Ku’s Wokery is now open at 1219 E. Main St., Mary’s Homestead Inn is now featuring Mexican food, Mulligan’s Supper Club has all you can eat broasted chicken for $4.95, Les & Jim’s will be offering a buffet on Friday nights, Subway has a six inch tuna sub for only $1.99 during lent, and every Wednesday night at Hardee’s is kids night where kids eat for $1.