Judge Lowell Schoengarth has isolated the jury hearing the case against embattled and suspended Sheriff Robert Bassett. Bassett is charged with four counts of misconduct in public office resulting from alleged falsifications of grant money used for traffic safety. A panel of 50 potential jurists arrived at the court house on Monday morning, and a jury was seated later that day. Motions on the second day of the trial by defense attorney William Bablich to dismiss the charges were denied.
Should the City of Merrill build a high rise elderly housing complex on Streeter’s Square? At a special meeting of the Merrill City Council on Tuesday, Housing Authority Director Joe Jackelen laid out the plans for such a project which the City Plan Commission supports. Alderman Ellsworth Plaut’z motion to table the resolution to sell the property to the Housing Authority failed on a 6-2 vote. A motion from fifth ward Alderman Patrick Nugent to hold an advisory non-binding referendum passed by a 6-2 margin. That referendum will be found on the November ballot.
Robert Savaske, President of M&I Citizen’s American Bank in Merrill, has announced the new appointments of three employees of the bank. The appointments came after recent action of the bank’s board of directors. Louise Wix, Route 7, Merrill and Michael Jeffords, of Cleveland St., Merrill were named assistant cashiers. John Zulliger of Cedar Street in Merrill was appointed vice-president as commercial and real estate loan officer. Mrs. Wix started at the bank in 1959 and currently serves as secretary to the bank president and works in commercial and real estate loan departments. Jeffords joined the bank in July of this year to manage the installment credit department. Zulliger has been with the bank since 1968. He managed the installment credit department until this year.
The campaign for the White House will apparently come right through downtown Merrill this weekend as Democratic Presidential Candidate Walter Mondale and his running mate Geraldine Ferraro will participate in the Merrill Labor Day parade. The shocking announcement came days ago that the pair will spend Labor Day in New York, Burbank, CA and Merrill. Moorie Goodman, a Mondale campaign PR man, said the appearance in Merrill is part of the campaign’s “sea to shining sea” trip for the pair who will appear at a rally at the fairgrounds after the parade. Ron Kautz, secretary-treasurer of the Merrill Central Labor Council and coordinator of the parade, said the parade had 60 units signed up to participate but he has already fielded 25 to 30 calls from would be participants in the past two days and expects to equal that number by Friday. Kautz also expects the usual parade watching crowd of 30,000 will most likely double when Mondale and Ferraro come to town. Besides the two Democratic nominees Merrill will be host to Wisconsin Governor Tony Earl, US Congressman Dave Obey, and an expected 140 members of the national media.
After much debate and a unanimous crowd against it, the Merrill Board of Public Works voted to go back to the drawing board with the proposed widening of East Main Street from Memorial Drive to the Pine Ridge area. The plan calls for the road to become four lanes with sidewalk installation on the north side. Attending the meeting and representing Drew’s Supermarket, Steve Drew was also the chief spokesman for the group of anti-sidewalk forces, noting he would lose 7,000 square feet of parking lot with the sidewalk. City engineer Charles Pierotti noted that the state probably would not force a sidewalk on the Drew’s parcel and if the lack of a sidewalk creates a safety problem the city would just pay for the installation, a cost estimated to be $45,000 to $50,000. Besides business owners to the east,
homeowners to the west are upset with rumors that the city intends on cutting down numerous trees and putting a four lane road in all the way to Caylor’s Corners. A motion to go ahead with the project minus the sidewalks was defeated but, a second motion passed which authorized Pierotti to negotiate with the state for changes in the sidewalk requirement and the road width.
In local business news, Don and Jackie Davis have moved to Merrill from Ripon and acquired the former Pritzl Printing at 2011 E. Main St. The business will specialize in letterhead, wedding invitations, and business cards. Dick and Marilyn Kons are the new owners of the Country Way Restaurant on W. Main St. Formerly known as Stueber’s, the business closed last month. The new owners promise the same traditions such as fish fry on Friday, prime rib on Saturday, and buffets on Sunday.
In a letter to the editor, Kevin Koss notes he and others on the Prairie River north of Merrill are worried that with the closing of the Ward Paper Mill the parent company International Papers may abandon and remove the dam which creates the lake on the north side of Merrill. Koss notes he has contacted the offices of Dave Obey and Roger Breske along with the DNR and the local president of Ward and has a great deal of information regarding the possibilities that could happen to the mill pond. Koss encourages those who are concerned to reach out to him and that way as a group those involved can band together to fight any notion to drain the pond.
The Merrill Blue Jay football team stumbled coming out of the gate with a 42-12 loss at home this past Friday versus Kaukauna. Coach Greg Schofield advised that the Kaukauna team is full of veteran players and are favored to win the Fox Valley Conference while his team is quite green under the blue jerseys. Mike Krueger had a long kickoff return that resulted in a touchdown and added 106 yards on the ground with eight carries, and quarterback Eric Klug was 2-7 with 48 passing yards. Bob Weix, Brian Schiller, Kevin Jacoby, and Mike Simek all contributed on defense with Weix leading in tackles.