Fotos from the past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
The City of Merrill will have a new city hall in a few years. The City Council voted on Tuesday night to purchase the current Church Mutual Headquarters at 1004 E. 1st St. for $500,000. The only catch is Church Mutual will rent the facility until they complete construction of their new headquarters, projected to be in 1977. City Alderman Gerald Bauer led the research into the purchase which was conducted through the City Plan Commission. The council also voted to approve the concept of issuing $800,000 in industrial revenue bonds to finance an onsite waste water treatment plant at the Ward Paper Company. The mayor noted the success the city had in issuing similar bonds to Merrill Candy Company as they financed their new distribution center on Memorial Drive. The city also voted to terminate the lease to the Depot upon the final sale of the property to Bakken Construction.
In business news: at their recent convention in New Orleans, local newspaper owner Jim O’Day was elected president of the Free Community Newspapers from North America Association. The event was held at the Fairmont Hotel and involves a group of newspapers whose total circulation reaches more than 10 million homes weekly. Max Krembs has been promoted to branch manager of First Financial Bank in Minocqua. Krembs is the past president of the Merrill Chamber of Commerce. The National Food Store in Merrill will have new life as two longtime friends will work together to open the store as Bob’s Food King. National locked the doors on the store on E. 2nd St. last week, but Bob Benzschawel of Stevens Point will reopen the store under the Food King label employing his long-time friend John Eckman as store manager. An extensive remodeling and re-decorating project will precede the grand opening when the store will introduce Shurefine Quality Foods brand.
The Merrill Area Public Schools Athletic Department is in search of coaches after four of them resigned. Ron Sterr, 21-year veteran of the baseball program; Arvo Britten, 11-year veteran of the Junior High football and wrestling program; Jerry Eilola, 10-year veteran of the high school track teams; and Pat Buick, the tennis coach for the past seven years all resigned this past week. In other local sports news, Club 107 and the Blatz Bombers continue to have perfect records in the Monday night Slo-Pitch League. Club 107 used 19 hits to beat Mid City Tap this past week. Mike Schneider tripled while Mike Weckwerth and Dan Meyer posted doubles for the winning team. Jay Proft was the winning pitcher. Louie Fry pitched the winning game for the Bombers as they defeated Beacon. Fry also smashed a two-run home run as the team posted 12 hits in the game while holding Beacon to just two hits. In the lopsided win of the week, Lloyd Hackbart pitched a five hit game as his Knotty Pine team knocked off the Legion Lounge 18-1.
The Sixth Ward is looking for a representative on the city council after their alderman Ken Plawman resigned last week to accept a job at the street department. The new position of assistant to the street commissioner was initially filled by Ashwani Sharmam, but he suddenly resigned last Friday leading to Plawman’s appointment. His resignation was accepted by the council last night, and Mayor Richard Holt invited anyone interested in the position to see City Clerk Judy Stockowitz. The council also agreed to go ahead with a referendum on the question of a full time mayor. The council adopted a charter ordinance in April to make the mayor’s job full time, but a group of citizens gathered over 300 signatures to place the item on the ballot as a binding referendum to repeal the ordinance. Attorney John Thiel noted despite the councils reservations, “It’s outside the council’s hands and must go to the electorate.”
Sheila Hofmann was selected as the Riverfest Queen this past week, but according to the police log she was not the only one who went home with something. Merrill Police Officers cited 19 people for underage drinking, five people for having open intoxicants, and two people for furnishing minors at the event held at Ott’s Park. Other activity reported near the celebration included a motorcycle crash at West Main and Foster streets, a hit and run in the 500 block of Ohio Street, and a man being cited for setting off fireworks on Main Street at midnight.
It appears Martha Mantik is calling it a career. Well, sort of. Mantik was recently the guest of honor at a dinner where she called it quits for work outside of her home. Mantik was a full time dispatcher for the Merrill-Go-Round, does volunteer work as a home health aide, and volunteers at Holy Cross Hospital, the Lincoln County Republican Party, the Christian Women’s Club, and the Homemakers Club. She previously drove school bus for 18 years and worked as a cook at Gleason area schools. But she will continue to sell wedding invitations out of her home, something she has been doing for 45 years. Mantik has previously been awarded the Business Woman of the Year by the Merrill Business and Professional Women’s Club in 1981.
Thirteen is the lucky number for Merrill’s Dave Weber. He aced the 13th hole at the Merrill Golf Course a few weeks ago. Weber used a pitching wedge on the 142 yard hole for the first ace of the season on the course. He was golfing with Charlie Roth and Mike Neumann.
A longtime Merrill businessman has died. Sandford “Sandy” English passed away last Thursday at the Veteran’s Home at King. According to an obituary on page five, English a sergeant in the United States military, had previously owned the Northway Club Tavern. He had also played for the semi-pro football team, the Merrill Foxes. English is survived by five sisters and three brothers; he was laid to rest at Merrill Memorial Park after a funeral at Christ United Methodist Church.
In his weekly column Norm Heideman salutes the Ladies Aid of St. John’s Lutheran Church who are celebrating their 100th anniversary. Norm notes in his research that the pastor was actually the president of the group originally and it seems he ran things with an iron first. In time the ladies opted for their own president as is the procedure today. Nancy Cohrs leads the group today, previously Norm’s own Joy was the president. Some of the accomplishments of the group included serving supper at the first school picnic on July 4, 1896. That same year they also installed platforms on both side of the church so the ladies could get in and out of their buggies easier with their long skirts. The first Mother-Daughter Banquet was served by the group in 1952 and the first Thanksgiving dinner in 1972, the brainchild of former principal of St. John’s Gerald Behling.