In a special “Do you remember” column, Mrs. Vern Yanda of Gleason recalls how the Underdown recreation area in Lincoln County got its name. William Underdown, or ‘Ol’ Bill,’ lived in a shanty in the area known as the “Underdown Country.” Underdown was born in Dekalb, Ill., on Jan. 23, 1877. He married and lived in Mt Etna, Iowa where he operated the Wildwood Stock Farm raising angora goats and Guernsey cattle. He later came to Lincoln County where he did some logging. An excerpt from a newspaper found in Underdown’s Bible noted that “William Underdown has put in 330,000 feet of logs on the Prairie River this winter which he sold to Stewart of Wausau. Mr. Underdown reports a very successful winter’s work. This is as it should be as he is a hard worker and deserves a good turn once in a while.” He also worked as a cook in various jobs in the logging camps but was later reported to have been a ward of the county and would only be seen outside of the woods when he came to town for supplies. Underdown was also said to have had a moonshiners still back in the hills. He had no children and no relatives so what remained of “Ol’ Bill” were buried in the Underdown Country when he died on July 4, 1943. (It would make for a great ghost story for those camping in the Underdown that “Ol’ Bill” is buried nearby and his land, but the truth is he is buried in the county pauper section at Merrill Memorial Park)
Chub Severt has opened the Kozy Korner Kitchen on Merrill’s west side. The restaurant, which is located at 427 Grand Ave., serves breakfast and noon lunches and is open every day from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. except on Friday when it stays open until 10 p.m. to serve fish fries.
County Emergency Government Director Norm Heideman is calling a bus crash that he caused a great success. The crash was a simulated exercise so emergency services in the county could work together to care for the injured. Merrill Firefighters Dave Johnson and Rudolph Neubauer are shown preparing the injured for transport (wearing long white coats and dress blue hats) while pictures taken in the emergency room show Dr. Mikkelson and Dr. Braun and nurse Mrs. Glenn Christenson working to stabilize the injured. The police department and sheriff’s office also participated as boy scouts play acted as victims.
If you are going to college, Merrill Senior High School has everything you need to be prepared, but you have to take advantage. Recent college graduates were polled in an annual survey that allows the local school to better prepare their charges for life after high school. Mark Winkelman, a graduate of UW Eau Claire with a degree in special education, said he wasn’t prepared for college but it was his own fault as he took the easy way out during high school. Rusty DeBroux on the other hand felt well prepared for college, making the decision to go after working for a year after he graduated. DeBroux recently graduated cum laude from UW-Stout with a degree in industrial education and capped his college career with straight A’s in his final semester. LeMae Weber, who graduated from UW Stevens Point, said she was shocked by the work load college brought but noted her high school accounting courses helped tremendously. John Hagen who recently graduated from UW Platteville with a degree in business, tells future grads not to skimp on the basics. “Take all of the math, science, and writing classes you can. It doesn’t pay to take easy electives.”
Looking for something to do this holiday weekend? On the entertainment page Twig’s Tap is now open, formerly Martha’s Bar at 1005 E. Main St., but excuse their dust as they are remodeling; the Duke Boys will be playing at Jeff and Pam’s west of Merrill on State Rd. 64; the Cosmo has “Romancing the Stone” and young actor Tom Hanks in “Bachelor Party”; the Riverside Club has a buffet on Friday and Sunday for $3.95; with a coupon you can get up to $1.25 off a pizza at Queenie & Ron’s; the Legion Lounge has a chicken dinner for $2.50 and the Dan Gruetzmacher Orchestra to go with it on Sunday. Stueber’s Country Way is closed and will be until further notice.
Christ United Methodist Church in Merrill has welcomed a new pastor. The Rev. Carolyn Saunders officiated at her first service on June 26. The Pennsylvania native graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1970, teaching high school French and German before returning to school several years later. She graduated from the United Theological Seminary in the Twin Cities in 1981 and spent the last seven years in Shullsburg as the pastor there. (A Google search shows she is now trying her luck in Luck, WI and nearby Grantsburg)
After 42 years, a familiar face has retired from M&I Citizens American Bank this week. Carolyn Zander, cashier, auditor, assistant vice president, began her well-deserved retirement with a party this past Friday with her co-workers. She began working as a teller in 1952 and worked her way through the ranks before becoming vice-president in 1992.