Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
Postmaster Orlen Heldt has announced the post office will discontinue accepting packages addressed to Vietnam military posts. Only letters will be forwarded beyond San Francisco after Feb. 5. Also anything mailed after March 1 to military posts in Vietnam the postal service will no longer guarantee delivery. (In accordance with the Paris Peace Accords the all American combat troops were withdrawn by the 29th of March 1973)
The Merrill Blue Jay boys basketball team is looking to accomplish something no basketball team has ever done; win nine conference games in one season. The Jays are currently 8-3 in the Valley adding the Marshfield Tigers to the list of victories by defeating them 60-52 in Marshfield on Friday. The big game of the season will come this Friday when the Jays take on co-valley leader Shawano on the home court. The Jays lost to Shawano on their home court in January but the Jays are riding a five game win streak and are 8-1 at home this season. The Shawano team is fronted by 6’10” center Dennis Blunk but Merrill Coach Don Kerr takes issue with the Shawano measuring stick noting that Blunk is at least an inch and half taller than Merrill’s own 6’9″ Dave VanDerGeest. Blunk and Antigo’s John Muraski lead the valley with 207 points scored, Rick Semling of Merrill has dropped to third on the list averaging 17.6 points per game.
Mayor Ralph Voigt and Police Chief Gerald Plautz were on hand to hand out trophies at the third annual World Championship Ice Drags at Council Ground State Park. A crowd estimated at 2,000 racing fans enjoyed the 40 degree temperatures and sun on Sunday on Lake Alexander. Duard “Super” Callahan, Rueben Grund, and Dennis Grunewald were the only repeating champions at this year’s event. Pictured on page seven are this year’s world class titlists: Grund, Jolene Callahan, Mike Hommerding, Ken Utecht, Super Callahan and Gruenewald.
Despite temperatures in the minus teens, four brave snowmobilers are pictured on the front page on their way to Crivitz. Grant Peterson, Augie July, John Turner, and Freddie Latzig are all members of the Northwoods Tree Dodgers Snowmobile Club. Several brave members have annually undertaken such long trips and hope to break the club distance record of 706 miles.
The state Building Commission has approved construction of a fence around Lincoln Hills School and has opened bidding for the project. Plans are for a 14 foot high fence with a concertina overhang and a 15 foot wide road around the perimeter. Also included in the project is improved lighting and a new telephone system for the gatehouse. The fence was proposed as a solution to cut down on the number of increased runaways at the school and the subsequent crimes committed in the area by some of the runaways.
Efforts to replace the elected Street Commissioner with an appointed position has died once again on the council floor. Local resident Richard Ruge presented a petition signed by 399 persons asking the council to consider the item directly or place it on the ballot for the voters to decide. The petition however was over 100 signatures short of the 15 percent required for council action. Last December aldermen considered a similar resolution but the measure failed in a split vote. In other city council action a pay raise of 5.3 percent to all non-union employees was passed except for the mayor and alderman, and the council approved paving Taylor Street from Jefferson Street to Champagne Street for the purpose of improving access to the industrial park, the cost of which will be split with the Town of Merrill.
The Merrill wrestling team capped an undefeated season with a 24-19 win over Wisconsin Rapid’s last Thursday and swept to a first place finish in the Wisconsin Valley Conference on Saturday. The match Thursday on the home mats was a see-saw battle until heavyweight Kevin Steidinger took to the mat to take on Rapid’s Larry Scheidegger. Despite the fact that Scheidegger pinned Steidinger twice last year an enthusiastic Fieldhouse crowd brought the local youth from the bench breathing fire. Steidinger scored five quick points with a takedown and from there easily handled his opponent scoring a 16-2 victory. Merrill will host the regional WIAA tournament on Saturday.
A study is being conducted but according to Mayor Patsy Woller an expansion of the police department is long overdue. Located on the west side of the building the offices are inadequate according to the mayor with what is basically a hallway with an “L” on both sides. Woller is proposing instead to break up police offices through the building; the city hall be expanded to the east and a new police department be built there. In the future this would also allow a connection to the Sheriff’s Office across Court Street which would be closed to traffic. The proposed addition would cost taxpayers an estimated $750,000.
The Merrill school board will have to decide where to place the new elementary school and they have plenty of places to choose from. Possible sites include: Lion’s Park, the property that is currently occupied by St. Francis Church on West Tenth Street west of Genesee Street, a piece of property just south of Hillside Cathedral on North Pier St, a parcel of land on County Rd G at US Hwy 51, Grand Ave next to the area being developed as the MARC Center, and property on Riverside Ave on the south side of the Wisconsin River. The school board is also looking for ideas on what do with the Franklin and Lincoln School properties once the new school is built.