Fotos from the past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Lincoln County has officially acquired new property with the purchase of the former Assembly of God Church. Pat Bucket was the real estate agent who brokered the sale between the church and the county; he is pictured on page one along with the Rev. Arni Jacobson, County Clerk Ken Oldenburg, and Corp Counsel John Smith. The Assembly of God Church will meet at Holy Cross Convent Chapel until their new church is built, while the 8th Street building will house the UW Extension offices, Soil Conservation, US Agriculture and Nursing Services as of March 1. The cost to the county was $225,000.
Besides the five running for mayor, the ballot will be full with multiple candidates running for city, school and county offices. For school board Robert St. Clair, Edward Norris, Diane Mikkelson and Elmer Kahre will challenge incumbents Roger Gutknecht and Roger Zuelsdorf. Phillip Erickson is facing a challenge from Donald Hanneman for Street Commissioner. City Clerk Robert Klug and Treasurer Alvin Saeger are running unopposed as is newcomer Michael Ravn who is seeking the City Attorney spot. First ward alderman Jean Rogers is facing a challenge from Janice Plamann, Victor Batchelder and Arthur Pauck have filed for the fifth ward spot, and Gilbert Sabatke will be opposed by Harry DuFrame in the sixth ward. No one has filed for the 16th district of the county board in the city’s ninth ward. In district one Stanley Vaughn will be challenged by Ernest Townsend, Ewald Katke will be opposed by Nicholas Hoffman in district six, Carolyn Meyers and Robert Weaver will square off for district nine, and in the sixth ward Nancy Ann Polak is challenging incumbent Bert Strassman. A primary will be needed for the county’s 10th district where Harold Hanson, Walter Kienbaum, George Knospe and Lester Heckendorf have all filed papers for the job. A forum for the five mayoral candidates will be held Monday the 9th of February at the American Legion building, all candidates have been invited.
In news briefs: Merrill Police Officers Jack Kleinschmidt and Ned Severt (sorry, Ned Seubert, that is the way they spelled it then, can’t correct history) recovered a vehicle which was stolen from a home on Wisconsin Street and the driver is being held. Holy Cross Hospital has lifted its visitor ban now that the flu has subsided, but you are asked to use common sense and not visit patients if you yourself are sick. The City Council has approved the first union contract of 1979 with the street/water/park workers getting a 6% raise with the new contract which also calls for a .15 cent increase for longevity. Steve and Carol Zoellner have taken over ownership of Green’s Flower Shop. An ad on page nine announces the change as former owners Clare and Carol Gretbeck wish them well and thank their customers. Want to experience Europe with a worry free guided 15 day tour? Rev. Dale Kuck is seeking people to accompany him on a trip to Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, France and Holland. For details he can be reached at the parsonage at St. Stephen’s.
The annual Spring Thaw promotion is in full swing in the Foto News and two weeks’ worth of winners is listed. If you have not signed up there are two more weeks of drawings left before the grand prize winner of a seven day trip to Orlando, Florida is picked. If you did not sign up yet you can still drop your entry at one of these fine local businesses: Diamond Dave’s, Travel World, Foto News, Campbells, Courtside Furniture, Carl’s Foodlane, Estelle’s, Hargrave’s Appliance, LV&AV’s Country Fare, Hair for All, Johnson Pharmacy, Electrical Wiring and Supply, Drew’s Supermarkets, 3’s Company, Weinbrenner Shoe Outlet, Fowler Drug, Hardee’s, Phil Ziesmer Photography, Leisure Travel, Fairway Supper Club, Gold N’ Way Video, and Brose’s Flower Center.
The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors has once again demonstrated their devotion to the Lincoln County Fair by donating $7,500 to the Lincoln County 4H Fair Board. This year is the centennial year for the fair and the fair board wants to have an extra special celebration. Besides the usual grandstand attractions the group wants to bring in a nationally known act and estimated the total costs of shows this year would range up to $33,000 ($125,000 today). The board also instructed the Land and Forestry Committee to begin negotiations with the City of Merrill to sell the municipality Normal Park. The park lies on North Center Avenue in the city but is owned and maintained by the county. The Merrill Park and Rec Committee wants to install horseshoe and volley ball pits there. There is no timetable in place for the transfer of the land, but the county board has expressed that it is not interested in investing additional monies into the parcel of land.
In news briefs: Everyone is still digging out from last night’s snow storm. Seven inches of fresh snow fell on the area, closing schools. The Wisconsin DOT has announced that the stretch of roadway north of State Rd. 64 is no longer known as County Rd. W. That stretch of road will be designated as State Rd. 17. The area that runs out of the city past the Junior High and Church Mutual will now be known as County Rd. G. The top new releases to rent, Platoon and Predator, will be available Friday at Lincoln Video on Merrill’s West side. In an ad on page 10, Mark Nelson, owner-broker, is looking to sell the Lincoln House in downtown Merrill. The 22 apartments, cocktail lounge, restaurant, and office suites provides annual rental income of $53,000. Early birds can get their golf membership at a discount if they submit the request now. A year membership at the Merrill Golf Course is $400 per year for a single. Congrats to Joyce “Totsy” Kleinschmidt as she retires from Fox Point after 43 years of service.
The Merrill Common Council has approved a plan to widen Second Street east of the high school but they are not interested in switching it back to two way traffic. A study by the DOT found that by making 12 foot traffic lanes the street could easily go back to the old way of two way traffic but the council felt it should remain as is. The planned reconstruction of the area may not take place until the 21st century but may begin sooner if the money is found on the state level.
In what he calls “an uninformed piece of yellow journalism,” former hired consultant Greg LaFond pens a letter to the editor taking exception to recent articles printed in the Foto News by reporter D.W. Pfister. LaFond worked for the company the city hired to study the finances and operations of the city. LaFond requests that the electorate of the city not be bamboozled by the articles. LaFond stated in closing that he has full faith in the voters, not a “half-baked fiction writer.” (LaFond went on to become city administrator of Altoona; you can read how that went in State Supreme Court decisions found online.)