Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
What is being called a simple accounting error has led to tension between the treasurer of the Merrill Youth Center and the mayor and common council. Mrs. Monica Sybeldon called it a serious of accounting errors when she filed her annual report with city hall. Numbers on the report raised eyebrows at city hall over a discrepancy of $4860 between expenses and revenue. Sybeldon explained she failed to add on the cash on hand in the city report but pointed to the report she filed with the IRS. Sybeldon took the council to task noting she provided the written report to the mayor 28 days before the common council meeting on May 16th, she then heard nothing about the financial report until June 13th when the report was questioned and a request for an audit was made. Sybeldon told the council she was given two hours’ notice to prepare the report for the meeting the week prior and the error could have easily been rectified if someone had only contacted her before calling for the audit. For the record income for 1977 was $20,603 while expenses were $15,958, cash on hand was $1556 and the group has $3088 in savings.
Watch out for the Winnebago’s – so says the Central Wisconsin Polka Festival who kicks off their annual festival at the fairgrounds this weekend. It is expected over 100 of the portable campers will fill the grounds on the city’s east side starting tomorrow for the event which will run through Sunday. Music will be provided by the likes of Kaszuba Acres, Rosie and Reisman Trio, Chmielewski Brother, Jerry Voelker, Don Schleis, Louis Zdrazil, The Jolly Gentleman and the Swill Girls along with the Jay Tlusty Orchestra. Visitors to the city will enjoy tours of local industry including the Weinbrenner Shoe Factory, the House of Merrill and Ward Paper Mill, on Saturday evening a group supper will be held at Lincoln Lanes.
In area briefs: Classes are being held in the DeAngelis Room at Holy Cross Hospital this month to teach residents how to use the Heimlich Maneuver along with CPR. Dr. James Janowiak is leading the instruction of the classes which last about 45 minutes. The body of 14 year old Max Lohfink has been recovered after a drowning near the Milwaukee Road trestle north of West Main St. Lohfink was swimming with friends Friday when he jumped into the Wisconsin River intending on holding onto the pilings as he could not swim well but the current started carrying him down the river. Several friends attempted to save Lohfink but were not able to. One bystander ran to the fire station a block away which led one firemen to run to the scene while the others brought an ambulance. The search was eventually called off due to darkness and other hazards including river current. On Saturday morning Warden Don Manthei recovered Lohfink. A funeral was held Monday at Wistein’s Funeral Home and St. Francis Catholic Church, the youth was laid to rest at St. Francis Cemetery. Bethlehem Lutheran Church has welcomed a new pastor, Rev. James Primley will be installed at that church this Sunday, Primley has served as interim pastor since 1975, he was ordained in 1952.
News from Merrill Area Public Schools takes up the first two pages of this week’s paper. On the front page Merrill High School Principal Lanny Tibaldo is pictured with State Senator Lloyd Kincaid and Representative Tom Ourada as they present him with citations from the Wisconsin State Legislature after he was named Wisconsin’s Outstanding Principal for the “In Honor of Excellence” program. Tibaldo will travel to Miami in October to officially receive the recognition. On page two Ann Zimmerman receives her recognition as Support Person of the Year for MAPS. Ann has worked for MAPS for the last 21 years and is the principals secretary at the high school. In the nomination for the award it was stated that Ann has the respect of both students, peers, teachers and the administration staff of the school as she sometimes can be found working nights and weekends to make sure things are continuously running smoothly. Other support staff honored include: Sylvia Lemon, Teacher Aid of the year; Al Handlin, Custodian of the year; John Odegard, Transportation Person of the Year; Cleone Turner, Food Service Person of the Year; and Marge Giese, Open Catagaory Person of the Year.
Old City Hall may be saved after all. The building which has sat idle since city offices were moved to their current location in 1977 is under study by a developer from St. Paul, MN who wishes to change the building into apartments focused at the elderly. Current owner Strand Wedul is working with RPI Services who wishes to gut the building, extensively restore the outside and completely redo the interior of the building. The only stumbling block for the development is the lack of parking around the building but the developer and Wedul are meeting with the city this week in an attempt to resolve this issue.
In briefs: Jane Ann Savaske has joined the growing number of candidates seeking the Lincoln County Treasurer seat. Savaske will run on the Republican ticket in a primary which will be decided this September. Savaske has 15 years of banking experience most recently with M&I Bank. Florian Koehler is not seeking re-election for the county position, Savaske is one of five candidates on the GOP side of the ticket, no one has declared for the position on the Democratic side so far. County Board Chair Neil LeMay has died. LeMay died unexpectedly overnight at his Tomahawk home. LeMay was first elected to the board in 1970 and has served as its chair since 1976. He was to be inducted to the Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame this December. State Senator Lloyd Kincaid has announced he will seek re-election to his post this fall. Kincaid was first elected to the spot in 1983 in a special election and again in 1984. In his announcement Kincaid touted the four lane expressway between Portage and Merrill which now carries a speed limit of 65 MPH thanks to a bill he authored this last session.
The removal of the dam at the former Ward Paper Mill remains at the forefront of discussions both at the city and county level. County Board Chair Robert Sumnicht told the board last week that International Papers who owns the dam plans on removing the structure by October “but that isn’t going to happen” said Sumnicht. He said the removal of the dam will not occur until an environmental assessment is done on the impact both above and below the dam. Members of local government did go tour West Bend where a similar situation occurred and the previously water covered area was turned into a park. Caylor said he is convinced that if the dam is removed the area above it will not become a tag alder swamp as predicted.
The Lincoln County Board is pulling back on the reigns on plans to build or expand the jail. Supervisor Wallace “Red” Wurl the chair of the building committee told the group that the project needs a lot more input before they can hire an architect. (Only need to wait 10 more years for them to figure it out) John Mulder the county administrative coordinator is also seeking request for proposals for ambulance service on both ends of the county and to improve utilization of the county fairgrounds.