Fotos from the past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
The Lincoln County 4H Fair was the place to be last night as an estimated 9,000 people attended opening night. Carol Hackbarth, 17, was crowned 4-H queen by her predecessor Lori Duginski; Ms. Hackbarth, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Hackbarth of Route 6, will preside over the fair and serve as the 4-H goodwill ambassador for community events for the coming year. An expanded midway operated by Belle City Amusements was in full swing Tuesday evening with the traditional rides such as the Ferris wheel and the Tilt-a-Whirl while newly added rides including the Astro-liner and Flying Bob’s attracted the attention of many on the midway. The biggest event on the grounds was the music in front of the grandstand where the bands Head East and Black Oak Arkansas shared top billing on the stage. Head East played their latest chart toppers to two encores. Over 25 city police officers, deputy sheriffs, and private security guards patrolled the grounds and reported no problems despite the crowds. (From what I recall Head East was booked right before they hit it big and as they arrived in Merrill they were climbing the charts so they drew larger crowds, Black Oak Arkansas later became famous enough that acts such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seeger, and Bruce Springsteen used to open for them before eventually leaving them in the dust for stardom as Black Oak’s star faded)
The ROW Company has four full pages of ads in this week’s paper celebrating their grand opening of their newly remodeled facilities. The new showroom on south Prospect Street now features the Midwest’s largest window display of quality locally manufactured wood windows. Besides the specials in the store ROW is also having their annual tent sale out front with low prices on name brand power tools, lawn and garden equipment, and patio furniture along with a large display of appliances.
In briefs: Congressman Bob Kasten will campaign in Merrill tonight; the candidate for governor will attend a cocktail reception at Club Modern before he spends the rest of the evening at the fair meeting voters. Mr. and Mrs. Bob Seetan have been appointed the local coordinators for “People for Dreyfus,” the group seeking to get Lee Sherman Dreyfus elected governor this fall. District Attorney Richard Olson has recused himself from a criminal case involving a male corrections supervisor and a female student. Olson said he is friends with the supervisor. Judge Ronald Keberle has appointed Attorney Jerome Tlusty of Wausau as special prosecutor. The Merrill City Council heard arguments for the third time regarding the proposed annexation of land from the Town of Pine River. Henry Golde presented a petition against the annexation for a proposed shopping center believing it will lead to the erosion of the downtown. So far the city plan commission has refused to recommend the annexation of the property. In a similar city council matter a letter to the editor from Alderwoman Anita Geber calls the mayor to task for calling what she and the city attorney have considered an illegal meeting which was quickly canceled last week. The Assembly of God Church will hold a ground breaking for their new church building on Pier Street this Sunday. The church, who meets at Holy Cross Convent, has grown from 40 members to nearly 300, the new facility will be 14,000 square feet with seating for over 400. Janet O. Beyer has announced she will seek another term as the county Clerk of Courts. Beyer has held the top job for the last four and a half years, she states in her announcement that her office handles over 3,000 cases a year.
The fair is about to open and as a part of the big weekend of celebration an event from the Merrill Historical Society is challenging local photographers to capture “A day in the life of Merrill.” Best pictures will go on display in the museum in a special display to open in September; all entries will be kept in the museum’s archives for historical purposes.
In health care news: Sacred Heart Hospital in Tomahawk tells this week of their newly expanded services. In the last year the hospital has added cardiac rehabilitation, an inpatient counseling program for both youth and adults with substance abuse issues, expanded the facilities, and welcomed the newly built medical clinic across the parking lot from the hospital building as well as taking over operation of the ambulance service for the northern part of Tomahawk. Dr. M.Y. Ahmad of Merrill Medical Associates has announced he is using laser surgery in his medical practice. According to Dr. Ahmad the use of lasers is increasing in popularity due to their precision in cutting, easy clotting, and the ability to destroy cancer cells. State Representative Tom Ourada (R-Antigo) has announced he has been named to a special committee to oversee nursing home reimbursement. Ourada hopes to close the gap in between the skilled care provided at institutions such as Pine Crest and the pay they receive from the state. A new operating room light will soon grace the operating room at Good Samaritan Health Center. The $15,000 needed for the light was raised by the hospital’s annual golf outing. No one won the 1988 Olds Cutlass provided by Stark GM by getting a hole in one, but tournament organizer Neil Christensen came close with a tee shot that hit six inches from the cup, one hopped into the pin but then caromed away. Winner in the corporate challenge was the Foto News team led by Jim O’Day, John Lyon, Herb Heyne and John Thompson. The men’s scramble was captured by John Lyon, Bob Stine, Jack Gilkey and Russ Sukow and the women’s single winner was Phyllis Chilsen.
The Merrill and Corning Fire Departments battled flames this past Friday night at Thomas Material Handling on Taylor Street. The blaze was reported at 11:30 p.m., and when firefighters arrived they found flames through the roof and out the loading dock doors. Lt. Ned Seubert of the Merrill Police Department said his agency is working with the state fire marshal to determine the cause of the blaze.
Efforts to save the Ward Paper dam have created ripple effects down the stream. The city is working with the DNR in order to secure funding to save the dam and the lake behind it, but home owners south of the dam were told they may now be placed in a floodplain and insurance for that designation comes with a price. Kurt Helmstadter, the city alderman for the fourth ward, owns a home alongside of the river; he told committee members the cost for insurance is $200 per $20,000 that is insured. Meanwhile city officials are reported to be cringing at hushed reports coming from the now idled paper mill, where a worker crew from International Papers is doing repairs by pumping grout into cracks in the dam but the material is squirting out elsewhere as more concrete chips away.
County department heads and members of the county board made a little tour this past week to look at other justice centers throughout the state as they work to come up with a solution to the cramped jail and court facilities. The county is looking at possibly expanding the jail in the current parking lot, across the street in the newly acquired Lincoln School lot, or even at property outside of the downtown. Jails in Chippewa, Dunn, and Marathon counties were all toured with the largest being the operation in Menominee which now houses all court facilities, the jail, the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office, and the Menominee Police Department. John Reed, who heads the Marathon County Jail, points to their current expansion efforts but worries about the lack of space downtown Wausau is able to provide for future expansion. (Wait 20 years, I bet some large spaces across the street will be for sale in Wausau).