Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Now that the potential purchase has gone through proper channels, the city council is poised to once again consider the purchase of the building known as the offices of Dr. Kendall at 705 E. 1st St. The common council approved the purchase last month, but that measure was vetoed by Mayor Patrick Nugent who opposed the transaction because it was not run through the City Planning Commission, which would be the proper committee to oversee this purchase. Last Tuesday the City Plan group did approve the purchase and on Monday, the personnel and finance committee did the same, although City Clerk Robert Klug pointed out that the city will likely have to bond to find funds for the purchase. Now the question remains on what will be done with the property if the sale goes through. Some hope to lease or give the property to the Merrill Housing Authority who will likely use it for parking for the nearby high rise apartment complex that is being built. The city could retain it for its own parking lot to offset parking spots lost when the Scott Street public parking lot was used for the high rise, or according to Stanley Frisch of the Police and Fire Commission, it could be used for what he envisions as a central fire station built on to the existing station next door. Based on comments from aldermen the easy part should be voting to purchase the property next week while the hard part will be deciding what to eventually use the land for.
Paul Imler has resigned as Lincoln Hills Superintendent. Imler has held the post since the facility opened in 1970 but has been on a leave of absence due to health reasons since July when John Ross was appointed interim superintendent, a role he will continue in pending the appointment of a permanent replacement. Imler will continue with DOC as he has assumed the role of institutional representative for the mutual agreement program between four correctional institutes within northern and western Wisconsin.
The law offices of Nienow and Guenzl have announced that Craig Nienow has graduated from law school and now joined the firm. Nienow is a graduate of Merrill Senior High School and previously taught science and metrology at Wausau West High School after obtaining his BA in science from University of Wisconsin. He received his juris doctorate from the University of Idaho. He and his wife Jeanne reside at Route 7 in Merrill.
The weekly profile on local businesses features Bill Helmstadter, master jeweler and owner of Helmstadter’s Jewelry in downtown Merrill. The article notes that Helmstadter looks more like a football player in person then a skilled jeweler hunched over his work bench working with tools not much larger than a tweezers. Helmstadter began his career at the former Elgin Watchmakers College and apprenticed in Reedsburg and Milwaukee before heading north once he was licensed as a watchmaker. He was employed briefly at a jewelry store in Wausau before he opened his own business in Merrill in May of 1956. Helmstadter said he is amazed at how readily people still buy jewelry even in these tough economic times; he considers diamonds and gold an investment noting how just five years ago gold was selling for $35 an ounce but now it has shot up to $220 an ounce. (I think Bill would even be more shocked with gold trading at $1196 an ounce as of today.) Helmstadter notes his desire to work with new customers, offering a 20% discount on wedding rings for first time couples. He said he is able to work much closer with customers since taking on Dale Klug who is now in charge of the watch repairs while he concentrates on counter sales.
Another week and another great event for shoppers thanks to the Chamber of Commerce. Stores in Merrill will be open tomorrow until 9 p.m. as shoppers find bargains under the “Harvest Moon.” Besides the bargains a mystery shopper will find 24 shoppers in local stores and provide them with a random envelope each with a prize with the grand prize being two Packer tickets and a motor coach bus ride to the game. (The Packers were 4-12 on the season –maybe hope for the second place prize, tickets to the Blue Jay game and stadium blanket)
It is a new innovation in the movie rental business as Gold N Way Video, formerly known as Wally’s Video on South Park Street now offers a drive up window. You can call ahead for your rental choices and Wally will have the whole works ready for you when you drive up. You can also drop off movies using the window as well. Gold N Way also has kid’s movies for .50 and Nintendo games for just $1 for members.
Sixteen year old Dorothy Ellenbecker has died from injuries she sustained last Monday in an incident on North Center Avenue. Police surmised that Ellenbecker grabbed onto the side of a conversion van being driven by a friend as the friend left the parking lot of a business. When the van turned onto North Center Avenue Ellenbecker was thrown from the van suffering head injuries. Ellenbecker was rushed to UW Madison Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries this past Thursday. The Merrill High School senior was buried at St. Francis Cemetery after services this past Saturday.
It’s official, the bridge over the Prairie River is now open on the north side of Merrill. The span was closed for most of the summer as it was replaced leaving many businesses on both sides of the bridge looking for lost customers. State Senator Roger Breske, Representative Tom Ourada, and Mayor Mike Caylor were among the dignitaries who cut the ribbon on the span last Friday; the Merrill Vocal Jayz sang the National Anthem and the group enjoyed a program at the Eagle’s Club once the bridge was officially opened.
A. Joe Fink is now officially the postmaster in Merrill. Fink was sworn in this past Friday after serving in a similar position in Mosinee. He began his career with the post office as a mail clerk in Florida in 1979 and has moved up (and north) since then. Fink has also served post offices in Tomahawk, Schofield and Crandon before coming to Merrill, a place he plans on calling home permanently. (He still does.)
October is National Restaurant Month and the following area restaurants are advertising on a two page spread: Chip’s on North Center Avenue featuring charbroiled burgers for over 25 years, The Arena on South Center Avenue has Karaoke every Friday and daily dinner specials including prime rib for $9.99 on Saturdays, Pine Ridge Family Restaurant offers a T-bone steak breakfast special for just $9.95 and is open 24 hours, Highway 51 Truck Stop has a buffet every lunch and dinner and is open for 24 hours off of Highway 51 south of Merrill, Club Modern is in their 31st year and serves a complete menu in their newly remodeled facility seven days a week, Burger King is home of the Whopper where it is just .99 every Wednesday, Ed & Sharon’s has broasted chicken every day and prime rub on Saturday and Sunday, Diamond Dave’s in Merrill’s Pine Ridge shopping complex is a Tex-Mex restaurant with a complete bar, the Eagle’s Club serves dinner Tuesday and Friday and has a hall ready to rent for weddings and other functions. Harry-O’s on Pinewood Drive has a daily lunch and a Friday fish buffet, Champ’s Restaurant is home of Merrill’s best breakfast and is served every morning starting at 5 a.m. Destination Bar and Grill is on County Rd. F and has a fish fry all day on Friday as well as their chicken specials Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, Kozy Korner has daily lunch and dinner specials and is open every day until two, at X to C you will find casual dining and daily specials including their famous ribs on Monday with liver and onions, 3’s Company on Merrill’s East side features all you can eat specials at lunch and dinner specials daily with happy hour from 3-6 weeknights.