Fotos from the past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
Mayor Patrick Nugent has sent another message to the common council, live within your means. Nugent vetoed an action by the council to hire a full time dispatcher in the fire department. “It’s the old question of where is the money going to come from,” said Nugent in an interview. Nugent said he has been warning department heads and officials that the city is spending more than its ability to pay. The city has seen a huge loss in the assessed valuation, and levy limits imposed by the state make it impossible to make up the difference through property taxes. The city is hoping to get an increase from the state in shared revenue but that increase in state cash is not guaranteed. Nugent told the paper that the long range effect of the new position will be $87,947 over ten years, and he feels the city cannot afford any new positions at this time as he looks to trim the budget and borrow to pay for things such as public works improvements.
Nugent’s predecessor, Ralph “Fata” Voigt will be honored at a Merrill Chamber event called “A Tribute to Fata” next Wednesday. The dinner will be held at Lincoln Lanes and the Swing Band will perform during the cocktail hour. Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier will be the keynote speaker at the dinner. Mayor John Kannenberg of Wausau will emcee the event. The event is a testimonial to Voigt’s 26 years of service to Merrill as an elected official. Tickets are only sold in advance and can be purchased from the chamber or city clerk’s office for $6.
The Merrill Blue Jay football team will head down to Schofield this Saturday for an afternoon contest coming off their 7-6 win over Marshfield one week prior. The squad at D.C. Everest has only scored 23 points the entire season and caught their first win last Saturday in a 10-0 victory over Wausau West, but Merrill Coach Ira Rebella does not consider them a pushover. The Blue Jays bring six conference wins into the contest at Stiehm Stadium. In the win over Marshfield Rebella declared Bob Grefe as back of the week, Kevin Kunkel was lineman of the week, and Steve Saal received the offensive player of the week nod.
Entertainment and business notes this week include two new businesses. The Slope tavern has opened at 410 E. 2nd St. They will have a grand opening celebration tonight that includes free beer and food. The bar features a brand new mirrored dance floor and expanded recreational facilities. (Now Advanced Foot and Ankle Center) Mike and Robin’s is now at the former Am and Elly’s (now Collin’s Bar) located at 2501 W. Main St. They offer tap beer for just .15 and mixed drinks half price during happy hour. Merrill Federal Savings and Loan invites you to stop in and check out their newly remodeled facilities on Main Street. They will have gifts for every new customer and a drawing for four major gifts. Mrs. Kay Ronis is the lucky winner at Hargrave Appliance Center. The store was recently celebrating their anniversary and gave away at Tappan Deluxe Microwave Oven in a drawing. Mrs. Ronis is pictured with Rick Hargrave and her prize (which appears to be as big as a small automobile).
Former State Senator Clifford “Tiny” Krueger, heralded as the “voice of the north,” has died at the age of 70. Krueger passed away Saturday at Wausau Hospital after a lingering illness. He served 34 years as the representative of the state’s 12th Senate District. Even though Krueger was a Republican he was well known for his cooperation across party lines with both his fellow legislatures and the states governors. Krueger was born in Madison but grew up in Merrill and graduated from high school here and the former Merrill Business College. As a young man he was fascinated with the circus and during the summers of 1937-1938 he joined the Seils-Sterling Circus. Weighing 425 pounds he performed as the fat boy. Krueger cited his time in the circus for allowing him to overcome his shyness and gain a compassion for others. First elected alderman in the city of Merrill, Krueger began his political career in 1945. He also owned “Tiny’s Bar” a block from the court house. At the age of 28 he was elected to the State Senate, a post he would hold for 34 years. Krueger’s funeral was held yesterday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Merrill; he was buried at Merrill Memorial Park where Governor Tommy Thompson gave a graveside eulogy. Before being laid to rest Krueger’s son Mike placed sawdust on the floor of his grave, a symbol of Krueger’s humble beginnings in the circus where the grounds were often covered in sawdust.
Sheriff Ron Krueger is pictured handing over the keys to HAVEN coordinator Judy Woller who will now have office space in the basement of the Lincoln County Safety Building. HAVEN will have office hours every Friday in the new offices as they look to expand their services in the county along with Lincoln County Social Services. If you are in need of their services HAVEN has 35 phone bank volunteers and six volunteer drivers who can drive you to a safe house in the case of a domestic emergency.
The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors has approved the 1989 county budget which includes a raise of $1.5 million dollars in property taxes from 1988. The total budget is $15.4 million but would have been larger according to County Clerk Liz McHenry if it were not for the ½ % county sales tax, which is used to offset shortages. The biggest hit to the budget came by way of a loss of $6 million in equalized value. The largest increase to the budget is Lincoln County Social Services who will use $985,000 for a pilot program with MAPS to target at risk teens at the Junior High level. The Highway Department also saw an increase of $740,000 of which $460,000 is earmarked for new equipment. That increase will be offset by $781,371 in surplus funds that the Highway Department has. A public hearing on the budget will be held on Nov. 15.
A Midway Elementary student was killed Monday when she was struck by a school bus outside of her Town of Schley home. Details are sketchy as to the cause of the early morning incident which took place as the girl and her siblings were boarding the bus on County Rd. C.
Officials at Merrill Area Public Schools are trying to figure out why events surrounding homecoming were so sparsely attended. Student organizers feel poor planning contributed to the poor showing at the events surrounding Homecoming. The parade was canceled as was the Saturday dance. A pep rally was held on the Friday before the game, the school and local businesses were decorated as a way to capture the spirit of things. The popular “Powder Puff” game was switched to a different day than it was traditionally held and that led to some confusion. Student organizers stated that a lot of students wanted more activities such as the dance to be held, but no one would step up to help plan.
The voters of Lincoln County will have a say on the construction of the proposed new jail, sort of. The County Board voted Tuesday to forward a non-binding referendum to the voters in February to vote on the location of the building, but the board would not allow a referendum question to set a cap on a budget for the proposed center which has been priced anywhere from $15 to $19 million. The current jail is over capacity and the county is seeking to build a justice center which would hold a new jail and sheriff’s office. Downtown merchants have been lobbying the board for some time to keep the facilities downtown and board member Melissa Schroeder led the charge to send the measure to voters, but her plans were watered down when the board voted to make the referendum non-binding and not allow the cap question. Schroeder also proposed moving all meetings to evening hours to accommodate more residents while the jail debate is ongoing, that measure was also defeated.