Fotos from the Past
Perfect fall weather and a mix of contested races brought a large percentage of voters to the polls yesterday. In Merrill alone, City Clerk Bob Klug reports 73% voter turnout. The top statewide matter on the ballot was the office of governor where acting Governor Martin Schreiber was defeated by UW Stevens Point Chancellor Lee Sherman Dreyfus. The Dreyfus victory was a surprise in the state where he came in with 120,000 votes more than Schreiber, in Lincoln County he was selected 5,841 to 3,075. Republican Sheehan Donoghue will return to the state house after a tough challenge by newcomer Sandra Polinski-Sheehan. Polinski polled very well in Langlade County where she came within 113 votes of Donoghue, in Oneida County the incumbent only came out 10 votes ahead, but in her native Lincoln County, Donoghue blasted Polinski by nearly 2,000 votes giving her a fourth term representing the district. Dave Obey scored a narrow victory in Lincoln County over Vinton Vesta of Hayward but fared better in the district. On the county level incumbent Sheriff Ron Krueger defeated Harry Owens 6,955 to 1,662 and Florian Koehler defeated challenger Donald “John” English for the county treasurer post.
This week’s business profile is on local mechanic and business owner Joe Thomaschesky, owner of two service stations. Thomaschesky explained he began working on mechanical things by following in his father’s footsteps, a farmer and mechanic to his friends and neighbors. After graduating from high school Joe did farm work, logging along with a variety of odd jobs before Uncle Sam found him a job overseas serving our country. Once he returned to the United States Thomaschesky worked for a friend who owned a service station before eventually buying the station in 1965. As of last year Thomaschesky expanded and bought a second station on North Center Avenue. A member of Trinity Lutheran Church Thomaschesky keeps busy outside of work with sports such as snowmobiling, golf, and slow-pitch. He and his wife Marlene live on Riverside Avenue with their three children. (Still has his hands in the automotive industry, they are just a bit cleaner now as he delivers for NAPA)
Sacred Heart Hospital in Tomahawk is moving up into the modern age by installing phones in each of the patient rooms in the facility. The archaic system became two overwhelmed by the many users and forced the hospital to install 120 phone lines. In polling patients the hospital reported having a working phone in the room was the number one request. Patients are still able to use pay phones located in each nursing unit. Because patients can easily be reached the hospital has also changed their visitor policy now only allowing visitors between 1:30 and 8:30 p.m. except in special needs cases.
One thing that was learned last night after all the votes were counted, Lincoln County does not follow the trend in the nation or sometimes the district or state when it comes to choosing their representative. Voters in Lincoln County chose Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis and his running mate Senator Lloyd Bentsen to be the 41st President of the United States, echoing the wishes of the rest of the voters in the state. Dukakis will have trouble filling that role however as the nation voted 53.4% for George Bush and his running mate Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana, compared to 45.6% for Dukakis. Bush became the first sitting vice-president to be elected president since Martin Van Buren in 1836 as well as the first person to succeed someone from his own party to the presidency via election to the office in his own right since Herbert Hoover in 1929. Voters also chose Susan Engeleiter to replace William Proxmire in the United State Senate, but the state had other things in mind choosing instead Herb Kohl for the six year term. Congressman Dave Obey held off a challenge by Kevin Hermening both in Lincoln County and district wide sending him back for another term. In the 12 District Senate race a see-saw battle through the night saw incumbent Lloyd Kincaid defeating Republican challenger Joe Handrick by 8%, although Handrick came out on top in Lincoln County in the final tally. The only change on the county level is the new County Treasurer Jan Lemmer who is replacing the retiring Florian Koehler, she defeated Jane Savaske in a very close race with the vote tallies in the city wards putting her over the top.
Another Merrill on the Move awards banquet is in the books, the MOM banquet is yet another event held by our local chamber to recognize those who serve the community the best. The Ambassador Award went to Eugene “Skipper” Schulz, a retiree of the Weinbrenner Shoe Company who is very actively involved in the community with deep interest, the church, the VFW, the Boy Scouts and the Silver M Club. The Hall of Fame Award was presented to retired attorney Len Schmitt who because of his actions has made Merrill a better place to live. A native of Plover, Schmitt attended the University of Wisconsin and served as Lincoln County District Attorney from 1931 to 1937 and ran for governor of Wisconsin and for senate when his opponent was Joe McCarthy in the Republican primary in 1950. The past president award went to Bruce Boettcher who has been very active in the chamber and boasts signing up 30 new members during his tenure as president of the group. The Merrill-on-the-Move Individual award went to Judge Donald E. Schnabel. He too served as district attorney of Lincoln County from 1937 up until he was elected judge in 1955. Schnabel recently retired but still serves as an acting judge in the area. During his tenure in office he was instrumental in bringing Lincoln Hills School to Lincoln County and worked closely with Lincoln County in developing Tug Lake as a recreation area. Paula Ashbeck, daughter of Norbert and Anne Ashbeck is the winner of the MOM Youth Award. Besides being at the top of her class academically she is also one of the student drum majors of the Merrill Marching Jays. Mayor Ken Sparr presented one heroism award at the banquet, he cited Michael Schneider (Junior) for his heroic efforts to save a drowning youth who was swimming off a sixth ward trestle bridge. Former Merrill resident Gary Bienfang received the heroism award posthumously, he was honored for his efforts to save the life of a suicidal neighbor while living in Texas in 1984. When Bienfang rushed to the woman’s aid she turned the gun on him, costing him his life. His award was accepted by his father George Bienfang and his mother Carol Pester.
Stories and a cartoon are filling the sports section about the upcoming hunt. Once again the DNR is predicting a record breaking harvest during the nine day gun deer season. The best hunting will be found north of State Rd. 64 according to the DNR and they have handed out extra doe tags this year to help quell the expanding population. (Some of you laughed at this I know)
In what was once a list that neared double digits the future site of the expanded Lincoln County Jail or even completely new justice center has been narrowed down to four locations. Building Committee Chairman Wallace “Red” Wurl said he expects the county to go on a tour of all surrounding townships and groups who want to weigh in on the plans. The four proposed sites still on the table are the former Lincoln School location, the skating rink area at Sixth and Memorial Drive, the current jail parking lot (winner-winner) or now a new possible location, an open 16 acre parcel of land near Church Mutual off of County Rd G. Sites that have been removed from the potential locations include property near Schulz’s Recycling – deemed unusable; Thielman Street property – city refuses to annex the land and it must be in the city limits per statute; and Simon Farm alongside of Grand Avenue near the MARC complex was also rejected. Wurl stated that the meeting Thursday morning is just one in the long (ten year) process before the new safety building is built.
The Merrill Bowling Hall of Fame will hold its 15th annual induction ceremony at the Eagle’s Club this Saturday. Inductees include Bev Hinz, she has been involved in the local leagues for 26 years and served as league secretary for many years; Jim Bares is the owner of Lincoln Lanes, he has been representing many groups and boards since the late 1960s and has been a charter member of the Hall of Fame, he has sponsored many teams over the years including the youth bowling league, his high game was a 274 with his high series being a 696. (He has improved since then with much practice) Kathy Graap will accept the induction of her late husband Dennis “Boomer” Graap, Boomer fired one of the first 300 games in Merrill in 1988 and followed it up with a 299 a year later. He has had 14 series of 700 or more points in his career and cross the 600 mark over 170 times. Boomer started the Saturday Eagle’s League. Don Hoff is the final inductee, he broke the 700 barrier in 1986 when he rolled a 719 series that included a 299 game, and as recently as last year hit a 747 series. He has been a member of the MBA since 1961 and has been past president and vice-president of the All Lutheran Bowling Association of Wisconsin.