Fotos from the Past
A major change is coming at Church Mutual Insurance Company as Chairman of the Board Walter Schuster announces his retirement. Schuster has been with the company since 1945 and has held every executive position within it. When he began Church Mutual operated in just one state, and now they are in 26. Schuster is the only Chairman of the Board in the history of the company; he took on that position in 1971 when he promoted Dieter H. Nickel president of the company. Nickel will now hold both titles as he continues to lead the company which holds assets over $36 million dollars. When Schuster began with the company assets were less than half a million. Nickel also announced the promotion of Carol Holz to Vice-President – Service and Herbert Heyne as Vice-President – Marketing. Schuster will continue on the board of directors. (I have a good feeling about this and think this group will do well)
Local entrepreneur Al Woldt had a vision, $7000 thanks to Lincoln County Bank, and an empty building. Now two years later he owns one of the most successful nightclubs in the area, and as long as disco is going so will be Ali Baba’s. Woldt, a Vietnam veteran, was seeking a new trade after successfully reviving two Wausau based cocktail lounges when he had a chance meeting with Lincoln County Bank President Charles Eckerle. Soon Woldt found himself in possession of the idle bar and banquet hall on Merrill’s far east side. Woldt explains that thanks to the makeup of the building which include a banquet area for nearly 400, anyone can find something to do at his business. Al spends little time at the disco now since turning day to day operations over to his brother Randy to concentrate on his newly opened family restaurant near the new hospital in Wausau, something he promises will be another success story. How did the disco get its name? Al told that while he was working at the Steinhaus in Wausau some friends decided the name Al was too plain and after several variations he soon wore the moniker Ali Baba, a name he branded his new disco. (Found him online, looks like he is still in Wausau and still involved in many adventures.)
Ray Kloss of the County Highway Department is warning drivers to take it easy on the roads and watch out for changing conditions as his crews deal with spring flooding. Kloss said his crews were just getting things cleaned up when another round of winter weather dumped more white stuff on the area and added to the water flow over some local roads. Highway Commissioner Duane Gau has vowed to start filling in those pot holes as soon as the water recedes.
It is apparent that the members of the Merrill Area Board of Education approve of the concept of a middle school locally, but too many questions have yet to be answered before they are willing to move forward with the project. That was the consensus of the board after their meeting this past week. President of the Board, Les Voigt says money seems to be the biggest concern as it is usually with all projects. He is hoping the district will be able to prioritize its spending in the next few years so they can afford to move the project ahead. In the end, the administration team was allowed to keep studying the concept, but no specific time frame is on the table to move the project forward.
The annual Merrill Chamber of Commerce Business and Industry on Parade is this weekend at the Merrill Senior High School field house. A total of 60 businesses will be showing off their local pride. Demonstrations will be held throughout the day, and you can register for a chance for door prizes which include a trip to Las Vegas. (I counted 37 of the 60 businesses have changed owners or closed)
Voters will have plenty to choose from on the spring ballot next Tuesday including a non-binding referendum on the future of the Lincoln County Jail. Voters hope to guide the Lincoln County Board as they narrow down the choices as to the future of the Lincoln County Jail. Options include building on the skating rink on North Memorial Drive east of Pine Crest, across from the current jail on the Lincoln School now empty lot, or by adding on to the current jail. Some board members have called for a justice center with a price tag nearing $22 million dollars while others are hoping to add onto the existing jail, an issue which then brings into question the lack of parking near that site. Voters will also decide who will fill three seats on the school board and who will sit on the bench in the newly created Branch Two of the Lincoln County Court along with numerous town offices.