Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Tragedy struck at a charity softball game this past weekend, and a 20 year old Merrill man is clinging to life at the Wausau Hospital Center. Steven Walsh, 111 Park St in Merrill, was playing as a member of the Gene Block Insurance softball team when he collided with a fellow outfielder as the pair chased a fly ball. Merrill Police Officer Ned Seubert was on duty and at the park when the accident happened and he immediately summoned ambulance crews to the scene. Both men were transported to Holy Cross Hospital; Walsh was later rushed to Wausau while his team member was treated and released. Walsh, a 1977 graduate of Merrill High School is married to the former Reghan O’Day, daughter of Foto News Publisher L. James O’Day. Mr. Walsh has a daughter Erin and works for the Ward Paper Mill.
The State of Wisconsin is promising that the gasoline shortage is lessening and consumers should start seeing a change at the pump. A truck driver strike caused the shortage and threatened northern Wisconsin’s tourist industry. Some stations limited fill ups to just $10 (that probably filled most of the tank back then). In some areas of the state Troopers from the Wisconsin State Patrol along with Wisconsin National Guardsman were put on alert to escort tanker trucks if the conditions worsened, and most tankers on the highway found police waiting at the county lines to escort them safely. Locally Lee’s Mobil has a full supply of fuel and will be open during their regular hours this weekend. Across the street at Joe’s Standard they think they have enough gas to make it to the end of the month but are not sure if they will see another tanker once July rolls around. Schaper’s Service Station (308 Grand Ave) is out of gas completely.
In briefs: Merrill Police are seeking clues after a burglary was reported at the pool. Someone broke into the building Monday night and made off with $140 in cash (nearly $500 today). The walls have now gone up and interviews are scheduled for next week for what will be Merrill’s newest supermarket, Freedom Foods, who are building on the east side of town in the Pine Ridge Oasis. Is it a little cold for you to go out for libations in the winter? Don’t worry about the cold with Dave’s Club 107’s New Year’s in June celebration this Saturday. Pitchers of beer will be just $1 and disco music will play all night.
State Senator Clifford “Tiny” Krueger (R-Merrill) was honored by his colleagues for his support of the recent state budget. Krueger sits in the minority party in Madison but reached across the aisle to help facilitate and pass a budget. The budget involves $12 billion dollars in shared revenue, money that was greatly sought after by both sides for their districts. (Every politician could learn a thing or two from Tiny.)
The Merrill Fire Department presented a plaque this past week to Dr. Ole Ravn for his contributions to their EMT program over the years. Ravn is retiring this summer and the department wanted to recognize Ravn for guiding the program over the years as the EMTs advanced with their skill levels. Pictured presenting the recognition is Fire Chief Harvey Emanuel as Dr. Steven Dahm and former emergency room director Kay Slewitzke look on.
Things are getting interesting at the Lincoln County Highway Department after Superintendent of Roads Ray Kloss submitted his resignation. In a letter to the editor Kloss disputes what the county board called an emergency by calling a special election in order to fill his position. In the letter Kloss said he provided the Highway Commissioner with proper notice that he would take vacation the month of July and be retired as of August 1st. Kloss went on in his letter to ask the county if they were getting the most of their commissioner by alleging his now former boss spends working hours golfing or sitting in a tavern while shirking his duties such as engineering, something he has been trying to farm out to the private sector. (The County Board every two years based on applications elected the commissioner at the time.)
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has allocated funds to continue the expansion of the four lane highway around Tomahawk. The first phase of the project will involve a $1.48 million dollar diamond interchange at the County Rd A exit. Speed limits on the road will be reduced through the summer as crews work on the intersection and the grading of future four lane portions from County Rd S to the north. The expansion is expected to be completed by October.