Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Hollywood in Merrill? Come on down to the Cosmo Theatre this Friday for the exclusive world premiere of the latest action packed film from Rebane Productions: The Capture of Big Foot. Show times are 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM nightly with a matinee scheduled for Sunday at 1:00 PM. Otto Settele is anticipating holding the movie until at least August 2nd. Much of the footage for the movie was filmed in Lincoln County. The film features stars such as Janus Raudkivi, Randolph Rebane, and Stafford Morgan. The movie centers around a small town which has made a cottage industry out of elusive sightings of the legendary Big Foot, however trouble soon develops when a greedy businessman tries to capture the giant creature for himself. (No Oscars, currently at 16% on Rotten Tomatoes)
A fire in downtown Merrill led to some very happy customers this past week. Members of the Merrill Chamber of Commerce watched on as chamber president James Rammer provided the flame to the building permit for Thelma’s Apparel. An extensive two month remodeling and expansion of the store has finished as Thelma’s took over the former Badger Paint store to expand their business by one third.
A feature story tells of Barney Johnston, local tavern owner and master woodworker. Barney, whose formal name is Byron, got his start working with wood when he hung around and later worked for a wood canoe manufacturer during his younger years in Antigo. He later went into business by himself selling his handmade canoes for $126 ($2300 today.) While not tending to his customers at Joyce’s Bar, Johnston has several projects going; he just built a large dollhouse sized church which sits in his backyard. The church has wooden pews, stained glass windows, and a spiral stair case to name a few of the tiny staples. Barney is working on collecting small wooden figurines in order to build a large congregation. His yard also contains a wooden playhouse he built for his granddaughter two years ago. That is equipped with carpet, air conditioning and is fully insulated for winters. When his granddaughter decided she wanted a dog he built a matching dog house next door. At the age of 80 Barney is not slowing down at all, sometimes spending up to 12 hours a day working on some of his projects. (An interesting character and his wooden structures still remain)
Welcome to the neighborhood, that is the word from businesses that surround the new Merrill Wal-Mart store, whose official opening date has been set for August 1st. The owners or managers of River Valley State Bank, Wisconsin Public Service, Pine Ridge Restaurant, 3’s Company, Pine Ridge Mobil, Best Western Pine Ridge Inn, and Carl’s Foodlane all enjoyed some cake baked at Carl’s as they stopped by for a visit with the manager of the store, Don Beam and his staff. All Merrill residents are invited to join local VIPs and Wal-Mart executives for the ribbon cutting at 9:00 AM on the 1st. The 51,985 square foot store will feature one stop shopping in 51 departments.
The starting salary for a MAPS teacher will be $19,975 this year with a raise of 6.2% thanks to a recent contract settlement with the district. The contract calls for cash incentives if the district’s health and dental insurance costs are less than estimated. However, the district may lose some teachers as the district added an incentive program to allow teachers to retire at the age of 55 with 15 years of employment. In 1990 employees must be 57 in order to retire at full benefits from the state. The district will also provide health insurance until the age of 65 for those employees with enough accumulated sick leave credits.
Belle City Amusements will be coming to town this week as the Lincoln County 4H fair opens. Attractions in the grandstand include a tractor pull, a truck pull, and the demo derbies on Sunday that will include two shows. Music from the band the Cheeters will be featured Thursday evening.
Big round bales of hay are shown on page one as they await being packed away for the season. Farmers are complaining that drenching rains through July have left the task of harvesting hay very difficult.
Some furry residents are very grateful this evening to Elva and Roger Heggblom of the Town of Merrill. The couple and their “big, old grey cat” heard the Lincoln County Humane Society was in need of some cash for emergency repairs to the shelter. The Heggbloms decided to drop off a check for a staggering $15,000 ($22,000 today) which is pictured being presented to shelter manager Angie Hartson. The Heggbloms have previously generously supported the MARC Center and Merrill Historical Society.