Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Two motorcycle accidents to the east of Merrill left a boy injured and a Wausau man dead. A 16 year old Merrill boy was struck from behind as he slowed to turn from County Rd W to Apartment St in the Town of Pine River. He was rushed by Merrill firemen to Holy Cross Hospital before he was taken to Wausau Hospital with a possible skull fracture. In the second incident a 25 year old Wausau man traveling north on State Rd 17 collided with the rear of a vehicle turning into a driveway near Barnes Creek Rd. The motorcycle rider was wearing a helmet but suffered severe chest injuries and later died at Holy Cross. That crash illustrated again the concern of residents in the area of Barnes Creek who feel the speed limit should be lowered after a series of fatal and serious injury crashes. Neighbors pledged once again to circulate petitions to request a lowered speed limit in the area and deliver them directly to State Senator Clifford Krueger and State Representative Sheehan Donoghue.
Tuesday was the start of the 46th annual Lincoln County 4H Free Fair. A picture on the front page of this week’s paper shows the midway lit up with the evening’s excitement. (The fair used to start on Tuesday and end on Friday.) Thursday is Merrill Day at the fair while Friday is Tomahawk Day. The animal judging begins on Wednesday afternoon with small animals before the big animal sale begins at 7:00 PM. Thursday night’s grandstand will feature a new addition to the fair, 4-wheel drive truck-pulls featuring four weight classes. On Friday night the fair ends with the traditional demo-derby starting at 8:00 PM. A story on page nine illustrates the efforts of the volunteers who keep the fair running each year, a picture shows Mrs. Ruth Koehler preparing carrots for the chicken soup at St. John’s stand.
By next Wednesday when the paper hits your doorstep Merrill will have a new choice for your grocery shopping. Freedom Foods Warehouse is located east of the City Limits on State Rd 64; it is set to August 8th. The store will introduce a new concept of buying habits for area consumers according to Pete Wood, currently the manager of the Black River Falls operation.
In what is being called the largest fund drive in Merrill history the Good Samaritan Health Center’s Board of Directors kicked off a capital campaign today. Bruce Skofronick, chairman of the board, and Ronald Nicklaus, chairman of the drive, announced the immediate goal is to raise $600,000 in order to meet the health care needs of the Merrill community. So far the employees of the hospital have pledged $25,000 to the drive and with two phone calls to local philanthropists another $125,000 was quickly raised. The renovation of the hospital will ease patient access to the south entry, create a separate entrance for the ambulance, and increase privacy by remodeling and expanding the emergency room and emergency parking area. Nicklaus hopes to have the funds on hand and changes begun by October 1st.
Chamber of Commerce President Gary Wright, Merrill Mayor Ken Sparr, and General Manager Don Beem are shown on page two cutting the ribbon to officially open the Merrill Wal-Mart. The company also immediately started giving back to the community by presenting checks to the Merrill United Way and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
In news briefs: Jay D. Wicke has been appointed to the Merrill Police Department. Wicke had been working as a dispatcher at the agency since 1986. He takes the spot left vacant by the retirement of Bruce N. Hass who served for 25 years and seven months. Joel Lillo has been installed as Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church on Sales St in Merrill. Lillo is a recent graduate of the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary at Mequon. (He is still spreading the word in Stephensville.) Dave’s Red Owl is celebrating their 14th anniversary. Besides spectacular sales throughout the store, shoppers can register for the grand prize of a five-minute shopping spree.
Hats off to local educator Henry Rathjen who has been awarded the Runner Up Award for the 1999 Correctional Education Teacher of the Year. Rathjen will mark 29 years working for DOC this fall and runs the schools foundry. He takes orders and ships products worldwide including Veteran’s Service memorabilia and grave markers. The Lincoln Hills Foundry was the only one authorized by President George (H.W.) Bush to make plaques for the armed service veterans of the Gulf War. Rathjen’s classroom has received many awards over the years. It teaches LHS students a trade and has been used as an example in Wisconsin’s vocational school system. Rathjen notes better than any award are his former students who are proud to be graduates of the program.