Fotos from the Past
Local law enforcement has been kept busy this past week with several incidents. Four juveniles remain AWOL from Lincoln Hills School in Irma after walking away from the facility this past week. The four males left in two separate incidents on Monday and Tuesday heading east from the school grounds. Deputies are trying to determine who is responsible for damaging a large billboard north of the city that encourages motorists not to patronize certain businesses in Merrill for not using union labor during their construction. The billboard, which was paid for by several organizations including the Teamsters, has been vandalized twice in the last month, but this past Monday someone used gray paint to completely cover the sign. The value of the sign was put at $800. The State Patrol is reminding motorists that to contact a trooper they can use channel 19 or 9 as all troopers now have CB’s in their cars.
When her home started on fire last week Cathy Johnson expected the fire department to come, she just didn’t think it would be staffed by Jerry, John and Gary. Johnson owns one of the 61 trailer homes inside of the Little Florida Trailer Court on Pope Rd. The 1950 FMC pumper truck was purchased by the trio earlier this summer from a friend who had previously purchased the engine from the Miller Brewing Company. A bargain at $750, the boys intended on using it to water lawns. But when flames broke out at Johnson’s trailer she went to dial the fire department as the boys swung into action. Finding flames rolling out from the northeast side of the building, they used the truck’s 500 gallons of water to extinguish the flames before firefighters from Merrill arrived. Firefighters did remove sections of the metal siding to put out pocket fires in the walls, but the inside of the trailer was limited to smoke damage. The Geiss brothers stress that they are not starting a fire department with their new purchase and encouraged park residents to call the fire department if they need help. (I hope their wives took it better than mine did when they brought THEIR fire engine home for the first time)
The Merrill Common Council had a busy night last night approving a series of ordinances. Mayor Ken Sparr called for the new ordinance regarding parking of semi-trucks in the city. Under the new ordinance the only reason a truck can legally park on a city street is to load or unload product. The council also approved a change to the ordinance regarding truancy from schools, allowing the courts to suspend the truant’s driver’s license for up to 90 days and provide counseling. Aldermen also approved a lease with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections to move the probation and parole offices from the court house to city hall. This was in response to space crunch issues at the courthouse; Lee Wegner and Lynn Muhvich are the probation officers in the county. Several petitions submitted to the council were referred to the City Plan Commission.
A large voice in the legal community has died, as Ralph “Flash” Nienow passed away Sunday at Good Samaritan Health Center at the age of 73. Nienow is a 1933 graduate of Merrill High School and a graduate from the University of Wisconsin Law School at Madison in 1945. Nienow also served in the United States Army during World War II achieving the rank of lieutenant. A member of St. John’s Church, Nienow was affiliated with the Nienow and Nienow Law Firm in Merrill after previously serving as both the Merrill City Attorney and Lincoln County District Attorney.
Letters to the editor are once again hashing over the details of the likely demise of the dam next to the now idle Ward Paper Mill. The city has filed a petition of reconsideration after the DNR issued a report citing the benefits of removing the dam and then issued a permit to do just that to International Papers on July 23rd. Residents who live near the dam are opposed to the removal fearful of what the area will become after the lake is drained, however taxpayers of Merrill are also hesitant to have the city commit a large amount of city funds to an effort that will likely be futile. The money the city is spending for its challenge is coming from two sources, the Community Development Department and private donations. Both Mayor Caylor and City Attorney Jim Godlewski note most residents oppose the removal. Groups such as the Madison based River Alliance are calling for the immediate removal of the dam and say the city has no business interfering in what they call a private matter between the DNR and IP.