Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Officials are tight lipped regarding the death of a Merrill woman. The Merrill Fire Department ambulance took the woman to Holy Cross Hospital where she was pronounced dead shortly after arriving Monday evening. Lincoln County District Attorney Richard Olson has confirmed a 33 year old Merrill man is in custody but has provided no further information, noting both he and Judge Donald Schnabel have recused themselves from the case. Merrill Police Chief Charles Johnson will only confirm the victim did not die of natural causes; he along with DA Olson met with attorney Jerome Tlusty this morning as he has apparently been appointed special prosecutor in the case. The suspect is the only male being held in the secure unit of the Lincoln County Jail according to Sheriff Ron Krueger, all of the other prisoners were work release or Huber prisoners. Local attorney Jack Ament and members of the state public defender’s office were seen going into the secure portion of the jail yesterday according to a source.
Local leaders are calling for Madison to build the next maximum security prison in Lincoln County. County board members point to two parcels of land, one near Lincoln Hills School and the other on the south side of Merrill as two potential spots. Business leaders feel a prison would bring much needed jobs to the area. A committee of county board members headed by Supervisor Ewald Katke will conduct public hearings on the topic in both Tomahawk and Merrill next week. Resource Agent Tom Geiger will prepare a final report for the board to consider after the hearings.
The S&L store has announced they are closing. The business has been in operation on South Mill St for the last 15 years. Prices have been reduced anywhere between 20-70%. The store intends to stay open until Christmas.
Kevin Kuehmichel is the first person to announce he will be a candidate for mayor come spring. Kuehmichel is a lifelong resident of Merrill and currently a student at NTC. Ralph “Fata” Voigt is currently serving as mayor after he was appointed to fill the term of Patrick Nugent who resigned this year due to health reasons. Voigt had been mayor for 18 years until defeated by Nugent in 1978.
The Merrill Area Board of Education is waiting to see what happens in Madison before they make decisions on the future of education locally. Faced with a space crunch the board has alternatives regarding consolidating buildings and building new schools. Lincoln School may end up being eliminated as the push is to create an intermediate school with grades 4-6. St. Francis or St. Robert’s schools may be potential sites for MAPS to either purchase the buildings for their own use or to tear down and rebuild to their specifications. Governor Tommy Thompson has expressed his desire to fund a new tax reduction program that deals with long-term debt. If that goes through it is possible MAPS could build and expand without any tax increase.
Kenneth Johnson has been sworn in as the new Lincoln County District Attorney. A graduate of the University of North Dakota, Johnson was formerly the DA and assistant DA of Dodge County. Johnson was appointed by Governor Tommy Thompson to fill the unexpired term of Karen Smith who resigned.
The preparation for the spring elections will likely be moot as the world may be annihilated in a few short weeks when the calendar flips to 2000 and all computers fail causing the airplanes to fall from the sky and life as we know it to cease. But just in case, numerous races are shaping up for this spring. Five people have already taken out papers intending to run for seats on the county board, while long term supervisors Dave Jackson and Bert Strasman have filed non-candidacy notices and four other supervisors have not taken out papers as of yesterday. On the city side of the ballot, could it be the end of an era? Long serving alderman Roger “Budda” English has not yet taken out candidacy for his district, nor has Eighth Ward Alderman Mike Wahoske who filed non-candidacy; English is finishing his 20th term in office. At least four other candidates are circulating papers in the first, sixth and eighth wards. Mayor Michael Caylor said the potential surge in candidates is a sign to him that people want change, but the final results will be clearer come April. So far no one has taken out papers to challenge three incumbents on the MAPS BOE whose terms are expiring.
How about that MHS girls’ basketball team? They are off to a 6-0 start and just came off wins over Rhinelander and SPASH. Coach Bob Yuska credits both side of the game for the team’s early success.