Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
A contingent of judicial and other state and local officials gathered this past Monday as for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century a new judge was sworn into office in Lincoln County. Judge J. Michael Nolan was administered the oath by retiring Judge Donald Schnabel. Nolan becomes the first judge elected to office in Lincoln County since the state court reorganization established county judges as circuit court judges. A 1962 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, Nolan has practiced law with the Leonard Schmitt firm in Merrill since 1963. Judge W. Patrick Donlin of the 3rd District Court of Appels was a speaker at the event as was Judge Ronald Keberle, chief judge of the judicial circuit. Schnabel has served as judge since being appointed in 1955 by Governor Koehler and subsequently elected for four six-year terms.
Monday saw the first major snowstorm of the winter season as seven inches was dumped on the area. Blowing and drifting snow made roads treacherous and led to the cancelation of schools. Merrill Street Department employees reported one vehicle stuck on almost every block in town.
It took a bit longer for one to arrive, but we have our first baby of 1980. Andrew William Rajek arrived into this world at 6:40 AM on Monday, the first baby born in Lincoln County for the year. The son of Dan and Becky Rajek weighed in at 8 pounds and 9 ounces at Holy Cross Hospital. Andrew became the first baby born in Lincoln County, but two county residents welcomed babies at out of town facilities, Erin Marie was born to Sue and Gary Peterson at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield on New Year’s Day, and Melanie Crystal was born to Dale and Sandy Gruhlke on the 3rd at Wausau Hospital.
Three more candidates have announced their intention to seek office. David Martindale and Lee Wegner both announced their desire to serve on the Merrill School Board while Robert Klug has announced he is seeking another term as City Clerk, a position he has held since 1950. Also announcing is Donald Hanneman; he will seek the post of Street Commissioner and is a 17 year veteran of the Street Department. Jack Kleinschmidt, Joan Heahlke, and Wallace Touchette all announced they are candidates for alderman in their respective wards. The whole works will appear on the April ballot.
Two lucky residents are heading to the Super Bowl. Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Harbath, Tannery Rd, won the free trip thanks to Piggly Wiggly Supermarkets. Mel Peterson of the Pig is shown presenting the prize. The couple will fly to California on the 18th and attend parties in Los Angeles before attending the big game.
Retirement brings changes to the Merrill Fire Department in the New Year. Fire Chief Ray Priebe has announced the appointment of Robert Odegard and Steve Peterson to the fire department. They will replace Deputy Chief Lee Hodgson and firefighter John Prein who are both retiring. Prein and Hodgson had a combined 51 years of service, both starting in 1952. They related their biggest fires were the Penny’s explosion and the 1960’s winter fire at the laundromat on E Main St. Hodgson was off work for eight months in 1970 when the fire truck he was riding in crash on W Main St. Taking Prein’s spot as deputy chief will be William Hass Jr. He has served that department for 14 years; David Johnson has been appointed as lieutenant to replace Hass.
The Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce and the city parks department is sponsoring yet another event as Wintefest has been announced for the weekend of January 25th. Events include: ice sculpting, a volleyball tournament, snow bowling, candlelight walk at Council Grounds, broomball tournament, senior and winterfest dance, cross country ski event by the Irma Lions’ club, a quest for cash contest, and a multitude of events at Lion’s Park sponsored by the Merrill Optimist Club.
Two members of the Lincoln County Board are presenting a resolution requesting a hiring freeze. Supervisors Melissa Schroeder and Phil Cohrs will present the matter to the board at their meeting on January 18th. The resolution requests the board curtail its spending to the level in which the taxpayers can afford to pay.
The Merrill Blue Jay girls’ basketball team continues on their roll through the Valley Conference standing atop an 11-0 record after victories over Marshfield (52-46) and arch-nemesis D.C. Everest (49-35) this past week. The Lady Jays are ranked ninth in the state. The boys’ team is not faring as well this season as they currently hold a 1-7 record overall and a 0-6 record in the conference. They dropped a heartbreaker this past Tuesday to Marshfield in overtime.