Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
An astounding 75% of the voters turned out at the polls yesterday and sent political newcomer Richard Holt to the office of Mayor. Holt, 49, led challenger Dick Baumgart in all nine wards, collecting 2,565 votes to Baumgart’s 1637. Holt will succeed long time Mayor Ralph “Fata” Voigt who was defeated in 1978 by Patrick Nugent but then was re-appointed mayor by the council after Nugent stepped down due to health concerns. Holt gave credit to the committees who worked to elect him to office knowing Merrill’s economy would make voters very careful in their selection. Baumgart conceded his defeat and noted he would continue to speak out on the issues, “I ran solely on the issues thinking that Merrill wanted a change, but apparently they weren’t ready for it.” In Tomahawk, incumbent Mayor Willis Gessler won his third term over opponent Gordon Stegman.
The MAPS Board of Education will see two new faces as only one of three incumbents running for re-election will return to the board. Dan Olson, associate pastor of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church was the top vote getter with 4,152, followed by Merrill attorney Thomas Sazama who was seeking his second term on the board with 3,558, and newcomer Patricia Weber who gained 3,417. Incumbent Dorothy Schneider, Lee Wegner, and David Martindale were unsuccessful.
In other election news, Phil Erickson will remain Street Commissioner after defeating Donald Hanneman; incumbent alderman Ronald Schroeder lost to Bryan Stimers in the fourth ward while David D’Amico lost by only two votes to incumbent Stanley Frisch in the third ward. D’Amico has requested a recount. Two new council members will replace retiring alderman, Richard Hayes defeated John Kleinschmidt in the first ward and Patrick Nugent will regain his seat in the fifth ward after defeating De Lyle Bohse. The Lincoln County Board will see five new faces as Arthur Schaefer was unseated by William Hommerding and James Severt who will dual represent the towns of Merrill and Schley. Stanley Vaughn was defeated by Ernest Townsend, Eugene Sense won as a write in candidate from the Town of Scott, and Paul Garner defeated Raymond O’Malley to represent Tomahawk’s third ward. In the national presidential primary President Jimmy Carter and Republican challenger, Ronald Reagan both added to their national delegate tallies.
The Merrill School Board and Lincoln County Board will see the most change following the spring election. The only seat on the Merrill Common Council which saw any challenge was the one way race between David Jackson and David D’Amico for the third ward alderman. Despite the fact that D’Amico withdrew from the race his name still appeared on the ballot; Jackson claimed victory in the contest. Two new members and one former member of the MAPS Board of Education will take their seats soon after incumbents Diane Mikkelson and Jay Tlusty were both defeated yesterday and a third incumbent Char Seetan did not seek re-election. Top vote getters were Donna Caylor and Rich Franke followed by former and now new board member Thomas Sazama. Superintendent Thomas Strick recognized the voters are frustrated with high taxes and said the voters are “rebelling,” but noted the board has to spend money the way it does due to mandates from the state.
The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors will see five new faces. Mellissa Schroeder will take the seat in the fourth district after out polling Bryan Stimes after both Schroeder and Stimers defeated longtime supervisor Harry Osness in the primary. In district seven Sandra Scheu will become the second woman on the board, she defeated Mark Detjens who was elected two years ago with two write in votes. Incumbent William Dexter was defeated in district nine by Clifford “Buttsy” Mosser by a six vote margin; this is the dual seat which will also be filled by Phillip Schneider where there was a total of 20 votes separating the three. The towns of Harding and Corning will send two new supervisors to the board with Frank Berndt unseating Ferdinand Ollhoff who served six years on the board. Berndt led balloting with 260 votes to 242 for Elroy Schmidt, board vice chairman and Corning Town Supervisor while Ollhoff had 214 votes.
Six members of the Lincoln County Board were defeated yesterday. In district eleven Ronald Mittlsteadt defeated Eugene Mootz, in district 13 James Alber knocked off long time board member Eugene Schmit, Dean Clark defeated Arthur Lange in district fourteen, David Fox outpolled Dennis Parshall in district 19, Richard Simon defeated Arthur Schaefer in district twenty one, and John Karaba was victorious over Al Wendland. The referendum on the T. B. Scott Public Library passed by an overwhelming margin, 1,738 to 830.
The biggest change to the Merrill Common Council will be a new alderman in district five as Mark Bahlow defeated Roger English who had held that seat for forty years. In district one William Bialecki defeated incumbent Susan Kunkel and in district two incumbent Michael Willman held a three vote margin of victory over Scott Doerr. Newcomers to the board also include Mark Peterson in district six where he defeated Mark Sherfinski and in district eight where Judy Hatz defeated former Sheriff Ron Krueger.
Norman Hanson has been appointed the Merrill Fire Chief. Hanson was the only internal candidate for the top job, but seven outside applicants had also applied. Mayor Michael Caylor announced that Deputy Chief Dan Deml would serve as interim chief after the resignation of Douglas Williams.