Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Note: Due to the Coronavirus, my usual source of materials – the T. B. Scott Library is closed. We may have a variety dates in the coming weeks until I can get back to the usual date range.
Two new faces will find seats on the Merrill City Council and a long time alderman has been defeated after serving the city for 30 years. Gerald Bauer was elected alderman of the first ward after defeating Jean Rogers in a narrow contest. The pair were vying for the seat which was vacated by Dennis Schalow. Bauer, who had previously served on the council, defeated Rogers by 30 votes. Merrill City Attorney Thomas Sazama was re-elected city attorney of Merrill. First appointed to the post to fill an unexpired term, Sazama was re-elected in 1966 and 1968. Sazama defeated William Yellin for the seat; he is a partner in the law firm of Sazama and Kauffman. In the biggest upset of the night, Fred Reger was defeated by local schoolteacher Arnold Lindquist by a 25 vote margin. Reger was first elected to the council in 1940, he then served a term as mayor from 1946-1948 and returned to the co-position of alderman/supervisor in 1958. Reger also served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1962 to 1964. Lindquist is a newcomer to city politics; he is chairman of the business education department at Merrill Senior High School. Mayor Ralph F. J. Voigt, City Clerk Robert Klug, City Treasurer Alvin Saeger, and Street Commissioner Kermit J. Meyer were all uncontested in their bids for re-election. The seven other incumbent aldermen who ran unopposed are: 2nd – Ellsworth Plautz, 3rd – Stanley Frisch, 4th – Alfred Kohler, 5th – Donald Tesky, – 7th – Roger English, 8th – Harry Johnson and 9th – August Braatz.
Sheriffs from two counties met with over 200 residents of Gleason to discuss the expected influx of over 250 students from UW Stevens Point next weekend. Sheriff Nick Check of Portage County told Sheriff Giese and those assembled that for the most part the students are well behaved. The student newspaper at UW Point randomly chose Gleason for a student gathering and hundreds are expected to make the journey there for a long weekend. Giese and Chief Deputy Harvey Woodward are making plans to provide extra law enforcement officers during the event. The students have no apparent plans for accommodations or food according to Ken Oldenburg, chair of the Town of Russell.
Production at the local and regional Weinbrenner Shoe factories will be scaled back in the coming days as the company reacts to a nationwide truckers strike. The company released information Tuesday that due to a shortage of raw material their suppliers are not able to provide them with necessary materials.
Civil Defense director Norm Heideman is asking all auxiliary policemen to call him in his office tomorrow night between 7PM and 9PM.
The 3rd ward of Merrill will have a new alderman. Initial results of the race showed incumbent Stanley Frisch defeating challenger David D’Amico by a two vote margin. However a re-count showed the pair had actually tied 179-179. The two met with City Clerk Robert Klug who noted this was the first tied election in his 30 years of counting votes. Frisch and D’Amico drew from a deck of cards with the challenger first drawing a three, however Frisch followed that by drawing a two. D’Amico now joins three other new members of the common council; Frisch was a 12 year incumbent.
Lincoln County has told Wisconsin Public Service no on their desire to purchase 16 acres of land between Memorial Drive and 6th St. The Lincoln County Forestry Land and Parks Committee heard a presentation on the parcel Monday evening that recommended the property be retained for recreational use compatible with the nearby Pine Crest Nursing Home. Wisconsin Public Service wanted the land to build a large office area with its operational division being moved to that location. Steven Henrichs of the Merrill Hockey Association also spoke of his groups desire to build a skating rink on the parcel, the city parks department also spoke of their desire for baseball fields there. The committee’s recommendation will go before the full county board.
Merrill Area Public Schools will comply with all but two of the twenty new state standards according to an audit and Superintendent Thomas Strick. The audit team from DPI completed their local review yesterday and offered a quick report on their findings. Stick noted the district received exemplary ratings in areas such as the kindergarten program but conceded the school board will need to address the health standards and the standards regarding gifted and talented students. The full report will be completed in 60 days and will be available to the public. The audit is based upon legislation passed in 1985 meant to hold districts to 20 educational mandates.
MAPS and High School Principal Lanny Tibaldo are touting the new vocational education program approved by the board of education. The program comes with an additional investment of $44,000 which according to Tibaldo will expand the tech education classes beyond the traditional metal and wood working to areas such as hydraulics, bicycle and auto repair, heating and gas, and computers. Superintendent Strick noted this program will help kids who are not planning on going to college have a leg up as they enter the work force of the 21st century.
The Merrill Chamber is working on a survey which may save the Big Mac! The chamber distributed the quiz to its members in hopes of presenting a solution to Mayor Sparr’s veto of a proposed second driveway entrance for a McDonalds. The eatery wanted to add a driveway which would allow vehicles to enter the restaurant parking lot from State Rd 64. The driveway was approved by the council by a vote of 5-3 but Sparr vetoed the measure. The survey asks if members think the driveway is a good idea or if the veto should stand and if members feel congestion is or will be a problem on Pine Ridge Ave. The common council will vote Tuesday in an attempt to override the veto. Representatives from the restaurant stated they would abandon plans to build in Merrill in the wake of the veto. Sparr cited safety concerns.
In last week’s publication of the Merrill Foto News’ ‘Fotos from the Past’ feature, it was mistakenly reported that former Merrill Fire Department member Doug Williams had resigned from the Merrill Fire Department in April of 2000. Mr. Williams in fact, had retired after 26 years of service. He later served 8 years as the city’s Mayor.