Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Residents living in mobile homes may now see a new tax after action taken in Madison. Previously, land occupied by a mobile home or mobile home parks were taxed as empty lots as the structures were not considered permanent. The city had been charging a permit fee for any furnished trailer on property in the city, $10 for those inside trailer parks and $12.50 per month for those outside of one. Now the assessed value of the home, not the contents, will be added to the tax rolls of the property itself.
The Merrill City Transit Commission is all set to approve new bus routes around the city, and they come mostly from a person who knows most about it, current head driver Alfred Schenk. Plans for the bus routes include eliminating the confusing eastbound run on Riverside Ave, adding a stop in Tannery Town (Hide Park) on an hourly basis along with continued service to Holy Cross Hospital four times a day. Members of the commission rode the routes with Schenk; riders included commission members Harry Seidell, Reinhardt Knispel, Roger Hulke along with Don Koll, Mayor Ralph Voigt, City Engineer Charles Pierotti, Street Commissioner Kermit Meyer, and members of the media.
Could the Merrill Fire Department get an aerial truck? Talk of buying a ladder truck heated up in the past week after one of the department’s front line pumpers seized up at a fire and was not able to be driven or pump water until emergency repairs were made on the scene. Chief Ray Priebe is hoping to replace the 1948 American LaFrance engine with an 85 foot aerial truck with a mounted pump and water tank. Not only would the truck act as a pumper truck, it could be used as a water tower platform and could be used for rescues in high rise buildings. The Police and Fire Commission approved the plan and now the council has green lighted Priebe to receive bids for the truck whose estimated price tag will range around $60,000. The council also approved 35 liquor licenses Tuesday evening.
This past weekend was the opening of fishing in Wisconsin, and once again Merrill became the second busiest town in Wisconsin as hundreds of vehicles drove through the city heading north. An observing police officer stated that about every third car that drove through Merrill Friday night had a boat or camper in tow. A police officer is customarily set up at the stop lights at Main St and manually runs the traffic lights there. This week that post was staffed from 4:30 PM until 9:00 PM on Friday. The longest back up was reported to be past the driveway for Holy Cross Hospital at one point. (My father said that was one of the easiest gigs for him, with a cigar in one hand a can of Pepsi on the dash of the Cushman)
Students observing local government got a lesson on why you need to pay your parking tickets courtesy of Judge J. Michael Nolan. An 18 year old Merrill man stood before the judge for violating the city’s winter overnight parking ban and for parking on the wrong side of the road during the alternate parking rule restrictions. The man failed to pay the tickets and then failed to appear on a scheduled appearance to explain his defense, although the officer who wrote the tickets did appear on overtime. Nolan ordered a fine of $40 plus $8.50 in court costs. ($150 today)
The city of Merrill is telling Madison to keep their hands off of their parking revenue. Provisions in the new state budget requires cities to provide the state with 4% of the revenue they collect off of their parking meters. According to Mayor Richard Holt the city collected $21,450 on those meters last year meaning they would have to give up $858 of that under the new tax. Alderman Anita Gebert, City Clerk Robert Klug, and Holt are all drafting letters of complaint to Senator Clifford Krueger and Rep. Sheehan Donoghue.
Lincoln County Sheriff Ron Krueger is warning youths to obey the states drinking laws as his agency prepares for another summer of juvenile parties. Since last September deputies have had contact with 202 area youths they found drinking at underage parties according to juvenile officer Robert Hartkopf. Most of those in violation get letters of warning sent home to their parents, but others are issues a ticket which carries with a $34 fine. Hartkopf said the county has a “hell of a drinking problem” and wishes area youth would wait until they turn 18, the legal age to drink in Wisconsin. He estimates he spends half of his time tracking down underage parties or dealing with the after effects. Hartkopf believes an uptick in property crime is likely linked to underage drinking as quite often only booze and beer are taken in area cabin burglaries.
A late season snow storm caused issues on area roadways this past week. A Medi-Van left Hwy 51 south of Merrill and a vehicle rolled over on County Rd E after snow left two inches of the white stuff on the roads in Merrill and up to five inches in Tomahawk. The heavy wet snow also led to power outages throughout the area.
Newly elected members of the MAPS Board of Education sent a message to its administrators last week when it cut the additional staffing budget requested by the class size committee. The proposal would have cost the district $350,000 but was trimmed to $125,000 after the hearing. About 50 taxpayers attended the meeting in which an increase of 8% of the tax levy for 1990 was originally proposed. Board Vice-President Bruce Severt voted for the cuts but noted programs like the gifted and talented and homebound student would like require another look.
A 52 year old Merrill man’s late night trip to an area school has landed him in trouble. The man was traveling on East Third Street when his vehicle left the roadway and struck St. John’s School. The man was unconscious when rescuers found him but came to in the emergency room at Good Samaritan. He was cited for drunk driving.