Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Plans to build a fast food restaurant on North Center Ave may be scrapped after several neighbors filed legal action to stop the project. The petition asks the court to nullify the vote by the common council which re-zoned the property at Third St and Center Ave (Hwy 51) from residential to commercial. St. John’s Church along with six neighboring residential property owners filed the suit. The property was being prepared for the construction of a CHIPS restaurant, neighbors contend the property is less than two acres in size, the minimum requirement for rezoning. The suit also contends the rezoning will have an adverse effect on the value of the surrounding properties. News from the same area is announcement from City Engineer Charles Pierotti that the installation of a water main between Main and Third St on Center Ave will be halted on the weekends. Pierotti said most of the work is taking place along the west sidewalk but he didn’t want to disrupt weekend traffic. Work will resume each Monday at noon.
Fire caused considerable damage and displaced a Merrill business Saturday. Firefighters responded to the William Kamke Farm Implement building at 2201 E Main St at 10:00 AM. A leaking fuel tank on a lawn tractor is believed to have sparked the blaze which gutted the building and destroyed four tractors, two snowmobiles and at least one lawn tractor along with chain saws and other shop equipment. Roger Kamke was working in the shop when the fire broke out, he suffered burns to his hands while trying to extinguish the fire.
Joe Jackelen, rural Irma, has been appointed as executive director of the Merrill Housing Authority. The appointment was announced by the Rev. Leo Krynski, chair of the authority. Jackelen was one of 16 applicants for the position which became vacant when the former director William Kalkofen was killed in a car crash. Krynski said Jacklen, currently a soil conservationist, stood out among the candidates due to his ability to work with people of all ages and his management and mechanical knowledge.
A 61 year old Merrill woman was killed Sunday afternoon after a car driven by her husband crash on Highway 107 at the city’s far west border. Numerous citizens rushed to help Merrill firemen upright the car in which Mrs. Anderson was a passenger and free her from the wreck. She was taken to Holy Cross Hospital where she died about half an hour later; her husband Rueben was driving the car, he remains hospitalized with head and arm injuries.
The Town of Corning should know within 60 days if the DNR will grant a permit to Weyerhaeuser of Rothschild to construct a landfill in that township for a sludge disposal pit. Numerous residents spoke at the hearing at the Lincoln County Court House of their concerns regarding potential ground contamination from the site. Thomas Elbert, an engineer hired by the town voiced his concerns of potential ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite contamination of nearby groundwater. No matter how the DNR decides either side can appeal that decision to the circuit court.
Merrill Area Public Schools and Lincoln County Department of Social Services are both planning on leaping into the future by installing additional computers in their offices. Four staff members of LCDSS will travel to Madison to get trained on the new computer system which will feed data to a computer in Wausau which in turn will feed the information to Madison. Curt Moe, director of LCDSS, tells that a video display terminal and printer have already been installed in his office as they prepare to implement the program. All of the equipment has been paid for by the state. MAPS will phase in an $18,000 system that will be used for accounting according to Superintendent Dr. Thomas Strick. He hopes to offset the cost of the new system by selling the old computers for $4000. He hopes the implementation of the hardware and training will be complete and the system will be up and running within a year.
A 20 year old local man is in trouble as residents of the Sixth Ward are recovering after a tear gas canister was deployed Saturday night. Police responded to Water Street after receiving a report of a strange odor. When they arrived in the area, they immediately summoned firemen who found a garage where the canister was set off. Firefighters used fog sprays of water to disperse the gas while wearing gas masks and officers circled the neighborhood using their PA system warning residents to evacuate. Firemen and policemen were told to shower off when they completed working in the area, but Fire Chief Ray Priebe didn’t wait. He used a neighbor’s garden hose after he received a heavy dose of the gas while trying to ventilate the garage. Police think the man brought the canister home after a visit to Fort McCoy.
Lucky students of Merrill Senior High School got to meet the Vice President of the United States last Thursday during a ceremony at Wausau West High School. Members of the student council at MHS traveled to Wausau for the speech by VP Dan Quayle. Some got to shake hands with the VP as he worked the rope line after his speech about the dangers of drug abuse. While in town the Vice President also rubbed elbows with the breakfast crowd at Marc’s Big Boy and attended a breakfast fundraiser for Governor Tommy Thompson at the Westwood Conference Center. (I went with my fellow student council members, and I told them all to dress up nice, boys in ties etc. When we got into the security line the White house handlers pulled us out of the crowd and put us up front and center to look good for the cameras. Most of us, including myself, got to shake the VP’s hand)
Tragedy struck the Merrill area with three deaths over the Memorial Day holiday. Scott Nelson, 20 of the Town of Merrill and 18 year old Kurt Zunker, 18 of Cotter Court, were both found dead early Monday morning after their ATV left the roadway and struck a clump of trees in Harrison. The two men were pronounced dead on the scene by Coroner David Haskins. Det. Sgt. Robert Harkopf said he still does not know who was driving when the accident occurred; he continues to investigate. Nelson and Zunker were among a group that was camping at Bruce Lake when the incident occurred. Jerry Boquist died about 3:00 AM Saturday when a boat in which he was a passenger sank in Lake Nokomis. Five of the boats six passengers were able to swim to shore after the boat started sinking; Boquist and the boat were recovered by the Tomahawk Fire Department. Oneida County continues to investigate.