Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Things were much cooler at last week’s Lincoln County Board meeting as air conditioning has been installed in the supervisors’ room. Hargrave Appliance of Merrill was the low bidder for the $576 window units, two of which were installed prior to the meeting. Next month when the board meets they expect to hear each other over the noise of the machines as Associated Cooperative Services of Merrill will install an 11 microphone sound system for a bid price of $1,409.
Merrill Mayor Ralph Voigt has vetoed last week’s city council action which sold the former vocational school to the school district. The council voted to sell the building on W Main St and Genesee St to MAPS for $37,792, or half of the assesses value. Voigt issued a statement clarifying his veto was based on the advice of city attorney Thomas Sazama who felt the sale was improper for a number of reasons including the fact that the measure was not discussed at the City Planning Commission, and instead was brought directly to council. Sazama also was worried about setting a precedent of selling the property at half of its value and recommended another appraisal or even a rezone of the property while seeking bids. Currently the building is zoned for public use making it unattractive to commercial developers.
The Merrill Chamber of Commerce and various businesses associations are gearing up for yet another Crazy Day sales celebration. Merchants in costumes will sell merchandise on the sidewalks of Merrill from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM today as part of the event. The city bus will offer nickel rides, an arts and craft show will be held on the court house lawn, and the Polka Teens will play downtown on the east side starting at 8:00 PM. Also on the east side of town a chicken BBQ, ice cream social and beer stand will all be found in the parking lot of the S&L Store at First and Mill St. On the west side the businessmen will hold a chicken BBQ, and games, lunch, kiddy rides and refreshments will be held on Prospect Street by the Cenotaph where the city band will also perform at 7:00 PM. In the Sixth Ward, merchants will have lunch and refreshment stands, a pie eating contest, a greased pig race, water fights, and a tug of war competition with a street dance beginning at 8:30 PM.
Multiple people have been appearing before the court in Lincoln County this past week on serious drug charges. Five of them were taken into custody at a motel in Tomahawk and face charges of possession of LSD and marijuana. An 18 year old Merrill man was brought back from Miami, Florida this past week by Sheriff Giese. He appeared on a charge of possession of LSD and held on a $1000 cash bond.
Merrill Housing Authority Director Joe Jackelen has the No Vacancy sign hung out, and he does not expect to bring it in anytime soon. Jackelen reports that 123 people from Merrill and 74 from outside of the city are currently on a waiting list to occupy Jenny Towers apartments while the 91 unit Park Place apartments has 13 city residents and 28 from elsewhere in the county looking to occupy that building. Jackelen suspects Jenny Towers is more attractive at this time because of its east side location and electric heat. Jenny Towers has been fully occupied since it opened its doors last July.
Crazy Day this year will be extra special as the Wisconsin National Guard will join in displaying some of their military hardware. A tank will be setting up at E Main St and Court St while Jeeps will be sitting on Prospect St on the west side. Dick Lokemoen will have his military band organ playing; it will also lead the kiddie parade. The T. B. Scott Library will host a book sale, the Merrill Kiwanis club will have a watermelon stand downtown, the Sixth Ward Businessmen will take on the Merrill Fire Department in a water fight at 7:00 PM behind the station, and Franklin School will display many new cars being offered for sale by a variety of local dealers along with a car show put on by the Merrill Auto Club. The Sixth Ward Businessmen will continue into the evening with a tug of war event in front of Plawman’s Playhouse which will be followed by the Jay Tlusty Band who will perform at 8:00 PM. The Depot will also have a dance starting at 9:00 PM at the Youth Center. All events are being coordinated by the Merrill Chamber of Commerce.
The city of Merrill and Lincoln County are preparing for the worst as they have been notified by the state that shared tax revenues will likely see a major cut in funds. Merrill is slated to receive $26,654 less while the county will see a cut of $9,363. Mark Musolf, secretary of the state Department of Administration, blames lower than expected tax revenues on the cuts along with the state law that requires the legislature to produce a balanced budget. City Clerk Robert Klug and County Clerk Ken Oldenburg both agreed they likely will have to look at laying off employees if they lose the revenue as projected. Merrill has also signed sizable contracts for public works construction projects and does not know how else they can make up for the shortfall. Both clerks noted they dipped into surplus funds last year to make up for revenue gaps and do not see that as an alternative this time around.
A group home exclusively for victims of Alzheimer’s disease is closing. Catholic Charities had provided notice to Mayor Ken Sparr that they will begin the process of closing their facility at 701 W Main St. The home has been providing care to mid-level effected patients since 1985, but according to David Bilden, director of special services for the organization they have not been able to provide a consistent client level. The organization is currently finding housing for the six remaining residents. (It is now back to being a private home.)
Fire caused severe damage to a tavern south of Gleason early Saturday morning. Fire Chief Dave Jackson of the Town of Russell Fire Department reported that a passerby saw smoke coming from Los Amigo’s Bar in the Town of Schley at 5:00 AM and called officials from a nearby home. Both Russell and Merrill firefighters fought the blaze throughout the morning. Robert Busterud operated the business; he reported leaving there at 2:45 AM. Jackson said all indications are the fire was electrical in nature.