Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
The first attempt by the Lincoln County Board to use a public address system at their monthly meetings did not go as well as expected. Board Chairman Adrain Schoone called the meeting to order for the first time using a microphone for all assembled to hear. The 11 microphone system was purchased at a cost of $1,409 from the Associated Cooperative Service of Merrill in order to improve communication on the floor of the board especially over the humming of the recently installed window air conditioners. However, shortly after the meeting was started the action of the board members was drowned out by static and then the music and news of local WXMT radio. Eventually Schoone called for the PA system to be shut off and promised the bill would not be paid until the system was in working order. Supervisor Ken Farnsworth, also the general manager of WXMT radio had no comment when asked about his increase in listeners.
If there was an attempt at holding a rock festival in Lincoln County this past weekend, the organizers clearly got the message they were not welcomed here. Patrol cars from the state patrol staffed by two troopers each kept a close eye on motorists traveling north on Friday, and by Saturday reports surfaced that the number of troopers in the county had doubled as residents reported 50 squad cars patrolling the county. The state also moved their emergency communications trailer into the county this weekend under the watchful eye of the state and local emergency government who set up a command post at the highway department. Terry Collins was originally considered the organizer of the event, however, a restraining order sought and issued in local court names Attorney Patrick Finucan and Larry Schuman of North Central Production of Madison as the new organizers. Collins was brought back from Iowa where he is sitting out a probation violation charge; he testified that 5,000 tickets were printed for the event but only 600 were made available for sale. Three bands were booked through Schuman, but they were never identified. Sheriff Nick Check of Portage County testified for the state on the repercussion in his county from the Iola Rock Festival; he also stated that James Sitton, head of North Central Productions is usually “where the money is” and estimated $550,000 to $600,000 was collected at the rock festival in his county.
The board of directors of Holy Cross Hospital are moving forward with their planned $2.2 million dollar expansion. R. W. Koepke, board president, is hoping for a federal grant to help offset the cost of the expansion of the 91 bed facility but stated the plan will move ahead regardless. Plans call for John J. Flad and Associated of Madison to lead the project which will see a new emergency room, x-ray department, laboratory, kitchen, administration, laundry and cafeteria built onto the existing building. Koepke also announced an increase in daily rates with an additional $4.50 added to the room rates effective September 1st. Koepke noted this is the first rate increase since 1968.
Two would be burglars were captured quickly last Thursday evening after a silent alarm alerted Merrill Police to a break in at the Family Medical Clinic on O’Day St. The first officer arrived within minutes of the 11:17 PM alarm and sealed off the building. After finding evidence of entry additional resources came in the way of five more Merrill Officers, four deputies, and a trooper from the state patrol. During a search the two men were found hiding, they were both arrested as officers seized evidence and a vehicle from the scene which now may lead to the solving of crimes in other cities. When that vehicle was searched Detective Lt. Thomas Schotz said he found bags of medication and other drugs believed to have been taken from a burglary at the Wausau Medical Clinic, the Berndt Pharmacy, Medical Center Pharmacy in Antigo, and the Mountain Clinic in Mountain.
Police have arrested a driver after a collision between a car and motorcycle left a Merrill man dead this past Friday evening. Robert Hehling was traveling north on Douglas Street when he pulled out in front of a westbound vehicle on 6th St. Hehling was thrown 175’ after the crash and was dead on arrival at Holy Cross Hospital. The driver of the second vehicle was not injured but was cited for drunk driving and is being held in the jail; Hehling leaves behind a wife, a son and daughter.
Despite pressure from District Chief Judge Ronald Keberle, the Lincoln County Board yesterday decided to study more on the subject of the next jury room for deliberations. The county will lose the current jury room, currently located in the jail house, when the new safety building is opened and the current jail razed. Some county board officials wanted to use vacant space in the new safety building but Keberle and local defense attorneys have called this unacceptable. The board did agree to terms of a five year lease with the Sisters of Mercy of Holy Cross for the former Menard Junior College building located on the Holy Cross Campus. The Sisters will pay for the remodel of the facility which the county will rent for $3.43 per square foot. The space will be used for the social services department, currently located at 107 Scott St and the Health Care Center currently located in a former radio station at Bus Hwy 51 and Highway 17.
The Merrill Area Public School Board is back to full strength after the appointment of Timothy Sandholm to the board. Sandholm, 42, of the Town of Harding, takes the place of Lee Wardall who resigned in July. Sandholm was the top candidate out of a field of six according to board member Bruce Severt. Sandholm had never run for the board before. A graduate of Wausau Senior High School, he has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UW Oshkosh, and currently he is employed as a controller at Semling-Menke Company. Sandholm and his wife Martha have two children enrolled in the district.