Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Jack Ader, director of the Merrill Pool, has reported a successful yet slightly smaller attendance rate for this year’s season. In total, 19,790 came through the gates at the pool, down from 20,804 last season. Ader noted that inclement weather caused the pool to close six days and partially close five other days during the 86 day run. In addition to the pool the Park and Rec department also provided a life guard at Ott’s Park beach on the Wisconsin River for part of the summer.
Could Merrill disband the bus service and go with a taxicab? That is the proposal presented to the Merrill Transit Commission on Friday. James Deede and David Sorenson owners of the Paint ‘N Place Auto Body shop have offered to provide taxi service to the city to include parcel delivery for 18 hours per day, but only if the city gets rids of the buses and makes them the exclusive taxi service for the city. The plan would be to run three cabs offering rides throughout the city for a maximum of .45 one way with weekly passes for just $2.50. Seniors could get 10 rides for $3, and one way service to Wausau would be offered for $5.50 one way while two people could get a ride to the airport at Mosinee for $12. Mayor Ralph Voigt reminded members of the commission that the buses transport numerous students who live within two miles of the Senior and Junior High’s but are not covered under the school’s bus plan. As part of the business plan for the taxi is a delivery service with Deede noting no one currently delivers pizza, groceries, or liquor in town. (There was that big of a need for delivered liquor back then?)
Local law enforcement reported a quiet Labor Day weekend although traffic through Merrill Monday morning peaked at 1,400 cars an hour at one point. Merrill Police Officers continuously operated the stop lights on Center Ave for 12 hours Monday to avoid any traffic backups. Although rain was forecaste the weather was perfect as thousands lined the streets of Merrill to watch the parade. A near capacity crowd then met at the fairgrounds for the drum and bugle competition which saw the Imperials St. Patrick’s from Milwaukee take top place of six teams. Miss Jeri Kufahl, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Kufahl was crowned Labor Day Princess. Deputy Robert Plisch was not injured, but his squad was damaged after he left the roadway and struck a mile post on Highway 51 north of Merrill Saturday. Plisch has swerved to avoid hitting a stopped vehicle as he responded to an emergency.
In total 48% of the registered voters turned out to defeat a bonding referendum in the fall primary Tuesday. The Merrill Board of Education had asked voters to approve a $997,900 measure that would fund a three part addition to the Junior High School. The measure was soundly defeated by a nearly three to one margin with 2,304 voting against, and 819 voting for. The question was defeated in every single one of the 20 precincts who were able to weigh in. The only other contest on the primary ballot saw incumbent Lincoln County Treasurer Florian Koehler defeat challenger David Welk on the Republican ticket. All county partisan office holders, all Republicans, will now be uncontested in the November election; they include Sheriff Alfred Giese, Clerk of Court Lucille Lokemoen, Coroner Dr. William Braun, County Clerk Kenneth Oldenburg, Register of Deeds Warren Weckwerth, and DA James T. Rogers.
The Health and Safety Committee has rejected a majority of the recommendations suggested by an independent consultant who has been studying the police department. Dr. George James, head of the Community Research and Management group, made his report and suggested further study in some areas this past week. The city had already adopted two of the changes, adding a fourth patrol car and having a full time juvenile officer but balked at others. One of the suggestions was to have Chief of Police Charles Johnson ride along with the officers from each of the three shifts for at least two hours per month. Another suggestion was to change the schedule from two to three shifts with four overlapping officers on each shift. The committee also rejected the idea of eliminating four uniformed officer positions and replacing them with five civilian dispatchers who would also do clerical and record work. The committee would like to explore the suggestion that the police and fire chief work together to establish a county wide 911 center with Lincoln County to save costs and promote efficiency. One idea to reduce the average patrol car to one officer as opposed to two was left up to the chief; the committee and chief rejected a suggestion to eliminate the captain and a sergeant position.
Sheriff Ronald Krueger was almost certainly assured a fourth two year term as Sheriff of Lincoln County. Krueger was challenged by one of his deputies, Ronald W. Hirte, a veteran law enforcement officer in Lincoln County and previously with the Milwaukee Police Department. In the race of district attorney, Michael Dudley, former assistant to the public defender defeated Tomahawk attorney Mark Alberg. Dudley had operated a private practice in Merrill until the end of June. Both Krueger and Dudley ran on the Republican ticket, neither has an opponent this fall, nor do Republican incumbents Warren Weckwerth, Register of Deeds, Florian Koehler, Treasurer, Coroner James Janowkiak, County Clerk Kenneth, and Clerk of Court Janet Beyer Thums, assuring them all victory barring any successful write in campaign.
The Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce is saying it is nice to have something but wishes the state would go ahead with a planned four lane highway between Merrill and Tomahawk. Instead the state announced plans to build an expressway between the two communities by building two additional lanes to the existing highway. Dee Olsen of the Chamber was hoping for the four lane highway noting that a highway with a 55 MPH speed limit is not really what the area needs. The state had planned on building the four lane road west of the current highway.