Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
The Merrill City Council took no action but heard complaints by property owners in the Sixth Ward last Tuesday as the city engineer continues with plans to expand Eugene Street. The council had previously approved widening the street and installing storm sewers, however the attorneys representing landowners Milton Sukow and Ray (Bud) Young are contending that the survey by City Engineer Charles Pierotti does not comply with the plat. Aldermen have been virtually silent whenever the topic has come up as the land owners have threatened legal action, with alderman noting they do not want their observations to be part of an eventual court record. In other action, the council approved the only bid received from William and Norman Sheldon to remove the pavilion at Riverside Park. The two bid to pay the city $149.75 in order for them to salvage the material from the shelter. The city will remove the concrete foundation. Ott’s Park will likely see bleachers for next year’s ball season; however, the amount of seats may be less than requested. Russell Westburg, president of the Merrill Softball Association and a member of the Park and Rec Commission had requested bleachers to hold 2,000 spectators. Andy Olivotti, Park Superintendent, told the council he felt 400 seats was adequate for now. A petition from 49 residents opposed to the construction of a gas station at North Center Ave and E 7th Street was placed on the record. Pierotti told the council the permits for the construction of the Holiday store have already been issued.
The City is also thirsty. City alderman and chair of the Water and Sewage Committee Ellsworth Plautz has sounded the alarm on the lack of pumping capabilities from the current city wells. Plautz predicted that if a major fire would break out the city would not be able to adequately pump enough water to supply the sprinkler system in a factory, much less for the firemen fighting the fire. City Engineer Charles Pierotti would like to see additional wells installed on the east side and another high pressure high rise water tank on the west side. Ideally any new well should be able to pump 1,000 gallons per minute according to Pierotti.
In Briefs: The Lincoln County Board was playing “Name That Tune” again at their meeting yesterday. The $1,400 system has yet to be paid for and has yet to work properly for a meeting. Last month the supervisors were greeted with music from local radio station WXMT whenever they turned on the system, this month the music was too garbled to understand its origin. Claude Hunsicker, treasurer and general manager of the Anson and Gilkey Company has been elected chair of the Merrill Housing Authority. He replaces Rev. Leo J. Krynski, who resigned after leaving the city for another assignment. The Rev. A.W. Ludwig will fill the vacancy on the committee. A crash last Wednesday evening north of Merrill was caused by a drunk driver. District Attorney James. T. Rogers reports the blood alcohol content of the 48 year old Wausau man was .16, or just above the .15 legal limit for operating in Wisconsin. The man died the next day of his injuries; two women from Phillips in the other car were also killed. The Wausau man was also driving on a revoked license and had no insurance.
The Merrill City Council voted to retain one meter maid/crossing guard and eliminate a second when federal funding for the positions runs out at the end of the year. The cost of financing the position will come from parking meter revenue in the future according to Chief of Police Charles Johnson. Dee Olsen, executive vice-president of the Merrill Chamber, said she was pleased that the parking meter funding would now go to pay for the position instead funding of street repairs as it had previously. Olsen also said she would like to see the city seek out more private property that could be converted into parking for downtown. In other council action: Aldermen voted to continue to receive health insurance from Wisconsin Physicians Service for both elected officials and employees, voted to construct and light two tennis courts at Ott’s Park for $27,000, accepted the recommendation of the health and safety committee to pursue a joint 911 and dispatch center, approved the low bid of Park City Motors for three new squad cars at $17,041 a piece, and issued a class A retail beer and liquor license for Albert J. Ziemke Jr – proprietor of Park City Liquor.
The next leader of the Merrill Fire Department has been chosen by the Police and Fire Commission. Deputy Chief Harvey Emanuel, 41, will succeed Chief Ray Priebe who is retiring at the end of the year. Priebe recommended Emanuel for the job, and he was the only person interviewed by the commission. They directed Emanuel to shadow Priebe beginning in November in order to learn the job he is inheriting. Emanuel will also attend a fire service management class at the U.S. Fire Academy in Maryland in December. Emanuel was appointed to the department in 1967; he was promoted to lieutenant in 1975 and became one of the deputy chides in 1979. According to Priebe, Emanuel has attended over 35 classes related to fire and ambulance work since joining the department. Emanuel is also the department’s training officer and was recognized as firefighter of the year in 1979. The commission will gather soon to discuss Emanuel’s replacement.
The plans to annex 80 acres of land south of Merrill are on hold as the Town of Scott may be forced to hold a referendum on the matter. Stephen Blake, owner of Club Modern, and Otto Moritz, owner of Maple Manor Trailer Park both applied to the city to annex the land. Their goal is to add city services to their properties, especially sewer and water. However a group of other residents whose properties fall in the annexed area are now stating their opposition to the move afraid of not only added costs for city services but increased property taxes. The group has 30 days to obtain signatures from 20% of the voters in the area to be annexed to force a referendum.