Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
Things are settling down at Merrill Senior High School after homecoming events wrapped up this weekend. Barbara Anderson was named queen at the big game Saturday afternoon as the Jays took on the Antigo Red Robins. The event included the formal dedication of the new stadium located directly behind the Junior High School. School Superintendent Roger Lowney called the facilities a showcase for central Wisconsin. Players who lettered in 1945 were honored as they joined the unique Silver M Club, while members of the 1920 team joined the Golden M Club in ceremonies coordinated by club secretary Otto Bacher. The club is celebrating its 26th anniversary; they held their annual banquet at the Union Hall. Other big news at the game was a contest to name the new football complex. Merrill Athletic Director Jack Ader announced that a panel, consisting of students, teachers and citizens will decide on the name based on entries made by Merrill school district residents. To submit your name idea, contact the athletic department office. The suggestion must be made in writing. The bad news for the weekend is the local boys lost the contest with the Robins, getting shut out by Antigo who scored 20 points on the day. Merrill’s team was dogged by injuries with five key players being lost, a few of them for the entire rest of the season.
A spectacular fire, seen from as far away as Wausau, brought firefighters and a host of spectators to the area of the Wilhelm Rusch farm on Alexander Ave near County Rd E. Firemen were called out at about 6:10 PM Saturday and fought the blaze for three hours. Wilhelm Rusch was plowing his fields when the fire broke out, but fortunately Mrs. Rusch and the children were able to remove 23 head of dairy cattle, a bull, and a heifer to safety. Firefighters were aided by Nissen Transit and a Robert Frederick who brought his 3,500 gallon milk truck to the scene after firemen filled it with water at the No. 2 station. Additional water also came from the state Bureau of Fire Control who brought a tank truck to the scene. The barn and 10,000 bales of new hay were lost in the fire, but firemen were able to save a large garage and machine shed as well as cool an elevated gasoline tank which threatened to explode.
The Merrill City Council is still exploring a way to provide transportation in the city with the majority of the council members agreeing the bus service is not even close to breaking even. Currently, a ride on a city bus will cost you .25 cents. The problem comes when the city added up the cost of that ride it was determined they lose $1.75 for giving the ride. Under the current system the bus service is set to lose $24,000 this year, or $2.50 for every person living in the city. The city had put out feelers to see if a private party would be interested in providing a taxi service, however, the only application which came from James Deede of Northwoods Taxi and Transit did not include the required proof of insurance. A petition signed by 35 residents was presented to the council which led Harry Seidell, chairman of the Transit Committee, to remark that if those 35 actually rode the bus they wouldn’t be in such financial shape.
As of this morning Lincoln County has begun efforts to remove parts of the Prairie River dells dam. A company from Milwaukee was hired to complete the work under orders from the DNR. The county was able to bide a little time from the DNR after they opened a 3 by 4 gate, the only opening in the dam. Ole Hanson, administrator of the Forestry Land and Park department, estimated the water level will drop 20 feet within five days. A 125 acre pond upstream of the dam is expected to be emptied by the work. It is estimated it will cost $8,000 just to get the equipment to the dam and $1,200 a day to operate it.
The City of Merrill and its firefighters union have made their case and are now awaiting the results of binding arbitration to settle the contract between the city and Local 847. Both sides had agreed on an 8% pay increase retro to January 1st and a 2% increase as of June 1st. What divides the two sides is an extra payment of $3 per day for each man tasked with being the EMT on the ambulance for the day along with a $30 per month increase in pay for the lieutenants. The union told the arbitrator that the pay increase for the lieutenants amounts to $1,281 while the raises the city agreed to will cost the city $20,476.
Firefighters credit Marvin Hoffman and Larry Vonderheid for their quick response in saving two Dane County men who were tossed into Lake Alexander when their canoe capsized this weekend. The two men were fishing and hunting out of the canoe when it overturned. They were in the water for an estimated 30 minutes before homeowners in the area heard their calls for help. Hoffman responded with his own canoe and Voderheid with a boat. Both men were taken to Holy Cross and treated. The incident occurred near Gilkey Island.
The Lincoln County Board has authorized the retention of outside attorneys to defend the county against a potential lawsuit by the City of Merrill regarding the clean up the former city landfill in the Town of Merrill. The board voted yesterday to spend up to $20,000 because county Corporation Counsel Nancy Bergstrom said environmental law is a specialized area and she does not have the ability to defend the county in the suit. The city filed a notice of claim against the county along with the towns of Merrill, Scott, Rock Falls, Pine River, Corning, and Birch in hopes of recouping the money spent closing the landfill. City Engineer Charles Pierotti said response to the notice of claim has been mixed from the towns with some objecting to the closing bills which range from $11,918 to $66,459, while others want to pay what they owe now and be absolved of any future responsibility. Those served with notice have until January before they have to formally respond to the claim.