Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Joe Jackelen, executive director of the Merrill Housing Authority, has announced his group will begin to take applications for the new low incoming housing located on Water St. The three two-story buildings will include ten apartments in all, ranging in size from two to four bedrooms. Applicants must not have assets or net worth of more than $3000 in order to be accepted. Jackelen reminds prospective tenants that the income based housing is not permanent and is meant to allow them to save for permanent housing. Veterans and handicapped individuals will receive preference.
Lincoln County Bank has announced its intention to consolidate with the current Gleason State Bank of Gleason. The boards of directors of both banks have approved the merger according to Lincoln County Bank president, Charles Eckerle. If approved by the FDIC the Gleason bank will be operated as a branch of the Merrill facility. The consolidated bank will have the following members on the board of directors: Eckerle, Paul Gebert, Lyndon B. Emerich, Leonard Ronis, Robert P. Tesch, Emily Semling, George Russell, Augustus Stange, James Sharon, John P. Semling, and Herbert Schielke. Officers of the bank will include C.H. Eckerle, president; R. H. Hornisher, Elmer Karau, and Augustus Stange, vice presidents; Gerald L. Voigt, cashier; Roger English, Ethel Schooley, and Lydia Bolder, assistant cashiers; and Lois Henrich, auditor.
The Oppitz family has moved to Merrill and has now officially acquired the Lincoln House. Curtis Oppitz will serve as general manager of the motor hotel which includes 30 luxury rooms, four apartments, and several businesses. Prior to moving to Merrill, Opitz managed the Fin and Feather, a Milwaukee tavern and restaurant. Prior to that, he owned his own tavern in Milwaukee for seven years and spent 13 years with Cutler Hammer in Milwaukee. He is a veteran of service, having served during World War II. Current businesses in the building, such as Jake’s Supper Club which is operated by E. Ronald (Jake) Zielke, will not be affected by the sale. Oppitz and his wife Ellinore moved to Merrill with their two sons Randall and Scott who are attending Merrill schools; they also have four other adult children.
All three youths who escaped from Lincoln Hills School in Irma are now back in custody. Merrill Police and Lincoln County Deputies captured two of the students north of Merrill within two days of their walking away from the facility, however the third youth, a 16 year old Native American, proved to be more evasive. Late last week, however, a teacher from Lincoln Hills saw the young man walking down Grand Ave in Wausau and summoned a local police officer. When the teacher and officer tried to take the youth into custody he broke free and jumped in the Wisconsin River. After attempting to swim across the river, the youth tired and returned to shore and gave up. He was returned to Lincoln Hills that evening, wet and tired.
Demolition experts hired by the county to dismantle the Prairie Dells dam have run into considerable trouble in their efforts. The DNR ordered the county to tear down the dam, warning that its weakened condition would soon find it crumbling apart and releasing a rush of water downstream. Now a week after efforts began to knock over the dam and allowed for a controlled return of the normal stream, no one can break it open. A one-ton chisel has been dropped on the top of the dam from the boom of 200 foot crane, yet each time it is dropped it “dances around like a frantic disco dancer.” Spectators who have gathered to watch the “destruction” have all but vanished with many finding watching paint drying a livelier spectator sport. By Thursday the crew working on the dam predicted the water would be flowing by that evening, however it was not until Friday that a hole was finally cut into the structure. Work to enlarge that hole was stymied when a fierce wind blew the water back through the hole and into the faces of the workers (I think that was a sign.)
Chief Ray Priebe of the Merrill Fire Department has announced the appointment of Michael D. Weckwerth to that department, effective November 1st. Weckwerth must pass a variety of physical examinations prior to his actual appointment. Weckwerth will fill the vacancy created by Priebe’s own retirement. Chief designee Harvey Emanual will begin transitioning to the role of chief and will be off the schedule as he attends the National Fire Academy later this year. Weckwerth is a Merrill native and attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Tragedy has struck the Merrill community as two young men were killed in a car accident while vacationing in Florida. Word was received early Sunday morning of the crash on a Fort Lauderdale highway which claimed the life of Thomas C. Bierman, age 22 of Route 7, son of Carl and Jane Bierman, and Joseph E. Gervais, 22, a Merrill native who recently took a job in Milwaukee. Gervais is the son of Irene Gervais and Donald Gervais. Bierman was reported to have been operating the vehicle the men were in when it crashed on North Federal Highway, killing him instantly, Gervais died eight hours later at Boward General Medical Center. Both men were brought back to Merrill, and a funeral was conducted this morning for Bierman, first at Taylor Funeral Home and then at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Tomorrow a service will begin at the Wistein Funeral Home for Gervais followed by a mass at St. Roberts. Both men will be laid to rest at St. Francis Cemetery.
The staff at Haven, a domestic abuse shelter in Merrill are praising the success of the new safe house as they seek volunteers. The shelter at 710 E 3rd St was opened in August of this year and so far as provided shelter to 16 women and 19 children who were the victims of domestic violence. Shelter manager Judy Woller is continuing to train volunteers and is look for others to staff phone lines, work inside of the shelter, and to be advocates for those they serve.