Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Merrill Mayor Ralph Voigt has directed Police Chief Gerald Plautz to have his officers strictly enforce the new ordinance regarding snow removal on local sidewalks. The ordinance, passed by the council this year, allows property owners 48 hours to clean up after a storm. If snow or ice is still on the walkways the street department will remove it and charge it back to the property owner. Slippery roads were a concern late last week when Mrs. Charles (Victoria) Ament slid on icy West Main Street and broke through the guardrail and down the embankment to the edge of the Wisconsin River. Quick thinking policemen quickly called a wrecker to the scene which was able to hold onto Ament’s new 1971 auto allowing firemen to bring her to safety.
Trouble with snowmobiles plagued some area residents as three men on a Christmas Eve joyride found themselves standing in front of Judge Schnabel. The men, a 25 year old and two 17 years olds, drew the attention of police officers when they drove their sleds past the police station at about 11:00 PM that evening. Officers gave chase and were soon joined by sheriff’s deputies as they pursued the sleds through city streets. The men were stopped and arrested around the area of the junior high school. Judge Schnabel fined the men $40 each and added a fine of $50 more dollars onto the 25 year olds tab after police cited him for disorderly conduct. ($90 in 1970 is close to $600 today) Word has also been received of serious injuries to a Merrill man who was vacationing in Montana. DeForest Waid, 1310 Grand Ave, had just arrived in Montana with two of his sons to vacation with his brother in law Dale Stevenson. Waid was riding in a sled behind a snowmobile when he was struck by barbed wire. Waid is reported to be in good condition and resting at the Stevenson home.
With the New Year right around the corner little change will be seen for local elected officials. Judge Donald Schnabel will administer the oath to seven incumbents, all of whom ran unopposed last fall. They include: Sheriff Al Giese, District Attorney James T. Rogers, County Clerk Kenneth Oldenburg, Treasurer Mrs. Glen (Florian) Koehler, Register of Deeds Warren Weckwerth, Clerk of Courts Mrs. Ted (Lucille) Lokemoen, and Coroner Dr. William Braun. All are Republicans.
Tragedy struck the New Wood area Tuesday when a plane crashed killing a Minnesota couple. Men working in the woods off of Camp Ave first reported what sounded like a plane crashing about 1:30 in the afternoon touching off an extensive ground search. Initially rescue workers were able to find traces of a plane crash but were stymied by weather in finding the actual wreckage. A search by the Sgt. Paul Proulx in a plane piloted by Gene Dalessandro, manager of the Merrill Airport was hindered with the white fuselage blending into the snowy terrain. Early today searchers Albert Hommerding and Steve Krause from the Merrill Fire Department found a wing which led to the cockpit which contained the bodies of pilot William Jackson and his wife, Tama. At the time of the crash freezing rain was reported to be falling. About an hour after the plane crashed deputies and ambulances raced to Highway 51 where a two car accident left three people dead. One of those killed was Stanley Altenbern, president of Wisconsin Coach Lines. Tomahawk firemen were called to that scene as Merrill’s rescue squad was being used in the search for the missing plane.
The civic-minded award this year goes to David Herdt with a close second to Edmond Kleinschmidt, according to City Treasurer Alvin Saeger. Both men were first in line to pay their property taxes Monday morning, both having arrived at City Hall prior to 8:00 AM. Property owners have until January 31st to make their annual payments or to get on the installment plan. Meanwhile, across the street at the courthouse, County Clerk Kenneth Oldenburg is reminding residents of a new state law that requires you to license your dog. The fee for the one year licensure is only $5, but that goes down to $2 if the pet is spayed or neutered. The penalty for failing to license your dog is a fine of $29. Funds from the licenses will be used to fund the humane society.
Judge J. Michael Nolan will administer the oath of office to all newly elected county officials come Monday. The new face in the group will be Michael J. Dudley, he is succeeding Richard Olson who opted not to run for re-election. Dudley faced a primary challenge on the Republican ticket where he defeated Tomahawk attorney Mark Alberg. Sheriff Ron Krueger will start his fourth term in office, he defeated Deputy Ronald Hirte in the primary. Running unopposed were: Register of Deeds Warren Weckwerth starting his eighth term, County Clerk Kenneth Oldenburg starting his seventh term, Treasurer Florian Koehler starting her sixth term, Clerk of Court Janet Beyer Thums starting her third full term, and Dr. James Janowiak, Coroner now starting his third term. (Dudley went on to be a special agent in the FBI where he was highly decorated for his service.)
The Lincoln County committee tasked with making repairs to the historic court house would like to first repair the infrastructure before they focus on the historical murals in the building. Phil Schneider, chair of the property committee, said he understands the need to restore murals, which were painted by master artist William G. Andrews, but added it is pointless if they are just going to get damaged again by a leaky roof. Schneider is hoping a fundraising effort will fund the repairs; a studio in Milwaukee has offered to do the work for $47,800.
Congratulations to Cody Fehr as he has the distinction of being the very first baby born in Merrill in 1991. The young lad came into the world New Year’s Day at 6:49 PM.