Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Merrill now has a new shopping center with the opening of the Holiday Store on North Center Ave. Besides being a gas station, the new store offers clothing, sporting goods, housewares, food, auto supplies, health and beauty, cameras, watches, toys, and more. Richard Slayton is the new manager, and Edward Ramias is the assistant manager. The store plans on hiring four full time employees and will have a grand opening in spring.
A new year means some changes at the Merrill Chamber where Thomas Young has been elected president. Young, executive vice-president of Church Mutual Insurance, will succeed Herman Hull in the top spot. Mel Peterson, owner of Mel’s Big Dollar,will service as vice president while Lance Nienow of Weinbrenner will be the treasurer. Mrs. Roman Radlinger has been appointed chair of the 1971 retail committee where she succeeds John Howland. A meeting to discuss committees will be held next Wednesday at the Cork and Dyne.
A snowmobile derby held this past weekend at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds was marred by a tragic crash which took the life of a Wausau youth. John Bevcar, 12, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Bevcar of Wausau died of his injuries about six hours after his sled left the oval track and struck a tree. Racing was halted for the day after the accident, and a moment of silence was held prior to the resumption of racing on Sunday. Spectators and drivers also took up a collection for the Bevcar family during the race, raising nearly $500. Three other men were injured during the event after collisions. The event itself featured racing by day and a dance Saturday evening at the armory, Green Bay Packer defensive back Doug Hart even participated in the races but suffered engine trouble and failed to place.
The Civil Air Patrol will conduct a search of the Rock Falls area for a missing plane. Donald Triplett and his wife, of Holland, MI, vanished after leaving Bruce, WI on January 3rd. A heavy snowstorm struck northern Wisconsin that day and the plane has not been seen since. The search is being conducted locally after a reports of a low flying aircraft were received. (The plane was never found; it is believed to have crashed into Lake Michigan)
From all appearances Merrill will no longer have a municipal bus service. In action last evening the council voted to sign over the contract for bus service to Ralph Peterson of Peterson Bus Service. Peterson told the council he has already ordered two brand new cars and will equip them with radios for a full time taxi service when the bus is not operating.
The building we know as the Lincoln County Jail will soon be a thing of the past. The county awarded the contract to Maurice McBride Excavating out of Irma to destroy what had been the sheriff’s home and jail. McBride submitted the low bid of $13,800 for removal of the structure. That contract was contingent on McBride obtaining a performance bond and a DNR approved disposal site. Chief Deputy Harvey Woodward told of how the work will be delicate with the new safety building being just feet away and the 20” concrete floors in the cellblock portion of the current jail. The county expects to occupy the new jail building by February.
The new meal site for the elderly in Merrill has transitioned smoothly to the basement of the Merrill City Hall. Grace Kleinschmidt, manager of the program, said the system is now serving around 82 meals a day with 17 of them take out, which is what the average number was previously when the meals were served at Lincoln Lanes. Kleinschmidt said the only major change is volunteers now clean up after the day’s meals while previously the staff at Les & Jim’s did the work. The meals are also catered by Gallela’s Cork and Dyne.
Fire destroyed a factory in the Sixth ward this weekend as firefighters battled frozen hose lines, and pumps in sub-zero temperatures. Firemen were already at a home on E 10th Street when the alarm was turned in for Woodcraft Finishes at the corner of Valley and West 1st St. Firemen were forced to remove single sections of wet hose from the 10th St fire and reassemble them when they arrived at the second blaze. All but a few of the 25 men on the department fought the blaze into Monday morning; the departments aerial ladder truck was used to fight the fire but it froze up to for a time causing firefighters to have to shut down and drain the pump on the scene. The building destroyed was one remaining from the former Merrill Box Company which was heavily damaged from fire in 1948. Woodcraft has occupied the building since 1970 when it moved here from Waupaca. (And it still does today)
Production ceased at the Semling-Menke Company along with several other factories and businesses in respect to Emil Semling who died Saturday at Holy Cross Hospital. Semling, 93, founded the Semling-Menke company in 1941 along with Frank Menke after having worked at the former Anson-Hixon Lumber Company where he rose from the ranks of bookkeeper to general manager. Three years later he founded Northern Specialty and eventually other companies such as Wisconsin Window Unit, R.O.W. Cash and Carry, and Semling Realty Company as well as being vice-president of H.M. Draper and Sons in Salt Lake City, UT. Semling was born in Richhanden, Germany and immigrated to the United States with his parents, settling in Merrill in 1891.
Good Samaritan Hospital in Merrill has announced the reduction of 15 to 20 jobs in its work force. Interim administrator Paul Balerud says patient care will not be affected. The majority of the cuts came in the areas of secretarial, housekeeping, maintenance, switchboard and dietary. Balerud blamed Medicare reimbursement rates which have been cut up to 30%.
A Crandon man has died from injuries he suffered in an airplane crash outside of the Tomahawk Airport. Charles May, 54, was pronounced dead at Sacred Heart Hospital. Sheriff’s officials report he was piloting his ultralight gyro craft just west of Tomahawk when it went out of control and crashed landed.