Fotos from the Past

Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Talks are heating up for a proposed extension of the beltline from Wausau to the Merrill area. The State DOT held a meeting in Wausau this past week to discuss the proposal which will re-route Hwy 51 to the eastern side of the city. It was apparent at the meeting that design questions remain for the proposed route through the Town of Maine, and this could hold up the Merrill route. A further extension of a four-lane route north to Tomahawk may be a bit further out. (Like 25 years away!)
Union members and company officials at Weinbrenner factories in Merrill, Antigo, and Marshfield have avoided a strike thanks to an agreement on a contract extension. The two sides agreed to a six month extension late last week to allow talks to continue for a formal multi-year contract for the 750 employees. Senator William Proxmire, D-Wisconsin, spoke last week at the Merrill High School of his work to halt the flow of foreign made shoes into the United States, which is something Weinbrenner owners say is costing them millions in revenue.
Citizens American Bank will be closed and all other banks will curtail their hours on Friday in respect to Marvin J. Coonen, president of Citizens American who died suddenly Tuesday morning after being stricken at the bank. Coonen, 53, was born in Michigan and later graduated from the high school at Neenah. He attended Marquette University and served as a captain in the infantry in the US Army during World War II where he received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Coonen came to this city 14 years ago and joined Citizens American bank in 1956 as head of its installment loan department. He later served as executive vice president and was named president two years ago. His wife Eileen and daughters Phyllis, a student in Madison, and Corliss, at home, and a son James at home survive him. Members of the Merrill Lions Club will meet at 8:00 PM Thursday in the lobby of the Lincoln House and then will travel together to the Taylor Funeral Home to show their respect. A mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday morning at St. Roberts.

After 444 days in captivity, 52 Americans being held hostage in Iran have been released, including Marine Corp Sgt. Kevin Hermening of Wisconsin. The release coincided with the inauguration Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States.
Fred E. Brunow, 71, former Lincoln County Sheriff and Undersheriff and Tomahawk Police Chief has died. Brunow passed away late last week at Holy Cross Hospital; he had been ill the last three years. Brunow served as undersheriff under the late Alfred Degner from 1948-1952, was then sheriff from 1953-1954, was re-elected in 1954 but resigned in 1955 to take the top cop job in Tomahawk, a post he held until retiring in 1973.
The City of Merrill may soon have a new contract with cable provider Warner. The city has been in negotiations with Warner for the last six months but little progress has been seen until the committee made it public they were interested in seeking a new provider. Major stumbling points include the city’s desire to expand cable into the sixth ward all the way to Glen and Crescent Drive, the Taylor St area, the south city limits by Summit Ave, and the new expansion east of the Junior High. Warner has balked at expanding south of O’Day Street saying doing so would require two more miles of cable. The franchise will add WBAY TV full time to the local line up and plans to expand to 17 channel from the present 12 by 1982.

It is still months away, but the Lincoln County 4H Fair Board has an announcement for this year’s fair, no more Belle City Amusements. The group has cut ties with the Florida based midway company, which was dropped by several other fairs already throughout the state due to unfavorable performances. Belle City informed most carnivals they do not even intend on returning to Wisconsin in 1991 due to lack of bookings. The local board now will contract with Calkins Amusements for this year’s fair. One band booked for the grandstand due to popular request is the group The Memories out of Eau Claire; they are also hoping to land a big name for Saturday night but are waiting to see what donations can be found in the next week.
The Lincoln County Board is up in arms over the lack of proper smoke detectors and the phone system installed in the Lincoln County Court House. Supervisors learned at their meeting yesterday that the fire detection system is mostly useless and probably has never worked since it was first installed about ten years ago. Robert Sumnicht, vice-chair of the property committee told the board that the company that installed the system wentbankrupt, and the staff had just turned it off due to the frequency of false alarms. That system cost $14,500. Clifford Mosser then informed the board that the phone system has been in place for seven years and it still doesn’t work. The county just made its final $2,000 installment on the equipment which was installed by GTE. A committee of board members and department heads met the contractor Monday to discuss the problems. No money has been budgeted to fix or replace either system.

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