Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Police Chief Gerald Plautz has announced the promotion of Patrolman Allison (Oopie) English to the rank of traffic officer. English will succeed Edward Martinsen who recently retired. English joined the force in 1955 and has served as the supervisor of the school Safety Patrol program since 1963.
Robert Akey has announced the opening of the new senior citizens’drop-in center located in the basement of Merrill City Hall. The center will be open between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM M-F and will have pool tables, a television set, card tables and chairs and other seating. A room with books and magazines has also been set aside. The Merrill Business and Professional Women’s Club coordinated a fund drive to furnish the center. Mrs. John Kelly is serving as coordinator of the center; she will provide a Tuesday afternoon session each week to explain what other services are available in the community. The center is free of charge and open to anyone over the age of 55.
This weekend will go down in the history books of Merrill as a weekend to stay home. A snowstorm preceded the bitter cold air which dropped temperatures to 22 below Saturday, 19 below on Sunday, and 22 below on Monday morning for the commute. Tuesday saw the coldest temperature of the winter when the mercury fell to 38 below. Fierce winds caused blowing and drifting of the snow and dropped wind chills to extreme lows. Merrill Police report that they had a one day record for traffic accidents on Saturday with nine being reported; firemen, on the other hand, reported no runs all weekend long. If you are looking for a quick end to this weather cycle Punxsutawney Phil isn’t helping as he saw his shadow yesterday which usually means six more weeks of winter.
Officials at the Merrill Municipal Airport are taking advice from the state airport engineers and are seeking funds from the council to create and expand a runway to the west. Currently, the airport is served by a 3,000 foot north south runway and local officials would like to expand that, however required room for take offs and landings may require Hillside Drive to be relocated to allow for that expansion. Engineers feel if a new runway is added that goes east and west enough room would be allowed on the present grounds. Either way, the city cannot afford to do any of the prescribed maintenance the state is suggesting after budgeting $6,000 for seal coating and now being told of the need for new pavement which may cost double that amount. All sides are looking into federal funding.
Members of the Merrill Teachers Union have refused to submit salary requests for the 1981-1982 contract negotiations. The reason? The district has yet to settle with them the contract from the 80-81 term. Members of the negotiating team from the union and the administration team sat down and discussed preliminary offers for the next contract, however wage scales won’t likely be discussed until an arbitrator settles the current impasse. Members of the MAPS negotiators are Strand Wedul, James Boettcher, John Ader, Board President Lester Voigt, and board members Alan Drum and Pat Weber. The teachers’ group is represented by Greg Kautza, John Gravelle, Floyd Korpi, Lawrence Lebal, Jayne Enerson, and Steve Russ.
School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Strick has something else on his mind besides salaries for the next budget cycle, computers. It seems those new devices are really catching on in the schools and the staff at the high school would like to expand the lab which holds them. Currently three computers are available for student use at the school, but the district foresees adding more to the lab and maybe even at teachers’ desks. Strick told the board that the annual KEMO at the school is being designed for the first time on a computer this year. The district is hoping to use $13,650 in Title IV-B money to make the purchase, says Principal Lanny Tibaldo. (I bet they didn’t picture every student holding a computer in their hand 40 years later)
Merrill Fire Chief Harvey Emanuel presented his long term plans for his department at the city Health and Safety Committee. The main focus of the agenda is the continued planning for a centralized or at least new east side fire station. Emanuel explained some equipment at the east side station has to sit outside, and a storage garage is beginning to deteriorate. Al Wendland has offered to sell his now vacant Park City Motorways building to the city to either house, or provide ground for a new fire station. That building is located across from the station at First and Cleveland. (This will take until 2014.) Chairwoman of the committee Anita Gebert requested that Emanuel and Chief of Police Charles Johnson begin rapid plans for a 911 system for city residents. Lincoln County is looking to form a planning committee for the emergency number, and Gebert told the pair they should lead the city’s efforts to be involved in that process. (That will have to wait until 1994.)
A flurry of local activity with the police and courts is in this week’s paper. Law enforcement in Tomahawk are tight lipped about a raid they did at the Fish Pole Bar in Tomahawk. Tomahawk had refused to issue the bar a liquor license due to the fact that nude dancers were performing there. District Attorney Ken Johnson confirms one woman was arrested for prostitution during the raid. A 34-year-old Merrill man will be heading to prison for eight years after his probation was revoked and he faced new charges. The man’s legal troubles go back to when he was arrested for the attempted robbery of the Auto Stop in 1988. A rural Tomahawk man was also sentenced last week to five years in prison for worthless checks. The man wrote out 24 bad checks in a 13-day period, mostly to bars and grocery stores.