Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Walter Schuster, president of Church Mutual Insurance Company reports the company finished 1970 healthy with great potential for future growth. CMI wrote a great deal of new premiums this past year which bolstered the company’s growth, however inflation placed an unduly heavy burden on the claims division as settlements reflected costs considerably above levels prevailing when the policies were written. As a counter measure the company embarked on the insurance – to value program which increased bottom lines and made the year profitable in the end. Schuster also reported that 18 new employees were added this year bringing the company to a total of 87. CMI is also in the process of being licensed in Idaho which will make it their 19th state of licensure.
The Merrill area and beyond remained crippled by Mother Nature as another heavy round of snow fell late last week. Many factories in Merrill worked with skeleton crews and closed early. Eight inches of heavy wet snow fell which was followed by fierce winds that created large drifts blocking many roadways. Downtown Merrill stores, which normally stay open until 8:00 PM on Fridays, were virtually empty with many closing early. The usual slogan of “neither snow, nor rain, not heat nor gloom of night” was sort of abandoned by local mail carriers who found late mail deliveries to the post office itself along with un-shoveled walks and unplowed roads prevented them from delivering mail this last week according to Postmaster Orlen Heldt. Firefighters were also kept busy over the weekend as temperatures dipped to -30 and chimney fires began flaring up. In Gleason the manager of the Lincoln County Bank was scrambling to clean up the banks canopy which collapsed Sunday night under the heavy snow; Elmer Karau reports the canopy was just installed in 1969 when the bank was remodeled.
The Merrill Common Council approved borrowing $225,000 from local banks to purchase new items and pay off some debt. The council voted unanimously to make the purchases which includes $53,000 for a new aerial ladder/pumper truck, $6,928 to complete payment on the city’s share of the Pier Street bridge project, $25,000 for the city’s share of improvements on Pier St north from the bridge. That work will be completed this year. Borrowing will also help pay for a restrooms and a shelter at Riverside Park along with bleachers at Ott’s and Lion’s Park ($14,800), $32,290 to pay off the contractor for the municipal pool, $18,180 to pay off the contractor for the T.B. Scott Library addition, $24,800 to finance the purchase of the Ritter and Merrill Woodenware properties for an industrial park, and to extend sewer and water to the Hanson Glove Factory plant and Northern Door.
Sheriff Ron Krueger has gas on his mind as the members of the law enforcement committee have asked him to explore changing his agency’s fleet over to an all propane-fueled system. Ron White of Conversion Systems of Tomahawk estimated the $1,100 cost of converting each squad car will be made up by the current difference of .50 per gallon in fuel. If prices remain as is, the annual savings after converting the fleet could be $38,250. Further savings could be seen by lower annual repair bills on engines.
Prominent Merrill attorney and industrialist Herbert Guenzl has died. Guenzl, 74 died at his Sixth St home Monday after a long illness. Mr. Guenzl was born in Lindau, Austria and came to the United States in 1908 at the age of two. He attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison where he was a boxing and wrestling champion. He graduated from the UW Law School and became chief claims examiner for the US Compensation Commission. Guenzl served honorably with the US Navy during World War II. He was assigned to anti-submarine patrol boats and then as a landing ship group commander in the South Pacific. He was associated with the Nienow-Guenzl law firm and founded and headed the Tiny Tot Manufacturing Company, which suspended operations in 1975.
The new Lincoln County Jail is just weeks away from opening, and Sheriff Ron Krueger is expecting more clients at his “motel.” Judges have increasingly started using county jail sentences along with probation terms. With judges knowing space is no longer an issue authorities expect more guests. One of the concerns already raised is the alarm system to be used by the on duty jailer. The alarm is worn by the jailer as they make their rounds and with a push of a button it would alert the desk which has a map system to show where the trouble is. The problem is that due to lack of staffing that desk will often be empty when the jailer is making his or her rounds. An open house to tour the new jail will be this Sunday.
Two men were arrested late Monday night for fleeing from the police and driving a stolen vehicle. A 17 year old Tomahawk man and a 21 year old Brantwood man were in the vehicle as deputies chased it south on Hwy 51. Merrill Police assisted in arresting the pair near the 51 Motor Oasis truck stop after a shot was fired. (Ask Jeff Anderson about this one)
MAPS Board of Education held a “meet the candidate” session and have narrowed their list of superintendent choices to two. Paul Schoenberger, Medford superintendent, and Ralph Neale, superintendent at Westfield, both met members of the board, the public, and faculty last week. This is the first time the district held open interviews, and both the board and public were very happy with the transparency.
Michael Ratkovich has been appointed the juvenile officer at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. Ratkovich, who formerly served on the Lockport, IL Police Department, has been a patrol deputy since 1982. He takes the position left vacant by the unexpected death of Det. Sgt. Robert Hartkopf.