Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Federal funding to help shore up the project has vanished, but Holy Cross Hospital will press on with their planned expansion of their facilities. Hospital Administrator H.W. Koepke hopes to increase hospital beds to 100, but notes this project will only add one, as a third floor area will be shelled in, but not yet finished, to add an additional 20 beds. Koepke said his biggest concern is currently the flow of traffic in the building, as emergency room patients, visitors, staff, maintenance staff, and deliverymen all use the same entryway to enter the building.
HGC – formerly known as Hansen Glove Company, has announced they are in full production at their new facility on State Rd. 17 (County Rd. G) and Sales Street. The company was formerly located at 104 Blaine St., until the present factory was assembled about 10 years ago. A division of HGC, Midwest Outdoors is busy producing snowmobile suits with 28 styles in a record 37 colors. The building itself is 20,000 square feet and owned by the Merrill Area Development Corporation.
A former religious leader in the region has died. Rev. Paul Natzke, 67, former pastor of churches in Gleason, Doering, Dutch Corners, Irma, and Harshaw, died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack at his home in Shawano. Pastor Natzke was born in Merrill, attended Concordia College in Milwaukee, and received a degree in divinity at Concordia Seminary. Pastor Natzke married the former Ruth Masser at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Pine River. In total, he served the area for 17 years.
Here is a good sign of spring! The Dairy Queen is officially open for business!
City of Merrill officials are hopeful that a new contract agreement with Warner Cable Company will bring six new channels to Merrill’s cable lineup. Currently, cable in Merrill has 11 full-time channels. However, according to City Attorney Michael Ravn, that number could soon swell to 17. Included in those channels is a 24-hour news network and a full-time sports station. The contract still has to be approved by Warner executives in New York City, but Ravn felt it would pass easily. The 15-year contract was negotiated by the local Cable TV Committee, whose members include Aldermen Bryan Stimers and Patrick Nugent and citizen members Dan Woller, Ralph Wehlitz, and Marge Hommerding.
In other business at the Common Council meeting last night, aldermen approved a new fence ordinance which regulates the height, location, and type of fence that you can build on your property. Exceptions can be made, but must be approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals. A plan to have an inspector from Marathon County inspect all licensed taverns and restaurants in Merrill twice a year was approved, but not without much discussion. In total, 64 such premises must be inspected yearly, but neither Merrill nor Lincoln County has a person qualified to make those inspections. A resolution provides Marathon County with $2,500 to conduct those inspections for one year. The state had been providing an inspector, but this service has not been provided locally for the past six months. When the state inspector was inspecting, his results were sometimes disturbing, including 16 violations at one restaurant alone.
Merrill Fire Chief Harvey Emanuel is still hopeful a central fire station can be built, but has rejected calls to utilize the vacant Park City Motors building at 611 E 2nd St. Emanuel reported to his Health and Safety Committee that the building would only allow for apparatus to enter and exit on 2nd Street, which means they would have to go around the block for any call to the east. Emanuel also felt the building would need extensive remodeling, likely would not fit all the apparatus and crews, and was overpriced.
The former Lincoln County Jail is gone. Maurice McBride, Route 1, Irma, used a backhoe to remove the structure, which dates back to 1905. All jail and sheriff’s office functions have now moved into the new Safety Building which sits just feet away from the former lockup.
Snow caused issues on the roads last week, but one driver did not have to go far to get his vehicle fixed. The driver was driving on North Center Ave., and as he approached E. 8th St., he applied his brakes, only to slide on the ice and snow and into the wall at Willie’s Tire Center. Only minor damage was reported to the building, and the driver was not injured.
Jean Schneider has been appointed as the new superintendent of Lincoln Hills School in Irma. That announcement was made by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, Gerald Whitburn. Schneider has been the interim superintendent of the facility since July, when James Kramlinger left to become the director of Division of Youth Services for the state. Schneider has been a social worker at the facility for 15 of his 20 years working for the state of Wisconsin.
The Merrill Common Council has said no to the annexation of property in the Town of Merrill. Aldermen voted 6-2 last night to reject the annexation of the 48 acres of land owned by James and George Peterson. Craig Nienow, attorney for the brothers, said the land could be subdivided into lots for residential housing. The area, however, is not served by city sewer and water, meaning they would require those services, or the city would have to approve new septic and well regulations for the area. One adjoining landowner spoke out against the annexation, noting that the city spent considerable time exploring annexations such as Walmart and Club Modern ,but seemed rushed to annex an empty field with no workable plan. In the end, council members Cheryl Kanitz, Ellsworth Plautz, Bryan Stimers, Roger English, Patricia Woller, and Dennis Grefe voted to deny the request while Aldermen Dan Jackson and Robert Monti voted for the proposal. (Now we own that empty field.)