Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor, Jr.
Could Gleason see another onslaught of spring break party goers? Word traveling back to Merrill is that posters have started to appear on the campus of UW Stevens Point encouraging students to, “get drunk in beautiful Gleason. Uncut, uncensored, you’ve heard about it, you’ve read about it, Gleason II, April 30, May 1-2.” A campus based group calling themselves the Gleason Betterment Association is reportedly behind the posters and were sponsors of the gathering last spring. That was when nearly 3,500 young men and women traveled to Gleason over spring break to drink beer and wine, listen to music, and lounge and sleep in the town of slightly more than 100 people. There was an immediate lack of food and sleeping accommodations; however, locals soon pitched in and turned the feeding of the masses into a fund raiser for many civic organizations. Law enforcement, which was forced to call out for help from a number of adjoining counties, is closely monitoring the situation this year. At a town meeting yesterday, residents voted overwhelmingly to close down the town if groups start arriving; resident and new Town Board member David Jackson penned a letter to the student newspaper and the college president asking them to stay home.
Lincoln County is looking to build a new office building for non-courthouse offices. The public property committee estimates a space of 10,000 feet would be needed to help overcrowded conditions at the courthouse. The next step is to select a site for the building, with suggestions of across from the court house by the new jail to the fairgrounds being thrown around. The board has vowed to keep studying the matter. (It took about 40 more years of studying before they built, but the County did purchase the 8th Street Annex a few years later…)
A high speed chase involving numerous counties has resulted in three arrests, including that of a prison escapee from Kansas. Marathon County Sheriff Louis Gianoli asked law enforcement to watch out for a car that had been involved in burglaries and thefts in that County. On Sunday, Merrill Officer Robert Dorava spotted the car and kept eye on it with State Trooper Roland Wottrich. That pair tailed the suspects up Highway 17 where Deputy Paul Proulx stopped it at County Rd. J in Bloomville. When Proulx asked the driver for his license, he took off. Officers chased the vehicle into Langlade County, going more than 100 MPH at times, until the engine blew up in the suspect’s car. The three suspects took off on foot, but the female passenger was arrested within an hour. Later that morning, as nearly 50 officers converged to the area, a DNR plane spotted the two men huddled around a campfire. They surrendered, but a gun was found nearby. Sheriff Gianoli expects a multi-county theft ring will be broken with these arrests.
Deputies are looking for the prankster who let a greased up pig into the Club Modern Supper Club last week on April Fool’s Day. Owner Steve Blake reported the pig, estimated to weigh around 25 pounds, was let into the entryway around 8:00 p.m. A masked suspect fled, but Blake provided a description of his car. On the Entertainment Page, the special at Club Modern this weekend is pork chops.
The City of Merrill is concerned if they can continue operating as residents are accustomed, in the wake of a planned cut in the State’s revenue sharing program. Wisconsin Governor Lee Dreyfus announced the possible elimination of the program last week, but now members of the Wisconsin Alliance of Cities is alerting municipalities of the potential fallout. Under the proposed cuts, Merrill would lose $478,000 in funding. Affected communities would be able to raise property taxes to make up for the loss, meaning owners of a home valued at $30,000 would likely see an increase of $150 on their tax bill. Mayor Richard Holt has already scheduled meetings with Rep. Sheehan Donoghue and State Senator Clifford Krueger to discuss the matter.
Law enforcement was busy this weekend after a shooting at the Merrill High School, and an Irma man was killed in pedestrian accident. Police have been searching for those responsible for the shooting, which occurred Thursday night when two janitors were standing in a hallway and a shotgun slug fired through a glass door on Third St. passed between them. The slug exited through the glass doors on the Second St. side of the building. After offering a reward for a suspect, tips started pouring in, and an 18-year-old Merrill man was arrested Saturday morning. Deputies are still trying to determine why John Kautz, age 66, of Irma was standing in the roadway on Hwy. 17 about six miles north of Merrill. It was about 8:05 p.m. Saturday when a Wausau man struck Kautz; he was rushed to Holy Cross Hospital but died there. In another weekend death, Herbert Hinz, former owner of Hinz’s Tavern and Hinz’s Cork and Dyne, died Saturday morning after being rushed to Holy Cross. He was 17 when he began working at his father’s tavern, now known as Galella’s Cork and Dyne. Three generations of the Hinz family operated the restaurant until selling it in 1977.
Good Samaritan Health Center has announced that Michael Hammer will now fill the role of President of the hospital. Audrey Taylor, Chair of the Board of Directors, made the announcement late last week. Hammer has been Vice-President and CEO of Lakeshore Health Systems in Manitowoc.
Members of the County Emergency Government Committee have voted to postpone the installment of the 911 telephone system until they study it more. Supervisors state they want a better handle on the costs of the enhanced system before they approve it. Currently, residents in the 453 prefix have 911, but the system does not give locations, and Tomahawk Police answer those calls. Merrill Mayor Ken Sparr wants to move ahead with the system in the 536-539 exchanges, but was told the city would be responsible for the costs unless it was a Countywide system. A small added fee to the estimated 12,900 land line phones would pay for the system, but only if it was adopted Countywide. Supervisors who represent residents in the 453 exchanged questioned why they should pay for a system in southern Lincoln County that they already paid for in northern Lincoln County 10 years ago. (Three more years of studying on this one.)