Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor, Jr.
A sure of spring has sprung in this week’s paper, with an ad seeking workers at the Lincoln Canning Company. Applicants can either go to the Job Service office at City Hall or directly to the cannery to apply. The ad promises both “Good Pay” and “Pleasant Working Conditions.”
Merrill may be known as the City of Parks, but it seems it is also the City of Ordinances to some. A check of the books of the municipal code shows numerous ordinances which likely have not been cited in many years. One example is, if you wish to hold an auction in the city you are required to have a $10 daily, or $50 annual permit, and more importantly, the City Treasurer must be paid 10% of the gross sales from any auction. Another ordinance prohibits throwing snowballs, and it also prohibits the lesser known offense of spitting on the street, in an alley, or on any public ground. Children are not allowed to ride bikes between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., and the mayor can issue an emergency order barring anyone under the age of 18 from being on a city street after 10:00 p.m. You cannot hand out a handbill between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., and fireman have the right to trespass onto any property that is on fire, as well as command anyone standing around at a fire scene to assist in firefighting operations. One other little-used portion of the code allows the Chief of Police or his officers to suppress any riotous or disorderly conduct in the streets or public places of the city, or more importantly stop any TV or radio signal that is interfering with others.
Phone service has been restored to this city after the largest disruption in nearly 20 years occurred this past Sunday after a thunderstorm passed through. Crews from GTE eventually localized the problem to a break in the sheathing of a cable underground in the alley behind the Lincoln House. Over 1,500 people were without phone until late Monday after the split, affecting both the City Police and Fire Departments. GTE quickly brought in a mobile telephone answering point which was parked in a trailer outside of the Police Department. Emergency calls were received in the trailer and then run up to or over to the Police or Fire Departments’ dispatch. All the burglar and fire alarms which are wired directly to those departments were out of service during the event. As men worked in the alley to locate and repair the break in the cable, heavy rains prompted a tent to be erected to cover them as they worked.
The Chamber wants you to show your Merrill pride. They now have new bumper stickers available which say “Enjoy the Merrill Advantage.” Dee Olsen, Executive Vice-President of the Chamber, explained the first version of the stickers had lettering with size that was not as visible as the new stickers. Olsen said the hope is residents “flaunt” their pride in their community with the new stickers. (Not a bad thing to flaunt.)
A meeting between City and County officials could pave the way for a joint dispatch center. Chief of Police Charles Johnson expressed hope that a dispatcher at the Sheriff’s Office could take over for his agency after 5:00 p.m., but only if that means he does not lose any of his officers. Mayor Richard Holt suggested a city officer could fill in the role of jailer and dispatcher at night in the jail, but Chief Deputy Harvey Woodward felt that could lead to logistical problems. Dick Baumgart, Chairman of the Law Enforcement Committee, suggested the group meet again and tour joint dispatch centers in other counties to see how they operate. Currently the Police and Fire Departments in Merrill do their own dispatching; however, if the Fire Department goes on a run, the police take over answering their phones, something Chief Johnson doubts a single dispatcher can do when combining radio traffic on the sheriff channel. (Not a problem.) Tomahawk also has their own dispatch center which does police, fire, and ambulance calls in the northern part of the County. That city’s Mayor Willis Gessler attended the meeting but said he would only watch from the sidelines for now as to what Merrill and the County work out. Another committee is still looking at a County wide 911 service which would be answered at a central point.
Merrill Police Officers are credited for saving the life of an 18-year-old woman who was trying to end her life by jumping off the Center Ave. viaduct. A motorist reported the woman standing on the outside of the railing of the bridge railing at 11:21 p.m. Monday night. Officers tried to talk the woman down for nearly 30 minutes before Officer Rick Hermsen was able to slowly approach her and pull her back over the railing. The woman was taken for help at the health care center. In general, emergency services reported a quiet Memorial Day weekend countywide except for issues with traffic around Tomahawk.
Members of Merrill’s Catholic community could soon find themselves worshiping under one roof if a planned merger of the two parishes occurs. Rev. Edward Powell of St. Francis Parish tells of how the churches have already offered the St. Robert’s property on East 10th St. to Merrill Area Public Schools. Powell feels the current St. Francis property (where Kate Goodrich is now) is the best location to build a new church and plan for future expansion of the schools. It was in 1958 when the two parishes split, which led to the building of St. Robert’s in the 1960’s. If the two parishes combine, the consolidated church will retain the name St. Francis as that was the missionary parish name when the church was first established in Merrill.