Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor, Jr.
Tragedy has struck in Canada after a fishing trip involving Merrill residents. Mrs. Theodore (Verna) Engstrom and Alfred Zimmerman were found by searchers in the waters of Bukemiga Lake, about 100 miles north of Thunder Bay in Ontario Province, early Sunday morning. Rev. Engstrom had found the boat overturned early that morning and sounded the alarm. Zimmerman, 53 of Route 2, was a widower. He and his daughter were on a fishing trip with Rev. Engstrom, his wife, and their daughter when the tragedy occurred. Rev. Engstrom is pastor of Bible Presbyterian Church in Merrill. Joint funeral services for the pair were held Saturday at Bible Presbyterian, Mrs. Engstrom was buried in her native Pennsylvania, while Alfred Zimmerman was laid to rest at Merrill Memorial Park.
District Attorney James T. Rogers is questioning the way the County is conducting ambulance transfers. This past weekend a 16-year-old Tomahawk youth was critically injured when he struck a station wagon, after turning in front of it on US Hwy. 8. The youth was taken by the Tomahawk ambulance to Sacred Heart Hospital, where doctors waited for Merrill’s firemen to come transfer him to St. Joseph’s in Marshfield. Firemen transferred the youth to Marshfield, but he died on the way. Rogers told Ambulance Committee Chair M. L. (Bud) Neslon that the boy’s life likely would not have been saved if he arrived in Marshfield earlier, but he would like the County to study how transfers are conducted. Rogers is proposing Tomahawk ambulance crews load the patient into their ambulance and drive to Merrill, where Merrill fireman will then take over and transport the patient the rest of the way. Tomahawk can then borrow Merrill’s ambulance until the transfer is complete. (No one likely ever imagined what EMS transfers would look like today with multiple helicopters and critical care transfer services.)
Quick work by firemen and plant employees helped save the Semling-Menke plant on South Nast Street when fire broke out this past Friday. It is believed that a short in the substation ignited a cupola atop a center section of the plant. Loud popping sounds could be heard for blocks as heavy black smoke rose into the air. Firemen had the fire knocked down quickly, but cleanup took most of the weekend, and production did not resume until Tuesday, as company officials waited for electrical service to be restored. Off duty firemen and policemen were called in to assist with the incident. Several hundred people work at the facility; a fire in 1968 destroyed a large warehouse at the complex.
United States Senator Robert Kasten (R-Wisconsin) met with an enthusiastic crowd last Friday morning at the Cork and Dyne in Merrill and thanked residents for their support in sending him to Washington. The Milwaukee native told how things had changed drastically since he last visited Merrill. Kasten’s last visit found him walking in the Labor Day parade and greeting supporters as he tried to unseat longtime Senator Gaylord Nelson. Kasten was part of a wave of Republicans elected to office last November, along with President Ronald Reagan. He promised in his next visit to Merrill that he would bring along Merrill native Gerald Whitburn. Whitburn is in Washington serving as one of Kasten’s top aides.
Donald Semling has announced the sale of Wisconsin Window Unit to a New York-based company that also owns a mill in Medford. Semling said he did not seriously consider selling the plant, until he was approached about six weeks ago by United Industrial Syndicate, who also owns Hurd Millwork. Wisconsin Window Unit started with five employees in the 1940’s and eventually employed 256. A slowdown in the housing industry caused production to slow, and now only 40 employees work at the facility. ROW Cash & Carry was added to the operation about 15 years ago, and Wis-WIN Building Components began about 12 years ago.
Chief of Police Charles H. Johnson announced yesterday that Dennis Hintze, currently a Lieutenant on his force, has been appointed Acting Captain. The assignment was made due to the impending retirement of Capt. Allison English. Hintze joined the Department in 1967 and has served as Lieutenant since 1976.
Jay Tlusty, a member of the Merrill City Band, has proposed the City research building a new bandshell, or the show might not go on. Tlusty said he is concerned about the deteriorating condition of the current structure and noted that on the nights of band concerts, spectators have to fight for parking spaces with those attending the pool at Stange’s Park. The building itself is in such poor condition that most musicians cannot even see their music due to the lack of light, Tlusty added. He would like to see a new structure built at Normal Park and for it to be modeled after a Victorian-style bandshell recently built in a Green Bay park.
Merrill Rangers Head Coach Bill Helmuth called the 1991 Merrill Rangers’ season an up-and-done one; however, when the final out was called Sunday afternoon in Hayward, his team had been named State Champions in the Wisconsin Baseball Association Tournament. The title was the first in the history of the team; the old Merrill Giants captured Championships in 1976 and 1979. The title game against Tilden was a see-saw battle, going into extra innings, before Mike Schielke’s RBI single in the 10th clinched the title. Pitcher Shawn Schultz went six innings in the contest before Scott Wright came in to relieve him in the sixth. Those two held Tilden to just six hits in the contest. Rick Bonnell was named Most Valuable Pitcher in the tournament, while Merrill shortstop Jeff Beyer was named Best Defensive Player. Jay Krueger led the team in batting, hitting .615, with Steve Hintze following with a .600 batting average. The local team defeated Grand View and Abbotsford prior to facing Tilden in the Championship.