Researched by Michael J. Caylor, Jr.
A milestone has been reached at the Lincoln County Canning plant, as the millionth can of beans has been canned in a single season. Emil J. Weix, director of the Economowoc Canning Company, explained that 450,000 to 500,000 had been a good year for the company; however, an abundance of beans and a dedicated workforce pushed the plant to overwork this year, allowing them to can the millionth can last week. The factory, established locally for 18 years, employs 220 seasonal workers and 22 year round. Canning began on June 28 of this year and is expected to continue for two more weeks according to Weix; he explained that the first harvest came from Illinois, while the majority of the late harvest came from the Golden Sands area of Wisc. Now the plant is seeing a second harvest of the Ill. Six to seven trucks a day enter the plant, with two nine-hour shifts operating seven days a week. In addition to the bean trucks, nine trucks of cans arrive at the plant every day from the Poynette warehouse.
A local family learned from Vietnam that their son was awarded the Air Medal for Heroism. Captain Robert Grisham, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Grisham, 702 N. State St., has now received four decorations during his service in our country. Captain Grisham was in command of a group of helicopters which silenced two enemy anti-aircraft guns. The Greshams have two other sons in service. Captain Clarence Grisham, now at Fort Bliss, served in Vietnam, where he won Bronze Star, Silver Star and two Purple Heart medals. Captain Douglas Grisham is stationed in Korea with the engineer corps and is part of the finance department.
Homecoming came to Merrill last week. Off the field, Homecoming Court was chosen and Jill Wendt was selected as the Returning Queen of 1971. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Wendt of Route 4. Chosen by their classmates as members in court are Seniors Susan Sandas and Marcie Schnabel, Junior Kay Peterson and Sophomore Robin Annis. The members of the football team selected by their teammates to escort the Queen and her court are seniors Barry Jensen, Mark Zuelsdorf and Bill Heideman (the kid started again); Mark Lemmer junior; and Sophomore Phil English. The Senior Class float won first prize in the parade; it was one of the 14 tanks that participated.
On the grill, things didn’t go well for the local boy as Marshfield ruined the big game with a 33-13 win. Injuries plagued the team for most of the game, with several players forced out, some of whom could miss the rest of the season.
Merrill and Lincoln County were spared the tornadoes that left a great path of destruction from Clark County to the city of Maine yesterday. The deputies acted as weather observers and reports were streamed from the sheriff’s office to WXMT radio, which was live throughout the event. A report was received of a tornado on the ground north of the city, but no damage was found. Tornado sirens sounded throughout town based on a report at 4.30am.
Brian O’Leary, astrophysicist, author, and Apollo astronaut, addressed Merrill students this week at the Great Speakers Forum. O’Leary spoke of his aversion to politicians and his determination to keep pushing NASA forward in space. O’Leary criticized Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire for recently giving NASA one of its infamous “Golden Fleece Awards,” as well as former President Jimmy Carter and President Ronald Reagan. O’Leary predicted that if NASA was allowed to continue exploring space at the previous rate, we could have space colonies by the year 2000 if the Columbia shuttle system continues to expand.
The Lincoln County Board of Directors on Tuesday voted 15-5 to restore the Prairie River Dam. An attempt to send the measure to voters to decide in the spring election was defeated by a 14-6 margin. The complete removal of the dam had been recommended by the County Forest Lands and Parks Committee previously. County Corp attorney Mike Ravn said the board’s finance committee will now have to find a way to pay for the restoration, an estimated cost of over $ 300,000.
Merrill’s teacher John Gravelle got a call last week from State Superintendent of Schools, Herbert Grover, telling him he was Wisconsin’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year. Gravelle, who saw it as a late 40th birthday present, teaches math, English and computer science. Gravelle now has his own homework to do, as he has to write a 20-page article for his national nomination. Eventually, a panel in Washington DC will narrow the field down to four nominees and then interview them to establish a winner. The award is sponsored by the Encyclopedia Britannica. Gravelle is originally from Escanaba, Michigan, and graduated from Northern Michigan University.
International Papers, parent company of local paper maker Ward Paper Mill, has announced the consolidation of some senior positions, which will result in the loss of 10 to 12 positions in local offices. The consolidation will take place over the next year and will only strengthen the business, said Strathmore Paper, a western Massachusetts-based parent company. Brian McDonald said it is very frustrating to even eliminate a job; However, this will make the company strong and show its determination to stay in business locally.