Cost per student Mercer $25,097,
Wis. $13,505, Nation $11,762
ACT comp. score Mercer 17.0,
Wis. 19.6, Lakeland UHS 20.0,
Hurley 18.7; perfect score 36.0
Mercer DPI Report Card score
lowest of all 421 Wis. districts

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Mercer Is Not Immune

While the Mercer School Board and Administrator Sheri Kopka are conscientiously looking for ways to safely reopen the school this fall, the Mercer Chamber of Commerce appears to have taken a different position about the dangers of the Covid-19 virus.  The Chamber agreed on Tuesday to go ahead with Loon Day festivities on August 5 even though virus cases in Iron County have risen to 33 with one death (37 cases by Wednesday afternoon, 42 by Thurday).

But the Mercer Town Board may have the final say of whether to allow Loon Day festivities to proceed at a risk to the safety of town residents and visitors.  The Town Board will decide Friday if it has the authority to not allow the Chamber to use town streets and property for the event.

It would seem that the Town Board does have that authority since it requires permits and fees for using the Carow park pavilion, the community center, and the town hall.

Medical authorities worldwide are advising against huge gatherings of people which, of course, Loon Day always attracts. They say that social distancing of least six feet and wearing face masks are essential ways to reduce the spread of the deadly disease. 

An Iron County Health Department spokesperson told a Mercer business owner that “having any large gatherings regardless of being outside is an absolute NO”.

Many organizations have postponed or cancelled popular events, such as the Wisconsin and Iron County Fairs, Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Rhinelander’s Hodag Days, the Tomahawk Fall Ride, professional sports, the Olympics, and local service organization related fund raisers.

There is no doubt that many Mercer merchants have been hurt financially by the virus and would benefit from the huge crowd Loon Day attracts.  However, some merchants have said that they will stay closed to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

One business owner said she spoke to six other business owners who said they would stay closed and that “they were not supportive of  the Chamber and Town Board when they proceeded with the 4th of July parade, including throwing candy (insanity), and the firework display for the danger it posed to the community and visitors”.

One Mercer citizen wrote to the Town Board saying that it was in the town's best interests to cancel or postpone this year’s Loon Day festivities.  “ I realize that this adds another economic and social hardship on the community but in the short to medium term health interests of the Mercer and Iron County population, cancellation of the August event is the prudent and responsible thing to do,” he said.

“I cannot believe that Mercer is proceeding with Loon Days,” said another prominent person. “It is always is the biggest money-maker of the year, but I hope ‘loonacy’ will not prevail.”

It is now up to the Town Board if it will allow “loonacy” to prevail.


  1. Stupid is as stupid does.

  2. Loon Days is probably not a threat on a personal level since I won't join the crowd and neither, I suspect, will most of the people I know. The threat is not to me but to the Town of Mercer. We are just trying to recover from the dark cloud of the School debacle which generated so much bad publicity and now we will be known by the continuing string of bad decisions--"graduation", 4th of July and, now, Loon[y] Days. Do we really want to be known as "that weird place 'up Nort' that ignores (or doesn't even know about) what those charged with keeping us safe are saying?" Sadly, with less than two weeks to go, it may be too late.

  3. Isn’t one of the school board members who you say is “conscientiously looking for ways to safely open the school” also the president of the Chamber of Commerce which wants to put lives in danger?

    1. OK - Game time is over. Blame someone who deserves it. Iron County Health Department. Yesterdays post listed two businesses in Mercer at a risk of exposure. WHAT ABOUIT HURLEY?????? Try and tell us that NONE of the places in Hurley had any exposure and yet they list the Mercer places????? The chamber is there to promote Mercer.
      The health department is there to protect the citizens of Iron County. Nobody seems to have the guts to say what to do. What about the town board?????

  4. It’s never too late to use common sense. Bayfield canceled Apple Fest. Mercer needs to follow suit and inforce the mask mandate.

  5. It’s never too late to use common sense. Bayfield canceled Apple Fest. Mercer needs to follow suit and inforce the mask mandate.

  6. Yes the conscientious school board member, Hank Joustra is also the chamber president. He along with the majority of the chamber board voted to proceed with Loon Day this week. And this community needs to know the majority of businesses in the downtown - Loon day area-, have contacted both the chamber and town boards, expressing our concerns with the health and safety of our community as well as the future of all of us remaining open - ASKING BOTH BOARDS TO CANCEL THE EVENT. If an outbreak occurs and we all have to close this is a negative impact not only on our businesses but it impacts the town, county and state budgets (NO SALES MEANS NO REVENUE). This is NOT JUST A ONE DAY LOSS OF FUNDRAISING FOR THE CHAMBER!! So is the Chamber of Commerce for "the chamber" or the community and businesses??

    NOT ONE of the chamber board members owns or operates a business in the immediate down town area. Yet they refused to listen to any one of us. And as of Wed evening, the Pines has disclosed they had an infected employee working Fri July 17 and Lazy Ace has disclosed they are working with the health dept regarding employees having covid as they've been closed since July 13.
    So let's see Chamber Board of Directors do u really think it's safe in any way shape or form to hold Loon Day?? NO!! Local, regional and international events have all been canceled. This isn't a political game it's PEOPLE'S LIVES WE R TALKING ABOUT, not to mention our livelihoods. Use the brain your God gave you Chamber Board and cancel the damn Loon Day!!
    As a result of all of us businesses closing we are also losing all that business and sales for one day because we are remaining safe.
    All of you in this community can contact John Sendra, by tomorrow 10 am as the town board is meeting on this issue and ask the board to do what they can to cancel Loon Day.

    My family was pleased to see the MASK ADVISORY issued by Iron County as we are enforcing it in both our businesses to try and keep everyone safe along with only allowing two folks in at a time (which we enforced all along). I hope all other businesses will enforce the mask advisory to ensure our community's safety. Stay safe and healthy Mercer. Christa and Jerry

  7. Holy cow!! Great site. Hank here!! Seems like I am loved and hated. That’s cool. Thanks for your support and for not supporting. Remember I base decisions on facts and not hear say. I am also ready to back any decisions I make as a board member or a citizen of Mercer. My phone number and emails are posted everywhere. Willing to talk to anyone.