News

Zion Lutheran School Celebration of 125 Years

On Sunday June 22, 2014, hundreds gathered from near and far to celebrate 125 years of Christian education in Marengo, Illinois. In attendance were current and past teachers, students, parents and congregation members.

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Marengo Faith and Family Day

Saturday, July 26th the Marengo Clergy Alliance, with the help of community businesses and organizations, will be celebrating the first annual, Marengo Faith and Family Day. This will be a giant community "block party" that will be centered on the corner of E. Washington and S. Taylor Street. The event will run from 12:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. There will be activities, food, crafts, games and entertainment for all ages.

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Dr. Jim Sweet Representationalist Sculptor of Abraham Lincoln

Who dated George McGovern’s daughter, met Louis Armstrong, had a father who owned a radio station, is a detailed sculptor, and knows that if it weren’t for lips, the tongue would push the teeth out of the mouth? He lived in Iowa, South Dakota, and Illinois; he had homes on farms, in small towns and big cities. He dabbled in politics and aspired to be an artist. Who is creating a bust of President Abraham Lincoln, capturing his character and his Illinoisan visage, in a labor of love?

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City News - July 2014

On Monday June 22, the Marengo City Council approved the expenditure of $13,980 to J.W. Hellyer of Marengo for the removal of 16 large dead or dying ash trees from city rightof- ways. The trees are too large to be handled by City crews and equipment. These trees are in addition to 20-30 trees that will be removed from power lines in cooperation with Com Ed.

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Union Water Treatment Plant Reopening

The Village of Union received necessary funding to complete the final phase
of construction on the Village Water Treatment plant. A reopening of the Plant was
celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday June 25, 2014.

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City News, June 2014

On April 14, 2014, the Marengo City Council passed a balanced budget for fiscal year 2015. The City Council voted 7 – 1 with Alderman Hammortree the only dissenting vote on a $6.1 million dollar General and Water and Sewer budget. The budget includes salaries for 32 existing employees with no new hires for the next fiscal year.

A few of the things that are in this years budget, is a $40,000 digital sign for downtown, $15,000 matching funds for the Marengo Main Street Association, $3,000 startup and $900 operating funds for Marengo radio, and only $125,000 for street improvement. Alderman Bartman commented that she was “hoping we could spend more than $125,000 on streets” and that “there are some things that could be cut if we wanted to put more money into streets.”

Prospect Street is coming along fine, at least the portions that are going to be improved in this phase. Because of budget shortfalls and estimates that were four years old by the time construction began, almost ½ mile of Prospect Street will not see new construction. If you have driven down the road, going north only, the areas presently torn-up, are the only ones that will be improved with this project. Funds will have to be found somewhere in the future, if Prospect is ever going to be completed. It isn’t in this year’s budget.

At the April 28, 2014 City Council meeting, a rather large crowd showed up in anticipation of the public hearing on various annexation agreements regarding property known, or formerly known as Park Meadows, Seven Oaks, Pleasant Grove Estates, and other properties located near Myer Road, Pleasant Grove Road, O’Connell Road, and Indian Oaks Trail; but were disappointed when the hearings were delayed until the May 12, 2014 meeting because of a lack of an adequate sound and recording system.

The mayor accepted a flag in recognition of Marengo as a Purple Heart City, and awarded a cash prize to Danielle Fleshood for her winning design of the new City vehicle sticker. City Engineer Tim Hartman reported that the toll way interchange project at Route 23, was proceeding better than expected, and all parties are in agreement with traffic numbers needed to justify building the project. While still not a sure thing, it is looking more and more like the project could come to fruition and possibly sooner than most people believed.

Next the Council voted 5-2 with Aldermen Bartman and Hammortree against, to issue Alternate Bonds not to exceed $4,975,000 for the purpose of “improving the waterworks and sewer system of the City.” These “Revenue Bonds” will extend the city’s debt obligation to 2034, while keeping the payments the same or less. According to Alderman Hall, “it’s like getting a new car while keeping your payments the same.”

At the May 12, 2014 Council meeting, the Public Hearing on the Proposed Amendments to the annexation of the above mentioned properties, scheduled for April 28, was re-opened, with the same poor sound system, and started with Joseph E Condon of J. Condon & Associates, Inc. speaking for the property owners. The public was then invited to make their comments and Michael Grant was the first to speak on his own behalf and that of neighboring residents, and read a prepared statement. The statement included: “ Before the Council make any decision with regards to the development known as Park Meadows we, the neighboring residents of this property, are notifying the Council of the following process underway: The McHenry County States Attorneys Office has been given documents, pertaining to the sale of this property, and will be investigating said sale, as it appears there may have been improprieties that could lead to the sale being negated.” (As of this writing, an investigation is underway). Next, Dave Diamond, Riley Township Highway commissioner spoke about his displeasure with the design of the project and stated “Riley Township will not allow the interconnection of the roadways” (into the Southridge Subdivision). Bruce Peleschak, Dorthy Otis, James Hotchkiss, Lori Karczewski, and Alan Stromberg, all voiced their displeasure with the proposals, but Jerry Trickett, Superintendent of Riley School, was pleased with the agreement after it was explained to him that impact fees for Riley and Marengo schools were not being waived.

Mr. Dave Diamond next spoke as a private citizen and resident of Marengo and stated that “and now you mean to tell me that over $3,000 per unit is going to be refunded to Mr. Volkening and his partners to secure a right of way for a water main easement.” After questioning the City’s planning, Mr. Diamond concluded: “and now you are going to give over one quarter of a million dollars to the developer. I hope you are all proud of yourselves.”

City Administrator Gary Boden pointed out “Even with this fee waiver, it’s going to cost the developer more to provide city water than it would be if each lot was provided with a well.” Alderman Bartman pointed out that “the development of this property started in 2002, and it took five years to develop the original concept plan,public comment along the way.” It was then that dissension broke out among the aldermen and voices were raised. Alderman Hammortree stated, “It seems like it’s always somebody else’s best interest that is the concern instead of the community’s.” He, Alderman Smith, and Alderman Keenum were in favor of tabling the decision on the amendments because they had too many questions they wanted to look over and answer, while Alderman DeBoer stated, “If you read your homework, and you’re here and you come to meetings, go to the planning hearings, it shouldn’t be this hard. We either agree with it or we don’t.”

When Alderman Hammortree asked, “Why can’t we just table this?” Alderman DeBoer replied, “Because it costs them money too. These people live here.” To which Alderman Hammortree replied, “We only have one chance to get this right. I find it appalling that you’re concerned about the developer and his direct or indirect costs.” City Administrator Boden then addressed the road concerns brought up by Commissioner Diamond by saying “When talking to the fire chief, he thinks having a second connector to Southridge makes sense for emergency vehicles.” With that the Council voted six “yes”, to two “no” with Alderman Smith abstaining on the annexation amendments. Aldermen Hammortree and Keenum were the dissenting votes. The three rezoning ordinances passed by seven to two margins with the same two aldermen casting “no” votes.

The May 27, 2014 meeting was much less eventful. The Marengo Clergy Alliance presented a proposal for a Family Faith Day event this summer, which was unanimously approved by the Council.

City Administrator Boden then addressed the list of items to be completed with the approval of the General Obligation Bonds for Wastewater and Sewerage System Improvements. The items, in priority order are: install a new well on the west end of town and connect it with a main to the existing water system; replace existing transite lines in the Willow, Sunset, Van Buren and Route 23 corridor; and any remaining funds will be used to upsize existing mains and connect any existing dead heads to allow for better looping of the system. The Council will take bids on the loan and approve the bonds at their next meeting on June 9, 2014.

Now that hydrant flushing is complete, patching of roadways is scheduled for the first week in June, so if you find any potholes that have not been addressed, give City Hall a call.

The final thing the Council addressed was the Hot Power Tour which will be coming through Marengo on June 12, 2014. The tour consists of about 3,000 hot rods and sports cars that drive to seven cities across the country for car shows, and Marengo is on their route. They will be driving through town between 10 am and 4 pm, traveling along 176, west to 23, then south to 20 and west again. Backups at lights could extend for up to 3 miles, so either avoid those areas on that day, or come downtown and watch the show. Businesses are advised to stock up on food, water, soda and gas to welcome the extra visitors, who might just stop on their way through town.

City Budget - May 28 Petition Deadline

On April 14, 2014, the Marengo City Council passed a balanced budget for fiscal year 2015. The City Council voted 7 – 1 with Alderman Hammortree the only dissenting vote on a $6.1 million dollar General and Water and Sewer budget. The budget includes salaries for 32 existing employees with no new hires for the next fiscal year.

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Locust Retires Five Teachers

Marengo School District 165, Locust School, loses over 100 years of teaching experience this spring. That’s the combined teaching experience of retirees Judith Warrner, Kandice Freund, Pat Jaglowski, Caroline Kerschke and Robin Reeves.

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Big Northern Conference Art Festival

MCHS art students earned 16 awards at the 2014 Big Northern Conference Art Festival. Kailey Soloman placed first in abstract oil painting with a work titled Red, Jonathan Beldin’s Ski Chair took first in functional sculpture category, and Natalie Gruber’s charcoal drawing Abstract #1 took high honors.

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Marengo Public Library “Passes Torch” to New Director

This past month the Marengo Public Library welcomed a new director to the staff. Mary Hansen, who held the position for nine years, passed the torch to Kevin Drinka, as the library prepares for a move across town.

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News

Union Water Treatment Plant Reopening

Union Water Treatment Plant Reopening

The Village of Union received necessary funding to complete the final phaseof construction on the Village Water Treatment plant. A reopening of...

Read more

City News - July 2014

On Monday June 22, the Marengo City Council approved the expenditure of $13,980 to J.W. Hellyer of Marengo for the removal of...

Read more
Dr. Jim Sweet Representationalist Sculptor of Abraham Lincoln

Dr. Jim Sweet Representationalist Sculptor of Abraham Lincoln

Who dated George McGovern’s daughter, met Louis Armstrong, had a father who owned a radio station, is a detailed sculptor, and knows...

Read more