An impressive trophy is currently visiting various businesses around town. These establishments are sponsors for the Settlers’ Days Car Show coming up on Oct. 6 and the travelling trophy is starting to generate excitement about the event.

It is also beginning to raise funds for the automotive program at the Marengo Community High School. As it travels from business to business, customers are tossing cash into the beautiful trophy. This money is being collected by Abby Laudato and Gas & Diesel, 154 N. State St. Marengo, who is promoting the show.

The trophy, along with the other car show trophies, was provided by Your Supply Depot and Thomas Stewart, 207 E. Grant Highway. This trophy is three feet tall and the base is of mahogany. It will be presented to the Best of Show winner during Settlers Days.

Vincent Long and Dan Schirmer teach the automotive program at MCHS. “Abby volunteers with us on a daily basis,” Long said.

“The Auto Refinishing (third year) class is bodywork on the vehicles. During Auto 2, the students go out to learn to work on the school buses and heavy machinery. The first semester of Auto 1 is basic hands-on learning. During their second semester, the students actually work on cars - mostly family, friends, and teachers. They charge $10 per hour, not to steal business from local businesses, but to gain real world experience and to raise money to participate in the SkillsUSA contest. In fact, the funds raised by the car shows at Joe’s Place and other donations to the Auto programs go for the same purpose,” he said. “The school pays for everything we need in class.

“The contest theme this year is ‘SkillsUSA: Champions at Work, Career-Ready Starts Here.’ SkillsUSA is the only organization that defines, implements, and measures career-readiness of students based on the demands set by business and industry today.

“This contest is strongly supported by Mike Rowe of ‘Dirty Jobs’ on the Discovery channel. MCHS has sent students to compete in SkillsUSA for several years. In 2013 a MCHS student finished fourth in the nation in Refinishing. We have had students place well in the Diesel and Refinishing categories. We had a student do well in the Culinary category also. SkillsUSA covers far more than just the automotive arena.

“I have only had one female student in Automotive. I would love to have more. She has been published in ‘SkillsUSA Champions’ magazine and, in college, she was published in ‘Auto Body News.’ “Our students have been in five or six contests this year and hotels, food, and other needs can get expensive. Donations to our department cover the gap between what the school funds and what we actually spend. We do not want the students to have to pay for anything.”

If you do not see the trophy around town before Settlers Days, the car show will be held in Spencer Park on Oct. 6. ByAnne Eickstadt Correspondent Travelling trophy benefits high school’s auto program 

Indians Drop Home Opener 48-6 Against Sterling

The Marengo Indians were unable to mount a sustained offense and the defense was unable to hold down the Sterling Golden Warriors, from the second quarter on through the rest of the game, resulting in a 48-6 non-conference loss for the Aug. 24 home- and season-opener at Rod Poppe Field.

Sterling (1-0) muffed a fourth-down punt try at the outset, and Marengo (0-1) was stopped cold on its first possession. With the Golden Warriors alternating its quarterbacks on each series, they eventually broke through on a 25-yard touchdown pass, from Cooper Willman to Weston Sisson, at the 3:32 mark of the first quarter, missing the extra point. 0:07-seconds into the second quarter, Camden Bailey took the snap and ran the ball in from the 7-yard line, and a 13-0 lead.

Two running TDs by Marquez Williams, one on a fumbled kickoff return by the Indians, and two rushing TD’s by Nigel Bruce, put the game out of reach at 40-0 before the half ended, and started the continuous clock running. The Indians fumbled two kickoff returns on the night.

Marengo scored twice in the fourth quarter, with quarterback Travis Knaak keeping the ball and running it into the end zone at the 7:32 mark, and another Sterling scored on a 4-yard run with 7:32 left in the game, and a 2-point safety when Sterling muffed another punt attempt in the end zone.

The Indians next square off against the Plano Reapers in an Aug. 31 non-conference away game.

Approach and Fundamentals Highlight Middle School Co-op Softball Team

This summer, a new program was initiated for middle school girls (grades 6-8) attending Marengo Community and Riley School to get involved with the game of softball. Not only offering a hands-on guide to the basic fundamentals for the athletes, it also opens the door and strengthens their approach to the game’s critical thinking aspects such as anticipation of the play, and different scenarios.

Marengo Community High School head varsity softball coach, Dwain Nance, serves as an assistant coach. However, the head coach is a name familiar to MCHS sports…Susan Orozco (Anthony), who played for the 2010- 13 Indians. When she heard about the team forming, she promptly jumped at the chance and knew that she, and Nance, would be on the same page in how to go about running the program.

“We are using this program to teach players the game, to realize softball is more than just catching, throwing, and swinging a bat,’ said Orozco. “The mental side of the game is so important, along with developing the abil- ity to anticipate the next play, and at a young age, will only help them become a better play- er when they reach the varsity level in high school. This opportunity to impact the youth of Marengo softball is an honor.”

34 girls signed up for the team. They are being taught a skill-set of catching, throwing, base running, hitting form, and defensive po- sitioning. Deemed equally as important are leadership, commitment, sportsmanship, and responsibility since those traits will follow them off the field and into their lives.

“We have only been working with these girls for four short weeks, and the improvement we have seen is incredible,” said Orozco. “Yes, winning and being successful is exciting, but seeing the girls transform is what makes it fulfilling for me. I believe each girl has gotten better from being on the Marengo Middle School Softball team, and we will continue to work hard to make sure these girls are successful in all aspects of their life. For me, the most rewarding part of coaching is seeing the girls grow and improve.”

The program will also bring dividends in another way by preparing the athletes for high school softball competition. “This is an awesome opportunity for our program, this will only enhance it,” said Nance. “The girls and coaches have been working really hard on improving their skills and knowledge of the game. We have seen some major improvements in those areas already.

“The middle school program allows more kids to learn the expectations, procedures and success of our program at a younger age,’ he said. “Coach Orozco has done an excellent job of organizing and getting this program off running.

McHenry County Independents Close Out Vintage Base Ball Season.

With a runner on third base, and one out in top of the ninth inning, a ground ball by a conscripted player resulted in a double-play. The Grayslake Athletics, thus came from behind in sealing a 7-6 win over the noble Mc Henry County Independents in an Aug. 25 away game at Central Park, during the annual Grayslake Color Aloft Balloon Festival.

Leading 6-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Independents were unable to contain the strikers of Grayslake. After several scores, a collision occurred in the outfield between “The Tiger” and “Breadman,” leading to tense moments, injury, and another run for the Athletics.

The Independents were not victorious in their three games this season, but their efforts were gentlemanly in keeping with the theme of the contests. Always remember, when it comes to Civil War-era contests, it is two words: Base Ball. Huzzah!

“Someday, I will have to look through the files to see if it was intentionally spelled as the ‘Independents,’ or really a typo,’ said Kurt Begalka, the team’s manager, and administrator for the Union-based Mc Henry County Historical Society and Museum.

Fall is a terrific time for gardeners to begin planting lettuce, arugula, endive, or other leafy greens for salads. These plants are easy to grow, grow quickly and also add a significant source of nutrients to your diet.

When growing salad greens, transplants are not as easy to come by in the fall as they are in the spring. The best option may be to plant seed directly into the garden bed. Transplants can be set into the ground in early to mid-September and seeds should be planted in late-August to early-September. Many salad greens go from seed to harvest in less than 45 days making direct seeding a great option. Another option is to start seeds in containers on the patio.

Whether planting seeds or transplants, loosen the soil first, add all-purpose granulated organic or synthetic (10-10-10) fertilizer, plant, and water. When planting seed, dig a shallow trench, add a pinch of seed along the row, and lightly cover it. Be sure not to plant seed too deep. A general rule of thumb is to plant a seed two times its thickness underground. Keep seeds evenly moist with a light sprinkle of water about every other day until they germinate, usually in about a week. Typically, most direct-seeded salad greens will not need to be thinned out.

Provide plants with necessary water – at least one inch per week. Plants should not need another round of fertilizer with good quality soil. Remove weeds and consider mulching the soil with straw or untreated grass clippings. Monitor plants and harvest them as leaves mature or as needed.

For continued harvest, cut the outer leaves first and keep the central point growing. Leaves can be rinsed in very cold water just before serving. Pat dry with a clean towel. If a large supply of greens is ready to harvest, cut and store them in the refrigerator rather than letting them over-mature. Lastly, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, as these nutritious salad greens will make a wonderful addition to the garden and your plate.

The Union Lion’s Club would sincerely like to thank all of our local sponsors who supported us on our new trailer! We will be using this to spread joy and good deeds all around the community in the years to come.

An extra special thanks to our sponsors: Associated Electrical Contractors LLC, B, Kearns Concrete Inc., Blain’s Farm and Fleet, Chicago, North - west KOA, D5 Gun Ranges, D5 Iron Works, Dayton Bag and Burlap, Griebel Trucking, Illinois , Museum, Incendio, Intren, J. Hill Nursery, Jay K. Filler, Jr. Law Offices, Jay Pace Construction, Joe’s Place, Knuck - leboom Services Inc., Lechner Top Soil, Marengo Auto Body and Glass, Marengo Signs, Niko’s, Paint It Ken, Plote Construction, Inc., Prairie Community Bank, Team REIL Inc., Thomas Jurs, Real Estate, Tom Greene Forklift Consulting

The trailer was custom made for the Lion’s Club new with food grade materials inside to help support our pancake breakfasts and other events, we plan to use it over the next 25 years. We’ll have this out and about for all in the community to see.

Is grandma’s cinnamon apple pie recipe melt-in-your-mouth marvelous? Do your apple bars take the cake? Now you have a chance to prove it. As part of the 41st annual Cider Fest on Sunday, Oct. 7, the McHenry County Historical Society is hosting its fifth annual Apple Bake-off Contest. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with judging following at 10:30 a.m. in the 1895 West Harmony School.

The school is located on the museum grounds at 6422 Main St. in Union.

Categories are apple pies, apple cakes and apple squares/bars. There is a $2 fee per item, one entry per category. First- second- and third-place contestants in each of the three categories will receive ribbons, with a special prize going to the grand champion.

In addition to an amateur category, professional pie bakers are invited to enter an apple pie in the inaugural commercial category for an opportunity to be named the “Apple of My Eye” pie in McHenry County. The winner receives a trophy, with the runner-up and thirdplace entrees earning ribbons.

All baked goods entered should be in disposable containers or dishes marked with the contestant’s name and phone number for pickup after judging. Entries will be divided and repackaged for sale that day. All proceeds benefit the nonprofit historical society. For additional information, visit or call 815-923-2267.

White Elephant donations sought The McHenry County Historical Society is seeking donations for its popular “white elephant” sale during this year’s Cider Fest – just in time for your fall cleaning ritual.

The Oct. 7 sale has become a much-anticipated and pivotal part of the McHenry County Historical Society’s fundraising effort. Items range from vintage clothing perfect for Halloween costumes; board games, mannequins, furniture, new and vintage books, glassware, seasonal merchandise, sporting equipment and tables of odds and ends you’ll not find anywhere else.

This year’s sale runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Schuette Building, next door to the museum. No early birds. Checks and cash only.

Donations may be dropped off through Oct. 1 at the historical society museum, 6422 Main St., during regular business hours – 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please, no broken or soiled items, or items that have been recalled or contain hazardous materials.

Large appliance, antiquated computers and electronic items, VHS tapes, medical supplies and such child items as cribs, car seats and used stuffed animals will not be accepted. The Society also reserves the right to reject items because of duplication, condition or disposal costs.

Your donations are tax deductible and will contribute to funding MCHS programs and operations. For information, call 815-923-2267.

MCHS Class of 1988 is celebrating their 30-year class reunion. Friday, September 28th they will meet at the homecoming football game. Saturday, Sept. 29th they will meet at Clausens Tavern in Union to catch up and see what has changed in the last 30 years. Space is still available, spouses are welcome. Please contact Janet (Schneider) Sjurseth at 847-322-2123 for details. We are hoping to have as many of our classmates in attendance as possible.


MacCarron Family                                          Martin Family                                    Pete Stieger                  Mier Family


The Marengo American Legion Post 192 invited six local families to the Aug. 20 meeting for a Blue Star Banner ceremony to honor those individuals entering military service. Following a brat/hot dog meal with all the sides, the meeting was called to order, a prayer said, and the Pledge of Allegiance recited.

Commander Larry Dochterman began the ceremony.

“We, the Marengo Legion Post 192, the Women’s Auxiliary, and community welcome all the families present here this evening.

“We are here to honor those families who are going to or already have a son or daughter in the active military by presenting the parents or guardian with the Blue Star Banner. The banner is a nationwide symbol that represents a household that has an active military person or persons from it. The banner is usually displayed in a window from the home.

“Our country needs to have and needs to respect all individuals that are willing to serve and protect our nation and our way of life. It is a sacrifice that will certainly take the soldier away from home and familiar surroundings. It may put them in harm’s way. It is not just a sacrifice from them, but also for the families left behind.

“Our country is blessed to have enough men and women who will actively defend our heritage and carry on the task of safeguarding it. Therefore, we thank everyone involved in this endeavor.”

Families who received the Blue Star Banner at this ceremony were the families of:

-Mariana MacCarron, who entered the National Guard. She graduated Marengo Community High School (MCHS) in 2018 and entered military service this year as well. She will study to become a dental specialist. She is currently stationed at Fort Sill. The banner was accepted by Mayra MacCarron and family members.

-Easton Martin, who entered the National Guard. He has been a Boy Scout, played four years of baseball and studied architectural drafting. He graduated MCHS in 2018 and entered military service on Aug. 8, 2018. Easton will train to become a construction engineer. He is currently stationed at Fort Sill and Fort Leonardwood for AIT. The banner was accepted by Stephanie and Brett Martin and grandparents.

-James Mier, who has joined the Marines. He has participated in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and studied auto mechanics. He graduated MCHS in 2018 and joined the Marines on June 1. He will train to become a jet engine mechanic. He is currently stationed in San Diego. James’ father served in the Marine Corps. for 20 years. The banner was accepted by his mother Stephanie Mier and James’ brothers Jonathon and Joe.

-Erik Olejarz, who has entered the Army. He graduated from MCHS in 2018 and joined the military in June. He will train as a computer tech and is currently stationed in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. His family was not present at the ceremony.

-Hunter Richardson, who has joined the Marines. He graduated from MCHS in2016 where he played football. He will train in security forces nuclear weapons and is currently stationed at Paris Island and Kings Bay, Georgia. His grandfather was a fighter pilot and his father served in the Air Force. The banner was accepted by Shandra and Robert Richardson and family members.

-Josh Widmeyer, who has joined the Army. He graduated from MCHS in 2018. He participated in Boy Scouts and in shop classes. He will train in engineering and is currently stationed in Fort Leonardwood. The banner was accepted by his grandfather Pete Steiger. Each family received a hearty round of applause from those present.

Last month I spoke about area volunteers and had many people say thanks for that article. In that article I alluded to a new addition to the Union Fire Protection District fleet. The new apparatus is a 2016 UTV Polaris ranger 6x6, now identified as Union 1595. You may have seen 1595 around town or in recent parades. Several 100 man hours have been logged by LT Brandon Camp over several months modifying and outfitting 1595 to be the ultimate Fire Fighting search and rescue apparatus for the community! FF Ron Moritz provided many hours of his expertise in the finite details of running wires and honing in on the water propulsion of this very capable machine. Together these two equipped and outfitted 1595 with a 100- gallon water reservoir, pump and the necessary firefighting tools. This labor was at very little to no cost to the tax payers, as they volunteered much of their time to this task.

Even before 1595 was completed it had proven its capabilities in an early Spring grass fire that required driving thru a marsh of 6-12 inch water and mud. 1595 performed flawlessly without any hesitation - nothing stopped 1595 from rising to the task! This work horse can be used year round, in all weather conditions, on and off road, to enhance search and rescue efforts as well as firefighting operations. We will be able to provide services to DNR, on the bike trail, and to the many open fields and land in and around Union where our grass rigs simply cannot go. Parked on a trailer, 1595 can be ready in a moment’s notice to be used to assist neighboring communities. Hats off to Lt Brandon Camp and FF Ron Moritz for your dedication!

I would like to do a shout out to a recent addition to our dedicated staff of Fire Fighters – recently Mike Paige, a retired fire chief joined our ranks as a volunteer. Since joining the department Mike has helped us to navigate the certification process with the state, and Union Fire now has 4 members certified as Advanced Fire Fighters, and 6 certified Vehicle Machinery operations technicians! With his help we will gain further experience providing more value to the District. I am excited about Mike’s dedication to the betterment of the Union Fire Dept! Thanks again to all of our volunteers!

Since we are now approaching the fall – please be on the lookout for farm equipment, and let’s share the road! Enjoy your Fall!

An Illinois Department of Transportation resurfacing project inadvertently contributed to numerous traffic accidents and a truck roll- over that occurred Aug. 16 and Aug. 21, along Route 176 and its northern intersection with Route 47. A primer liquid placed on the road, ahead of the actual re- surfacing, resulted in a wet top and a loss of traction after several rainstorms dotted the area.

Vehicles attempting to stop at the traffic signal instead found themselves in an uncontrollable slide. More than one dozen vehicles were pulled onto the shoulder, and on the adjacent frontage of Pleasant Valley Road, along with a jack-knifed truck that had rolled into a culvert Aug. 16. The Lakewood Police Department and the Mc Henry County Sheriff ’s Department responded to the service calls. Emergency Medical Technicians also transported some individuals to a nearby hospital via ambulance.

“There was a type of oil on the surface of the roadway, they were in the process of paving, and with the rain, it was not a good mix,” said Lakewood Police Chief Mike Roth. “We received calls about 6:39 p.m., and responded to about three accidents. People were trying to apply their brakes and there was no traction. There was a jack-knifed truck, outside of our jurisdiction, in the county area, there was a passenger car rollover… however, there were no significant injuries.

“We had it happen again, a few days later, on Aug. 21, where there were three accidents in a row,” he said. “Our village administrator (Jeannine Smith) met with IDOT officials Aug. 23, and the situation was corrected.” The resurfacing project encompassing Route 176, from terminus points at Route 23 in Marengo to Route 47, began last July. An IDOT press release, issued July 11, stated, “The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced that a resurfacing project will take place on Illinois 176 between Illinois 23 and Illinois 47, in Marengo, be- ginning, weather permitting, the week of July 9.

"In order to complete the work, intermittent daytime lane closures will take place on Illinois 176, with flaggers to direct motorists through the work zone. Nighttime lane closures also will be necessary at times. The project is expected to be completed in Fall 2018. Motorists can expect delays and should allow extra time for trips through this area. Drivers are urged to pay close attention to flaggers and signs in the work zones, obey the posted speed limits and be on the alert for workers and equipment.”

IDOT District 1 Communications Officer Guy Tridgell said, “What happened (Aug. 16-21) was a step, just prior to resurfacing. The material, a primer, became slick during the rain. There were also some additional signs that we placed in the area, when this occurred. Also, on some of the more traveled areas, there was sand placed on the surface. Going forward, we’re planning to sand all the intersections just to provide more traction, just in case.”

The Rondout-based firm of Peter Baker and Son was named contractor for the project, out of the jobletting bid process, awarded the job order on a bid of $2.4 million.

The primer coat applied to the roadway normally takes up to 4 hours to cure and settle, based on humidity and weather conditions.

"We think that whatever issues were experienced should be mitigated now that they’ve begun placing the final surface material and paving until the project is complete,” said Tridgell. “As mentioned…there was a primer placed on the road surface in anticipation of the resurfacing beginning shortly, based on expected weather conditions at the time. When the department became aware of the slick conditions, additional signs were put in place and sand was applied to improve traction.

“Based on feedback received from local law enforcement, excessive speeds contributed to some of the incidents,” he said. “We would like to remind the public to be especially careful traveling near, and through, work zones. Equipment can be present and conditions can change, requiring slower speeds and the full attention of drivers. The intersection is being paved beginning Aug. 23, with a new surface.”

A section on the IDOT website offers instructions on the claims process: http://www.idot.illinois. gov/travel-information/report-a-problem/claims/index

IDOT District 1 Construction Manager John Schumacher had no comment on the issue, at this time. The Mc Henry County Sheriff ’s Department communications officer was also not available for comment.

Each spring as plants and seeds go into the soil, there is much anticipation of the bounty that will arise from the fertile earth. First harvests begin in a piecemeal pattern with more variety arriving later in the summer. Eating seasonally, eating locally and eating organically is easier than ever with our home gardens and farmers’ markets.

Although the weather has delayed fruit set and growth in many gardens this year, produce is beginning to ripen and offer up delicious options for the summer table. Zucchini and cucumbers are beginning to overwhelm the kitchen. The family cook is challenged to discover new recipes to use up the abundance. Those long-awaited tomatoes are beginning to arrive along with beautiful eggplants, peppers, beans, sweet corn and early potatoes.

On a recent trip to the farmers’ market we could not resist the purple cauliflower and purple cabbage that looked so pristine and inviting.

It doesn’t get much better than this! In August the garden is full of variety and tantalizing tastes. For us gardening chefs the objective is to consume or preserve everything that our efforts have yielded. Summer barbeques feature a luscious rainbow of heirloom tomatoes with fragrant basil and succulent sweet corn. Meals might include colorful stir-fries of peppers, onions, broccoli and beans, whatever has come in from the garden that afternoon. A chilled smooth gazpacho combines tomatoes, onion, peppers and cucumbers.

Many gardeners can or freeze extra produce. Cucumbers transform into bread and butter pickles or quick refrigerator pickles. Tomatoes can be frozen whole or made into pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or salsa. Local farmers’ markets are a wonderful source of produce to preserve for later use.

Neighbors and friends without gardens will always welcome fresh offerings from your garden and even a jar of pickles. Do not forget your local food pantry if the garden harvest exceeds what you are able to use. Check with the food pantry first to learn what days of the week they can accept your donation. August is a month of garden abundance. Take advantage of it!


Union Fire Department

Union Fire Department

Last month I spoke about area volunteers and had many people say thanks for that article. In that article I alluded to...

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Travelling trophy benefits high school’s auto program

Travelling trophy benefits high school’s auto program

An impressive trophy is currently visiting various businesses around town. These establishments are sponsors for the Settlers’ Days Car Show coming up...

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Marengo Sports Page (Not The Biggest, Not The Best, But The Only Sports Page That Loves Marengo)

Marengo Sports Page (Not The Biggest, Not The Best, But…

Indians Drop Home Opener 48-6 Against Sterling The Marengo Indians were unable to mount a sustained offense and the defense was unable to...

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