Construction of a new main pipeline that will bring municipal water to Railroad Street, and the property at 300 West LLC, now carries a tentative Sept. 5 start date. The long-delayed project is part of a settlement with the state of Illinois Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

“It’s been on the books, and all the costs for the project will be undertaken by Arnold Magnetic Technologies, Inc. and 300 West LLC,” said Josh Blakemore, Marengo’s assistant city manager. “They were also to provide funding that will reimburse the city for engineering studies that were completed, by our own city engineers. At this point, there is an outstanding $4,700 balance on that amount.”R

Annie Thompson, the Attorney General’s press secretary, stated, in an email, “We appreciate the judge’s actions on our petitions, and will continue to take whatever steps necessary to ensure the defendants comply with the consent order. To reiterate, we will continue to take the steps necessary to ensure the defendants comply with the consent order.”

A hearing convened last Jan. 26, before 22nd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Michael Chmiel, outlined the company’s failure to provide a $1 million guaranteed surety bond for the water main construction work down Railroad Street, as well as supply connections between homes and the municipal water supply. Data was also to be forwarded that would determine the extent of contaminants moving north through the water table.

At issue is the contamination of approximately seventeen private and non-community water wells, located within the one-mile proximity of the 300 West site, which showed concentrations of substances including vinyl chloride, PCE, TCE, and other carcinogens. The factory used the chemicals in the manufacture of magnets, and the by-products subsequently entered the water table.

In May 2010, Arnold retained a consultant group with monitoring wells to produce on-site samples, and the findings confirmed the presence of toxic chemicals. The State Attorney General’s Office filed a civil lawsuit against Arnold and 300 West LLC in 2013, seeking to enforce testing regimens, and punitive damages.as I understand, is completed and acceptable. It’s a matter of moving forward.


A city council vote on possible road closures that would facilitate a re-location of the annual fall staple, “Settler’s Days,” has been delayed to a later date, due to organizers failing to appear at the July 24 session and provide details. Settler’s Days Inc. is the organizer of the four-day Oct. festival. Nearby residents have cited issues over plans to move the event to an open field behind the Glo- Bowl, and abutting the Marengo Community High School.

A vote to close-off Franks Road at its intersection with Lindow Avenue and waiving fees for the carnival were tabled, in lieu of making an informed decision using information from the organizers. Problem situations including vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow, parking, ADA accessibility, and maintenance have not been addressed.

The council did approve the closure of Route 23 for the annual parade. However, the Illinois Department of Transportation must also affirm the action, since it carries designation as a state highway. A decision on the “Saturday Night On Main Street,” normally held in the historic downtown area, was given a favorable reception should the tradition continue.

The city council highlighted that it has no authority over the site selection, although safety concerns could affect the mix.


Durelle Hall, 26, of Woodstock, was found guilty of selling heroin to Marengo resident, Chelsie Kumm, which ultimately turned into a death by overdose during a July 20 jury trial at the Mc Henry County Circuit Courthouse. The conviction may also incur additional charges being filed, at a concurrent Sept. 7 sentencing and status hearing.

Prosecutors outlined that the Oct. 2015 death occurred, when Kumm had texted the name, “Durelle,” in her contact list, and indicated she had $50 and to meet at a friend’sCrystal Lake apartment. Kumm went home, after the transaction, and was later discovered “slumped over” by her other’s boyfriend in a basement bedroom. Prescription pills, heroin in bags, heroin residue, needles, spoons, and other drug paraphernalia were found in her proximity.

Forensic and toxicology tests determined the cause and manner of death was heroin overdose. Brandon Smedley, Kumm’s boyfriend, tied Hall to the heroin purchased. Defense attorney Victoria Sheehan indicated that he also used heroin, and indicated the prosecution case was largely circumstantial in refuting the testimony of Smedley, and two other witnesses.

The conviction may also incur additional charges being filed, at a concurrent Sept. 7 sentencing and status hearing.


Volunteers and the Marengo community came together at the city’s Park District headquarters July 22 at the inaugural “Marengo Strong” event designed to raise funds for those families impacted by the June 11 explosion, which destroyed four homes, rendered 19 inhabitable, and damaged more than 70 other residences in the 7th Circle area.

One of the homes has since been demolished, and the tragic event resounded throughout the community. The Marengo High School softball team had won the IHSA Class 3A state championship one day earlier.

“I remember waking up in the morning (June 11) saying ‘what was that,’ and we drove by and saw the devastation,” said head coach Dwain Nance, in an email. “We are very glad that no one was (seriously) hurt and feel bad for the families, whose homes are ruined. (Team member) Anna Walsweer, and others, helped out at the MORE center.”

Quick actions by four residents, with three steadying a ladder in mid-air, saved two people in a burning home. They were honored by the Mc Henry County Board with a proclamation for their courage, during a July 18 session, as were other first responders.

“They are a great example of selflessness and courage, as are all the first responders in the district,” said Marengo Fire Protection District Chief Robert Bradbury. “The training is important, especially in such events where immediate reactions are needed.”


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