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!

Robert Lopez has qualified for the Motocross Nationals.

“Would you like to cover this?” the Marengo-Union Times editor asked. We’d gotten an e-mail from a Mom about her son. He was going to be in a bike race, and he’d been racing since he was 4. “This is a big deal for motocross racers,” she wrote.

I went to meet the little boy. I was wrong. This is no little boy. Robert Lopez, son of Robert and Suellen Lopez of Union, started motocross racing at age 4 because his Dad is a motocross racer. He is now 17 and is racing at the championship level. His younger brother, Mario, also started racing at a young age and continues to compete. Both boys are part of the American Motocross Association which sponsors local and regional races all over the country. Robert, a junior at Marengo Community High School, and Mario, a freshman, have between them, nearly filled a room with the trophies they have won.

Robert’s Mom was right. This is a big deal! For the first time in his career, Robert has qualified to race in the Loretta Lynn Amateur Motocross National Challenge at Hurricane Mills, TN. This event will be held July 28-August 4, 2018. Over the week there will be competitions at many age levels and bike sizes. Robert will be racing in the 250 C Junior Race. He is also an alternate for the 125 C Junior event.

Motocross racing involves travelling and camping for the whole Lopez family, which consists of five boys ranging in age from 7 to 17 and their parents. Dad, Robert has been a motocross enthusiast all his life. He has even built a motocross track complete with jumps, on their property in Union. Mom, Suellen, who is principal of Locust School in Marengo, shares interest in the sport and the enjoyment of family camping.

“We’ve travelled all over the country for races,” explained Robert. He mentioned Texas, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio and Arkansas. Of course, the biggest attraction is the race in Tennessee. “We’ll get there early,” Robert remarked, “so we can scope out the track.”

What keeps a boy interested in a sport that he started when he was 4? Robert’s face lights up as he talks about motocross racing. “I love the adrenaline rush and the speed, and of course, winning.” People are important to Robert as well. He enjoys meeting all the kids in the races. He also spoke about how important his dad, and his dad’s friend Bob Behrins are to him. “Bob is my mechanic, and he still races himself. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him and my dad.”

Robert expects to keep racing all his life, following in his Dad’s footsteps. Will he start his kids racing at a young age? “Oh yeah,” he replied. “I hope they like it as much as I do.”

O’Neil Swanson was awarded this year’s scholarship from Marengo Youth Wrestling Club. Pictured are Brian Wroble (president of MYWC), O’Neil Swanson and Chad Miller (head coach).

Calling Gayle Voss a Chicago Phenomenon is no exaggeration. Since 2010 she’s been a mainstay at several Chicago and suburban Farmers’ Markets, selling varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches. In 2016 she opened her shop in the Block 37 pedway on State Street. There are judges, politicians and entertainers among her regular customers. Travelers from as far away as Dubai and Shanghai report that they wouldn’t make a business trip to Chicago without stopping at Gayle V’s for some grilled cheese.

“When I was first in business, I was using 10 loaves of bread per week,” Voss reports. “Now I use 50 to 60 loaves per day!”

Did this enterprising woman always dream of selling grilled cheese sandwiches? Not at all! Voss had a home business doing accounting for small businesses. One of her clients was veterinarian Brian Gerloff, who became interested in promoting working dairy farms. He hooked up with farmers Todd and Brenda Aves of Belvidere to start Prairie Pure Cheese, which was sold at area farmers’ markets. Voss began to help selling cheese.

At the popular Green City Market her booth was next to the Bennington Bread of Evanston booth. Nordic Creamery from Westby, WI was selling fresh butter at its booth. “Let’s make some grilled cheese sandwiches,” Voss proposed. The small offering of what is now The Classic sandwich offered at her booth and in her shop, was snapped up in a few minutes. Soon those sandwiches were so popular at the Green City Market that lines would form and Voss needed more and more help making the sandwiches on the spot.

From that small beginning, an amazing network of support of local businesses has grown. “Cheese sandwiches with a mission” laughs Voss. The ingredients for the eight to ten different grilled cheese sandwiches offered at any given time, are all locally sourced. Gayle V’s supports 24 small businesses from this region. If an ingredient isn’t local, she won’t use it. “Customers sometimes ask for avocados,” Gayle remarks. “They aren’t grown in the Midwest, so they can’t be on my sandwiches.”

Voss brings her sandwiches to four different farmers’ markets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. She spends Fridays at her store. She has 19 employees that help her run her operation like an incredibly well-oiled machine. But it’s clear that this dynamo of a little woman bears the bulk of the labor load. Her husband Gary is her most important behind-the- scenes worker, but he has a full-time job of his own at O’Hare Airport. So Gayle drives out of Union at 4:00 a.m. every morning. “I work so hard,” Voss exclaims, “But I don’t care. I love every minute!”

Voss has been featured in the Chicago Tribune and Northwest Herald. She’s appeared on WGN TV several times. We can all see her in action making her new “Breakfast Club” sandwiches, on WGN’s show “Chicago’s Best” on Sunday evening August 12 at 10 p.m. 


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