Victor Mortensen of Marengo, was one of the Korean War Veterans honored recently by Honor Flight Chicago. Victor was inducted into the Army as a Private First Class on October 1, 1951. After 21 months and 15 days of active duty, he was separated from active duty on July 15, 1953 as a Staff Sergeant.

Mortensen spent all but 8 of those months on a gun crew in Korea. As an operator of the largest weapon in use, he was in close proximity to the weapon. He explains: “As the number one man, the only protection for the ears was to put the muscle of your right arm over your right ear and reach over the top of your head and put your middle finger in your left ear. The noise and the back blast and concussion were terrific. . . .We were always warned to keep our mouths open to help prevent concussion. I did my best, but I still suffered hearing loss in both of my ears that plagues me to this day.”

Mortensen’s service and sacrifice have not gone unnoticed. On September 13, 2017 Honor Flight Chicago, the local branch of Honor Flight, hosted a daylong all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for World War II and Korean War Veterans. From their arrival at O’Hare Airport at 4:00 a.m. until their return at 8:30 p.m. the day was packed with experiences these heroes will never forget. Both groups were honored with a special ceremony at the World War II Veterans Memorial and also spent time at the Korean War Veterans Memorial. They were thanked, feted and fed. They told stories, reminisced, spent time reflecting on those long ago wartimes and the years since.

It was a day Victor Mortensen will never forget, as his service will never be forgotten. We join Honor Flight Chicago in thanking him for his service to our country.

A quilt created by Arlen Mary Bird, of Union, has won a top award in the quilt contest at the 2017 Quilt Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.

A record-breaking number of quilt lovers – nearly 21,000 – attended the 13th annual Quilt Expo, which took place Sept. 7-9 at the Alliant Energy Center. Quilt Expo is presented by Wisconsin Public Television with Nancy Zieman, host of public television’s “Sewing With Nancy.”

Bird’s quilt “My Valentine” won third place, with a prize of $200, in Category 2 (Hand Quilted Bed Size - Appliquéd, Mixed or Other Type). Bird writes, “Old prints from my cupboard, new batiks from the store, pattern by Elly Sienkiewicz, and stitches galore. The quilt was begun in 1998 and completed in 2014. It celebrates the marriage of Allen and Arlen Mary Bird on February 14, 1960.”

In 2017, quilters from 29 states and provinces submitted their best work for judging in this year’s Quilt Expo quilt contest. All quilts on exhibit made it through a juried selection process before going on display. The 277 quilts accepted in either the contest or the Winter Games Quilt Challenge were judged on visual impact and stitching technique.

Following the event, selected quilts from the Winter Games Quilt Challenge will travel throughout the United States, representing the spirit of Quilt Expo.

Eric Mackey, 2017 graduate of MCHS, and star quarterback for the Marengo Indians, is now a freshman at Rockford University and playing quarterback for the Rockford Regents. He’s taken his winning ways with him! As of this writing, in his first three college games he’s already passed an average of 36.5 yards per game, completed 10 of 22 passing attempts and scored one touchdown. The Regents can already tell they have a valuable new player.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows this young man who began playing football at age five! Someone asked Mackey for his thoughts on the game, and he replied: “My thoughts are quite simple— football means the world to me and to be successful in the game you have to put a lot of work in.”

As a Sports Management major at Rockford University, he hopes to steer his talents and love of football into a career. Right now, he’s enjoying the challenge of moving from high school football into the university scene. He writes, “The first few weeks of college football were a little strange because you’re playing with an entirely new group of guys, but spending so much time with them there is something really special about how everyone can get so close in a matter of weeks.”

It’s good to know this Marengo grad is finding a place and making his mark with his new team.

An artist’s depiction of the proposed retail shopping mall
at 20009 E. Grant’s Highway (Route 20). Photo Courtesy of City of Marengo


The City Council approved a redevelopment agreement with considerations for tax-increment financing assistance that will create a new retail center at 200009 E. Grant Highway, during its Sept. 25 session. The agreement with site owners S & V Property LLC also provides for TIF monies up to $550,000 on the estimated $1.7 million cost of the proposed project.

The agreement is an update from the Sept. 11 negotiation, where the developer, the Marengo-based Corey Brackmann Construction Co., will obtain a loan from the Prairie Community Bank and assume the liability. The city will pledge a portion of the available TIF funds for the project, and commonly referred to as a “pay as you go” arrangement with an approximate 8.37 per cent return on the investment. The TIF district was established for the siting area in 2011.

“This was originally discussed in early Mar., and was in the development process,” said Marengo’s acting city manager Josh Blakemore. “They still have to present their plans to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission for approval, possibly at a Nov. meeting. We’re not limiting commercial development to one area, we want to bring development to the west side of town, where the Ace Hardware and Wisted’s Foods used to be.

The plan calls for the Marengo Pharmacy to re-locate to the new mall, from its downtown place of business at 308 State Street, along with a Dunkin’ Donuts and a liquor store. A fourth unit may be also be put into the mix.

The TIF funding will be used by Brackmann Constr. Co. to complete needed sewer and water line infrastructure at the site, as well as building a left turn lane on Grant’s Highway, which would necessitate approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation, as it is a state thoroughfare.


The Marengo Police Department announced that two individuals had been apprehended Sept. 20 in the downtown burglaries where cash, computers, and jewelry were taken. A window to one business was broken to gain entry during the Sept. 19-20 incidents. The businesses, located between 100-200 S. State Street were the Flatlander Market, Donna’s Jewelry Box, Three Stars Salon, Wholesome Petz, and the Empower Your Life Source Center, and a one-room residence.

“Arrests were made fairly quickly with witness identification, and the use of surveillance footage,” said Marengo Police Chief Rich Solarz. “Another factor was that some of the items and proceeds from the burglaries turned up in the community.”

Police came upon the broken window to the one store Sept. 19, and were alerted Sept. 20.

The suspects were identified as Nichole R. DePew, 38, and Robert Charping, 56, and both lived in the 1200 block of North State Street. Charping was charged with five counts of burglary, four counts of theft, and five counts of damage to property. DePew was charged with one count of burglary, one count of possession of stolen property, and one count of criminal trespass.


Durelle J. Hall, 26, was sentenced to 14 years in prison by Mc Henry County Circuit Court Judge Sharon Prather in the heroin-induced death of Marengo resident, Chelsie Kumm. The Sept. 8 action followed Hall’s July guilty verdict rendered by a jury for supplying the illegal opioids to Hall through a purchase.

Hall was due to appear in court Sept. 14 to face additional felony counts of drug-dealing and drug possession. Prosecutors outlined that Kumm had attempted to reach Hall several times, with messages on her cell phone, before making the purchase. Forensic pathologists indicated that the heroin was laced with fentanyl.

She was found dead by her boyfriend’s mother in a basement room with an array containing baggies of heroin with heroin residue, drug paraphernalia, syringe needles, prescription pills, and cooking tools for the illegal drug left around the room.

It is the most wonderful time of the year…Marengo Settler’s Days October 5th-8th. The theme this year celebrates the Farm Life, and all that it means: hardworking farmers, beautiful farmland and the heritage in our community of friends and family. All your favorite events from the Prince and Princess Contest, to Bingo at the Firehouse, Petting Zoo, Pet Parade and the Skinner’s Carnival are ready to go (Friday night wristbands are on sale now). A few new events, Methodist Church will host a flea market and a family kickball fundraiser (advance registration required) for Zion’s Comfort Dog Ministry will both be held Saturday. Still have energy, well don’t miss the party on Mainstreet Saturday night. Featured bands are Jim & Justin, Pirate Radio and 7th Heaven. Last, but not least, the biggest and best parade in the county steps off at 2:00pm which includes area marching bands that will go on to compete in the Band Field Show Competition 4:00 at MCHS. Honored Grand Marshalls of the parade will be Harold and Laura Heinberg, life-long Marengo residents, who have not only built a beautiful farm life, but have contributed to the community in many ways. Hope everyone has a wonderful time this year, visiting new attractions and your good old favorites. For more information, sign up or view the schedule of events visit

Thank you to the Settler’s Days Committee for all their hard work, planning and organizing everyone’s favorite weekend in Marengo!


119 E Washington St. 10/7/17 10am- 5pm Settlers’ Days $40.00 10x10 for outside spot via paypalor send check to the Marengo United Methodist Church. Venders sold a lot last year!!


Trucks – Customs – Hot Rods – Imports – Bikes – Classics – Lowriders – Military

Saturday, October 7 at Calvin Spencer Park beginning at 10:00 a.m. There will be music, food, and 50/50 Raffles. $10 vehicle entry fee. Proceeds benefit MCHS Auto classes.


Settlers’ Days, Inc. has waived all fees on all non-food booths for Saturday Night on Main Street, Saturday, October 7, 2017. This is a great way for clubs, organizations and businesses to connect with the community. If you would like to participate please visit: www.settlersdays. com and download your form. Vendors will be accepted on a first come first serve basis.


Marengo’s got talent contest will be held on Saturday, October 7 starting at 7 PM during the annual Saturday night on main street hosted by settlers days! We are currently looking for participants! Cost to register for this event is $10 and there will be a cash prize awarded to the first, second, and third place winners! Send an email with your name, age, phone number, song choice and a link to any songs that may need to be played by our DJ to Marengosgottalent@ by September 30! Any questions please contact Dessica at 815–790–6054!

The Indians (0-1 Overall) got the ball back 1:12 to play in the game, but could not convert the possession into a touchdown and twopoint conversion, coming up short 30-22 in their season opener at home. They had spotted the Winnebago Indians (1- 0) a 12-0 lead, entering the second quarter, on a Jared Roberts 4-yard run, and 54-yard pass reception by Kenzell Jones, before a barrage by Marengo.

Oliver Muradian broke loose for a 55-yard touchdown run, with an Aaron Shepard one pointer, and Shepard’s own 89-yard broken field TD run on a kickoff return, with quarterback rushing for a two-point conversion. A 20-yard scoring toss from Bryce Bryden to Jones was sandwiched between the two Marengo scores, leaving an 18-15 deficit for the home squad.

Both teams fought to a scoreless standstill in the third quarter, before Tanner Inglima took a five-yard TD pass from Bryden with 0:90 seconds gone in the fourth quarter, pushing Winnebago’s lead to 24- 15. Marengo worked the ball downfield, capped by a five yard TD play on a Muradian run, two minutes later, making it 24-22.

Jones grabbed a 40- yard pass for a TD, at the 6:30 mark, for the last scoring on the night. The 30-22 Winnebago lead held up, as Marengo shut down them down to gain their last possession in the waning minute.


Marengo’s defense held Winnebago off on four extra point conversion tries, and one failed kick; the team gained 154 yards on the ground with Muradian (15 rushes-85 yards), Knaack (12-50), and Finnigan Schirmer (3-25); Knaack passed for 152 yards completing 13 passes out of 22, with 1 interception; Schirmer caught five passes for 63 yards, Tyler Anderson went 4-57, Nikolas San Miguel was 1-21, and Muradian 3-11.

Marengo plays at Elmwood Park Sept. 1, and at Woodstock Sept. 8, at Woodstock North Sept. 15, before coming home to face Harvard Sept. 22.


Winnebago (1-0) grabbed two straight sets from the Indians for a 2-1 non-conference win. The Aug.22 home tilt saw Marengo (0-1) take the first round 25- 15, before dropping two consecutive hard-fought sets 25-19, and 25-23. Lillie Simons had 5 kills and 6 blocks, Katelyn Jeschke had 15 digs, and Emma Euker added 9 kills with 6 blocks.

The team at Richmond-Burton Sept. 7, Burlington Central at home Sept. 12, and Wauconda at home Sept. 26.


The Indians played Mc Henry, at the Mc Henry Country Club, with the Warriors taking a 173-226 match win. The Indians’ Brady Cannon shot a 46, Matt Fischer ended with a 62 scorecard, and Aidan Kirchner tabbed a 65.

The team plays Johnsburg at home Sept. 5, at Harvard Sept. 7, at the Roger Alm Invite in Antioch Sept. 9, at home against Woodstock North and the Woodstock Coop Sept. 13, Rockford Lutheran High School at home Sept. 19, at Richmond-Burton Sept. 21, at the Genoa Invite Sept. 23, at Belvidere Sept. 25, and at Sycamore Sept. 28. The schedule is subject to change.

How should Brussels sprouts be harvested?

Harvest when sprouts reach about one inch in diameter and begin at the bottom of the stalk. Do not wash until ready to store or use. Sprouts can be refrigerated for 5 days in plastic. Harvesting can continue into winter by mulching with straw or providing a cover.

I would like to plant garlic this fall. Where do I start?

Garlic cloves need to be high quality and not grocery store produce which may have been treated with a sprouting retardant. Many local garden centers and seed catalogs will have garlic for fall planting. To properly grow garlic requires a cold period. Cloves should be planted in full sun six to eight weeks before the ground is expected to freeze, usually in late October. Plant in well-drained soil adding 2 – 3 inches of compost before planting. Generally, the larger the clove at planting time equals a larger sized bulb at harvest. Plant individual cloves, peels intact, two inches deep and 6 inches apart. Cover the new planting with 5 – 8 inches of straw mulch. Next spring the new shoots will poke through.

Is there anything I can still plant in my garden?

Leaf lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, and spring radish can be seeded until mid-September. Watering and weed control are the order of the day until harvest or frost. You can extend the season with floating row cover and cold frames.

Can I place garden cleanup waste in my compost bin?

Composting is a practical and convenient way to manage yard and garden waste. Compost is excellent for improving soil and plant health. Avoid adding diseased plants or plants treated with herbicide. Weeds can be composted, but, you risk contamination with weed seeds and pathogens. It takes 30 days of exposure to temperatures of 145 degrees or more to kill seeds from tougher weed species.

What is the best way to harvest cabbage?

The most successful technique for harvesting cabbage is cutting. Cut at the lowest point possible, leaving the loose outer leaves attached to the stalk. This will allow for a later cabbage harvest of sprouts which will grow on the stem after the cabbage head is removed. If excessive rain is expected, harvest mature heads to avoid having them split and become inedible. Contact us with your gardening questions. sdeberg@marengo-uniontimes. com.

“You can keep all the flowers in my flower garden,” said the former owner of Ginger Johnson’s home when she and her husband moved to Marengo in 1993. The “flowers” Johnson inherited were Creeping Charlie and Blackberry Lilies.

“I promptly killed the Lilies, and I’m still battling the Creeping Charlie,” laughed Johnson. She calls herself a “haphazard gardener,” trying something here, moving it there, digging and pruning throughout the year. Johnson visits Hub’s Nursery to look at the Plant of the Week. “That way I can make sure I have something blooming throughout the growing seasons,” she explained. She pointed to a yellow flower approximately seven feet tall. “Some people call this a native plant, some people call it a weed,” she laughed. “If you buy it in a nursery, it’s a cultivated plant.”

Johnson told her students that she planted a bridge. It’s a timber walkway meandering through a corner of the garden that she calls her “Peace Garden.” In another corner is a compost bin that she shares with her neighbor. Johnson converted her children’s outgrown tree fort to a reading nook, complete with a rocking chair. She considered installing a small water garden, but opted for a fountain instead.

Although Johnson grows a variety of flowers, her favorite is the Siberian Iris. “It’s so stately and proud looking,” she explained. “I just love it.” On the other hand, she holds a grudge against Creeping Charlie, her biggest intruder.

Vegetable gardening is something Johnson leaves to others. “I can’t grow vegetables to save my life,” she confessed. “Once I bought a patio tomato plant. I got only one cherry tomato for my efforts,” she laughed.

“Everyone do what you like and what makes you smile,” said Johnson about gardening. “Some people do formal gardens.” She prefers to focus on varying heights, colors, and blooms. “Everybody should do what makes them happy walking out the door in the morning. If it doesn’t work out, ha, it’s just a plant. You can always start over."

Libraries, banks and opthomologists stocked up on viewing glasses so people around McHenry County could view the partial eclipse of the sun. Eclipsomania caused them to run out of glasses a week or so before the event. Children and teachers stepped outside to partly cloudy skies, equipped with certified glasses, welder’s masks, pin-holes through cereal boxes, and instructions for seeing the eclipse by watching shadows. Younger children stayed home with parents or grandparents and watched holding cold beverages on a sweltering patio.

Linda Rudnick, from Marengo, an employee at MCC, participated. She said that she’s a lifetime learner and it’s something that’s happening now, so of course she participated.

In the Marengo-Union area, the moon partially eclipsed the sun, covering approximately 87%. It was a cloudy day; still, the special glasses, cardboard cutouts, and shadows allowed people like Rudnik to experience movement of the moon in front of the sun. “Without glasses, you could go about your whole day and not know the eclipse was happening,” said Rudnick. “Viewing the moon moving in front of the sun was really interesting.”

Some residents planned vacations or weekend getaways, so they could experience the TotalityIn short, residents of McHenry County got swept up in the eclipsomania with the rest of the nation.

The Sanchez families, from Marengo headed for Hopkinsville, Kentucky where Jill Sanchez grew up. Hopkinsville had two minutes and 40 seconds of totality, one of the locations with the longest amount of total eclipse. Jill and Jerry and their daughter, Addison (10) and son, Nathan (8) joined other family members including Laura Sanchez and her family.

“It was so much more exciting than I imagined,” said Jill. “The kids were just in awe of it. Especially, Nathan; he got very emotional.” She thought it would be fun, but not as exciting as it was.

Sister-in-law, Laura Sanchez said, “It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I would love to see it again.” She traveled to Kentucky with her husband Jim and her youngest son Nick. Another observer commented on the difference in the darkness experienced during the Totality, compared to night as a deep blue, but not black. “You could see there was light in the distance,” and “People looked washed out, or ashen, in the Totality light.”

The family viewed the totality just outside of Dawson Springs on a country road, free of town lights. They saw a darkened sky, Venus shining brightly in the sky, and heard crickets chirping. Everyone spontaneously cheered and clapped when the sky darkened and they could shed their eclipse glasses and look at the moon covering the sun.

It was completely worth it,” explained Jill. “I hemmed and hawed about going, but I’ll definitely do it again in 2024.” She went on to say that “It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t seen it. Amazing doesn’t quite capture the experience.”


Marengo Area News Briefs

Marengo Area News Briefs

Crash Near Union Takes One Life A 27-year old Rockford woman was killed and a 24-year old Marengo man was injured in a...

Read more
A World-Wide Charity Finds a Home in Marengo

A World-Wide Charity Finds a Home in Marengo

Sacred Heart Parish in Marengo is launching a new local Conference of a Society that is 185 years old. Founded in France...

Read more

Pondering the Past, Tales Lost in Time

Looking back to the 1970’s it seemed like there were a lot more dairy farms in the Marengo-Union area than there are...

Read more