“It all started with Tim thinking we needed more community events and to keep shopping local,” said Jana Ring. “Tim did a poll online and asked what people wanted to see come to Marengo. A farmers market won – this was by the people’s choice and suggestions, not a choice from a set list of options. We have already started committees to plan future events but we are concentrating on the Farmers Market right now because it only runs until September 30.

“The Market is every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. June through September 30. All the local businesses have been amazing at donating and helping. Joe’s Place sponsors the Market and donates pizza and pizza warmers. The pizza proceeds are donated right back to the Farmers Market. Carrie of The Wild Hare donated staff shirts.

“City Hall and the aldermen have been amazing at helping us. Many have been out every week, sometimes just to hang out and eat. We also had community members donate extra picnic tables for Spencer Park.”

“A group of us put it together because there was a need in Marengo for renewed hope and optimism,” said Tim Ring. “We want to revitalize and rejuvenate the downtown area. We are selling 50/50 tickets at a booth at the Farmers Market and the proceeds will be allocated to the downtown area. We would like to bring back flower baskets in wrought iron holders to make the area more appealing. The downtown area used to have them and we would like to see them again.

“The Farmers Market is in its first year. We got a late start and some people were already committed elsewhere but we still have had a good, strong start this year. Some vendors were hesitant because Marengo doesn’t support them but we have quite a list for next year. As long as we can keep people excited and interested, this will only get better and better.

“There is so much potential if we can get people to work together. People with completely different views are now working together with us to harness the power of the people and make changes.”

The Marengo Farmers Market is being held in Calvin Spencer Park, 351 Hale St. across the street from Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Cub Scout Pack 163 hold their new flags proudly.

On Monday, Aug, 21, the Marengo American Legion Post 192, held its annual picnic and honors ceremony at Indian Oaks Park. Burgers, brats, and delicious side dishes and desserts were followed by a presentation of new flags to Cub Scout Pack 163.

“The American Legion has been sponsoring the Marengo area Boy Scouts for 85 years and the Cub Scouts for 38 years,” said Post Commander Larry Dochterman. He then presented Mrs. Connie Boxleitner, president of the Women’s Auxiliary.

“During the Memorial Day parade,” Boxleitner said. “We noticed that the Cub Scouts had a flag with a broken eagle. During Mc- Care Night at the Marengo McDonald’s, we received $288 which covered new flags for the Pack. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help you.” The flags were then presented to Cub Scout pack members and Cubmaster Scott Fricke by the American Legion Honor Guard. Boxleitner also presented Commander Dochterman with a check for half of the Auxiliary’s proceeds (total proceeds of $3808.62) from Poppy Day. The rest of the proceeds will be used to support the Legion and the community.

The evening was to continue with a presentation to World War II veteran August Noce, who turned 100 on Aug. 28, for his many years of service in the American Legion. Unfortunately, Noce was unable to be present.

Eight Blue Star Banners were on hand to be given to the families of local, active duty military personnel. However, for one reason or another, including deployment earlier in the day, these families were not present at the event. This is what they would have heard:

“It is my pleasure to honor the families tonight who have family members in active military service. Some are just entering the service, some are seasoned vets. Although the country is not run at our level, it is our level that protects our country and we are fortunate to have individuals who will give of themselves to do just that.

“Without their continuous presence, forces outside of our country would immediately take advantage and attempt to overthrow our democracy and our freedoms. For this, we the people of each community, great and small, owe a debt of gratitude, and we use the Blue Star Banner as a means to show this gratitude. This banner, displayed in a home, represents that an individual from that home is in the active military service. Tonight we are honoring these families of our community.”

If any of these families want to display Blue Star Banners while their loved one is on active duty, please contact the American Legion at (815) 568-7597.

Some of the officers of the Sacred Heart Knights of Columbus Council
gather to prepare for a business meetings. Standing L to R: Chris Wolf,
Jerry Weber, Chuck Gburek. Seated L to R: Dave Ettner, Mike Looby, Ron Rood

The Knights of Columbus is an international Order of Catholic Lay men who support and promote the mission of the Roman Catholic Church and provide outreach and assistance to their brother members and families, parish families, and the wider Church and civic community. There are over 15,000 local Knights Councils throughout the world, and one of them is at Sacred Heart Church in Marengo.

Members of our community know them well for their monthly pancake breakfasts—delicious meals that offer much more than pancakes at an affordable price. Beyond those breakfasts, there is a lot more to know about this group of men.

There is no doubt they have an impact. This year, for example, they have participated in 94 different programs, giving a total of 3,000 volunteer hours. Most of these are behindthe- scenes and unheralded, ranging from collecting used ink cartridges and cell phones to raise funds for worthwhile causes to keeping a section of the local highway clean.

Each year they raise and distribute an average of $20,000.

We see Knights each fall in many cities selling Tootsie Rolls to raise funds for programs for people with developmental disabilities. The Marengo Knights Council give these funds to local groups such as Gigi’s Playhouse, the local school districts and Pioneer Center.

As many local Churches and local organizations did, the Knights gave substantial donations to the 7th Circle explosion victims, and were able to procure a $1000 grant from the State Knights of Columbus General Assistance funds.

Profits from each pancake breakfast are earmarked for a different local charity or cause. Each year, funds from an annual flower sale support the Bauman Fund which awards a scholarship for a student at Marian Central Catholic High School. Profits from their popular Silent Night Auction are given to Hooves to Heal and the M.O.R.E. food Pantry.

Each year they sponsor one student’s attendance at Boy’s State, and three seminarians studying for the priesthood. They purchase winter coats for kids, turkeys for holiday dinners, and Christmas gift baskets for needy families. They give donations to pro-life causes and sponsor trips to the Pro-Life Rally in Washington, D.C.

Beyond raising money, the Knights of Columbus lead or help with many worthwhile activities. They sponsor Blood Drives, make contributions and labor to repairs and renovations at the church, most recently purchasing a new freezer and renovating the kitchen cupboards. They provide social events such as a golf outing, Christmas breakfast, an outing to a Major League Baseball game, a bowling outing for parish altar servers, a family picnic and a Valentine dinner for their wives and other married couples.

At every worship service on weekends and many weekdays at Sacred Heart there are Knights serving in various ministries—as ushers, lectors, choir members, ministers of Holy Communion at Mass and to shut-ins. At every parish acactivity, Knights are either officially part of the event, or are there participating and supporting it. They make a difference and have a real impact at Sacred Heart and in Marengo.

Any Catholic men, age 18 and above who are interested in knowing how they can become a member of the Knights of Columbus can visit their website by following the link at http://www. sacredheartmarengo.org/ Knights-of-Columbus.

August 27, 2017, the first Kindness 5K was held at Willowbrook High School in Villa Park, IL. More than 35 volunteers and participants represented Marengo, where Katie Kloess lived, coached and taught, prior to her passing. Overall participant and volunteer totals reached almost 600, including 76 virtual participants representing 15 states. Our own Isabella Simonini, an 8th grade student at Zion Lutheran school, sang the National Anthem prior to the race. Not to brag, but another Marengo native, Aaron Boyer finished the 5K in first place. Throughout the event there were kindness activities and donation sites, visits with the Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dogs and even a Kids Zone for the little ones. The event closed with a worship service and a “VICTORY” lap to celebrate the life, love and light that will continue to shine in memory of our dear friend. The event raised over $16,000 towards a scholarship fund at Concordia University-Chicago and a Victory lounge which was dedicated to Katie in August.

Marengo would be a very interesting and busy place if the institutions and businesses of yesteryear were still around today. We’d have a college, a stove factory, numerous hotels, an interurban railroad, a movie theater, several nurseries, dairies, cheese factories - I could continue; the list seems endless. This month I’m going to talk about another long-gone Marengo institution; the Marengo Agricultural Driving Park. The driving park was basically a horse race track that was located on modern day Route 176 somewhere west of Prospect St.

In early May of 1874, Marengo citizens learned that the Marengo Agricultural Driving Park Association had leased forty acres of land from Calvin Spencer with the intent of developing the Marengo Driving Park. The land was leased for a five year term, and the plan called for a one mile horse racing track, a grandstand, water wells, stables, and the whole complex would be surrounded by a high fence.

On June 13, 1874; after the Association received its charter, a meeting of stockholders was held and the following citizens were elected to the board of officers: President, J.W. Green; Vice President, William Boies; Secretary, R.M. Patrick; Treasurer, H.E. Patrick; and General Superintendent, William Avery. In addition, five director positions were also filled. Once this business was completed the board tendered an offering of additional shares of stock to facilitate the development of site.

Reports of progress on the construction began to appear in the September 1874 editions of the Marengo Republican News. These articles reported that the track was completed and being improved through use and rain showers; that two wells have been dug to provide water for the site; the fence was completed; and the construction of approximately 300 feet of stabling was winding down.

As opening day came closer, H.E. Perkin’s the owner of the City Drug Store introduced local citizens to the Driving Park Cigar. The Marengo Republican News in a brief article in the September 26, 1874, edition bragged that this new novelty was “a very fine-flavored, and good looking cigar, nearly if not equal to the ‘Base Ball’ brand which has been so popular in this vicinity.

On September 30th the Marengo Driving Park kicked off two days of inaugural races. Four horse drawn buses shuttled spectators between downtown and the driving park. The weather was cool and clear and the race schedule included a two mile running race with a $50.00 purse, a half mile running race with a purse of $100.00, a trotting race for “green horses” with the winner taking home a $200.00 purse, and other trotting events with purses ranging between $150.00 to $200.00. Baseball games were also scheduled for each day, but unfortunately both were cancelled due to miscommunications between the ball clubs. The newspaper reported that “everything has passed off smoothly, and without accident, and the managers congratulate themselves on the success that has attended the Opening Meeting.”

 Over the next few decades newspaper articles reported on events that were held at the Marengo Driving Park. Over this time the park hosted horse races, baseball games, horse fairs, and in June of 1887 “Wild Bill’s Cowboy Show.” The name of the show implies that it may have been related to either Wild Bill Hickok, or Buffalo Bill Cody, but this wasn’t the case. Hickok was murdered in Deadwood, Dakota Territory on August 2, 1876, and in June of 1887 Buffalo Bill Cody was in London on his European Tour performing for Queen Victoria – so obviously this was some other Wild Bill. Regardless, Marengoans were treated to an exhibition of cowboys, bucking broncos, horse races, and polo on horseback.

Like many other institutions the Marengo Driving Park gave way to progress. Sometime after 1892 the park was absorbed by the Syndicate which was the development of homes planned for the employees of Collins and Burgie Stove Works.

In 1912 another group of investors decided to revive the idea of the Marengo Driving Park on land near Swager’s Crossing about a mile and a half west of Marengo. For the next several years this new location featured horse racing, motorcycle racing, and baseball games. The new driving park also faded away quietly and is lost to history.

Mary Jane Bauman has created a double doll with the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood.

As she leads a visitor to her apartment at Heritage Woods Assisted Living of Belvidere, Marengo native Mary Jane Bauman puts up a hand in warning. “Now, my room isn’t set up like a regular apartment,” she states.

One might assume the space needed remodeling to accommodate the wheel chair Bauman uses due to the Parkinson’s disease she lives with. Open the door, though, and discover the accommodations are not for a wheelchair, but for sewing equipment! Bauman’s room is a neat and well-appointed workshop with a serger, embroidery machine and sewing machine.

A virtual animation display shows how truck traffic will navigate one of the interchange roundabouts, prior to crossing the Route 23 bridge

By the fall of 2023, the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, also known as a section of Interstate 90, will have gained the “Exit 36” accesses to the city of Marengo and Route 23. Construction work to add lanes, widen and strengthen the bridge spanning the tollway in order to accommodate heavier traffic is expected to be completed later this year.

An Aug. 22 open house, convened at the Marengo City Hall, touted the project’s status and eventual finish using a projected virtual animation loop demonstrating the usage by vehicle traffic, and placard displays on easels. Members of the city administration, Mc Henry-based HR Green, the project’s engineering firm, several local industry leaders were also mingling with the constant stream of interested residents to answer questions.

Everyone wanted to help with the replacement of playground equipment, especially those youngsters that couldn’t wait.

After the submission of more than 32,000 documents, affidavits and summary resolutions from three park district boards, Marengo Parks and Recreation Superintendent Joe Vallez was cleared of any implications of wrongdoing by the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Board of Trustees, stemming from directorial positions with four park districts, including one on a full-time basis. The Aug. 16 determination allowed Vallez to remain eligible to participate in the state-funded pension, based on meeting the minimum required hours for the positions, by law.

During their Aug. 18 session, board members have requested further investigation be conducted, with an open-ended time. The Bensenville Parks Board voted 3-2 to hire Vallez last Dec. 21, as its interim director. The part-time position generated a short-term contract for under five months, at $6,000 per month. The appointment triggered the investigation through a complaint that Vallez was not meeting IMRF standards of working at least 1,000 hours annually in their position, for pension qualification.

He also heads the North Berwyn Park District on a full-time basis, as well as part-time director slots with the Justice and Marengo park districts.

 


U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin walks through the UniCarrier America plant with Dale Mark (L), and Pres. James Radous (R).

UNICARRIERS RECEIVES VISIT FROM DURBIN

In a nearly 60-minute visit, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, cheered on factory workers and executives at the UniCarriers America Corp. manufacturing plant in Marengo for their growth and positive job attributes in producing a quality product in a highly competitive global forklift industry. His Aug. 21 appearance included an address to plant employees, a guided tour, and meeting with the corporation’s executives.

“I think the product can be important for our nation…that can compete on an international scale, but it’s being produced right here… in America,” said Durbin, during his plant address. “Produced by Americans, who are up to the task, and the job of competition.”

RAILROAD STREET WATER MAIN SLATED TO BEGIN

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.”

News

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...

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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...

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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...

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