During a recent trip to Panama we visited Boquete, a major agricultural region of the country. Most of Panama’s vegetables and all the coffee is grown around the Boquete region. Thirty microclimates and year-round temperatures between 60 degrees and the low 80’s makes it feels like spring every day.

We were drawn to the local Tuesday Farmer’s market which featured a bounty of vegetables, coffee, local honey and other treasures. It was there that we met the owner of Finca (farm) Feliz, Lynne Van de Kar, and received an invitation to visit.

For sixteen years, Logan Vallee waited for a heart transplant. Born with what is often referred to as half a heart, Vallee was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The left side of his heart simply did not develop. Before he was two years old, Vallee braved three surgeries, a stroke, respiratory distress, and renal failure and a stroke. Recovery was slow and medications, including Coumadin became part of his daily routine. With the help of home health nurses, physical therapists, and occupational therapists, Vallee gained ground, but aneurisms developed and grew. By the time he was five years old, Vallee faced his fourth surgery. During this surgery, the neo-aorta was replaced. This surgery had only been done eight times in the world, with only three children surviving. Months later, doctors installed a pacemaker. Valley underwent another surgery at eight years, followed by repeated open heart surgeries, revision to his pacemaker, and cardiac catheterizations. Complications like seizures and embolic strokes required an average of five hospitalizations each year.

On March 14, after four weeks of hospitalization at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Vallee received a heart transplant. Four days later, doctors had him walking, and sitting in a chair. He expects to be in the hospital for six to eight weeks.

The Vallee family have lived in Marengo for the past twenty years. Friends, business, and community organizations rallied around the family, creating fundraisers and lending physical and emotional support for the family. Stacy Skow, one of the family friends, organized a fundraiser through www. booster.com/teamloganvallee, where the sale of #Team- Logan T-shirts “help with all heart transplant related costs.” Donations to Vallee can be made at https://cota. donorpages.com/PatientOnlineDonation/ COTAfor- TeamLoganV/. Many fundraisers organized by friends, business, and other people who care are registered at this site.

In June of 2012 John and Dana Vavalle founded "Cesco's Heart.” In honor of their son, Francesco, who died from complications due to hypoplastic left heart syndrome. They are a non-for profit organization, and 100% of our proceeds go to Advocate Children's Hospital in Oaklawn, IL. The funds go specifically to support the research and advanced treatments for pediatric cardiology. Cesco’s Heart is an official philanthropic organization for Advocate Children's Hospital as well as members of their President's Society. The Vallee family is a part of Cesco’s Heart’s "heart family/" The two families met when both boys were being treated at Advocate Children's Hospital. Donation to Cesco’s Heart will help offset the costs associated with Vallee’s transplant. Go to http://www.cescosheart.org for more information. According to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association donor page, the anticipated transplant-related costs are $100,000.

After leaving the Lurie, Vallee will be at Ronald Mc- Donald House for follow-up care and to monitor the surgery for signs of rejection.

 

The American Legion Post in Marengo honored long-standing members for their years of service during their March meeting on Monday, March 20. Frank Nickels and August Noce are the most senior members with 70 years of service.

August Noce will be 100 in August. He became a sergeant in the army and served in the motor pool while he was stationed in England during World War II. Trucks were shipped to England in boxes and assembled there. Five days after D-Day, the motor pool from England accompanied the assembled trucks off the ship delivering them to France to support the D-Day troops.

April, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the tornado that struck Belvidere, IL. At that time, Marengo resident Dorothy Johnson whose family owned and operated the Tastee Freez wrote this amazing memoir we are printing here:

Well, it really started out like a normal week in Marengo.

We opened the Tastee Freez on a Wednesday afternoon, April 19th, at about 2 P.M. Business was real good. It seemed quite normal, being back to work. Thursday was a pretty normal day, too, and it was sorta good seeing all the school kids again. Then came Friday and all pretense of normal was shot!

Alfonso Graceffa 1918—2017

Alfonso "Al Grace" Graceffa, 98 of Rockford, passed away on Monday, April 3, 2017. Born December 4, 1918 in Aragona, Sicily, the son of Louis & Rosalia Graceffa. He lived most of his life in Rockford, coming here from Sicily. Al married Marie Kronaizl in Rockford on September 28, 1947. She predeceased him in 2004. He owned Al Grace Appliance since 1962. He was a veteran of WWII serving in the United States Army. He was first stationed at Camp Grant, where he did basic training and played the bugle. He then transferred to Ft. Louis Washington, where he was the leader of the USO Medical Division – entertaining the troops returning from the Pacific. Al was a member of Holy Family Church. He was leader of Al Grace and his Orchestra, playing before and after the war, until 1960. He played high school dances and weddings, among other events. Special thanks to Transitions Hospice and East Bank Rehabilitation Center for their loving care. Survivors include: children Lou (Joan) Graceffa, Sue (Brad) Born, Randy Graceffa; grandchildren Erica (Jason) Butz, Aaron, Graceffa, Casey (Matt) Lepley, Derek (Sheri) Born; and 7 great-grandchildren. - See more at: http:// www.legacy.com/obituaries/ rrstar/obituary.aspx?n=alfonso- graceffa&pid=184820105&fhid= 24711#sthash.iUDldfgO. dpuf

Dear Residents:

The Board of Commissioners of the Marengo Park District is aware of the recent media coverage concerning Joe Vallez, Manager of Park Operations. As a governing body committed to providing outstanding services to our community, the Marengo Park District and Joe Vallez both have been equally transparent in all discussions about the professional relationships he has with other park districts.

MOREHere at the M.O.R.E. Center, we have an award that we give to individuals, groups and businesses called “Friend of MORE.” It’s a certificate indicating our appreciation for outstanding service to us and, over the years, we have given out over 50 of these. It would be nice for everyone to get one of these, but that isn’t practical. So, we look for those who shine a little brighter.

Mcgills changesResidents of Marengo may have noticed that there is now an empty lot where the one story portion of the McGills factory used to be.

“The one story section was razed,” says Pastor Doc of the Marengo United Methodist Church which owns the property. “We plan to install a parking lot. We are unsure when yet because we are still raising the funds. The goal is to put a parking lot there that the city can use as well as the parishioners.”

Boys BowlingThe Marengo boys basketball team (16-5 Overall, 4-1 Kishwaukee River Conference) showered the Harvard Hornets with a dozen three-pointers at home, en route to a 65-40 win. The Jan. 28 tilt had the three-point basket parade led by Michael Volkening (23 points) collecting four, Connor Wascher (10) picking up two, and Blaine Borhart (11) with three.

News

Marengo Area News Briefs

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