When the temperature goes down the thermostat goes up.

Let’s discuss safety in the home. Half of home fires occur from heat related appliances during the months of December, January and February (for obvious reasons). Accidents happen; however, accidents can be prevented - here are a few tips to help prevent an accidental fire in your home:

1. Heating appliances - Plug only ONE into an outlet; do not use an extension cord or a power strip. Keep the heating appliance at least 3 feet from furniture, curtains or other non-fire retardant items. Ensure that a portable heater cannot be knocked over by a child or a pet. Turn it off when you leave your home. If you have an older heating appliance, consider getting a new one.

2. Chimney Fires – Be proactive - is the chimney cleaned? Is it solid; not rusted out? Your chimney should be inspected and cleaned. Animals could have built nests in your chimney, vegetation could have grown over it – take the time and inspect the chimney and be careful when going on the roof and using a ladder!

3. Fireplace, wood stoves - when removing ashes, put the ashes in a METAL approved container, and store them outside, away from your house. Do not discard ashes in the garbage, as hot coals could cause a fire up to a week later! Do not vacuum ashes, as an ember could cause a fire in your vacuum cleaner bag. Ensure that furniture, drapes, blankets are at least 3 feet away from the heating source. Keep any items that can be knocked over away from the heating source

How about the barn; are your animals safe? Union and the surrounding areas are farming communities with frequent barn fires. Fire safety needs to extend from the home, into the barn. The leading cause of a barn fire is heating equipment. Below are a few tips to help protect your barn and your livestock:

1. Heat lamps and portable heaters are dangerous, if not reviewed properly. Free-hanging heat lamps need to be secured and cords need to be kept out of reach of animals, and of fowl that may fly into them, or knock them down.

2. Have large ABC Fire extinguishers placed throughout the structure. Quick response may extinguish a fire, and save the lives of your animals and your property.

3. Consider purchasing a smoke monitoring device that can be installed with external audio or even smart-phone apps that will alert to a fire. These smoke detectors can be damaged by dust in the barn, so a monthly inspection should be part of maintenance.

4. Do what you can to eliminate the use of extension cords, and prevent cords from being accessible to animals or lying on the ground where they can be damaged.

5. Spontaneous combustion of hay and bulk grain is responsible for less than 5% of these fires - if practical, minimize the risk of this type of fire by storing away from the main structure.

Be safe and have a Merry Christmas from the Union Fire Protection District. 


Hooves to Heal brought five riders to compete at Special Olympics of Illinois on 10/28 & 10/29 at Bravehearts at the Bergmann Center in Poplar Grove.

Our riders that competed were Lizzie Goodwin, Hannah Gaffigan, Christian Foster, Karen Jensen, and Avery Ybarra. As a team, they brought home 2 golds, 1 silver, and 2 bronze medals.

Margaret L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite books as a kid, so I was looking forward to attending one of the performances offered by the MCHS Drama Department November 16- 18. Director Kate Griffin and her students always produce quality performances and this one didn’t disappoint.

The story is billed as “children’s science fiction,” so I was delighted to recognize a young friend in the audience and sat with her. Lilly Volpe is in the fourth grade. She had heard about the play and convinced her Grandmother, Barb Volpe to come along. “I haven’t read the book yet,” said Lilly, “but I think I will after I see the play. If it’s any good.” (Lilly is a practical young lady!)

As Act 1 ended, Lilly gasped, “They can’t just end it like that!” An evil creature had just threatened the characters and the stage went dark. She was very into the play and relieved when she learned it was only intermission.

During intermission I spoke with the girls handling the sound board. Lexi Menig is a Senior who has been working on the sound board since she was a Freshman. Now, as she nears graduation, she has taken on an assistant to train in the many aspects of providing background music and controlling volume for all the voices in a play. Freshman Kim Zarate is enjoying working on her first play and hopes to stay with the job.

The staging for this production is interesting because nearly all the actors play “readers,” who not only narrate the story but join in on the action by playing the various characters within the story. I wondered how a child would understand this staging device, so I checked with Lilly. “I like how they were reading the story and then they became part of it,” she said. I liked it, too. Judging from the applause and the comments after the play, everyone else did as well.

I noticed something about the MCHS Play experience. These plays have become part of the entertainment for lots of Marengo’s citizens. I’ve been to many a high school play where the audience is made up largely of the cast’s relatives and some fellow students. While these groups were certainly present at this performance, my informal poll of the audience turned up more people with no special connection to any cast members, but an expectation, based on past experience, of a good story presented well. Lilly was drawn to the story; her grandmother knew they would have an entertaining evening.

“I’m glad I saw it,” Lilly assured me. “I’m going to read the book now. It has a good message.” When asked what that message is, she answered without hesitation, “Don’t be afraid to be yourself.” Put the MCHS Spring Musical dates on your calendar. It’s going to be a good one: Godspell, coming March 8-10, 2018.


Sunday, November 5th Christian Barns of BSA Troop 530 was awarded the prestigious Eagle Scout Award at First Baptist Church in Marengo. Christian was fortunate to have his father Kevin Barnes, the Scout Master and brother/Eagle Scout Matt Barnes, present his award to him along with Assistant Scout Masters, Life Scout Mike Grant and fellow scouts. Christian had completed a new dog shelter at Glory Bound Rescue Ranch as his project. After volunteering there on multiple occasions, the existing dog shelter was in poor condition and would be a perfect opportunity as his Eagle Project.

The project was completed with the coordination of volunteers and donations in less than 3 weeks. Christian plans to continue with Troop 530 and mentor younger scouts to also reach this remarkable achievement.

FIRE RESULTS IN AIR LIFT                                                                                                        

Personnel from the Marengo Fire Protection District and rescue unit, along with the Marengo Police department went to the scene of a reported house fire, and evacuated one man with injuries that resulted in an airlift to the Maywood Loyola University Medical Center. Crews arriving on the scene Nov. 3 at 10:15 p.m. found smoke coming from the first floor level of the home in the 700 block of East Grant highway (Route 20).

 “When our department arrived at the scene, there was smoke coming from the east side of the building on the first floor,” said District Captain John Kimmel. “There were three police officers already at the scene, and they were able to pull him to safety. They established the care lift to the hospital. As I understand, he is recovering from his injuries.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and the structure was not a total loss. Other fire protection districts near the vicinity also responded as back-up aid.


The City Council approved a motion to execute a services agreement with Mc Henry-based HR Green for the 20009 East Grant Highway (Route 20) improvements that will help propel a new retail center at the site, during its Nov. 27 session. The 7-1 affirmative vote will allow for the preparation and processing of water and sewer extensions to the site, as well as a left-turn lane for access to the property from the state thoroughfare.

An addendum agreement would provide for a rightturn lane, if warranted, and HR Green would design the public improvements associated with the project. The water main and sanitary lines would cross north-to-south and include the shepherding of permits from two state of Illinois governmental units, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency

The motion also covered an agreement with the retail center’s developer, the Marengo-based Corey Brackman Construction Co., for funding the cost of the design and engineering studies, not to exceed $23,000. They have already supplied a deposit toward the amount, and will later be included as part of the tax-increment financing incentives that were previously approved.

The design schedule is slating a 50 per cent completion plateau by Dec. 22, and a Jan. 30 date for final plan submission. A redevelopment agreement, approved by the city council Sept. 25, employed considerations on tax-increment financing assistance with the site owners, S & V Property LLC. The TIF monies can accrue up to $550,000 on the estimated $1.7 million cost of the proposed project.

Plans also call for the Marengo Pharmacy to re-locate to the new mall, from its 308 State Street downtown site, leasing arrangements for a Dunkin’ Donuts, a liquor store, and an unspecified potential fourth commercial lessee.The site designs, plat drawings, and construction data must still be approved by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, with a final vote before the full city council.

Zion Lutheran Church is proud to announce the addition of Pastor Jonathan Ripke as the new Associate Pastor. He and his wife Megan have two daughters, Alice and Ella and reside in Marengo. Pastor Ripke had completed 6 years of service at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hooper Nebraska, prior to accepting his call from Zion. He completed his undergraduate studies at Concordia Seward, NE and his seminary work at Concordia St. Louis, MO. Pastor will be joining Reverend Dr. Glen Borhart to help support worship, school and outreach ministries. Please join us in welcoming the Ripke family to Marengo!

American Legion Kishwaukee Post 192 of Marengo Illinois held a traditional flag retirement ceremony, along with Boy Scouts from Troop 163 on October 23 in Indian Oaks Park. There are only a few authorized organizations approved to perform this event to ensure that an American flag is retired with honor, dignity and respect. The scouts satisfied a requirement by attending this event and participate in this honor every year.

Kathy Sroka, Science teacher at Marengo Community Middle School has received certification for teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). STEM encompasses a vast area of subjects which include aerospace, engineering, astrophysics, computer science, mathematical biology, and robotics, among many others.

For the first time in Marengo history, the cross country boys qualified their seven-man squad for the State Meet in Peoria, Illinois. In the regionals they created an upset, earning team runner-up to Rockford Christian who is ranked fifth in the state. The following weekend they were running the hills of Oregon, IL where the team was able to squeeze in for the final ticket to Peoria. The day brought 10-15 mph winds creating wind chills in the twenties. The state-bound team is composed of Alex Leonard, Luke Chaffin, Zach Secor, Aaron Moehrlin, Jadon Kozin, CJ Arevalo, and Brant Lesher. With two Seniors, one Junior and four Freshman the team has great potential for future success. First-year coaches, Kenneth Johnson (Head Coach) and Julie Urbanek (Assistant Coach) coached boys and girls. Hannah Secor, a senior also had a remarkable day at sectionals just missing state by two places and positioning herself 18th out of 161 runners.

In late September Union Fire Department was honored with a selfless donation from local Union resident Nancy Cadarian. Nancy Cadarian donated the American Flag that she was presented when her Veteran fiance, Thomas Heron passed away in 2004. Nancy has asked that the Union Fire Department fly the flag to honor Thomas. We had a ceremony that included the members and trustees of the Union Fire Department, along with Nancy’s family and friends. It was an emotional and solemn event. Thank you, Nancy; we are grateful, as should be the residents of the Village of Union for your kindness.

This donation represented much more to me, and I wanted to speak up about what has been happening with the controversy about the American Flag. As a Veteran and having an interest in history, I have complete respect for the American Flag. I encourage you to search for stories behind the flag, really understand the sacrifices of so many people, for that symbol - really truly understand the history of the American Flag. Every person at our ceremony respected the Flag - nobody knelt, nobody shook their fist, everybody respected the memory of Veteran Thomas Heron and Nancy. Everyone acted as a true patriotic respectful citizen of the United States of America.

At our Fire Department meetings - we say the Pledge of Allegiance. At the Lion’s Club meetings, we start each meeting with come to order, everyone stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. You STAND, and you face the American Flag. Every government meeting needs to start with, come to order, please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Starting every meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance should not be optional - it simply needs to be done - Always. Perhaps many people just forgot the words - so here they are - I would suggest that you say this proudly: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”

 At our last Fireman’s Association meeting we discussed installing a heavier duty flag pole. The members of the Union Fire Department will be volunteering their time and money to purchase and install this pole. Our next few fund raisers will be focused on this project, as we all felt that it needs to be done. If anyone would like to donate to this cause, please contact me.

The Union Fire Dept will be helping at the Fifth Annual ‘Igg’s, Clasens’’ Turkey Testicle Festival, which will be Wednesday, Nov 22rd from 4 to 11 PM at Clasen’s, in Union. There will be bands, festivities, and as always, a great time! There is a nominal cover, and this is a 21 and older event. Come out and have a great time before Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!


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