The Illinois Railway Museum hours are from 10 am until 6 pm. But not tonight. On Labor Day weekend, the IRM is remaining open with their hours extended until 9:30-ish and a lot of people are taking full advantage of those extra hours.

Photographers are lined up on the platform to get the best shots of the Frisco steam engine in motion. Passengers on the train are enjoying the sunset ride in the luxurious Pullman coaches being used for this evening. Other people are loving the extra streetcar rides around the grounds that are continuing long past normal hours as well.

Library personnelAt 11:00 a.m. on November 19, WNIJ’s Dan Klefstad will be at the Marengo Union Library to kick off National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.)

NaNoWriMo is an annual, Internet-based project that takes place during the month of November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words (the minimum number of words for a novel) from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59 P.M. on November 30.

PEmergency servicesortions of Franks Road and all access to the Marengo Community High School were closed off for several hours on Saturday morning, September 10. Emergency services were conducting a safety drill for communities around the area.

“The exercise was an active shooter event,” Captain John Kimmel of the Marengo Fire Department says. “It included 10 law enforcement agencies, the McHenry County Sheriff ’s Department and 12 fire departments. The McHenry County Emergency Service and Disaster Agency, Centegra Hospital Crisis Team, McHenry County Chaplains Group and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office also participated in the drill.”

There has been talk around here for 35-40 years, that we need an I-90 interchange. And now it is going to happen.

Following a 7-1 vote of the Marengo City Council in August, on September 6 the McHenry County Board approved local share funding for the development of the I-90 / Route 23 interchange by a vote of 21-1.

The Marengo Lions Club will be hosting a benefit trap shoot on September 24, 2016. Join us Lions at Coon Creek Hunt Club in Garden Prairie to watch or to demonstrate your shooting prowess. Registration for this event will start at 8:00 a.m. with coffee and rolls. The trap rounds will begin at 9:00 a.m.

Thursday Night Kickoff: Settlers’ Days Prince and Princess Contest. Registration must be submitted by September 23 and can be printed from the website

Friday Night: Skinners’ Carnival opens at 5pm in the City Hall Municipal Lot. Make sure to buy your wristbands the week before. Bingo at the Marengo Firehouse from 6:30-9:30pm

Pringle schoolMarengo Mayor Don Lockhart joined area residents Herb Franks and Ed Urban in two presentations of the original stage play ‘Elementary Follies’. Written by Nancy Fike, former director of the McHenry County Historical Museum, the proceeds from this play will be used for the restoration of the Pringle one-room Schoolhouse, north of Marengo.

The Pringle School is built from limestone which was quarried out of Garden Prairie and transported by wagon. The school was attended by children of the Scottish settlers who lived along River Road. Built in 1867, the one room schoolhouse continued to operate until the 1940s.

On August 17 the Marengo Fire/Rescue Districts with the assistance of several local departments responded to three requests for service that came in almost simultaneously. There have been some questions and incorrect information put out on social media that we wanted to address. I also wanted to inform you of how we are going to try and address some of the social media issues that we experience.

The first call that we were dispatched to was for a man trapped from a wall collapse. When we arrived on scene we found a man that had been working in a trench replacing a sewer line, when the side of the wall collapsed. The man was completely submerged under the dirt and workers on scene had started to remove the dirt. As additional crews arrived we began to shore the sides of the trench to make it safer for firefighters to enter the trench to begin the process of removing the victim. It took approximately 45 minutes to remove the victim using hand shovels. The victim was taken by flight for life and is expected to make a full recovery after several surgeries.

The second call we received was for a heart attack just blocks away from the first scene. The person was not a part of the first scene and was treated by paramedics and transported to the hospital where they ex- pected to make a full recovery. The victim was traveling through Marengo when their symptoms began.

The third call that we received for service was dispatched about 10 minutes after the original trench rescue call. This call was for a two vehicle accident at Rt. 23 and Harmony Rd. with entrapment. Units responding to this scene were from Marengo, Union, Harvard, and Genoa Kingston. Units on scene requested a second Helicopter from Rockford, but due to weather they were unavailable. All victims were transported and are expected to make full recoveries.

After talking with the representative from OSHA, we were informed that this is the first scene for a trench collapse of this magnitude that the victim has survived that he had seen. This is a testament to the dedication and quality of service, not only by the members of your department, but the cooperative efforts with our neighboring towns. We would like to thank Union, Harvard, Genoa, and Huntley for their assistance that day.

In an effort to address some of the social media issues that we experience with false information going out to the public we have created a facebook page for the Marengo Fire Rescue Districts. On this page we will give information of upcoming events, calls, and general department information. What we would ask of you in regards to social media, is to be considerate. In today’s world it is very easy to take pictures and post them on line. We would caution you in doing that at emergency scenes because that is somebody's family member and that can be very traumatizing for them if they find out about a death or accident prior to being informed by the proper authorities. Be safe and if you have questions or concerns feel free to contact us.


Marengo Parks Operations Manager Joe Vallez appeared before the city council to outline the necessity of obtaining approximately $35,000 to replace the dismantled Indian Oaks playground, which was taken down earlier this summer. The two-decades old playground was identified as unsafe, and part of an infrastructure assessment and removal program that included closures of the skate park and pool.

Vallez requested assistance from the council, with a presentation, in moving ahead with attempts to raise monies that would go toward capital improvements on an annual basis to better manage assets. Despite their status as an individual entity on property tax bills, financial issues have plagued the park district.

In the last two years, the district has released half of its staff members, while reducing its yearly budget by nearly $100,000. Local commercial outlets have proffered donations, and several charity fundraisers were scheduled for the last days of August, with proceeds earmarked for the funding gap.


A new school policy governing bathroom visits during class sessions caused a minor controversy at Marengo Community High School, with its intent aimed at reducing the number of students walking the hallways. The new rule limits the number of passes a teacher can tender for students in class, and the students must be accompanied to the lavatories.

School officials allegedly informed students on the first day of classes, leading to parents and students questioning the new standard. The policy stipulates that teachers can issue a small number of emergency hall passes to use the bathroom, and also states that the teacher must go with the student as an escort.

School officials indicated that the reasoning was to deter an excessive number of passes being issued, with further discussion going forward. The District 154 School board meeting was set for Aug. 29, however the policy is not listed on the agenda for discussion.


The civil litigation against the County of McHenry, filed by the Fraternite of Notre Dame, continues to carry through the federal court system in Chicago’s northern district. Filed Dec. 15, 2015, the suit is seeking to overturn the McHenry County Board’s decision in “denying its request for a conditional use permit and variation to conduct various religious activities on its property.” The suit further states, “Defendant’s actions were discriminatory, arbitrary, and capricious, and violated Plaintiff ’s rights under the United States and Illinois constitutions.”

Under docket number 15-cv-5302, being heard by Judge Phillip Reinhard, the latest actions Aug. 2, involved a written opinion and order on a motion to dismiss. The Order had previously appeared at the county’s Zoning Board of appeals through a contentious series of hearings from residents opposed to the Order’s plans for expansion.


A new candidate was selected by the McHenry County Democratic Caucus to vie for the District 6 county board post. Cathy Johnson was selected to fill the vacancy created by the withdrawal of original candidate Allison Barnard, due to relocation issues.

 Johnson has served previously on the Marengo- Union Library District board of trustees and the Riley Township Board. She was also involved with the 2010 Water Resources Action Plan in representing the township on the county’s Groundwater Task Force. District 6 encompasses the rural areas in the western portion of McHenry County.

If elected, she also pledged to combat what she called the County Board’s penchant for “dilly-dallying” on the issues.

“They take so much time to make any decisions,” Johnson said.

INTERCHANGEThe Mc Henry County Board’s finance and audit committee approved a memorandum of understanding, along with an intergovernmental agreement, to propel the anticipated construction of an interchange for I-90 at its junction with Route 23 near Marengo. The actions came with similar 6-0 votes, and one absent, during the Aug. 25 meeting.

The memorandum of understanding and intergovernmental agreement tie the Illinois Tollway Authority Board, the state of Illinois Department of Transportation, Mc Henry County Division of Transportation, and the city of Marengo together on the long-awaited project, with construction now pegged for 2018 and a tentative 2020 completion date.



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