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.

Paul Bockman and his wife, call Marengo their home. A lot has changed in Bockman’s sixty-odd years. Even more so for the place he calls home. His farm in Seneca Township, passed from his grandparents, to his parents, to him. From dirt roads to pavement, from horse drawn implements and pickle crops, the Bockmans’ farm has seen the world of farming change.

DRUMSThe Marengo Park District is offering a new Culture & Arts Program this fall with classes for all ages. Eight week classes for child and caregiver include: Mini Musician Age 0-5, Drumming and Puppet-Play for ages 3-5yrs, and also for just 6-12yr. olds (without caregiver). Group Singing and Acting classes will be offered for children and teens. Teens will be challenged in Wall Art Painting class (painting a mural), and/or can simply socialize and recreate at Teen Hang-Out Night on the 1st Friday of every month.

It’s time to put the rumors to rest and explain the latest facts about Wisted’s Super Market in Marengo. The Wisted Family has owned and operated this store in Marengo for 56 years. Harold and Shirley Wisted and their children Susie and Mark are all involved in running this much-loved grocery store at 21775 West Grant Highway, Marengo. They never sold their store and have not done so now.

Over the years, they opened branches of Wisted’s Super Market in Woodstock and Huntley. Within the last two years, they have closed both of those branch stores. “We want to focus on our one store again,” explained Susie Wisted, who manages day-to-day operations at the store.

A totally separate issue from closing stores, is the decision to become a franchise store and after three years, to return to being independent grocers. For many years, Wisted’s stocked their shelves with Centrella brand foods. In 2013 the store needed to change brands and the Wisted family decided to become a franchise store of the Piggly-Wiggly Grocery chain, and sell their Food Club brand. Wisted’s never sold their store to the Piggly- Wiggly corporation.

Now, they are simply ending the franchise agreement and returning to independent grocer status. “We are going back in order to go forward,” Wisted explained.

This will mean a few cosmetic changes and some definite customer advantages:

• The Pig logo will be removed from the building and from all advertising. It will be replaced with a new logo and the official name change to: “Wisted’s Super Fresh Market.”

• The savings card program will end. Instead, there will be card-free savings all the time with some special savings programs run throughout the year.

• The private brand name will now be Shurfine and there will be more variety of other brand names and products.

• Wisted is sure customers will be “pleased to know that our prices will now be noticeably lower.”

Wisted’s Super Fresh Market will “go live” on September 21, after making changes overnight with a 7 p.m. closing on September 20. This will be followed by an official Grand Re-Opening close to Settlers’ Days in October.

“We were never gone, and we’re here to stay, better than ever!” said Susie Wisted with a smile.

CICADASWondering why you are hearing Cicada’s again this summer, well it seems every summer? I always thought they came around only every 13, or is it 17 years? So, I did a little investigating to understand the truth about our little noisy bugs of summer, and this is what I found out to share.

Cicadas are classified by either “annual” or “periodical.” What we are hearing right now are the annual Illinois Cicadas or Dog Days Cicadas, they come around every summer. Their lifecycle is about 5 years, with new ones emerging and older ones dying off to keep them present every year. Who you are hearing are the male Cicadas, calling to the ladies usually later in the afternoon to evening. The Cicadas are not responsible for nighttime noise, that credit goes to the crickets, katydids or frogs.

GARDENINGRather than bagging or removing fallen leaves this fall, use them in your yard. Also, we recommend jumping in the pile of leaves at least once. University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Rhonda Ferree recently provided helpful information about managing leaves.

She suggests that tree leaves represent a valuable natural resource that can be used to provide a good source of organic matter and nutrients for use in your landscape. Leaves contain 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients a plant extracts from the soil and air during the season. Therefore, leaves should be managed and used rather than bagged or burned.

Hooves to Heal“August has been an amazing month for Hooves to Heal,” announced Sarah Mozal, grant writer for this not-for-profit organization in Marengo. Hooves to Heal offers Equine Therapy for individuals who are mentally or physically challenged.

AdelaYou know her name and her writing from the pages of this newspaper—Adela Crandall Durkee. Over her many years with the Marengo- Union Times, and more recently with the McHenry Chronicle, Durkee has become known for her personal interviews and insightful human interest stories. She has written about so many types of people and events that we have come to expect a good story in every article with her byline.

On September 30, 2016 her first novel A Ship of Pearl and a Read-to-me children’s book The Fable of Little Tzuri will both be launched on Both can be pre-ordered on Amazon now. Once again, you can expect a good story in both of these new books.

Empire Strikes BackOn Saturday August 6th the Marengo-Union Library District welcomed back some friends from a galaxy far, far away. Celebrating the 2nd annual Star Wars Day were adults and children alike enjoying the fun of this event. Several fans came dressed as their favorite character and practiced their skills with “the force” on stations throughout the library.


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