Marengo Area News Briefs


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.”

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

Durbin urged other manufacturers to apply the UniCarriers model of operation to their own situations, and not move their industries to other countries where operational costs and tax benefits are the main attractions. He said that American workers are the best resource and should receive appropriate wages and inducements, along with retraining classes, to maintain a high standard of product quality.

A question and answer session followed his remarks. He touched on legislation he submitted and sponsored in June 2015, the Patriot Employer Tax Credit Act, a measure that would have supplied remuneration to domestic industries that remained as such, investing in the workers, if it had passed. He stressed that China is the largest global economic impediment to American products and that America outdistances the rest of the world in research and any cutting edge applications.


A civil lawsuit, filed by the Fraternite of Notre Dame Order, seeking to overturn the Mc Henry County Board’s denial of a permit for conditional uses and variances at their property on Harmony Hill Road, is in a “case pending” situation while negotiations continue. The litigation was filed last Dec. 16 with the Northern District of Illinois in Rockford. It is being fought on the grounds of religious freedom, and violations of the Order’s constitutional rights under equal protection of the law.

“At this time, the case is on hold in the court system, meaning no dates or actions have been taken,” said James Geoly, representing the Order. “Both parties are currently in settlement negotiations, but beyond that, there is no further information to convey.”

At issue was the Order’s petition, filed in Sept. 2014, for a permit that would allow construction of a boarding school for boys and girls, an assisted living facility for the elderly with hospice care, a bakery, brewery, winery with sampling room, a larger gift shop, and dormitory for student and staff housing.

The county board voted 21-2 in the fall of 2015 against the petition citing the matter of industrial uses of natural resources, specifically the septic and well-water systems. The Chicago- based law firm of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C. authored the complaint, and recorded the filing under docket no. 15-cv-50312. It said the French-origin Order established its Chicago Mother House in 2000.


The Marengo City Council approved several measures related to the annual Settler’s Days Festival, being held Oct. 6-8, relating to closures of Route 23 for the final day parade, and “Saturday Night Street Dance.” Representatives of Settler’s Days, Inc., the event’s organizing committee, had not attended the July 27 council session to answer questions about moving the festival grounds and the closure of Franks Lane.

Resolution 17-8-A allowed for the temporary closure of Route 23, contingent upon the Illinois Department of Transportation issuing permits, for the Oct. 7 street dance, from 3:30- 11:00 p.m., and Oct. 8, in the morning until an approximate 4:00 p.m. end. The parade path steps off at 1:30 p.m. on Railroad Street, south to Routh 20, onto E. Washington Street, and Prospect Street.

The carnival will be located on city Parking Lot #2, by the railroad tracks, with food concessions, and set up Oct. 5, enabling an Oct. 6, 4:00 p.m., opening. A beer garden and entertainment stage will be sited on W. Washington Street to State Street, and west to S. Ann Street, , with vehicle access closure, from Noon Oct. 7 until 5:00 p.m. Oct. 8.

“We’ve been in the parade for a long time, and we bring our antique tractors,” said Harry Alten, of Harvard-based Alten Farms. “My brother, Dennis, and I, always look forward to the parade and Settler’s Days. It’s a way for young folks to connect with agriculture, and there’s a lot of programs sponsored in Marengo, related to it.” The brothers operated a food vendor booth with Mc Henry County products, at the Illinois State Fair, until retiring this summer, after more than two decades.

NEW CANOE LAUNCH DEDICATED A multi-government partnership to share facilities and reduce the duplication of services has resulted in a new canoe launch, which was dedicated in an Aug. 26 ceremony. The East County Line Conservation Area-Kishwaukee Canoe Launch is located on County Line Road, just north of the Kishwaukee River, and Route 20, west of Marengo.The unique pairing between the Boone County Conservation District and the Mc Henry County Conservation District has parking and fishing access on the east side of the road through MCCD facilities, and the canoe launch on the west side of the road. The McHenry County Division of Transportation, and open lands, were also instrumental in bringing the project to fruition