Why start plants from seeds versus buying young plants from stores? It is less expensive to start from seeds particularly if you need quite a few plants and the variety available from seed usually exceeds the choices in the garden centers. There are vegetables that are easy to start in the garden from seed for beginners that wish to explore this option.

On Tuesday, Jan. 29, the Marengo Fire Dept. offered a presentation to explain why they need and are requesting you to vote “Yes” on an upcoming referendum.


Marengo’s girls basketball squad, backed by a 21-point effort from Marissa Knobloch, easily wrapped up the Harvard Hornets in a 79-29 Kishwaukee River conference win. The Jan. 24 victory gave Marengo (20-5 Overall, 9-1 KRC) the distinction of having consecutive 20-win seasons, which last occurred a decade ago.

With the declining Honeybee population, it is hard not to worry or want to help in some way. Many residents in our area have taken up bee keeping, helping the population and reap the benefit of a personal honey supply. Bees are more than happy to work hard pollinating and produce honey, first for themselves, then share with us. Besides the honey, they also produce honeycomb, but isn’t always utilized by the beekeepers once the honey is removed.

What better way to brighten your day while the snow flies outside and the cold penetrates your bones than to think about your spring garden. Healthy soil is the basis of healthy plants and a healthy garden environment. Feed the soil and the soil will feed your plants. When garden soil is in good shape there is less need for fertilizers or pesticides. The soil should be loose and fluffy, filled with air that plant roots need, and have plenty of minerals essential for vigorous plant growth. It should drain well (water should not stand on top after rain) and contain plenty of organic matter. Good garden soil will deliver the right mixture of air, water, and nutrients to grow a large root system and strong, productive plants. It is alive with living organisms, from earthworms to fungi and bacteria, that help maintain the quality of the soil.

Once the frost has lifted and the soil is workable, start preparing your garden beds. In winter, soil tends to become compacted, so the first thing you want to do is loosen it up by tilling or turning it using a tiller or a sharp spade. Any mulch or leaf litter that is well-composted should be mixed right in, but if it is too fresh, you should remove it first.

Soil testing is an important tool for growing healthy lawns and gardens. To get reliable results and appropriate fertilizer and amendment recommendations, it is important that you submit a representative soil sample from your lawn or garden. Once the soil test is conducted and the results are available, the ability to interpret the results and follow the recommendations is an important consideration in correcting any deficiency or imbalance. Soil test kits can be obtained from the U of I Extension Master Gardener office in Woodstock.

You should also take this opportunity to replenish your supplies. Make sure you have enough fertilizer and soil amendments on hand. Replenish your supply of plant supports and pre-assemble any structures like tomato cages. This is also a great time to acquire new and replacement garden tools. By Steve and Cindy DeBerg Master Gardeners Healthy Soil, Healthy Plants P

Jim McArdle appraises flag

Ever wonder how much grandma’s old pitcher is worth? What about that heirloom oil painting or brass table lamp?

The McHenry County Historical Society & Museum will host its seventh annual Antique Appraisal Day from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the museum, 6422 Main St., Union. Reserve a 10-minute slot for your treasure by calling the museum at 815- 923-2267.

Appraisal categories include: China/ceramics, glass, art, toys, sports cards/memorabilia, jewelry, dolls, books and general antiques that includes textiles, photos and documents. Items must be portable enough for attendees to carry unassisted.

Advance registration is advised. It begins Friday, Feb. 1, and runs through Tuesday, Feb. 19. The cost is $7 for each object with a maximum of three appraisals per person. Individual museum admission is included with a paid registration. Registration payment can be made with a credit card or check. Check payments must be received within one week of making your reservation, otherwise your time will become available for other appraisals.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your reserved time to check in and be seated in the appraiser’s area.

Walk-in appraisals on Feb. 23 will cost $9 per object and will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis pending time and scheduling constraints.

Spectators are encouraged to watch the action. Regular museum admission will apply: $5 for adults, $3 for seniors & students, $12 for families.

There is free admission to the museum, as always, for society members. XXXXXThanks to the generosity of our appraisers, all proceeds benefit the nonprofit historical society. For additional information, visit the McHenry County Historical Society website at www.gothistory. org

Our friendship began in a very casual manner .... she was the neighbor of my good friend and future husband and I was a freshman at Marengo Community High School, living on a farm in Riley Township but working after school for the McHenry County Telephone Company. I would sometimes stay at the Otis home waiting out the short period of time between school dismissal and going to work at the phone company. It was during this period that I met and got to know the Nork family a little bit better. Their home was kiddy-corner to the Otis home, the location today of a municipal parking lot. Ted and Elsie Lenz Nork had only one child, Ruth, who was about 3-4 years older that Steve and Jeanne Otis.

As the years rolled by, I remained a close friend of the Otis family and especially their son, Steve. I would occasionally see their neighbor, Ruth Nork.

Moving forward approximately 40 years, the Otis home location is now a parking lot, but Ruth still lives in her family’s home at 206 W. Washington Street. There was a “movement” among the residents for a local Marengo Society for Historic Preservation. Interested people, including Ruth, gathered and the organization was officially formed. 

Forward to 2017. Ruth went to be with her Heavenly Father toward the end of January after some years of having personal assistance in her home as well as a shorter stay at Florence Nursing Home. The Society learned that she has left all of her earthly belongings, including her historic home, to the Society whose mission includes creating a greater awareness of Marengo’s history to the community. To rest assured that the Society could maintain the home in tip-top condition, Ruth also gifted the rental home to the Society. Such wisdom and generosity is the hallmark of a truly generous person.

Those who have recently driven down W. Washington Street have likely noticed the newly revitalized exterior of the home at 206 W. Washington Street. The trees have been trimmed to allow easy visibility of this beautiful “period” home. To the best of anyone’s memory, the home and carriage house are remembered as always being painted white. Gone is the wide, aluminum siding on the home, promoted so vigorously in the 1970’s .... replaced by multiple coats of fresh white paint over the prepped and original, native wood siding. Completing this process included the reattaching of the “dental” work between the original corbels. Many, many words of appreciation from the community have been passed on to painter Larry Hutchison and his much appreciated helper, Mike Bray. Recently we’ve seen the amazing work of Phil Creasy and his crew as they appropriately replaced the eaves and downspouts. Elizabeth Henning deserves much credit and appreciation for sharing her expertise and time, working closely with the above mentioned craftsmen. It is anticipated that the Society will hold an “open house” in the spring of 2019 so that the community may tour the interior of this historic home.

Ted Nork arrived in America from Germany in 1921. He likely arrived in Marengo in the mid 1920s, working for R. M. Patrick who lived at 327 W. Prairie Street. Members of the Patrick family had arrived earlier, becoming part of the “movers and shakers” of the community. While working for the Patrick family, Ted met and married their cook, Elsie Lenz. At some point forward while Ted and Elsie were living in an apartment on W. Prairie Street with their newborn daughter, Ruth, the Hutchison family home at 206 W. Washington Street came up “for sale”. Their employer, Mr. Patrick, urged Ted and Elsie to purchase this home. With some hesitancy, they took his advice and purchased this gem of a home. To gain confidence that there would always be enough money to pay the monthly mortgage, Elsie almost immediately “let” out upstairs rooms for the newly married or unmarried individuals.

Grandmother Lenz” lived with them at that time, having her room in the “maid’s quarters” at the rear of the second story of the home. This area was heated by a little wood-burning stove.

Back in the 1850’s and forward, the Hutchison family were farmers on west River Road. They had a son, John, born during this period of time. When John reached school age, his parents brought him into the growing city of Marengo to receive his education at the Institute, located on the hill of West Prairie Street. Later, after living in California for many years, John returned to Marengo following the death of his first wife. With the completion of his training at the McCormick Theological Seminary, he was asked in 1875 to minister at the local Presbyterian Church. According to information found in the History of Homes, Volume I, this home at 206 W. Washington was built in 1872 by D. A. Steadman who also built the Marengo Opera House, now Marengo State Bank building. Was he contracted by R. M. Patrick to build this home for a member of his family or as a parsonage for the Presbyterian minister? At some point, the Hutchison family purchased the home.

If you are interested in being a part of the Marengo Society for Historic Preservation, please send a note with your name, address and phone number to Marengo Society for Historic Preservation at 633 W Grant Highway, Marengo, IL 60152. You will then be notified of the date for our spring meeting.


The issues which created an impasse in a new contract between the Riley Consolidated District 18 School Board and the Riley Teachers Association were resolved with both sides in agreement on dollar amounts for educational course work and increases in salary, retroactive to the 2018-19 start of the school year.

Marengo has a new and valuable resource for expectant women and young mothers regardless of their age, religion, race or marital status. The Momentum Women’s Center, located in the M.O.R.E. Building at 829 Greenlee Street, is for: Moving. Obstacles. Motivating. Empowering. Nurturing. Training. Understanding. Moms. Deacon Jack O’Leary, of Sacred Heart Parish, is the motivating force behind this endeavor, which has been in planning for many months, and began operating just before Christmas. Thirty volunteers are currently part of this new Center, whose motto is “Moving MOMS in the Right Direction.” They work to do this by providing teaching about pregnancy and fetal development; classes on child development, discipline, and basic life skills; maternity and baby supplies, diapers, formula and baby food; financial aid when available and necessary; adoption information and referrals to services within our community that provide food, shelter, and assistance. The Momentum Women’s Center is open every Friday from 2:00-7:00 p.m. Twice a month on Mondays from 1:30-4:00 they have a Mom’s Group for mothers of children up to pre-school age. All new mothers and expectant mothers are welcome by this non-denominational Christian organiza- tion. They will find support, friendship, information and material baby needs from a group of caring and knowledgeable volunteers. The Center is always looking for more volunteers, and always grateful for donations. For information about their services or their needs for donations, call 815-353-8592.




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