There’s a new store in town, replacing a loved old store. Andy’s Paint and Paper has been at 21714 W. Grant Highway in Marengo for 27 years, until owner Andy Nowakowski retired and sold the business. Brian and Gemma McGivney, long-time customers at Andy’s decided to buy the store and tweak it a bit. They reopened as Gemma’s Paint With Color at the same location on April 2.

“This opportunity fell into our laps, and we decided to take it,” says Gemma McGivney with enthusiasm. She is a trained color consultant and interior decorator. Her husband Brian is an “IT guy” who will manage the business end of things. The two are parents of three grown kids and have lived in Marengo for 14 years.

The store will remain a Benjamin Moore supplier. You will see familiar items as and a lot of new ones. “We are carrying many more painting supplies and sundries,” Gemma explains. They will also offer custom window treatments.

More surprising is the store’s expansion into a whole new line of products for swimming pools and spas—chemicals and maintenance supplies. They have even installed a sophisticated water tester for use by their regular customers.

The McGivneys are offering competitive prices and personal service. They hope you will remember the value of shopping locally.

Kim Bauman is justifiably proud and excited. Her business, Hidden Path Arts has been named a winner of the 2018 American Small Business Championship by SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. The Championship sponsored by SCORE awarded this title to 102 entrepreneurs for their dedication to the success of their small businesses, awarding them an all-expense-paid trip to a training and networking event in Reno, NV in April, SCORE mentoring and publicity throughout the year, and a chance to win one of three $15,000 grand prizes, made possible with the support of Sam’s Club.

Hidden Path Arts earned the title of American Small Business Champion by submitting an online application describing what makes their business one of the best small businesses in their community, and how they plan to use the prizes to grow their business. Nominations that garnered at least 100 votes were then presented to a judging panel of small business experts that determined 102 winners including Hidden Path Arts. Criteria for winning included:

a. Response to the Judged Question (40%): Answer the Judged Question in a compelling fashion.

b. Public Relations and SCORE Benefit (25%): Clearly indicates how the business will utilize the public relations and SCORE benefits accruing from winning the Championship.

c. Successful Business (20%): Information presented conveys that the business organization is successful by the manner in which it helps the community or through specific business successes (such as people employed, revenue growth, customers served, etc.).

d. Public Support (15%): Number of Votes received for Entry during Public Support Phase. The final number of votes for each entry (up to a maximum of 5000) will be rewarded in the Public Support judging criterion.

The business is located at 821 East Grant Hwy in Marengo, has committed to bringing sport karate to their community since 2003, and has supplied athletes to the AAU international team. Owner Kim Bauman has touched the lives of many people, young and old, helping them to tap into their inner strength. She stated,” I am so grateful to receive this recognition on behalf of Hidden Path Arts! We are committed to our community and they have shown us enormous support. We share this success with our studio members and our community!”

Bauman added, “I can’t say enough good things about SCORE. They provide free mentorship and these competitive opportunities. I am grateful to be an Illinois Champion and I believe the training in Reno will be invaluable.

At a time when most young people are all about new beginnings, high school senior Rio Ottolino is already bringing an important phase of her life to a close. Because of her planned new beginnings as a college student in the Fall, this talented young entrepreneur will be closing her Goin’ Solo Dance Studio on May 20.

 The Studio brought many dancing experiences and successes to many area children. Over the past three years, Rio has choreographed winning routines for the group, who have competed in Midwest Starz Dance competitions. Last year they took second place in the national competition. So far this year, they have placed first in a mid-season competition in February. Rio has taught these girls to dance and also to give back to their community. The troupe has volunteered to dance at a nursing home, to work with Brownie Scouts who want to earn a scouting dance badge and to participated in Settlers’ Days.

Above all, Rio is a star in her own right. In March she won her 4th National Championship at Team Champion Spirit Group (C.S.G.) National Dance Competition with her open solo entitled, "Sound of Silence". Rio has won the last three National Championships using her own choreography.

Rio has also held a 6-week Summer Dance Workshop for local children over the past three summers and has had the children perform for their parents at a recital held at the high school each summer. At Marengo Community High School she led the school dance unit for the past two years and choreographed routines for varsity cheerleaders.

Rio hopes to go to law school in the future, and perhaps run a dance studio as a hobby. Whatever she decides to do, be assured she will do it with enthusiasm and energy! We wish her well.

The history of the Lindsay family and their passion for cars dates back to 1949 when Faith-Lindsay Co. opened. Warren and Pat Lindsay eventually opened both a gas station and auto parts store in Marengo. In 1957 they moved to Arizona, but found their way back to Marengo by 1963 and opened Lindsay Service Station, with the parts store officially opening in 1971. Being a highly successful business, by 1992 the current location was built, but in 2001 and addition was needed, doubling the space. Mary and Casey now feel it is their time to “change gears.” Deciding to retire was easy, and luckily finding the next owner was too. As of May 1st Joe Hansberry, owner of MPEC, will add the Marengo NAPA store to his lineup. The Rockford-based company has locations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. By having a strong network within the NAPA community, the Lindsay’s were assured that the store would be in wonderful hands, with similar commitment to their employees, customers and the community, who they know will welcome Joe and his staff in May.

Having businesses that have been in Marengo for almost 70 years, not only spans many generations, the community becomes a part of your extended family. Over the years it has been a gift to see little ones in dad’s arms, then in the blink of an eye, coming in themselves to get parts for their own vehicles. From the candy bowl being raided after school to the puzzles on the marquee, oil filter sales to specialized clinics for the customers, so many memories are wrapped up in these walls. Can’t forget the annual Customer Appreciation Lunch. A simple notion became the event of the year for our hardworking customers, friends and family. I believe it was almost pre-printed in the local bank calendars.

Finally the staff…the people who made the difference! Chris Courier, Calvin Downey, Rachel Ortega, Carlos Cervantes, Christian Resenbeck, Joe Buck and Bill Guth. This is the group that kept the business running smoothly as the front line, always stepping up, helping farmers, mechanics, hobbyists and the average Joe with whatever they needed and always ready to learn. They are the reason Lindsay Auto Parts was an 11 time- NAPA 5 Star Achieving location!

On behalf of the community, THANKYOU to the Lindsay family for your hospitality, service and proprietorship in our little town. We hope to see Mary and Casey out on the town and enjoying their retirement. Cheers!

Raised beds are a good solution where available soil is compacted, heavy clay or sand, or contaminated. A raised bed can provide maximum control over the quality of the soil in which you grow your vegetables. When setting up your raised bed garden there are several important issues to consider.

Locate beds on a level area that receives a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sun daily. Avoid areas where water stands after a heavy rain. Gardening close to the house makes it easier to be in the garden each day and to monitor for pests and disease. Having the bed close to a water source is imperative to providing even and adequate moisture for the plants.

Typically, beds are 4 feet by 8 feet or 4 feet by 12 feet, but they could be any length desired. The height of the bed should be at least 12 inches to 18 inches to provide adequate space for the plant feeder roots. With adequate support, beds could be elevated even higher to afford access for those who would not be able to work at a lower level.

Many garden centers and catalogs offer kits that provide precut materials and all the hardware required for assembly. If you purchase your own lumber do not use pressure treated products or railroad ties that may leach chemicals into the soil. Cedar, cypress and redwood are long-lasting woods that will provide many years of service. Another alternative to keep the budget down is to check websites like Freecycle. org or for materials that could be repurposed.

Fill beds with a quality soil mix. For a 4’ by 8’ bed use 2 cubic feet of topsoil, 6 cubic feet of peat moss, and 4 to 6 cubic feet of good organic compost. Add horticultural vermiculite to enhance drainage. Coco coir is a substitute for peat.

Go to YouTube for video demonstrations on how to build a raised bed. This is a good time to build a raised bed to put into use by the end of May, the ideal time to plant vegetables in the Marengo area

On Friday, May 4, the McHenry County Historical Society marks its 55th museum year with an opening soiree from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 4, at the museum, 6422 Main St., Union.

The opening will feature a wine tasting, light refreshments, live music by the Corner Boys from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and raffle baskets, as we celebrate the second year of "Waterways and Getaways: Resort Life in McHenry County" exhibit.

Experience a glimpse of resorting life in McHenry County from the 1870s through the 1950s. Guests will be welcomed into the Bald Knob Hotel by proprietor Sven Mellin. View murals depicting long lost summer resorts and leisure life along local lakes and the Fox River. Even the rare lotus flower scent will be wafting from lily pads.

Museum admission is free. Wine tasting by The International House of Wine and Cheese and The American Cafe. Wine Tasting Package with commemorative resort exhibit wine glass (while supplies last): $12. Tickets sold at door Pick up a 2018 program and events schedule and find out about the exciting exhibit renovation of Eckert Hall planned for later this year

The Illinois Railway Museum is pleased to announce that it has acquired an Amtrak AEM-7 type electric locomotive built in 1982 in nearby La Grange, Illinois. Amtrak number 945 is an AEM-7 electric passenger locomotive constructed specifically for operation on the “Northeast Corridor” route between Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. It was used in daily service on Amtrak’s busiest route for more than 30 years and was retired in 2015.

The AEM-7 was the first successful passenger locomotive design used by Amtrak, which was created in 1971. The design was based on a Swedish locomotive, which was imported in 1976 for testing. The AEM-7 was intended to be a general-use passenger locomotive on the Northeast Corridor and introduced high horsepower, high-speed, lightweight European electric locomotive technology to the United States. It was capable of a top speed of 125 miles per hour, making it the fastest locomotive preserved at IRM.

Number 945 was part of Amtrak’s second order for AEM-7 locomotives. It was ordered in 1980 and delivered in 1982, assembled in the historic La Grange plant of the Electro- Motive Division of General Motors. This and the other AEM-7 locomotives allowed Amtrak to retire its aging fleet of iconic GG-1 type electric locomotives inherited from the Pennsylvania Railroad. While Amtrak rebuilt some AEM-7 locomotives with newer AC traction motors, number 945 kept its original Swedish-built electrical equipment until retirement.

This locomotive is the first locomotive acquired by IRM that was built for Amtrak and it is the youngest passenger locomotive in the museum’s collection. It was designed for operation on the high-voltage Northeast Corridor electrification system and, as it is not compatible with IRM’s 600-volt overhead wire system, is intended to be a static display piece at the museum’s site in Union. Number 945 joins an example of a GG-1 locomotive, the design the AEM-7 replaced, in the museum’s collection.

Sunday, May 13, 2018 will find runners gathering at Betsey Warrington Park in the Huntley Park District for the 6th Annual Cooley Run 5K and Superhero Dash. Race time is 9:00 a.m. The day will include games, prizes and a raffle.

This event is sponsored by Cancer Kiss My Cooley, a 501c3 charity started by Joe and Cinnamon Kittner in honor of their son, Carter, who died of pediatric brain cancer at the age of six. Proceeds from the race go to provide “A Kiss of Hope” to local children with cancer—offering to help them fulfill a dream or reach a goal. They also provide funds for research into causes and cures for pediatric brain cancer.

For more information and to register visit

Marengo citizens who glanced at the front page of the April 19, 1917, edition of the Marengo Republican News saw bold black capital letters underlined by small icons of American flags screaming “PRESIDENT APPEALS TO NATION.” The Great War was only ten days old; Congress had declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, about one month after the contents of the Zimmermann Telegram were made public and confirmed by Germany. In an effort to keep the United States military pinned down in North America Germany proposed an alliance with Mexico; the goal of the alliance was to bring on a war between the U.S. and its southern neighbor. The Mexican government nibbled on the bait, but after considering the proposal thought it to be fruitless. Nonetheless, the contents of this document and the beginning of Germany’s submarine warfare against American merchant ships swayed the public opinion towards war.

In the appeal President Woodrow Wilson outlined things the nation must do as it entered the First World War, and he concluded; “The supreme test of the nation has come. We must all speak, act, and serve together.”

Below Wilson’s appeal to the nation was a story about Fred Janke Jr., a Marengo man who on April 14th left his home for Chicago with the intent to enlist in the army. On the 18th Janke reported to his parents that he was successful in his efforts to become a soldier, and that he was stationed at the Rock Island Arsenal. The Republican News awarded Janke the “distinction of being the first to respond from this community to the call of the President.”

Over the next several weeks patriotism became contagious in our little community as young men left homes, farms, and colleges to support the war effort. One Marengo boy, Nebelow “Neb” Woleben “quit his school duties” at Marengo Community High School and headed for Rockford to enlist in the coast artillery service. School Superintendent E.A Gardner awarded Woleben full credit for his studies, and the young soldier eventually received his diploma. Marengo citizens had the opportunity to wish Woleben a good bye as he and other recruits passed through Marengo on their way from Rockford to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.

On May 10, 1917, the Marengo Republican News front page headline blared; “MARENGO BOYS ON SEA, ON LAND, IN AIR.” The article provided an updated report on enlistments since the previous week. Ray Murley and Charles Kelley joined the army, and reported to Jefferson Barracks for training. James Woleben, Howard Lowe, Floyd Betts and Lorenzo Webb joined the navy, and reported for training at the naval training station in Lake Bluff, Illinois. At the time article was written several enlistments were pending with the officers corps; these included Glen Patterson, Carlton Robb, and Vernon Lowe. Another Marengo resident, Sherman Crissey, who was a student attending the University of Illinois in Champaign joined the aviation corps and reported for training in Houston, Texas.

On May 3rd a dance was held in honor of the enlistees at Riley’s hall on Prairie St. The Marengo Republican News reported that the event was a joyous occasion, and described the somber scene...”at the railway station the next morning when parents and friends of the young men gathered to see them off. What war means; how heavily it bears upon the hearts was there seen in the bowed heads and moist eyes of those near and dear to the boys who went bravely forward to render service to their country in its necessity.”

American involvement in WW I was approximately nineteen months. In that time approximately U.S. 4.3 million soldiers served, and out of those approximately 116,000 were killed or died of disease. The Marengo community provided 180 men to the war effort, and the following ten gave their lives; Horace Brotzman, Fred Boyle, Arthur Dunker, Arthur Dollman, Paul Gehrke, Ernest Kalbow, Walter Lind, Arthur Schultz, Willis Henshaw, and Herman Steinke. About 99 years ago when the names of these soldiers were still fresh on the minds of many, and their families still suffered in grief; the community memorialized them on a bronze tablet in Calvin Spencer Park - the tablet is still there today. This coming Memorial Day take a few moments out of your busy day, visit the park, pause for a moment and reflect in silence on the sacrifices of these heroes. These men and the many who served before and after them should never be forgotten

Connor Kasch, 23, was acceptedConnor Kasch, 23, was accepted into the Peace Corps and departed for Myanmar on January 23 to begin training as a secondary education English volunteer. Connor is currently living and working in a community to teach English to middle and high school students in small cities and townships in Myanmar.

“As an international studies major and Russian language minor, I have always been interested in working abroad,” Kasch said. “The Peace Corps presented itself as a great opportunity to explore a new part of the world while both supporting cultural diplomacy and helpingkids with their education.”

Kasch is the daughter of Jennifer and Brian Kasch and a graduate of Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois. She then attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota,where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and international relations in 2017. “My high school really emphasized the value of giving back to the community(both local and global)and I think I am just learning now how important that is to me,” Kasch said.

During the first three months of her service, Kasch has been living with a host family in Myanmar to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. Once she’s acquired the necessary skills to assist her community, Kasch will be sworn into service and be assigned to a community in Myanmar, where she will live and work for two years with the local people. In addition to teaching students, Kasch will train local teachers on English language proficiency,producing teaching aids, lesson planning, classroom management, and various language-teaching methodologies.

“Personally, I hope to grow as a teacher and make connections with my students and coworkers,” Kasch said. “Following my service,I am interested in attending graduate school for public policy or international affairs and perhaps enter the Foreign Service.”

Kasch will also work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Myanmar. 


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