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Riley School Board And Teachers Settle On Contract


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.

Momentum Women’s Center

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.

Pondering the Past, Tales Lost in Time: Cold War Ground Observers Corps

This meeting occurred in the home of Mr. Bert Emerson director of Marengo Civil Defense in the 1955.Left to right are Bert Emerson, Harold Hyde, US Air Force Sgt. Thompson, and John Gatenby. The men were discussing recruiting volunteers for Marengo’s Ground Observation Corps. Some of the best history resides inside of peoples’ heads. It’s the experiences and memories that we have, but don’t write down.V

Marengo Fire Is Bookend For County Barn History

An emergency 911 call was made at 10:51 a.m. Nov. 14, from the owner of a barn located at 25208 River Road in rural Marengo, alerting authorities to a fire in the structure. Personnel and equipment from the Marengo Fire Protection District were dispatched to the site, along with requests for resource assistance by other departments through the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System. Fire crews eventually left at approximately 12:40 p.m., with only salvaged lumber and the foundation stones remaining.. Records indicate the barn was built in 1897 by R. B. Willard, and although partially collapsed in the middle, it was the oldest remaining example of “round-style barn” construction extant left in the state of Illinois. Historic barn and storage structures are part of the agricultural legacy in McHenry County, along with having the distinction of being the first silo ever built in the United States. “It was a round barn, collapsed already in the center,” said Fire Chief Robert Bradbury, of the Marengo Fire Protection District. “It was going to be torn down. The gentleman reclaiming the wood had a little fire going, to burn excess wood. That was what caught the barn on fire. Winds changed on him, and no investigation is taking place, based on his statement.” "There were several fire protection districts that responded including us, the Union Fire Protection District, Harvard…Capron came with an ambulance, but there were no injuries. The Woodstock Fire and Rescue District came out too, but they turned around,” he said. “All that’s left there is the stone foundation of the barn.” The collapse allegedly occurred in 2008, under the weight of a winter snowfall. Scheduled to be torn down, the individual on-site, Rick Rath, had been given permission to gather the barn wood. According to reports, several posts had been reclaimed when the wind shifted on the fire and caught onto the barn. The property owner was in another field harvesting crop, at the time, and not in the immediate area. "Back in the day, I wrote a story about that barn…even poked my head up into the loft, although the floor was already getting bad, twenty years ago,” said Kurt Begalka, the Mc Henry County Historical Society’s administrator. “The cupolas on the roof had fallen off and were so cockeyed that water was getting in. That is the beginning of the end for barns. However, as I wrote about in the column, there are ways to nip this in the bud…provided you don’t let it go too far. “Metal roofs can be placed directly over the shingles. I’ve seen it done,” he said. “It saddens me because these barns are a piece of history, most from an era when it was more important to have electric lights in the milking parlor than in the living room.” The barn’s story was told in the “Mc Henry County Self-Guided Barn Tour,” a celebration of “The Year of the Barn,” distributed by the Union-based historical society in 1997. “The round barn…stands in stark contrast to its gable and gambrel-roof counterparts along this tour. A 1901 Marengo newspaper article extols its virtues as ‘the most convenient barn in northern Illinois because it contains more room for the lumber consumed and the money expended than any barn ever constructed in this part of the country.’ This tri-level barn is 240’ in circumference and sits atop a 2’ fieldstone foundation. The lower level was designed to house horses and cattle. “It offered iron racks for hay, iron feed boxes, and iron boxes for salt. The second level was designed for milking 64 dairy cows. There was a circular granary in the center of the barn, loft space (on the third floor) for 200 tons of hay, and a permanent corn crib for 3,000 bushels of corn. The whole barn was ventilated with a 2-foot square air shaft which extended 80 feet from the lower level to the cupola on the roof. Milk was stored in milk cans in a cement vat and cooled with water from the well. “Following the Civil War, such things as louvers, ventilators, silos, sliding doors, manure carriers, hayfork tracks, and lightning rods (all designed to increase safety, sanitation, and air circulation) were added to barns. Although extolled during its time, the round barn was not easy to construct, clean, or fill with hay. Very few round barns were built in this county, and very few remain.”XXXX The cryptic last sentence also extends to a forgotten piece of history…the former Hatch Farm, now on inaccessible private property. The 1997 guidebook said, “The first upright silo built in the United States was located on the outskirts of Spring Grove in Burton Township. Erected inside a barn, it was built by Fred Hatch, and his father, Lewis. Lasting until 1980, portions of the rock and mortar foundation are the only existing traces.” Over the decades, even those foundation traces have disappeared, broken down by the elements or buried. What does remain are outbuildings and an octagonal (eight-sided) barn that Hatch built in the 1840s enclosing a feed mill and grain stalls where hay and grain were stored above. The Lyle Thomas Park and Landing, along Nippersink Creek at the Blivin Street Bridge, west of Main Street in Spring Grove, has a small square. A bronze plaque and pillar depicting the Hatch Silo was placed there by the county historical society as a landmark site, and recounts the silo’s unique tale of construction. Such history now lives only in books and dogeared photographs. “A few years back, the village of Marengo tore down a pristine, rainbow-truss (open span) barn to make room for a salt storage facility,” said Begalka. “They are not building any more historic barns. Ironically, their future may hinge on the use of modern roofing materials and the willingness of preservationists and pragmatists to compromise. That way, history retains a rightful place at the table.”

Christmas surprise

Walking out of school after your last final before Christmas break is a great feeling, but for Brighton Martin, it was really awesome; his big brother was there to surprise him. Easton Martin had been away since August for Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. On a short holiday leave, his first stop was to see his best friend. In his 6-year commitment to the Army National Gaurd, Easton will graduate Basic Combat Training, then move on to his MOS (military occupation specialty) training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri for 12N Horizontal Construction Engineering. As he fulfills his duties to the National Guard he plans to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering