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Emails for July 2003

Need more Fifth graders in Wenona

Even though there is no policy stating which middle school 5th grade students must attend, it has been previously designated Minonk city students attend Toluca and all others attend Wenona. However, this method has created extremely lopsided numbers in our middle schools. Last year in the 5th grades there was a difference of 16 students, this year there is a difference of 20. Instead of making middle school assignments, Dr. Stagliano is asking you as parents to make a request to send your child to Wenona. Please consider how equal classes of 23 students would be beneficial to students and teachers alike. Our goal is to have four fifth gade classes of equal numbers. Therefore, we need 10 Minonk city students to make the Wenona request. If you have no previous connection to the Toluca Middle School, please consider making this request so that we may better serve all the students.

Sue Kleen (Toluca 5th grade teacher)

Be more supportive of truckers

I'm disappointed that the City of Minonk has banned trucks and not given any thought to where they might park. I would like this town to be supportive of the many truck drivers that live here and pay taxes.

Marcia Stolt

Westside Park to be improved

I would like to express my thanks as we start the rebuilding of the memorial at Westside Park. It has been a long road with many curves and corners, hills and valleys, and a few slowdowns that were almost stops. Oh yes, we have a long road ahead, however, we have some wonderful workers that are helping out. The unions of this area have taken a leadership role and will use the project to train workers. That does not mean, however, that others cannot help. If you wish to help, call Randy Kleen or David Uphoff and they will talk about the work schedule. Financial donations are still being accepted. Thanks again to all those who have helped financially. With your help this will be a loving memory.

Dean Barth

"Peace of Mind" Seminar

Senator Rutherford "Peace of Mind" Seminar for seniors
Date: Wednesday/July 23rd, 2003
Time: 1:30 PM
Place: Freedom Hall
349 West Birchwood Street
Morton, Illinois

I will be hosting this seminar for seniors, their families and others interested. It will be an informative session concerning protecting yourself from financial fraud, learning about the latest scams attempted and helping reunite military service medals with veterans and their families. I hope you can join us and enjoy the free refreshments. For more information you can contact me toll free at 866-866-4053 or email me. I look forward to seeing you.


Dan Rutherford
State Senator

Blown away by website

I have to compliment someone on this fantastic website. My secretary, Nicole Lett, lives in Minonk. She suggested I check it out since she knows I am a history buff. I was blown away by the amount of history and photos available. It is so important that we record history like this before it disappears. My compliments to everyone involved in this effort. A city of any size would be proud to have a website of this quality.

PS I live and work in Normal
Best Regards, Steve Lancaster

Class of 58 reunion

The Class of l958 reunion will be held on August 2, 2003 beginning at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m., at the Georgetown Restaurant in Wenona. Reservations to be made with Judy Cremer at 8l5/844-3984 or 1318 S. Mill St., Pontiac, Il 6l764, Erma Manley, (309) 527-3462, 1571 State Rt 251, Minonk, or Darlene Reese, (309)432-2364, 1006 Johnson St., Minonk.

Judy Cremer

Thanks to Fourth of July volunteers

Dear Dave:

As Chair of the Fourth of July Celebration I am very pleased with how well the overall event went this year. I hope everyone was pleased with the wonderful fireworks display; the many entries we had in the parade; the kids events (many water events in that group); the beer tent with the new bands this year; and the car show in it's new location.

The committee is comprised entirely of volunteers who work on this during the year. We meet usually once after the event concludes each year and then start up again in January, meeting once a month until the event concludes. If anyone is interested in being a part of this committee please feel free to contact me at 309-438-2665. We welcome anyone who wants to be a part of this group.

Listed below are the volunteers who make up the Fourth of July Committee. Next time you see them, let them know how much you appreciate their efforts in continuing Minonk's traditional Fourth of July celebration.

Fourth of July Committee: Marla and John Weber, Mike and Diane May, Billie McCormick, Jason and Marisa Buchanan, Pat Copp, Rita and Pat Lovell, Russell and Lanna Ruestman, Bruce Tjaden, Bob Hartzler, Trent and Danelle Smith, and Cathy McKay.

Also thank the city employees who spend much of their Fourth of July helping move barricades, putting up fencing, cleaning up the grounds, and the many, many details that this type of event requires. Thanks to all who help with this event.

The committee would also like to thank all of the businesses who donated their time and money towards this event. We could not continue without your continued support. THANK YOU!

Cathy McKay, Chairperson, 4th of July Committee

Don't blame school board for fee increases

I would just like to comment on Sherry Willis's email about the schools increased fees.

First of all, with all of the talk for the last year or so, it was well expected. We are all aware of the financial problems the school district could face and is already facing. It has been months now since we voted no to a referendum. However, it is unfair to blame the school board for the registration fee increases. Some of the members have children themselves in school. My brother, for one, will have 4 boys this year in the school district. I really think the last thing that they wanted was to increase the fees, however what are the alternatives? I do not agree with just dropping sports and that has been a hot topic as well. Had it not been for football, my youngest brother probably would not have gotten the education he did at Eureka College. He even played arena football for the Peoria Pirates. He has gone on to be a teacher and a football coach at the college level. Good things do come to those who play sports. And what makes music or art any better or any different then sports. I am not saying I want to see that dropped either. I was in chorus and band and to this day still sing. Everyone needs culture in their lives. But if the school had to drop one, then it is only fair to drop all. As others have mentioned dropping sports will probably lead to more kids just roaming the streets with nothing to do. As for the intramural sports idea, hey that is great, but who is going to take it on and organize it and make sure the ball fields are kept up and the equipment is kept up. And who ends up paying for that anyway? And those that care to play sports already do thru school. We are fortunate that our sports system doesn't make a child try out and risk being cut like some schools. They may not get in all the games, but they get to play. My first son will be starting kindergarten this year so I am just getting into this all, but I want him to have every opportunity that I had and even more. Take a look around at all the schools. Is it better anywhere else? I think most schools are facing the same financial hardships that Fieldcrest is. Check into some fees at Bloomington High School or Normal West. And look at how college tuitions have increased. I don't think Fieldcrest is so bad. Things are increasing all over. Not just in schools. Insurance continues to take a rise. The normal cost of daily living continues to go up. But as someone else mentioned, we have faced these struggles before and somehow we go on and continue to do so.

I think the school board should be commended for doing what they can to prevent the worst from happening. These members take their own time to be on this board and listen to the people of the school district. They are doing what they can to prevent education from suffering due to all of the State budget cuts. Some things are just not in their control.

Kim Barth

No armbands at Fourth of July carnival this year

The carnival is coming and should be setting up early this week. The committee has been informed by this newly contracted carnival that they will not be selling armbands and will not have an armband night. We hope that in future we can proceed again with an armband night. However, this year the community will have to make do with advance tickets that are less than buying tickets at the door.

We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause and hope that we will see you at this year's event.

Cathy McKay
Chairman - Fourth of July Committee

Bunnies wanted

Is there a topic on Minonk Talk that you could put: Bunnies wanted for a small child. If anyone is interested in getting rid of a couple please call 432-3005 or 432-2149.

Editor's note: Plans are to eventually have a classified section in the website.
Update: A bunny has been found for the child.

Visions Video for sale

To Our Customers

Due to some unforeseen circumstances we have decided to put Visions Video up for sale. We enjoy running the store but feel that it would be a great opportunity for someone that is looking to own his or her own business and can devote the time needed. We hope that this does not affect business and that someone in the community will take this opportunity and continue to serve our customers before we would have to close. Thanks for your support.

Todd & Kathy Cremer
Visions Video

Suggestions for Wenona TIF

After reading the news about the Fieldcrest School Board meeting the other night, I'd like to offer a few suggestions to solve this quickly. Being on several boards and councils now and in the past, I know some descions are extremely hard to make. Some absolutely must be done contrary to being popular or not. The Fieldcrest Board and Wenona City council must have a joint meeting of the entire boards and the following options must be aired.

1. Wenona council could do nothing and the city TIF would continue on as it is and the school could keep deteriorating.
2. Wenona council could request that the TIF be shorted after their projects are completed.
3. Wenona council and Fieldcrest board could come to an agreement.
4. The Fieldcrest Board could close the Wenona middle school.

One of the logical things would be eliminate one of the middle schools anyway. I was always confused at why 3-districts would merge into one district and still have 2-middle schools. Where was the "cost savings" of the consolidation? Just a couple of thoughts from my side of the fence.

Jerry Welch

Minonk 4th of July Celebration Apology

I'd like to take this time to explain and apologize to all of you who came to the Minonk 4th of July Celebration about the situation our committee found ourselves in with the carnival. Last year a letter informed our committee in November that the carnival we had would not be coming back - we were extremely disappointed as you can imagine. At that time we were left trying to figure out how to find another carnival - they just aren't everywhere.

We contacted the Illinois Department of Labor for a listing of carnival and amusement rides that work in Illinois - there were 7 sheets in this list with 30 names on each sheet for a total of 210 operators in the State of Illinois. Quite a daunting task to try to contact each one. We then contacted the carnival we previously had and they suggested we go to the Agriculture Fair in Springfield in January. During this fair all of the carnival operators in Illinois get together in two hotels for a convention to finish booking for the year. We went specifically to book a carnival and we did!

Several issues that impact contracting with a carnival for the 4th of July Celebration in Minonk are - availability and the gross proceeds that we typically make. We, of course, had issues as well - availability; safety; overall condition of rides; how many rides, games, concessions, etc. and many others. We signed a contract that specified the carnival would come with their entire company, games and concessions to our event. We were given a list of approximately 15 rides and were told about the games and concessions.

Imagine our surprise when on July 1 the first carnival trailers arrived and we were told that the carnival has split their company - � of the carnival went to another location and � here. We asked how many rides were coming and were told 8 would be here, games and concessions. Well, the final tally was 7 rides, some games and a tent with a very limited list of food entries. Were we disappointed - YES! Was there anything that we as a group felt we could do and still stay solvent - NO!

One of the saving aspects of this whole event is that we have never paid up front money for a carnival to come to town - we have always signed contracts that are a percentage of the gross. We receive money back from the carnival from their tally of Advance Tickets; tickets bought on the grounds and any other monies spent at the carnival. We wish that we could have refunded everyone their money back that bought Advance Tickets but there was just no way to logistically do this.

I cannot tell you how very sorry we are as a group - we tried. Please accept our deepest apologies on this aspect of our 4th of July Celebration. We will make every effort to make sure that this doesn't happen again.

4th of July Committee
Cathy McKay, Chairperson

Response on school fees

This is in response to Kim Barth�s response to my increased school fee�s comment:

I would like to have someone from the school board comment to see exactly when the parents are going to be notified of these fees. There are still many families that do not know of these increases. How are they going to find out? Is there a special mailing going out? Parents need this communicated to them!

We are almost a month away from registration day and budgeted for the previous fees (as many families have done). I feel if fees were to be increased; it should have been publicized just as the referendum to allow parents time to come up with the extra money now required. Instead, it will/has come as a surprise to many families. Something like this should have been done prior to the end of the previous school year and the parents notified. When other districts and colleges increase fees, it is publicized. So far, Minonk Talk is the only place I�ve seen any mention of it.

I�m not complaining of the fee, just the way it was slipped in this close to school registration.


Sherry Willis

Editor's note: I contacted Dr. Stagliano on notification policy on fee increases. He said that those who did not know of the fee increases should pick up copies of Woodford County Journal (Minonk Edition), Toluca Star Hearld, and Wenona Index. All are given the minutes of the Board meetings including Minonk Talk. Those figures were published and will be published again. A mailing and another media blitz will come out in July which is still one month away from registration. Also, Registration fees were published in February in the newspapers. The only information that was not published was the increase in lunch fees.

Card shower for Mary Ann Stokowski

My mother Mary Ann Stokowski is going to celebrate her 85th birthday on July 12th. We are having a card shower for her and I was wondering if you could post it on the website? I know a lot of people that moved away visit your site and we would like for her to get as many cards as possible. The address is 332 West 8th St. Minonk,Il 61760. Thanks!

Mary Lou Paris

Dissastified with increased fees at Fieldcrest

Hi Dave,

I just read the school board minutes and was immediately hit by the increased fees and felt that I needed to comment on it.

So, since Fieldcrest's tax increase referendum didn't pass, they decided to drastically increase the registration fees as well as other fees? I am also one that was upset by the amount of my taxes already going to the school district. I feel they were hoping to slip these in without any notice by the parents. I've been reading the past minutes and these increases were never mentioned before. The only thing mentioned is cost cuts, not to pass the costs to the parents.

I feel it is extremely short notice that they decide to do this. There are many parents who were barely able to afford the previous fees. I'd like to see how they are going to pay these. I could see a $5 - $10 increase, but this is rediculous if you have a child(ren) above Kindergarten. If they're wanting children not to take home ec and art, they'll be doing a good job of it. Last year I paid $102 for two children and I will pay $140 for two this year. I really feel for those that have more than a couple of children to pay for. It also does not seem that Fieldcrest will not be giving any advanced warning to parents of these increases.

I would like to urge all the parents to take a look at these increases before you get registration day sticker shock. http://www.minonktalk.com/amendfee.htm.

We'll need to remember this when it comes time to vote for new School Board members.

Thanks for allowing me to comment!

Sherry Willis