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Emails for August 2006
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Supports referendum | Vitriolic and the referendum conversation | One final response regarding the referendum | Response from Jim Irvin | Checking on the background of Mr. Irvin | Referendum comment | Give Us Money; We MIGHT Reduce Fees | Fieldcrest open house cancelled | Appreciates Westside Park improvements | Another response to Fieldcrest referendum letter | Response to Fieldcrest referendum letter | Fieldcrest Referendum | Food Pantry Donations | Thanks to a great kid! | School supply list | Public education vs private | Online school supply list? | What are school enrollment costs? | Vacation Bible School update | Go Minonk Soccer teams | MidState Stars Soccer Club announcement | Is there an inline hockey league in the works? | An Accident Waiting to Happen | Soccer Registration Reminder | Fieldcrest Youth Football Equipment Handout Reminder |

Supports referendum

I just wanted to add that I agree with Dr. Carver. I have a 3 yr. old that just started preschool. I would do anything to give him the best education possible. I am a graduate of Fieldcrest and I wanted my children to attended the school district that I went to. How can we not make our children's education the best it can be.

Heather Peiffer

One final response regarding the referendum


I will apologize if I made an inference that Mr. Irvin was being dishonest about the information he had published. However, in my own defense, I did state -- "I just hope he is the original author of the emails and not someone who is just regurgitating information found on the internet.". - It was not my intent to call into question his honesty, or integrity.

Reading the various emails regarding the referendum opinions, I do not see where any one was being vitriolic. There were no extremely bitter or hateful (definition of vitriolic for those who may not know - I had to look it up) responses. There are differences of opinion yes, but I did not see any intentional disrespect.

Thank you,

Richard Stillwell

Checking on the background of Mr. Irvin


This email is response to both of Mr. Irvin's emails. Without
attempting to start a flame fest, I am curious as to why Mr. Irvin seems so against the November Education Fund Referendum?

I for one, have listened to Mr. Vincent's proposal, and have asked him some questions about it. I have also done some additional research, and to me personally, I believe in the Referendum. The numbers are sound, and I am willing take a chance to help benefit the children of Fieldcrest. I have a kindergartner and another child that is in pre-school. Since I plan on being in the Fieldcrest district for at least the next 14 years (or longer), I would like to help ensure the school will be able to provide the best possible for my children.
A YES vote is a WIN-WIN situation for not only the students of Fieldcrest, but also for the families in the Fieldcrest district.

I noticed that in his earlier posting, there was an email address of So, I went out to the woodfordtaxfacts website, and went into the blog area, and noticed that both of the emails that Mr. Irvin has sent in (to MinonkTalk) are there verbatim. If Mr. Irvin is the original author of information, that is fine. However, the first email (from Mr. Irvin) looks like it was received by MinonkTalk on the 22nd of August; however, it was posted on the
woodfordtaxfacts blog site on the16th of August. I just hope he is the original author of the emails and not someone who is just regurgitating information found on the internet.

Since, the site ( seemed to have a lot of interest in Woodford County, I decided to check to see who the owner of the site was (I am a curious person). It turns out that the owner ofthe site (and Administrative and Technical Contacts) is a

Mark Montini,
1765 Ridgemill Terrace,
Atlanta, Georgia 30019
Last Updated on June 21, 2006

Now here is an interesting question to ponder, why would someone from Georgia be interested in Woodford County IL taxes??

Just my opinion.

Richard Stillwell

Editor's note: Mr. Irvin also posted his family homepage as well on his letter to this website. The link is at The website indicates that he is from Congerville, IL which is in Woodford County.

Give Us Money; We MIGHT Reduce Fees

We don't pretend to know all of the ins and outs of the Fieldcrest Referendum. We do know ridiculous school administration rhetoric and threats when we hear them:

According to Superintendent Randall S. Vincent, the board has promised to reduce those fees by at least 50 percent if an education tax rate referendum passes in November because, according to a district survey, school fees are a primary concern for those in the community..
"I don't think the fees will ever go away but we can bring them down to the level of other communities in our area," he said. " ... If the referendum passes, the board will definitely cut (participation) fees by 50 percent, but they may do more. If we are in better shape, I'm sure they will consider it (cutting fees further)."

So, in other words, "you can pay me now or you can pay me later, but YOU WILL PAY ME; and if you vote down a referendum, your 'fees' will go up and up and up and we'll still come back again and again and again with referendums 'till we get one passed. You got a problem with that?"

Jim Irvin

Appreciates Westside Park improvements

I would like to say "Thank You" to all who had a part in planning & building the pravilion and gazebo. It is beautiful. We, at 1st Baptist, held our annual picnic there on Sunday afternoon/evening. It is so nice to have such a wonderful place to have a picnic, playground for the little ones and lots of room to play games. I applaud all who built and maintain the facilities! May God bless each one. Again, thank you !!

Sue Mutchler, Minonk resident

Response to Fieldcrest referendum letter

In response to Mr. Irvin's email regarding the Fieldcrest referendum:

First of all, everyone is entitled to believe and voice their opinions on any issue, as well as vote the way the wish when behind the curtain at the voting poll. I am part of the Fieldcrest referendum steering committee and I truly believe no one is trying to "fool voters" into a "yes" vote. I was wondering if Mr. Irvin has attended one of the referendum informational meetings? If not, before stating that the Fieldcrest administration, school board or steering committee (these are the people responsible for putting on the meetings) are trying to fool voters, I urge you to please attend one of these meetings, voice your opinion, and ask questions. I believe Mr. Vincent, the school board and the referendum committees have been extremely upfront about the issues at hand. Many good questions concerning taxes, programs, participation fees, ECT. have been addressed at these meetings. The meetings are designed to familiarize the citizens of Fieldcrest with the structure of the district, inform them of the cuts that were made over the past three years, demonstrate the taxing process by showing an actual individual's tax bill within Fieldcrest school district and ask as many questions as they wish. (o.k as long as were being honest here, a "yes"vote would be nice)

I'm sure I am not alone in believing my property taxes are too high, but until the state of Illinois comes up with a different means of funding public schools, I don't know of a better alternative. People say when things get bad enough, the state will be forced to stand up and take responsibility, but with three children in school right now, I really don't want to wait for the state's rescue at the expense of my children's education.

If after attending one of these meetings, your views are the same as when you went in, again, everyone has the right to believe and voice their own opinions. That's why we live in America!

Monica Kalkwarf

Food Pantry Donations

This past Tuesday night was Fieldcrest's Blue/Silver Scrimmage at the football field where donations to the food pantry were taken in lieu of admission. We're very pleased to let you know that we collected right at 200 items of food and school supplies. A big "thank you" to all who came and donated!

Throughout the year we receive many named and anonymous donations, and we'd like you all to know how much we appreciate your help and support. There are a lot of hours of time donated as well as items collected and money given that make it possible for Minonk to have one of the best-stocked food pantries in the area.

Even now with the price of fuel, utilities and living in general, the community continues to step up to help others. That says a lot to me about our community as a whole. This really is, in my opinion, a "good place".

Thanks again to all,

Kathy Hamer

School supply list

To answer Christina's question, I do know that the supply lists are now online for Fieldcrest East, K-4 and 7th and 8th lists are on the website: .

I'm not sure about the other schools, but you could probably go to the main Fieldcrest website and take a look. Hope this helps!

Jacki Crumrine

Online school supply list?

A few of us were wondering about school supplies, so I thought I would post on here to see if anyone has answers.

1.) Are the school supply lists available online?
2.) Are the supply lists by grade the same for each school in the district, or will the supplies needed vary depending on the school?

I realize that the newspaper prints a list "from the district" every year, but it has not always been correct...especially for students who will attend classes in Toluca or Wenona.
If there isn't a website with supplies information for each school/grade, I'd sure like to request one!

Thanks so much!
Christina Jenkins

Vacation Bible School update


I would just like to update everyone about this year's Vacation Bible School Program. SonTreasure Island was held July 31st – Aug 4th at the First Baptist Church of Minonk from 6:00pm – 8:30 pm. The closing program was held at West Side Park on Sunday at 5:00 pm. The children sang the songs that they learned during the week. On Tuesday night, there were 178 children and 72 volunteers in attendance!! The children participated in a number of activities throughout the week, including crafts, Bible story, music, theme based activities and snack. There was also a skit performed at the beginning of each week! Many of the children said that the skit was their favorite part! The mission for the week was The Claire House in Bloomington. Many food and household items were donated and will be delivered to The Claire House on Wednesday. Throughout the week, many pictures were taken.

I put approximately 230 pictures onto a DVD and synchronized them to the songs that the children sang during VBS. I do still have some of the DVD's available if anyone is interested. The cost per DVD is $10. The money raised will be put back in to the VBS account to help offset the costs of the program. You can get a DVD by calling 432-2615 or by emailing me at I would also like to thank all of the children, volunteers and the Minonk Ministerial Association for another great year!!

Yours truly,

Stephanie Fuchs

MidState Stars Soccer Club announcement

On June 20th the parents of Minonk-El Paso area soccer players called a meeting to form the MidState Stars Soccer Club. A non-profit organization for the training, development, and playing of soccer at a level never before seen by previous area traveling soccer players.

We've welcomed one of the most experienced father-son coaching teams in Central Illinois. They have brought the needed energy and focus to join us in our goal of giving those children with the love for soccer an opportunity to develop their skills and perform before the most experienced programs in Illinois.

We believe Life is about opportunities. We've seen many talented soccer players over the last 10 years in our area. Those who have played in the Recreational Leagues for these years have had no options to play as young adults.

Currently, we are working with both youth and young adult players. We hope to have soccer clinics for the elementary players in the future. Our young adult team is a strong group of boys and girls with ages from 14 to 17. The coaching staff is canvassing the area high school programs to develop a schedule, with the staff having received many promising responses.

We have many plans for the future; forming teams to join a Winter league indoors this year, and then join the C.I.Y.S.L. next year.

If you have any questions, please contact me,

Mike Zimmerman
(Work) 309-527-1515
(Home) 309-432-3057

An Accident Waiting to Happen

Monday evening while standing on the front porch, I was suddenly struck with dread as I watched a young man tear past my house in rural Minonk driving at a speed, I would guess, at approximately 60 mph. This, in itself, on a country road is bad enough, but add to this the fact that at this particular corner are 4 stop signs for which he didn't even slow down. This time of the year there is a tall cornfield on two corners, a house with trees on the third and an orchard on the fourth. Even after stopping, one would have to venture cautiously into the intersection to gain a complete view of the road. The young man just gambled with his life, and this time he won.

The thought that this young man might be injured or even killed is a fact that I'm sure never occurred to him. Obviously, he is not aware that there are other people like him who also run these stop signs thinking that the signs were meant for someone else. You can sit on my porch just about any time of the day, any day of the year, and watch the cars run the stop signs. We know who these people are. They are your friends and neighbors, people you would not think of as criminals, but, in fact, that is exactly what they are. Every time they run the stop sign they are breaking the law. Even worse, they are gambling with their lives and the lives of others. Because of these offensive persons, I try to be on the defense and leave my house by the driveway on the north side of my house thereby hoping to reduce my chances of being one of their victims.

Instead of endangering the lives of other people, perhaps these same people should get up every morning, put a shell into the handgun, and play "Russian Roulette". At least that way they only injure themselves. When you have injured or even killed someone, particularly a child, will this cause you to stop running through stop signs? Did you think that because you slowed down to 50 instead of doing 60 mph through the sign that this would be adequate? I've seen you do it and you know you're guilty of this practice.

After all, you are invincible and your time is too valuable to be wasting it by stopping at stop signs. Ask yourself how much time you have to give up in order to sit in a prison cell for vehicular homicide. As many times as you have run this stop sign, don't you think the odds are starting to sway in the other direction and that your number is coming up? If this is how you selfishly choose to commit suicide, go ahead, just don't be irresponsible and take anyone else with you!

We are aware that the police cannot patrol this corner 24/7. Perhaps videotaping the offenders and turning the tapes over to the police would deter some of the drivers. I do not want to see the carnage these people will inflict on themselves or worse, on others. I assure you that IF and WHEN you kill someone else because of your negligence, I will be in court to testify concerning the reckless behavior you exhibited behind the wheel of your automobile.

Judy Olson

Fieldcrest Youth Football Equipment Handout Reminder

This is just a reminder that FYF Equipment Handout is Monday Aug. 7th @ High School. The schedule is as followed: 7th & 8th Graders 5:30 - 6:30, 5th & 6th Graders 6:30 - 7:30 and 4th Graders from 7:30 - 8:00. For more information visit us at

Coach Buchanan

Vitriolic and the referendum conversation


Just thought I would lighten the spirit here a bit.

Richard said he needed to look up the meaning of vitriolic and I thought I would add a bit to his definition because it is such a rarely used word these days (and I can never pass up an opportunity to teach). The term Vitriolic comes from the substance Oil of Vitrol which is actually the common name for Sulfuric acid. Acids of all forms are often sour in taste (i.e. lemon juice) as opposed to bitter. However, the terminology as used with vitriolic has slipped over the years to mean bitter as opposed to sour.

Oh and I'll weigh in on the referendum since that seems to really be the topic of interest here.
My wife and I have a 19 month old daughter and another daughter on the way. I have been a teaching in public schools, colleges and universities for 15 years now (chemistry if you hadn't gathered from the lesson on oil of vitrol above). While I value the public educational system, my wife and I do indeed have concerns over the educational programs that this district can offer given the limited financial solvency of the district. I have lived in rural as well as suburban areas in Illinois including Princeton, Malden, DeKalb, Sycamore, Morris, Normal and Minonk. I pay less property tax here than I have paid in any of those areas and the result is that the schools are struggling more here than in these other towns.

Low taxes are great, but that is not what attracts new residents to a community. One of the first places that businesses or particularly new residents look when moving to a new community is the schools. Improving the schools is the best way to improve the community and that means, at a foundational level, having a community that will support the schools.
When I mean support, I don't mean a few rah, rah, rahs at the football or volleyball game. To really support the schools a community has to put its money where its mouth is and dig deep to keep the school financially viable, particularly in a small consolidated rural district like Fieldcrest. I'll be voting to support the referendum because I would like this community to still have a school that is able to offer a variety of educational program options for my daughters.

I have one final comment to all you parents and students out there paying activity fees. Kudos to you for helping your children to have the opportunity to participate in both the curricular and extracurricular education that is so important to their educational foundation.
Hopefully this community will stand behind you and provide a YES vote on the referendum to help defray at least some of that cost for you.

This conversation isn't really about who is hiding what from whom. This conversation is about the children that reside within the communities of the Fieldcrest district. Can any of us really sit here and say that any school is "good enough" for our children? Do we not want the children of Fieldcrest to have the best education or at least one that is better than the last generation? I want my children to have more opportunities and better experiences than what I was able to have. In order to do that I will gladly vote YES for the referendum.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Carver

Response from Jim Irvin


I want to assure your site visitors that I am a real person, and I write my own opinions, and I live in Woodford County. I've lived in Congerville for 18 years.

I don't know who owns my website server. What I do know is that I make no money whatsoever off of my site, and I pay for it out of my own pocket. It is simply a device to generate voter discussion.

I do not have any connection, nor interests in Fieldcrest's situation other than this: when one District gets by with what I think is going on up there, the "neighbor" districts are emboldened to attempt similar tactics.

I believe that a portion of my property taxes went to pay to set up the Minonk website. That, and the fact that I am a concerned resident of the county, led me to believe that perhaps I could add to the discussion. I certainly wasn't prepared for the vitriolic reaction from the referendum proponents. The viciousness makes me wonder even more about the plan's merits.

It seems that we regular folks are just "uninformed" because we have a different opinion.

Please feel free to publish my phone number, lest anyone else thinks I'm some kind of shill for someone. I speak for myself and only for myself. I will not be impugned like this.

Jim Irvin

309-645-8347 cell
309-467-4523 home

Referendum comment

Just a question and I don't mean to be rude.
I would like to know WHO is Jim Irvin. It would be nice if he would state his connection to Fieldcrest so we could know where he is getting his information.
I would like my property tax money to go to education rather than interest payments. It is that simple.
I pay the fees because it is the best for my child. I will continue to do this if I have to.
I would like to see PE brought back to the elementary schools to help counteract the epidemic of childhood obesity.

Nancy Tweedt Reiter

Editor's reply: If you want to check out Mr. Irvin's background and provide feedback here are 2 websites that he included with his email to this website. and

Fieldcrest open house cancelled

Due to a conflict in scheduling of the gym, the Fieldcrest High School Open House scheduled for Tuesday, August 29th has been postponed. We will announce the new date at a later time.

Julie May
Fieldcrest Administration

Another response to Fieldcrest referendum letter


Mr. Irvin stated that a "No" vote on the November Education Fund Referendum will causes taxes to go down. I am sorry to say that Mr. Irvin is grossly misinformed and should attend one of our informational meetings or make an individual appointment to allow me to fully explain the referendum structure. The short story is really pretty simple. Of the total tax rate we will be able to remove $0.67 due to retiring $0.30 is working cash bond payments and abating the $0.37 IMRF/Social Security tax levy. We will replace the $0.67 reduction with either an increase of $0.65 in the education fund if the referendum is successful or an increase of $0.65 through issuing $1,500,000 in working cash bonds. Voting "Yes" will provide the revenue to restore elementary physical education and art and to expand the high school curriculum to benefit all students. The additional revenue will also allow us to reduce participation fees by at least 50% and allow the education fund to be financially solvent until 2012. Voting "No" means that we will take out the $1,500,000 loan and $325,000 of voter tax dollars will be used to pay interest. The loan will not allow for program restoration or fee reduction and only helps the education fund to remain solvent through 2009. Since the overall tax rate will drop $0.02 and individual taxes will be the same regardless of the vote why wouldn't a voter vote "Yes" to give us the opportunity to help students increase the length of the education fund financial solvency? I encourage all voters to become informed by attending an informational meeting, scheduling an appointment to meet with me by calling (309) 432-2177 or going to our website


Randall S. Vincent

Fieldcrest Referendum

We get so tired of the obfuscation when local school districts and their "Referendum Committees" decide they need some new buildings, additions, and/or programs.
In some instances, a case can be made on it's merits. Too often though districts rely on sleight of hand when it comes referendum time; particularly at this time of year come the promises of lower fees and the concomitant threats of program cuts without more money.

If school districts hope to persuade people to vote "yes" on referenda, their leaders need to level with the voters about the additional costs.

Instead, what we often hear is something along the lines of "The tax rate will remain unchanged because we are restructuring our bonds" or " We were due to retire our bonds; we're just going to get new ones in the same amount" and "There will be no new taxes."

Of course, they're right about the tax rate, but the no new taxes part simply isn't true. New spending is not free. Additional taxes are needed to repay the bonds. If voters reject the referenda, the property tax rate would go down. One must also remember that even with a level property tax rate, taxes will increase if property assessments increase.

These are simple principles, and the voters are not stupid.

School districts' goals should be to convince voters that the price of a new buildings, programs, or additions are reasonable and necessary, not pretend there will be no extra costs. Trying to fool the voters is probably the quickest way to lose a referendum.

Jim Irvin

Thanks to a great kid!

Unfortunately, in this day and age more often than not, when we hear news concerning young people, it is mostly negative. Rarely do we hear of the wonderful things that youngsters do---the honest things, helpful things, and caring things. I would like the readers of Minonk Talk to know that there ARE great kids in our hometown….and I would like to take this opportunity to brag about one concerning an incident that resolved last night.

On Friday night we lost our cell phone. We looked everywhere, but could not locate it at all. It was very upsetting because of the inconvenience we knew would be caused by having to get it replaced.

On Monday evening, I received a phone call from a young man who asked if anyone had lost a cell phone. He stated that he just found it at the football practice, and called because we had put "I.C.E." in the contact numbers list. I was thrilled with his discovery, and wanted to know who he was so I could thank him.

This young boy would only tell me that his name was Zack, and that he didn't need thanked, he was just "doing what was right." I then went through every last name of every Zack I knew, but the young man just said, "I don't need thanked, it's OK, you're welcome" and then hung up.
Well, there you go readers…..what a wonderful kid!

AND--to Zack: God bless you, and thank you SO MUCH again! Your parents obviously have done a GREAT job raising you! You are a young man to be PROUD of!!!!!!!

Christina Jenkins

Public education vs private

Michael Stagliano presented an interesting report comparing the two forms for educating our youth. My neighborhood in So. California would be a great test for comparing the two as both my wife and I were public school teachers and we are often brought into the debate with our neighboring parents concerning the problems their kids are having in public school. I grew up in Minonk's segregated grammar school system that provided those who wanted an elementary faith based schooling with the more popular public school training. Both systems somewhat merged by High School and we would probably find that a study on each student's success would be about as enlightening as whether Minonk's farm students did or did not go further than the town's residents.

My personal feeling is that kids from involved parents with high expectations and disciplined life styles will see their children active and attentive in school and on track for college transfer. A 3rd system of "preparing" our children has evolved in mostly urban areas called Home Schooling. One of my daughters has a Teaching Credential and chose to home school her son and daughter for their early education and later transferring her daughter to a private Lutheran middle school while her son continued on in public schools. I would probably be remiss if I didn't mention that our neighbor's are willing to pay the added fees to send their children to Church related private schools primarily for the Christian faith based learning from either Catholic or Protestant institutions. Do I have any issues with all this, probably, but I can't argue with all my family's success.

Albin Johnson

What are school enrollment costs?

Soon school will be starting, and I would like to know if anyone knows what it will cost to enroll 6th thru 8th in school. I have heard many different stories. If some one knows,please let us know. Thank you!

Crystal Cosby

Go Minonk Soccer teams

I just read the article about the new Soccer teams and their leaders. I am so proud, because one of the leaders and coaches is my Son Mike Zimmerman and his son Dylan. I am hoping that the people of Minonk will support these teams - sports are the one thing that will keep young people on the right track. It also teaches them to respect others, meet challenges and learn that winning is not as important as playing the best one can do. And learn from those experiences. Go Minonk Soccer teams!!!

Fran J. Zimmerman

Is there an inline hockey league in the works?

Just wondering if there was an inline hockey league set up for the millennia

Thank you,

Tina Hartzler Peterson

Soccer Registration Reminder

This is a reminder that the Minonk Parks and Recreation will be holding Soccer registration for PreK - 5th grade boys and girls again this Saturday at New Millennia Park, 9am - 12pm. The cost is $30 for the first child and $25 for each additional child. Any sign up sheets received after Saturday will require a $5.00 late fee. All practices will be in Minonk starting the week of August 14 and the games will be in El Paso starting in September.

Members of the MidState Stars Soccer club will once again be showcasing their talents and available to answer questions during registration.

If you have questions, you may contact me at 309-231-0119.

Glennda Weers