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Emails for January 2004

Update on Phoenix reunion

Thanks to all of you for your interest. Barth's schedule is a bit complicated just now but he expects to get the motel firmed up for us in the next few days. We shall immediately relay that information to you so that you can call for reservations.

In the meantime, we are planning to meet "officially" from Thursday April 15 through Sat. April 17. We will have a dinner together at some local - casual - spot each night. Daytime activities will be suggestions so that people can make their own choices. We believe that we have enough of us who will be driving or who live in the area and have cars so that we should not have transportation problems.

Those of you who are flying, please tell us time, day and flight numbers so that we can meet you.

Marty Eikenmeyer Owens

Low class has nothing to do with net worth

I don't believe "Kelly" has really ever thought about what it means to be low class. Low class has nothing to do with one's net worth, race, or perhaps intelligence. It is more to do with their character, and their values. Being "low class" comes into play when one is not willing to work, or make any type of sacrifice to get what they desire. Instead, 'low class' people stand there with their hands out, whining, expecting others to pay their way.

By no means am I suggesting that the people who need financial aid should not receive it. I am suggesting that people be pro-active, and make the effort to make their own way first. Parents: here are some suggestions to "make your own way." If you are a two pack a day smoker, cut back to one! This cut alone would yield one smoking parent a savings of $ 19.60 a week based on a figure of $ 3.50 for a pack of cigarettes. For the 'barflies,' reduce your 'beverage' intake by 20 percent. "Joe Six-pack" could save a substantial amount of money at even this percentage. For those of you who to whom the previous does not apply, learn to make and follow a budget. If there is still not enough, the next obvious solution is to make more money. Sometimes this includes taking a job that is out of your comfort zone in the interest of making the most money; you do not even have to be a "rocket scientist" to do so. This is what I have had to do. This is why I am unsympathetic to people whose only solution to their woes is to have the government stick their hand in my pocket, in the form of tax increases and rob me so they can get their handout.

I have yet to be approached by any of these students wanting to fund their extra-curricular activity by soliciting work for a fair wage. Children need to be taught a work ethic. Parent involvement is important. Parents should be aware of who their child is soliciting work from, or should go to the homes with their children to supervise the service their child is providing. Make the effort.

A proud conservative-
Darrin Jenkins

Sorrow on death of friend

I was saddened to see of Jim Ryan's passing. I receive an e-mail from Jon Johnson regarding his death, then saw the obit on MinonkTalk. He was a dear friend, and this has just devastated me..I can't believe it. I'm so glad that I got to see Jim and Pat the last time I was up there. We went to Mona's, then out to his farm for a visit. It's impossible for me to make it up there now, but please remember me to the family and the community, that a dear friend in Texas has a heavy heart, and will always remember my old pal.

Thank you, Dave

Art Kettelhut

School fees unfair to lower income

We are a" low-class" income family in the community. We are very concerned with the new sports fees that are placed in effect. We have 2 kids in school @ Fieldcrest. One is in the Middle School the other in Elementary (but soon will be at the middle school). We could not afford the fee this year for them to participate in sports, and we are the bad guys here!! It is just awful to have a child that wants to participate and you have to tell your child you can not afford the fees to enroll them in sports. And that was at the $25.00-$50/00 fees. How in the world are we suppose to afford the $150.00 fees?

I really think this is very out of range. What about us low income families that have kids that want to participate in sports and can not afford the fees? I know they said there is going to be ways for the children who can't afford it, to raise the money so they can play. Why should they be singled out? It is quit an embarrassment for these children already knowing that their parents can not afford it from the beginning, let alone to have them raise money so they can play in the sports. I believe that "once again " we will be singling out the lower class people in this community!

We would like our children to be active in the school system, rather that active on the streets but with this increase it leaves them no choice!!

I know of several families that are leaving the community due to these changes in our school system. We will be home schooling our children next year due to these changes in the school system, and we are also selling our home soon and moving away from here.

We feel this community is based solely on people that have the money and the people that do not have it are down the tubes!!!!

A low-income Family!



Looking for houses to fix up

We have a group of teens coming to this area in July to do mission work on homes of those unable to do the work themselves (painting, some roofing, windows, wheelchair ramps, minor things). They will be housed at the Flanagan High School and working a 25 mile radius of Flanagan. The teens come from all over the US. We're expecting anywhere up to 400 of them over a two week period.

We are currently in the need of homes for these teens to work on (they will only do one story roofs and paint only to 20 feet for safety reasons) and we are in need to funds, naturally. Anyone wanting to submit a house, can contact me by calling 815-358-2289 or by e-mail at srogers88@hotmail.com subject TEENSERVE, please, or write me at Sara Rogers P.O. Box 81 Cornell, IL 61319.

If you have any questions, PLEASE contact me, I'd be glad to answer them.

We are terribly excited about bringing the youth here this summer, what a great thing to have these kids doing good for the community.

Thank you for your time.

Sara Rogers

Thanks for help and support

We wish to thank the Minonk Fire Department, the Minonk Ambulance Squad, and neighbors, friends and relatives who helped us during and after the fire that destroyed our house this past week. Your efforts are greatly appreciated and helped us get through the trauma of losing a home and life long possessions.

Sincerely yours,

Roger and Barbara Petri

Superintendent's comments on extracurricular fees

In response to "Kelly's" article on affordability of extracurricular fees, I have this to offer. First, Kelly is incorrect to refer to herself and others as "low class". What she means is that she and her family are one of a number of families (regardless of household income) who are concerned about not being able to afford opportunities for their children. This is lamentable in a society that prides itself on free public education. Unfortunately, all of us know that education is not free. And that the full spectrum of educational opportunities avail themselves to those districts that are blessed with an ample and stable tax base. Fieldcrest does not have an ample tax base and it is far from stable thanks to the inequitable system of funding of Illinois public education.

Kelly does not want to hear this. She is mainly concerned with putting food on the table for her children and making the rent or mortgage payments. The Fieldcrest Board of Education, like similar boards of education across this great nation, are forced into finding a solution to provide opportunities that will benefit the greatest number of youth. Fees are necessary for two reasons: to pay those coaches and sponsors who make these activities possible and secondly, to make certain that at the very least, a minimal number of activities exist for those who want to participate.

The Board of Education and the Citizens Advisory Committee had no choice but to recommend a fee schedule to be able to provide extracurricular activities this coming fall. The alternate choice was to not offer extracurricular activities at all. With fees, most students will have an opportunity to participate, albeit some, unfortunately, will have to make a decision on how many activities/sports they can afford in their school experience.

It is not the Board of Education's intent to unfairly penalize families like "Kelly's". Families, regardless of income level, will be forced to make difficult decisions. Tuition payments vs. participation in multiple sports, fees vs. mortgage and rent, and so on. Quite frankly, this scenario is not specific to Fieldcrest. It is statewide and nation-wide.

Nevertheless, the Board of Education and the administration will make reasonable efforts to accommodate families who for one reason or another cannot afford the new fees. In some instances, fees will be waived. In other instances, fee payments may be arranged. However, families must cooperate by providing the necessary documentation to the school system in order for the school system to work with the families to provide at least the minimal amount of participation in extracurricular activities. No student will be denied an opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities, although it is fair to say that not all will be able to fully participate in all sports and activities. Priorities and choices will have to be decided on a family-by-family basis.

As for individuals stating they and others will home school their children, move out of the community and sell their homes based upon a temporary economic condition, I say be patient and try to understand what is at stake here. Last, students who do not participate in extracurricular activities are no more prone to be "active on the streets" than any other child. The primary reason our school District exists is to provide quality academic experiences to enable our youth to compete on a level playing field in life. In that arena the administration, teachers and Board of Education are doing a very fine job. Extracurricular activities are important, but they are the frosting on the academic cake. Let's rejoice that we still have cake to offer.

Michael A. Stagliano, Ph.D.
Superintendent, Fieldcrest CUSD 6

Memories of C. R. Denson

Dave, Thanks so much for the great piece on the News-Dispatch...and to Donna for putting it together, it's a wonderful history of the paper. It was my pleasure to work for Mr. Denson when I was in high school. I had many tasks that were both educational and rewarding. One of my jobs was to come in early and turn on the linotype machines, then go down to the basement and carry up the bundles of paper to stack on the presses (boy were they heavy)..but kept me in shape.. Then I had to sweep out the front office and dust the furniture. Mr. Denson was a stickler on keeping the front clean and tidy. But the one job I really liked was to pour the lead into the molds for the ads. The lead had to be at just the right temperature, then all the impurities had to be skimmed off the top to assure that there were no bubbles in the mold. It was hot in the back where the melter was, and the only ventilation were the two windows that opened up to the alley.

One of my most embarrassing moments there was when I didn't come in to turn on the machines. It was Labor Day, and somewhere in my mind, I thought that it was a day off..Wrong! Mr. Denson called me a home and asked if I was sick.."No", I said. He asked me why the machines weren't turned on, paper stacked, and the office not cleaned. I told him that I thought it was a holiday..He laughed and said. "Art, don't you know that the paper never sleeps?" Well, it was a lesson learned and needless to say, it never happened again. He was a good man, and never lost his temper, and I kept my job, which paid me $2.00 a week..but, it wasn't the money, it was the experience and the learning that were rewarding. By the way, I never saw anyone pound out the type on those machines like Joe Kasha could. He was a master linotype operator. Thanks, Dave, for once again bringing to us these valuable memories from Minonk's past.

Best wishes,
Art Kettelhut

Phoenix reunion reminder

This is for anyone who responded to the Phoenix gathering announcement prior to Jan. 6 and has not heard back from me. Please contact me again. I just discovered a computer problem that blocked out my mail for several days. It has been corrected, but I fear I lost some messages. Apologies to anyone whose original message did not reach me.

Martha Eikenmeyer Owens
44-816 Oro Grande Circle
Indian Wells,CA 92210
Tel (760)340-1351
FAX (760) 779-8748
email JLOwensCPA5@msn.com

Enjoys reading about hometown

What a wonderful website. We, who will never forget anything about growing up in our smalltown/hometown appreciate your hard work and dedication. I will be making many, many visits here to look back and catch up.

Thanks, Steve Barr

Fond memories of Minonk

Dear Dave,
I like what you have done with your website and enjoy reading about Minonk and her growing pains. We always remember home as the place where childhood memories were the best and there is no doubt that of all the places I have lived and visited throughout the world, I never forget about the lil town stuck smack dab in the middle of a cornfield or the wonderful people I grew up with. Best of luck with your site and may it continue to be a success.

Brian Tull
Benton, Ar