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Emails for March 2003

Fire Trustee President's Perspective


I am currently a Trustee and President of the Minonk Fire Protection District. I have been watching the current Fire Trustee race with great interest, and reading the many emails posted on this site. I have been withholding my comments and concerns about some of the issues of the Fire Department that have been posted here. But after reading some of the more recent letters, I feel I must respond to the unfair treatment of Chris McKay and Steve White!

About 6 months ago I was informed that two of our current Trustees were not going to run for reelection. After seeking out other candidates in the community and finding none, I approached some of the Firemen to see if any of them would run for Fire Trustee. Mr. McKay and Mr. White were willing to run. Since we always seem to have an abundance of rural Trustees, I was glad that I was able to get a couple of City candidates, so that the City would be represented on the Fire Board! Then current Trustee Dave Timmerman announced he was running for reelection and Jerry Barth also announced his candidacy. I am actually very excited that we have 4 candidates for only 2 trustee openings, as many other surround fire districts have trouble finding anyone to run for office!

After reading Mr. McKay and Mr. White's letters announcing their candidacy's for Fire Trustee, I fail to see why a few of my fellow Trustees are upset, they seem to be concerned about some very small issues! Mr. McKay and Mr. White only stated their intentions as Trustees if elected!

Unlike one Fire Trustee, I see no conflict of interest in having a Fireman sit on the Fire District Board! Because the Firemen are volunteers and the Fire Trustees are not paid, I fail to see how you can have a conflict of interest? There is no possible monetary advantage for the Trustee who is also a Fireman! You can only have a conflict of interest if as a Trustee you could somehow by your vote gain a monetary edge! The fact that so many other surrounding Fire Districts have Fireman as Trustees supports my position! And I might add that the current Trustees also supported my position only 6 months ago, but now it appears a few have changed their minds?

In closing I am sure that whoever wins the election, will work to continue the improvement of the Minonk Fire Protection District!

Good luck to all the candidates

Joe Schmillen
Trustee President
Minonk Fire Protection District

Comments on community apathy


I just read your editorial on the war in Iraq and the lack of community interest in the "Meet the Candidates Night". You made a good point when you drew attention to the generational differences and the fact that the community as a whole has become apathetic. As I read that, I kept in mind the previous points you drew about how the media is desensitizing us to war by giving us a live feed of Baghdad. The obvious question then popped up, "is the apathy of the community linked to the desensitization brought on by the media?" Perhaps Minonk and other towns are experiencing a lack of interest in politics, history, current affairs, etc. because the public, in general, has moved away from optimism, through pessimism, and is now at the next level, apathy. In other words, the question isn't is the glass half full or half empty, its who cares about the glass? Perhaps the apathy is a product of media desensitization? Maybe its because of the sad state of our economy? Perhaps it is a result of the bleeding heart liberals in this country?

The message people are receiving is why should we try or even care? People know if they fail or give up, they can just live off the government. My generation and those younger than I have no recollection of World War or the Great Depression. The majority probably couldn't even tell you the decade in which they occurred. They probably never took the time to talk to their grandparents or elders and realize what it was like to have nothing, not even food. They probably have no idea why the older generations were known for their Teutonic work ethic either. They were raised in a time when parents were not allowed to punish their children, when the children's feelings were paramount to any family situation, when a child was allowed the freedom of speech. They were raised in a time when prayer was abolished from schools and courts were asked to remove the reference to God from our currency and the pledge of allegiance. In fact, the very document that grants us our rights and freedoms has come under attack for its reference to God. That same document is often used to grant one the freedom of speech, but then attacked because it grants us the right to bear arms. This draws out the underlying issues of accountability and responsibility. It is the responsibility of the owners to properly store their firearms, be properly trained, properly use them, and to be accountable when they are not properly handled. This subject does directly tie in with media desensitization. Children today don't realize the horrors of war or if they do, they see them as a new type of "reality TV". They don't understand the danger of firearms or the atrocities of war. Instead they see weapons as toys and war as a game. Once the worst act of mankind, war, has been piped into our homes and we have all been desensitized to its horrors, what is left to keep up the TV ratings? Torture? Sacrilegious acts? Who knows, but there is probably a generation out there that is saying "who cares?"

Eric Olson

Dean Barth announces write-in candidancy

None of you are more surprised to see me running for second ward alderman than I am. I said 4 years ago that I would serve one term and I was sure that was what I wanted. I did not know at that time that no one would run for the position that I would vacate.

As I look at the many things that I feel need to be done in Minonk and the many decisions that need to be made, I feel the call to assist and serve in the work to be done. This and the people who asked me to run have made realize I should try to remain on the Council.

I see the highest priority in Minonk will be the wise spending of resources we have available. I talked with one of our representatives last week and he said grants will be hard to come by for a few years. Decisions must be made as to what is best for Minonk. The committee on the ambulance study did very well with the program they set up.

I will ask the Mayor if he will continue this work by setting up a three person citizen committee to monitor the work being done and inform the council of new ideas that we could use. I believe the public needs to be informed so that they may help with the plans Minonk will undertake in the next few years. You too can help by asking to serve on one of the committees of the Council.

Other things that need to be done are the Pavilion in the Westside Park. A memorial to the veterans should be rebuilt. In addition, a Morton-type building north of town to store all of the city's equipment should be built.

A detailed city map should be set up to show places where sewer work is needed. This will aid the Council and the Public Works department in planning sewer work each year.

Click here for an example of how to fill out the ballot to vote for me as a write-in candidate. An 'X' must be placed in the box along with the word "alderman" and my name "Dean Barth".

Minonk is a wonderful town, let's all work to keep it that way. With your vote, I can continue to do my part in making Minonk a better place to live.

Dean Barth
Write-in candidate for Ward 2 alderman

Response to questions about fire district candidates


The fact that Steve White and myself decided to run for Fire District Trustee seems to have offended one of the current Fire District Trustees, why I do not know, but rest assured Mr. Welch, our letters announcing our candidacy were never intended to offend anyone! But were intended to state our political platform and what our goals are if elected! I do believe that you, Steve White and myself share the same goals for this department and community!

The reason two firemen are running for Fire District Trustee is because some of the current Fire District Trustees asked us to, due to the fact that at the time it was believed that two of the current trustees were not going to run for reelection, which would leave the current board shorthanded!

Now, since Mr. Welch and Mr. Oncken have raised some questions concerning our letters announcing our intent to run for District Trustee, I would like to respond with the facts!

1. The $70,000 Illinois First Grant, which was used to purchase a new fire truck, is a state grant, not a federal grant, and the current trustees are to be commended for securing it. But, it should also be noted that this $70,000 Illinois First Grant came to the fire district via the City of Minonk!

2. I am aware that the Trustees are activity pursuing a FEMA Grant to purchase a Thermal Imaging Camera and other fire equipment. But, I believe the district Trustees need to be more proactive than they have been in pursuing the Grants! I know that many of the surrounding fire districts have already secured several FEMA Grants to purchase fire equipment!

3. I guess that my suggestion that we as a community and fire district exhaust all options for keeping the ambulance service active is not something that Mr. Welch wanted to hear! Maybe the current Fire District Trustees have exhausted all options!

4. I have been to many District Fire Board meetings since I have join the Fire Department as a Fireman, several within the last 18 months! I guess Mr. Welch doesn't remember me handing him my petition to run for Trustee at the January Trustee meeting? As Mr. Welch also states in his letter "Time restraints on volunteer firemen are stretched to the limit" which is true, and makes it difficult for many Firemen to attend the Trustee meetings, which is another reason for a Fireman to be on the board! Having Firemen as District Trustees would extend the lines of communications back to the Firemen in the department! Several other neighboring Fire Districts currently have Firemen as Trustees!

6. I want to make this perfectly clear; Steve White and myself are not out to spend Fire District or Taxpayer money. The current and past Trustees have done a fine job of outfitting the Fire District! Nowhere in my letter did I state or even suggest that the current Trustees are not working for the firemen and taxpayers! I am only suggesting that there may be room for improvement!

Mr. Oncken's letter asks the question " I guess I just don't understand why 2 current firemen are spending so much money to be elected to a board that pays nothing?" I am running for District Trustee to "make a difference" and not make money, a concept that seems to be foreign to Mr. Onken!

I guess I never realized that if one ran for a public office, you must have a sinister motive for doing so as both letters suggest! Now I understand why finding a person to run for public office in Minonk is so difficult!

Good luck to all candidates in the April 1st election!

Thank you for your vote!

Chris McKay

Questions about fire district trustees


Am I missing something in the upcoming Minonk Fire Board election? We just got a $75,000 Illinois First Grant towards the new fire truck. According to the present trustees, there is still money left in reserves. The current trustees are filling out a new federal grant to purchase a new thermal imaging camera and all new pants for the firemen. I guess I just don't understand why 2 current firemen are spending so much money to be elected to a board that pays nothing. Is there a problem within the department? I know for a fact that the firemen pushed a few years ago to get an elected board. Are they unhappy with this now? Maybe it's back to the old saying, "Watch out for what you wish for, you just might get it."

Gene Oncken
Minonk, IL

Fire District Trustee candidate

Minonk Fire Protection District Voters,

I would like to announce my candidacy for the position of Minonk Fire Protection District Trustee.

Some of the issues I would work for on your behalf, if elected to the position are:

First and foremost, I would look into the fire department helping the undermanned ambulance squad. The Minonk Ambulance Squad must remain a vital part of this community!

I also have been doing research on Federal Grant Programs. If the fire district could obtain any of these Grant Programs, we could purchase new fire/rescue equipment and training, which are desperately needed in all rural fire departments. Federal grants will allow the Fire District to have the most up to date equipment without placing a burden on the taxpayers of the district! The last thing needed now, is higher taxes in the community.

As a fireman on the Minonk Fire Department, I believe I have a unique insight into the needs of the Fire Department as well as the needs of the citizens that the Minonk Fire Protection District protects!

Please give a voice to the firemen, who protect and serve the community!

I would appreciate your vote on April 1, for Trustee of the Minonk Fire Protection District.

Thank you,

Chris McKay

School tax referendum comments

The Fieldcrest schools over the past few years have been promoted as being a "sacred cow." Thus, we should pass the upcoming referendum to "help the kids." However, the past boards and superintendents have known for at least 6 years when they were going to run out of money "at the current rate of spending." If the board has found ways to save $200,000 now, why didn't they 6 years ago.

I don't think the referendum should pass for the following reasons:

1) Wait for the state to straighten out their budget. Will they raise taxes? Will they step up with their share for the schools? They make the rules; come up with the money!
2) Wait for the economy to come back, the tax base will stabilize. Property taxes have doubled in ten years.
3) Once a tax increase is approved it never goes away. Then later "they" will want more.
4) The school complains about rising fuel costs, insurance cost, etc. I have to deal with the same things and "STILL PAY TAXES."
The school should have to "suck it up" like the rest of us. After all is said and done, the purpose of the school is to teach kids to read, write and how to do math. It is not in the business of teaching kids in lower grades to play games on the computer, employing more people than needed to keep the unemployment rate down or putting administrators through school.

If you think that this raise in taxes won't affect you, remember rents will go up, retired people will have more taken from their existence and the backbone of the tax base, farmers, are already taking a beating.

Remember, in the end the school is J.A.G. (JUST ANOTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY).

John R. Welch
2929 COunty Road 1700N
Minonk, IL 61760

Former Minonk Theatre usher writes

Dave, Thanks for the piece on "Movies In Minonk". Boy, did you bring back memories. I was an usher there, also cleaned up after the show, sweeping the aisles and dumping trash. I remember how great the popcorn tasted, and the candy bars they sold at the refreshment counter. I was always eager to see what movie was going to be showing next. They would deliver them and put them at the bottom of the stairs that led up to the projection booth..I'd look at the label to see what came in. What a great time that was for all of us growing up in Minonk. Thanks again for another Minonk Talk memory, Dave. Good job!

Best wishes,

Art Kettelhut

Thanks from Doc's and Visions Video

We would like to thank the nearly 100 kids that attended the Scooby-Doo movie at Doc's on Sunday March 2nd. Hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves. We look forward to doing it again.

Todd Cremer
Visions Video - owner

Craig Hook
Doc's Sweetshop - owner

Enjoyed Weistart family article

Dave, Nice job on the Weistart Family history. I was in Jim's class and also knew John and David. I never got to know Barth and Jerry as they were several years older than I and were probably in college when I attended MDR. Frank and Verna would certainly be proud of their sons' accomplishments.

And, by the way, MinonkTalk continues to be a pretty classy Web Site and just keeps getting better and better. Thanks for all your hard work. As you know there are lots of us out there that keep checking in regularly. Articles and pictures such as the Weistart one are the reason.

Arlen Ruestman
Toluca, IL 61369

Thanks for remembering birthday

Thanks to everyone for making my 90th birthday such a happy occasion. God bless you all.

Addy Seggerman

Supports firemen as fire district trustees


After reading several emails about the upcoming election for fire trustee, I would like to relate some concerns as well.

First, in being a firemen's wife I have been involved in helping the fire department with different matters. I really don't know if I helped or hindered, but as a firemen's wife you are always a part of the department! This includes as little as clearing off table for the pancake and sausage breakfast, to answering phones at 10:00 PM from extraction representatives, to getting cars from MMMA for extrication training! So I feel confident that I know what is going on in the fire department concerning different matters! I also ask people a lot of questions, which they probably wished I didn't, but I am a taxpaying member of the community and I want to be informed!

Holding the position of fireman and trustee is done throughout the surrounding communities. How can it be a conflict of interest? I would hope that trustee's and firemen all have the same goals for the fire department! Why should a few former trustees be so against firemen being on the fireboard? By reading their emails they are against any firemen being on the board! So is the conflict being a fireman and a trustee, or is it a conflict between the former trustees and the firemen?

Before voting you might want to ask some firemen their opinions along with the trustees, as Fuzzy Timmerman writes in his email "the taxpayers deserve to know what is going on in the fire department". But, there are always two sides to every story. So ask the same questions and consider the answers you receive!

In reading Jerry Welch's email he talks about training, I would like to express my feelings on training. My family as well as a lot of other fire families has spent many weekends and evenings away from our spouse for fire training either here in Minonk or out of town. But, does this training ever get utilized? I know that my husband attended a weekend training exercise at McLean Co. fire school! He brought back several new and innovative ideas that he felt would benefit rural fire departments including the Minonk fire department! One of the ideas was a hose lay so one person could pull the hose off of the fire truck, which during the daytime hours when there is a shortage of firemen in town is a must! After the firemen agreed to test this new hose lay, the new hose lay was implemented on one of the fire trucks. Come to find out during the next fire call, the hose lay was already changed back by a couple of "old time" firemen without the consent of the majority of the firemen! This has happened several times within the department! So ask yourself? Why should these firemen attend training and waste taxpayers money, when all of their innovated ideas are instantly disregarded? Sounds like a waste of time for the firemen to me, does it to you? I would want all the training I could get, not only to protect myself, but also to aid in the fire and my fellow firemen. So it all boils down to why go to the training only to have any of the innovations you learn disregarded by a few "OLD TIMERS" who seem to control the fire department!

Another matter confuses me. Which is spending money for this election. What difference does it make if someone wants to support him or herself? How many voters would have known that Chris McKay and Steve White were actually running for fire district trustee if signs were not put up? We desperately need young people involved with City functions! After McKay and White put up their signs, I can't believe that one of the trustees actually went to a City council meeting to try to ban political signs in the City of Minonk! It seems to me there's no difference between putting up political signs to promote an election and giving someone your dealer card when you're trying to sell a lawnmower!

Good luck to all the candidates!

Support your firemen, vote for Chris McKay and Steve White for fire trustee!

Dee Ragusa

Vote NO on the school tax referendum

Vote no on the school tax referendum. It's time for the state to come through on their promises to help the schools every year.

Illinois ranks 46th in funding school and number 1 in paying politician's pensions. How ironic the politicians are to vote no on a bill to bring their pensions in line with yours or mine and then are delaying or not paying at all the last 2 payments to the schools. 80% of all the schools are having money problems. This should send a red flag up that something is wrong with our system.

If this referendum passes I will be paying more in taxes than my son is who lives in Normal and his house is worth more than mine!. Something is wrong with this picture.

The politicians want us to vote yes on the referendum so they can keep their rich and famous life styles. If we vote no then they will have to figure out how to keep the schools running or the state will fail and then they will lose they fat pensions.

So let's make them keep their promises and vote NO on the school referendum.

Bradley Rodseth

Supports Timmerman and Barth for fire district trustees


I have decided not to run again for trustee in the fire district but I would like to throw my two cents worth in the trustee race.I have a small problem, not with the gentleman running, they are very good people and I know them well. They are good fireman but in my mind even though it is not stated in the bylaws I personally think it is a conflict of interest for them to do both if they were elected. I also back up what Fuzzy said in his response. Finally I would encourage to the voters to support Fuzzy and my dad Jerry for trustees. Good luck to everyone on April 1

Thank you

Tom Barth

The rest of the story about fire district trustees


In response to Chris McKay's e-mail, I would like the general public to know the rest of the story.

1. The Illinois First grant money that the Minonk Fire Protection District received was applied for by the fire district. Someone in Springfield assumed that we were associated with the city, so they sent the paper work to the city. Once Springfield was corrected, the money was sent directly to us, the MFPD.
2. The trustees have been actively pursuing grants in the past several years. Federal grant money is very tight. If you forget one little item, or make any mistake what so ever, the whole application is thrown out. No questions asked.
3. I hope that anyone who has ideas to assist the ambulance squad, please come forward to assist the community. After talking with Mr. Welch, he wants the ambulance squad to grow also. He wanted the community to understand that the firemen were involved in this discussion earlier.
4. If my memory is correct, Mr. McKay and Mr. White turned in their applications just before the board meeting, then left.

The taxpayers in the district deserve to know what is actually going on. I wish the meeting was attended by more people, so they understand what the trustees are doing with their money.

I would appreciate your vote on April 1st.

David "Fuzzy" Timmerman
Dana, IL

Enjoys coverage of Minonk politics

Dave, It was interesting to read your piece on "Meet The Candidates", and also it's great to know that political issues are alive and well in Minonk. I remember when my Dad (Dr. Kettelhut) ran for the School Board. He didn't win, but the race was competitive and very heated. This brings me to thought of the current race in Minonk. The candidates are to be congratulated on first, running at all. Second, to have the community spirit to do so, and third, for the interest they have in the Minonk Schools. As a former resident, it's good to read about the candidates and the issues in the City. Although I have no vote, I feel that I'm part of the process. I look forward to reading more about the election on the site. Thanks for bringing us former residents these important issues. We no longer live there, but our roots go deep, and we want to see Minonk grow and thrive.

Thanks again,
Art Kettelhut

Enjoys Minonk history

I was looking through old photographs in the Minonk Talk and discovered what a great place it is to look for old records of history in Minonk. This is a great site and I'm glad I can be so far away, yet so close.


Janet Hocking
Columbus, Ga.

Is being a trustee and a fireman a conflict of interest?


I would like to know if Mr. White and Mr. McKay plan to resign their positions on the fire department if they are elected as trustees? It seems to me that it would be a conflict of interest being on both. Isn't this why the fire department decided to have elected trustees, instead of appointed trustees? To avoid the conflict of interest ? Just wonder if anyone else have any thoughts on this?

Good Luck to All Candidates

Keith Paris

Thanks to school board members


If I may, I'd like to express a few thoughts on the upcoming school board election. First of all, I'd like to mention that I am running for the Board and would like to encourage all registered voters to exercise their privilege and vote on April 1. My views, as well as the views of other candidates, can be heard at the "Meet the Candidates" event sponsored by the F.E.A. on March 24, at the Rutland Legion. The primary reason for this letter, however, is to express my thanks to those who currently serve on the Board of Education. Public service is often a thankless job. Many of us do not realize the incredible time commitment. Further, regardless of what important decision one makes, it will likely be wrong in the eyes of many. The current Board has faced, and is currently facing, many difficult decisions, I applaud you for your tireless efforts.

Thank You,

Jeff Geringer

Fire District comments


I would like to take a few minutes to respond to Chris McKay and Steve White's letters concerning the situation at the Minonk Fire District.

1. They both want to use grants to get money for the district. If they show up to any of the meetings in the past 18 months, they would have known that the district received $70,000 Illinois First grant money to help pay for the new fire truck. The trustees have submitted a federal grant application 1-year ago and are currently filing out another federal grant application.
2. The thermal imaging camera has been in the works for about 12 months. There are 2 current funds where donations can be added to the current money for this item. The Associated Bank and Alpha Community Bank will put the money in for you.
3. The ambulance personnel problem is not unique to Minonk. Being on the special ambulance personnel committee along with Joe Schmillen, the fire board president, we have looked at several ways to help the situation. About 4-years ago, the ambulance squad and the city came to the MFPD to request us taking the ambulance over. We studied the current situation at the time and even brought it up to the firemen. The board was told by the firemen that we would loose several firemen if we took this on. I think almost all of these firemen are still firemen now. I don't understand what changed here in the past 48 months. The current fire board does not restrict any of the firemen from being on the ambulance squad, so the ones that want to be on both are more than welcome to do so.
4. Training was also brought up. The current budget has $3,000 as the training line item. In the past 5 years that I've be on the board, this line item has way under utilized. We have sit at several meetings begging the firemen to use this fund. Time restraints on volunteer firemen are stretched to the limit. All work a full time job, have family lives and other responsibilities. I understand that there is only so many hours in a day for life, so training takes a back seat at times. But funding is sitting there waiting for the training.
5. Taxes. I am a tax payer in Minonk also. The school problems across the state are bad enough. I don't see a problem with the current tax base of the Minonk Fire Protection District, nor do I see a major increase being needed. The current board inherited a sound financial picture, purchased a new truck, and still have money in the bank. I don't want taxes raised any more than the next guy.

In closing, I feel if the prospective candidates would come to a meeting, they would understand that the Board is working for the firemen and all the tax payers in the MFPD. There are always wants for any department, but the long term needs of the community must always take priority.

Good Luck April 1st.

Jerry Welch
204 N Walnut Street
Minonk, IL 61760

Fire District Trustee candidate

Minonk Fire Protection District Voters,

I would like to introduce myself as your candidate for the Minonk Fire Protection District Trustee election on April 1 2003. I am a decorated veteran of Operation Desert Storm. I have resided in the city of Minonk for the past 22 years and I am presently a volunteer firefighter on the Minonk Fire Department. Because of my association with the Minonk Fire Department, I have a very good understanding of the needs of your local firemen, fire department and citizens. By electing me Fire Trustee, you would be giving a voice to your local firemen, ensuring your local firemen the resources needed for them to protect and serve your community to the best of their ability.

If elected Fire District Trustee, one of my main objectives is to look into helping our firemen obtain a thermal imaging camera, which could save lives in a house fire and could decrease the amount of property damage to a structure.

The second thing I would like to concentrate on is acquiring Federal Grant programs for help with the purchase of new fire/rescue equipment, which are readily available, but are not being utilized at this time! By utilizing readily available Federal Grants, this gives the fire department the means to purchase equipment needed to serve the residents of the district, without the need to increase taxes, which as a taxpayer, I am against.

The third thing I would like to bring to the attention of the fire district board is the personnel problems of the ambulance squad. I feel as a citizen of this community, this is a situation that the fire department should help with.

These are just a few of the ideas I would bring to the table if you were to elect me Steve White, as your next Fire District Trustee. Thank you for your vote!

Please give a voice to the firemen who protect and serve the community!


Steve White

More Minonk Theatre memories

Hi Dave,

Enjoyed the article on theater by you and my classmate Martha. Just for the record, my Dad was manager for a few years in the early 50's. Mr.&Mrs. Wittee came back to Minonk form Morrison Ill and had more seniority than my Dad so he had to give it up. I had a job as Sunday ticket taker to get my "free pass" and they let me continue. They were nice folks. I remember Elsie Eden did the pop corn when my Dad was manager. I remember having to change the Marqee for the new movie too, a cold job some nights. Thanks again for great memories.

Bob Schmitz

Minonk Theatre ashtrays

Dave, what a great story on the history of Minonk's "shows", and your personal insight into what the theatre did for people in Minonk. Thank Martha for me also. I'm sure that many a story could be written by Minonk folks about their experiences at the theatre. Resisting any discussions of romantic escapades, I can recount one observation. During WW11, cigarettes were sort of rationed, or rather hard to get. Inside the theatre doors were sand filled recepticles for putting your cigarettes out. When the show started, the very long and only slightly used butts now became prime targets for young neophyte smokers. As a dedicated athlete, I could only look on with utter disdain and suggest they reload the tobacco into a communal pipe and then smoke it.

Albin Johnson

Former Minonk Theatre projectionist writes


Once again, one of your articles has touched off a memory for me. In the 50's when we had just moved to Minonk and my Dad was trying to get his photo studio business going, he was always open to finding a way to make an extra buck or two. One good job was as projectionist at the Minonk Theater, generally on weekend evenings. As a kid, I would tag along with him. There were a couple of chairs up in the booth, and windows where you could watch the picture on the screen.

We would arrive at the theater early, and stop by and see Mrs. Witte, who ran the popcorn machine. We would get a big cardboard box of hot popcorn and then climb up the narrow stairs into the projection booth. Dad would load the first two of the big reels of film into the two projectors. The projectors light source were high voltage DC carbon arc lamps. In the 50's that involved a lot of glowing vacuum tubes and big reostats to control the voltage. The power supply and controls looked like somethng out of a science fiction movie. He would tinker with them until they were glowing correctly and ready to go. At that point, he would turn off the stack of old 45 rpm records on the PA system and start the first projector to running.

Things were calm while the first reel ran. Once it was getting towards the end of that first reel, you had to get ready to start the second reel. You can still watch closely today in the movies and you will see a flash up in the upper right corner of the projected image when it is time to start the second reel on its projector. Once the second reel got to running, you rewound the first reel and stored it in its shipping case, and loaded the third reel on the first projector. Most movies at that time took four reels, as I recall. Things went along pretty routine then, unless the film broke or one of the projector lamps quit working. Things got pretty exciting until he would get things fixed and running again. By the 50's, the projectors were getting sort of old and tired.

I saw many a movie there over the years and was sad to see it had all burned down.

Joe Vallow
Grafton, VA

Former resident enjoys checking on Minonk

Dave, I enjoyed your editorial and agree with you 100%. I want to let you know I really enjoy the web-site. I've been out of Minonk since 1980 and it is fun to check up on what is going on. I've had many good memories in that town. Keep up the good work.

Jeff Meyer (Kim & Craig's brother)

Looking for info on Phoebe Green

I'm looking for any information about Phoebe Green who lived in Minonk. She died in 1972 and is buried in the Minonk Township Cemetery with a child, Hazel Lucile Stanford who died in 1909.

Chad Stanford