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Emails for April

More info on p's and q's

I was reading the current e-mail responses and noted Marge Robertson's question about Ps and Qs. The answer is good except it goes further, the old wooden printer's case held upper case or capital letters and the lower case, the "small" letters .These "letters were actually small pieces of lead, tin, and antimony molded into a piece that had the individual letter raised up on the end. Now imagine what that piece of type looked like as you saw it upside down. Most letters are easy to identify except for those which were the lower case 'p' and 'q' as well as the 'd' and 'b'. I had the pleasure of teaching Print Shop to 8th and 9th graders. Of course, all of this "type setting" talk is past history, but it deserves a place in history.

Albin Johnson

Looking for "Buckshot" Vissering

Hi David,

I ran into an old friend (Tom Moberly) that I hadn't seen in a number of years and as we were reminiscing, the name of Howard Vissering came up. You remember, "Buckshot". Tom said that they had worked together at State Farm and did a certain amount of running around together. He's lost track of "Buckshot" and asked me if I knew of his whereabouts or anything at all about him. The last thing that Tom remembered was that Howard had moved to Chicago. I told Tom that I would check with you and with your vast coverage with Minonk Talk, you might be able to come up with something.

Herc Paloumpis

Its about Education, not Efficiency.

The Board president, in his recent letter, mentioned that the state's budget crisis is going to affect our district because of cuts in some funding for certain programs. I do not understand how these looming, yet uncertain cuts should affect the number of regular education teachers at Fieldcrest South. Are these salaries paid though "Money we were granted from the state for programs we have provided this year. . ." If there are other budget shortfalls that the general public needs to made aware of, it would be nice if the Board would share. The Board president stated "We need to run a quality educational system at peak efficiency." Does he realize what he is saying? We are not churning out little robots from an assembly line. They are our children. Each has special needs that must be addressed. Our children are not pawns to be manipulated on some business chessboard. Efficiency issues exist in administrative functions of any significant organization, but efficiency does not necessarily equate itself with a good quality education. Having low class sizes in the early elementary grades is the most cost effective method for improving achievement. This is the finding of a study, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education. The entire study can be viewed online at http://www.ed.gov/pubs/ReducingClass/. Is it too much to ask to have the Board think in an educational framework instead of a business framework?

Jeff Geringer

Raising the Tax Levy or Running More Efficiently

Daryle Uphoff remembers correctly that the tax rate for Fieldcrest is one of the lowest in the area. He's also right in suggesting that it may be time to increase our tax rate for the school levy. However, it's important to point out that under the best case scenario it would be November before the voters could approve an increase. By the time the voters approve such an increase and the board is able to raise the levy and begin actually receiving increased revenue it will be July 2004. Unfortunately the current shortfall in state revenue is having an immediate impact on every school district in Illinois. Money we were granted from the state for programs we have provided this year is being cut out from under us. We are in the middle of a state wide budget crisis. While state legislators are able to react quickly by cutting funds already promised to local schools, hospitals and municipalities (often times for services we have already rendered), it takes much longer for us to adjust at the local level. The process of levying and then receiving increased local taxes to make up for these shortfalls takes at least 18 months. If we pretend the shortfall in state funding doesn't present a problem for us while we go about the process of trying to get the voters to approve an increase in the tax rate, we will be faced with the very real possibility of borrowing money in order to get by with the status quo. By the time the additional revenue is realized, we will be faced with a double edge sword of increased debt and the accompanying interest expense. Unfortunately, this is not a simple either/or situation. We need to consider an increase in our local tax revenue and, in the mean time, we need to run a quality educational system at peak efficiency. I think most people would agree that Fieldcrest provides a quality education but there's room for improvement. While changes may be uncomfortable and in some cases difficult to accept, isn't it only reasonable that we improve upon our efficiency before we consider asking the public for more money?

Joe Knapp

School should consider raising tax levy

In regard to your editorial on the financial crunch facing the local school district, I think you too easily disregard one alternative: raise the levy. Although I haven't seen the numbers in many years, it is my recollection that the local district (before its most recent consolidation) had one of the lowest levy rates-if not the lowest- in the entire area. Although raising levy rates is never politically popular, sometimes the most expeditious way of addressing a problem is not the correct way. Why not accept the fact that having an outstanding school district providing both a diverse academic and extra-curricular culture is the single most important asset in the community. Perhaps not surprisingly, the value of the community's real estate would appreciate if families in other geographic areas understood that this community places a high priority on providing educational and extra-curricular activities for its children. Having lived in a large metropolitan area, I am no longer surprised when a listing for a home for sale also prominently mentions the school district in which the home is located-provided, of course, that the school district is recognized as one that provides opportunities for its children. The marketplace is telling us much about the importance of our schools to the value of our real estate Why not listen?

Daryle L. Uphoff
Minneapolis, MN

Remembers Uncle Bill VonBehren


Really enjoyed your biography of Uncle Bill. I was a great fan of Bill and Fanny while I was growing up. I visited him the year before he died while he was in the nursing home. He looked great. Knew who I was and told me lots of stories about my Dad (some I had heard, others I had not). Anyway, I was so glad to have visited him again, but so sad when I heard about his death.

Anyway, thanks for the article.


Jim Uphoff

Sell tiles for park pavilion to raise money

Hi Dave--This first bit has nothing to do with Minonk, but since you seem to have an interest in history, and have heard a bit about the Hodgsons--here's a link to the Tazewell Co. Genealogical Society page. The couple on this page are the grandparents to Eugene "Doc" Hodgson. I'm sure they never imagined they would end up on the internet! http://www.rootsweb.com/~iltcghs/photo.htm Also, I noticed in your email section that someone mentioned selling commemorative tiles for your new Pavilion. That scheme worked very well here in Seattle many years ago when we reonvated the Pike Place Market. Folks paid a premium to have their names embossed in metal on a tile (embedded on the floor of the Market)--it raised a lot of money. I think folks like myself, who have a family history in Minonk, but do not live there, would like to have an opportunity to help the Pavilion, and put their family name on something that would last many years. Thanks.

Debbie Huffman

Another origin for "p's" and "q's"

I read your trivia on this subject of the phrase "mind your P's and Q's" which reminded me that when I was visiting Nauvoo several years ago I was told at the the print shop that the phrase came from the typesetters because the lower case p's and q's were so similar that they must be carefully separated so as not to ruin the printing.

I wonder which is correct, or if there is some other explanation.

Food for thought,
Marg Robertson

Looking for information on former residents

I am looking for information on former residents of Minonk, births in 1870's and marriages in 1889 and can't find records anywhere. Looking for John Pomeroy Morris, born 1866 in Minonk, and Nina Pamela Terry born 1870 in Minonk. They married in 1889 in Minonk. Any helpful hints or phone numbers or reigstrar's would be very helpful. Thank you,

Andrea Parmley
EMail: Andrea.Parmley@icoreintl.com

Need to scrutinize school spending requests

I found Mr. Knapp's letter explaining the school board's strategy for addressing the current financial state extremely compelling. While no one will disagree that the State of Illinois is in the middle of a "statewide budget crisis", one has to ask exactly what percentage of Fieldcrest's operating income is derived from the state? That number has been absent from anything that I've read to date. In addition, how much money will Fieldcrest save in the coming fiscal year, due to attrition and other "pre-crisis" savings? When you look at just the number of senior staff retiring and the proposed class reassignments at the East and West middle schools, a conservative guess would be $150,000.

In the past, I have always supported a request from our school board for tax increases to enhance our education. What could be more important? However I will weigh future requests more closely, as for the first time, I have real questions about the validity of those requests. This is especially true as I watch the construction at Elementary South and wonder how the new space will be utilized. The board needs to do a much better job of communicating specific financial numbers to the community, as they need the support of the community to make requests for more money a reality. And finally, I completely agree with Mr. Knapp when he states: "While changes may be uncomfortable, and in some cases difficult to accept, isn't it only reasonable that we improve upon our efficiency before we consider asking the public for more money?" However I don't agree that the solution is for one segment of the Fieldcrest district to bear the majority of the responsibility. Each school section should be part of the solution. Further, the board should lead by example, and stop spending thousands of dollars by utilizing hiring firms to do the job that they were elected to do.

Joe Limbaugh
Minonk, IL

Fieldcrest South test scores


With all the talk concerning the cutbacks proposed by the Fieldcrest school board as well as the recent information regarding Fieldcrest south test scores, I thought your readers would appreciate the following link:

At this site anyone can review the test scores of any school district in the state of Illinois, and therefore compare the Fieldcrest districts scores with those of the surrounding school districts and see how the Fieldcrest High School compares with other schools of the same size and location!!

It will surprise. Look at the ACT test scores as compared to the state ave.'s and to other local school districts! Keep up the good work. thanks!

Steve Allen

Likes recipes

Your recipe site is very nice! Wanda Patterson's "Taco Cornbread Pizza" we found extra special, so I e-mailed it to friends and family. One of my friend's e-mailed back to try the "Gen's Zippy Chicken", as she followed more of the recipes. Since it went over well at her home, that one we will try next! Thanks to all you great cooks out there!!!

Jacob and Marietta Sorch

Thanks for the article about the Chocolate Shop

I visited my family in Minonk last week. My niece Kim, mentioned the article written by Don Uphoff. Tonight, I finally had a chance to check it out. Thanks a lot for bringing back some great memories. I loved so many things about the restaurant as a child, but because I was so young, I often was sent upstairs to the apartment above when things got busy. My favorite time was after a basketball game. I would lay on the floor and listen to the kids lead different cheers if Minonk had won the game. My mom helped my dad so I spent some wonderful hours in the back kitchen. I learned how to peel potatoes when I was four. I even had my dolls and doll bed placed in a storage area in the kitchen so someone could watch me. For many years I kept in touch with many of the former workers. One of my favorite ladies was Connie Konwinski. Connie helped to bake pies and had a number of other duties. She often took care of me in the apartment. Every Saturday she would clean our home and we would listen to the radio together. Saturday evenings, Dad would park the car in front of the restaurant and I would get to sit with Connie and watch all of the people who came to town. I loved it. We certainly live a different pace today. My step daughter loves to come to Minonk and visit with me. She likes the fact that she can walk and feel safe in the downtown area. We brought two of her friends with us last week. They were amazed that people were always waving at them. I said, that's what it's like in a small town. We live in Rockford. Thanks for the memories.

Sue (Morrison) Burger

Teachers used to dress better

Hi Dave, I shouted Amen as I read your editorial on style! I had also read George Wills editorial. I feel that discipline slipped when teachers started dressing casually. I taught in the "good old days" when women teachers always wore dresses and looked professional. I taught in Streator, so always dressed up when I went shopping in Streator.

A few years ago I was in the hospital as a patient, and my night nurse was dressed in black sweat pants and a black sweatshirt.

I also really enjoyed your article about William VonBehren, as I remember him and Fannie very well. They were a very nice couple. Keep up the good work! I enjoy your columns a couple times each week.

Sherry Lindeman