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Letters to the Editor

Vote yes to fire referendums

Dear Editor,

We hope our community will join us in voting yes to both questions on the ballot asking for increased tax revenue for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and Fire Protection Service.

We have personally needed their response to emergency situations and were very impressed and grateful for their quick, efficient and professional manner. 

It is so easy to take for granted they are there, but should you need them, their arrival is a beautiful sight.  

Let’s show our support to help them meet their continuing efforts!

Thank you,

David and Mary Jane Warkins

Mt. Morris

Community rallies around teen battling cancer

Dear Editor,

It seems like every day brings new problems for our country. We wonder what is going on. 

Some say our country is going to “hell in a handbasket” whatever that is. That may be true, but not in our area.

About two years ago, at the Polo Veteran Day program at Centennial School, I mentioned that I was never more proud to be from Polo in regard to the benefits of Scott Powell and Terry Naylon. 

What great support from our community – no handbasket there.

This time it’s for Kate Marschang and it is our whole rural area. 

Kate, a junior at Polo Community High School, is the 16-year-old daughter of Ray and Rebecca Marschang. 

In late November, Kate was diagnosed with small cell ovarian cancer, a rare and aggressive cancer that mainly affects young women. 

The benefit will help ease the financial strain so Ray and Rebecca can focus on Kate and her recovery.

A fundraiser is planned for Kate from 2 to 8 p.m. March 30 at Barnacopia, 2570 N. West Branch Rd. near Polo.

Many schools in our area have fundraisers for her. People have won 50/50 drawings and donated the money back. 

One of Mike and Dee Mumford’s sons won the Chuck a Duck toss at a Polo basketball game. 

He asked his parents if he could donate it back and they said yes. No handbaskets there.

There was even a donation jar at the Shell station in Grand Detour. Again no handbasket.

There was a bake sale at Country Companies in Polo. A lot of goodies, but I didn’t see a handbasket.

OK, maybe I’m wearing the handbasket thing out, but hopefully, you get my meaning – our entire area gets it. 

We help people when they need it. Hope to see you at Barnacopia March 30 for Kate’s benefit.

Ron Bardell


Teacher urges community to donate to loan repayment fund

Dear Editor,

I love teaching in the Oregon School District, and I know I’m not alone.  

However, I am part of a dwindling number of people in Illinois going into teaching as a profession. 

Illinois suffers from a teacher shortage and its doubly difficult to attract qualified teachers to smaller, more rural districts no matter how great our community and students truly are.

According to the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendent of Schools, 85 percent of districts in the state of Illinois identify a major or minor problem with teacher shortages. 

More than 1,000 positions per year are filled by unqualified professionals, and sometimes classes are even canceled because of the shortage.

We’ve been fortunate to not have to do that in the Oregon School District, but we’ve also taken steps to cultivate a positive culture in our schools, educating 1,500 students each year with high learning standards in a safe and welcoming environment.  

We provide a rigorous curriculum, AP courses, high-quality fine arts programs and championship athletics and facilities.

But is it enough to attract qualified teachers to our district?

We want to offer more. That’s why we developed the Teacher Loan Payoff Program, an innovative initiative aimed at awarding up to $20,000 each year to qualifying Oregon district teachers to pay off their student loan debt.  

Teachers who have been with the district for five or more years are eligible to receive up to $5,000 each to pay off their student loans. 

The program is in its first year, and it wouldn’t be possible without valuable support from our community. 

Three local companies and community donors have already made sizable donations totaling nearly $8,000, including F.N. Smith Corporation, Central Bank, and Harvard Bank. 

If the community raises $10,000, a local foundation will match that amount, totaling $20,000 to be awarded to Oregon teachers.

With the community’s help, we can raise the $2,000 additional dollars needed to bring the community’s contribution to $10,000 and triggering the foundation’s matching $10,000. 

Donations are tax-deductible. Those interested in making a donation may do so via the OCUSD website or by mailing a check. Cash donations can also be hand-delivered to the district office.

Make donations online at, or mail a check made out to the Oregon School Foundation to the following address: Oregon School Foundation, PO Box 85, Oregon, IL 61061

John Zuber

English Teacher

Oregon High School

LR Legion Post celebrates centennial

Dear Editor,

Jerry Wickam American Legion Post 1148 thanks all who came to our party on St. Pat’s Day to celebrate the founding of the American Legion in 1919. 

Every one enjoyed good food and camaraderie. Be sure to mark your calendar for our bicentennial party. 

Post 1148 is now at 100 percent membership, and recently, two more vets signed up to become members of our post.

Paul C. Detmer

Leaf River

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