erik-malmgren
Author

Erik Malmgren | Correspondent

Erik Malmgren is a Mail Correspondent covering the Mackinaw, Deer Creek and Heritage Lake communities. He moved to Mackinaw in the summer of 2019, and is an avid reader, and bluegrass enthusiast.

 


1 Way Kidz
Area Roundup

1 Way Kidz

At the Mackinaw Community Center, New Castle Bible Church presents “1 Way Kidz”. Children in the Mackinaw area are invited to come hang out at the Community Center and enjoy games, activities, and friends. Kids will be well supervised and cared for in a safe environment with lunch included every day. This event runs every Monday and Wednesday from 10:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. Registration is easy at myncbc.org.  READ MORE...

Area Roundup  |  
Concert in the Vineyards

Concert in the Vineyards

On Saturday, July 23rd, the Concert in the Vineyards Series presents “Sushi Roll”, a high energy cover band that plays everyone’s favorite hits from Bruno Mars to Rick Springfield. Concert starts at 7:00 P.M. and runs through until 11:00 P.M. No advance tickets, $10 per person at the door.

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Drizzledabs 3rd Annual Float

Drizzledabs 3rd Annual Float

On Saturday, July 30th at 10:30 A.M., starting at the Dee-Mack bridge is “Drizzledabs 3rd Annual Float". Floaters provide their own floats whether it be a tube, kayak, paddleboard, or canoe for a 3 hour float trip with shuttles provided. Floaters are then invited to Pub 52 for live entertainment, food and drink specials, 50/50 door prizes, and a grand prize drawing for a kayak. Registration can be found on Eventzilla.net.

Local News  |  
Lions Club and Dee-Mack Boosters Announce Golf Outing

Lions Club and Dee-Mack Boosters Announce Golf Outing

Supported by the Dee-Mack Boosters Club, proceeds from the event help both clubs. The Chief Nation supporter money goes to the Booster Club who “help provide funding to supplement the budget of Dee-Mack High School, both academically and extracurricularly.” Thanks to donations to the Boosters, funds have been applied towards Classroom supplies, Field trips, and senior signs; mobile wi-fi services for students without internet access, novels for English classes, along with spending money for free/reduced students for concession on Field Trips. Plus much much more. The next initiative is a fully automated timing system which will allow the school to host large track events for both Junior High and high school athletes. 

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New Restaurant Opens in Mackinaw

New Restaurant Opens in Mackinaw

When asked what inspired the family to open a restaurant in Mackinaw, Iris told The Mail “Chef Eddy’s love for the kitchen led to the desire to bring a new restaurant to this area with the objective of bringing quality service and food” Iris says, adding, “Something new and different for everyone to enjoy is what inspired us to open a restaurant.” With the current economic climate, it’s tough to imagine opening a restaurant without having an extreme amount of passion for the profession, along with creativity showing in the finished product. Eddy’s food shows that passion and creativity are what’s happening in their kitchen.

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A Night Out With the Stanford Police

A Night Out With the Stanford Police

I’ve only been in Stanford a couple times in my life. Growing up in Canton, I’ve just never had reason to travel out that way and, after moving to Mackinaw in 2019, my teenage son's sporting events have taken me to the small town a grand total of twice. As I roll through town, I’m doing more looking around than I am paying attention to my Google Maps, which takes me not to City Hall, but to the fire station a few doors down. Luckily, there is a soda machine outside the building which allows me to play my silly error off as “just grabbing a drink”. “Great start, bud”, I’m thinking to myself after I grab my soda and start backing out into the street. Mere seconds later, I’m actually at City Hall.

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Art and Wine Festival

Art and Wine Festival

Sunday, July 17th, The Mackinaw Valley Vineyard is hosting their Art and Wine Festival from 12:00 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. Cars of all kinds will be available for viewing, crafts, and live music.

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Community Church in the Park

Community Church in the Park

Community Church in the Park: Hosted by New Castle Bible Church in Mackinaw's Veterans Park at 100 East Fast Avenue on Sunday, July 17th. Service starts at 11:00 A.M. Bring a lawn chair!

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Good Pantry Days

Good Pantry Days

Wednesday evenings are Good Pantry Days at the Mackinaw Community Center from 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. Donation drop offs are also accepted during this time.

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Mack-a-Fest Begins

Mack-a-Fest Begins

The Mack-A-Fest begins on July 14th at 5:00 P.M. and ends Saturday, July 16th at 10:00 P.M. Dozens of activities will be available, as well as a food vendor and beer tent. Don't miss out!

Local News  |  
Dee-Mack Wrestling Hosts Open Gym Nights

Dee-Mack Wrestling Hosts Open Gym Nights

The Dee-Mack wrestling program, which consists of 12 high school wrestlers and 17 junior high wrestlers, is looking to add to their ranks for the coming season which will start in November under the banner of the IKWF (Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation), which includes 18 different weight classes for wrestlers of all sizes. The Dee-Mack program has also been approved for a Girls Wrestling program which will start this year. Since there are numerous open spots on the team along with a brand new program starting up, high school Coach Thomas tells The Mail “This is why we need kids on the mats now.”

Area Roundup  |  
1Way Kidz

1Way Kidz

Beginning July 6th, from 10:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. Mackinaw area kids are encouraged to hang out at the Mackinaw Community Center for games, activities, bible lessons, and socializing. Kids will be well-supervised in a safe environment. Lunch is provided and it’s all free. Register at MyNCBC.org

Area Roundup  |  
Fireworks at Brock Lake

Fireworks at Brock Lake

July 4th fireworks will be at Brock Lake starting around dusk. Bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on and enjoy the show!

Area Roundup  |  
Mackinaw Valley Wine Run 5k

Mackinaw Valley Wine Run 5k

Sunday, July 24th, the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard is hosting The Mackinaw Valley Wine Run 5k at 9:00 A.M. Whether you love running, walking, or wine, this event is for you. More details can be found on the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard website.

Local News  |  
Offering Help for Those in Need

Offering Help for Those in Need

Starting in 2016, the pantry was going strong - serving about 20 vehicles a week - until Covid hit. “Covid just really messed things up”, board member Norm Stone tells me. “We went from serving around 20-30 families a week to practically nothing. In fact, I’ve had people tell me that before seeing our posts on Facebook, they thought we were closed.” Luckily, after a recent campaign of posting on Facebook, word is getting out and the number of families reaching out for help is steadily increasing. 

Local News  |  
Staycation Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Staycation Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Galena - Galena is one of my favorite Illinois destinations and is ideal for a weekend getaway with the whole family. Perfect for the outdoorsy types, Galena is host to numerous hiking trails near the Mississippi River and, in the winter, is home to Chestnut Mountain Resort; a perfect place to teach the kiddos how to ski. In town, tourists can find numerous little mom and pop type shops with their own individual styles. Wine is in abundance thanks to the many wineries and restaurants in the area. The history buff in your family can take different tours centered around Ulysses S. Grant, who lived in the city before he mustered back into the U.S. Army at the beginning of the U.S. Civil War.

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Police Respond to Attempted Child Abduction

Police Respond to Attempted Child Abduction

Incidents such as these have a way of shaking up communities, and understandably so. In response to this unfortunate situation, The Mail has compiled a quick list of tips on how to avoid these incidents and what to do when they do occur:

Area Roundup  |  
JFL Cheer Camp

JFL Cheer Camp

Tuesday, July 5th, at 5:30 P.M. through July 8th at 7:30 P.M. The Dee Mack JFL Cheer Camp is being held at Brock Lake. For complete information, contact Mindy Marshall at mindy61554@gmail.com

Area Roundup  |  
Legion Presents Craig Gerdes

Legion Presents Craig Gerdes

Starting at 6:00 P.M. on Thursday, June 30, The American Legion presents the music of Craig Gerdes. No cover to attend.

Area Roundup  |  
Vineyard Concert Series

Vineyard Concert Series

Saturday, July 9th, from 7:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. The Mackinaw Valley Vineyard presents “Revel in Red” as part of their Summer Concert Series. $5 per person, 12 and under are free.

Local News  |  
Food Banks Help Address Summer Hunger

Food Banks Help Address Summer Hunger

Even during the school year, low-income families may have to make tough decisions between paying utility bills and putting food on the counter. During the summer, energy bills rise just the same as grocery bills. Research shows that around two-thirds of low-income families have had to choose between food and paying their utility bills, with a similar number having to make the same choice between food and medical care. These decisions mean that, as of 2019, 10.7 million children are food insecure - meaning they live in households where not everyone has enough to eat. That is nearly 1 in 7 children. Furthermore, Summer Hunger is a main driver for what educators know as “The Summer Slide” - a child’s tendency over the summer to forget what they’ve learned the year before. This effect, in turn, can leave a child who is facing food insecurity to start the next school year at a disadvantage compared to their better off classmates.

Area Roundup  |  
Back Seat Radio Plays the Vineyard

Back Seat Radio Plays the Vineyard

Saturday, June 25th, the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard presents Backseat Radio as part of their Concert in the Vineyard Series. Backseat Radio provides high energy dancing music with their mix of Pop and Rock hits. Admission is $5 per person while free for those 12 and younger.

Area Roundup  |  
Benefit for Brian Waldon

Benefit for Brian Waldon

Saturday, July 9th, the Deer Creek American Legion is hosting a benefit for Brian Waldon. Brian lost his eyesight after 2 strokes last fall and will need long term care. The action starts at 1:00 P.M. and will continue until at least 11:00 P.M

Local News  |  
Community Rallies for Team Reed

Community Rallies for Team Reed

On GoFundMe, organizer Amy Gronvole-Naasz has started a page titled “Reed’s Summer Wishlist”. According to the fundraiser, which is seeking to raise $8,000, some of the activities that interest Reed are going to California, the Niagara Falls, providing a meal at the Ronald McDonald House, and seeing a concert performed by a popular band “Imagine Dragons”. The Imagine Dragons start a month-long tour on August 5th In Salt Lake City, and will play at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park, IL on August 26th. As of writing, “Reed’s Summer Wishlist” has reached 103 total donations for a grand total of $6,046 .

Local News  |  
Teen Assailants Appear Before Judge

Teen Assailants Appear Before Judge

Sources close to the investigation indicate that on June 9th, the cases of Santana and Ragon have been continued to a court date set for mid-July. Records from the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office indicate that Blake Huffman is still being held in custody and sources tell The Mail that Huffman had a court appearance on Monday, June 13th, in which Huffman’s bond was dropped to $70,000 with 10% to apply - meaning that Huffman must come up with $7,000 to post bond. Should he post bond, Huffman will be subject to a host of conditions as well as “pre-trial supervision”. 

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Local Resident Takes Ride on Honor Flight

Local Resident Takes Ride on Honor Flight

Al enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1961, became a nuclear missile panel operator, and was attached to the Strategic Air Command (SAC) - which controlled land based strategic bomber aircraft as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) during the Cold War. When he talks about his time in the military, Al is careful to make an important distinction: “I am a ‘Vietnam era veteran’, not a ‘Vietnam veteran’”, he says. “I never put my boots down in Vietnam unlike some of the poor boys that would enlist in the years to come.” Even so, Al’s term of service saw momentous world events where the fate of millions hung in the balance. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Al was whisked away to his duty station where he remained for the duration of the crisis. “Honestly, sitting in an underground bunker meant I was in one of the safest spots in the world during that time.”

Area Roundup  |  
Benefit for Brian Waldon

Benefit for Brian Waldon

On Saturday, July 9th, from 1:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. A benefit is being held for local resident Brian Waldon at The Deer Creek American Legion. Come enjoy live music, a bags tournament, and raffle drawings. 

Area Roundup  |  
Concert in the Vineyard

Concert in the Vineyard

Saturday, June 17th, at 7:00 P.M. The Mackinaw Valley Vineyards presents Jammsammich for their 2nd “Concert in the Vineyard” event. No advance ticket sales, pay at the door.

Area Roundup  |  
Paint With Tony

Paint With Tony

Thursday, June 23rd, the Mackinaw Public Library presents “Paint with Tony”, a night of painting with local artist Tony Johnson. The event is being held at the Mackinaw Community Center and starts at 6:30 P.M.

Local News  |  
Local Group Takes Aim at Windmill Farms

Local Group Takes Aim at Windmill Farms

UCTC counsel laid these concerns out in front of a packed crowd and then fielded questions from Tazewell County government, such as the zoning board. Following the Q & A, a recess was called and those inside the Justice Center were surprised to see that a TV and chairs were set up outside to accommodate the overflow of citizens who attended the meeting. As I took a seat outside, the next phase of the meeting began: the rebuttal from EDP Energy, the company behind the proposed windmill farm. The group of representatives were sworn in after introducing themselves and telling the room where they are from. From my spot, sitting outside, there were many remarks about the fact that all the representatives were from the Chicagoland area. “They don’t even live around here! Can you believe that?”, one resident, who asked to not be named, said to me.

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Shooting in Uvalde: Are We Prepared?

Shooting in Uvalde: Are We Prepared?

Most state and local law enforcement groups take cues from the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Shortly after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December of 2012, the FBI sought ways its personnel could help assist law enforcement groups across the country. One of its first initiatives was the Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act of 2012, which permits the U.S. Attorney General to provide federal assistance during active shooter incidents and mass killings. However, this assistance must be requested by the appropriate state or local law enforcement. 

Area Roundup  |  
28th Annual Canoe Float

28th Annual Canoe Float

28th Annual Canoe Float for the Kids of St. Jude - Saturday, June 11th at the Deer Creek American Legion. Sign up from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. $25 per person includes a t-shirt and food. Contact (309) 447-6776 for more details.

Area Roundup  |  
Back Seat Radio Plays the Vineyard

Back Seat Radio Plays the Vineyard

Saturday, June 25th, The Mackinaw Valley Vineyard presents Backseat Radio - a 4 person band playing all the chart toppers from today and yesteryear. $5 per person, 12 and under are free.

Area Roundup  |  
Yard Waste Pickup Day

Yard Waste Pickup Day

Monday, June 13th is the next Yard Waste pickup day in Mackinaw. Have your bags of dry landscape out on the curb by 6:00 A.M. and city workers will do the rest.

Local News  |  
Benefit for Brian Waldon

Benefit for Brian Waldon

Starting at 1:00 P.M. On Saturday, July 9th, the American Legion will be bursting with live music and fun events that are slated to last until at least 11:00 P.M. Performances with no less than 7 bands are scheduled, along with multiple raffles, and live auctions. A bags tournament is also being held, with a cash prize going to the Number 1 team. Not to mention the dunk tank, bake sales, and games for the little ones. Perhaps the biggest item of the raffle is a Smith & Wesson M & P Shield Plus, a 9mm pistol meant for concealed carry, which also comes with 4 magazines. 

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Poppies Bloom for Memorial Day

Poppies Bloom for Memorial Day

The Red Poppy was popularized by a poem, written by Canadian doctor John McCrea after the first battle of Ypres during World War One, known as “In Flanders Field''. The poem uses the flower to invoke feelings of deep loss while also symbolizing hopes of rebuilding a better world from the wreckage of a war-torn Europe. In 1920, the Red Poppy became the symbol of the American Legion and, four years later, the Legion started distributing the flower on Memorial Day weekend to remind Americans of the sacrifice made by soldiers destined to never return home from their military service. 

Area Roundup  |  
Benefit for Brian Waldon

Benefit for Brian Waldon

On Saturday, July 9th, from 1:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. A benefit is being held for local resident Brian Waldon at The Deer Creek American Legion. Come enjoy live music, a bags tournament, and raffle drawings. 

Area Roundup  |  
Concert at the Vineyard

Concert at the Vineyard

Saturday, June 4th, The Mackinaw Valley Vineyard presents “Concert at the Vineyard - Decade of Decadence”, a look back to the most popular music of the 80’s. Bring your own snacks, just no beverages of any kind. $5 per person.

Local News  |  
After School Program Fills Community Needs

After School Program Fills Community Needs

Melanie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and has years experience teaching in both public and private schools before becoming a stay at home mother. She is also no stranger to leadership roles in local churches, having served in several churches before finding her way to Mackinaw and New Castle Bible Church. Melanie began making plans for the program when she was hired for her current position in May of 2021. Speaking of the 2021/2022 school year, Melanie tells me “We have had a great year with 38 students enrolled and 26 families. Daily we have free play time, a snack and daily devotional time, homework help, and organized gametime. The program also offers free tutoring for those who are signed up.”

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Local Youth Grabs Gold

Local Youth Grabs Gold

Jadon tells me that he has always had a bit of an interest in shooting and has been known to shoot his .22 repeating rifle off of the back porch of the family home, allegedly. When looking for another hobby his parents, Matt and Kiana Nafziger, took Jadon to Central Illinois Precision Shooting (CIPS), located in Bloomington. Traveling to CIPS up to three times a week for practice, it didn’t take long for the Nafziger family to realize that Jadon was a natural shooter. Jadon scored top marks as he made his way through local competitions, eventually earning an invite to the Regional Championships earlier this month.

Area Roundup  |  
Early Dismissal

Early Dismissal

On Thursday, May 26, Dee-Mack schools will be letting students out at 1:30 P.M.

Area Roundup  |  
Music, Wine, and Craft Beer Festival

Music, Wine, and Craft Beer Festival

Saturday, May 28th, the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard will be hosting a Music, Wine, and Craft Beer Festival from 11:00 A.M. to 11:00 P.M. and then again on Sunday May 29th from 12:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. The event includes live music both days and will be held rain or shine. $15 per person.

Area Roundup  |  
Yard Waste Pickup Day

Yard Waste Pickup Day

Monday, May 23rd is the official Yard Waste Pickup Day for Mackinaw. Dry landscape waste bags must be placed out at the curb by 6:00 a.m. on the day it is to be collected.  Pick-up will occur on the second and fourth Mondays of each month.

Local News  |  
Teen Assailants Are Well Known to Area Police

Teen Assailants Are Well Known to Area Police

On the evening of May 2nd, at approximately 8:22 P.M. Deputy Pawlak, of the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Blake Huffman. Also in the vehicle were Reece Robertson along with an unidentified juvenile female. As Deputy Pawlak approached the vehicle, he recognized the odor of cannabis and requested the help of another unit, with Officer Gilmore of the Mackinaw Police Department responding. 

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Assault at Casey's Leads to Arrests

Assault at Casey's Leads to Arrests

Witnesses tell The Mail that the next few moments happened fast: a fight started between Hale and at least 4 teens. While Hale was defending himself, the young mother who he stepped in to defend was given time to leave the parking lot in her vehicle. At one point, Hale produced a taser and defensively used it on at least one of his assailants. As quickly as it started, the teens fled to their vehicle and beat a hasty retreat. 

Area Roundup  |  
Decade of Decadence

Decade of Decadence

Saturday, June 4th, from 7:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. The Mackinaw Valley Vineyard presents “Concert at the Vineyard - Decade of Decadence”, a tribute to 80’s Hair Band era. Tickets are $5 per person, no advance tickets available.

Area Roundup  |  
Honky Tonk Happy Hour

Honky Tonk Happy Hour

Thursday, May 19th, the Deer Creek American Legion is hosting K&R Country for Honky Tonk Happy Hour. The event starts at 11:00 P.M.

Area Roundup  |  
Spring Clean up Day

Spring Clean up Day

Reminder: Saturday, May 21st is Mackinaw’s Spring Clean Up Day. Items for disposal must be on the curb by 6:00 A.M. More requirements can be found at mackinawil.gov under the “Upcoming Events” section.

Local News  |  
Rural Route One Meat Company

Rural Route One Meat Company

Unfortunately, the current economic situation has been less than kind to Rural Route One Meat Co., “Inflation has caused the price of all our inputs to go up 30-50%. Feed, gas, and electricity have all increased substantially”, Emily tells me. However, she goes on and explains the only solution available, “We have tried to absorb as much cost as possible to keep our prices steady for our customers through this season of inflation.”

Area Roundup  |  
Colt Ball and Stumpy Joe

Colt Ball and Stumpy Joe

On Thursday, May 12th, at 6:00 P.M. The Deer Creek American Legion presents Colt Ball and Stumpy Joe “Bendin’ Strings and Tapping Toes”. Head on down for a healthy portion of Feel Good Music!

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