erik-malmgren
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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.

 


The Origins of Halloween
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The Origins of Halloween

One of the world’s oldest holidays, the origins of Halloween pre-date much of recorded history. A form of Halloween was being celebrated by Celtic peoples in Northwestern Europe, Ireland, and the United Kingdom long before Julius Caesar fought for control of those areas. Since those times, Halloween has evolved in a fashion that would come to mirror the traditions and values of each country it is celebrated in.   READ MORE...

Community Spotlight  |  October 17, 2021
A Brief History of Mackinaw

A Brief History of Mackinaw

Originally the first seat of government for Tazewell County, Mackinaw draws its name from the local Kickapoo Indian tribe that was said to live in the western and south-western parts of the county. During this time, local tribes were still dealing with some upheaval caused by local events and friction between tribes. For a period of time, the Kickapoo Indians were not considered friendly to non-natives, but were subdued in part due to influence from the local Potawatomi tribe. Luckily, the Potawatomi tribe was superior in numbers compared to surrounding tribes. Eventually, Kickapoo Chief Mackina would come around and begin the process of building neutral, if not friendly, relations with local settlers. Unfortunately, due to national events in 1832, local tribes would largely evacuate from the state of Illinois.

Local News  |  October 17, 2021
Hallo-wine DJ Dance Costume Party

Hallo-wine DJ Dance Costume Party

On Saturday October 30th, The Mackinaw Valley Vineyard will host “Hallo-wine DJ Dance Costume Party & Salsa Lessons” from 7:30 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. Come for an hour of Salsa dance lessons at 7:30, followed by a dance party with awards for top costumes. $15 per person and reservations are strongly suggested. For reservations, call 309-359-9463

Local News  |  October 17, 2021
Pumpkin Painting at the Legion

Pumpkin Painting at the Legion

The Deer Creek American Legion is hosting a Kids Pumpkin Decorating Party on Saturday October 23rd, from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. Lunch and treats will be provided when you are finished decorating your pumpkin. Call 309-447-6776 to sign up.

Local News  |  October 17, 2021
Tail Gate Party

Tail Gate Party

Friday October 22nd, John Zaiser - Country Financial is throwing a tailgate party for the last high school football game of the season. Food, drinks, and activities for the children will all be available from 5 P.M. to 7 P.M.

Top Story  |  October 10, 2021
Dee-Mack Homecoming

Dee-Mack Homecoming

The Dee-Mack Chiefs gave fans an exciting show as part of their Homecoming festivities on Friday night in a game that had fans on their feet. 

Local News  |  October 10, 2021
Cash Drawing

Cash Drawing

Tuesday October 12th, Haynes on Main will again hold their cash drawing sometime between 6 P.M. and 8 P.M. The amount this week is $1,925! Remember, you must be signed up before the day of the drawing.

Local News  |  October 10, 2021
Music on the Patio

Music on the Patio

On October 17th, The Mackinaw Valley Vineyard will be hosting musician Greg Williams for “Music on the Patio”. The show runs from 1 P.M. to 4 P.M. No cover charge. Chocolatier chocolates and Ropp Jersey cheese will also be available.

Local News  |  October 10, 2021
Water Main Flushing

Water Main Flushing

Reminder: The Village of Mackinaw will be flushing hydrants in Mackinaw and Heritage Lake October 11th through the 15th and October 18th through the 22nd. Residents may experience loss of water pressure and/or a slight discoloration of water.

Community Spotlight  |  October 3, 2021
Emery Joseph Whisler

Emery Joseph Whisler

For this week's profile, I had the opportunity to dust off a little project I haven’t quite gotten around to trying to: track the details surrounding the military service of Emery Whisler, a son of Mackinaw. Take a visit to Veterans Park and you’ll find a memorial inscribed with the words “Priv. Emery J. Whistler 122 M.G. Bn. 33 Div. 1898-1918”, indicating that young Emery was a member of the 122nd Machine Gun Battalion of the 33rd Division during World War One. Starting with this information, here is what I’ve been able to piece together.

Local News  |  October 3, 2021
Pumpkin Mandalas and Wine

Pumpkin Mandalas and Wine

Pumpkin Mandalas and Wine at the Mackinaw Valley Winery on Thursday, October 7th from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. If you feel your home needs a little extra Halloween decor, come out and paint ceramic pumpkins! The cost is $45 and, of course, includes a wine tasting.

Local News  |  October 3, 2021
Second Dose

Second Dose

Reminder for those who attended last week's vaccination clinic at the Mackinaw United Methodist Church and need their second dose: the date to do so is October 14th.

Local News  |  October 3, 2021
Tail Gate Party

Tail Gate Party

On Friday October 22nd from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M., Zaiser Country Financial will host a tailgate party for the final home Dee-Mack football game of the season. Food and drinks will be available, as well as plenty of activities for the children, and even some giveaway items. Mark your calendar and come out to support the Chiefs!

Music  |  October 3, 2021
Highway J Plays the Vineyard

Highway J Plays the Vineyard

Local musicians Highway J appeared at the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard on Saturday, September 25. If the band name sounds familiar, there is a reason for that: Highway J has appeared at the Vineyard many times throughout the years, this time around for the Summer Concert Series. Composed of 5 musicians, Highway J can be best described as an exciting fusion that brings together classic rock, a dash of country, along with contemporary hits.

Local News  |  September 26, 2021
Animal Reiki Training

Animal Reiki Training

Wednesday October 6th, Yoga4Life will host an Animal Reiki Training starting at 6:30 P.M. Come learn how to bond with your pet and how this practice is beneficial to an animal's health. Tickets are $20 and may be obtained by calling 309-349-1041

Local News  |  September 26, 2021
Family Night at NCBC

Family Night at NCBC

Local News  |  September 26, 2021
Sunday Funday at the Vineyard

Sunday Funday at the Vineyard

Sunday October 3rd, The Mackinaw Valley Vineyard presents SUNday FUNday with musical guest Brushville, from 3 P.M. to 6 P.M. $10 per person, 12 and under are free. Bring a lawn chair!

Local News  |  September 26, 2021
Tuesday Night Cash Drawing

Tuesday Night Cash Drawing

Head up to Haynes on Main and get signed up for their Tuesday Night Cash Drawing. For every week the pot is not claimed, $25 will be added. One lucky winner could take home $1,875 this coming Tuesday! The drawing is held sometime between 7 P.M. and 9 P.M. and participants must be signed up before the day of drawing. 

High School Sports  |  September 26, 2021
Jim McDonald Field

Jim McDonald Field

In a small town with a passion for football, few locations mean as much to the community as the local football field. Not only is it a place for student athletes to congregate and compete, it is also a social outlet for adults. This is especially true for Mackinaw's Jim McDonald Field.      The argument could be made that the modern-day history of Jim McDonald Field starts with its namesake, Jim McDonald. Coming to Mackinaw as a student teacher from Eureka College in 1974, Jim went to work under then head coach Larry Young. After 5 seasons, McDonald was ready to take the reins himself for 2 years. While he did go back to assistant coach for another 2 years, Jim officially took over in 1982, where he would stay for the next 23 years. During his 25-year tenure, the Dee-Mack Chiefs amassed an impressive record of 178-84, with a state runner up finish in 1987 and 5 undefeated regular seasons.      In 1995, McDonald would be fundamental in establishing a JFL league for Deer Creek-Mackinaw. Starting with a goal of $11,000, several fundraisers were held that summer. Under Jim’s guidance, the club would go on to smash that goal, bringing in almost $20,000 with the help of many community members and businesses. As of 2018, the JFL teams would also play occasional games on the high school field.      McDonald went on to retire from coaching and teaching in 2005 at the end of yet another successful season that included a 9-0 regular season run, a Midstate Title, and a #1 state ranking. However, the winning tradition that Jim started would not end there. In 2016, under head coach Job Linboom, the Chiefs would bring home the state title after defeating Maroa-Forsyth 35-7 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.      In August of 2018, the Dee-Mack football stadium was dedicated to Jim McDonald during half time of their home opener against Tremont. The ceremony was emceed by current athletic director, Mitch Holmgren, and featured speeches from coach Job Linboom and former player Zach Zehr. The 11-minute ceremony can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6oSFnRZ3v4      The next home game at the Jim McDonald field will be on Friday October 8th, against the LeRoy Panthers at 7:00 P.M.

Community Spotlight  |  September 19, 2021
Dee-Mack Boosters Club

Dee-Mack Boosters Club

Should you decide to attend a Dee-Mack sporting event, you’ll likely find a group of people dedicated to supporting student athletes as well as Chiefs faculty. This group is the Dee-Mack Booster Club and, this week, The Mackinaw Mail was able to speak to Treasurer Sara Wilkins to get some insight into how the group operates and what the local community can do to support their overall mission.

Local News  |  September 19, 2021
Concert at the Vineyard

Concert at the Vineyard

On Saturday September 25th, The Mackinaw Valley Vineyard welcomes “Highway J” for their Concert at the Vineyard series. There is a cover charge of $5 per person and you may also reserve deck seating for an additional $5 per person. Outside food is welcome, no outside beverages.

Local News  |  September 19, 2021
Music Ministry

Music Ministry

At noon on Sunday September 26, The New Castle Bible Church will be hosting Music Ministry Informational. Lunch will be provided as Tysin Smith speaks about how teens and adults may be able to intertwine music and ministry.  

Local News  |  September 19, 2021
Paint Nite Event

Paint Nite Event

On Monday September 20th at 7 P.M. The Deer Creek American Legion will be offering “Paint Nite: Hummingbird Takes Flight”. Tickets are $27 per person and may be purchased at yaymaker.com. This is a 21+ event.

Local News  |  September 19, 2021
Vaccination Clinic

Vaccination Clinic

On Thursday September 23rd, Mackinaw United Methodist Church will be hosting a free Covid-19 vaccination clinic from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM Both Pfizer and J&J vaccinations will be available to those age 12 and older. No appointment needed, this is a walk-in only event. For those who chose the Pfizer vaccination, the follow-up date is October 14th for the second dose.

High School Sports  |  September 19, 2021
Chiefs Fall to Titans 14-6

Chiefs Fall to Titans 14-6

Another night of Friday Night Football is upon us as the Dee-Mack Chiefs host the El Paso-Gridley Titans. Both teams took the field for a 7 o’clock kickoff. The first quarter was incredibly exciting, starting with a Chiefs touchdown during a 6-minute drive, as Lucas Blumeyer ran the ball into the end zone. Unfortunately, a 2-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful. The resulting Titans possession would end with a fumble at their own 39-yard line, which was recovered by the Chiefs defense.       The first snap of the Chiefs drive would go high, resulting in a 2nd fumble in as many plays; giving the Titans the ball. 2 plays later, the Titans threw an impressive pass to put 7 points on the board, after a successful PAT.       The 2nd quarter was an absolute slug fest with both teams trying to out-maneuver each other, but to no avail, despite an excellent interception by sophomore Tyce Albritton. The first half would end with an attempted field goal by El Paso which fell short. 7-6, Titans.      El Paso started the 3rd quarter with control of the ball. On the first play of their drive the snap went wide, resulting in a 20-yard loss for the Titans. This drive ended in a punt; however, the next Titan possession would put another 7 points on the board for a score of 14-6.       For the start of the 4th quarter, the Chiefs take possession. Despite a valiant effort, they couldn’t get past the Titan defense. The Chiefs last possession was an attempted rally that yielded 3 excellent passes, but the Chiefs were stopped about 40 yards short of the goal line. El Paso would then take a knee to run out the clock.

Top Story  |  September 12, 2021
Fire At The Roadhouse

Fire At The Roadhouse

In the early morning hours of Sunday September 5th, a structure fire occurred at The River Roadhouse, 30573 IL-9 in Mackinaw. According to Training Officer Roger Benhoff, of the Mackinaw Fire Department, firefighters reacted to the initial alarm at approximately 4:37 A.M. and 13 firefighters were soon on the scene. Before long, the decision was made to also bring in units from both Tremont and Minier Fire Departments for extra assistance. Working under clear conditions, firefighters battled the blaze for about 4 hours before being able to extinguish the flames, with no injuries reported.      Referring to an Illinois State report that The Mail has yet to obtain, Training Officer Roger Benhoff reported that the fire is believed to have started in the southwest corner of the building as a result of a faulty electrical box. When asked about the damage that occurred to the interior of the building, Roger responded “Gutted. I believe it will be a total loss.” A dollar estimate of damage is not immediately available.       The Mail has reached out to the owners of The River Roadhouse and the Illinois State Fire Marshal. Neither were available for comment at  time of publication.  

Local News  |  September 12, 2021
Music at the Vineyard

Music at the Vineyard

On Saturday September 13, The Mackinaw Valley Vineyard is hosting “Backseat Radio” from 7:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. $5 per person cover, 12 and under are free. Bring a lawn chair!

Local News  |  September 12, 2021
Paintball Golf

Paintball Golf

Thursday September 16, at 6:00 P.M., head on down to Pub 52 for Paintball Golf. Make your way around the course and enjoy drinks after!

Local News  |  September 12, 2021
Women's Bible Study

Women's Bible Study

Tuesday September 14, The New Castle Bible Church will be having a Women’s Bible Study from 6:45 P.M. to 8:15 P.M. Focus will be on the book of Acts

Spotlight  |  September 12, 2021
Pub 52

Pub 52

Born from a need for paintball, Pub 52 has had a wild evolution. Explaining this evolution, owner Larry Morgan, took me on a quick tour of the property. We started on the paintball course, where he showed me a couple “Holes” for his next idea: paintball golf. Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like, and it looks just as hard. Next, he took me to the side of his building and pointed out his plans to expand the cement landing for more outdoor space. Larry also quickly told me about other ideas he has tried in the past: miniature golf and batting cages. Shrugging with a bit of a smile, Larry says “Some ideas work out, others don’t”.

High School Sports  |  September 12, 2021
Dee-Mack Friday Night Football

Dee-Mack Friday Night Football

Football fans couldn’t have asked for a better evening to watch a football game. Pork chops were on the grill as fans filed into the stadium. After a brief opening ceremony that included the Mackinaw JFL football teams, it was game time.

Community Spotlight  |  September 5, 2021
Piper Evelsizer

Piper Evelsizer

Numbers are hard to come by, but there are an estimated 70 million stray cats in America. The Chicagoland area, alone, is estimated to have 200,000 strays. As one could guess, very few of these cats are spayed/neutered. The good news is that there is a local group working to bring those local numbers down by housing these strays until they can find their “forever homes”. This week, I sat down with a member of that group, TLC Fosters, to get the full scoop.

Local News  |  September 5, 2021
Burt Mercier Memorial Claybird Classic

Burt Mercier Memorial Claybird Classic

The Burt Mercier Memorial Claybird Classic is being held at the Oakridge Sportsmans Club on Thursday September 23 from 12:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. This event will feature 10 shooting stations and all proceeds will go to the Burt Mercer Endowment Fund at Easter Seals Timber Pointe Center.

Local News  |  September 5, 2021
Newcomers Breakfast

Newcomers Breakfast

Sunday September 12 from 9:30 A.M. to 10:30 A.M. The New Castle Bible Church is hosting a Newcomers Breakfast. 

Local News  |  September 5, 2021
Vineyard Brings ZA FUNK

Vineyard Brings ZA FUNK

On Saturday September 11 from 7 to 11 P.M. Mackinaw Valley Vineyard is hosting the band ZA FUNK. $5 per person, 12 and under are free. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.

Community Spotlight  |  August 29, 2021
Pastor Shelly Forrest

Pastor Shelly Forrest

Born in Owatonna MN, Shelly Forrest knew from a young age that the ministry was her calling. Speaking of her childhood, Shelly describes brownie scouts, piano lessons, singing in both high school and church choir, as well as her summer trips to church camp. As a senior in high school, Shelly was invited to a denomination-wide retreat put on by the Methodist Church meant to encourage those who were exploring the call to ministry. By the end of the weekend, she was sure that is exactly what she wanted to do.

Local News  |  August 29, 2021
Congregational Meeting

Congregational Meeting

New Castle Bible Church, located at 17931 Dee Mac Rd, is holding a Congregational Meeting on Sunday August 29 at 6:00 P.M. The event may be attended on-line or in person. Childcare will not be available.

Local News  |  August 29, 2021
Grape Stomp Festival

Grape Stomp Festival

Sunday September 5th, Mackinaw Valley Vineyard will be hosting their annual Grape Stomp and Harvest Festival from 12:00 P.M. until 6:00 P.M. Come enter the Lucy Look-a-Like contest at 3:30 P.M. for the chance at winning a $50 for the Best Lucy!

Local News  |  August 29, 2021
K & R Country at Pub 52

K & R Country at Pub 52

On Saturday September 4th, K&R Country will be playing at Pub 52 in Mackinaw. No cover charge, 21 and over only.

Local News  |  August 29, 2021
Masterpiece Painting Class

Masterpiece Painting Class

Mackinaw Valley Vineyard is hosting a Masterpiece Painting Class on Sunday August 29th from 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. This event is open to everyone and tickets can be found at merlotandmasterpiece.com

Spotlight  |  August 29, 2021
Mackinaw IGA

Mackinaw IGA

At the corner of N. Main and Fast Ave. sits a pillar of the Mackinaw community - a building in which every resident of Mackinaw has visited, most on a weekly basis. Honestly, it would be tough to overstate the relationship Mackinaw IGA has with the community. If it’s possible for a small-town grocery store to transcend into something much more, Mackinaw IGA has surely reached that status. 

Spotlight  |  August 22, 2021
The Tea Room at the Depot

The Tea Room at the Depot

At the edge of Mackinaw sits an interesting piece of central Illinois history. Known as “The Tea Room” today, this old train station was once a stop on a trolley line that existed between Champaign and St. Louis. In 1978, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Despite this designation, The Depot sat empty for 40 years until an experienced business woman with a vision stepped in. Enter: Beth Wiegand.

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