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Investment Insight for Every Generation Since 1854 sm
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cover Story Full Throttle............................................................................16
Publisher/Owner Jim Muir
Swinging for the Stars............................................................12
Account Executive Cheryl Hughey
Fresh from the Farm...............................................................22
Marion Garden Club is on the Mark(er).................................26
Ceasar Maragni Christopher Kays
Contributing Writers Harry Boyd Lila H. Colloton Don Gasaway Sue Glasco Ceasar Maragni Jim Muir Jon Musgrave Bernie Paul Dixie Terry George Trammell
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America’s Finest Honored.....................................................29 6
Black Diamond Harley-Davidson....................................................7 City of Marion................................................................................2 Coleman-Rhoads Furniture............................................................7 Heartland Regional Medical Center............................................31 Hilliard Lyons.................................................................................3 Hospice of So. Illinois....................................................................25 Image Graphics...........................................................................30 John A. Logan College..................................................................11 Marion Chamber of Commerce.....................................................25 McDonalds............................................................................30 Neon Internet ...............................................................................7 Saluki Illustrated..........................................................................30 SI Elder Law..................................................................................25 SIU Credit Union...........................................................................10 T-Birds Grille..................................................................................7 The Bank of Marion.......................................................................32 Williamson Co. Tourism Bureau....................................................30
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a u g u s t
on the Cover:
Owners Shad Zimbro, left and Rodney Cabaness, right, outside their Black Diamond Harley-Davidson dealership in Marion. Ceasar maragni photo
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reetings and welcome to the August issue of Marion Living Magazine.
With July in the rearview mirror we’ve entered the lazy, hazy days of summer and while I hate to be the bearer of bad news for youngsters (good news for parents) school will be starting shortly. Certainly, we’re in those good old dog days of summer. Since the purchase of ML back in late 2008 this is our ninth issue that’s been published and I feel like we’re finding our niche in the direction we want to go. Always, and I do mean always, we’re trying to tweak things and make a better publication. And of course the input of readers is crucial for us to accomplish that. So, once again let me encourage you to write, call or email us with suggestions, both good and bad. Our cover story this month features Black Diamond Harley-Davidson, a Marion business that I described in the story as “a phenomenon.” If you think that might be an exaggeration I would challenge you to take a stroll through the dealership, located on Williamson County Parkway, near the Illinois Centre Mall. The success generated by Black Diamond in the two short years since the business changed hands – in the top 10 for new motorcycle sales and number one for used motorcycle sales in the entire nation – is … well … nothing short of a phenomenon. I think you’ll enjoy the feature that highlights the business and the contrasting personalities of owners Shad Zimbro and Rodney Cabaness, who by the way just happen to be lifelong friends. The road construction on the west side of Marion along West Main Street near Interstate 57 has been a longrunning project that has tested the mettle of even the most patient driver – which I’m not. I always try to calm my nerves by telling myself that projects like this create jobs and smoother travel when it’s finished. A recent conversation with Marion Garden Club member Barbara Koller prompts a story in this month’s magazine about a Blue Star Highway marker that has been in storage for two years while the construction project has been underway. Here’s a little history lesson, one that I just recently learned. Blue Star Highway markers are found throughout the United States usually placed along major highways and at interstate highway rest stops or at parks dedicated to veterans. They are paid for, installed and maintained by local garden clubs such as the Marion Garden Club. They are placed to honor all who serve, or have served, in the Armed Forces of the United States. The Marion Garden Club will host a formal program to celebrate the marker’s return on Friday, September 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the site. As always we believe we have a mixed-bag of goodies (stories) for you this month, and I want to stress again that we want to hear from you. Our mailing address is 100 Tower Square Plaza, Marion, IL 62959. You can reach me by email at email@example.com and by phone at 618-525-4744. Thanks for your support, and as always … enjoy!
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CUSTOM TWO COLOR PAINT
CUSTOM EXHAUST SYSTEM
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john d. homan story & photo
Marion native Kim Dixon has been running the numbers at John A. Logan College for more than a quarter of a century
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ard work and perseverance has certainly paid off for Kim Dixon. The Marion native, who is the daughter of the late Herbert and Gertrude Kobler, has worked her way from a staff accountant in the mid 1980s to Dean of Financial Operations today at John A. Logan College. “I feel fortunate to have started so young and gotten the experience here that I needed to do my job effectively,” Dixon said. “I take pride in my work and attribute the successful operations of the business office to the support of my staff. “Corina Horn (Director of Accounting Services) and Stacy Buckingham (Associate Dean for Payroll and Benefits), deserve a lot of credit, along with all of my support staff. They work hard each day to fulfill their duties and responsibilities. We have a great team in a positive work environment.” The 48-year-old Dixon is a 1979 graduate of Marion High School. She went on to earn her associate’s degree from JALC in business administration and accounting and then her bachelor’s degree in accounting from SIUC two years later.
– Kim Dixon, JALC Dean of Financial Operations After completing her academic career, Dixon accepted an accounting position with a Carbondale firm and then switched to JALC in 1985 when there was an opening. “I eventually moved up from staff accountant to coordinator of business services and now dean,” Dixon said. “I have always felt that what I do is important in making our college successful.”
Kim Dixon, Dean for Financial Operations at John A. Logan College, goes over some financial statements with Brad McCormick, Vice President for Business Services and College Facilities
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“Kevin grew up real close to where we live now,” Dixon said. A Sunday school teacher with the Zion United Church of Christ in Marion, Dixon said she finds working with preschool children a rewarding experience. “I don’t have that many hobbies. I like to read as time permits. I’ve written a few poems for special occasions and our family goes swimming out at the lake, but most of my free time has been spent with the boys and their activities over the years.” As a lifelong resident of Marion, Dixon said she is amazed at the community’s growth.
– Brad McCormick, Vice President for Business Services at JALC One of five daughters raised east of Marion near Pittsburg, Dixon said her father taught agriculture at Marion High School for 30-plus years. Her mother was mostly a homemaker and had her hands full raising a large family. Kim’s sisters include: Paulette (Chicago), Jennifer (Marion), Barbara (Marion) and Gwen (Lake of Egypt). “I got my work ethic from my parents,” Dixon said. “They taught me to be responsible and always give the best effort I can.” Brad McCormick, Vice President for Business Services and College Facilities at Logan, serves as Dixon’s supervisor. “Kim is the college’s financial historian,” he said. ”She puts together our budget, tax levy, annual audit and handles the financial details with all grants administered. She is a very valuable employee here at the college and is doing a good job in moving our business office into the digital age.” McCormick added that Dixon has made his job easier for him since he arrived at the college two years ago. Dixon and her husband, Kevin, have been married for 24 years and have two sons, Kyle, a college student at Logan, and Kurt, a freshman at Marion High School. Kevin works as a conservation resources technician with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at the Little Grassy Fish Hatchery. The family currently resides on 40 acres of land near Little Grassy Lake on the far southwest end of Marion.
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“The infrastructure improvements alone are astounding,” she said. “The Morgan Avenue project, for example, was a great addition and Rent One Park is beautiful. Who would have believed that we would have minor league baseball here in Marion? “And then there are the many restaurants and places to shop like the Illinois Centre Mall. You have to give credit to Mayor (Bob) Butler. He is truly a man of vision. He was greatly responsible for the growth of this city. Our children today take for granted what all we have here. But I’m old enough to remember how things were when I was growing up and what we didn’t have. We’re very proud to call Marion home.”
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jim muir photos by ceasar
Swinging for the Stars Hit Repair, a new business in Marion, is bustinâ€™ at the seams with youngsters looking to develop and hone their baseball and softball skills 12 â€˘ marion living magazine
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new Marion business is taking advantage of the that fact more and more athletes are specializing in one sport.
Hit Repair, located at 1907 Princeton Avenue in Marion, deals specifically with baseball and softball, offering oneon-one instruction in hitting and pitching. Hit Repair also offers the services of two well-known area coaches/players that have decades of experience behind them. Bob Simpson, a Harrisburg native and former coach at Southeastern Illinois College, has more than 20 years experience helping hitters improve their swing. Several players that Simpson coached and instructed have gone on to collegiate and professional careers. Assisting Simpson is Crab Orchard native Cory Bailey
who also played college baseball at Southeastern Illinois College before embarking on a professional career that included stints with the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and Boston Red Sox. Marion Living photojournalist Ceasar Maragni (quite an aspiring baseball player himself back in the day) paid a visit to Hit Repair and captured the high intensity workouts of several area players. As you focus on these top quality photos you can almost hear the sound of leather popping and bat meeting ball. Anyone wanting more information about Hit Repair can contact Simpson at 618-926-1079 or Bailey at 618-889-9708.
ABOVE: Blake Jackson of Carterville attacks a pitch in the cage. LEFT: Ryan Darnell lets one rip from the indoor mound as twin brother Lance looks on. The two are from Thompsonville. FAR LEFT: Hit Repair owners Bob Simpson and Cory Bailey head up the area’s newest baseball training facility
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Fall Hunting Vacations Available in Williamson County
quirrel and dove season are open and other seasons will soon follow. But, hunting is not the only outdoor opportunity available in southern Illinois. Fall fishing for catfish, bass, crappie, bluegill and sunfish is also available on the many public lakes. All in all there is hunting and fishing available on some 400,000 acres of public access land within an hour drive of Williamson County. Cooling temperatures, falling leaves and shorter days lead to an annual fall rite that will continue for the next few months. Fall turkey and archery deer hunters will be taking to the woods soon. Fur bearer hunters, such as raccoon and coyote, are looking forward to the cooler months when those animals have a better pelt. Northern Williamson County contains substantial rabbit populations for those that search that speedster. Teal hunting is the lead into the waterfowl season that is coming. It will not be long until flocks of ducks and geese will return to the area for their annual wintering on Crab Orchard Lake and other bodies of water in the area. Some of the fishing available can range from bass fishing in the wooded areas to crappie and bluegill fishing throughout the area. The catfish in Big Muddy River and Crab Orchard Lake is good in the fall. Over at Devil's Kitchen Lake on the south end of Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge the trout are biting near the dam. A nice quiet way to spend the morning would be to go crappie fishing out on Devil's Kitchen Lake. The clear deep waters hold good populations of trout and crappie. Later in the day one could move to the hickory groves in the woods to the south of the lake in the open hunting area of the refuge. The squirrels in the area seem to be more active from about four in the afternoon until dark. If that is not enough, one could return to fishing for night bass action on one of the area lakes. The time around dusk seem to stimulate the bass appetite in
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the shallows and timber where they have spent the day out of the sun. Bass, catfish and panfish are plentiful on Little Grassy Lake, two miles south of Devil's Kitchen Lake. Water level on all the area lakes is good and has been all summer. For those hunt
wanting to or fish other areas of southern Illinois, it is possible to stay in one of the comfortable motels in Williamson County and travel out to various locations. The Shawnee National Forest and various state parks also offer hunting and fishing opportunities and are within a few minutes of Marion, Illinois on Interstate 57 at Exit 54. Full color hunting and fishing guides and brochures are available free upon request from the Williamson County Tourism Bureau. Free information regarding motel accommodations and points of interest is available from Williamson County Tourism Bureau, 1602 Sioux Drive, Marion, Illinois 62959 or by calling 1-800-GEESE-99. Information is also available online at: www.visitsi.com, the Williamson County Tourism Bureau website. Their e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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AUGUST EVENTS CALENDAR
Fishing Clinic • Monday, August 3 • 10 a.m. The Department of Natural Resources will present a ﬁshing clinic for all ages. Free and open to the public. Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Program Wednesday, August 5 • 10 a.m. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois representative Cheri Russell will present a free educational session on “Choosing the Medicare Supplement Plan That’s Right for You.” The program will provide an overview of the choices of insurance that supplement Medicare beneﬁts. Hatari! • Friday, August 14 • 1 p.m. John Wayne and his ensemble cast cavort over the African landscape ﬁlling orders from zoos for wild animals. The 1962 movie is approved for general audiences. Friends of Marion Carnegie Library Sale Friday, August 14 and Saturday, August 15 • 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The sale will include books, DVDs, videotapes, CDs, puzzles and more! Most hardback books are $1 and paperbacks are $.25. Newer editions will have special prices well below market value. All available titles are organized by subject, making shopping easy. The library is accepting donations of used books and some other items for the sale. The library also needs volunteers to help with the sale. Friends of Marion Carnegie Library Meeting Wednesday, August 19 • 6:30 p.m. The Friends of Marion Carnegie Library invites the public to a meeting in the library’s Board Room. Everyone is welcome to stop by and learn about the Friends. The volunteer group supports the library in its mission to bring a wide variety of programs and services to the community. The Duchess • Monday, August 31 • 5 p.m. The “Read the Movie, Watch the Book” selection for August is the ﬁlm The Duchess. The ﬁlm is based on the book Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman. At the age of 17, Georgiana Spencer is married to the Duke of Devonshire. She soon realizes that hers is to be a loveless marriage and her only purpose in the arrangement is to provide her husband with a male heir. She does eventually make a life for herself, becoming quite active in politics and fashion of her day. Rated PG-13. Discussion time will be available after the movie. Games Group for all ages and skill levels on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. Anime Club for teens on Friday, August 7 and Saturday, August 22 at 1 p.m.
All programs are free and open to the public, unless noted.
206 S. Market • 993-5935 • www.marioncarnegielibrary.org Hours: Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. • Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. august 2009 • marion living magazine • 15
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Two totally opposite business p artners who just ppen to be best friends have cre ated a blueprint for success and the phenomeno n known as...
photos photos by by
jim MUIR ceasar MARAGNI story story by by
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ne has hair down to his shoulders while the other is clean-cut. One is shy, perhaps a little introverted, while the other is more outgoing, clearly extroverted. One prefers being in the background while the other one thrives in a crowd. One prefers watching over the day-to-day financial and administrative operation of the business while the other is a constant fixture in the showroom mixing and mingling with customers and is the face of the business. Add all those differences together and then toss in the fact that these two
business partners – Shad Zimbro and Rodney Cabaness – are lifelong friends and it all adds up to the phenomenon known as Black Diamond Harley-Davidson. Located on Williamson County Parkway near Illinois Centre Mall, Black Diamond is not your typical, run-of-the-mill motorcycle dealership. In fact, it might best be described as a revved-up, over-the-top, full-tilt, excitementfilled, flirting-with-the-edge nonstop party. Bands every weekend, plenty of classic rock music and beverages of your choice and
We really thought it would take us five years. But, we have gotten great support from the city of Marion and from Mayor (Bob) Butler and from the entire region. We’ve sold motorcycles to people from all over the United States. It ’s just been unbelievable. Shad Zimbro, co-owner of Black Diamond Harley-Davidson cutting-edge commercials are only a few of the things that has established Black Diamond as ‘the’ place to be … regardless if it’s Saturday evening or mid-morning on Monday. But, don’t get the idea that it’s all eat, drink and be merry with no work involved – work, of course, meaning motorcycle sales and service. During the past two years Black Diamond has consistently been one of the top 10 leading dealerships in sales of new motorcycles in the United States and
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currently is the top dealership in the entire nation in used motorcycle sales.
“It’s just gotten better and better and we are busier and busier,” said Cabaness about the tremendous success that Black Diamond has enjoyed. “It’s sort of hard to explain how quickly things took off.”
The friendship between Zimbro and Cabaness can be traced back to their childhood in Sesser and the two remained friends throughout high school. Even back in their much younger days the two talked about going into business together. Zimbro explained that he and Cabaness “sort of went our separate ways” after school but did have one lingering bond. “I started working at General Tire and he (Cabaness) was working for Weeks Chevrolet but we both had Harleys and we road some together,” Zimbro said. The purchase of Campbell’s Harley-Davidson (now Black Diamond) came about on somewhat of a lark, Zimbro explained. “Rodney and I were out riding one day and we just decided to go talk to Phil (Campbell) and see if he was interested in selling and the next thing you know we got approved by HarleyDavidson. Everybody told us we’d have trouble getting approved but we pushed it right through and the rest is history,” said Zimbro. “We got very
and t h e bleakest economic outlook since the Great Depression. Zimbro credits the long lines of customers and soaring motorcycle sales to three things. “First, I think that people know and understand that Rodney and I are just ordinary guys and I think our customers can relate to that,” said Zimbro. “Secondly, we take care of
It ’s just gotten better and better and we are busier and busier. It ’s sort of hard to explain how quickly things took off. Rodney Cabaness, co-owner of Black Diamond Harley-Davidson
lucky and we’re very fortunate.” The success since the purchase has been nothing short of phenomenal, particularly during a year that has featured double-digit unemployment
our customers, no matter what the customer is going to be first. And also, we have outstanding employees; it is very much like a family here with our employees.”
Chrome consultant Erik Owens, left, and service technician Ryan Lynch, right, both of Waltonville, look up some items in the parts department. august 2009 • marion living magazine • 19
Saleswoman Daminie Walton of West Frankfort shows sunglasses to customer James Paul of Nashua, N.H. As evidence of the dramatic upturn in sales at Black Diamond the number of employees has grown from 14 to 46 in only two years, a number that Zimbro points to with pride. “We feel good that 46 people have a full-time job because of what we’re doing here,” said Zimbro. Both Zimbro and Cabaness say that some of the things they’ve witnessed during the past two years are “mindboggling.” “Last year on Black Friday people started lining up at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night,” said Zimbro. “By the time we opened they were wrapped all the way around our dealership, through Asian Bistro all the way up by McAllister’s.”
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Zimbro said he still “scratches his head” at the immediate success. “We really thought it would take us five years,” he said. “But, we have gotten great support from the city of Marion and from Mayor (Bob) Butler and from the entire region. We’ve sold motorcycles to people from all over the United States. It’s just been unbelievable.” Black Diamond recently constructed a 33,000-square feet facility near its dealership just to handle the volume of motorcycles that move through the facility. Cabaness said there has even been some preliminary discussion about a Harley-Davidsonthemed restaurant and perhaps even expanding on the current 25,000
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square-feet dealership. “We’ve talked about doing some other things,” Cabaness said. “But for right now our main focus is going to be to just continue taking care of our customers.” Cabaness said clearly his friendship with Zimbro trumps the business association. “Man, I couldn’t feel any stronger about working with somebody, and somebody that I think really compliments me, than Shad,” said Cabaness. “I can’t think of anybody that I would rather go to work with every day. I just think Shad is an awesome person.” When asked about the friendship/
“Rodney is just like family to me,” said Zimbro. “And I have total trust in him and what he does. We work some really long days and I can’t think of anybody else I’d want to be in business with.” Both owners also agreed that their very distinctive and different personalities create a unique business concept. Cabaness called the business relationship “sort of magical.” “I’m a behind-the-scenes guy and Shad’s out there in the store every day, directing the sales staff and he’s very involved in the day-to-day operation from that perspective,” said Cabaness. “I’m very involved also, but from more of an administrative standpoint. I love our customers too but one of us has to be in the background and I like being there. I feel very comfortable knowing Shad is handling the visible part of the business. I don’t have to worry about what he’s doing and he doesn’t have to worry about what I’m doing so I think in that regard we make an awesome team.” Both owners said every event and sales promotion that draws yet another huge crowd always leaves them wondering, ‘how do we top that.’ Zimbro called it “a good problem to deal with” but said it also keeps the wheels constantly turning to try and come up with new and even more innovative ways to create excitement and draw customers.” “We’re constantly thinking, ‘how do we top this,’ but now the higher-ups from Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee are sending people to our dealership to see what we’re doing, how we do it here to generate the success we have,” said Zimbro. “I think that says that what we’re doing is obviously working.” Cabaness agreed but added that it’s a belief of both owners and employees that Black Diamond is not close to reaching its peak. “Harley-Davidson is always coming out with new products, products that draw both men and women so that helps out a lot,” Cabaness said. “But as far as marketing goes we are always looking for new and fun ways to take care of our customers and make sure they are having a good time. We’re here to sell motorcycles but we’re also here to have a good time.”
work relationship Zimbro said two words come to mind – ‘trust and family.’
hile Black Diamond HarleyDavidson is a true success story, the Marion-based motorcycle dealership has also given back to the area in a big way. A partnership between Black Diamond and the four area community colleges – John A. Logan College in Carterville, Rend Lake College in Ina, Shawnee Community College in Ullin and Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg – provided a $1,000 scholarship for one student from each high school in the region. Black Diamond contributed $500 to each student, and in turn each community college agreed to match that amount. Recipients in the John A. Logan College district were Adam Curtis Stearns, Carbondale; Alexis Meyer, Carterville; A.J. Hutchins, Crab Orchard; Erica Lincoln, Du Quoin; Kyle Richard Morgan, Elverado; Lee Fisher, Herrin; Shelby Beal, Johnston City; Kris Aston Kilpatrick, Marion; Dylan Glodo, Murphysboro; Kacie King, Trico; and Jodi Williams, West Frankfort. Recipients in the Southeastern Illinois College district were Dallas James Beeding, Carrier Mills; Daniel Beal, Harrisburg; Brandon Bowman, Pope County; Arica Pennington, Norris City-Omaha-Enfield; Lauren Winkleman, Carmi; Ryan Flynn, Hardin County; Jesse Hopkins, Eldorado; and Justin Whipple, Gallatin County. Recipients in the Shawnee Community College district were Shelbi Morrison, Cobden; Justin Burton, Anna-Jonesboro; Meghan Bishop, Goreville; April Matlock, Shawnee; Renee Saurbrunn, Century; Courtney Hudson, Meridian; Chelsea Lyn McGinnis, Massac County; Sierra Saunders, Vienna; Jacqeline Hacker, Egyptian; and Richard Sharp, Joppa. Recipients in the Rend Lake College district were Emily Eubanks, Benton; Adam Moyers, Christopher; Kaila Ragan, McLeansboro; Ethan Capps, Mount Vernon; Lacy Mason, Pinckneyville; Phillip Sulser, Sesser-Vallier; Misty Webber, Thompsonville; Kaycee Hall, Waltonville; Taylor Preiss, Wayne City; Brandon Felty, Webber Township; Carrie Phelps, Woodlawn; and Faith Ann Fann, ZeiglerRoyalton.
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story & photos
Tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn, green beans or squash … it doesn’t matter what your favorite summertime vegetable is Marion’s Farmers’ Market has it in abundance
t's a feast for all the senses. Each summer Wednesday and Saturday mornings in Marion a group of truck farmers haul their home grown goodies to the Marion Senior Center parking lot on West Main Street where customers are offered the freshest of local produce and bakery products.
It all started several decades ago at the Williamson County Fairgrounds on the east side of town according to one of the veterans of the market, Virgil Robertson of Creal Springs. He explained, "The Young Republicans used to run it out at the fairgrounds. That was around thirty years ago and my mother and I used to participate." Robertson says he's not young anymore, but he's still a Republican. Just over a decade ago the vendors were offered the opportunity to move closer to town by the folks at the Senior Center and they jumped at the chance. According to most of the vendors today, it's been a good fit. One commented, "We don't have the shade we used to out there, but that's okay, we bring out own." For many like Jeanne Brumleve of Cobden, it's a market she loves setting up at. She commented, "I'm here every Wednesday and Saturday and I'm usually the first one here of the season and the last one at summer's end." Brumleve takes truck farming seriously, her family growing around 55 acres of fruits and vegetables each season. She said that her family also sets up at other area farmer's markets as well as providing a few local stores with fresh produce. She added, "We used to be a 100% shipping farm, but the trend is more people wanting locally grown produce." That seems to suit Marion market regulars like Lynette Cagle of Marion just fine. The retired school teacher said that she's there pretty much every Wednesday and Saturday seeking fresh corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. She added, "I nearly always buy some Amish baked goods. The blackberry pie is especially good!"
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LEFT: Every Wednesday and Saturday morning during summer months vendors bring fresh produce to Marion's Farmer's Market. BELOW: Rosetta Ward of Macedonia, Rock Bottom Farms, left, sells fresh peaches to Mildred Holmes of Johnston City. BOTTOM RIGHT: Some customers can’t wait until they get home to sample the fresh produce.
ABOVE: Crates of freshly picked sweet corn from Brumleve Farm in Cobden await eager shoppers. august 2009 • marion living magazine • 23
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FAR LEFT: Bill Burns is frequent vendor at the market. LEFT: Marion Farmer’s Market regular Lynette Cagle picks out some farm fresh tomatoes. BELOW: Potatoes fresh from the earth.
LEFT: Fresh baked pies are a big attraction at the market.
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ceasar maragni story & photos
Marion Garden Club is on the
Idled by the Illinois Department of Transportation for two years because of road construction on West Main Street, Marion’s Blue Star Highway Marker is finally back in place
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here's an active group of volunteers in Marion that sometimes seems to fly under the radar. But nonetheless, you've probably seen and appreciated the fruits of their labors. Since 1983 when it was first formed, members of the Marion Garden Club have spent literally hundreds of hours helping make “The Hub of the Universe” look prettier and more colorful. Currently boasting forty-one active members, the group works tirelessly to keep flowers and small plots scattered around town in good shape. The club has six ongoing projects which include an annual Arbor Day ceremony with tree plantings, garden therapy projects at local nursing homes, planting and maintaining flower beds at Marion's four city parks and the Williamson County Fairgrounds, selecting a Garden of the Month from May through October and caring for the flowers at the Blue Star Highway marker which they erected in 1992 in front of the Marion Veteran's Administration Medical Center. That memorial marker has just recently been erected again after being in storage two years while the Illinois Department of Transportation made major improvements, where the marker sits at the intersection of West Main Street and Interstate 57.
Club member Barbara Koller says that members are excited about getting the marker back in place. “We're so happy to get this important marker back in place,” said Koller Blue Star Highway markers are found throughout the United States, usually place along major highways and at Interstate Highway rest stops or at parks dedicated to veterans. They are paid for, installed and maintained by local garden clubs such as Marion's. They are placed to honor all who serve, or have served, in the Armed Forces of the United States. Koller said that their group has planned a formal program to celebrate the marker's return on Friday, September 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the site. The Marion Garden Club meets once a month at 1 p.m. at Heartland Christian Church in Marion and anyone interested in joining or attending one of their meetings is invited to call Koller at 993-8920 or 201-2502. She added, “We always welcome visitors.”
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The main entrance to the Williamson County Fairgrounds is planted with flowers provided and maintained by volunteers from the Marion Garden Club, as is the entrance to Ray Fosse Park (inset).
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America’s Finest Honored in Marion on September 12
f you like parades then be sure and mark your calendar for September 12 and plan on being in downtown Marion. That's when the 5th annual Veteran's On Parade gets underway at 11 a.m. with a display that's almost guaranteed to give goose bumps to those in attendance. This parade is unique in that only military veterans and those affiliated with them are allowed the honor of marching in the event. The only exceptions are a few invited area school bands and floats with a patriotic theme. But don't think that will result in a brief, boring parade, in fact quite the opposite will take place. Ed Davis, of Marion, is one of organizers of the event. “We
expect another big parade this year, with over a thousand parade participants."
In addition Davis said that they expect over three thousand spectators lining the parade route. “Each and every year the crowds have just grown and grown,” Davis said. “It's so gratifying to see people turning out like that to honor our veterans. And let me assure you, the veterans really, really appreciate the support.” In addition to the bands, floats and marching veterans there will be a bagpipe band. Davis said that the special honorees in this year's parade will be the men from southern Illinois who have lost their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Gold Star Mothers of these brave young men will have their own float in the parade, helping honor their fallen sons who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Davis said that anyone wishing to participate or with questions about the event is welcome to call him at 993-3379 or 967-9415. The parade begins at the Marion Junior High and proceeds east down Main Street to the Marion Tower Square and ends at Washington School. Participants should meet at the Marion Junior High at 10:30a.m.
august 2009 • marion living magazine • 29
30 â€˘ marion living magazine
â€˘ august 2009
august 2009 â€˘ marion living magazine â€˘ 31
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32 • marion living magazine TIMEZONEONE
18/06/09 4:21 PM
• august 2009 ISSUE: july
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