Atlanta Mail

Erik Malmgren

Erik Malmgren | Correspondent

Erik Malmgren was a Mail Correspondent covering the Mackinaw, Deer Creek and Heritage Lake communities until July 2022.

New Restaurant Opens in Mackinaw

Mackinaw gained a new restaurant with the opening of Eddy’s Kitchen Family Restaurant on June 28th. Providing a wide variety of menu options for breakfast and lunch, local residents are sure to find something delectable that will make Eddy’s a community staple. Chef Eddy’s wife, Iris, tells The Mail how Eddy’s Kitchen Family Restaurant came to fruition. 

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.

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.

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.

Dee-Mack Wrestling Hosts Open Gym Nights

In preparation for a rapidly approaching wrestling season, the Dee-Mack wrestling program has decided to host “Open Gym Practices” every Tuesday and Thursday this summer, from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. During the open gym practices, aspiring wrestlers of any age and ability level will have the opportunity to practice with both senior wrestlers and Dee-Mack coaches. Practices will run like a typical practice during the wrestling season and will consist of a warm up routine and then work on basic fundamentals of the sport.

A Night Out With the Stanford Police

Honestly, I was a bit surprised to receive an invite for a ride-along from Stanford Police Chief Dustin Carter. While Chief Carter has shown himself to be more than willing to work with local media - I’ve spoken with him a few different times on past articles - it’s quite the jump to go from answering press questions over email to inviting the local media into a squad vehicle to see what police see. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity. After finalizing a date and then having to take a rain check due to my pesky full time job, we settled on meeting at the Stanford Town Hall at 4:00 P.M. on Saturday, July 2nd.

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

Offering Help for Those in Need

When it comes to helping local residents in need, the Mackinaw Community Center Food Pantry is stepping in to help in a big way. Located in the Mackinaw Community Center at 101 S. Orchard St, the organization is currently ramping up their efforts as need in the community grows. This week, pantry board members invited The Mail to come down and check out their operation in the hopes of getting the word out about the big plans that are in the works.

View of Main Street in downtown Galena, Illinois.

Staycation Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

During a time when the price of, well, pretty much everything keeps increasing, many families find themselves feeling like long and luxurious vacations are simply out of the picture. Instead, many families are opting for a “staycation” - a smaller trip, or multiple small trips, closer to home. A staycation can drastically cut the cost of fuel and lodging, while also providing an opportunity to learn about the places that are closer to home that one might otherwise have passed up. If you’re feeling like that trip to the Gulf of Mexico or beyond just isn’t in the budget this year, here are some ideas for smaller trips within state lines:

Food Banks Help Address Summer Hunger

Schools may be out of session and concerns about grades may be temporarily abated, for many students, this is the season of “Summer Hunger”. For kids who rely on school meals for the majority of their nourishment during the school year, summer can quickly turn into 3 months of hunger and tension. Past research shows that family grocery costs can increase as much as $300 a month during the summer. In the Summer of 2022, one might expect those increased costs to rise even further, leaving many low-income families in a precarious situation.

Police Respond to Attempted Child Abduction

Residents of Armington were shaken up last week with reports of an attempted child abduction on Wednesday, June 16th. A social media post gained area-wide attention stating that an officer from the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department had approached residents seeking information relating to the incident that happened in the town park. While details on the incident are sparse at this time, one source familiar with the investigation tells The Mail that multiple police agencies responded to the area to investigate the report.

Teen Assailants Appear Before Judge

The alleged teen assailants in the assault against Danny Hale in the Mackinaw Casey’s parking lot that occurred on the evening of May 12th have had their first appearance in court last week. 4 adult teens were arrested by Mackinaw Police following the alleged assault, along with an unnamed teenage minor. The 4 adults: Blake Huffman, Ryan Robertson, Jorge Santana, and Jacob Ragon were transported to the Tazewell County Jail and charged with Mob Action and Aggravated Battery of a Senior Citizen, the last charge could possibly be upgraded to a Class 2 Felony.

Community Rallies for Team Reed

In April 2019, Reed Fry was diagnosed with cancer. With local communities rallying around the young man, Reed fought against his ailment and eventually won. Last month, the 13 year old and his family received more bad news: Reed’s cancer is back. In light of the news, local communities once again rally around the Fry family in an attempt to make Reed’s fight as comfortable as possible. 

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

Waynesville native Al Furman standing in front of the Iwo Jima memorial.

Local Resident Takes Ride on Honor Flight

Waynesville native Al Furman was recently recognized for his service to the country by a group known as the Honor Flight Network. The national group selects men and women who have served in the U.S. military, and flies them to Washington D.C. for an exciting day seeing the nation’s memorials and experiencing the gratitude and appreciation of a thankful country. “I’d been asked to go in the past”, Al tells The Mail, “but I’d always thought it was more appropriate to let the ‘older guys’ go ahead of me. But, I’m 81 now. So I guess it was just my turn.”

Local Group Takes Aim at Windmill Farms

Tazewell County residents gathered at the Tazewell County Justice Center in Pekin on Wednesday and Thursday of last week to voice their opposition to the proposed windmill farms, known as the Rail Splitter 2. Since the proposal of the windmill farm, an opposition group has formed, known as the United Citizens of Tazewell County (UCTC). As part of their efforts, the UCTC has hired counsel who was allowed 90 minutes to make opening statements on Tuesday evening. During that time, the attorney spoke about the important issues as seen by UCTC. In short, these issues come down to the distance between homes and each individual windmill, along with wanting improvements made to sound limits, shadow flickers which results in a strobe light effect to those who may live in the shadows of windmills, along with addressing the red strobe lights that rest atop the windmills. The group hopes to succeed in being granted a moratorium on development, to grant more time for further research into the impact the windmill farm will have on local residents.

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.

Benefit for Brian Waldon

Last fall, local business owner Brian Waldon suffered 2 massive strokes that took his vision and impaired his memory. Unable to continue working, Brian fell under the care of his mother and father. Despite help from his family, Brian’s medical bills kept piling up - the 2 largest total over $500,000 -the Waldon family knew that it was time to act accordingly. With the help of the Deer Creek American Legion, a benefit is being planned. 

Shooting in Uvalde: Are We Prepared?

On Tuesday, May 24th, 18 year old Salvador Ramos entered Robb Elementary School, in Uvalde Texas, armed with a rifle and pistol. Reportedly carrying 1,600 rounds of ammunition, Ramos went on an hour-long shooting spree that left 19 students and 2 teachers dead, while also wounding over a dozen others. Ramos was eventually shot dead by Border Patrol agents who entered the school; of their own accord, while Uvalde police forces remained inactive in a nearby parking lot. The lack of police action on that day has left Americans struggling to answer certain questions, the main question being “What can we expect from local police if a similar event happens in my town?” However, to even start to answer those types of questions, it is worth becoming familiar with procedures currently in place within law enforcement entities.

After School Program Fills Community Needs

Busy parents looking for a faith based after school program need look no further than New Castle Bible Church. Located on Dee-Mac road, between Mackinaw and Deer Creek, the church has opened its doors to school aged children who are in need of a safe place to hang out after school. The Mail spoke with Program Director Melanie Burge to find out a little more.

Poppies Bloom for Memorial Day

Every year Americans take time out of their busy lives to acknowledge Memorial Day, a holiday enacted, originally, to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice during our civil war that raged from 1861 to 1865. Originally known as “Decoration Day”, American citizens were encouraged to visit the graves of those who fell at battles such as Bull Run, Antietam, Vicksburg, and Gettysburg. In modern times, “Decoration Day” has turned into “Memorial Day” and is meant to honor the American citizens who have fallen in all American wars. Proof of the evolution of this holiday can easily be seen with the prevalence of the Red Poppy. 

Local Youth Grabs Gold

Local teen Jadon Nafziger traveled with his family to Hillsdale, Michigan last weekend to compete in the National Junior Paralympics Regional Championships, where he brought home the gold medal for precision shooting. Jadon competed in the under 15 para standing precision air rifle event over the course of 3 days, shooting twice in competition. This week, The Mail was granted exclusive access to The Champ to find out more.

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.

Mackinaw resident Danny Hill displays the injuries he suffered after his altercation with multiple teenagers in the parking lot of the Casey’s General Store.

Assault at Casey’s Leads to Arrests

A large altercation involving multiple teenagers occurred at Casey’s gas station, in Mackinaw on Wednesday, that lead to the arrests of 4 teenagers by the Mackinaw Police Department. Some time that evening, the teens exited the gas station and created a disturbance in the parking lot, at one point surrounding the vehicle of a 31 year old mother who had chided the teens for their misbehavior, witnesses say. At one point, the teens indicated that they were willing to resort to violence, however, local resident Danny Hale stepped in. 

Rural Route One Meat Company

Though Rural Route One Meat Company is fairly new, the company is built off of generations of experience. Starting with Randy and Marj who, in 1976, started a hog farm on Rural Route One, the knowledge of farming has stayed in the family. However, like many businesses, 2020 proved to be a tough year. Emily Schmidgall explains, “It was through the struggle of 2020 that Rural Route One Meat Company was established. Because of several supply chain difficulties, our farm was unable to sell pork to our standard buyers. Our family and friends observed this struggle and wanted to help alleviate the load by purchasing pork direct from our farm rather than their usual outlets. The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive as customers enjoyed not only the taste and quality of the product, but also the ability to buy and support local farmers.”

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.