Zion-Benton News

Stories from the July 24, 2014 Issue

Steel beam from the World Trade Center arrives in Zion

By Ginny Skweres
Zion-Benton News staff 

A poignant piece of United States history was brought to Zion last week. It is a 13,000-pound beam that was salvaged from the World Trade Center from the attack on 9-11. According to Kirk Morris of Gurnee, the 18-foot beam is from the 88th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. That was two floors below the hit of the first plane to crash the twin towers. About 3,000 citizens and responders died in the attack.

Morris, whose son was killed in 2004 in Iraq, and others have been working to memorialize fallen soldiers who died following 9-11.

For the final leg of this journey the entourage was led by Zion Police and Fire and Rescue vehicles with sirens and lights. They took over from other agencies along the route.

The beam will become the ‘Heroes of Freedom Memorial’ once a final location is decided upon. Morris hopes that location will be Lake County but a site is being sought by the committee of Heroes of Freedom. They have pledged to follow the restrictions placed on having the beam. For example, the beam can not be defaced or embellished in any way.

The beam was driven from New York by veteran Joe Alger. When they reached Ohio they draped the beam with the American flag. “Once we put that flag on the steel, everything changed,” Alger said. People seemed to know what it was right away. The truck was accompanied by members of the Warriors Watch and Freedom Riders on their motorcycles who would ride along on the toll way for awhile, only to be replaced by more riders at each rest stop.

Commandant Al Seyler of the Lake County Marine Detachment 801, said the flag stood for freedom and people need to remember all the citizens and rescuers who died that day. School children often don’t learn about recent American historya number of people noted. More...

Teens earn and learn in the Forest

By Ginny Skweres

Zion-Benton News staff 

As unnatural as it sounds, Lake County teenagers have been getting up at the crack of dawn to go off to work in the fresh air. The Lake County Forest Preserves hires 16- to 18-year-olds to work on crews in an eight-week summer Youth Conservation Corps program. This is the sixth week of the program and their hard work is showing up. Each crew has six members plus a teen crew leader and there are six crews. The money for the program was raised with a special golf outing.

One of the teams has been clearing brush from a roadway in the Marina of the Illinois State Beach Park. They have appreciated the great weather and the fact that there aren't mosquitos that close to the lake. They also get eat their lunches at the beach. The other crews working in various other preserve locations can't say there hasn't been a problem with mosquitos.

This crew has been cutting back brush, especially the invasive species, and stacking it in piles along a long roadway. They wear safety glasses, hard hats and use saws, loppers and even a chain saw once. "Cutting this brush is hard," Alan Gregorski said.
"Everybody learns something new every day."

Damon Davis agrees about the knowledge gained. "I was kind of surprised but I'm glad I'm doing it. I've learned a lot about the preserves."

Morgan Miller, a senior at Zion-Benton Township High School, wasn't surprised when she began the work. "It's about what I expected and I'd definitely do it again. Kebronne Jones had expected to be doing planting but might do this next summer Darianna Rogers of Zion has enjoyed seeing the wild life, including frogs, snakes and deer. "We get to play with them and then let them go," she said. However, Caitlyn Adkins is definitely not fond of the snakes, and especially not up close. More...

Photo of the Week

Veterans and patriots gather around a flag-draped 18-foot steel beam from the north tower of the World Trade Center that was attacked on 9-11. It was trucked in from New York to its temporary home in Zion.


Brookfield Zoo has a surrogate

Following two rejections, Kecil, seems to have found his mother and a home at Brookfield Zoo. Kecil and Maggie seem to have content smiles as they form their new bond.

Thunder Run

North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor
hosted the 2014 Thunder Run, a performance boating event that helps generate donations for a local charity,
Gigi’s Playhouse, a Downs Syndrome Achievement Center.


Top female and male runners Mary DuBois and Marty Wennblom. That’s Wennblom’s son peeking around Dad in the background.