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Local Editorials

A donation to remember

The estate of a late Morrison businesswoman donated more than $100,000 to Whiteside County. Such generosity doesn’t happen every day. The county should publicly and permanently honor Margaret Haines.

Margaret A. "Margy" Haines
Margaret A. "Margy" Haines

Margaret A. “Margy” Haines of Morrison was 77 years old when she died on Jan. 16, 2012, at a Silvis hospital.

Haines was a businesswoman, having owned and operated Balloons Galore in Morrison.

Before that, she, like many others in and around Morrison, worked at General Electric.

She once was a member of the Morrison Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and belonged to the First Presbyterian Church.

She was a horsewoman, having shown quarter horses for 25 years or so.

She also was generous.

According to stories in The Equine Chronicle, she donated money for several worthy causes.

Haines established a scholarship for equine veterinary students.

Another donation paid for a reading room at the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum.

And now, the Whiteside County government has been added to the list of beneficiaries of Haines’ generosity.

Haines’ estate sent a check for $116,550 to Whiteside County in April. No reason was given for the bequest, and no instructions were included, so the money was deposited in the general fund, according to county Administrator Joel Horn.

The county has no specific plans yet for the unexpected donation, Horn said.

As there were no survivors listed in Haines’ obituary, the least the county could do is create a suitable memorial plaque to commemorate Haines’ life and her generous donation, and display that plaque prominently in the courthouse.

We also encourage county officials to think long and hard before deciding what to do with the windfall.

Some sort of capital improvement to a county facility might be in order, in which Haines’ financial role could be publicly and permanently recognized.

What Haines, a quarter horse fancier, did for one unit of government was quite the opposite of what another quarter horse fancier, imprisoned ex-Comptroller Rita Crundwell, did to the city of Dixon.

While Crundwell took, Haines gave.

Such generosity ought to be remembered.

The county should make sure that happens.

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