Friday, September 30, 2011

Expo on Sunday, Oct. 30, Woodstock

Set aside some time on Sunday, October 30, to attend the posABILITIES Fair & Expo at Woodstock North High School. What does "pos" stand for? "Programs Offering Support"

The Expo is to provide fellowship and information to youth with disabilities in McHenry County. There should be 30 exhibitors there, along with activities, food and fun.

Mark your calendar now for Sunday, October 30, from 10:00AM to 2:00PM at Woodstock North High School, 3000 Raffel Road. For information, call 815.404.0154

The Fair & Expo is free.

No news after body found

On September 13 a body of a 27-year-old man was found, according to the Northwest Herald, on the outbound tracks of the Metra line in Woodstock, not far from the Woodstock Police station. The man was identified as Robert (Bobby) Delisi, and it was reported that there was trauma to the body. Police said no train ran over Delisi.

Results of an autopsy were inconclusive, according to the office of the McHenry County Coroner.

All that news was announced within the first 24 hours. After that? Nothing.

Is the Woodstock Police Department doing anything in connection with this death? Sure, I realize that toxicology reports take a couple of weeks. Are they back yet? And even if they are, will there be important clues there?

What is the speculation about how Delisi got to the tracks or onto them? If the assumption is that party or parties unknown placed his body on the outbound tracks, they apparently didn't know that outbound trains were re-routed onto the inbound track because of grade-crossing construction at Calhoun St.

With whom, and where, did Delisi spend Monday evening? Was alcohol involved? Drugs? Woodstock Police ought to be all over all known acquaintances, friends and others to identify the events leading up to his death.

Since Beth Bentley went missing in May 2010, not just a few people have said to me that they hope they never go missing from Woodstock or die in a suspicious manner in Woodstock. Certainly, if there is an active investigation that is moving forward toward criminal charges against one or more of Delisi's friends or acquaintances, police will not have much to say.

But you'd think that, in two weeks, they'd have said something.

A request has been made to the McHenry County Coroner for information pertaining to the date of the inquest in this case.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Zinke's campaign address - good idea?

Shame on Google Maps. It's a good thing that I didn't want to drive over to Andy Zinke's campaign address on his registration form with the Illinois State Board of Elections. Google Maps placed it well south, actually in Algonquin, just south of Fantasy Festival. No joke! It did.

Where is 850 S. Ill. Rte. 31 in Crystal Lake? Right smack at RITA Corporation.

Is this really a good idea for Andy Zinke, who is the Undersheriff of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department? He's #2 there. working right under (the thumb of) Sheriff Keith Nygren.

What is the relationship between RITA Corporation and Keith Nygren? An officer (president?) of RITA Corporation, Brian Goode, has been a member of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department Merit Commission since August 2002. That's nine years.

There is no biographical information on the Merit Commission webpage ( about Brian Goode. His very large political contributions to Keith Nygren's campaigns over the years (possibly $50,000+) go unmentioned. Why is it that, in nine years, no biographical information has been published?

How independent of the political machine in McHenry County will Zinke be? Who is waving the baton over the orchestration of Nygren's departure from the office of sheriff and Zinke's appointment or election attempt?

Would Zinke be better advised to distance himself from Nygren's shadow? If that shadow (hello? Shadow, where are you?) darkens over the next few months, will that spell disaster for anyone walking in Nygren's footprints?

I don't know Andy Zinke. About the only thing about him that I do remember is that he claimed not to have received an email from me last September. Supposedly it went unread in his spam file. Aren't employees trained to examine their spam files to see whether there is email there that needs attention? I guess not. Oh, yes, and he didn't like my "outing" of an undercover car. Actually, I wasn't the one who did it; he did.

Drug Court gets stuck before it gets started

McHenry County is going to get its own drug court. This specialty court, modeled after (or before, considering how you look at it the Mental Health Court, will been notified that it will receive a substantial grant from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Adult Drug Court Discretionary Implementation Grant.

Judge Weech presides over the Mental Health Court and does a fine job. Judge Feetterer has been tapped to head the Drug Court. These are "specialty" courts, which deals with violators of certain laws and who have certain illnesses or conditions in their history. And the judges deal with them in special ways. These "special" ways are designed to encourage recovery and rehabilitation, and the judges don't expect to see the offenders back for "repeat business."

$305,717 is headed to McHenry County over the next three years. Now, what's the problem?

The County is, in effect, going to suck off $50,000/year by not giving the entire amount to the Drug Court but, instead, not creating a new position for a probation officer in the drug court. By tampering with the plan for the drug court, the County is setting in motion a plan to reduce the effectiveness of the court, before it even starts!

I doubt that the Feds thought about telling the County to keep its grubby little hands out of the cookie jar. If it didn't, it should have.

Of course, maybe this morning's newspaper article about the drug court was wrong. I hope so. I doubt it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Huntley concealed carry meeting

The Huntley Tea Party sponsored a meeting tonight on the topic of concealed carry.

There was little new from the proponents. Joe Walsh and Mike Tryon were there. Richard Pearson, of the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) was there, and so were Valinda and Mike Rowe. Valinda founded ( and very recently was awarded the national Activist of the Year Award by the Second Amendment Foundation.

Huntley Police Chief John Perkins was on the agenda but didn't make it. Maybe the Huntley town fathers decided that Perkins ought to be somewhere else???

Also present was Bill Jenkins. Although he had been billed as being from the Brady Campaign, I understood the moderator to say at the beginning of the meeting that Bill was not from the Brady group.

Bill was the best prepared of the speakers and showed a PowerPoint presentation that ought to cause any reasonable person to stop and listen hard to what he was saying. Bill is a gun owner and a believer in the Second Amendment, but he opposes concealed carry.

I suspect that much of his presentation fell on deaf ears in the audience. There were the usual few rude and obnoxious proponents of concealed carry, including one man I had run into at another meeting. I remembered him for his "carrying a concealed weapon is a Gawwwwwwdddddddd-given right" proclamation at the previous meeting.

Bill's presentation and arguments made sense. Some of the loud-mouths got tired of listening and began to heckle him and interrupt him. The moderator could have done a better job of shutting down the disruptive members of the audience. They were the ones who scare me about the whole right-to-carry subject, because they are likely to brandish their weapons or even fire them outside of legal limits.

Even Richard Pearson, the Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Assn., gave a couple of personal examples of "self-defense". In my opinion, one was borderline, but the other was clearly a violation of law. And he was proud of them.

Todd Vandermyde, the lobbyist for ISRA and also a union lobbyist, went into the attack mode against Jenkins and accused Jenkins of positions that Jenkins calmly explained were not his positions. That didn't slow down Todd.

Zinke to run for sheriff

This email arrived at 11:19AM.

"You got it"!

"Just an hour ago, this committee was registered with the Illinois State Board of Elections  (  Click on the link below for a PDF of the filing."

Sent by a "friend of the blog".

The Statement of Organization was filed at 10:16AM a political registration was filed by the Citizens to Elect Zinke, with the purpose of the registration listed as "to support the candidacy of Andrew Zinke for the office of McHenry County.". The office for the registration is listed as at 850 South Illinois Route 31, in Crystal Lake.

But wait! Doesn't McHenry County already have a Sheriff? A sheriff who ran for re-election in the November 2010 election. That term of office is a four year term, ending on December 1, 2012. (Zinke's campaign email address is, which might cause some to think that he's just jumping into the 2014 campaign way early; only time will tell.)

Doesn't Sheriff Nygren intend to complete the term of office for which he was elected? Is there some reason that he would bail out early and not complete his term? Did he run for re-election in good faith?

Didn't the question come up during the campaign about whether he would serve the term of office, if he were re-elected? Didn't any of the 50,000+ voters in McHenry County who voted for Nygren care whether he would complete the term?

If Undersheriff Andy Zinke is filing now, will he run for office on a mid-term ballot in November 2012?

When will Keith Nygren announce his resignation?

Where is 850 Ill. Rte. 31, Crystal Lake? Google Maps places it right near Fantasy Festival. Is this a Halloween joke?

The Treasurer of the campaign is Kathleen Narusis, who gives her address on the campaign registration as Home State Bank, 40 Grant St., Crystal Lake, Ill. Ah, the ties to Home State Bank stay intact. That's the bank that loaned Nygren more money than the purchase price of his Cape Coral home in 2006; way more than the purchase price, and now possibly twice what the property is worth. Wouldn't it be appropriate for the Treasurer to list her own address and separate the campaign from the Bank???

Feldkamps & Bloom follow-up

The McHenry County Sheriff's Department seems to have washed its hands on the investigation of the deaths of Jack and Audrey Feldkamp and Doran Bloom. I say this, because the report of the investigation of the Sheriff's Department is now available under the Freedom of Information Act.

If the MCSD were still investigating, they would not release the report.

What is there still to investigate? Well, let's start with what happened that night. I was amazed at the declarations by Sheriff Keith Nygren so quickly after that night's events. He flew back to McHenry County and took the spotlight at a press conference. He declared, in event, "Case Closed." (He did not see fit to return to McHenry County after another murder just a week earlier - that of Kurt Milliman. But that's another story.)

One of my earliest questions was about the weapon used by Scott Feldkamp to shoot Doran Bloom. The first thing I wondered was, "How did Scott just happen to be so accurate with his shooting?" And another question was about whether Scott Feldkamp was in legal possession of a firearm in Illinois. In this state we have a requirement that any adult in possession of a firearm or ammunition must have a Firearm's Owner Identification (FOID) card. Did Scott Feldkamp have a FOID card? If not, why wasn't he charged? Were firearms allowed in the parents' home?

What do police and deputies understand about dealing with subjects who have a mental illness diagnosis? And, in an investigation in which they cannot interview the subject, such as this case, did the investigators and Sheriff Nygren jump to some conclusions?

Someone must speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Are there known circumstances or history that might cause any thorough investigator to ask some deeper questions than have apparently been asked? What if some of those investigators suspected there was more to the story and wanted to pursue their hunches or intuition, or facts? What if they came up with information that sharply contrasted statements by their boss, the sheriff?

Would Nygren allow the investigation to be re-opened? Would he risk embarrassment, or would he admit error if findings contradicted his original, very emphatic explanation of that evening in Marengo?

NW Herald gets it right - almost

Yesterday's online edition and this morning's print edition of the Northwest Herald finally gave some small measure of a positive nature to Deputy Zane Seipler of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

The headline? "Sheriff loses appeal in firing case".

And the sub-headline (there must be a correct name in the newspaper world for the headline under the headline)? "Court rules Seipler should be reinstated."

Yes, Sheriff Keith Nygren lost in the Illinois Appellate Court - Second Division, which is located in Elgin. That's the same court that ruled in favor of Deputy Bob Schlenkert and against Sheriff Nygren.

The laughable part of the article was Nygren's having apparently told the reporter that "he would speak with an attorney before making a decision on what to do next." Since when do attorneys run the Sheriff's Department. I thought that was the sheriff's job. What about the HR Department at the County?

Now, will he speak with his official attorney, who is Lou Bianchi, McHenry County State's Attorney? Or will he run off to an out-of-county attorney (for appropriate fees, of course)? We'll never know whether that attorney told Nygren to abandon his appeal and just take Seipler back - months ago.

But the laughing isn't over. The paper actually quotes Nygren. "Until we get some advice, we don't have a next step. I need to find out what our options are."

Out of respect for rules of civility and my regard for the women and men reading this, I'll refrain from a candid expression of Nygren's statement. You can probably guess what that would be.

Unless Nygren is a worse administrator than I've thought (and I'm not sure there is a lower category), he has already gotten that advice, and he knows exactly what he must do. He doesn't like it, and he will drag it out (and continue to throw away taxpayer money) by refusing to make the only decision he has. And that "only" decision is how soon to put Deputy Seipler back to work.

Nygren should have had a Plan B for months, if not for more than a year. He had to have always known that the Court could, might or would rule against him. And he would have, or should have, asked his attorney long ago the "What if...?" question. If he didn't and if he never asked "What if I lose?", then is he really capable of running a 400-employee operation? Shouldn't he clear his desk before the end of the week?

As a matter of fact, is he preparing to bail? Isn't there a fundraiser be planned for Undersheriff Andy Zinke? Zinke is an employee at the Sheriff's Department, appointed by an elected official. He's not in an elected office. Could Nygren be planning to clear out? Could Zinke's friends be collecting signatures to put him on the ballot for a November 2012 election for Sheriff? If not, it seems a little early to be raising money for Zinke to run in 2014.

The condensation in the article of the legal folderol in this case hid the true extent and expense from the public. First there was the hearing before an arbitrator. The sheriff did not like the arbitrator's decision and appealed in McHenry County Circuit Court. The judge made the right decision. After months of court time and expense Nygren lost there, too, and he didn't like Judge Meyer's decision. So he appealed to the Appellate Court, which took months to make its decision. And Nygren won't like its decision. Will he head for the Illinois Supreme Court? Why not? It's not his money.

Someone asked me why I just don't let go of my dislike for Keith Nygren. Here's why.

If he hadn't pulled that dumb stunt in the Jewel-Osco parking lot, when he attempted to intimidate me, and which I  immediately reported to the Woodstock Police Department, I would have put my dislike for him aside on Election Night 2010.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Good service? Nahhhh...GREAT service

Today I changed my cell phone plan. It was a chore I dreaded and had been postponing. But today I toughened up and ventured into Cell Phone Land.

I've been a Sprint cell phone customer for more than 10 years. Service has been good. Rates have been fair. Hardly ever a problem. Until last July, when I called to get details on more minutes. I learned those details on July 22 and asked how long I had to take advantage of that month's deal. "Until the end of the month."

So I called back on July 30, only to learn that the deal had expired on July 23. They almost lost me as a customer right then and there.

Today I got good help from Byron and then from Tiffany, who finalized my order and even showed me how to cut $32.00/month off my bill.

Two hours later I had a question and called back and spoke with Sara. WOW! Talk about personal service! Friendly, thorough. She "got" what I was say instantly and took care of it.

Now, back to work!

"You don't watch TV?"

I heard this question over the week-end, when I mentioned in a group that I don't have a TV.

Well, actually, it's not quite correct that I don't have a TV. I do have a TV; I just don't get a TV signal to it.

I was connected to the rooftop antenna on the top of the small apartment building in which I live. I had gotten a digital converter box, because I don't subscribe to cable or satellite services. The signal was fair most of the time, and I seldom turned on the TV, except to watch an old videotape or a movie or DVD.

One day, when I turned on the TV, I didn't get a signal. I fooled around with the cables for a couple of days and then called the manager to ask if they'd made any change in the rooftop antenna.

"Oh, we took that down three months ago. We thought everyone had cable."

Do I miss TV? No way. Sure, I'd like some shows on PBS or the History Channel or the Discovery Channel. But what would I give up for TV time? Not a thing!

Concealed carry forum - Tuesday night

The Huntley Tea Party will conduct a forum on the right of citizens to carry concealed guns on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the Codman Cultural Center, 12015 Mill St., in Huntley, Illinois. Planned starting time is 6:30PM.

Joining Illinois State Rep. Mike Tryon (R-64) on the panel will be Huntley Police Chief John Perkins, Richard Pearson (Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA)), and
Bill and Jennifer Jenkins from the Brady Campaign.

I'll be calling State Rep. Jack Franks this morning to ask if he can join the panel tonight. Jack became a supporter of HB 0148 before the May 5th vote and is now in favor of concealed carry in Illinois. If you'd like Jack to be there on Tuesday night, please join me in calling his Woodstock office this morning at 815.334.0063

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Oct. 1 - butt out at MCC!

Your smoking habit is about to become very expensive at McHenry County College. Now we know why they shifted over from a campus security department to a Police Department and bought that high-speed Ford Interceptor.

On October 1 (that's Saturday), MCC goes smokeless. According to the Northwest Herald (good thing, too, since there is no notice prominently displayed on the MCC website), not even electronic cigarettes will be allowed.

What will it cost you to sneak a smoke? How about $50 for the first violation and $100 for the second? Can't kick the habit? Maybe getting socked up to $250 per smoke after that will empty your pockets of what was your money for smokes.

Here's what Big Sister says, "The only way to protect people who are choosing to live a healthy lifestyle and not smoke is to have a tobacco-free environment."

Now, I don't like second-hand smoke, whether it's inside or clouding up a doorway into a building. But I also don't like ripping off students, staff and faculty with $50-100-250 fines. Where's the court? On campus? Is the fine by administrative action? Will they refuse to graduate you, if you have an unpaid fine?

Read the new policy here:  MCC "strictly prohibits the use of all tobacco products on or in any College-owned property."

Does possession constitute "use"? You'd better find out, if you smoke. "In or on" means buildings, vehicles, parking lot, etc. If you are smoking in your car in the parking lot, ka-ching!!! $50.00 (or more). Is the "Ring Road" on College-owned property, or is it County or Crystal Lake (City) jurisdiction? Find out ahead of time.

Be sure to read the Definition.

And, if you see one of the cops smoking in one of the police cars (or his own vehicle), what can you do? Can you photograph him? You'd better not videotape him, or you'll find yourself face-down in the parking lot, while he writes you a ticket for eavesdropping.

Everything but the kitchen sink?

Did you read the article in the September 21st Northwest Herald about the lashing that an District Appellate Court gave Attorney Walter Maksym? Maksym represented Michael Stanard and his wife in a lawsuit against Sheriff Keith Nygren, whose nose got out of joint when Stanard objected to paying outrageous hourly rates for traffic and crowd control at a Galt Airport event for security that Nygren said had to be provided by the Sheriff's Department.

I remember the story at the time and the word "extortion" came to my mind.If Stanard didn't cough up, Nygren was going to shut down the roads to the airport festival site. Nice, huh?

It seemed that Attorney Maksym used the "kitchen sink" approach and threw everything into the lawsuit except the cucumbers (my words). I think I used "kitchen sink" in an article earlier this year, when I wrote about the lawsuit filed by a Marengo law firm on behalf of a Woodstock police officer, against a driver in an accident at Route 47 and Lake Ave. When I read the documents at the courthouse, that was my thought.

Sometimes, lawsuits are like manure on a barn wall. If you sling enough of it and it's loose enough, some of it might just stick.

I'm sorry about the outcome at the Federal Appellate Court, because Stanard was right.

Mike Stanard's hat is in the ring, along with eight others, for one of four District 6 seats on the McHenry County Board. District 6 is the large, rural, western-half of McHenry County.

Plodding in Milliman murder case

Is the pattern being set in the cases of Timothy S. Smith and Kimberly A. (Holian) Smith, who were involved in the murder of Kurt Milliman in May?

"Status- Trial Date" is starting to show up on a regular basis in the records of the McHenry County Circuit Court.

Kimberly Smith had a court date on September 19, and the firm of Donahue & Walsh has been retained to defend her, replacing the Special Public Defender.

Timothy A. Smith, who is accused of actually pulling the trigger, had a court date on September 22. He continues to be represented by the Public Defender. What serious court business was conducted on September 22? The judge granted a request for the return of some property to the Milliman family.

Now, you'd think that would be a fairly straight-forward matter, but the family experiences run-around and delay.

How long will Timothy Smith continue with a taxpayer-funded public defender before he turns to a private attorney? He has never submitted a financial affidavit. Does he have money (somewhere), or access to money, for a private attorney? Why hasn't the judge ever asked for a financial affidavit? The judge appointed a public defender, it seemed, only because Smith was showing up in court without representation. Will Smith run out time with a public defender and then, miraculously, hire a private attorney, who will drag out the case for months more because he "needs time to prepare"?

Why wasn't Kimberly Smith charged with being an accessory? Wasn't she part of a crime that led to Kurt Milliman's murder? She is charged with crimes, so far, that will probably result in probation and conditional discharge? No jail time. Modest fine and court costs. Oh, yes; and huge legal costs.

Kimberly, just so no one forgets, is charged with Prostitution, False Report of Offense, and two counts of Obstruction of Justice/Destroy Evidence. Will her attorneys fight to keep any reference to Kurt Milliman's murder out of her trial? Will her attorneys make a "deal", so that the case never goes to trial? If that happens, the public will never get a chance to hear what really happened that night on Doty Road, just outside the City Limits of Woodstock. Will the State insist on 7-10 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and take the case to trial?

Next court dates?
October 19 Kimberly Smith, 9AM, Courtroom 302
October 20 Timothy Smith, 9AM, Jail court

Does anyone know what a "star chaser" is?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Seipler wins - again!

How many rounds have there been in this fight? Has everyone lost count? I'll bet the taxpayers have lost count of the dollars wasted; that's for sure. Or maybe they never knew the total.

The Appellate Court of Illinois, 2nd District, has ruled. It's short and sweet. "The arbitrator's award did not violate public policy or exceed the scope of authority; affirmed."

What's this all about? Remember Deputy Zane Seipler? That's Deputy Zane Seipler of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. The deputy that Sheriff Keith Nygren fired, when he had merely disciplined another deputy for three days' off for similar actions.

Seipler was a whistleblower. Bosses don't like whistleblowers. I happen to like whistleblowers. So when Zane complained about racial profiling in the Department, Nygren used the other "action" as his reason for firing Seipler.

Seipler says he did. Nygren says he didn't. However, Nygren's attorney told Judge Mahoney in Federal Court that the reason Seipler was fired was for complaining about racial profiling. It's right in the transcript. I'm not making that up. That's what the Sheriff's attorney said in court - Nygren's attorney.

Nygren had fired Seipler. The termination went to arbitration, under the union contract rules. The arbitrator ruled that Seipler should not have been fired, but a three-day suspension without pay would have been adequate.

Nygren didn't like that, so he appealed in McHenry County Circuit Court. Judge Meyer ruled that the arbitrator was right (and that Nygren was wrong).

Nygren didn't like that, so he appealed to the Appellate Court. The case probably should have been over in March or April, but it dragged on (and, I'm sure, the County's legal fees mounted), and yesterday the judges ruled that the arbitrator was right - and Nygren was wrong, again.

The ruling by the Appellate Court makes very interesting reading. Perhaps I'll dissect it in a future article.

So how much has this fiasco cost McHenry County? Estimates, anyone? $200,000? $300,000 in legal fees? Not counting, of course, the back pay and benefits that Zane Seipler will receive.

Now, how fast will Sheriff Nygren restore Zane Seipler to active duty status? How fast will the Department calculate the monies owed to Seipler and pay him? Hopefully, the Department won't lose the cord to the calculator and won't require the inordinate amount of time it took to settle up with another deputy. As a matter of fact, the Department and the County should have been calculating the amount it owes Zane on a daily basis for quite some time. Now it's just a matter of drawing the line and writing the check.


Where has Gus been?

In response to several calls and emails, I'm happy to tell you that I am alive and well. And busy.

I have started a new business with Send Out Cards. It is a greeting card company with high quality, personalized greeting cards that you create online, and they are mailed out the day after you order. Prices are very reasonable, whether wholesale or retail.

I invite you to visit or just click right here.

Please contact me for details. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ouch, that hurts...

Last Sunday a reader contacted me about a damaged Woodstock Police squad car, and I dropped by today to photograph it. Since it must have happened on or before Sunday, you'd think there would have been some mention in the paper about it by now. This is Wednesday.

Was it a single-vehicle crash? There didn't seem to be any obvious paint smears of another color on the car.

The car belongs on Beat 23, which is the southwest quadrant of Woodstock.

Most other crashes in the City get publicized, so why doesn't a crash involving a City vehicle? Hopefully, the Police Department will soon announce what happened, who was involved, and what ticket(s) were issued.

Can you donate today?

This Saturday, September 24, will be the Chicagoland Out of the Darkness Community Walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Now, right now, you can make a difference with your donation - in whatever amount is comfortable for you. But how about doing something? How much do you spend at Starbuck's? How about donating an amount equivalent to what you drink in purchased coffee in a month? Or your smoking habit? Or your Pepsi for a month?

Go to

At the top right click to find an event near you; for example, in Illinois. Look for "Chicago Walk", which is September 24.

In the left-side column, scroll down to Participant/Team Search. If you don't know someone with a team, how about donating to the team put together to Rick Kirchhoff? Enter Kirchhoff and click on Search. Let's push Team Reebok 30 over the top. Your donation of $25, $50, $100 (or even $20 or $15 or $5) will help.

Do it now, while you're thinking about it.

Concealed carry forum - Huntley - Sept. 27

A forum on the topic of concealed carry in Illinois has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 27, in Huntley. The first panel member lined up is State Rep. Mike Tryon, a representative  Other invited panelists include speakers on behalf of the Illinois State Rifle Association and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

The program is designed to provide a forum for meaningful and respectful dialogue on the subject, and it is being organized by the Huntley Area Tea Party. Following remarks by panelists, there will be a Q&A session.

The event is open to the public and will be held in the Willow Room in the Cosman Cultural Center, 12015 Mill Street, Huntley, Ill. Scheduled starting time is 6:30PM.

I looked on the Tea Party's website for more information but it is way stale, listing on a June 29th event.

Monday, September 19, 2011

In what state is your Will?

And I don't mean the State of Illinois!

When was the last time you got out your Will and read it?

Before you do, ask yourself a few questions. Write them down.

1. Whom do I want to handle the clearance of my estate?
2. What law firm do I want him or her to use?
3. Who is to get what? And when?
4. Who isn't to get what?

Then get the Will out and see whether your Will actually reflects your will.

One of the most important declarations in your Will is to name the person whom you want to clean up your affairs. This person is called the Executor. Often one spouse will name the other spouse. Or a parent might name an adult child.

Or a parent who really thinks through the problems and challenges that an Executor will face might name someone else. Why would he name someone else?

Let's say there is a "personality conflict" between the parent and the adult child he might name as Executor. Or a conflict between two children, if one of them should be named the Executor. Will the appointed child, the Executor, serving as a fiduciary of the Estate, serve first in the fiduciary capacity in the role of the Executor.

This means keeping his hands out of the cookie jar. During the period of time to settle the Estate, the Executor cannot make large cash distributions - to anyone. Not to himself as heir. Not to both or multiple heirs. Not to anyone, until the Estate is settled and the expenses, the bills and the other creditors have been paid. If there is anything left, then the heirs split it up.

Let's say that the person under consideration as Executor doesn't have the strongest track record of handling his own financial affairs properly. Is that person a spendthrift? Does money just slip through his hands? Gone in a flash? Now, here, it's okay to use "him" and "her" interchangeably.

Is there a temper or temperament problem? Is there a problem with alcohol that could impair judgement and reasoning?

Being an executor is not an easy chore. An executor is entitled to compensation for his fiduciary duties. When you consider your choices for executor of your own estate, will you pick one who will charge only a fair compensation? And who will hire an attorney who will charge only fair fees for his services? And not "milk" the estate?

Should a bond be required on the Executor? And a surety on that bond? Waiving it under a Will is common practice, and too often not well thought through.

I recall as estate settlement in Illinois where literally thousands of dollars went down the drain in Trustee and legal fees, because the large family of children each kept calling the bank trustee, who kept referring them to the attorney for the estate, who was very happy to talk to each of the children (and bill accordingly). Since they were all asking the same questions, the trustee should have gotten the answer once from the attorney and then repeated it to the many children. The trustee's hourly fee would have been substantially less than the attorney's.

Sunday, September 18, 2011 is goofy with comments right now

My apologies to you who are commenting and finding that your comments are being posted under the wrong articles. There seems to be something wrong with that is causing this. Three comments today have posted under the wrong articles. I'll try to find them and re-post them. For 4 1/2 years, until today, all worked smoothly regarding comments to articles.

Thanks for your patience.

A Vision of Recovery

At last Friday's Mental Health Conference for Wellness & Recovery, early in the program at MCC all in the audience were asked to stand and greet a neighbor, saying "Thank you for supporting me in my recovery."

"Why", I thought, "should I say that? I'm not recovering from mental illness." Well, by the end of the conference I could see what this expression of gratitude actually did fit me and may have fit everyone in the conference center. Why?

In Dr. Ron Diamond's talk, he helped to explain it. Each of us has an opportunity to recover from our own limiting behaviors. For some, it is recovering from some diagnosis of mental illness, or learning to live a full life, in spite of a diagnosis or "label".

For others, recovery can be from a limiting belief. It might be a belief that our family member or neighbor or co-worker or friend won't be able to recover, or even improve. As I learn to change my belief, he might just recover (or improve). Isn't improvement a movement along a path of recovery?

As I left the conference, I wasn't sure what to do with the 8 1/2" x 14" poster with The Foundational Principles of Recovery. Well, I found the right place - on the bulletin board by my computer!

Five principles come from Mary Ellen Copeland's Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP). You can learn more about WRAP at Mary Ellen Copeland's website.

The five principles, plus a sixth that has been adopted in Illinois, are:

1. HOPE - A vision of hope that includes no limits! Refrain from negative predictions. Don't fear 'false hope.' Fear 'false despair!'

2. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY - Relying on oneself, with help from others, while while working to control one's life and one's symptoms.

3. SUPPORT - Support from peers, family and health care professionals is essential. Recovery is not a journey that anyone walks alone.

4. EDUCATION - Learning all there is to know about one's symptoms in order to be equipped to make good decisions.

5. SELF-ADVOCACY - "Going for it" with courage, persistence and determination. Expressing oneself clearly and calmly in order to get one's needs met.

6. SPIRITUALITY - Finding meaning and purpose in one's life. Gaining a sense of identify, which may include one's relationship with the divine or a power greater than oneself.

Beth Bentley - Week 69

Beth Bentley, Woodstock mother, wife, legal secretary, benefactress, friend to many, has now been missing for 69 weeks. Beth vanished on (or about) May 23, 2010, possibly while in southern Illinois.

Why do I write "on (or about)" and "possibly"?

It is apparently according to only one person, who now herself has disappeared from the local scene, that Beth was last seen in Centralia, Ill. That person said she dropped Beth off near a train station, but she told me 17 days later that Beth "never" intended to take a train and, in fact, never intended to spend the entire week-end in Mount Vernon.

If there is any credibility to that statement, then how did Beth intend to spend her week-end? The friend has never revealed that publicly.

Was it ever really confirmed that Beth was in Mount Vernon, Illinois, that fateful week-end? Supposedly, she had dinner with her friend and traveling companion, Jennifer Wyatt, at The Frosty Mug in Mount Vernon on Friday evening, May 21, 2010. Supposedly, Jenn's boyfriend at the time, Ryan Ridge, and his younger brother, Nathan, were with them.An employee remembered them and that alcohol service to Nathan was refused, because he could not show proof of being of legal age to purchase or consume alcohol.

Later that sighting was challenged by Woodstock friends (who weren't there), who claimed the dinner wasn't on May 21 but, instead, had been on May 7.

So maybe the last time Beth was seen alive was at a Woodstock baseball game of her youngest son on a Thursday evening. It was after that game that Beth and Jenn, at least as initially reported, left Woodstock in a rental car and drove to Mount Vernon on the late evening of May 20.

Where is Jennifer Wyatt now? Recently her job with the law firm of Beth's husband, Scott Bentley, ended. A civil lawsuit about past-due child support, naming Jennifer as defendant, has lingered in McHenry County court. Will she show up at a hearing scheduled for October 21?

She also may be a witness in a criminal case which is following a typical court path of continuance after continuance. That case was filed in November 2010. A trial date has not yet been set.

Is Jennifer back in California, where she may have family? Are her kids in school? Have school records from Woodstock District 200 been transferred? That trail ought to give Woodstock Police a lead on where to find her and attempt to persuade her to return as a witness in the criminal trial.

Hopefully, she will find employment and be able to establish a safe home for herself and her children.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Suicide prevention 24/7

This month the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will sponsor its annual Out of the Darkness Community Walks. Do you know that walks are held all over Illinois and all over the U.S.?

The Chicago Walk will be September 24 in Elk Grove Village. The Walk in Rockford was September 10. The Walk in Peru, Ill. will be September 24. Four Walks in October are planned. Go to for the schedule.

For suicide prevention tips, information and resources, go to

If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Talkline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).
Or call the McHenry County Crisis Line at (800) 892-8900.
Or dial 9-1-1.

DUI and summary suspension, and the M/H Court

On Thursday I visited McHenry County's Mental Health Court to introduce a friend to how it worked. The court is open to the public, as is almost every other courtroom at 2200 N. Seminary Ave.

His adult son had been charged with several traffic violations, a DUI, and three misdemeanor counts within one Complaint. I had urged him to investigate the Mental Health Court and to refer his son's case to it.

DUI and traffic charges are not handled by the Mental Health Court, but a DUI doesn't automatically rule out the referral for consideration for transfer of the eligible charges to this Court.

What had this man heard about the Mental Health Court?
1. "You can't get into the Mental Health Court, if you are charged with a DUI?"
2. "The Mental Health Court is for people with mental illness, so they can get off.

"Wrong, and wrong!!! Defendants in the Mental Health Court most assuredly do not "get off."

Consider this. What if a driver gets stopped and refuses to submit to roadside sobriety tests or to blow into the breathalyzer? Bingo. The cop is going to charge him with refusing and go for a Summary Suspension. The driver is going to lose his driver's license.

Let's say a forced blood draw takes place. Medical personnel draw the driver's blood. The blood-alcohol content (BAC) is 0.04%. A-ha. The driver wasn't drunk!

How long should it take the attorney to get the DUI dismissed? If I were the driver's attorney, I would immediately deal with the State's Attorney's office to get the DUI dropped and the charge expunged from the court record. AND I would ask for Summary Suspension to be dropped, since the driver wasn't drunk!

Then other traffic charges could be dealt with expeditiously through the normal plea-bargaining that takes place every day in the courthouse. It doesn't have to drag on for months of continuances (and legal fees).

Every attorney in McHenry County should be required to learn exactly what the purpose of the Mental Health Court is and how it operates. If a client is eligible for the Mental Health Court for any non-traffic charges, then he ought to have the option of deciding whether he, the client, could benefit from his case being heard in the Mental Health Court.

Defendants in the Mental Health Court are given every opportunity and assistance for recovery and rehabilitation. Recidivism is low. A goal of the Court is that the defendant changes his ways and doesn't return to court in the future.

What's your story?

When you think about your relationships with the people around you or the people you meet, what do you really know about them? And what do you let them know about you?

Yesterday an incredible conference was held at the McHenry County College. The Mental Health Wellness & Recovery Conference was organized by our County's Mental Health Board and could not have happened without the help and support of many employees of area agencies, volunteers and businesses.

How prevalent is mental illness? A figure mentioned often yesterday was that mental illness is experienced by one out of four. So, if you are in line at a coffee shop or standing in an elevator or waiting in traffic or seated in your home or in your office, one out of the three around you may be a person with mental illness. Maybe that "one" is you.

I heard two people share their own stories - their personal journeys. They not only shared their successes, but they also shared the times when the challenges were great.

The reminder yesterday was that all have their own challenges. When we meet a person today, we don't know their "story". Take some time. When you meet a person, understand that they have a "story", just as you do. You may not ever hear it, but it affects the relationship that you'll have with that person.

Here, I'm not talking necessarily about a "mental illness" story. I mean the other person's life experiences. In the same way, you have your own life experiences, your story. Big parts of it you may never share with many you meet. But they are still an important part of you. Even if you think you've buried that part of you, it's still there.

New address for Anthony Stepina

A press release from the State's Attorney's office indicates that Anthony Stepina will begin residing at the Illinois Dept. of Corrections (IDOC). It read

"Louis A. Bianchi, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that Anthony Stepina, age 37 of Woodstock, IL was sentenced to 9 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the offense of residential burglary. The offense occurred on July 17, 2010 on castle road in Woodstock. The defendant forced entry into an attached garage and stole the homeowner’s bicycle. Testimony was presented at the sentencing hearing that the defendant was responsible for 14 other commercial burglaries in the Woodstock area. The case was jointly investigated by the Woodstock Police department and the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department. The case was prosecuted by assistant state’s attorney Michael Combs"

For anyone who might think that nine years in a state prison is a little harsh, even with the testimony at the sentencing hearing, check out Stepina's court history at

Unfortunately, it is not easy to find the case on which Stepina was convicted. There are numerous recent cases that were nolle prossed, but where is the case that resulted in his conviction. Stepina was sentenced to three years in IDOC in Case No. 08CF000072.

Because of the way that court cases are listed on the Circuit Clerk's website, it is necessary to open every case individually to learn the disposition. It would be an easy matter to add one column showing the court's decision. (Hint, hint...)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Manners - then and now

Have you ever been angry at someone and written a message to them? I don't mean just a little mad; I mean Angry! Like, almost fightin' mad?

Nowadays, people can pound out an e-mail or a text message, or even a message on Facebook, and hit the Send key. Once it's gone, it's gone.... delivered... There's no calling it back. It doesn't do any good to holler, "Ooops, I didn't mean it." (Sure, they are some programs that allow you to recall a message that hasn't been read yet. AOL offers that but, if the recipient has opened it, then the Sender cannot recall it.)

So people rant and rave, vent, blow off steam, and fire a missile down range without thinking of the ramifications of their actions. They really don't know where that message might end up.

Provocative language might just barely slide under the wire, and First Amendment rights give people a lot of leeway. If they cross the line, though, and threaten, then they need to begin worrying about the Illinois felony of Cyberstalking. Unless, that is, they think a family member or a pal, who has Esq. behind his name, might represent them in court...

In the past, people sometimes wrote angry notes and remembered the sage advice in time to "Write it out, go ahead and put it in an envelope; just don't mail it for three days." And before that was, "Count to ten before you say what you are thinking."

It's a different story these days. Kids have foul mouths and don't seem to give it a second thought. They dirty up their Facebook pages with obscenities and vulgarities. They go into the Attack Mode by email and Facebook. And I'm not just talking about young men (or older men). You would not want your kids to read a message I received recently from a woman who didn't like something I had written about the Beth Bentley case. I'll tell you, though; if she worked for me, I'd fire her and she'd never know why.

I occasionally get accused of not publishing all the comments I receive. It's true; I don't. I do publish about 99% of them. If the senders included their true names, I'd publish that other 1%. I'd be happy to let the world see their true colors.

2nd Don't Kick Penguins event - Oct. 22

The second Don't Kick Penguins event is scheduled for Saturday, October 22, at McHenry County College. This will be a day of workshops and seminars for middle school students, parents, counselor and teachers on bullying issues that students face. Nine different workshops, all related to bullying, will be presented.

Help is needed in getting the message out about this event to parents and teachers of McHenry County middle school students; and funds are needed to help cover some of the costs for the project. A small grant for this year's program has been awarded by the Porter Fund (part of McHenry County Community Foundation), but there will be additional expenses. 

Donations in any amount (larger are better (Gus's commentary)) can be sent to Principled Minds, 227 North Throop Street, Woodstock IL 60098. 

You can help to get the message out by going to their Facebook page (Don't Kick Penguins) and "liking" and sharing it.

Together we can work toward putting a stop to Bullying in McHenry County.

For more information, contact Harold Rail, Executive Director, Principled Minds, at or at 815.337.0550 (w) or 815.236.2511 (c). The federal tax number for Don't Kick Penguins is 20-5015417.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Return Rep. Franks' survey today

In this morning's Northwest Herald is an insert from State Rep. Jack Franks of our 63rd District. The insert includes a survey. It won't take long to complete the survey, and it can be mailed back.

Find this survey, complete it today and mail it to Jack's Woodstock office, or drop it by if you don't want to affix a 44¢ stamp.

Your opinions are important to Jack.

If you'd like to give your opinions to Jack and to Sen. Pam Althoff (and hear theirs) in person, attend one or more of the following town hall meetings:
September 19 (Monday), 7:00PM, Woodstock City Hall
September 21 (Wednesday), 7:00PM, McHenry City Hall
September 26 (Monday), 7:00PM, Wonder Lake Village Hall

Jack, thanks again for becoming a supporter of concealed carry in Illinois. Your YES vote on HB 0148 last May was important. Please continue to support this legislation and persuade a dozen of the 53 Representatives who did not vote for the bill to support it the next time it comes up.

A small suggestion, Jack. Why not re-establish the website you had at Or provide a link from your legislative website, which can be found via A web presence would keep your constituents informed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Article about Delisi removed

My article about Robert Delisi was poorly timed, and I apologize to the family and friends.

It is my hope that the Woodstock Police will seriously investigate the circumstances of his death and how he came to be where his body was found.

ICE needs some heat

If you think ICE (that's Immigration and Customs Enforcement) doesn't march to its own drummer, think again.

They seem to operate with impunity and with no attention to customer service, and they get away with it. Common sense doesn't seem to exist, and certainly common courtesy does not.

Today a detainee in the McHenry County Jail was transported to an ICE office in Chicago for a meeting with an ICE agent about a court date scheduled for next week. To keep the appointment, of course, he had to be transported there. I don't know yet whether he was driven there in a van, or if one of the white "school buses" was used. It's 65-70 miles one-way, either to Broadview or to the ICE office in the Chicago Loop. It's an all-day outing; that's for sure. Figure the cost of two deputies at $300/day and 140 miles at $2-3/mile.

At 4:00PM he telephoned me to say that the ICE agent had refused to meet with him. Hellllooooooo? If he had requested a meeting and the request was approached, why didn't the meeting happen???

Within the past month I telephoned the ICE office and left two messages for Deportation Officer (sounded like) Lupiani (or was it Lou Piani?). Calls on August 23 and August 25 have not been returned. Then on August 31 I called and left a message at the Customer Service Desk. They don't bother to return calls, either. When you call ICE, it is impossible to reach a live person. You can't even reach supervisors or find the Director's office to complain.

Maybe there aren't any live people there. Maybe they count on callers just getting tired of trying. Think so?

Contrast that (lack of) service from ICE with contacts recently with the Cook County Public Defenders office, the Cook Court Criminal Court Evidence Room and the Chicago Police Department Evidence and Recovered Property Room. In every one of those contacts I encountered personnel willing to listen to my request and who provided information quickly and courteously. Thank you and thumbs-up for your service.

To ICE? Two judges and one court clerk were great within the past 18 months. The rest of them? Lousy! They get paid the same, whether they give good service or not. So they don't.

Parade marshal, spouse in harm's way

Cal Skinner covered the 9/11 parade in Johnsburg, and one of his photos that attracted my attention was of the vehicle hauling the Parade Marshal and spouse, Ron and Mary Ann Rich. (To enlarge the picture, click on it; then click on the Back button on your browser to come back here.) Be sure to reach the full article by clicking right here.

Wasn't there just an accident in McHenry County in which a kid fell off a tailgate of a pick-up truck and was seriously injured?

Do you think either person sitting on the deck behind the back seat would have had half a chance, if the vehicle had made a sudden movement and dumped them on the pavement?

There is a picture on Cal's blog of another convertible - that one containing Johnsburg Police Chief Keith Von Allmen and a McHenry Fire Protection District official. You'll notice that they are seated in the vehicle. Thanks to them for setting the correct example.

Maybe next year some tickets will be issued to drivers who operate cars in parades with passengers in dangerous positions.And, after January 1, of passengers like these who don't have their seat belts fastened. The law changes on January 1.

Little GTO ... go...


Rare, 2004 Pontiac GTO, only 16,000 original miles.
5.7 Litre engine, 6-speed MANUAL transmission, leather and loaded with all options!
Red, with brand new 20-inch custom chrome rims.(Craiger Reproductions).Brand new Z rated tires.
Car is in mint, "ShowRoom" condition.
"Cat Back" custom exhaust!
Comes complete with a 4-year, 48,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, extended warranty, same as when new.. (Started in May 2011 to May 2015.)
$23,000 FIRM.
Serious GTO Car Guys and Gals only, please!
This car is gorgeous and "Bad to the Bone!!"
Car is in Galena. Call 815-402-4044

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

36° F. tomorrow?

You've got to be kidding!

So, when says the "Low" will be 36, does that mean Wednesday morning? I hope not! I've still got some places I want to go on the motorcycle! Not even Wednesday night, please!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Four guitars stolen after concert

Naperviller Police are investigating the theft of four electric guitars from a van of the Tyler Farr band on Sunday night or Monday morning.

Geez, didn't the band realize they were in the Chicago area??? Why would they leave their guitars in the van? The thief (or thieves) shattered the rear window of the van to get in and steal the guitars.

So, if you hear "Psst, buddy, wanna buy a guitar?", watch for a Paul Reed Smith Custom 22, a Fender Telecaster custom, a Goldfish guitar, and an electric-acoustic Martin Dreadnought. The total estimated value of the guitars was $5,100.

Learn about autism on Sept. 18

One mother's journey through the world of Autism
Susie Mickle will share her story of what she has learned about Autism through her son's diagnosis. 1 in 91 children in the United States today are diagnosed with 
an Autism spectrum disorder. This is quite a contrast from 1 in 10,000 children in the early 1990s. Is this a reflection of better diagnosis or a more toxic world?
She will discuss the diagnostic criteria for Autism and what it means medically. Susie believes that Autism is a neurobiological disease and not a mental 
illness. (Metals and toxins play a significant role in the regression into Autism. This means that Autism is not only treatable, but can be preventable!) 
She will share her family's journey back to health through diet, supplements and other treatments. There will be time for questions, as well. 
ABOUT SUSIE MICKLE: Susie is a mother of four children. She was thrown into the Autism world when her oldest son, Ben, was diagnosed in 2006. Ben has Asperger's 
Syndrome, a high functioning form of Autism. In addition, two of her other children suffer from medical issues that are often found in families with 
Autism. (Ben is on his way to recovery!) Susie is an active member of several Autism groups. She spends much of her time researching and treating her children. Autism is treatable and preventable!

Where and when?
Sunday, Sept. 18th, 1-2 pm
Northwest Healthcare Center, 800 East South St., Woodstock (right near McDonald's)

Dorr Township - Agenda? Minutes?

Over the week-end I looked on the Dorr Township website for the Agenda for tomorrow night's meeting, and it wasn't posted. As of this morning, it has been posted. The Agenda for the August meeting is still missing.

And Minutes of past meetings? Where are they? The Minutes for April, May and July are missing. Those Minutes are crucial, because they are to reflect the Township business and expenditures around a new headquarters. The August Minutes are to be approved at the September 13th meeting, and you can preview them through the tab for Clerk.

Be sure to examine the Public Comment portion of the Minutes. Any idea what was asked and answered? The purpose of the Minutes is to provide a clear record into the future of the content and context of a meeting. You sure can't tell that from the August Minutes!

Whose job is it to post the Agenda and the Minutes? Is it the Clerk? Or is it the Supervisor?  Or the Trustees? The Clerk, an elected office, doesn't report to the Supervisor or the Trustees, although the current Clerk was appointed by the Trustees to fill a vacant position.

The job doesn't pay much (in the grand scheme of things), but it doesn't require much. A simple matter of publishing an informative Agenda (which most of the Agendas are not) and producing the Minutes in a clear, standard, informative and grammatically correct manner shouldn't be a big deal. It's definitely not a full-time job.

So, how about it, elected officials? You do get your pay on time; right?

Dorr Township is still on the hunt for a new home. Apparently, now it's looking at 1039 Lake Avenue. They ought to have the due diligence down pat by now, after spending $30,000 to determine that they shouldn't buy the property on South Eastwood Drive.Hint: Look for mold the first time through the property on Lake Avenue.

Was there a quorum at the August meeting? Do two elected trustees (out of four) constitute a quorum? Or does the presence of the elected Supervisor and the elected Clerk make the meeting of Trustees valid? One trustee, Mr. Swanson, has been unable to serve for months, and the trustees are still holding his chair open. With all due respect to Mr. Swanson, he holds an elected office and should perform his duties - or resign. A deadline should be set for his return, say, at the October meeting; however, the trustees cannot add that to the September agenda at this late date.

Residents shouldn't have to hunt around for the Agenda. A user-friendly website would link the Agenda to the meeting date on the homepage. Instead, when you click on the meeting on the homepage, you go to a calendar page (duhhh!!!) that contains the meeting. How about a link to the Agenda, instead?!

Model RR open house - Sept. 18

The Kishwaukee Valley and Eakin Creek Model Railroad Club of Sun City will be sponsoring its Fall Open House on Sunday, September 18, 2011. The event will be held in the basement and the adjoining rear yard of the Millgrove Woodshop at 13400 W. Sun City Blvd in Huntley IL.

This traditional fall event will feature continued expansions to all four of its layouts. They've added some farm buildings to their G-scale layout as well as some new scenery to their HO setup since their spring Open House. 

Sun City residents as well as family, friends, model railroaders and garden enthusiasts from across the area are invited. The Club requests that all children be accompanied by adults. The hours of operation are 11 AM until 4 PM. 

There is no charge for the open house, but donations are welcome. 

Upcoming events of the Club can be found on the Sun City website.

Motorcycle event at Randy's

Cross Country Tour
Randy's Cycles, formerly in Huntley and now located outside Marengo, will host an unusual motorcycle sales event this week. A factory trailer is due to arrive at Randy's, loaded with two Harley-Davidson motorcycles and two Victory motorcycles.

Customers and prospective customers (holding valid motorcycle endorsements on their driver's licenses) will be invited to test-ride a Harley and then test-ride a Victory. (Then you can buy your Victory from Randy's Cycles!)

The busiest days are expected to be Friday and Saturday, so why not go out on Wednesday or Thursday?

Randy's is located across U.S. 20 from Donley's Old West Steakhouse and Wild West Town, southwest of Union, Ill. The address for Randy's is 18307 Beck Road, Marengo. Beck Road runs west from U.S. 20. Go slowly; Randy's comes up fast on your left. You'll probably see the motorhomes parked in storage first.

Check out the Victory motorcycle line here. Be sure to see the new 2012 Victory Cross Country Tour model. It has everything but the kitchen sink!

Visit Randy's Cycles here. Now is the perfect time to buy a new motorcycle. Get in some beautiful Fall weather riding, store it for the winter, and get it out in April for a full season of riding. Call Randy's at (847) 923-0500 before you go out on Wednesday to confirm that they are ready to roll out the red carpet for you. Tell Randy and Rod that you read about it on the Woodstock Advocate.

One Harley rider there today test-rode a Victory and exclaimed about the calm air flow behind the windshield at 60MPH. He said a bug was caught in the airflow between the windshield and his face and was just blown around in circles. The weather should be great this week. See you there.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beth Bentley - Week 68

Sixty-eight weeks ago Beth Bentley vanished.

If you had disappeared without a trace 68 weeks ago, would you want a lot of people looking hard for you? Would you expect your party buddies to be looking for you? Your co-workers? Your family?

What would you want them to do? Pester the local media frequently for constant reminders to the public that you are still gone? Employ the philosophy that it's the squeaking wheel that gets the oil? Talk to everyone, all the time, about the fact that you are still missing?

But what if you weren't "missing"? What if some (that's plural) knew exactly where you are. Would you want them to break down? To give up the information?

After 68 weeks, I suspect that few still think that Beth Bentley is "missing".

Which of the close friends knows what happened to Beth? How many know? What if the most concerned of the immediately family members made a list of the top 50 people who might know what happened to her and then sat down with each one? Stare them in the eye. Hold your questions. And, when they start to squirm, then ask them, "What do you really know about what happened to Beth?"

Want to see something really stupid?

If you have ever wondered why you can't get a case to trial in McHenry County, check out Case No. 07AR000679! This is a civil lawsuit by a woman who went to Gus's Roadhouse and got dropped when she was on stage with one of the male "performers".

Go to
Click on Case Information Search
Click on By Case Number
Enter 07AR000679, and click on Search
Click on any one of the (same) case numbers
Click on Court Events

This case was filed on November 16, 2007. That's almost four years ago.The next court date is tomorrow, September 12, 9:00AM.

Examine the list of court dates. How many have there been? Almost too many to count (easily).

One of these days judges may start telling lawyers, "Be ready in 30 days. This case is not going on for years!" If they had done this sooner, maybe the 22nd Judicial Circuit wouldn't need two new judges.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where were you on 9.11.01?

Like so many, I know exactly where I was on 9/11, when I learned of the planes that had been flown into the World Trade Center towers.

I was in an airplane, having flown from Austin, Texas, to O'Hare. No announcement was made by the pilots while the plane was in the air. No one aboard knew about it.

After we touched down on the runway and hardly after the nosewheel had touched, my seatmate turned on her cellphone. I was just about to tell her to turn it off until we got to the gate, when her phone rang. She answered and half the plane heard her say, "What? Planes hit the World Trade Center" or something to that effect.

With that, most of the other passengers turned on their phones and began making calls.

The pilot taxied to a holding area and, after about 15 minutes there, he announced what had happened, acknowledging that many of the passengers already knew via their own cell phones.

By the time we got to the gate, the terminals were empty.. As I drove from O'Hare, the roads were empty. I don't remember today why I didn't go directly to my office at the Sears headquarters in Hoffman Estates, but I headed on back to Woodstock.

9/11 is now to be called Patriot Day, and the U.S. Flags are to be flown at half-staff. I would prefer that the U.S. Flag be flag at full staff, in full recognition and memory of the 2,977 who died. Flying the flag at full staff can send a clear message to every terrorist that he did not win on that day. Many Americans will pause in silence at 8:46AM Eastern Time; that was the time the plane hit the North Tower.

How long is a Work Zone?

As I rode back into Woodstock this afternoon on South Street from the west, I came up on 30MPH Work Zone in front of the District 200 maintenance buildings. Although I was fairly sure that there was no construction in progress on a Saturday, I slowed down. Thankfully, the car behind me slowed down, too.

Shortly after that sign, just around a bend, is a standard, regulatory, 40MPH speed limit sign. Now what? Do I speed up to 40? Keep it at 30 for the Work Zone?

Then I spotted a construction area off to the left on a side road, and then beyond that was the Work Zone speed limit sign for oncoming traffic. Could I speed up there?

It's hard to ride a motorcycle with your fingers crossed, but I was still hoping to see an End Work Zone sign. I never did.

So the question is, where does a Work Zone end, when there is no End Work Zone sign? Is it at the point where oncoming traffic reaches its first Work Zone speed limit sign?

Wouldn't it be appropriate to erect End Work Zone signs in both directions?

Marengo - Recognize these men?

Recognize either of these two men? They were arrested in Rock County, Wisconsin and charged with burglaries. Police and sheriff's departments south of the state line are scratching their heads and wondering whether they were also involved in burglaries in Boone, Winnebago, McHenry and Ogle Counties in Illinois.

Arrested were Nicholas Jay Batzler, 32, of Loves Park and James Daniel Tarrant, 43, of Rockford.

If you recognize either of these men and have information that might connect them to any crimes, contact your law enforcement agency immediately.

Reminder: Batzler and Tarrant, like any other suspects, are presumed innocent until found guilty.

How long to be tolerated?

When a property in Woodstock is out of compliance with the City Code, how long should it take the City to cause the property owner to come back into compliance?

Should it take over a month to correct? These trailers and sign are in the front yard at what may be 821 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock. I say "may be" because the owner has removed the house number over the front door. The property is on the west side of Seminary at the corner of Christian Way, right across from where the beautiful Grace Hall was and where the new senior-living duplex has been constructed.

With a reasonable property owner it should be a simple matter. The Code Enforcement Officer sends a letter about the problem or makes one courtesy visit. Upon becoming aware of the violation, a reasonable property owner would correct the violation and avoid further involvement with the legal process..

But therein may be the problem - that being the word "reasonable." This property has been called to the attention of Code Enforcement many times in recent years. For months the property owner left an old pick-up truck with a snowblade backed in the driveway, with a For Sale sign on it. For about a year an old van and a large box trailer have been parked in the driveway.

Often in the mornings a truck will be parked across the sidewalk for hours, because the box trailer and the van are not parked far enough back in the driveway to allow another vehicle in the driveway without blocking the sidewalk.

Have tickets or citations been issued? Has the City gone public with its efforts to bring that property back into compliance? Doing so might hasten compliance, and it might also alert other property owners to the proper, sometimes aggressive, efforts by the City to keep Woodstock looking great.

Friday, September 9, 2011

“Angels Over America” 9/11 Memorial

Please take just a few minutes to watch the memorial on YouTube. I met the creator of it, Carolyn Long, in 1995 in Maryland. I received the following message from Carolyn Long today and share it with you. 

In honor of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, I would like to share my revised 9/11 Memorial Video “Angels Over America” with you, and encourage you to share it and the poem from which it was created. My greatest hope is that it comfort and inspire those who view it.
View a YouTube version from:
This professionally produced 8-minute video, which incorporates original 9/11 video and images with music and poetry, is both a moving tribute to 9/11 victims and heroes, and an artistic work which offers healing perspectives on this pivotal moment in our nation's history.
Award-winning New York arranger and composer Mark Freeh co-produced the 8-minute video from my poem, "Angels Over America," against the backdrop of powerful 9/11 images, his stirring arrangement of "America the Beautiful," and beautiful renditions of "Amazing Grace" and "My Country 'Tis of Thee."
The Video's greatest honor was its showing prior to a large 9/11 Memorial Solemn High "Blue Mass" (honoring Men in Blue, First Responders, Military, etc.) presided over by the Bishop of Palm Beach, FL. 
The work’s unique metaphor is powerfully grounded in the reality of that tragic day and spiritually uplifting. The four segments of “Angels Over America” trace both the events and the evolution of shock and awareness, emotion and understanding that lead to transcendence.
The events of September 11, 2001, will be a part of the American consciousness forever. The lens through which we view them will shape our future, and determine how we evolve as a people. 
We must never forget that tragic day, or what got us through it—our indomitable American Spirit, that spirit of freedom born of courage and compassion, resilience and restraint known to all the world. 
“Angels Over America” is dedicated to an America that lost its innocence on September 11—but never its hope.
The DVD is available for group showings by contacting,, or by calling 443-250-0222. The entire poem can be read or downloaded from the website at (When sharing, please include attribution and copyright.)
DVDs and Laminated Posters of the Poem are also available from the website, along with additional information, articles and press releases about 9/11:
Thank you for viewing and sharing this message!

Rockford & Loves Park men arrested for Wisconsin burglaries

Two men were arrested in Rock County, Wisconsin, on Friday, September 2, thanks to the sharp eyes of a Rock County detective. Rock County is on the Wisconsin-Illinois state line and includes Janesville. Arrested were Nicholas Jay Batzler, 32, of Loves Park and James Daniel Tarrant, 43, of Rockford.

Was that two-man team responsible for the crime wave in McHenry, Boone, Ogle, Winnebago and Rock Counties? I'll bet there are others.

You can read the short story on Crime Tracker of NBC-TV/15 out of Madison. A resident had reported a suspicious vehicle, and the arrest unfolded from that tip.

Watch for news soon that will help Marengo area residents learn more, faster, about crime in their area. Active residents are stepping into the fray and making things happen.

Your eyes and ears can help. If you are home and hear glass breaking next door, take action. If you know someone is home, call them. If you know no one is home, call the police or the sheriff's department. Don't be the one who later says, "You know? I heard glass breaking, but ..."

Wisc. doctor to speak on autism

The Crystal Lake chapter of Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) will present Dr. Greg Brown of ARCH Medical Center in Franklin, Wisconsin, as the guest speaker at its September meeting.

Dr. Brown's topic is "Surviving Biomedical Therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorders Without Breaking the Bank"

Juggling diets, supplements, IV treatments, IVIG, educational therapies and the rest of life is taxing under the best of circumstances. Dr. Brown will provide tips and approaches for choosing which battles to fight and which to postpone; what therapies need to be addressed in which individuals and when to avoid the "cure of the week." Dr. Brown will also take a look at those biomedical interventions that can be started before you meet with a practitioner. He'll address how to initiate them safely and effectively and how to make the most of your therapy dollar. He will conclude his presentation with a review some of the newest treatments available. Please bring any and all questions you may have related to biomedical or dietary treatments for our Q&A afterwards.

Gregory L. Brown MD is a Board Certified Internist with 18 years experience in Emergency Medicine. He has received Practitioner and Advanced Practitioner training from "Defeat Autism Now" as well as ACAM instruction and certification in chelation therapy and certification in hyperbaric medicine from UHMS. He currently serves as Medical Director of the ARCH Medical Center in Franklin, Wisconsin, a practice dedicated to the medical treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011
4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Home State Bank
611 S. Main Street,
Community Meeting Room on basement level
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Sorry, child care is not available.

Questions? Contact at or 847-922-5392

Or visit

For more information on TACA or autism, visit

Check out new food coop

A new food coop is available to area residents. Today I learned of the SHARE Food Coop, which can be viewed at

The September ordering deadline is coming right up, so you might want to check it out fast. The deadline this month is Sunday, September 11. Orders placed by then can be picked up on Saturday morning, September 23, at the Evangelical Free Church of McHenry County, 2614 N. Ringwood Rd., McHenry, Ill.

This ought to be great for those who live in McHenry, Johnsburg, Ringwood, McCullom Lake and Wonder Lake areas. I suspect more local pick-up points will be established, as its reputation spreads.

Like more information? Call Jerry Macey at 815.690.2606

Think about this

The Federal government blows $90.00/day to house an immigration detainee in Hotel Nygren, up on N. Seminary Ave. in Woodstock at the government center. Some of the detainees are men or women who were convicted of crimes and were, upon completion of their sentences, taken into custody by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service. Others were picked up for ICE violations and

And then they were hauled out to McHenry County and became "guests" of our county sheriff. At $90.00 (or so) per day. Day after day; week after week; month after month.

What's that costing "us"? One week is $630. One month is $2,700. Three months? $8,100. Starting to add up, isn't it?

What if the Federal Government just said, "You're outa here" and bought the detainee a ticket to his home country? If that's what is going to happen after 3-6-12 months, why not do it sooner and save the $8,100 or $16,200 or $32,400?

How many billions does ICE spend in a year housing detainees?

About to sign a candidate's petition?

If (when!) you are asked to sign a candidate's petition for an upcoming election, it's probably a good idea to know the rules in Illinois. Understand that your signature is a valuable commodity. Use it wisely.

If you are asked (and do) to sign a candidate's petition, say a candidate who is running as a Republican, then you cannot sign a petition for a person who is running as a Democrat (or Green or any other party) for any other elected office. Although you don't register in Illinois as a member of one party or another, your right to sign a petition is restricted by Illinois election laws.

Got questions? Call the County Clerk's office. In McHenry County, that's 815.334.4242.

I recall a person who wanted to sign my petition as the Green Party candidate for Sheriff of McHenry County in the 2010 election, but someone had already "pressured" her to sign a Republican's petition. She could not sign my petition, even though it was for a different elected office.

Screwy? Well, remember; this is Illinois!

Illinois laws wouldn't have been a problem for my dad, had we lived on the east side of the Mississippi River (we lived in Missouri). He said he would always vote for the best man - as long as he was a Republican.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Comparing Lauren Spierer to Beth Bentley

On today is a long article about the disappearance on June 3 of Lauren Spierer, 20, from Bloomington, Indiana.

The article refers to the Find Lauren blog, which can be viewed at

This sentence appears on the homepage of the Find Lauren website: "There is no reason to think the people Lauren was last with, wouldn’t do everything in their power to help us find her. But, alas, there is deafening silence."

Now to the Bentley case... Beth seems to have been last with Jenn Wyatt, Ryan Ridge and Nathan Ridge. Jenn has said that she drove Beth to Centralia on Sunday, May 23, 2010, and dropped her off near the Amtrak station, although she has also said that Beth never intended to take a train. Jenn has said she doesn't know whom Beth might have been meeting, but Jenn told me that the plans were for them to meet back up near Woodstock, in order to return to Woodstock together on Monday, May 24, 2010, so that Beth could get home before Scott got home from work.

Where are the statements from Ryan Ridge and Nathan Ridge about what went on that week-end at the house being rehabbed in Mount Vernon, Illinois? Not a peep out of either one of them. And no one seems to be asking them about it.

Also, many of Beth's friends, shown in party pictures at Gus's Roadhouse (now Offsides), have closed down their Facebook pages, and some unknown person cleaned up Beth's Facebook page and removed all the pictures.

Lauren's family is trying desperately to find her. Go to the Find Lauren blog and then ask yourself, why hasn't anything like that sprung up about Beth?