Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow coming from Minnesota?

A local reader reports that the severe weather headed for McHenry County may be coming this way from Minnesota. He added,

"I just got off the phone with a friend in Minnesota.  He said that since early this morning the snow has been nearly waist high and is still falling. The temperature is dropping below zero and the north wind is increasing.  His wife has done nothing but look through the kitchen window all day.  He says that if it gets much worse, he may have to let her in."

Bad weather? Thanks, Mommy NIXLE

And yet another worthless text-message from the McHenry County Sheriff's Department via NIXLE. "MCSO Encourages Community to Prepare for Upcoming Winter Storm, check our website for more Info."

How many drivers on the road read that text message? Guesses, anyone?

Today it's "Get ready for the blizzard".

And then came the e-mail. "Sheriff Keith Nygren would like to remind all residents of McHenry County of several safe driving tips and has provided links to several resources informing residents of building closures and on road conditions."

Think he is in town and ready to direct the impending crisis on the roads of McHenry County? Or is he in Cape Coral and protecting our County by cell phone? Has anyone seen him at work recently? Like, ever since he sold his house in McHenry County on December 3rd?

Is there anyone who needed that information from NIXLE? What did we ever do before NIXLE?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beth Bentley missing 36 weeks now; polygraph Jenn now

Woodstock wife and mother Beth Bentley, 41, has now been missing for 36 weeks.

She was apparently last seen in public on Friday night, May 21, 2010, at the Frosty Mug in Mt. Vernon, Ill. After that, a hodge-podge of stories and rumors place her at a house in Mt. Vernon, on a rental boat on Rend Lake, at an IGA grocery store, near a train station, ordering a pizza. Are all of those just red herrings?

Her girlfriend and traveling companion's stories keep changing. There are no confirmed reports of any statements from the two Ridge brothers and their relationships, if any, with either Beth or her traveling companion, Jennifer Wyatt.

In spite of no reported use of credit or debit cards or cell phone by Beth, the Woodstock Police still classify this case as a missing-person case.

I wonder police are looking back over the past eight months now and wondering whether they should have done something differently right from the start. Did Jennifer Wyatt tell the truth on Monday night, when Beth didn't show up back in Woodstock with her? Has she told the truth since? Has she ever told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, about everything that happened that week-end?

The time is past for protecting indiscretions, if any, in Beth's life. It's way past! Because her story has changed so many times, now is the time for Jennifer to take a lie-detector test.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Understanding Obama's $100MM budget cuts

Think you understand Pres. Obama's $100,000,000 budget cuts? A little foggy on it? Think it sounds like a lot of money? Like it's going to help?
The following is truly a "must watch"...only one minute, thirty-eight seconds.

A student explains the 100 Million Dollar Budget Cut. Trust me, you have to watch this one, and you'll end up smarter in just a minute and thirty-eight seconds. Recently, President Obama announced that over a 90-day period he is going to work to cut 100 million dollars of spending out of the Federal Budget.
A college student explains.
VERY well done!
Give the kid a scholarship in Political Science and a large donation for his first political campaign.

Just what every college needs

Sitting in the parking lot at McHenry County College (MCC) this morning was this "police" car. Is it one of the two Ford interceptors for which the Trustees authorized $68,000 last summer? It is already equipped with a driver's side spotlight and emergency lights mounted inside the vehicle.

Since the vehicle has been delivered and is now dirty, is it to be assumed that it will be operated as an unmarked vehicle? Or will it be painted and striped with easily-recognizable markings, so that any student or other person will quickly recognize it as a police car?

And, because it has already been equipped with emergency lights, can it now even be operated by MCC's security staff, who are not police officers on the college's campus? Some of them may be police officers of local towns, but will that give them the legal right to operate an unmarked police car owned by the College?

I have written before that I disagree with the purchase of Ford interceptors for use on the MCC campus. Who are they going to run down? Parking violators? Some student who parks his shiny, new car across two parking spaces?

Are they going to pursue drivers who disregard the 15MPH speed limit at 60-80MPH? That speed limit isn't even enforceable. They can't even writing a speeding ticket to a driver who ignores the 15MPH speed limit. And they might not even be able to enforce the no-passing zones on the perimeter roads. And will they be leaving the campus to "assist" Crystal Lake Police, McHenry County Sheriff's deputies, or Woodstock Police and have to run "hot" up or down U.S. 14 to get to the point of assistance?

The new MCC President made a huge mistake to purchase the two Fords and to ask the Trustees to create a campus police department. The College serves 7,000 mostly-part-time students as a two-year college with no on-campus housing. Bad, bad move. And I forecast it will turn out to be much more expensive an operation than the Trustees and she expect.

Got a question about whether the 15MPH speed limit or the no-passing zone can be enforced? Make two phone calls, and write down the answers you get and who gives you the answers.

1. Call MCC Security.
2. Call the Crystal Lake Police Department.

Island Lake PD "finds" 3,173 unpaid tickets

Pretty embarrassing, eh? When your police department starts nosing around in old desk drawers and finds 3,173 unpaid tickets?

See the article and the comments at

What should Island Lake P.D. and Village management do now?

Well, first of all, make a plan. So far, it sounds like they are putting the cart before the horse by identifying a collection agency (and an out-of-town one, at that. TekCollect is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. What? No local business that could handle the collection?

Isn't there an inventory of ticket numbers? How could someone not "notice" that there were (how many?) drawers full of old tickets?

I'll bet that many of them will end up being non-collectable. Should Island Lake draw a line and just void all that are older than 6-12 months? Or maybe just void all of them? What kind of tickets are there? Are they parking and other local ordinance tickets?

Put a trusted employee (is there one?) to work creating a spreadsheet: date of issue, name, violation, officer. That might be enough for starters. Look for a pattern. The pattern will help the Village and the Chief decide what to do next.

If they think they are embarrassed now, they are quite likely to be more embarrassed if they don't create a solid plan right now.

Maybe the public should be informed just how these tickets surfaced, and whether any officers complained previously that there were lots of unpaid tickets in drawers.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Amy Henslee found within three days

Followers of the Beth Bentley missing person case often follow stories of other women who have gone missing. On Monday Amy Henslee, 30, disappeared from her home in Hartford Township, Michigan, which is in Van Buren County and northeast of Benton Harbor, which is along Lake Michigan.

Henslee went missing on Monday, and her husband reported her missing about 10:00PM. At the time I wondered why he waited so long, but perhaps people are reluctant to call the police and report a spouse missing, when they don't know where the person is.

Henslee was found Thursday, buried with a second woman. Both had been shot. A former boyfriend of the second woman has been arraigned on two counts of murder.

I cannot help but to wonder whether Beth Bentley could have been found, if similar aggressive police work had immediately been put into motion. Henslee was found because tracking dogs were used.

What if tracking dogs had immediately been used in the Mount Vernon area, where Beth was last reported to be. Supposedly she stayed at a house outside the town of Mt. Vernon. She was last seen by an impartial observer on Friday night at a local restaurant/bar. After that, there are no public reports by anyone not identified as a friend or acquaintance.

Beth has treated only as a "missing person" for far too long. Even now, she remains identified as a "missing person - endangered", although "endangered" has never been publicly clarified by the Woodstock (Ill.) Police Department or her husband. Too many people seem to be just hanging back, waiting for some news.

I suspect any possibility of using tracking animals is long past. Weather changes, moisture and time have resulted in any trail long going stale. If Beth did come to a bad end in Mt. Vernon, the only way she will be found now is boots on the ground or by an accidental discovery. Even now, eight months later, there has been no known thorough, organized search.

What's it going to take to find Beth Bentley?

Groundhog Days begins

The kick-off event of Woodstock's Groundhog Days started with a blast tonight. A small crowd braved the 28° F. weather to assemble on the street across from the front of the Woodstock Opera House at 6:00PM, awaiting the Awakening of the Groundhog.

Two blasts captured everyone's attention, and there stood Woodstock Willie on the portico, as it was called, of the Opera House.

The emcee for the event was Craig Krandel, and Mayor Sager was present, too. Photographers and reporters from and Midwest Living magazine were there, as well as photographers from other media whom I didn't recognize. Watch the Lake in the Hills Patch, probably sometime this week-end.

Some of the photographers (not from or Midwest Living) were a little insensitive and unaware of the audience for the event. I hope their manners weren't a prelude to Wednesday morning. I believe it was 2-3 years ago that media cameramen thought the entire Groundhog Day (February 2nd) event with the groundhog was being staged for them.

Dallas officer accused in theft from CrimeStoppers

What if no one had provided a tip? What if no one had asked any questions?

On Wednesday a female Dallas police officer was arrested at work and hauled off to jail, charged with embezzling CrimeStoppers' reward money. The money was intended for tips provided by citizens, but reports are that she kept the redemption codes and used them herself.

I am reminded, of course, of my efforts to ask questions of the CrimeStoppers for McHenry County organization. As an unsuccessful attempt to learn the names of officers from the McHenry County Sheriff's Department in the late summer, I was finally given (only) a Woodstock P.O. Box to which I could write. I wrote a letter in September, asking for information. It took exactly a month for the Secretary to reply, and she didn't provide the information; so I wrote back. That was on October 18. Have I heard from her, or any officer of CrimeStoppers for McHenry County, yet? No, as in N-O.

When I get ignored or stiff-armed, the ante just goes up.

Now I want to see not only who the officers are and where and when the organization meets, I want to see the financial records - the revenues and the expenditures. And the report for the year 2010. I already know that in 2009 they didn't pay out much in tips and didn't keep very good records of the number of tips; there were 118 tips received in 2009, but an additional ten numbers were issued; however, there were no tips or information with those numbers. Was it just a "bookkeeping error"? Rewards of $3,400 were paid out on 12 tips, which is an average of $283. So, when they advertise "up to $1,000", that's exactly what they mean. The reward isn't $1,000; it's "up to $1,000."

What else did CrimeStoppers for McHenry County spend money on? Financial support for purchase of LEADS on line (sic) for Sheriff's Office Investigations; financial support of 22nd Judicial Family Violence Domestic Violence Symposium; financial assistance with purchase of Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention/Car Seat Trailer; financial funding for Gang Specialist 32-hour training to all departments in McHenry County; purchase of TV, DVD player, and dry-erase board for MCSO communications divisions training room for "Telecommunications Appreciation Week".

I'm also trying to find out when (or if) the Woodstock Area Crime Stoppers group met in January. They were supposed to elect officers at the October meeting, but did not. They were to have a meeting in January; if they did, it's a secret. But wait; there's one more business day in January...

Record number of tickets?

Remember back in September when Island Lake Police chased Seth Pederson, and newspaper articles gave a lot of space to the 55 tickets that were issued? And then a couple of days later, Algonquin grabbed Pedersen and charged him with DUI?

You can expect these cases to wind their way through the McHenry County court system and some day, if folks live long enough, they might learn what happened.

What didn't get reported in the Northwest Herald was that Algonquin dropped six charges against Pederson. Algonquin had charged him with Resisting a peace officer, DUI, Improper lane usage, Fleeing/Attempt to elude, Driver transporting alcohol, and uninsured vehicle. All those charges were nolle prossed on January 13, 2011, by Judge Charles Weech.

There must be a story behind these charges being dropped. Why would Algonquin ask for those cases to be dropped? In the spirit of fairness to any person charged with so many violations and given considerable newspaper space, when the charges are dropped, it is important that the public be informed (and not on Page 86).

A September 23rd article in the Northwest Herald stated that "at least 55 charges" were filed in regard to Pedersen's driving, after Wauconda Police asked Island Lake Police to stop him. Were some of them Lake County charges?

How long did it take the officer (s) to write up all those tickets? Is there a better way? Is Island Lake Police Department policy to write a ticket for every violation that occurred? Or, in the interest of efficiency (and economy), do you just write up the major ones and document all the others for your courtroom testimony?

Will Pedersen's public defender ask the judge to call each case separately? Let's say each case gets two minutes for the P/D to ask the judge for a continuance and explain why. Fifty cases at two minutes .... almost two hours, and then you add all the time for the court clerk to update each and every record.

Pedersen's next court date is February 2nd.

There must be a better way...

Stupid things done by elected boards

This one might take the blue ribbon. At least, for news published on January 28.

In 2007 the Wayne Township (Ind.) School Board cut a deal with its superintendent. Now, not then, they realize what it's going to cost them. According to the article, the super retired in December after only 15 years with the District, and he has already received $800,000!!!!!

And the deal created a position of Superintendent Emeritus and pays him $1,352/DAY to hold his successor's hand, for up to 150 days. Got your calculator handy? Figure out that total for yourself.

This is what happens when elected officials don't read the fine print, get too much "fine print" to read before a meeting, don't get it in time to read it before a meeting, don't run the numbers themselves, and/or don't understand what is in the Board packet.

You can read the whole story, if you have a strong stomach, here:

Could this happen locally? Go by the Woodstock Public Library and look at the size of the package that a Woodstock City Council member receives before a semi-monthly meeting. Thing they read every word? While they get it electronically (pros and cons to that), you can see the printed copy at the library. Getting it electronically could mean they don't read as much of it. Who can tell?

Where are the rest of the watchdogs around here? I'll tell you one thing. Cal Skinner (, Pete Gonigam (, Iris Bryan (, Dave Bachman ( and I could use some help!

Creech 14 guilty in drone case

Last year I went to a meeting at MCC in which the use of drones in Afghanistan was discussed. Drones are unmanned aircraft capable to dropping bombs, and some of them are guided by controllers in Nevada (about 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas) and about 7,000 miles away from the targets.

Just recently I watched a videos of drone controllers in the U.S., receiving commands and authorization for a strike. Sitting there in their "civies" (civilian attire), a fairly young man and young woman (apparently, a required two-person team) repeated and confirmed a firing sequence and dropped bombs on a designated target, then confirming the hit and damage.

A post-verdict statement to the judge included, "An airman at Creech wrote, 'I am 7,000 miles away from the killing….I am 18 inches away from the killing.'   He was referring to his proximity to seeing human beings dismembered on the video screen."

On April 9, 2009, 14 activists went to Creech AFB to protest. Yesterday they were convicted of misdemeanor trespassing. According to one newspaper article, the "Creech 14" were given credit for time-served and were allowed to go free from the courtroom.

City Council vs. Merryman - Feb. 1

On Tuesday, February 1, the Woodstock City Council will consider adoption of an ordinance to amend the Special Use Permit that was issued two years ago to Merryman Aggregate, allowing a gravel mining operation along U.S. 14 across from the hospital.

At the time 50 Conditions were attached to the Permit. Neighbors have complained about violations of the Permit, and the City has examined the degree of compliance with the Permit and the Conditions.

The City Council was to consider and vote on this ordinance on January 18, but Merryman requested a postponement just hours before the Council was to meet. It was reported that no company officials showed up at the City Council meeting.

One Councilman asked whether Merryman's request was a "stall tactic," as reported by The Woodstock Independent in its Jan. 26-Feb 1 edition. The Minutes of the meeting were a little kinder, phrasing it as the Councilman's asking the City Attorney for his opinion on "Merryman's willingness to reach a decision."

Personally, I liked Councilman RB Thompson's label better, if that's what he asked; and that's how it should have been noted in the Minutes.

The Woodstock Plan Commission met on December 2, 2010, and discussed the problems at the mining site for hours. The Public Hearing portion of that meeting was preceded by remarks by Mayor Sager, who urged "consensus" for almost 20 minutes. The Public Hearing lasted from 7:50-10:45PM.

Merryman didn't like most of the leanings of the Plan Commission then, and they didn't like them any better as the January 18th City Council meeting neared. They had had six weeks to negotiate, mediate, confer, build consensus". Instead, just hours before the City Council was to consider the recommendations of the Plan Commission, Merryman asked for the consideration to be postponed.

The City Council should have told Merryman's attorney that his client, Merryman, had had plenty of time to discuss and deal. Were Merryman officials waiting down the street, just in case the attorney called and told them to get upstairs fast, because the City Council refused to postpone discussion and a vote? Or were they confident that the City Council would agree to the delay?

The City Council has now laid down precedents for last-minute postponements and delays. It's time now for the City Council to set a new course for dealings with businesses. Be fair, of course. But don't get pushed around.

February 1st at 7:00PM should be interesting. The Super Bowl will be history. Turn off the TV and come over to City Hall to see your government in action.

Speaking of TV, wouldn't it be nice to be able to sit at home and watch City Council meetings on your TV? Comcast Public Service Channels offer that. Woodstock could arrange it. Will it? Comcast won't discuss arrangements (or even criteria) with a citizen who tries to get the ball rolling. Comcast insists it must be contacted by an official of the City.

Would you like for City Council meetings to be broadcast, either live or within a day or two of the meeting?

E-waste recycling date - April 9

Save the date April 9 for Grafton Township's recycling of e-waste. More details here on April 3.

Like to volunteer? Call Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore at 847/669-3328.

What will you be able to get rid of?

   ·        Computer monitors (CRTs, plasmas, LCD displays)
·        Computer systems, laptop and notebook computers
·        Televisions (stand-alone, console, widescreen, projection, CRT, plasma, LCD)
·        DVD players and Video game consoles
·        Computer peripherals (printers, scanners, copiers, fax)
·        Computer accessories (keyboards, mice, speakers, cords, cables)
·        External disk memory and hard disk drives (*confidential data destruction available)
·        Circuit boards and electronic components/chips
·        Network hubs, modems, wireless devices and routers
·        Audio Equipment (MP3 players, iPods, Walkmen, radios and stereo components) 
·        Office and business equipment (PDAs, telephone telecommunications/ switching systems, photocopiers, multi-function machines)
·        Cellular phones and chargers, pagers and palm pilots
·        Digital cameras and camcorders
·        Toner cartridges (ink jet and laser jet)
·        CDs, DVDs, and magnetic tape
·        Household batteries
·        Consumer electric items (oscillating fans, desk & floor lamps)
·        Small kitchen appliances (toaster, toaster oven, blender, mixer, microwave oven, etc.)
·        Large or small power tools
·        Vacuum Cleaners
·        Small personal cosmetic appliances (hair dryers, shavers, curling irons, electric toothbrushes)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"shrugged" - I thank you

A comment to the online CAHMCO article in the Northwest Herald was submitted by "shrugged", who wrote at 4:21 p.m. today:
"From a Tea Party Supporter: What do you expect when people in counties refer to our federal tax dollars as 'government money'? Get rid of HUD - problem solved! Uneducated voters keep voting in the same people because none of you complainers other than Gus have the gumption to run for office. Just how many School board offices have no candidates? Almost one third of the State Legislature in Illinois had no competition last year! Thanks to this fact, people who voted for Franks and the voters of Cook County we yet again have Madigan in charge of Springfield. "
No elected office should go uncontested. Now is not too early to set your sights on an office for the 2012 election. Start building your campaign plan and team now!
Who wants Jack Franks' chair? A seat on the County Board? To be a trustee of Dorr Township? To be on the Woodstock City Council? Or on the Board of the Woodstock Fire Rescue District? Or the Board of the Woodstock District 200 School District?
My thanks to "shrugged", whoever you are.

Comment on guilty plea in DUI fatal crash

I decided to place this comment separately from the press release by the McHenry County State's Attorney in the guilty plea of Tania Cederholm, 35, of Woodstock.

Please note the date of the crash - February 21, 2007. Today is just about three weeks short of four (that's FOUR (4)) years. Four years. What in the world could take four years??? Legal maneuvering. Fancy footwork. Continuance after continuance after continuance.

Read the press release - her BAC was 0.246. She had a DUI in 2004, which would have been probably less than three years before the fatal crash on February 21, 2007.

And look at the wording in the press release. The offense is "probationable." You've got to be kidding me. One DUI; then a second, fatal DUI. And now, four years of fooling around in the courts, she might get probation?

Who was her attorney? A McHenry County Public Defender. Ahh, the taxpayers paid for this one.

Look at Case No. 07CF000576. Six aggravated DUI/Accident felony charges. Five were nolle prossed; she pled guilty on one of them. But also look at all the other charges. You can view public records at

I don't even know if I can count accurately the number of court dates that driver had. I'll try. Why don't you see what number you get. I got 45. FORTY-FIVE court dates in 47 months!

When you look at the court record of dates and activity, you'll see that Judge Prather granted a motion for a fitness evaluation on 6/17/2009. Then, a whole year later on 7/2/2010, Cederholm was deemed fit for trial. Well, duh... Why didn't Judge Prather give Cederholm's lawyer 30 days to get the evaluation done? On 9/1/2010 a jury trial was scheduled for 1/27/2011 (today).

And just by some miracle, in a 402 Conference, a plea deal was worked out, and Cederholm pled guilty.

I have an opinion about the delays, games, ploys, stalls that are used to postpone final decisions. Do defendants think the courts might go out of business in the meantime? Why do judges tolerate this kind of nonsense?

February 10th may be Cederholm's (un)lucky day, when she faces Judge Sharon L. Prather at 9:00AM in Room 304 at the McHenry County Courthouse.

Let's see; driver measures 0.246, runs a stop sign, kills a person. The case should have been over in 90 days!!!

Guilty plea to DUI in fatal crash



     Louis A. Bianchi, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that Tania Cederholm, 35, of Woodstock, entered a plea of guilty to one count of Aggravated Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Causing Death---a class 2 felony. 
     In the late evening hours of February 21, 2007, Tania Cederholm drove her vehicle northbound on Dunham Rd.  At the intersection of 176 and Dunham, Cederholm’s vehicle entered into the intersection, pulling in front of an oncoming vehicle that was traveling eastbound and was being driven by David LeJeune of Rockford.  After striking Cederholm’s vehicle, Mr. LeJeune’s vehicle spun into the oncoming lane of westbound traffic and was struck by a third vehicle.  Mr. LeJeune later died due to the injuries he sustained.  Other persons involved in the three car collision received non-life threatening injuries.  Ms. Cederholm’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was determined to be .246 based on a toxicology screen performed during her medical treatment.  Ms. Cederholm had a prior DUI violation from 2004. 
     Ms. Cederholm’s next court date is February 10, 2011, where a date will be set for sentencing.  This offense is probationable, and if prison is imposed, there is a range of 3 to 14 years in prison.  Ms. Cederholm would be required to serve 85% of any prison sentence before being eligible for parole. 
     This case was investigated by Sgt. Karen Groves of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department, and was prosecuted by Phil Hiscock and Ryan Blackney of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Coming soon to a driveway near you

Hang on to your mattresses, folks. You may need them in about 4 years for your next trip to the hospital.

I remember my ride to Centegra in one of WFRD's finest vehicles, and that only cost me $350. I didn't ask if that was the whole bill or the part after any Medicare allowance. Maybe I should have. Now I wonder, how much was the whole bill?

Recently, a woman was billed for $800 for a Crystal Lake EMS ride from Hwy,. 31 to Centegra., about 8 miles. She should have told them that she didn't want to make the monthly payment on the thing; just use it for 30 minutes or so...

CAHMCO - the Saga, Part 1

Or was Part 1 the first article about CAHMCO (Corporation for Affordable Homes in McHenry County) just this past Monday? OK, let's make this Part 1, since the smell of rats in the barn may persist a little longer.

The Page 1 headline in this morning's Northwest Herald was "Seidel: Politics forced my ouster".  Mary Lu Seidel was fired at last week's meeting of the CAHMCO Board of Directors. (An aside to Mary Lu: I've been fired several times, so I know what it feels like.)

Read the Northwest Herald article here:  (N.B., the Northwest Herald's archiving policy is to stuff the article into a paid hiding vault in seven days; if you miss the reading window, use your Woodstock Public Library card to sneak into the vault for free). You'll see some interesting tidbits that ought to stir some of those tired, old brain cells.

On Monday, the CAHMCO website still showed Jeff Thorsen and Gay Szala as Board Members.

Today's article says that "...the Board underwent a shakeup (sic) after Seidel's firing - former president Jeff Thorsen resigned in protest, and another member became interim director."

No, I don't think that's how it was. Thorsen left the Board in November, two months before Seidel was fired.

On Monday afternoon, CAHMCO's website was changed to show that Art Wagoner is the interim Executive Director. I didn't see his name on the Board of Directors' listing on the website on Monday, so which Board Member was it who became interim director last Thursday?

Today Wagoner's title is Executive Director (the "interim" is gone). Was there a Board meeting since last week to elevate Wagoner from Interim Executive Director? Looks like he's the main man now. Executive Director is commonly a full-time, paid position. If they boot him now, won't he get unemployment and a severance package?

Another Board member left in November, but the paper didn't mention Gay Szala. Why did she leave the Board?

Don't miss this juicy part: The CEO of the McHenry County Community Foundation (MCCF), Kate Halma, had supported the formation of a new affordable housing organization in McHenry County, one to be run by Eric Koehler (hmmm, where do McHenry County residents know that last name from???) and "Chip" Eldredge. Eric is McHenry County Board Chairman Ken Koehler's son, and "Chip" is Charles Eldredge III, identified in the article as a "real estate consultant." Does that mean real estate salesman?

Back to Kate Halma, CEO of MCCF. According to the article, she carried the banner of the new organization (McHenry County Attainable Housing Corp.) to the MCCF Board. The Board didn't bite on January 4, and it fired Halma the next day. What did she do to rub the Board the wrong way?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sponsor a Kirk Martin workshop?

Kirk Martin and his son, Casey, of, are offering free workshops for parents and teachers in the Chicago area, including McHenry County, on February 11, 12 or 14.

Please see the complete information about these on  Kirk and Casey will be donating all proceeds from CD/DVD sales of their programs an an Oak Park orphanage.

Please take the time to read this offer. If you know of a school or church that would organize and sponsor (no cost to them) a program on one of these days, please suggest that they act promptly. Time is short.

Thank you!

McHenry County Jail - not a safe place

There was a news article in the Northwest Herald on Saturday that I wondered about, but I didn't write about it at the time. It seems that two fellows in the McHenry County Jail got into a fight on Wednesday, January 19. One had been a witness against the other, and he took a pounding for it. Frank Cmiel, 28, and Yacoup Baghdadi, 21, got into it, after Cmiel pled guilty, knowing that Baghdadi was going to testify against him. Cmiel strangled, punched and kicked Baghdadi, according to the Northwest Herald article.

The thing I wondered about last week, and wondered about again today, is just how did those two end up in the same room (or jail area)?

Don't jail policy and procedures anticipate this type of situation? When inmates take up residence in the jail, especially after a contentious courtroom appearance or trial, don't jailers expect that one might be ticked off at the other?

Wouldn't jailers be keeping an eye out for the guy likely to take a beating?

How did the fight get broken up? Was a jailer Johnny-on-the-spot or did an inmate break it up?

Cmiel's new charges, Case No. 11CF000075, will get started in court on February 4 in Judge Condon's court. Cmiel will be represented by a Special Public Defender from the law firm of Michling Hofmann Vinton et al.

Island Lake candidates - who are these three?

Three candidates are running for election in The Right Party in Island Lake. The election is APRIL 5th, 2011. What's going on over there? Don't they know they can't win with the platform they have?

An email from Joe "the Pledger" Ptak today explained their approach. See if it makes sense to you...

Joe wrote that Shannon Fox, Thea Morris and he are "very interested and concerned about the future of our small town." Joe, no, no, no. You have to be interested in lining your own pockets!
Then he says that Island Lake "has experienced severe negative media attention...and rightfully so..." Watch those understatements, Joe.
He goes on, "...both of our past Mayors were indicted, as well as other members of our current/past village administration.  Our police department has had several different police chiefs in the last few years, along with a tremendous amount of personnel turnover."
Joe, how can you fight experience like that?
But then he wrote that transparency in government in Island Lake is lacking and is of major concern with the residents.
Transparency? What a word for a candidate for office to use. Joe, you can't mean it!
OK, enough of the joking around...
Joe does mean it. Joe's got the right idea, and they picked the right name. Joe's a stand-up guy. Island Lake will have a strong chance to pull itself out of the muck and start operating in a way that attracts the respect of other communities in McHenry County (and Lake County, since the County line splits up the community).
Visit their website at  (He adds, "Log in for future updates.")

These three need the attention, help and financial support of Islake Lake residents. Reading their website isn't enough. Help them get out and knock on doors, and pitch in some money to help them win. Get involved now! Two months will pass very quickly.

Winning may not be quite enough initially, because Village Board votes might still be 4-3 too often. These three might just be able to persuade one of the other four to start siding with them in the move for progress.

Good luck to Joe, Shannon and Thea.

Did deputy sergeant write blog?

A comment was posted on below today's article about the Better Government Association's December 29, 2010, extensive FOIA request to to the McHenry County Sheriff's Department (MCSD) that purports to identify the author of a blog that, from time to time, spoke ill of me.

That comment?

Shadow Deputy says:
Sergeant Greg Pyle has admitted to being the infamous author of the website known as “The Diametrical Woodstock Advocate”.
He has been heard in the office telling his buddies that he wrote the blog. After hearing this I checked out his website and I found a link to a VEILED threat. From what I over heard some one wishes he could take Seipler “to the tool shed”. Seeing as Pyle has gained about 50 lbs of fat and I have seen Seipler bench well over 300lbs. I put my money on Seipler completely destroying Pyle in about 17 secs. Plus Seipler has a reputation of taking care of business. I can’t wait till that guy comes back.
"This has nothing to do with this article, I just needed a place to post this."

Unfortunately, "Shadow Deputy" doesn't identify himself. When that blog first surfaced, I printed and saved numerous pages of it, as I expected the blog would disappear.

And over a year ago this comment appeared, after Cal Skinner mentioned that blog in an article on McHenry County Blog: 

"The diametrical woodstock advocate or Gomer Pyle as we like to call him is a deputy of the Sheriff’s Department. He is violating about a hundred general orders by publishing that site. I wonder if the Sheriff or any of his cronies have looked into the authors identity yet. At least Bachman has the courage to put himself out there. Cowards, Nygren supporters are nothing but cowards!"

At any rate, I don't know Greg Pyle.

Correction to story about Col. West

A reader has sent me the following as a correct version of the events concerning Col. West. The footnote citations were in the copy sent to me, although the footnotes were not.

He wrote, "The story about col west and his interrogation is incorrect. There were no missing soldiers, and no intense combat...that is a tea party urban myth.  Here is the correct account:

"[edit]Iraq interrogation incident

"While serving in Taji, Iraq, on August 20, 2003, West was in charge of the interrogation of Yahya Jhodri Hamoodi, a civilian Iraqi police officer suspected of having information about attacks on American troops in the area.[8] Interrogators had been informed the detainee knew about a planned ambush. When the detainee refused to talk, LTC West was asked to assist. Hamoodi continued to withhold information, and West was accused of firing his pistol past the prisoner's head, frightening him into talking. According to West's sworn statement,[5] the detainee told West:

[The attack] was to occur Friday morning in Saba al Boor vicinity of the police station by positioned snipers supposedly being brought in from Fallujah. [The detainee] was to ID my vehicle and myself for these rooftop firers. We took this information and the following day established flask CPs and used AH-64s overhead. There was no attack and no further attacks have emanated from the town since the apprehension of [the detainee] and his named associates.

"At least one suspect was arrested as a result of the information obtained through the detainee's information. The suspect's home was searched, but no plans for attacks or weapons were found. West testified he did not know if "any corroboration" of a plot was ever found. He added: "At the time I had to base my decision on the intelligence I received. It's possible that I was wrong about Mr. Hamoodi."[9]
"West, who had completed almost 22 years of active service, was charged with violating articles 128 (assault) and 134 (general article) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He was processed through an Article 32 hearing in November 2003, where he admitted he was wrong to fire the pistol and was fined $5,000. LTC West accepted the judgment and retired with full benefits in the summer of 2004.[10]"
[Note from Gus: Many thanks to the reader for his time to provide the correction.]

Woodstock's Senior Call-in Program needs more users

One of the best-kept secrets in Woodstock is the Senior Citizen Call-in Program of the Woodstock Police Department. It was designed to provide an extra layer of security to senior citizens in Woodstock who live on their own.

Here's how it works. A Woodstock senior citizen fills out a form, signs a waiver and then registers those forms at the Woodstock Police Department, along with keys to his residence. Each day the senior citizen contacts the P.D. by 10:00AM. All it takes is "Hi, this is Gus. I'm okay."

If the senior doesn't call by 10:00AM, the telecommunicator (dispatcher) will begin a follow-up procedure, starting with a phone call to the senior. If there is no answer, a police officer will be dispatched with the key to the senior's residence. The officer will knock; if there is no answer, the officer will enter.

The program is explained on the Police Department's webpages, which can be found through the City's website at  Roll your mouse over City Departments (on the left); continue rolling over Police and then click on Community Programs/Services. Then search for and click on Senior Citizen Call-In Program.

Service agencies, such as Faith in Action and McHenry County Senior Services, could publicize this program and encourage seniors to register. Churches can promote it. Dorr and Greenwood Townships could promote it. Woodstock Fire Rescue District could promote it. Seniors at the new Coffee with the City at Stage Left Cafe could sign up on the spot. Perhaps The Woodstock Independent would cooperate with an insert of the registration forms (which could be printed two-sided).

All senior citizens, with limited exceptions, should be eligible, whether single or married. It doesn't matter whether they live in a house or apartment.

Two websites to check out, too

Yesterday I wrote a new DWI website ( out east that it going to make lives miserable for drunk drivers.

Ken Rossignol, the publisher, has sent along links to two other websites he has - a political blog at and, which is his original publication that he stopped in order to bring out St. Mary’s Today ( 22 years ago. 

He wrote, "We ran the liberals out of office at the county commissioner level this past fall, and we are going to keep on the pressure on the Republicans. You might enjoy some of the videos which are on the political site and were part of the campaign."

I believe you'll enjoy them, too.

Thanks, Ken, for inspiring me in the direction of my blog and my traffic crusade. Next trip to Maryland I'll be sure to stop and say Hello.

CUE Center involvement in Bentley case

The CUE (Community Unified Effort) Center for Missing Persons ( and was founded in 1994 by Monica Carlson. Since that year it has helped more than 9,000 families in their efforts to find lost family members. The CUE Center is headquartered in Wilmington, N.C.

Recently, I received an email from a "~Linda~" and a private Yahoo! Mail email address with information about the Cue Center's efforts in the Beth Bentley case. ~Linda~ (there was no last name in the email) has now been identified to me as Linda Stovall, and she is a volunteer with the CUE Center.

The CUE Center assisted in the development of a new site created by Beth's brother in Arizona, and it can be viewed at

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So just where does Nygren live now?

On December 3, 2010, only two after taking office for his four-year term as Sheriff of McHenry County, Keith Nygren sold his house in Hebron to Bryan Krause, his subordinate, employee and head of the County garage facility that services sheriff's department vehicles.

If Nygren were put under oath, or if Bryan were, when would they say they had begun to plan that real estate transaction. Before December 3? Before December 1? Before November 2, which was Election Day in McHenry County?

When did Bryan apply for his mortgage to buy a house for $250,000 that very likely was worth about $170,-180,000 on December 3? Does he have a friend in the banking business who made him a very good deal on a loan? What was the true Fair Market Value of 10213 Meadow Lane in Hebron on December 3?

Nygren wasn't too concerned "about security" during the years he owned that house in Hebron. If anyone wanted to find out where he lived, a quick visit to the Treasurer's Office or the Recorder's Office would have provided the answer.

If it wasn't a problem before December 3, why is it now? Or is it?

To legally hold the Office of Sheriff of McHenry County, Nygren must be a resident of the County. Is he? As the people of Chicago are finding out, intent is an important element of residency.

If Nygren sold the Hebron home and Mrs. Nygren is a Florida resident and living in Cape Coral, Florida and assuming that they aren't divorcing, what odds would Jimmy the Bookmaker lay on Nygren's hanging around in McHenry County?

Is he getting his ducks lined up, so that he can resign (retire?) and clear out of state?

For many homeowners the interest on the primary's home mortgage is an important tax consideration. Renters don't get that deduction. A decent apartment, sufficient in size to hold his familiar household furnishings, would cost $1,500-2,000/month - in after-tax dollars.  Is Nygren in a 40-50% total income tax bracket, effectively pushing his monthly housing cost to $36,-48,000/year out of his $145,000 salary? Why wouldn't he want to continue to own?

Or is he renting a room (or the entire house he just sold) from Bryan on some kind of a sweetheart deal; say, $200/month? If he rents the room/house for less than FMV, won't Bryan be gifting the difference to him? And, of course, filing the appropriate Federal and Illinois Gift Tax Returns?

And, if Nygren did get, say, $70,000 more than the FMV of the house on the date of sale, would that excess be a gift to him from Bryan?

DWI Hit Parade

Check out this new website that is devoted to publicizing DWIs. It won't be popular with drunk drivers, but the rest of us will like it.

Created by Ken Rossignol of somewhere-in-Maryland, Ken has been on a crusade for years against drunk driving. Visit

The first DWI Hit Parade was published on July 31, 1990, and has since "recognized" approximately 65,000 drunk drivers.

The offer of a free coffin isn't a joke. "A 2007 offer of a free coffin for the first drunk driver to kill himself during the Christmas season resulted in zero fatalities in the three counties of Southern Maryland due to alcohol as of Christmas Eve.  After victory was declared for the effort, and the offer ended, three days later a young man killed himself in Hollywood, MD. while driving drunk." (Snipped from

For years he published St. Mary's Today at  Last year he turned management duties over to others. And here's the new online publication.

Police agencies which desire to assist by providing arrest information are invited to send the data to

Looking for a part-time job? Pass up this one

Be careful with the emails you receive that look "too good to be true." They probably are - - too good to be true.

A reader forwarded an email he had received, as an example of what he referred to as the "#1 scam involving US postal forged money orders."

The email purported to inform the recipient of an opening for a "Customer evaluator" for a survey company. It must be an English offer, because neighborhood was spelled "neighbourhood". It involves some "money transfer" scheme that is not entirely clear, but it looks to me like they are trying to get their hands on U.S. postal money orders, possibly for the purpose of fraudulent reproduction of them.

Although it doesn't require personal identifying information other than a full name and address, that could be used to begin building a database for future identify theft.

Most readers will just hit Delete, when they receive emails such as that one. At the very least, your caution flag ought to fly high, if you consider it all.

Earn $700/week part-time, working once or twice a week? I don't think so!

Thanks to the reader for this alert.

Important to understand Islam?

A friend sent the following message to me. Take a minute to read it and to watch the short video at the end by newly-elected Congressman Allen West.

"Only two blacks were newly elected to congress this cycle, and both are Republican. Col West is from southern Florida, a bastion of the Democratic Party.  He won in a walk.

"It is worth the viewing.  This new Congressman was an extremely popular commander in Iraq.  He was forced to retire because during an intense combat action a few of his men were captured.  At the same time his men had captured one of the guys who were with the Iraqis who captured his men. 

"Knowing that time was crucial and his interrogators were not getting anywhere with the prisoner COL West took matters into his own hands.  He burst into the room and demanded thru an interpreter that the prisoner tell him where his men were being taken.  The prisoner refused so COL West took out his pistol and placed it into the prisoner's crotch and fired.  Then the COL told the prisoner that the next shot would not miss.  So the prisoner said he would show where the American service members were being taken.  The Americans were rescued.  Some one filed a report on incorrect handling of prisoners.  COL West was forced to retire.  COL West was just elected in November 2010 to Congress from Florida .  During the elections he was part of a panel on how to handle or how to relate to Muslims.  You will see his answer here.

"Here is one of the new congressmen from Florida explaining very definitively in just over a minute the truth about Islam."

I was reminded of the 2010 movie with Samuel L. Jackson called Unthinkable. In it a negotiator doesn't fool around with a terrorist he is interrogating. he gets his attention right away, although in a slightly different way than did Col. West.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rahm Emanuel off ballot, says court

Three cheers for the judges of the Illinois Appellate Court that considered Emanuel's residency claim regarding eligibility to run for Chicago's next mayor.

Is there anyone, a-n-y-o-n-e, who thinks Emanuel would have come back to Chicago, had Daley not decided to bail out?

A third-grader could figure out that Emanuel wasn't a Chicago resident.

Now the case goes to the Illinois Supreme Court on an expedited basis. Gee, you can be on Death Row and slated for execution and you can't get that kind of priority scheduling.

What is it about Emanuel that I dislike? P-o-w-e-r. Just look at his photos. Raw power. Raw ego. He portrays an "I'm going to get my way, so get out of my way" attitude. And, if you don't get out of the way, you are going to get run over. An example of power: Emanuel has raised $10.5 million between October and Dec. 31, according to! A lot of people are afraid of that kind of power.

The judges weren't.

How did Woodstock PD car crash happen?

I picked up the crash report this afternoon on last Wednesday's crash involving a Woodstock police car and two other vehicles. The report was written by Deputy #2002, whose name does not appear on the report. More and more departments are going to "Officer #xxxx", with an occasional illegible signature scrawled on the report, but the MCSD report is fully electronic with no handwriting.

The officer driving the Woodstock squad car was Ofc. Mitchell Falat, not previously identified in the MCSD press release, which is now posted on the sheriff's department website, or in the newspaper article.

Ofc. Falat told the investigating deputy that, while making other maneuvers in the intersection before proceeding westbound through the intersection with his emergency equipment operating, he "was informed that the fleeing subject with a warrant for their (sic) arrest changed direction, and began fleeing north." Was he assigned on that call, or was he monitoring another officer's activity? Was the subject who was wanted positively identified by the other officer? Was the other officer "called off" the pursuit, because he could not positively identify the wanted person as being in the car? Did all of that happen before the time of the crash?

Ofc. Falat stated that he stopped on westbound Lake Avenue, waved traffic out of his way, checked both ways and observed that all vehicles (on Route 47) had stopped, and started across the southbound lane, whereupon "instantly" he was struck by a southbound vehicle. That impact caused him to hit an eastbound vehicle stopped in the left-turn lane on Lake Avenue.

Numerous witnesses are listed in the crash report and confirmed that the emergency equipment was operating on the police car and that Ofc.Falat had entered the intersection slowly.

The driver of the southbound vehicle, Tara Madigan, told the investigating deputy that there were vehicles stopped in the southbound left-turn lane. Those would have interfered with the line-of-sight for both Ofc. Falat and her.

Ofc. Falat did make several changes in his direction of travel just prior to the crash. He arrived at the intersection on Lake Avenue from the northwest, as if he had driven from the vicinity of the police station or farther northwest. (Lake Avenue runs diagonally northwest-to-southeast.) He was using the emergency lights and siren on his squad car and, due to heavy traffic at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Route 47, he went around traffic in the eastbound left-turn lane on Lake Avenue by using the oncoming lane of traffic, and then he turned south on Route 47. He then made a U-turn, apparently intending to return to the northwest on Lake Avenue. Due to heavy traffic, he first made a right turn onto eastbound Lake Avenue and then made another U-turn. Because of heavy traffic on Lake Avenue, he used the oncoming (eastbound) lane to get to the intersection.

He says he stopped before entering the intersection, and witnesses agree. Witnesses reported hearing the siren and seeing the emergency lights on. Then he slowly entered the intersection and, as the investigating deputy recorded, "...observing that all vehicles had stopped, unit two (patrol car) continued through the intersection..."

Only all vehicles hadn't stopped. There was a southbound vehicle on Route 47 that he apparently didn't see before he pulled into its path.

I am reminded of a crash I investigated 30+ years ago, after which a driver said, "The other car came out of nowhere." (This is where you laugh.) Cars obviously don't come out of "nowhere."

Do I feel the deputy was wrong to issue a ticket to Ms. Madigan? Yes. It seems to me that she didn't have any real warning that Ofc. Falat was about to pull in front of her vehicle. Since he was crossing a lane of traffic with a green light, it was his responsibility to stay out of her way, not the other way around.

As I quoted the other day, the law allows authorized emergency vehicles to proceed past a red traffic light, but the driver is required to slow down " may be required and necessary for safe operation." Ofc. Falat did slow down, but then he apparently drove into the path of the southbound vehicle.

Which driver should have been place as Unit One? Unit One is the driver who is at fault (or more at fault)? In this case, based on the investigating deputy's report, Ofc. Falat should have been entered as Unit One. The City of Woodstock should cause Ms. Madigan's ticket to be dismissed and should pay for the damages to her car, the WFRD bill for her passengers and her, and the medical care expenses incurred at the hospital.

Reins change at CAHMCO

There has been a change of leadership at the Corporation for Affordable Homes in McHenry County (CAHMCO). And there was also a change in the composition of the Board of Directors last November that, until today, was not revealed on its website.

Jeff Thorsen, now former President of the Board of Directors of CAHMCO, and Gay Szala, now former (her title is now gone; was she Secretary?), were on the Board of Directors, but they resigned in November. About 2:30PM the website was updated to remove their names.

At its meeting last week, the Board replaced Mary Lu Seidel, now former Executive Director, with an interim Executive Director, Art Wagoner.

CAHMCO's work can be viewed at

Reader comments on Rockford Town Hall meeting

A reader of this blog attended Saturday's town hall meeting in Rockford and has this to say:

"I attended this town hall meeting. It was a wonderful experience and I learned a great deal about each candidate and some additional information about House bills recently passed.
"Republicans are hoping to increases these Town Hall meetings and I will plan to attend every single one I possibly can. Questions are asked by the public and you get a real feel for the politician.
"Mark Kirk is truly a professional. Very smart and articulate. He held his ground on a few issues so I was impressed.
"you can call your local politicians office and get on their email list to make sure they send you information regarding these events."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Federal case against MCSD heats up

New Motions were filed last week in Rockford in the case of Seipler v. Cundiff, et al.* These motions were for sanctions against the defendants and ask the Court for and their counsel for a variety of causes, including repeated delays in depositions, failing to tender data related to more than 5,000 traffic stops, providing false data to the Plaintiff and refusing to reproduce the Defendants for further depositions.

Seipler is also asking the Court to order payment of certain attorneys’ expenses that have been incurred because of false data provided by the Defendants.

Seipler also informs the Court that Defendants have released data bound by Protective Order, which was not to be released to non-parties to the court action; ex., the confidential deposition of Deputy Scott Milliman. (The Northwest Herald obtained a copy.)

Seipler, through his attorney, also asks the Court to require the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department to produce photographs of numerous individuals who were issued tickets in 2007 and 2008 by Deputies Jeremy Bruketta, Christopher Jones and Michelle Stevens.

The Court is also informed that 51 officers (sic) (meaning deputies) “are now being investigated for racial profiling.”

Attachment A lists tickets issued to people who are most likely Hispanics but who were recorded as being White.
In 2007, Deputy Bruketta – 60
In 2007, Deputy Matthew Matusek - 35
In 2008, Deputy Erin Falb - 77
In 2008, Deputy Bruketta - 241

* The Defendants in this case are Capt. Anton Cundiff, Lt. John Miller #1431, Lt. William Lutz, Sgt. Popovitz, Kathleen Seith (Equal Employment Opportunity officer), Keith Nygren, as Sheriff and individually, and the County of McHenry.

Intersection crashes with emergency vehicles

Generally speaking, it's a good idea to avoid a crash with an emergency vehicle that is using its emergency lights and siren (or, in Illinois, lights or siren). It spoils your day. It spoils the officer's day. He doesn't get to the call to which he was hurrying. And you get the ticket.

Several years ago I spoke with a driver who had been hit by a police car that he said ran a red light. When I inquired whether the officer had gotten a ticket, he asked, "Can police officers get tickets?" He fought the allegation that he had been at fault. He later told me that it had taken three years, but the City of Woodstock finally paid him for the damage to his vehicle.

I recall a story of a rookie police officer elsewhere who got into an accident on the way to a call. It was his fault, so he wrote himself a ticket! And, much more recently, a Wisconsin police chief passed a stopped school bus, and he wrote himself a ticket - and paid the fine!

I'm awaiting the crash reports for last Wednesday's crash in Woodstock at Route 47 and Lake Avenue, where there is an IDOT traffic signal. One of the drivers must have had a red light, yet apparently no one was ticketed for running a red light. One civilian driver was ticketed for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. At this point I'll assumed that Ms. Tara Madigan, of Woodstock, who was driving southbound on Route 47, had a green light. The speed limit is 35MPH, but daytime traffic usually does not allow a driver to move at that speed.

A Woodstock police officer was westbound on Lake Avenue and, according to witnesses (not identified by the newspaper), there was a "stopped 2000 Chevrolet Trailblazer that was facing east on Lake Avenue"). So, was the light red for Lake Avenue traffic in both directions? Was it red for the police officer?

The light could have been green for westbound traffic, if the signal was allowing westbound left-turning and through traffic to proceed was green, while through eastbound Lake Avenue traffic waited on its red. But then it would have been red for Route 47 traffic. And Ms. Madigan would have gotten a ticket for running a red light.

But she didn't get a ticket for running a red light, which causes me to think that she had a green, and the Woodstock officer had a red.

What does Illinois state law say about police running red lights?

"The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may ... 2. Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be required and necessary for safe operation." 625 ILCS 5/11-205(c)2

So, a police officer can "proceed" past a red light, but he must do so safely. If he doesn't do so safely, then a crash is likely. Did last Wednesday's crash happen because the officer pulled out into the intersection unsafely and into the path of the other car?

If so, the investigating deputy from the McHenry County Sheriff's Department made an error in issuing a ticket to Ms. Madigan, and she should fight it. No deal. No plea bargain. She should get a good, strong attorney to fight this ticket for her. And sue, if necessary, collect all the damages to repair her vehicle, to pay for the paramedics and the hospital and doctors' bills, and enough extra to reimburse her for her legal expense in fighting the ticket.

Now, if the police chief can quickly ascertain that the police officer did proceed through a red light and drive in front of Ms. Madigan, then the City should quickly step up and have the ticket dismissed AND arrange payment of all her damages. If the City is at fault, it makes no sense to fight a claim and only increase its eventual pay-out.

I wonder what the crash report will have to say about which driver had a red light or if the report will be silent about that. The driver of the eastbound Trailblazer knows, as will any impartial witness(es). If anyone witnessed this accident, contact the drivers and inform the Woodstock P.D. that you witnessed the accident. Ask that a supplemental report be written, and submit your own handwritten or typed statement of what you saw for attachment to that report.

You might also follow up and confirm that your own statement did get attached to the report. One of my own statements did not. I have always felt that Woodstock's prosecuting attorney would have won his case, had he known what was in my report. The officer's report indicated that my report was attached, and his supervising sergeant signed off on the report. However, the Woodstock PD Records Department didn't have the report, and so the prosecuting city attorney never got it. Where did it get lost between the sergeant's desk and the Records Department?