Friday, December 30, 2011

Who caught the brass ring?

Recently Scott Milliman filed a federal law suit against Sheriff Keith Nygren of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. If you think things have been "interesting" with all the lawsuits against Nygren and the Sheriff's Department so far, just wait until you get to see some of the particulars coming along.

The Sheriff and the rest of the defendants will need attorneys. Who will represent them? Who will defend Nygren in his capacity as Sheriff, Nygren individually, and the other defendants, who are Undersheriff Andrew J. Zinke, Commander John L. Miller, former employee Bryan Krause (former MCSD garage supervisor (and Nygren's chauffeur in parades)), Sgt. Steven Schmitt and Lt. Ken Nielson?

Take three guesses (and the first two don't count)...

1. Lou Bianchi, McHenry County State's Attorney and "the Sheriff's attorney", by law;
2. Donald Leist, Esq., new EEO officer of MCSD;
3. James G. Sotos & Associates, Ltd., of Itasca, Ill.

Who will represent Nygren individually? Will Sotos represent him in his (Nygren's) individual capacity? At no charge or at his regular hourly rate, but billed to Nygren at his residence?

Who will represent The County of McHenry, "Corporation and Body Politic", which is also named as a Defendant?

Should all the defendants go with one attorney for their defense, no matter who that attorney is? What if there is a conflict-of-interest among the defendants? For example, Krause had some major problems with Nygren when he bought Nygren's house in Hebron. The problem? Nygren wouldn't move out. Nygren sold Krause the house. Krause bought the house at what seemed to many to be well over the market value of the house. And still Nygren wouldn't move out.

Did Krause have to threaten Nygren (the Sheriff of McHenry County!) with legal action to get him out of his own house? Did Nygren really tell Krause that he (Nygren) didn't have to move out, because Nygren had given Krause such a good deal? Is a good deal one where you pay $20,-30,000 over Fair Market Value?

Will Krause feel fairly represented by an attorney controlled by Nygren?

And what about the other defendants? If they have conflicting defenses, will (can) they get fair representation? They should be individually and privately asking Sotos some important and hard questions, and before they start providing any information for their defense. Maybe they should be conferring with other attorneys on this very issue before statements and depositions begin.

How many years down the line will a jury trial, demanded in the filing, take place? How about cutting through all the baloney and having a May or June trial? Of course, that won't happen, but wouldn't it be nice? Get it all out of the way before the next election? And before Nygren can bail out and leave the wreckage to Zinke.

If Nygren bails before July, the successor in the Office of Sheriff will be decided by the public in the November 2012 election. If he holds his breath and hangs on by his fingernails to the election-cycle cut-off date, then the County Board gets to appoint Andy Zinke as Nygren's hand-picked successor.

Is Zinke going to be the right choice, whether appointed or elected?

Or would MCSD be better off to bring in an outsider with a big broom and a spotless reputation? Unfortunately, with Illinois election laws the way they are, that person can't be too much of an outsider. He (or she) will have to be a McHenry County resident.

CrimeStoppers robbery reward?

What's the deal in Woodstock?

A robber knocks off the Shell station on Madison and hoofs it south on Madison Street. The Northwest Herald tells us about it. A press release buried on the City of Woodstock website (down far too many "clicks") informs anyone "with information" to call CrimeStoppers at 800-762-7867 but does not mention a reward.

Does any tip to CrimeStoppers that results in an arrest and conviction qualify for a reward? Rewards are often advertised as $1,000, but they are really only "up to $1,000".

Or does CrimeStoppers have to announce a reward first?

Are there any Wanted posters out for the male (white, black, Hispanic, or ???), 6', 200 pounds, wearing black shirt, long-sleeved sweatshirt (color?), black pants?

Come on, folks! Facial hair? Glasses (or not)? Hat? Hoodie? Was the shirt worn over the sweatshirt? Mask? What kind of gun? Pistol? Automatic? Right-handed or left-handed? Did he run out with a "fistful of dollars" or did he have a bag?

Is there a videotape of the robbery?

Is Eric Holder dangerous?

A reader just sent me an email with this message. Go to right now and vote on this important issue. The poll is there right now.

Own a Gun? Please Keep This Moving
Guess they were not happy with the poll results the first time, so USA today is running another one... Vote now
Attorney General, Eric Holder, has already said this is one of his major issues. He does not believe the 2nd Amendment gives individuals the right to bear arms. This takes literally 2 clicks to complete. Please vote on this gun issue question with USA Today. It will only take a few seconds of your time. Then pass the link on to all the pro- gun folks you know. Hopefully these results will be published later this month. This upcoming year will become critical for gun owners with the Supreme Court's accepting the District of Columbia case against the right for individuals to bear arms.
Here's what you need to do:
First - vote on this one.
Second - Send it to other folks and have THEM vote - then we will see if the results get published.

Shooting nets two charges

The year 2011 was not a good one for Maxwell Cannon, 22. Cannon accidentally shot and killed a 19-year-old friend with an "unloaded" gun on Wednesday evening in McHenry County, along the east side of the Fox River just outside McHenry.

On May 8 Bull Valley PD cited Cannon for speeding. In a rather quickly-scheduled bench trial, the case was nolle prossed. Cannon was represented by the McHenry law firm of Donahue & Walsh.

On May 22 Cannon was charged with DUI and other offenses. Again he was represented by Donahue & Walsh. After court dates of June 16, 30, July 7, 14, 21, August 11, 25, September 8, 23, 30, and October 7. On October 21, a "402 Conference" (a deal-making session) was held, and on October 28 Judge Gordon Graham sentenced Cannon to $1,915 in fines and court costs, one year court-monitored supervision, DUI school and victim impact panel. On December 13 the Victim Impact Panel time was extended.

The flurry of court dates is quite outside the norm for DUI cases in McHenry County courts. It is usual to see monthly court dates and cases dragged out for a long time.

Other charges on May 22 included a Summary Suspension of his driving privileges (rescinded Oct. 21), operating an uninsured vehicle, disregarding a stop sign (two citations), unlawful use of a blackjack or knife and carrying or possession of a firearm. The plea deal to the DUI included the State's Attorney's Office agreement not to prosecute on these other charges.

An agreement not to prosecute (nolle prosequi) is not the same as "dismissing" the charges.

The new charges against Cannon are Involuntary Manslaughter (Class 3 Felony) and Reckless Discharge of a Firearm (Class 4 Felony). No attorney has yet filed an Appearance, according to online court records at this writing. Cannon's next court date is Friday, January 6, 9:00AM, before Judge Sharon Prather.

Cannon reportedly removed the magazine from the pistol he was showing to friends. If he was unfamiliar with the semi-automatic pistols, he would not have known to check the barrel by pulling back the slide and ejecting any cartridge already loaded into the firing position. Or, if he did know that, then he was careless in not doing so.

If he was further unfamiliar with the weapon, he would not have known that pulling the trigger might cause the firing pin to drop on a cartridge in the barrel, even if the clip had been removed. Some semi-automatics will not fire with the clip removed; others will. It is imperative to know your weapon.

Regardless of safety mechanisms, it's just stupid to point a weapon at someone and pull the trigger.

Pavlins keep the pressure on Sheriff

Cal Skinner publishes an interesting photograph of the interior of the Pavlin residence on his McHenry County Blog ( and includes the caption, "This Sheriff's Department photo indicates some McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy was upstairs in a case in which the homeowners were not present with a search warrant.. "

I recall reading reports of deputies' milling around the Pavlin residence and refusing to leave, but this is my first awareness that a deputy went upstairs.

I always wondered why Carl accepted a negotiated plea in the first place, except for the expense of defending himself for months and months in court. What if he had waited for Judge Kapala to rule that the deputies illegally entered his parents' residence? Did his lawyer tell him of a possible "illegal arrest" defense? Would Carl's case have been thrown out?

After Carl was quickly handcuffed and removed to a squad car, every deputy should have left the house, especially after Mr. and Mrs. Pavlin ordered them out. The Pavlins didn't want their home "tossed"; Mr. Pavlin told me of the condition of Carl's residence after a previous search by deputies. The Pavlins didn't want their possessions strewn all over by deputies' careless "search".

Plus, they had nothing to search for. And no legal reason to search.

Mr. Pavlin was "taken down" to the floor by one deputy with an "arm bar". The deputy wrote in his report that he "assisted" Mr. Pavlin to the ground. What crap! Mrs. Pavlin said the deputy slammed her 80-year-old husband to the floor. Was it a case of police brutality, on top of everything else? And was that deputy "coached" in his report-writing, so that his "assistance" to Mr. Pavlin would look, in writing, like he had just helped an elderly man to the floor? B.S.!!!

But the long arm of the law reached out and charged both Mr. and Mrs. Pavlin with criminal charges, which cost them a lot of money in legal defense fees until the State's Attorney's office dismissed the charges. Mrs. Pavlin had even dialed 9-1-1 for help, but she was told that the police were already there. Yes, they were. The police (deputies) who were harming them were already there!

This case deserves to stay on the front page of the Northwest Herald. Of course, it does not reflect favorably on the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

Cal Skinner's persistence is to be praised. And the continued persistence of bloggers in McHenry County to file FOIA requests and demand documentation of cases, including photographs, in-car videos and photographs of crime scenes, is also to be praised.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

This sheriff gets it...

Sheriff Matthews
In response to a vicious murder in South Carolina, Sheriff Jim Matthews of the Kershaw County Sheriff's Department opened up a concealed carry class and made it free. Within minutes of posting the class on Facebook, the 30 spots in the class were filled.

Sheriff Matthews waived the $80 fee, giving up $2,400 in revenue. Would something like that happen in McHenry County?

If the prompting incident weren't so serious, I'd say something like, "Fat chance."

Concealed carry classes are being held without charge in Wisconsin. Join Wisconsin Carry, Inc. and get more information.

Of course, Illinois remains in the Dark Ages, where legislators force potential victims to leave harm unarmed and unable to protect themselves from armed criminals roaming the streets.

Don't ask me what's in the zipper case on the front seat of my car.

Dumb gun handlling kills friend

The Northwest Herald online edition carries a story of a shooting near McHenry last night, in which a 22-year-old man killed his 19-year-old friend.

The story reads that "... just before 8:40 p.m., Maxwell T. Cannon was showing off a handgun to several friends who were gathered at 1901 N. Woodlawn Park Ave., near McHenry." He apparently pointed the gun, which he thought was unloaded, at Anthony Kooeckner, 19, and pulled the trigger.

Undersheriff Andy Zinke is quoted in the story as saying, "He reportedly removed the magazine, thought [the gun] was empty, pointed it at a friend and pulled the trigger," Zinke said. "A bullet was still in the chamber. He shot him in the chest and killed him."

Cannon, of Woodstock, was taken to jail and held on a $30,000 bond.

So many questions ... for another day.

Never "think" a gun is empty and thus okay to point any person, animal or thing you don't intend to shoot. Always assume a gun is loaded. Even when you "think" it is unloaded.

Robber hits Woodstock Shell station

For those of you out roaming around at 2:00AM, you may want to be extra careful about stopping at gas stations and convenience stores in the middle of the night. Think ahead. Being prepared could save your life. Know what you'll do, if you are a late-night customer in a store being robbed.

The Shell station at 315 N. Madison St. was hit by an armed robber on Wednesday morning, and the guy apparently took off on foot, going south on Madison from the store. That would head him toward the Square or maybe the vicinity of the train station.

Anyone on foot at 2:00AM, especially running, would be noticed by anyone in a car.

Did the Woodstock Police put out an alert immediately on the City's electronic warning system, which is like the MCSD NIXLE system? Not that I received.

Who would receive such a message? Anyone signed up for the service. Now, the PD shouldn't activate, necessarily, the telephone out-dialing system at 2:15AM, but it could send a text message with the incident and description of the robber. With all the kids driving around at 2:00-3:00AM, somebody might spot the robber.

But that would make life too easy around here...

Is there a videotape from the robbery? How about getting it to the Northwest Herald and/or posting it on YouTube or on the City's own website???

Why would the Northwest Herald block comments to its online article about the robbery???

Drunk driver can't keep auto on road

This morning's paper reports an off-the-road crash of an unlicensed drunk driver in McHenry, and further bad luck for a family whose daughter was the victim of a hit-and-run in McHenry only a few days ago.

Jesus Torres-Arellano, 34, crashed his vehicle into a van parked in a driveway early Christmas morning. Think he might have been out celebrating a little too much?

McHenry Police charged him with driving under the influence, summary suspension, driving without a license (or never issued a license), operating an uninsured vehicle, failure to reduce speed (to avoid an accident), and improper lane usage. (Hey, you can't suspend my license! I don't have a license!)

The license plate came off his car, according to the newspaper report, so the cops' investigation was pretty short and easy. Torres-Arellano has a court date on February 6.

Think anyone will check to see if he is in the USA legally? Let's see; looks like a Mexican surname, no driver's license; no insurance. Tch, tch, is this racial profiling?

Where was he before he took on the van in the driveway? Drinking in a bar? Partying in a private home? Didn't anyone notice he was drunk and try to take away his keys?

Well, at least he probably won't be on the road on New Year's Eve.

McHenry County Jail and ICE

Curious about the goings-on at the McHenry County (Ill.) Jail in regard to its occupancy by "detainees" who are there courtesy of the Federal Government.

Check out this report:

The first problem with the report is its undated nature. It merely says "For the most recent 12 month period for which data are available..."

Some were transferred elsewhere; some were deported; some were released because they "won" their cases and successfully avoided deportation.

In the past decade there were 1,528 facilities, but that number had been cut to 654. From the report, "... the Mchenry (sic) County Sheriff's Facility last year ranked in the top 11 percent nationwide in the number of individuals leaving ICE detention"

Imagine what the cost must have been to the Federal Government (that's us, folks) for 1,528 facilities to house detainees. And for the 654 facilities still operating. This is a somewhat-hidden cost of the illegal immigration problem.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Combs new Crim. Div. Chief at SAO

The following press release was received today:

Louis A. Bianchi, McHenry County State’s Attorney, is pleased to announce that Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs has been promoted to Chief of the Criminal Division for the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, effective January 3, 2012. Michael Combs replaces Philip Hiscock who is leaving the State’s Attorney’s Office to pursue an opportunity with the Federal Government of the United States.
Combs is a seasoned felony prosecutor, who was previously assigned to the Special Prosecution Unit of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office handling high profile cases and cases involving complex evidentiary issues. Combs was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1999, and was admitted by the Supreme Court of Illinois as a member of the Capital Litigation Trial Bar in 2007.
 Michael Combs is a 1996 graduate of Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and a 1999 graduate of New York Law School in New York, New York.     Prior to his arrival at the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, Combs served as First Assistant in the Ogle County State’s Attorney’s Office supervising and training attorneys and support staff.  He also served as team leader of the felony trial team in the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office and acted as first chair in 35 jury trials, including four First Degree Murder trials that all resulted in convictions.  Combs also tried 40 jury trials as an Assistant Public Defender in the Winnebago County Public Defender’s Office. 

Mother lode, or gusher coming in?

Is Marengo (Ill.) City Hall sitting on the Mother Lode, or is the next gusher about to come in (and inside the city limits)?

Is Marengo really about to hire a new City Manager for $150,000/year?

Rumor has it that the gang at the City Council is offering the job at ten times the search fee paid to some out-of-town firm. What in the world could make the City Manager's job in a town of 8,000 worth $150,000? And how will the town ever afford such a salary? And then have to add benefits to it, which often run about 30% of salary!

Who are the people on the City Council who think so highly of such a job or even of such a candidate? Does a town (they call it a "city" over there) of 8,000 even need a City Manager?

Do the voters in the "city" really know what's going on? Or is it like in Woodstock and many other places, where the voters just shrug and believe they cannot have any impact of city hall.

Well, they can. YOU can. If you think it is absolutely foolish for a "city" of 8,000 to lay out $150,000/year for somebody to push a few papers around on his desk and try to look busy, then you'd better hotfoot it to all the future City Council meetings and give the City Council a big piece of your minds.

Details of meetings can be found at

Get a job. Yeah, sure...

How easy it is for someone to say, "Just go get a job." These words are too often said by the person who already has a job and who has not had to search for a job in the past ten years.

Or you'll hear from an HR Director or a jobs service, "Create your resume." For what?

Having an up-to-date resume is a good idea; don't get me wrong. But it's not likely to get you a job. It might fit as one piece to the puzzle, so it ought to be up-to-date and nicely done. But it doesn't have to be one of those $500 jobs from some "resume mill" somewhere. And nobody cares what you were doing in 1975.

I went to a job interview in Denver back in about 1986. As the VP invited me into his office, he held out his hand and said, "Give me your resume."

I said, "I didn't bring one."

He stopped in his tracks and asked why not. I told him that I didn't know if I wanted the job. "In five minutes I'll know if I want the job, and you'll know if you want to see a resume." Pretty bold?

Ninety minutes later he looked at his watch and exclaimed that he had other work to do and asked me to bring him a resume. The next day I took him a six-page proposal on why he should hire me.

It turned out that his company had not yet funded the new position (and they never did). He was interviewing in advance of knowing whether he would even have a job to offer!

So you need a job. You want a job. Well, there aren't any. What you need is money. What you want is a means to get it.

How long have you been out of work? How much longer will you be out of work? One year? Two? Five?

Now is the time to explore creating your own business. For many there are very real opportunities in multi-level marketing ("MLM", also known as network marketing or relationship marketing). You may need to put your "I'd never do that" hat back on the shelf and open your eyes. Or stay in the unemployment line.

First, find out how it works and why it works. It is a viable business format, just as corporations and partnerships are. Next, you'll need to explore different business offerings. Do some reading. A good book is The Business of the 21st Century, by Robert Kiyosaki, co-author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series. Then start interviewing.

A friend in Denver likes to say, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you have always gotten."

So, start your own MLM business and give it five years. You'll need the right training, coaching, mentoring, "care and feeding".

Got questions? Ask me.

TV-free curbs, Jan. 1

From Rep. Mike Tryon's e-newsletter:

"Beginning January 1, it will no longer be legal for individuals to dispose of unwanted electronics in their regular trash. Discarded electronics, including computers, monitors, electronic keyboards, scanners, fax machines and many other electronic devices, must now be taken to a registered recycler for proper management. It will be illegal for the consumer to dispose of them in the trash and it will be illegal for Illinois landfills to accept them."

Not only can you no put that old junk out at the curb, you can't toss it in the trash. 

Watch for e-recycling events sponsored by townships (well, at least Grafton Township) and MCC. They are usually free.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Vote in NWH poll

What's your favorite landmark in McHenry County?

The old courthouse in Woodstock?
Woodstock Opera House?
Dole Mansion?
Bettendorf Castle?

Vote today (Monday) at  To find the poll, scroll all the way to the bottom right corner.

How many online readers will ever find the poll in its present location? Think more would participate in daily polls, if the polls were moved well up the page, say to the upper right corner? Drop an email to Dan McCaleb at and let me know what you think.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Beth Bentley - Week 83

Beth Bentley, Woodstock (Ill.) mother of three who was 41 when she went missing on May 23, 2010, has now been gone for 83 weeks.

My Christmas wish for her is that her spirit is at peace.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fish tank for sale

Looking for a 90-gallon fish tank? $100.00

Right here in Woodstock - for local pick-up.

Call Pat Ryan at 815.353.7826

"Affordable" Apt. near Square

Know someone who is looking for an "affordable" apartment near the Woodstock Square?

The Corporation for Affordable Homes of McHenry County (CAHMCO) has a 2-bedroom unit available in our Renaissance Apartments at 209 Dean Street. The address is 205-2A Dean Street. The monthly rent is $600.00 a month and a $600.00 security deposit. 

If you know of anyone in need of permanent housing, direct them to Marcia Stein, Program Manager, Corporation for Affordable Homes of McHenry County, 209 Dean Street, Woodstock, IL 60098. Phone: 815-687-6723. Email:

Keep in mind that "affordable" has a specific meaning, and prospective tenants have to "qualify". The first question that may arise for many is, "How do I come up with $1,200 ($600 + $600) to move into this "affordable" apartment?" CAHMCO may (or may not) have an answer for you, but contact them to find out.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beth Bentley - latest police summary

Will the Woodstock Police Department find Beth Bentley?

Check out this summary provided to the Woodstock City Council in the October 2011 monthly report of the Woodstock P.D., which was in the December 6, 2011 City Council packet.

"The Investigations Division continues to aggressively follow-up (sic) on all leads in the investigation of the Endangered Missing Person Benedetta "Beth" Bentley. The Investigations Division maintains contact with the Illinois State Police and all other police agencies involved in this case for updates and the sharing of intelligence information."

It sounds a lot like the previous month's report, doesn't it?

What's your best guess as to whether there was any activity at all on the Beth Bentley case? If the report is unchanged or is substantially the same as in the previous month(s), do you think that nothing further has been done?

Showdown at O.K. Corral

The shoot-out at the O.K. Corral at 2200 N. Seminary Ave. was put off for yet another month, after a hearing in Judge Thomas Meyer's courtroom in the Special Prosecution request of Zane Seipler.

At 11:00AM the only matter attracting Judge Meyer's attention was this case. I'd like to report what happened but I'll have to direct you to McHenry County Blog and First Electric Newspaper. I hope that Cal and Pete could hear better than I could.

At one point Attorney Bill Caldwell could hardly hear the soft, low voice of Judge Meyer, and Caldwell was standing at the bench almost in front of the judge. At another point Mark Gummerson, who was sitting at one of the lawyers' tables, spoke out that he couldn't hear, and Judge Meyer motioned him forward.

I wonder if that would work for me. Judge Meyer apparently didn't notice that I was sitting in the front pew with my hands cupped to my ears. I noticed that Cal and Pete were comparing notes and trying to get straight what had been said at the bench.

Attorney Caldwell did the best job of speaking up, and Rebecca Lee was right behind him. I'm sure Blake Horwitz spoke loudly enough for the other attorneys and the judge to hear him, but I couldn't hear him in the courtroom.

Donna Kelly was there monitoring the proceedings and may have been there to carry news back to State's Attorney Lou Bianchi, who was deposed last week. Horwitz is asking for an answer to his question to Mr. Bianchi as to whether the State's Attorney's Office had ever investigated Nygren.

Since my complaints in the past about low voices of judges and attorneys in the courtrooms have fallen on deaf ears, today I made a note to consider filing an ADA complaint. Do I have a disability? Am I hearing-impaired? Is it only in McHenry County courtrooms that I cannot hear? Will that count, as far as the ADA is concerned. Should I tell them that Caldwell and Gummerson couldn't hear? Will that help my case or hurt it?

I gathered in a hallway conversation after the hearing was concluded that Keith Nygren has been tossed out of this Special Prosecutor case. This, of course, doesn't mean that he won't be investigated, if Judge Meyer ever gets around to ruling in this case. It's just that Nygren has no standing in this case, which is about whether a Special Prosecutor should be appointed to investigate him.

Nygren and his newly-appointed Equal Employment Opportunity officer, Don Leist, were in court today. Now, why would Nygren be there and bring Leist along? Isn't Leist on the County payroll as the EEO officer - and not as Nygren's attorney in this case? Why did the taxpayers get stuck with an hour's payroll (and who knows how much other County time) in a case that, according to Blake Horwitz, seeks a Special Prosecutor to investigate Nygren for official misconduct, misappropriation of funds, and felony theft over $300 of County funds to promote his private enterprise (his political career)?

Leist didn't look like he was an employee today . He looked like he was there as the Sheriff's partner in ..., well, I mean, as the Sheriff's attorney. The hat he wears now is employee. Is there a class for that? As an employee, he'll do what he is told. The big question will be, what if he is told to do something that he knows is wrong?

The fun and games continue on January 13, 2012.

Christmas mail brings joy

Let's hope the United States Postal Service is not abolished or cut back. I surely liked the mail that is brought to my door yesterday.

Just read the first sentence in the joyous letter I received today.

"People who will tell the truth under oath if needed for Seipler or Milliman in regard to work they were asked to do for campaign while working, ticket fixing, movement of officers for political reasons, unfair promotions - why and who."

Ten names were included. These are people in positions to know the truth.Those ten are intimately acquainted with the workings of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

Can you imagine the explosive nature of questions and answers on these topics by people who would know the facts and the truth? Would they tell the truth? Would they take the Fifth?

Now, just in case certain attorneys are salivating over their subpoena forms, the document is no longer in my possession.

What's up with gas prices?

Anyone else irritated with gas prices?

I needed gas last night as I drove to Cary for a meeting. On the way back I noticed that gas prices seemed to be way up.

Arriving back in Woodstock I passed the Marathon station at Lake Avenue and Route 47, where the price for Regular was $3.39.

I recalled that the Citgo price was $3.11 when I was leaving town, and I held my breath. Whew! It was still $3.11.

A woman at another pump there told me she had just driven by the Mobil station on Route 47, south of U.S. 14, and she thought the price there was $2.97, but she wasn't sure if that was the "carwash" price.

Got the app on your SmartPhone yet? Think about it...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Dear Abby" gets it wrong

I find it amusing to browse the "Dear Abby" column in the Northwest Herald from time to time. This is one of the advantages of having the paper delivered at my residence. The column is usually close to the comics, so I can keep laughing after I read Blondie, Beetle Bailey and Dilbert.

Today "Abby" published a letter from a woman who has lived with her daughter for two years and doesn't have a clear arrangement. She is concerned that the daughter will not repay loans. What does Abby say?

The mother could (continue to) babysit for her daughter. "Let them pay you, instead of a sitter, and work off part of their obligation that way. But insist on cash."

Abby, how is that any working off of a debt to the mother? It's the mother who is working for her daughter. It needs to be the other way around. If the daughter works for the mother and doesn't get paid for it, then the daughter is working off her debt. And why "cash"? Isn't the daughter's check good? IRS is going to consider money-for-services (babysitting) as "income", and it doesn't matter if it's "cash".

This column, written by Abigail Van Buren (a/k/a Jeanne Phillips), the daughter of the original "Abby" (Pauline Phillips), often misses the mark. Van Buren has controlled the writing on "Dear Abby" since 1987.

Welles' Oscar fetches $861,542

The new Welles Fest committee was probably not in the bidding war for the Oscar awarded to Orson Welles at the 1941 Academy Awards for his film Citizen Kane. And, even had it been, it would have fallen from the running well before the bidding reached $850,000.

But wouldn't it have been grand for the Oscar to be on display at the Woodstock Opera House or the Woodstock Public Library?

You can read the article in The Guardian at

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No news - not "good news"

Is "no news" good news?

When police and sheriff's deputies respond in-force to a county location, including a call-out of the Sheriff's Department  SWAT vehicle, isn't that news that ought to hit the media the next day? Where is the news coverage?

Last night, Monday night, a fair number of cars and deputies (this would be 4-6) of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department responded to a County location near Cary (Ill.), along with officers of the Cary and Fox River Grove Police Departments.

Supposedly, a ranking command officer ran "hot" from his north-of-Woodstock home. That would be about 17 miles by the most direct route.

The story got to me last night as a hostage situation. While the deputies were congregating at 7-11 for their game plan, the suspect left the residence and reportedly headed for Rockford. Did he drive right by the 7-11?

Didn't anyone think to set up a perimeter immediately, in order to monitor activity at the property in the 800 block of East Main Street (Cary area)? Why didn't the first deputies to respond keep an eye on the property and be ready to capture, or at least follow, anyone leaving the property?

And why is there no news in the Northwest Herald, even online, about this?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sobbing for Saab

Today is a sad day for Saab. And for Saab owners. The car company looks like it is headed on down the drain.

Recently owned by G.M., about a year ago Spyker Cars bought Saab from General Motors. CEO Victor Muller tried to rescue the company. You can read a complete article at

I bought a new Saab in December 1966, when the engine was still the popular three-cylinder, two-cycle "corn popper". I was visiting in St. Louis over the holiday week and dropped in at the Saab garage there. A friend in Chicago owned a Saab and always spoke highly of it.

It literally was a garage, with a store-front for 2-3 new cars. The owner (and mechanic) took one look at me and asked if I'd ever driven one, saying "They drive funny." So he sent me out for a test drive and I bought it for $1,800 when I returned to his garage.

It was a great car, and I drove it until it gave out at 100,000 miles in Kansas City on a trip. I replaced it with a Volvo and then with a 1976 Buick Regal, which lasted 12 years and 210,000 miles. A Nissan Stanza provided the next 200,000 miles until 1999.

Some deal might still be made to keep the Saab company in one piece. Let's hope it doesn't get cannibalized. The fly in the ointment on the deal seems to be patents held by General Motors, which fears that a Chinese buyer might use G.M. technology against G.M. in the car wars of the future.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Beth Bentley = now missing 82 weeks

Could Beth Bentley be found?

You bet. And it probably wouldn't take a rocket scientist to do so.

What it would take is full public disclosure of all investigations and inquiries made in this case. Since it's a "missing person" case (and not a criminal case), release of information shouldn't be all that difficult (unless it's not really "just" a missing person case). A "story board" (as Mike Vance (of Disney association) described it) or a flowchart or multiple diagrams would reveal where a focus ought to be. These could be created online or in a physical location, where anyone could view them and add to them and comment. Of course, they would have to be protected from damage or destruction.

All the misdirections and deceptions could be identified. More importantly, those who are spewing them could be identified.

There are many leads that have apparently never been tracked down. The telephone records are very revealing - in what they disclose and by what is obviously missing.

Is no one asking important questions about the numbers of calls and text messages to and from "certain" people? And asking about the strange hours of some of those communications?

Have people been threatened and intimidated into clamming up? Has anyone been threatened that she or he will be harmed or, worse, that her or his children will be harmed? That is a sure way to get a person to clam up. Has it happened?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Unity Church of C.L. heads into Woodstock

The first service of the former Unity Church of Crystal Lake, now to be known as the Unity Spiritual Center of Woodstock, will be held tomorrow, Sunday, December 18.

The Center has moved into the building formerly occupied by the Presbyterian Church of Woodstock, located at 225 West Calhoun St. (corner  of Tryon Street).

With the musical chairs game of churches in Woodstock, I had mistakenly thought that the Unity Center was moving into the building previously occupied by the Unitarian Universalist Church at the corner of Dean and South Streets. The UU Church is moving to McHenry and will occupy the former Haystacks Manor Restaurant..Luckily, Rev. Tom Wendt answered his phone when I called this afternoon, and he straightened out my misunderstanding.

The Center's website is  Check out the Welcome page on the website for information about this Unity Center.

The first service in Woodstock will be at 10:00AM.

When should seniors stop driving

This morning's Northwest Herald gave front-page coverage to the problem (issue? question?) of driving by senior citizens.

The July 2010 at-fault crash of one driver, 79, was the article, after which her family persuaded her to stop driving.

In the case of another senior driver, this one "only" 74, she was quoted as saying, "If I can't function anymore, or can't see well enough, then I think they (her family) should do the right thing." She means, talk her into not driving. I would have preferred to read that she would do the right thing and stop driving. There is sure to be an argument in the future about her driving skills.

I recall the mother of one acquaintance who rear-ended a car in Huntley, pulled around and drove home to park her car in the garage. Someone had gotten her plate number. When the cops showed up at her door and asked about the accident, she asked, "What accident? There is nothing wrong with my car."

She escorted the cops to her garage, where her mangled car was parked. She didn't remember the crash.

When I taught the AARP Driver Safety Program, I understood the worry that senior drivers had about losing their driving privileges. I always got a laugh, when I told them, "You don't need a driver's license to drive a car. You need a car!"

When I'm too old to drive my car, I hope I'll still be able to ride my motorcycle...

When the RR gates are stuck down

Westbound Church St.
At mid-morning the gates for the Metra grade crossings in Woodstock were stuck down. As I waited on northbound Madison at Calhoun, there seemed to be a long delay and then, finally, a long outbound Metra train passed - slowly - and headed into the Woodstock station. And still the gates stayed down. When no inbound (toward Chicago) train passed, I called Woodstock PD to report the gate problem, and I learned I was "about the 100th" caller.

So I turned around (one of the benefits of leaving some distance between my car and the rear bumper of the car ahead) and drove through the South Street tunnel. After stopping in a business on Madison, I noticed that the gates were still down and snapped this photo after parking in the Challenger parking lot.

I saw only one driver cross the tracks by the Depot by going around the gates (a $250 chance), and I wasn't close enough to get a photo.

Over the past 15 years I've wondered whether the Woodstock Police Department has an Action Plan for stuck crossing gates. I wouldn't want the Risk Manager for the City to have a heart attack, if a cop assisted traffic by directing drivers around a stuck gate, but it certainly could be done safely, after the proper training. Gates get stuck down often enough that there ought to be a contingency plan, especially by the Depot, where Church Street and Washington St. are State Highway 120.

Federal police - just how many?

When you think of Federal police, you might first think of the FBI and then the Border Patrol. How many more are there?

A December 17 article in the Law section of the Wall Street Journal starts with the headline, "Federal Police Ranks Swell to Enforce a Widening Array of Criminal Laws".

Only a portion of the article can be read in the free introduction, after which subscribers (only) can read the full article. But try on these federal police agencies for starters:

the Environmental Protection Agency
the Labor Department
the Education department
the National Park Service
the Bureau of Land Management
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency known for its weather forecasts.

Do you think that Whoopi Goldberg's gross conduct on The View might have come to the attention of the cops from NOAA, after she polluted the air last week?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Reason for Milliman lawsuit

A reporter recently wondered whether Scott Milliman's lawsuit against Sheriff Nygren and deputies is to pay for medical treatment.

No, of course not. Its purpose is to get money to buy the Northwest Herald. Scott is going to appoint Gus Philpott as Managing Editor and fire everyone except the carriers. They won't have much to do, but they'll get paid, anyway, to drive around every morning and watch for burglars or, maybe, cops running stop signs. (Be sure to watch westbound Banford Road at Raffel Road just before shift-change at the Sheriff's Department.)

What will happen to the big building on Route 31 in Crystal Lake? Scott plans to turn it into a shelter for the homeless, so they won't have to live in tents in the winter or get turned out of PADS every day at 7:00AM into the bitter cold.

Reason to hate a cop?

Recently a driver was stopped by a Lakemoor P.D. officer for no front license plate. The driver was operating her mother's car and didn't realize the license plate was missing.

Is it a violation? Yes.

Is it worth a ticket? A $212 expense? No. As in, NO.

How could the cop have handled it? He could have issued a Warning. Then the owner could have immediately gone to the DMV and arranged for a new front license plate and returned to the P.D. with proof.

Judge Gerhardt explained to violators in his court that court costs are high. That's an understatement! He helped out in the small way that he could by fining the driver only $30.00. When a driver walks out of the courtroom, he or she might be breathing a sigh of relief at the $30 fine.

Until, that is, he or she gets to the payment window and finds out that s/he must fork over $212 to settle that $30 ticket.

Perhaps EVERY person who has gotten a ticket in McHenry County should show up at County Board meetings every month and protest the outrageous level of court costs. What if several hundred people a month packed the Board meetings and demanded a lowering of court costs? And went to the offices of Jack Franks, Mike Tryon, Pamela Althoff and the rest of the State legislators and complained vociferously about these court costs.

At election time, folks, remember who sets the court costs. It's the County Board and the State Legislators.

A few people complaining is not going to produce any change. Opinions like mine won't. Relentless pressure on politicians by large numbers of people can result in change.

Gun confiscation in Illinois? in the USA?

The following was received via email from a fellow gun-owner. Take heed, and stop all further encroachment by government NOW.

Please read this could happen to anyone. This ought to make you think - and worry.

You're sound asleep when you hear a thump outside your bedroom door. Half-awake, and nearly paralyzed with fear, you hear muffled whispers. At least two people have broken into your house and are moving your way.

With your heart pumping, you reach down beside your bed and pick up your shotgun. You rack a shell into the chamber, then inch toward the door and open it. In the darkness, you make out two shadows. One holds something that looks like a crowbar.

When the intruder brandishes it as if to strike, you raise the shotgun and fire. The blast knocks both thugs to the floor. One writhes and screams while the second man crawls to the front door and lurches outside. As you pick up the telephone to call police, you know you're in trouble.

In your country, most guns were outlawed years before, and the few that are privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make them useless. Yours was never registered. Police arrive and inform you that the second burglar has died. They arrest you for First Degree Murder and Illegal Possession of a Firearm.

When you talk to your attorney, he tells you not to worry: authorities will probably plea the case down to manslaughter.

"What kind of sentence will I get?" you ask.

"Only ten-to-twelve years," he replies, as if that's nothing.

"Behave yourself, and you'll be out in seven."

The next day, the shooting is the lead story in the local newspaper. Somehow, you're portrayed as an eccentric vigilante, while the two men you shot are represented as choirboys.

Their friends and relatives can't find an unkind word to say about them.

Buried deep down in the article, authorities acknowledge that both "victims" have been arrested numerous times.

But the next day's headline says it all: "Lovable Rogue Son Didn't Deserve to Die."

The thieves have been transformed from career criminals into Robin Hood-type pranksters.

As the days wear on, the story takes wings. The national media picks it up, then the international media. The surviving burglar has become a folk hero.

Your attorney says the thief is preparing to sue you, and he'll probably win.

The media publishes reports that your home has been burglarized several times in the past and that you've been critical of local police for their lack of effort in apprehending the suspects. After the last break-in, you told your neighbor that you would be prepared next time. The District Attorney uses this to allege that you were lying in wait for the burglars.

A few months later, you go to trial. The charges haven't been reduced, as your lawyer had so confidently predicted. When you take the stand, your anger at the injustice of it all works against you. Prosecutors paint a picture of you as a mean, vengeful man. It doesn't take long for the jury to convict you of all charges. The judge sentences you to life in prison. This case really happened.

On August 22, 1999, Tony Martin of Emneth, Norfolk, England , killed one burglar and wounded a second. In April, 2000, he was convicted and is now serving a life term...

How did it become a crime to defend one's own life in the once great British Empire?

It started with the Pistols Act of 1903. This seemingly reasonable law forbade selling pistols to minors or felons and established that handgun sales were to be made only to those who had a license. The Firearms Act of 1920 expanded licensing to include not only handguns but all firearms except shotguns.

Later laws passed in 1953 and 1967 outlawed the carrying of any weapon by private citizens and mandated the registration of all shotguns. Momentum for total handgun confiscation began in earnest after the Hungerford mass shooting in 1987. Michael Ryan, a mentally disturbed man with a Kalashnikov rifle, walked down the streets shooting everyone he saw. When the smoke cleared, 17 people were dead.

The British public, already de-sensitized by eighty years of "gun control", demanded even tougher restrictions. (The seizure of all privately owned handguns was the objective even though Ryan used a rifle.)

Nine years later, at Dunblane, Scotland, Thomas Hamilton used a semi-automatic weapon to murder 16 children and a teacher at a public school.

For many years, the media had portrayed all gun owners as mentally unstable, or worse, criminals. Now the press had a real kook with which to beat up law-abiding gun owners. Day after day, week after week, the media gave up all pretense of objectivity and demanded a total ban on all handguns. The Dunblane Inquiry, a few months later, sealed the fate of the few sidearms still owned by private citizens.

During the years in which the British government incrementally took away most gun rights, the notion that a citizen had the right to armed self-defense came to be seen as vigilantism. Authorities refused to grant gun licenses to people who were threatened, claiming that self-defense was no longer considered a reason to own a gun. Citizens who shot burglars or robbers or rapists were charged, while the real criminals were released.

Indeed, after the Martin shooting, a police spokesman was quoted as saying, "We cannot have people take the law into their own hands."

All of Martin's neighbors had been robbed numerous times, and several elderly people were severely injured in beatings by young thugs who had no fear of the consequences. Martin himself, a collector of antiques, had seen most of his collection trashed or stolen by burglars.

When the Dunblane Inquiry ended, citizens who owned handguns were given three months to turn them over to local authorities.

Being good British subjects, most people obeyed the law. The few who didn't were visited by police and threatened with ten-year prison sentences if they didn't comply.

Police later bragged that they'd taken nearly 200,000 handguns from private citizens.

How did the authorities know who had handguns? The guns had been registered and licensed. Kind of like cars. Sound familiar?


"...It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds..." --Samuel Adams

If you think this is important, please forward to everyone you know.

You had better wake up, because Obama is doing this very same thing, over here, if he can get it done.

And there are stupid people in Congress and on the street that will go right along with him.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Cards? It's not too late

"My husband just asked me if we were going to send out Christmas cards this year."

These were the words of a great customer service rep at a company I called today. She had helped me in a very polite, friendly and fast way, and so I offered her the website for my online greeting card and gift business.

I told her it's not too late to send cards. In fact, tonight she could, in a very few minutes, design her own custom Christmas card, add a few family pictures (you know, with the Santa hat on the Great Dane), create her mailing list, and order her cards. My service will print them and take them to the Post Office tomorrow.

How many does she have to send? 10? 25? 50? 100? They can all be in the mail tomorrow.

Want to know more? Call me at 815.338.2666 or 847.971.7083

Warning to cops: tell the truth in court

The DWI Hit Parade (see and also in "My Blog List" to the right) reports on a North Carolina cop who got 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for lying in court.

And not only is he going to jail, but many of his cases are being reviewed.

Read the article from the Charlotte Observer here:

I wonder how he could have thought, even for a moment, that the defense attorney wouldn't have reviewed the in-car videocam. And why didn't he review it before court? Dumb!

Do cops lie in court? Do judges know that cops lie in court? In many cases it is referred to as "testilying". Former Los Angeles Superior Court judge Burton S. Katz wrote about "testilying" in Justice Overruled: Unmasking the Criminal Justice System. You can check it out from many libraries; it's worth reading.

In the North Carolina case, it seems that the cop wasn't lying. He apparently believed what he was saying about roadside sobriety tests administered to the driver he had stopped. The problem was that he didn't remember correctly.

Thinking further about this, should the verdict just have been Not Guilty and then the cop got spanked at the office and given some refresher training? Maybe 30 days and $500 is too harsh? What do you think?

Residents, shake your heads

I dare you to read today's Northwest Herald story about the deposition of McHenry County State's Attorney Lou Bianchi and understand what's really going on. Don't speed-read it; slow down. Take it one sentence at a time. You might even start a flowchart or other outline.

At the outset, let me state that I like Lou Bianchi. I like Donna Kelly. And I like Zane Seipler and Blake Horwitz.

Sheriff Nygren? That's another story. Until he pulled that dumb stunt in the Jewel-Osco parking lot (and, as I later learned, lied and told people that I had been following him around that day). If he told the Woodstock Police that lie, then he made a false report to police. I was at a conference at MCC all day.

I didn't particularly dislike him up to that point. I didn't like many of the things he had done, but my dislike didn't move to a personal level until his stupid act that afternoon in the parking lot. I later learned that something very significant in another case may have happened to set him off shortly before he pulled up alongside me in the parking lot.

Back to the recent deposition. Bianchi has been unwilling to take on a role in which he might have to investigate and prosecute Nygren. A blind man could see that the State's Attorney can't prosecute the Sheriff, who is his client. It's clear-cut. If a sheriff is believed to have committed crimes, then a special prosecutor is needed.

A book could be written just from the Northwest Herald reporter story today. First of all, look where the editors put it. Section B. Not even on the front page! This petition (Case 10MR000011) for a prosecutor is almost two years old. Stalling tactics would have bankrupted many petitioners, causing them to abandon their cases. But Seipler and Horowitz have hung in there, fighting against the bottomless pit of County dollars.

I know that I need to read the deposition itself and not rely on the Northwest Herald article. Why is that? For example, the article reads, "Instead, (in the deposition) Bianchi said he made the decision not to investigate the sheriff in order to save money through in-house handling of cases involving Nygren's office, rather than hiring private attorneys."

If that's what he really said, it doesn't make any sense at all. Were these words carefully crafted (as attorneys are trained to do), so that a whole sentence could be uttered and be meaningless? I've read that sentence several times. It didn't make any more sense the last time than it did the first time!

Then Bianchi is quoted as saying "I don't want to jeopardize our (the State's Attorney's Office (SAO)) successful representation of the Sheriff ..."

Does that mean that, if the SAO investigated the Sheriff and found wrong-doing (and then had to prosecute the Sheriff), many old cases would be at risk for review and possibly new/different decisions?

For example, what if, during an investigation, it turned out that Nygren wasn't even eligible to hold office and then the case would be that McHenry County had had no elected Sheriff for years? Would every defense attorney run to a judge and ask for convictions of his clients to be vacated, because deputies had had no duly-appointed supervisor (sheriff) and therefore couldn't arrest or otherwise act?

Finally (for this article), look at this carefully-crafted statement, as quoted in the paper today, "We don't have any specific written policy or unwritten that says in this case we're not going to [investigate the sheriff]."

Why was "unwritten" placed after policy, rather than before it? And look at the words "in this case". Every planned word coming out of a lawyer's mouth is important. The choice of words is important. The order of the wording is important.

What will happen on December 22 at 10:00AM in Judge Meyer's courtroom? Let's hope he puts a stop to this nonsense and grants Seipler's request for a Special Prosecutor.

And then what will happen? Will Nygren resign, head south to Cape Coral and hope this all blows over if he is no longer Sheriff?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Avoid Big Bend N.P.

Starting this summer you'll want to avoid Big Bend National Park. This park, southeast of El Paso (a good distance, too) will be home to the first unmanned U.S./Mexico border crossing.

How will it work? A person wishing to enter the U.S. will step into a little room, scan his papers, take part in a video communication with a U.S. Border Patrol agent about 100 miles away, and enter the U.S. And along with his contraband, as described by Tom Tancredo, who represented Colorado for ten years in the U.S. House of Representatives, was a candidate for U.S. President in 2008 and a candidate for Governor of Colorado in 2010.

The following paragraph is from his Team America PAC:

"This new crossing will be in Big Bend National Park and kiosks would replace customs officers. Crossers will go into a kiosk, scan their documents, and have a nice conversation with a customs officer no less than 100 miles away. The officer won't see what the crosser looks like (read dark Middle Eastern features), what's under his coat (a few fast & furious U.S. semi-automatics), or what is in the back seat of his car (seven tons of cocaine). But when the crosser leaves the kiosk he will be in the U.S. legally!"

 Take plenty of firepower if go camping at Big Bend National Park.

Can you believe this nonsense???

Knee-jerk reaction by NTSB

Does anyone else think big government needs to take a hike?

The National Transportation Safety Board has probably done some good over the years. This doesn't mean that the public should let them run roughshod over them.

Tuesday's recommendation to ban all driver use of cellphones, even hands-free ones, deserves bitter condemnation.

The NTSB was apparently influenced by a 19-year-old driver who was involved in a collision near Gray Summit, Mo. last year after sending/receiving 11 text messages in 11 minutes. I wonder if it considered the Illinois fatal crash involving a trooper traveling 126MPH while phoning and texting.

There are plenty of penalties for stupid driving and distracted driving. I certainly see many driving violations by drivers on the phone, but a total ban on cell phone by drivers is wrong.

But a reason not to ban cell phone usage by drivers is not to allow Realtors to do business or any other businessperson to operate a rolling office. If a Realtor is rocketing down the highway, on a 3-way call trying to close a deal or book a showing, reading her Day-Timer and listings, juggling paper and pencil and steering wheel, checking her hair and make-up, eating her Big Mac, drinking coffee, speeding, tailgating, missing red lights, not signaling turns, etc. give her a ticket for the violations.

When you are behind the wheel, the first and most important duty is to drive the car safely and within traffic laws.

What's next? Can't listen to the radio in your car? Can't talk with passengers? Can't even allow passengers to talk among themselves? Can't take your eyes off the road to read street signs?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sheriff Nygren sued AGAIN

Answer to "A Simple Question", asked last week in this blog.

Sheriff Keith Nygren, Undersheriff Andy Zinke, Cmdr. John L. Miller, Bryan Krause, Sgt. Steven Schmitt, Lt. Ken Nielson, and the County of McHenry are the named Defendants in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Rockford by former Deputy Scott Milliman.

Milliman was a deputy in good standing at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, until he gave a deposition in November in the lawsuit for Zane Seipler against Sheriff Nygren et al. in his wrongful termination lawsuit, also in the same court. Have you ever been deposed? The person giving the deposition is sworn in; i.e., he is expected to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So, if that truth is "x" and if you are asked a question about "x", then you tell the truth.

The Northwest Herald carried a story late today about the lawsuit, but it didn't provide all the allegations made by Milliman in the lawsuit. Cal Skinner is writing an article and will publish a copy of the lawsuit. See and the article for a link to the copy of the filing.

In that deposition Milliman gave a sworn statement pertaining to excessive force being used by deputies; retaliation against Milliman and others for reporting unlawful conduct by other deputies; allegations that Nygren was directly involved in ticket-fixing; that Nygren accepted bribes intended to influence his actions as Sheriff; Nygren's "involvement in a scheme to fraudulently procure SBA loans for individuals and share in the proceeds of the loans knowing that the loans were going to default"; Milliman's cooperation with the FBI about corruption in McHenry County; racial profiling by deputies; and general corruption within the Sheriff's Office.

I say that it's too bad that our county's daily newspaper didn't give readers the whole story.

Milliman was placed on administrative leave in November and on December 23, 2010, Miller stripped Milliman of his badge and Department ID.

Milliman was ordered by the sheriff to undergo psychological testing, and then MCSD's Cmdr. Miller is alleged to have contacted the psychologist to provide false, negative information about Milliman to influence the outcome of the testing. I didn't see this in the Northwest Herald article, either!

The lawsuit alleges that Nygren and Miller provided the psychologist with a copy of his November deposition in the Seipler lawsuit.

Milliman's lawsuit contains several Counts -
I. - Freedom of Speech
II. - Freedom of Association
III. - Civil Conspiracy - State Law Claim
IV. - 745 ILCS 10.9-102 State Law Claim

Trial by jury has been requested. Milliman is represented by Thomas C. Crooks, Esq., of Chicago. The Federal Case Number is 3:11-cv-50361, which also was omitted from the Northwest Herald article.

Eldest Bentley son in attack mode

Beth Bentley, 41 at the time she went missing in May 2010, has three sons. The eldest, Jeremy Velmont, seems to dislike inquiry into his mother's being missing for more than 18 months, and there is a post under his name on a Facebook page titled "Missing Beth Bentley" with the following words.

Of course, he could come right to the Woodstock Advocate and post here, but he chooses to post where others read it and forward some of his messages to me. I don't waste any time on that Facebook page. Here's his latest:

"Jeremy Velmont
Guess the message wasnt recieved because yet again, the ignorant are questioning me. I gave the PI every detail possible and yes Gus, that means everything because I am her son and I know and saw everything first hand. I will not list every detail of this info because it does not need to be publically shared. And again, yes Gus he talked to people of relevance, which are no importance to you. When you are shown up and made to look like a moron, just accept which you are instead of asking more meaningless questions. "

1. To what message is he referring?
2. Who does he mean by "the ignorant"?
3. Who is questioning him?
4  He gave the P.I. "every possible detail"? 
a. Did he tell the P.I. why his mother's car was parked in Jenn's garage?
b. Did he tell the P.I. how many miles were put on the rental car and the route to Mt. Vernon and back, if the rental car was even driven to southern Illinois?
c. Did he tell the P.I. if he slept in his mother's office on any nights after she disappeared?
d. Did he tell the P.I. about any times when Jenn was Beth's alibi?
e. Did he identify anyone (everyone?) who might have wanted Beth to disappear?

While he may have informed the P.I. (who was the mystery P.I.?) of that about which he actually knew, how could he inform the P.I. about everything else - those things he did not know "everything" (or, perhaps, anything) about?

Others and I are trying to uncover any information that will lead to finding Beth, if she is alive, and finding out what happened to her, if she is not. Maybe that's a team he might think about joining, not fighting.

It's never too late to start from scratch and create a written flowchart/time-line of Beth's movements and the movements of everyone in her circle of acquaintances, co-workers, family and friends. It's never too late; it just gets harder, the longer the delay.

Monday, December 12, 2011

UU Church farewell concert, Dec. 18

Woodstock Unitarian Universalist Choir Offers a Farewell Holiday Concert
Woodstock—The Adult Choir of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Woodstock will offer a special Farewell Holiday Concert and New Home Benefit at the church, 221 Dean Street on Sunday, December 18 at 7 PM.
The holiday concerts by the Choir have long been a tradition at the church, but have usually been held as part of a Sunday morning service during the season.  “There is a very special reason for this evening concert,” Music Director Thomas Steffens said, “We have been at our present location on Dean Street since 1907. Now after 104 years, we are leaving one great home for another. In January, we will move to our new location on Bull Valley Road, in McHenry.
The choir wanted to present an evening performance as a gesture of gratitude from the congregation to its long time home town.
The 28 voices in the choir will present   holiday music from the Christian, Jewish and African traditions, as well many seasonal secular favorites. Members of the choir will be featured as soloists and in small ensembles and accompanied by guest musicians  trumpeter Terry Guynes and percussionist Brenton Bartelt.  Choir members Ken Johnson will play guitar and Beth Hoover-Gavriel perform on English horn
Steffens composed two original songs on the program, “Let Us Sing Noel” and “Which is My Christmas”, the latter with former congregation minister the Rev. Dan Larsen.  Many of the other selections are presented in original arrangements.
Soloists will include Carrie MacDonald, Ken Johnson, and Ron Relic.  An a capella male quartet including Steffens, Johnson, Paul Krieg, and George Kazlusky will sing a song in Hebrew.
Admission is free, but there will be a free will offering with proceeds to support expenses for the church in its upcoming move to McHenry. 
Childcare will be available for infants and toddlers.  Parking is available in the municipal lot across Dean Street and on the street.  Come early to secure a seat.
A reception in the basement Helen Wright Room will follow the concert.
For more information contact the church at 815 338-0731 or visit .

*So, you're a cop. What do you make?"

A reader sent this along today - - - 

Have you ever had someone come up to you and say this:

"Oh you're a cop? That's cool. I wanted to do that when I was a kid. What do you make?"

Written by some talented cop somewhere, here is an answer that I thought I would share.


I make it possible to keep back the chaos every day.

I make 5 minutes seem like a lifetime when I am fighting a suspect while waiting for back up.

I make going to work for your family's safety a duty that I will die for.

I make myself work holidays, nights, during hurricanes, riots, terrorist attacks and other disasters...... a standard day while you complain about your 9-5 in your air conditioned office.

I make the fact that I may not get to eat, or get a break or cannot use the restroom when I need to, part of my job.

I make running towards the gunfire and bad guys, so that you remain safe, an automatic reaction.

I make getting shot at, stabbed, spit on, punched and kicked at work, an expected part of my day.

I make working for people, who most often dislike me, swear at me, and complain about everything I do or do not do.

I make working 12 hour shifts until 6 AM, my day at the office, so you and your family can sleep safely, a way of life. 

Today I might make the ultimate sacrifice to save your life.

I make a difference, WHAT DO YOU MAKE?

During this Christmas season, I give thanks to all my fellow law enforcement officers regardless of their rank, title, department, or agency for the job you do, or have done in these ever increasingly difficult times.