Monday, December 31, 2012

Best New Year's Eve arrest

Every December 31st I remember my best-ever arrest, which happened on New Year's Eve in about 1978. I enjoyed working holidays and special nights, like Halloween and New Year's Eve.

On the night in question it was cold in the Denver area. I don't recall the temperature reading, but I do remember that it was very frosty - maybe 5-10ยบ F. About midnight I was dispatched on a "loud party" call.

Land in Arapahoe County (just south of Denver) isn't flat. Streets aren't necessarily straight. There are many cul-de-sacs. And I couldn't get to the party. I could hear it blocks away but, because of arroyos into which the cul-de-sacs dead-ended, I couldn't get to the party.

Then I spotted a panel van with a special carrier-rack on the back bumper. In the rack, vertically against the back doors of the van, were sheets of plywood. And the van had an out-of-county plate. At that time license plates were issued by county, and the van had a Denver County plate. That, with the plywood, attracted my attention.

The van turned into a cul-de-sac, went to the end and pulled up into a driveway. Instead of turning off the engine and lights, the driver backed out, returned to the main road and turned to drive away from my squad car.

I decided to stop him and he pulled right over. Let's just say I was very careful as I walked up toward the driver's door. The driver had rolled down the window before I got there and, before I could say anything, he said, "I didn't mean to take them. I'll take them back."

"What?" I asked.

And he repeated his statement. There was a fur coat on the passenger seat and I asked whose coat it was. When he said it was his wife's coat, I asked where she was, thinking she was probably dead in the back of the van. He said she had driven home separately. Yeah, sure.... without her coat.

I called for back-up and ordered him out. You should have heard him trying to talk his way back into the van so that he could leave.

Officers from the nearby town showed up, too, and they recognized the van as one they had been looking for for six months. This guy had been stealing sheets of plywood to finish his basement and build a dog house. The local cops had a partial description of the van and a partial license plate, but they hadn't been able to put the two together.

When the driver realized he was going to jail, he got unhappy, but there was plenty of "force" there by then. Nights like that made all the slow nights worthwhile.

County Compensation explained

This morning I was directed to the source of the County employee pay information on McHenry County Blog.

Cal Skinner is doing a great job of putting out the numbers for all to see what is being paid to County employees. In addition to the name, he is publishing the Budgeted Salary and Total (Pay and certain benefits). For me (and for others) there were questions about what was included in Total.

Here's the answer. The County is obligated under state law to publish certain information within 30 days after it is approved. In McHenry County, official decided to publish the information for all employees, not just those making over $75,000 in pay and benefits.

First, the source. To view the published information, go to
Click on Departments
Click on H
Click on Human Resources
Click on Employee Compensation Report (you may need to scroll down to it)

Notice the columns in the Report:
Job Title
Budgeted Salary
County-share Health Insurance
County-share Dental Insurance
Vehicle Allowance
Clothing Allowance
Sick Days
Vacation Days

These figures are  the ones that are budgeted. This is looking into the future of the year ahead. These are not figured that have already been paid or spent.

NOTE: Overtime is not included in the Total column. While overtime is estimated and budgeted elsewhere, it doesn't show up in these numbers. Also, note that pension or retirement plan contributions are not shown.

Many thanks for the phone call this morning.

Take away Obama's pen

Pres. Obama signed an Executive Order granting pay raises to members of Congress and to Joe Biden, his go-fer. Maybe that's to toughen up Joe for his upcoming battle on gun control.

Somebody needs to destroy all those pens that Obama has for signing Executive Orders. A reader wrote recently that Congress has to approve raises; apparently not.

Is anyone else outraged at the procrastination by Congress to resolve the "financial cliff" mess? Here it is December 31 and there is no deal. Well, wasn't the deal made back when the cliff was first cut?

It's kind of like buying a house, getting a low mortgage payment, and knowing that there will be a balloon payment in five or ten years. Duhhhh.... how can you complain, when that balloon payment comes due? You liked the low payment, right?

Or buying term insurance, because you think Whole Life insurance is a rip-off and that you can "save" money better than by giving it to an insurance company. And then you have the unfortunate bad luck to outlive your term insurance policy. Guess what? If you don't die before the term insurance policy expires, then you WILL die after it expires. And then you will wish you had purchased Whole Life insurance.

You know ... insurance for the "whole" of your life???

If Obama wants to sign an Executive Order that I'll like, he'll sign one today stopping pay to Congress and himself for not solving the financial-cliff so-called crisis. And cutting off his taxpayer-funded vacations, like the $4,000,000 trip to Hawaii for a few days. Just give him a Netflix subscription and order some popcorn.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Is Nygren investigating Zinke?

Is McHenry County Sheriff Nygren really investigating Undersheriff Andy Zinke for revealing a confidential DEA drug investigation to a "close friend" (as described by the Northwest Herald) and political contributor to both Zinke and Nygren?

Last summer Sgt. John Koziol was a member of a DEA Task Force out of Rockford, Ill. Koziol informed Zinke, as required under General Orders of the Sheriff's Department, that the DEA had discovered in Texas a truck containing illegal drugs that was headed for the RITA Corporation in Crystal Lake, Ill.

Zinke, of course, should have kept his mouth shut and let the chips fall where they might. If anyone at RITA Corporation was complicit, catch him. If no one was involved in anything illegal, that would be clear in the DEA investigation. Maybe the drugs would have been off-loaded before the truck reached Crystal Lake.

Instead, Zinke revealed the confidential investigation to RITA Corp. president Brian Goode, who is a heavy political fund contributor to Nygren, a contributor to Zinke's early election campaign for Sheriff in 2014, and member of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department Merit Commission, having been appointed by Nygren in 2004.

Is Nygren investigating Zinke? Will Nygren discipline Zinke? Will Zinke be demoted? Fired? Will the results of his investigation and any discipline be made public?

Is it in the public interest to know the results of the investigation into Zinke's releasing confidential information to a possible target of a DEA investigation?

Good guys with guns

Wayne LaPierre said on December 21, 2012, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Want to see some examples of good guys with guns, who stopped bad guys with guns?

Read here:

Beth Bentley - gone 136 weeks

As 2012 comes to a close, Beth Bentley has been missing for 136 weeks.

She vanished, probably on May 23, 2010, from southern Illinois. But only "probably". One person ought to know, for sure.

Two others ought to know, but no word from them has ever surfaced. Were they interviewed by Woodstock Police? By Mt. Vernon Police? By Jefferson County (Ill.) Sheriff's Department investigators?

Is there a strong chance that some people in Woodstock know what happened to Beth?

Who might know information that could help find her?

Her husband, Scott Bentley?
Her co-workers at Bentley's former law office location on Route 31 in McHenry?
Her buddies from Gus's Roadhouse?
Her party friends?
Her father?
Her brother, who works in Woodstock?

How can 2½ years pass and a missing-person investigation not be any further along that it apparently was at the end of the first week after she disappeared?

Have the cell phone records been analyzed in great detail by police detectives? Did they examine carefully the record of calls to and from all cell phones on the master account? Did they notice gaps? Absence of calls that should have been there?

Did they wonder why a 4:00PM Sunday call (the "last" call from Beth's phone) was so short? If Beth was calling from Mt. Vernon, and not from Wisconsin, did she not explain why she was not going to be in McHenry County for a birthday dinner with her father? Did police investigate when that dinner got canceled? And by whom?

Did Beth's phone really "ping" in McHenry County late on Sunday night, May 23?

Was there really a break-in at Scott Bentley's law office on the night of May 23? The McHenry Police Department has no report of it. If there was a break-in and if one of Beth's sons slept at the office, in case burglars returned, why don't the police know about it?

When was the last call from Beth to her children? If she was a "serial texter", did questions get answered about the infrequency of text messages after the time that her traveling friend and she reportedly left Woodstock on Thursday night? When is the last time that someone in Woodstock really heard her voice - live?

This case has now fallen off the radar of the Woodstock Police Department. It no longer reports monthly to the City Manager and City Council on its (in)activity. Out of sight, out of mind? The City Council has never demanded an answer about case progress.

Beth's disappearance is not gone from the minds of some in Woodstock!

Here's a stupid law - in-line skates on roads

Only in Illinois.

Land of the Free. Yeah, right...

"For those in-line high speed skaters outside of Chicago (emphasis added), as of Jan. 1, 2013, you can now travel on roadways that have a posted speed limit of 45 mph or less as long as you stay close to the edge. (In‐line Speed Skates SB 3336/PA 97‐1023)." Source: Chicago Tribune

Now, you tell me why it's safe to have in-line skaters on the roadways. 

Amendment No. 1 would have required a person using in-line speed skates on a highway to have installed on his or her person a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the Department of Transportation which is visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear ..."

Beep, beep.

But that got changed in Amendment No. 2, because the lighting requirement was removed and an attempt was made to allow street skating only during daylight hours. Like that's going to work...: "... upon highways where the maximum posted speed limit is 45 miles per hour or less, and during the period from sunrise to sunset, a pedestrian who is 18 years of age or older and wearing in-line speed skates may travel upon the roadway as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway. Provides that pedestrians wearing in-line speed skates upon a roadway may not impede or obstruct other vehicular traffic. Provides that pedestrians wearing in-line speed skates shall be subject to all other rights and duties under the Article concerning pedestrians. Provides that nothing in the Code shall be construed to prevent a pedestrian wearing in-line speed skates from using a lane designated for bicycles."

Looks to me like the intent to treat skaters like drivers got changed, and now they are treated as pedestrians. So I guess we can expect skaters to blow through stop signs, not signal turns and fail to yield to pedestrians on foot. Will police ticket?

Does the new law mean they are not regulated between sunset and sunrise? Will we see skaters zooming down South Street after dark and blowing across Dean Street and Madison Street without stopping? And without any lights?

What a dumb law! The vote in the Illinois House was 101-16. Jack Franks did not vote. Mike Tryon voted YEA. Obviously, it wouldn't have made any difference if both had voted NAY.

Friday, December 28, 2012

County salaries - mind-blowing

Cal Skinner has been publishing salaries and total compensation of County employees on McHenry County Blog.

May I direct your attention there (if you have a strong stomach)?

I don't have an answer yet as to what the difference is between "Budgeted Salary" and "Total".

From the specific category of "Budgeted Salary" I would venture a guess that that is the specific salary of the employee. That's what goes in the budget. Kind of a no-brainer; right?

Cal's introduction to each segment of published compensation reads, "Every year state law requires the posting of salaries and fringe benefits exceeding $75,000 for those employees under the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. McHenry County has done more than that. It has posted the compensation of all employees."
So, what is "Total"? Is Total the sum of Budgeted Salary plus fringe benefits? That's what I thought - initially.

Then employees began contacting me and telling me that Total was the sum of the basic salary plus overtime.

Does that mean that the cost of fringe benefits is not shown? Many fringe benefits, while part of total compensation costs to an employer, are not taxable to the employee. Some fringe benefits are taxable, such as excessive use of take-home squad cars and personal use of electronic devices (PDRs, cell phones).

Several county employees have contacted me with questions that they obviously cannot raise within their own departments.

And employees are asking me how certain employees, known to have desk jobs, can receive so much overtime. Even some of those desk employees who don't appear to be putting in a full day at the office.

Now, just thinking about the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, which is my favorite County unit to pick on, does it have its own internal auditor for the 400 employees? Someone who counts noses at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day? Anybody who wonders why so-and-so always comes in late, takes long lunches, leaves early, and still earns a lot of overtime? Sure seems like you ought to have to work your full assigned week of work, before you get to dip into the overtime pot.

Does the County Auditor ever get nosy? Ever about excessive vehicle use by an elected official? Not just a few extra miles... like maybe 1,300 extra miles during a Christmas holiday period? Did that official get taxed for personal use? 1,300 x $.50 = $650 additional taxable income for driving those 1,300 miles.

Not to mention the County Vehicle Policy that prohibits such use...

NRA's National School Shield Program

What have you done this week to increase the safety and security for children returning to school on Monday, January 7, in Woodstock and McHenry County?

Leslie Schermerhorn, the new Superintendent of the McHenry County Regional Office of Education is mentioned in a Northwest Herald article this morning as forming a coalition for the safety of children in schools. Want to be part of this? Here is some unofficial contact information:

Leslie A. Schermerhorn -
Donna Kurtz -
Jim Heisler -
Ellyn Wrzeski -

Have you signed up for the NRA's National School Shield Program's information? Go to and sign up now.

Will anything be different on Monday, January 7, in your child's school? Have you received any communications from the school's principal or the school district's superintendent about steps they are implementing immediately to increase the safety for your child(ren) at school?

Visit the Facebook page set up to collect ideas. Go to; then in the Facebook search window, enter Mchenry County School Forum. (N.B., the spaces are important; if you run the words together, you won't find the page.) "Like" the page and wait for information to appear.

With all due respect to some of the persons who were quoted in the Northwest Herald article, "we" (the people of the United States) do not just keep having the same thing occur over and over again. We are a nation of 315,000,000 people. There are going to be people who are evil and do wrong things. Thanks to the media's bombarding us with extreme events, replayed continually, one might think it happens "over and over again"; it doesn't.

The media further adds fuel to the fire by attributing statements about "tighter restrictions on guns, especially assault rifles..." I'll venture a guess that an "assault rifle" was not used in any mass killing in the U.S. Assault rifles are already illegal, yet people keep clamoring for a ban on assault rifles.

One person was quoted as saying, "But there is much more of a tendency to bring weapons to school, particularly assault-type weapons..." She mixes the problem here by interjecting kids who take guns to school on a school day and mixing them in with a mass murderer who is not a student but who takes a weapon to school to kill students. And the media participates.

Does gun control work?

An out-of-state reader and friend send this to me.

"Let's look at the gun control record shall we?

"In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents were rounded up and exterminated.

"In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians were rounded up and exterminated.

"Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, 13 million Jews and others were rounded up and exterminated.

"China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents were rounded up and exterminated.

"Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians were rounded up and exterminated.

"Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians were rounded up and exterminated.

"Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million 'educated' people were rounded up and exterminated."

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million and counting!

Source: Kentucky Concealed Carry Coalition

Another way to prevent similar massacres in schools is to employ former vets. Many are unemployed so if we can employ them as security that could really help.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Crowley, another anti-gunner

Asa Hutchinson was interviewed by Cindy Crowley on CNN's State of the Union program. Hutchinson is a former Congressman who was appointed by Wayne LaPierre to head up the NRA's safe-schools initiative.

Cindy Crowley: "To put more guns into the schools seems like exactly the wrong answer."

Is that woman stupid, or is she Stupid? The "more guns" will be there for defense, not for criminal purposes. She just doesn't like guns. I mean, look at her. She can't even hear "defensive" purpose or use of guns.

"School safety is the debate," said Hutchinson.

And that dip mayor of New York, Bloomberg, said to CNN, "[T]he NRA's lobbyists blamed everyone but themselves for the crisis in gun violence."

The NRA is not responsible for the crisis in gun violence. Nor am I. Maybe Bloomberg is responsible, since he won't let New Yorkers arm and defend themselves (unless you are rich and powerful).

I guess I just don't like Crowley from the way she handled one of the Presidential debates. A lot of people didn't like that.

Smiths' trials - 2013

A reader inquired today if I knew when trials would be in the cases of Timothy Smith and Kimberly Smith. Tim Smith has been in McHenry County Jail since May 29, 2011, on a murder charge. His bail is $900,000.

From Circuit Court records:

Feb. 25, 2013 10:00AM for Timothy Smith's jury trial. Case No. 11CF000520
Mar. 11, 2013 10:00AM for Kimberly Smith's jury trial. Case No. 11CF000521

A year ago, in December 2011, Timothy's public defender told the judge that no more hearings would be needed and they'd be ready for trial in May 2012. A jury trial date was set. Since then, it has been changed at least twice.

Kimberly Smith's trial date has been changed, also.

Are the defendants' attorneys playing the "You first" game?

Does the State's Attorney have a game plan? Is that office calculating which trial IT wants first, in order to gain leverage against the party tried second?

I won't be surprised at more delays and continuances.

Will one (or both) of the defendants try to cop a plea? If there is a deal and no trial, then the evidence against that defendant won't get presented in court. And what that defendant knows will never be heard in court, assuming that the defendant chooses to testify in his or her own defense.

Will the State say, "No deal! We're going to trial."

Defending on the quality of the prosecution, the defendant might roll the dice and decide not to testify in his or own defense. But the People's case would still be revealed in court, in the event of a trial.

More than a few people want to know the truth about how and why Kurt Milliman was at the Smith residence. How much time passed between the moment when Tim Smith shot Milliman and they called 9-1-1? Five-ten-fifteen minutes? Longer?

Was Milliman's computer confiscated? Who has had access to it? Who was the Sheriff's Department computer geek at the time? Will any testimony from him be credible? Will he even be available to testify?

Postage rate increase coming 1/27

Stamps for your first-class letters are going up "only" a penny on January 27, when the new first-class, one-ounce (or lighter) rate becomes $0.46.

Remember, if you are using Forever stamps, you don't have to add a penny stamp to get your letter delivered. Unless you have some really old stamps, they are all Forever stamps now.

The second ounce (to U.S. addresses) remains unchanged at $0.20.

Postcards go up one penny to $0.33.

But watch out if you are mailing to overseas addresses.

If you are used to mailing to Canada for $0.85, you can forget that. The new rate for letters to all international addresses will be $1.10. That looks like a a 29% rate hike!

Mail to England or Germany? Going up from $1.05 to $1.10.

The new international rate will be a Forever rate (stamp). Aren't you glad?

Here are words of wisdom from the USPS website: "The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) will review the prices before they become effective Jan. 27, 2013." How nice! Anyone think it's not a "done deal"?

One Canadian's take on the USA

From a neighbor to the north. If I knew whom to thank for these wise words, I certainly would say, Thanks!

The Top 10 "Only In America" Observations - by a Canadian

1) Only in America, could a certain politician talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 a plate campaign fund-raising event.

2) Only in America, could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General, and an 18% black federal workforce, but a black population of only 12%.

3) Only in America, could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury Department, and Charles Rangel, who once ran the Ways and Means Committee, BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.

4) Only in America, could they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.

5) Only in America, could they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege while they discuss letting people who sneak into the country illegally just 'magically' become American citizens.

6) Only in America, could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as "extremists."

7) Only in America, could they need to present a driver's license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.

8) Only in America, could they demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up, when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of the return of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).

9) Only in America, could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more  than it has per year - for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.

10) Only in America, could the rich people - who pay 86% of all federal income taxes - be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't pay any federal income taxes at all!

Starting a(nother) new business?

Grab John Wren's revised book, Daring Mighty Things -- The Simplest Way to Start Your First (or Next) New Business.

Until January 6 it's free - as a Kindle download on

Are you Kindle-wise? Do you read books on your SmartPhone? Why not? Why waste the time at the doctor's office or the car repair place, looking at those old, stale People magazines?

After you read it, show your appreciation to the author by posting a review on

Parents: Ready, Set, Action!

OK, parents. School starts Monday.

What are you doing to protect your children when off they go to Woodstock District 200 schools on Monday?

Our schools are in Gun-Free Zones (GFZ). This means that law-abiding citizens will not take guns (or other weapons) within 1,000 feet of a school. Any school. Until recently I think you were breaking the law to even drive by a school, if you had a gun in the trunk of your car; I think the law changed on that one. But I'm not positive.

And the criminal? Think he'll stop at the 1,000-foot line?

What will be different about security on Monday? Same locked doors. Same buzzer access. Same resource officer in some of the schools. Same "Report To The Office" rules.

Let's say that some kook goes for a copycat crime. Have the schools ramped up security? Intensified refresher training or reminders over the holidays? What defense is that against an armed madman?

Even if armed citizens with FOID cards and the smarts to use guns to defend others wanted to and were available, Illinois criminal law won't let them.

Call your State Legislators now (today would be a good day) and ask them to pass a concealed carry law immediately. There is a good one on the shelf right now. HB 0148. Read it at (use the little box on the left sidebar). They can tinker with it later, although they won't need to.

And then reduce or eliminate the GFZs. Create volunteer teams of protectors who will help keep our kids safe.

Since Rep. Jack Franks became a co-sponsor on May 5, 2011, on the same day as the vote on HB0148, nine additional State Representatives have become co-sponsors. This bill now has 52 co-sponsors. It needs 70 or 71 Yea votes to pass in the House, because it will be jammed down the throats of home-rule cities and be veto-proof by anti-gun Gov. Quinn and anti-gun Speaker Mike Madigan.

Can these 52 gain the support of 20 of their colleagues to pass a good concealed carry bill?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Groundhog Day and ...

This came to me from Denver. All the way from Denver - about 2/2/2013...

"In the coming New Year, 2013, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union address will occur on the same day.

"This is an ironic juxtaposition of events. One involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to an insignificant creature of little intelligence for prognostication.

"The other involves a groundhog....."

Community Vigil - Dec. 27

The recently-appointed and newly-elected Leslie Schermerhorn, McHenry County Regional Superintendent of Schools, has announced a candlelight vigil on the Woodstock Square tomorrow (Thursday), December 27, from 4:30-5:15PM.

This is going to stop shootings and violence in schools. Right.

Would it be tacky for those interested in actually doing something about gun violence in schools to be at all exits from the Park in the Square and passing out fliers in favor of concealed carry in Illinois and elimination of gun-free zones?

Wayne LaPierre said it clearly and distinctly last Friday, when he said, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." Eighteen words.

He could have danced around for 5-10-15 minutes and tried to find "nice" words that would offend fewer people, but he summed it up in 18 words.

We the People will support the police in doing their jobs. The police cannot be everywhere. In fact, we don't want them everywhere. In the minutes it takes them to arrive and get a handle on a situation before moving in, many can die.

If teachers were armed and, additionally, civilian guards and parents could "carry" in schools, our children would be much safer. If a threat arises, it could be dealt with quickly.

It's working in Harrold, Texas, and in other towns.

MCSD – time for an IAD

The McHenry County Sheriff's Department needs an IAD. No, not an IUD. Not an IED (although maybe that's needed to shake loose some of the ideas and dust there). Not an AED.

It needs an Internal Affairs Division. An IAD would be a small select group of hard-nosed, honest deputies who would investigate wrong-doing by employees (deputies and corrections officers) of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

If there were such a division, they would have been plenty busy over the past few years.

What types of crimes and wrong-doing might they have investigated?

The Undersheriff for informing Brian Goode of a DEA investigation of a truckload of drugs headed for RITA Corporation.

The Sheriff for taking his Tahoe to his Wisconsin home in Minocqua, 300 miles away from McHenry County (violation of McHenry County Vehicle Policy).

Deputies taking Department vehicles on family vacations to Missouri in November 2011, with family members as passengers.

Senior command who decide to release an arrested person, before the arresting deputy can ever get the subject to the Jail, and whether political connections were a factor in the release. How do you “un-arrest” a person who has been handcuffed and transported to the Sheriff's Department?

Sgt. Greg Pyle and his control over the evidence room (no internal investigation of the status of that secure room has ever been mentioned).

Det. Jason Novak for an alleged sexual relationship with a confidential informant in a drug case.

Whether a courthouse security officer illegally exercised arrest authority to “capture” a person.

Drunken driving by off-duty deputies.

Non-arrest of a deputies or corrections officers stopped by police officers for DUI.

Corrections officers engaged in improper relationships with inmates.

Free meals and beverages accepted by on-duty deputies.

There are more...

Sandy Hook - mixed stories

Take five minutes and read this analysis of the Newtown, Connecticut, tragedy.

No doubt you too wondered how so many (all?) were shot with a rifle, when it was first reported that the rifle was found in the trunk of Lanza's car.

In the days of news becoming "old news" so quickly, few may linger on the facts and really question what is being fed to the public by the media. How is it that so many were killed and so few wounded? Could there really have been more than one shooter?

Columnist Niall Bradley begins to take apart and compare reports. Only when these questions are asked do the discrepancies surface. Otherwise, people get the news in one minute segment on TV and glance at news magazine covers and skim stories. How many actually sit and digest the news and think about it?

Presidential fiat - gun control next?

Maybe, just maybe, we who are concerned about the Second Amendment should read the following more than once and consider "What if...?"

Last week President Obama, with a stroke of a pen, blew $100,000,000 of our money to give federal government workers the day off - December 24. One Hundred Million Dollars. OK, so it's just 25 times the estimate of his short Christmas (is it Muslim or holiday) vacation will cost us. What did your Christmas cost you?

Read Joseph Farah's What If scenario.

What if Obama signed such a presidential order? Think anyone is going to walk over to the Woodstock Police Department and hand in his semi-automatic rifle or pistol? Well, a few will.

What about the rest?

What will you do? Hide your weapons? Refuse to answer the door? Just tell the cops to go away and read the Constitution and the Constitutional Amendments? Will that be good enough?

A while back I wrote about the NRA's pledge that it hoped many local governments would take. It is this: “I, ______________, will never, by use of force or any other means, confiscate firearms lawfully possessed by the citizens of my community.”

The problem, of course, is if one person, only one person (Obama), tries to change the law of the land with a stroke of a pen, then we gun owners no longer lawfully possess firearms. And then the police start showing up at doors.

Go to the Woodstock City website and click on "City Council". (Don't hover over it, which will then show you Agendas and Minutes (but not names and addresses).) Look at the list of names.

Who on that list would sign the above Pledge? Look carefully at the list. Is there one person on the list who would sign that Pledge? Look at the names.

Mayor Brian Sager, Council members Dick Ahrens (Dick Ahrens will be replaced by Joe Starzynski this spring), Julie Dillon, Maureen Larson, RB Thompson, Mark Saladin, Mike Turner.

Do you see four who will stand up for your Second Amendment rights? Do you see even one?

Will the City Manager stand up for your rights? Not unless the Mayor says okay. Will the police chief stand up for your rights? Not unless the City Manager tells him to. Will individual cops stand up for your rights? Not unless they want to get fired for insubordination (refusing to follow orders) and join the ranks of the unemployed.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Guns – the next Civil War?

The rhetoric over guns, in the wake of the re-election of Obama and the killings in Newtown, is rising at a feverish pitch. Sides seem to be polarizing, and attacks are beginning to get personal, not just about the issues.

Will the issue of gun ownership in America become the next Civil War?

People are digging in their heels and not listening to the other side. Who said “Seek first to understand”?

It's not happening.

The idiots from Westboro Baptist Church either showed up in Newtown or thought better of it, after word of their intentions leaked out.

Obama didn't wait for the first funeral before he started pushing his anti-gun ban harder. Shame on him.  Maybe he could cancel his $4,000,000 vacation (on our money) in Hawaii and spend a little time thinking about the real problem in this country.

Hillary Clinton fell and reportedly had a concussion – not hard enough to cause her to be hospitalized, according to the media. So, how did she know she had a concussion? Was it a hard enough hit on her noggin to knock a little sense into her about the U.N. Gun Ban Treaty? Of course, that can't be her own agenda. Her boss is behind it. But the country isn't!

Obama has given Biden his marching orders. Come up with my plan – fast. Well, it's not “our” plan. It is not the plan for The People – unless he thinks President is supposed to mean King or Dictator.

I commend the NRA for standing down – temporarily.

We all grieve for Newtown, Connecticut. No one wants a repeat of that.

How about a ceasefire until January 1st?

Over the Cliff, Bill says

Bill Balsamico writes a blog. He also publishes photos of billboards near his restaurant, Casa D'Ice, in North Versailles, Pennsylvania.

Check out his signs here:

Here's what Bill has to say about taxes and the Fiscal Cliff. What do you think?

"Myself, being part of the 98%, can tell you that I am getting tired of hearing that the TOP 2% need to pay more toward their "FAIR SHARE". They already pay more than their "FAIR SHARE". Why can't the other 98% pay something into the mix, after all it's that same 98% that gets all the benefits thru infrastructure such as roads schools etc along with all the hand out programs.  So at the full hit of the tax hike (which we used to pay) is estimated to be about $2,400.00, what does that mean ? Maybe you won't be able to upgrade yours or your kids SMART PHONES- iPHONES- iPADS -- iPODS every 6 months when they come out, or God forbid you may have to cancel your NFL subscription and won't be able to play FANTASY FOOTBALL.

"The most important thing to remember is the fact that this is NOT A TAX HIKE it is only restoring the taxes that we were paying in the past (and at that time it was considered our FAIR SHARE).  And back when the taxes being paid the upper 2% that was considered their FAIR SHARE also, and the politicians didn't inject CLASS WARFARE into the equation.  If you want the roads fixed to transport your kids back and forth to soccer practice, if you want to send you kids to schools (picked up with school buses practically door-to-door) you need to pay for that.

"So I guess what I'm saying is that the best thing that could happen is we go off that FISCAL CLIFF and the early pain will do the country a world of good in the end."

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Last-minute shopping?

Looking for an unusual gift on the last shopping day before Christmas?

Gift a membership in the National Rifle Association (NRA). Visit and give a 1-year, 2-year, 5-year or Lifetime membership.

Why concealed carry?


Dr. Suzanna Gratia Hupp explains the meaning to her of concealed carry.

Her parents and she were in a Luby's Restaurant in Killeen, Texas, on October 16, 1991, when a madman crashed his truck through the windows of the restaurant, got out and began executing people in the restaurant. Her parents and 21 other people were killed, and 50 were injured.

I met her in the Chicago Loop about four years ago, when she was here for a Second Amendment rally. I heard her tell how she had obeyed Texas law that day in Texas and had left her gun in her car.

Listen to her tell how she's not mad at guns and she wasn't mad at the madman who killed her parents - any more than you'd be mad at a vicious dog.

In Illinois we don't just have to reduce the number of Gun-Free Zones (or eliminate them altogether), we have to first gain the right to carry a loaded, concealed weapon to defend ourselves outside our homes.

There are responsible citizens right now, right here in Woodstock, ready to step forward for training, authorization and certification to spend time in our schools, protecting our children.

Do I want guns in schools? Not very much. If they will prevent what happened in Newtown and at Columbine High School and in malls and movie theaters all over the U.S.A., then, yes, I do want guns in schools. Until there is a better solution.

And a better solution will not be confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens.

When a detective has sex with ...

What happens when a detective has sexual relations with a woman who is in the court system and who legally must answer to him?

Would official law enforcement authority over a person constitute a barrier to such relations?

A former Lincoln County (Mo.) Sheriff’s Department detective pleaded guilty on July 10 in federal court in St. Louis. I guess they had him dead to rights. He was at risk of a life sentence. Although he was to be sentenced on October 18, it wasn't until December 14 that he was sentenced - to ten years in prison.

His job had been monitoring women defendants in a drug court program. He was charged with violating the constitutional rights of five women.

Take a look at the charges to which he pled guilty:

- deprivation of rights under color of law including aggravated sexual abuse (2 counts),
- deprivation of rights under color of law including kidnapping (1 count), and
- deprivation of rights under color of law including sexual contact (2 counts).

What kind of power could he have exerted over those women? Could he get them to do something he wanted them to do, by making them some kind of promise? Or a threat of some type? Key words in the charges, no doubt, were under color of law.

This case was a Federal case. I wonder if the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department could have handled it differently. Could the sheriff have handled the matter administratively, say with only a 30-day suspension, and kept it out of public view? Could the sheriff have filed charges against his own errant deputy and maybe tried to keep it in Lincoln County? How did it get to the Federal level?

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Elect County Board Chairman? why?

Should the McHenry County Board waste time and money on a referendum to find out whether The People want to elect the chairman, instead of having the chairman elected by the members of the Board?

Did the public make it clear that it wants to "weigh in" on this issue? How? When?

At the last election there was a vote on whether the People should elect a County Administrator. Fortunately, that got knocked down.

But the water was muddied early on, because some kept talking about how that would do away with the County Board Chairman's position or role, and this question was never part of the vote.

Voters did get surprised at the polls, though, when the issue was not limited to electing a County Administrator, but a home-rule issue was coupled with it. Was I the only one to wonder how you could vote Yes or No on a two-part question? I wondered who slipped the home-rule part into the question to be voted on and why the home-rule part never got much discussion before Election Day.

There is no rush to elect the Chairman for the County Board. In fact, I can see a number of reason not to. Hopefully, the County Board, with its many new faces, will go forward with meaningful (and cost-cutting) deliberations in 2013.

Beth Bentley - gone 135 weeks

One hundred thirty-five weeks ago Beth Bentley vanished.

Where will she be found?

When will she be found?

Who will led the trail to her?

If you know anything that you have not already given directly to the Woodstock Police Department, call 815.338.2131 now.

Seipler v. MCSD, Nygren, et al.

Because this case in Federal District Court (Rockford) is not in the news on a daily basis, some may think that the case is over.

It's not.

Yes, Zane Seipler got his job back as a deputy at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. I think he got his four years' back pay (I don't know this; I'm not asking, and there is no reason he would tell me). He has returned to work, but he has not been at work because he must use accrued vacation time by December 31 or lose it. Basically, he has had a nice, long vacation at taxpayers' expense, thanks to Keith Nygren.

But there is still this case in Federal Court, where Zane is represented by Blake Horwitz and the sheriff and the sheriff's department are represented, as usual, by Jim Sotos. (IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS, WESTERN DIVISION. Case No. 08 c 50257)

The latest round can be followed on McHenry County Blog.

The sheriff is trying to get the court to dismiss the case and impose sanctions. Horwitz, of course, must explain to the court why it should deny that motion to dismiss.

You'll want to put on a fresh pot of coffee and be well rested, when you begin slogging through the "PLAINTIFF’S (that's Seipler) MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF DENYING DEFENDANTS’ SANCTIONS MOTION".

Go slowly, and understand it. Read carefully the part about Sgt. Greg Pyle and his skills at hacking into others' computers. There's a guy that the sheriff spent thousands of dollars on, sending him for specialized training in computers. Consider where Pyle has been recently (and may even be right now. In case you've forgotten, try "Boone County (Illinois) Jail."

What do you suppose is the cost to McHenry County for the Sheriff's Department to defend itself, the sheriff and certain named deputies in this case?

Maybe, instead, Horwitz could be asking the Court for a declaratory judgement in Seipler's favor for how a confidential deposition made its way to the Northwest Herald and a Crystal Lake businessman friend of the sheriff. That's already in the public record.

That move may come up in the 2014 election campaign for sheriff.

What does a subordinate do, if his superior officer tells him to do something improper (or illegal) and if he knows, or should have known, that it was improper (or illegal)?

Should he refuse outright? Or, recognizing that he might incur displeasure or wrath of his boss for refusing (or maybe even for just objecting), should he just keep his mouth shut but not follow orders? Or should he just be a "good soldier" (no disrespect meant to the military) and do what he is told?

Which is what he did.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Armed teachers? Coming to a school near you?

Check out the Facebook page of "Things Liberals Hate":

What if she were standing there with a .223 Bushmaster with telescoping stock, high-capacity magazine, scope, flash suppressor?

Think some person with malice afore-thought would go someplace else?

I do, too.

Read about teachers in Harrold, Texas. I think Harrold, Texas was in the news a year or two ago, when they had to wait a long time for law enforcement to arrive.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Got my 2¢ worth at the courthouse

When I arrived at the McHenry County Government Center (courthouse) this afternoon, there was only a short line at security.

After uncluttering myself of cell phone, pen, car keys, cell phone holster (errr, case) and whatever else I had in my pockets and placing my coat and notebook on the conveyor belt through the "I'll-see-everything-else" scanner, I prepared to walk through the upright security device. As I stepped forward, I saw two pennies on the floor and picked them up.

I placed them on the counter by the security officer; after all, they weren't mine. (Was I on Candid Camera? If I picked them up off the floor and kept them, would I be arrested on a criminal misdemeanor theft charge?)

Imagine my surprise when there were handed to me with all my other items! The security officer's comment made me laugh. He said, "Now you've got my 2¢ worth!" And I did.


Gratitude - a really great video

I invite you to watch this short video. Pick a time when it's quiet and you can give this your full attention.

How much do you really notice during a day? What do you notice? What do you not notice?

Ann Coulter on guns

You may or may not be an Ann Coulter fan, but read her column on guns, school safety and gun-free zones.

I've been asking myself this question:

"Would I rather be sitting in a theater (or school or mall or church or ???) and waiting to be slaughtered if some gunman starts blazing away, or concerned about getting arrested for carrying a concealed, loaded gun in a holster on my belt (or an unloaded gun in my "container")?"

Or, as a friend puts it, would I rather be judged by 12 or carried by six?

If some jerk is about to enter a school with a rifle, I intend to stop him. But it's not a good idea to go to a gun fight with a nail file.

NRA position on school safety

At 10:00AM today the National Rifle Association (NRA) conducted a press conference and started off with an excellent statement by Wayne LaPierre, Executive Director. This was followed by a statement by former Congressman Asa Hutchinson (Arkansas), who has been appointed to lead the National School Shield safety program.

I encourage you to listen to their statements. They can be heard on and they may also be on the NRA pages on Facebook: "NRA" and "NRA News".

Listen to them. Then contact your school district's superintendent and principals and tell them you want to be involved in formulating the safety program for your schools.

Do not let them say, "We know what's best for your kids." Get involved.

Together we can end violence in our schools.

Unfortunately, in Illinois if we want to help protect our kids at school, we're going to have to find the 1,000-foot line and remain outside it, since our esteemed legislators believe people with guns cannot enter the Gun-Free Zone of that radius.

Tell that to the next nutcase who didn't buy a measuring tape on the way to do harm in an Illinois school.

School shootings, 1988-2011

How many of these did we not hear about? A reader sent these to me but did not include the source. I sorted them by date, with the most recent (of the shootings) first. Incidents between October 26, 2011 to today are not included.

Does there seem to you to be a relationship between medication and these events?

The Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, on November 14, 2012, is not included.

What     Drug     Date             Where     Additional

School Stabbing     Med For Depression     2011-10-25     Washington     **Girl, 15, Stabs Two Girls in School Restroom: 1 Is In Critical Condition

School Shooting     Zoloft Antidepressant & ADHD Med     2011-07-11     Alabama     **14 Year Old Kills Fellow Middle School Student

School Shooting     Meds For Depression & ADHD     2011-03-18     South Carolina     **Teen Shoots School Official: Pipe Bombs Found in Backpack

School Massacre Plot     Prozac Withdrawal     2011-02-23     Virginia     **Teen Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison For Columbine Style Plot

School Hostage Situation     Med For Depression     2010-12-15     France     **17 Year Old with Sword Holds 20 Children & Teacher Hostage

School Incident/Bizarre     Zoloft*     2010-08-22     Australia     **School Counselor Exhibits Bizarre Behavior: Became Manic On Zoloft

School Knifing/Murder     Meds For Depression & ADHD     2010-04-28     Massachusetts     **Sixteen Year Old Kills 15 Year Old in High School Bathroom in Sept. 2009

School Shooting     SSRI     2010-02-19     Finland     **On Sept. 23, 2008 a Finnish Student Shot & Killed 9 Students Before Killing Himself

School Shooting Threats     Celexa Antidepressant     2010-01-25     Virginia     **Senior in High School Theatens to Kill 4 Classmates: Facebook Involved: Bail Denied

School Hostage Situation     Cymbalta Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL     2009-11-09     New York     **Man With Gun Inside School Holds Principal Hostage

School/Assault     Antidepressant     2009-11-04     California     **School Custodian Assaults Student & Principal: Had Manic Reaction From Depression Med

School Shooting Plot     Antidepressants     2009-09-22     England     **Two English School Boys Plot to Blow Up High School

School Bomb Threat     Med For Depression     2009-06-29     Australia     **Vexed Father Makes Bomb Threat Against Elementary School

School Shooting     Med For Depression     2009-03-13     Germany     **16 Dead Including Shooter: Antidepressant Use: Shooter in Treatment For Depression

School Knife Attack     Treatment For Depression & Strattera     2009-03-10     Belgium     **Three Dead in School Day Care: Two Children & a Caregiver: Happened Jan 23, 2009

School Shooting Plot     Med For Depression WITHDRAWAL     2008-08-28     Texas     **18 Year Old Plots a Columbine School Attack

School Threat/Lockdown     Lexapro*     2008-04-18     California     **Violent High School Student Shot to Death on Campus by Police

School Threat     Antidepressants     2008-03-20     Indiana     **Teen [16 Years Old] Brings Gun to School: There Is a Lockdown

School Stabbing     Med For Depression     2008-02-29     Texas     **Teen [17 Year Old GIRL] Stabs Friend & Principal at High School

School / Child Endangerment     Antidepressants     2008-02-27     Canada     **Wacky School Bus Driver Goes Berserk: Also Involved Painkillers

School Suicide/Lockdown     Med For Depression     2008-02-20     Idaho     **Teen [16 Years Old] Kills Self at High School: Lockdown by Police

School Shooting     Prozac WITHDRAWAL     2008-02-15     Illinois     ** 6 Dead: 15 Wounded: Perpetrator Was in Withdrawal from Med & Acting Erratically

School Threat     Prozac Antidepressant     2008-01-25     Washington     **Student Takes Loaded Shotgun & 3 Rifles to School Parking Lot: Plans Suicide

School Shooting     Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL     2007-11-07     Finland     **Student Kills 8: Wounds 10: Kills Self: High School in Finland

School Shooting     Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL     2007-10-12     Ohio     **Teen [14 Years Old] School Shooter Possibly on Antidepressants or In Withdrawal

School Suspension     Lexapro Antidepressant     2007-07-28     Arkansas     **Student Has 11 Incidents with Police During his 16 Months on Lexapro

School Threat     Wellbutrin Antidepressant     2007-04-24     Tennessee     **Young Boy, 12, Threatens to Shoot Others at School

School Threat     Antidepressants     2007-04-23     Mississippi     **Student Arrested for Making School Threat Over Internet

School Shooting     Antidepressant?     2007-04-18     Virginia     **Possible SSRI Use: 33 Dead at Virginia Tech

School Knife Attack     Med for Depression     2006-12-06     Indiana     **Teen Knife Attacks Fellow Student

School Stabbing     Wellbutrin     2006-12-04     Indiana     **Stabbing by 17 Year Old At High School: Charged with Attempted Murder

School Hostage Situation     Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL     2006-11-28     North Carolina     **Teen Holds Teacher & Student Hostage with Gun

School Shooting     Antidepressant     2006-09-30     Colorado     **Man Assaults Girls: Kills One & Self

School Shooting     Celexa Antidepressant     2006-08-30     North Carolina     **Teen Shoots at Two Students: Kills his Father: Celexa Found Among his Personal Effects

School Hostage Situation     Med for Depression     2006-03-09     France     **Young Ex-Teacher Holds 21 Students Hostage
School/Assault     Zoloft Antidepressant     2006-02-15     Tennessee     **Teen Attacks Teacher at School

School Violence     Antidepressant     2005-11-19     Arizona     **Violent 8 Year Old GIRL Handcuffed by Police at School

School Shooting     Prozac Antidepressant     2005-03-24     Minnesota     **10 Dead: 7 Wounded: Dosage Increased One Week before Rampage

School Violence     Paxil     2004-10-23     Washington DC     **Young Boy, 10 Year Old, Has Violent Incidents at School

School Shooting Threat     Med for Depression*     2004-10-19     New Jersey     **Over-Medicated Teen Brings Loaded Handguns to School

School Shooting     Paxil [Seroxat] Antidepressant     2004-02-09     New York     **Student Shoots Teacher in Leg at School

School Shooting Threat     Antidepressant     2003-05-31     Michigan     **Teen Threatens School Shooting: Charge is Terrorism

School Shooting/Suicide     Celexa     2002-10-07     Texas     **Young Girl [13 Years Old] Kills Self at School With a Gun

School Arson Incidents     Paxil     2002-04-12     Michigan     **Unusual Personality Change on Paxil Caused 15 Year Old to Set Fires inside High School

School Violence     Celexa Antidepressant     2002-01-23     Florida     **Violent 8 Year-Old Boy Arrested At School

School Shooting     Antidepressant?     2002-01-17     Virginia     **Possible SSRI Withdrawal Mania: 3 Dead at Law School

School Hostage Situation     Paxil     2001-10-12     North Carolina     **Young Man Holds Three People Hostage in Duke University President's Office

School Machete Attack     Med for Depression     2001-09-26     Pennsylvania     **Man Attacks 11 Children & 3 Teachers at Elementary School

School Stabbings     Antidepressants     2001-06-09     Japan     **Eight Dead: 15 Wounded: Assailant Had Taken 10 Times his Normal Dose of Depression Med

Shooting     Celexa & Effexor Antidepressants     2001-04-19     California     **Teen Shoots at Classmates in School
School Hostage Situation     Paxil & Effexor Antidepressants     2001-04-15     Washington     **Teen Holds Classmates Hostage with a Gun

School Shooting     Paxil [Seroxat] Antidepressant     2001-03-10     Pennsylvania     **14 Year Old GIRL Shoots & Wounds Classmate at Catholic School

School Hostage Situation     Prozac/ Paxil Antidepressants     2001-01-18     California     **Teen [17 Years Old] Takes Girl Hostage at School: He is Killed by Police

School Threats     Prozac Antidepressant     1999-10-19     Florida     **Teen [16 Years Old] Threatens Classmates With Knife & Fake Explosives

School Shooting     Luvox/Zoloft Antidepressants     1999-04-20     Colorado     **COLUMBINE: 15 Dead: 24 Wounded

School Shooting Threat     Antidepressant     1999-04-16     Idaho     **Teen Fires Gun in School

School Shooting Plot     Med For Depression     1998-12-01     Wisconsin     **Teen Accused of Plotting to Gun Down Students at School

School Shooting     Prozac Antidepressant WITHDRAWAL     1998-05-21     Oregon     **Four Dead: Twenty Injured

School Violence/Murder     Antidepressants*     1998-05-04     New York     **Sheriff's Deputy Shoots his Wife in an Elementary School

School Stand-Off     Zoloft Antidepressant     1998-04-13     Idaho     **Teen [14 Years Old] in School Holds Police At Bay: Fires Shots

School Shooting     Zoloft Antidepressant     1995-10-12     South Carolina     **15 Year Old Shoots Two Teachers, Killing One: Then Kills Himself

School Murder Attempt     Med For Depression     1995-03-04     California     **Young Woman Deliberately Hits 3 Kids with Her Car at Elementary School: Laughed During Attack

School Shooting Related     Luvox     1993-07-23     Florida     **Man Commits Murder During Clinical Trial for Luvox: Same Drug as in COLUMBINE: Never Reported

School Shooting     Antidepressants     1992-09-20     Texas     **Man, Angry Over Daughter's Report Card, Shoots 14 Rounds inside Elementary School

School Shooting     Prozac Antidepressant     1992-01-30     Michigan     **School Teacher Shoots & Kills His Superintendent at School

School Shooting     Anafranil Antidepressant     1988-05-20     Illinois     **29 Year Old WOMAN Kills One Child: Wounds Five: Kills Self

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Watch this... grab a tissue

Be sure to watch this video of a poem by retired Ohio State Police Trooper Bob Welsh. He was a trooper for 29 years.

It's a beautiful poem and story about Christmas Eve.

The Atlantic on guns

On the Facebook page of an overseas friend, I found this article in The Atlantic about gun ownership and regulation in Japan.

For those who might be interested, it was published on July 23, 2012, shortly after the July 20th shooting in the Aurora, Colo. movie theater.

Zinke "investigation"

On Wednesday, December 19, McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren blew off any investigation of Zinke by the DEA. Say it ain't so, Keith.

Supposedly, DEA agent-in-charge Brian Besser, in Rockford, told Nygren that the DEA “would be in touch with (him) if they found any violation of federal laws or any policies with the DEA.”

Besser is probably (ok, well, I won't say it), after he heard that. If the DEA decides to charge Zinke, they'll be smart enough not to tell Nygren until after they arrest Zinke.

Nygren continued to the Northwest Herald reporter, “I've never been contacted back. My assumption is they're finished with this thing.”

Great police work, Keith. You make us really proud. Did you give Besser your cell phone number, so he could reach you in Minocqua or Cape Coral? Or is he supposed to call the Undersheriff, if you aren't in?

Nygren dismisses the allegations against Zinke by claiming the Feds “looked” at them, and then the State (must mean the McHenry County State's Attorney) looked. (How about the Appellate Prosecutor? The Illinois State Police? The Illinois Attorney General?) And now the MCSD is “having a look”.

He claims that is a three-pronged investigation. Does he even understand what a “three-pronged investigation” is?

Whom do you think he put in charge of a MCSD investigation of Zinke? Zinke? Somebody lower in the food chain than Zinke? (That's everybody.) If he asked for volunteers to step forward, did everybody take one step back? Did he appoint someone in the in-crowd at MCSD to investigate Zinke?

Or did he appoint somebody with the backbone to make a thorough investigation and report his findings (knowing that he'd better have his next employer lined up or be old enough to retire)?

There is only one person higher in rank than Zinke.

Maybe Keith ask the Illinois State Police to come in and investigate. Be sure to get someone from Investigations Zone 1, not from Patrol District 2. No friends allowed.

Who has faith in any internal investigation into Zinke's outing of the DEA investigation?

Don't miss the re-hash of the “disgruntled employee” line (meaning Koziol) by the reporter and the dig at Koziol's attorney having “ties” to an announced challenger to Zinke in the 2014 sheriff's election. What does attending law school at the same time have to do with something years later?

I don't know Sgt. John Koziol, but I certainly admire him for having the guts to stand up to the Keith and Andy Show and making sure that the public learned about Zinke's revealing a confidential DEA investigation to Brian Goode.

The reporter wrote twice in Wednesday's article that Brian Goode is a “close friend” of Zinke. Has she got that right? Is Goode a close friend of Zinke? Or is he a really a “close friend” of Keith Nygren? Goode interests have donated $50,000 to Nygren's political activities over the past ten years, and Nygren appointed Goode to the Sheriff's Department Merit Commission in 2004. Do Goode and Zinke see each other socially? Do their families get together? Has Zinke been a frequent guest in Goode's home? Do they pal around on vacations? Maybe they do.

Goode donated $5,000 to Zinke in September, only two months after Zinke told Goode about the DEA investigation. Why is he donating money to Zinke so far in advance of the 2014 election?

Citizen's Police Academy - a little more (or less)

The agenda for the 11-week Citizen's Police Academy of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department included:

September 20: Department tour, ID badges, and a presentation by the Administration Bureau
September 27 Operations, Part 1. Patrol, Intelligence, specialty divisions
October 4, Operations, Part 2. Traffic, "Criminal Vehicle", SWAT
October 11, Investigations, Part 1. Investigations, Evidence, Warrants
October 18, Investigations, Part 2. Narcotics, Gang Division
October 25, Corrections, Part 1
November 1, Corrections, Part 2
November 8, Community Relations
November 15, Training, Part 1. State mandates, internship program
November 29, Training, Part 2. Firearms Training Unit
December 6, Graduation

Return of ID Badges is not mentioned... Are all ID badges, even for those who did not complete the Academy, now back in the possession of MCSD?

Numerous items in my FOIA Request were not provided:

The date when the Academy was established;
Copy of announcement to the general public of the Academy
How participants were sought for the academy?
Was enrollment by invitation only?
How many members of the public applied to attend?
How many participants were accepted?
How many members of the public started the academy?
How many members of the public completed the academy?
The names of the members of the public who started the academy and who finished it
Names of presenters or instructors for the academy
Obligations, requirements or duties of graduates of the Academy
Whether participants had access to confidential records of the Department or of any suspects or persons who are or have been incarcerated in the McHenry County Jail
The estimated budget for the Academy
Did participants go to the Sheriff's Department range for training or live-fire demonstrations or shooting (by them)?
Was overtime paid to any MCSD employee for conducting the academy?

Does anyone else wonder why a taxpayer-supported program, conducted on County government property, utilizing County employees was not open to the public and announced to the public, instead of being treated like a private club for a hand-picked group?

MCSD Citizen's Police Academy details (sort of)

A few details of the McHenry County Sheriff's Office Citizen's Police Academy are beginning to shake out. Not too many, though.

In response to a FOIA request, the Department released photocopies of the same Identification Card given to graduates and of the Certificate of Achievement given for “successful completion” of the program.

The ID card is the size of a business card. The photocopied portion did not indicate whether the person's name is entered on the front of the card. The back side states that the card is the property of the Sheriff's Office and, if found, should be placed in any U.S. Mailbox. It doesn't include wording that the U.S. Postal Service should route it to MCSD or that postage is guaranteed.

The application for the Citizens [sic] Police Academy is a simple fill-in-the-blank form and does not ask the Applicant to indicate his or her reason for wanting to attend. The Waiver of Liability is a straight-forward CYA form that presumably releases MCSD, the Sheriff, and the County from any and all of everything.

The Applicant must sign permission for a background check. No one is eligible to attend who is a felon or has been convicted of “certain (unnamed) misdemeanors and/or traffic offenses”  or anyone who has been arrested by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office.

A consent form is to be signed by the applicant for the Civilian Ride-A-Long. I got a good laugh out of that one. What is a Ride-A-Long? A long what? Trust me; it wasn't a typo. The word, spelled with two hyphens, appears ten times on the one page!

It's “ride-along”.

How did participants get in? A one-page letter, signed by the Sheriff and Undersheriff, was sent to hand-picked people. The letter, dated August 31, 2012, described the program, indicating it would begin on September 20. The application was included and had to be returned by September 12.

So much for a taxpayer-funded program being open to the public.

Benghazi-gate. Nail the high-ups

Heads are starting to roll in Benghazi-gate. As they should. Not fast enough. Not high enough.

Who will write the first authoritative book on that mess?

Some mid-level security people are already bailing out (“resigned under pressure”), and the Associated Press says the “security chief” over Benghazi has resigned. His title? Assistant secretary of state of diplomatic security.

OK, that's not high enough.

Where does the buck stop?

In Hillary Clinton's chair. Or the next chair up. Where Obama sits.

The attempted cover-up should be grounds for helping both of them pack their bags for a one-way trip right off White House grounds. Don't forget to collect their keycards and to change all the computer passwords.

Cary to join impound crowd

The Village of Cary must have been watching the big bucks that other McHenry County municipalities were scarfing up and figured out that it was missing out on something good. Good for them, that is; rotten for its residents and others passing through.

On Tuesday, December 18, its Board decided it will sock a vehicle “owner” (says the newspaper article) what it is calling an “administrative tow fee”, if the driver is charged with certain offenses, such as DUI, driving while revoked or suspended, “using an unlawful weapon” (according to the paper).

And, as in other communities, including Woodstock, the $500 fee must be coughed up before the vehicle can be gotten out of hock. This is, of course, in addition to the tow fee and any daily storage charges.

And the $500 stays right at home, in Cary, meaning it keeps 100% of it and doesn't have to share with its playmates at the McHenry County Circuit Court.

Cary is jumping on the same bandwagon as other communities and is setting up an administrative adjudication court.

Here's a twist, though. Cary Police Chief Steven Casstevens said that “In cases other than DUIs, a licensed driver who is not arrested in an incident can drive the vehicle away if the owner allows it.” Try that one in Woodstock. Ha!

The impound fee is in addition to towing, which might be $150, and storage costs, which might be $40.00/day. Let's say the car sits at the tow yard for five days. That's $200. Plus $150. Plus $500. And the driver may still be sitting in jail, if he can't cough up the bail. So the vehicle owner (spouse, adult child, mom, dad?) must come up with $850 to bail out the clunker.

In Woodstock about 10% of the impounds are forfeited to the towing company. Is this what the City Fathers had in mind in Woodstock? Is this what the Cary road czars have in mind?

What does the $500 cover? The cost of arrest, such as “fingerprinting, photographing, writing reports, making copies of reports for attorneys,, and paying the officer to appear in court, either while on duty or overtime.” (Source: Northwest Herald 12/20/12)

Well, wait a minute! What does the operating fund from the taxpayers cover? All the same expenses! Why can Cary (and other communities) create a profit center and target a specific group. Is this a class-action discrimination lawsuit coming for each one?

Can you get your $500 back (forget the tow charge and storage fees)? Yes, IF you have a jury trial in Circuit Court on your criminal charge and IF you are found Not Guilty. If your case is thrown out, dismissed, nolle prossed, forget your $500. You won't get it back from Woodstock.

Let's say the cop knew the charges weren't going to stick (or maybe weren't any good in the first place). So he "sort of" let the Assistant State's Attorney know that the case was a "little" weak, or maybe the cop didn't testify very well, or maybe he just didn't show up for the trial. Then your criminal charge gets tossed, and you DON'T get your $500 back from Woodstock. And the charges sit in Circuit Court records, unless you get them expunged. More fees.

I don't know if Cary will treat people in the same shoddy manner.

Sen. Feinstein - dumber than the average bear?

Sorry. My apologies to bears. No offense intended.

This morning I read this comment about a statement of California's Sen. Feinstein:

"After the deadly Aurora, Colorado shooting Feinstein criticized those who said responsible conceal carry permit holders could have stopped gunman James Holmes, saying '...and maybe you could have had a firefight and killed many more people. These are people in a theater.'"

Is she just plain stupid to be worried about a "firefight"? Are people just supposed to sit in their seats and wait to be killed?

So I visited her U.S. Senate website and sent an email to her.

Now look at her auto-response! She is one of 100 U.S. Senators, and she can't figure out that it's possible to email an out-of-state person?

"Thank you for sending me your electronic mail message. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

"Because of the volume of e-mail that is received by my office, we can only respond to email that includes a California postal address. Please resend the text of your e-mail message, including your postal address, and I will respond to you as soon as possible.

"Should you need additional information about the Congress, or my offices in Washington and California, please visit my homepage on the World Wide Web. The address is

"Thank you again for contacting me, and I hope you will continue to do so in the future."

Do you suppose she could find someone in California who can read? My postal address was included in the information on her webform. OK, so I "get" that she isn't going to respond. I guess that means that my email automatically went into her trash. That's probably where all email to her goes.

It is patently untrue that they "can" only respond to email with a California postal address. Of course, she could respond, but she has decided that she isn't going to. I could "jimmy up" a California address, even use her own as an in-care-of address, but I won't. What if I accidentally violated some unknown Patriot Act law and caused the FBI to show up with for a no-warrant search that I couldn't tell my lawyer about.

What is this country coming  to? Yes! We do need to be worried about Government. And about Dianne Feinstein!

LEO Code of Ethics

The following below is the National Law Enforcement Officer Code of Ethics.

As a Law Enforcement Officer, my fundamental duty is to serve humanity; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional right of all people to liberty, equality and justice.

I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all and will behave in a manner which brings credit to myself and my agency. I will maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn, or ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of others. Honest in thought and deed in both my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the law, and the regulations of my department. Whatever I see or hear of a confidential nature or that is confided to me in my official capacity will be kept ever secret unless revelation is necessary in the performance of my duty.

I will never act officiously or permit personal bias, prejudices, political beliefs, animosities, aspirations, or friendships to improperly influence my decisions. I will always remember my shared humanity and will cultivate an attitude of compassion, respect, and empathy toward all peoples.

With no compromise for crime and with relentless prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the laws courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities. I will never engage in acts of bribery nor will I condone such acts by others. I will cooperate with all legally constituted agencies and their representatives, in the pursuit of justice and the maintenance of integrity in law enforcement.

I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held only so long as I am true to the ethics of the police service. I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself before all I hold sacred, to my chosen enforcement.

A message from ISRA

The following is a message from Richard Pearson, Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA)

"We are all saddened by the unconscionable events that took place last Friday at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. As a result of this terrible tragedy, we are hearing the shrill screams of the gun banning crowd who want to ban everything they can think of. What they are proposing would not have stopped this or any other mad man who is intent on doing evil.

"I have been deluged by reporters who want interviews and immediate solutions to the problem of protecting children in schools. One of the solutions I offered was to have armed security guards in all schools. This idea was shouted down by some of the anti-gun people, but suddenly I find many schools are doing just that. There are several firearm training academies and individual trainers who offer special training to teachers. In fact, just today I had several calls asking for such training. Some of the objections I received were that it would be terrible to have a gun around children – don’t these people realize that guns are everywhere from movies to TV to video games? My favorite objection was: what if the gun fell out of the policeman’s holster and went off? Obviously, they have no clue how a policeman’s holster works. The nuttiness and vulgarity of the calls have been interesting, to say the least, but are nothing in comparison to the death threats people at the NRA have received."

Thanks, Richard.

Readers can learn more about ISRA and the NRA by clicking for their respective websites.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Here come da judge...

Thanks to Mike Tryon's e-newsletter, I know now that there are more than 150 new laws in Illinois to take effect in 2013. Heaven help us!!! Considering that there are 118 State Reps and ___ Senators, all wanting to get on the scoreboard with their own bills, somehow I think we the People are lucky that there are only "more than 150" new laws. Among them are

PA 97-784: Provides that ambulances involved in emergency service will no longer have to pay tolls.

(How many legislators own ambulance companies?)

PA 97-827: Improves transparency and public access to information by requiring public bodies to post meeting agendas which include an adequate description of the business to be conducted at a meeting. It also requires that public meeting notices be posted in locations that allow for continuous viewing for the 48 hours leading up to a meeting.

Note the word "continuous". This means the Merit Commission will have to start telling the public in advance what is going on.

PA 97-830: Expands the ban on cell phone use when driving in construction zones, making it illegal to use a cell phone in all construction zones rather than only in zones where a reduced speed limit exists.

Note: this probably applies in school zones, too.
Is this only hand-held cellphones or all cellphones? 

From PA97-830: 625 ILCS 5/12-610.1 (e) (Prohibition against cell phone use) does not apply to ... (iv) to a person using a wireless telephone in voice-operated mode, which may include the use of a headset, or (v) to a person using a wireless telephone by pressing a single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication.

PA 97-984: Provides that a motor vehicle used while driving on a suspended or revoked license is subject to seizure and forfeiture if the person’s driving privileges were revoked or suspended for a similar violation in another state if the offense involved operating the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, refusing to submit to alcohol or drug testing, or reckless homicide.

PA 97-1049: Cracks down on parents or guardians who permit underage drinking on property they own. The new law makes it a crime to allow underage drinking not only at a parent’s or guardian’s home, but also on property under their control, including barns, cabins, boathouses, etc.

How many courts will assume the parents knew their kids were drinking in the barn out on the back forty acres?

The U.S. President is so wrong!

Obama is already cranking up his gun-control agenda, and it makes me sick! Sick!

Today it's gun shows. The Associated Press reports that Obama "...acknowledged that the Friday's deadly shooting had been 'a wake-up call for all of us'."

No, it was NOT a "wake-up call for all of us".

But he is using it to go after gun-show sales (what do they have to do with Newtown?) and everything else he doesn't like about guns.

The kid's mother legally purchased and legally owned her guns. Now it seems she was about to hospitalize her kid for mental health reasons. Is that why he killed her and went on a shooting rampage?

This country should fear its president. What a shame to even think such a thing! But it is becoming clearer and clearer to me. And not only fear the president, but fear the Illinois Governor, Senate President, House Speaker and Mayor of Chicago.

It is feeling more and more like it's time to clear out of this rotten State and find a place where people and their rights are respected.

Second Amendment?

A Massachusetts man posted this comment to a news article on Monday:

"a rifle ... no longer allows a private citizen parity with the authorities like it was centuries ago. Stars wars , drones , and nano technology mean the citizen of today is hopelessly out-gunned except of course for Flash Gordon."

The forefathers were thinking of their time. The future, too, but they would not have comprehended the awesome firepower now maintained by our governments.

Just look at the firepower maintained right here in McHenry County, from MARV on down. What citizen would have a chance to protect himself (and us) against Government?

Yet, that's what the Second Amendment is for. The right to keep and bear arms (not "to bare" arms, as one poster wrote elsewhere last week).

The Second Amendment? "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." That was as written by Congress at the time. When I read that, I thought two fewer comments would make it more to my liking. Take out the comma after militia, and get rid of the one after arms.

And then I found this on

"As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Well, what do you know about that?

Christmas Clearing House

An article in this morning's Northwest Herald decries the financial plight of Woodstock's Christmas Clearing House (CCH), which is worried about a decreased level of donations this year.

The CCH is a project of the Woodstock Rotary Club to make Christmas a little happier for many Woodstock families. It expects to deliver gift and food to 1,100 families this year.

Right now the Clearing House is $15,000 short of its $46,000 budget for next year's program. While next Christmas is months away (this Christmas is less than a week away), why not push them up to the goal right now?

Mail your check, payable to Christmas Clearing House, to P.O. Box 53, Woodstock, IL 60098. Every dollar counts. If 1,500 people send $10, that's it. My check is in the mail.

If you want to save the price of a stamp, drop your check off at BMO Harris Bank in Woodstock.

But do it. Think about all those cups of coffee you buy at Starbuck's, Panera Bread or Dunkin' Donuts. You could skip 3-5 of them and, bingo, there's the $10. But you won't, so mail your check today. (Put in a note that you read it here.)

And - you can come and help assemble gift packages tonight and tomorrow night and help with deliveries on Saturday. Tonight and Thursday: 6:00-8:00PM at the old Farm & Fleet building on the southwest corner of Route 47 and Highway 14, next to Woodstock Harley-Davidson. Saturday, 8:00AM to noon. Dress warmly; it's not heated.

The Joy of Christmas - C.L. PD-style

The big, bad police department in Crystal Lake did some serious police work on Tuesday and wrote 20 tickets for seatbelt violations. Congratulations, guys. You really made a dent in crime in Crystal Lake.

Your bravery and hard work are appreciated by all the citizens.

Yeah, sure...

And their hard work and serious crime-fighting efforts will continue for two weeks.

If you think such a program sucks, do two things: call the Crystal Lake PD at 815.459.2020 and shop in Woodstock or McHenry or Algonquin or Lake in the Hills or Huntley or Cary.

Oh, a third thing. Call the managers and owners of the stores in Crystal Lake where you would have shopped and tell them why you won't be in.

Seatbelt compliance in Illinois is at record levels. On August 31 "Gov. Pat Quinn announced ... that Illinois has achieved an all-time high seat belt usage rate in 2012." ( With the mark at 93.6%, why is Crystal Lake PD throwing overtime at officers to stand in the roadway and flag over the very few violators that pass? And do they create more of a hazard by doing so?

Sgt. Dan Hulata was quoted in the Northwest Herald article: "You'll see cars weaving [while they're putting on their seat belt] as they get pulled over."

The Crystal Lake P.D. could place an electronic sign on the side of the road with a message "Buckle up or else." Maybe with a couple of orange warning flags or an orange rotating light to attract attention (but not distract drivers). They could put one $15.00/hour community service officer on the street by the sign to wave at passing drivers.

The P.D. advises this morning that the tickets carry a fine of $60.00 and are handled at the McHenry County Circuit Court. Now there is a good use of that big brick building in Woodstock and all those wonderful County employees on the taxpayer-supported salary and benefits schedule. Of course, if you go to court to fight it, then you'll lose a morning's pay and you'll incur $200 in court costs, if you lose. Not a good gamble; right?

The P.D. scarfs up big bucks from the Feds for this stupidity. In many departments officers work overtime, which means in the area of $60.00/hour for each officer standing out there in the cold and the snow.

And it's not just Crystal Lake P.D. It's just Crystal Lake P.D. this week. Almost every department does this.

What a waste!