Friday, August 31, 2012

Say No to U.N. gun ban

The National Association for Gun Rights warns readers and U.S. citizens that Hillary Clinton, the 67th Secretary of State of the United States, favors the full-scale gun ban to be proposed on September 7th at the United Nations' Programme Against Small Arms meeting being held right now on our own soil in New York City.

I wonder... Did she flunk Constitutional History in high school? Has Hillary read the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Isn't she sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States?

She may be willing to give her her own rights (she probably has armed protection at our expense), but my rights under the Second Amendment are not going to be surrendered.

Bye-bye, Hillary. You'll be unemployed, come Jan. 20. Press your Congressional representatives right now to lean on Pres. Obama to tell Hillary to pull in her fangs.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Feldkamp estates losing executor?

The game of Musical Chairs for the executor in the Estates of Jack and Audrey Feldkamp appears to be continuing. On September 6 Judge Chmiel will hear a Motion to Withdraw.

According to paperwork on file with the Court, Attorney Howard Rigsby may be withdrawing as executor for both estates. The original executor for both estates was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Feldkamp, Scott Feldkamp. He opened his mother's probate about one week after the deaths on June 7, 2011. He opened his father's probate in July 2011.

The first attorneys, Schmitt & Filler, of Marengo, withdrew as counsel for the executor (Scott) on August 30, 2011. Scott was terminated as executor by Judge Chmiel recently, and Jackie Feldkamp, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Feldkamp, was appointed as successor executor.

About two weeks later, Judge Chmiel removed her and appointed Attorney Rigsby. I can just imagine the mess that estate records and assets might be in. Unfortunately, I won't be able to be in court on September 6 to hear the reasoning and arguments and Judge Chmiel's decision for a Third Successor Executor.

Note about blog format

For some strange, unknown reason my articles being posted while I'm on the road are showing up as one huge paragraph. Perhaps doesn't like the "foreign" computers I'm using. I invite you to keep reading. At least, the system accepts capitalization and punctuation. Thanks for your patience and endurance.

Wyatt charges thrown out

It was no surprise that the felony charges against Jennifer Wyatt in the Beth Bentley missing person case were thrown out today. Woodstock Police had charged Wyatt with two counts of obstruction of justice. The State's Attorney's Office authorized the filing of the charges.

The charges looked weak from the get-go. Public Defender Kim Messer had filed a motion to have the charges dismissed, and the motion was granted this morning.

Why did Woodstock Police file them in the first place? And why did the State's Attorney's office authorize the filing of them?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Beth Bentley gone - 121 weeks now

How many more weeks will pass without at least some word of progress in the investigation of "missing person" Beth Bentley, who vanished on or about May 23, 2010? Is there anyone left who thinks this is still a missing person case?

Did treating this case as a missing person case delay efforts to find Beth? Is this classification hindering progess now? Is there really any "investigation" in a missing person case? Are there on-going interviews with persons close to Beth? Family? Friends? Co-workers? Acquaintances? Drinking buddies? The Posse?

What about reports of a "medical condition" that might have resulted in her being classified as an "endangered" missing person by the Woodstock P.D.? The police have never revealed what caused this classification. If Beth was under medical treatment or if her doctor knew about a medical condition and might have taken blood samples for lab work, could DNA have been traced from those samples? Is it too late to do that now?

What about analysis of all the telephone records of Beth and friendds? Have the police ever dug into the calls to and from Beth's phone and into the calls of those who called her and whom she called? Is there a pattern there that would lead to finding her? There are at least three people who should know all about the week-end of her disappearance. Supposedly, Beth and her friend, Jennifer Wyatt-Paplham, drove to Mount Vernon, Ill. late on the night of May 20, 2010. Supposedly, they arrived at and stayed with brothers, Ryan and Nathan Ridge.

Supposedly, the Illinois State Police is involved. Have investigators talked to all there? How do their stories match up now, two years later? If everyone is telling the truth, the stories won't change much. If they aren't, then changes in the stories should lead investigators closer to finding Beth.

I've always thought that Beth's father would be able to provide important information. Do the police know what he knows? He might not consider what he knows as very important, but it could be. For example, why was his birthday dinner postponed? Who postponed it? Who re-scheduled it? Was it re-set for the Sunday that Beth may have disappeared, May 23, 2010? Did Beth just not show up for it?

Did anyone call him and tell him Beth was out-of-town? Who called and when? Isn't it highly unlikely that a daughter would blow off her father's birthday celebration for a girls' week-end away? If Beth did call her husband on that Sunday at 4:00PM (was it only a two-minute cell phone call?), was there any conversation about the dinner with her father?

In missing person cases, police often make frequent announcements and solicit involvement of the community. Why has this not happened in this case?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Jason Irving cited for DUI

Jason Irving, 33, of Poplar Grove, was cited in Boone County on August 18th for DUI, speeding 15-20MPH over the limit and improper traffic lane usage. Irving has a court date for September 12. Boone County Sheriff's Deputy Daniel Reid was the arresting officer.

Irving's place of employmen in McHenry County has some strict rules about reporting contacts with and arrests by another law enforcement agency. Probably his employer applies sanctions (discipline) for any matters that bring discredit to it, as well it should.

 It is not known at this time whether Irving's employment involves operation of any motor vehicles of his employer. Boone Couny online court records do not include the initial BAC reading.

Friday, August 24, 2012

MCSD less-than-thorough response

The following was distributed by a woman in McHenry County (area north of Marengo) who has been very active in promoting neighborhood alerts:

"To All Concerned McHenry County Citizens, There was an incident in Marengo today I think you should all be aware of, considering it involved children. At around 2:45 p.m., a maroon mid-sized car with black-tinted side windows pulled into the driveway of a home on Ridgeview Drive (east from Route 23). (This is my street). The driveway was that of my neighbor next door. He honked the horn (I'm guessing to see if anyone was home) and sat in the driveway of her house. My neighbor was home. She looked out the window and into the windshield of the car. There was a thin caucasian man, in his late forties, early fifties, he had regular glasses, and a beard. My neighbor did not let him see her in the house, nor did she approach the vehicle. The man pulled his car out into the street and waited. He was there for about 10 or so minutes. My neighbor watched him as he watched the school bus drop off my neighbor's kids. The man watched the kids run into the house. After which, he followed the school bus as it headed out of Ridgeview, out of the line of sight of my neighbor. My neighbor called the police. When the officer arrived, my neighbor told the officer that I had security camera's and had caught the car on tape. The officer did NOT come to my door to look at the car. I was appalled. So was my neighbor. I sure hope there are no children abducted from the area. This scares the hell out of me and I'm disappointed the officer didn't take this seriously enough to actually come to my home and view the automobile to use it as a description in some type of report. My neighbor came over after the officer left to view my recording. My neighbor said this was a vehicle that was definitely NOT someone she knew. Both her and I thought it would be a good idea to let all of you know. And this is why I do what I do with this network. Please, keep an eye out for any suspicious vehicles such as this in your area. (Creepy). Stay safe, stay vigilant."

Perps on scene - no arrests

What does it take to get the McHenry County Sheriff's Department to make arrests, when they respond to a breaking-and-entering call and find the perps still on the scene? Three men reportedly broke into Harmony Real Estate when it was closed and locked.

When the responsible party (RP) for a commercial office reports a break-in and, when a deputy shows up, the culprits are still on the scene, why would he not arrest them?

Is it really true that the deputy told the RP that he'd file a report and the RP could follow up later? The RP in this case should raise Hell with the Sheriff's Department and involve the Undersheriff and the Sheriff, personally; he should demand an explanation why the perps were not arrested.

And he should complain to the County Administrator and to the County Board. According to information I received, the perps had no authority to enter the building when it was locked and unoccupied. If they were in the building without authority, they were trespassing, at a minimum, and could be charged with burglary. I wonder what the deputy's excuse will be for handling the response as it was.

Does MCSD refuse to respond to burglary calls?

Does the McHenry County Sheriff's Department refuse to respond to burglary calls? The building that houses Harmony Real Estate, on Route 20 near Marengo, is now owned by the Estate of Jack Feldkamp.

Jack Feldkamp was killed in his family home on Somerset Drive, in McHenry County southeast of Marengo, on June 7, 2011. The estate administration has been contested, and recently Howard Rigsby, a Woodstock attorney, was appointed as executor of the Estates of both Jack and Audrey Feldkamp.

Apparently, a Hampshire attorney and two individuals may have illegally entered the building today, after an authorized associate of Harmony Real Estate locked the building and left the premises today.

Several calls were placed to the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, and at least one caller was told that the Sheriff's Department was not going to respond, because there have been too many calls-for-service at that location.

The person directly responsible for the operation of the real estate company was successful in getting the Sheriff's Department to respond, and about about 5:20PM at least one deputy was on the scene. Whether any arrests will be made remains to be seen.

If three people were in the building and if the lock on the door was damaged so that they could enter the building, wouldn't it seem likely that there would be three arrests?

Pyle's pay deal - one smelly deal

When Sgt. Greg Pyle was arrested in January for ten counts of predatory criminal sexual assault on a child (under age 13 and a family member), Sheriff Keith Nygren put him on administrative leave. The Northwest Herald reported that Pyle was on paid administrative leave.

Ever since that date, the world had to assume that Pyle was continuing to pull his monthly pay of about $7,000. No mention has ever been made in the Northwest Herald of a change to unpaid status.

To impose a discipline of "more than 30 days" on Pyle, Nygren would have had to take the request for discipline to the Sheriff's Department Merit Commission. He never has. Then Nygren decided to say that Pyle was taking vacation and sick pay. But was he? How could Pyle, as still an employee of the Sheriff's Department, receive vacation and sick pay that he supposedly had accumulated? Don't you have to quit to get that?

Now that the Feds have charged Pyle with additional crimes, Nygren is back-pedaling on the pay issue. What's the real story? Nygren has apparently said that Pyle never took any vacation time during ten years on the Department. Baloney! First of all, there should be Human Resources rules in place that employees must take vacation time. You cannot accumulate it. You use it or lose it.

One of the reasons to insist that employees take vacation time and leave work is clearly demonstrated in the case of the Dixon, Ill. comptroller, who is accused of stealing $53,000,000 (that's $53 Million). Supposedly, she never took any time off in 20 years. When she finally did, somebody noticed something was fishy.

So, we are supposed to believe Nygren when he says Pyle never took any vacation time in ten years? NEVER? And now we learn that there was some deal with Pyle via his attorney to "let" him resign when his so-called vacation and sick-pay ran out. That in itself ought to be enough to force Nygren out of office.

Did Pyle accrue any additional retirement benefits by what one MCSD employee called a "sweetheart" deal? Why would the top administrator of a large County department ever give any kind of a break to an employee accused of such horrendous crimes? Is the County Board or the Law & Justice Committee investigating that "deal"? Or the County Administrator? Or the County Auditor?

To what extent has the Sheriff's Department investigated any improprieties with the Evidence Room? Pyle was in charge of that. He was also Nygren's go-to guy on computer forensics. Would Pyle be the guy who examined Kurt Milliman's computer or the computers of Timothy Smith or Kimberly Holian Smith? Was Pyle the guy who tore into the computer of Doran Bloom or the business computer of his mother? Is everything that Pyle touched at MCSD under a microscope? If so, by whom? By an impartial investigator?

Left turns - the Maryland way

Click to enlarge image
I came across a well-thought-out traffic plan in the State of Maryland and sure wish that IDOT would follow its example.

At many, but not all, signalized intersection drivers find themselves facing a traffic signal with a blinking red left-turn arrow. The sign near the light reads, "Left turn yield on flashing red arrow after stop."

I immediately thought of the left turn on U.S. 14 at the road by Culver's. Know the light? How many times have you sat there (and sat there and sat there), waiting on the red light and wishing you could turn left because there was no oncoming traffic?

Driver in Salerno fatality gets another DUI

Scott Hirschey, 49, of Crystal Lake, was arrested in Crystal Lake on July 27 for DUI, according to Wednesday morning's Northwest Herald. Wednesday was August 22. He was arrested July 27. The reason for the delay in reporting this?

None of the eight commenters to the article questioned why Hirschey was cited into Crystal Lake's municipal court, where his violation would be handled as a civil offense, rather than as a crime, as it would have been in McHenry County Circuit Court. Convictions in the municipal court are not reported to the Secretary of State's office. The article reads, "He is to appear in municipal court at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11 on the misdemeanor charges, according to the Crystal Lake Police Department."

What the article does not mention is that Hirschey is charged in McHenry County Circuit Court with DUI and five traffic charges filed by Crystal Lake PD on August 1 for the July 27th violations. So maybe he won't be appearing in Crystal Lake's municipal court on Sept. 11. In addition to DUI, Hirschey is charged with Operating an Uninsured vehicle, Changing lanes without a signal, Improper turn at an intersection, Transportation of alcohol by driver, and Improper Traffic Lane Usage. Hirschey's driving privileges were suspended.

Hirschey was operating a snowmobile in Vilas County, Wisc. on January 24, 2008, with Randy Salerno as a passenger, when Hirschey crashed the snowmobile. His BAC then was 0.18, according to the Northwest Herald article. He got three years' probation, community service and alcohol assessment, but he escaped jail time. Does Hirschey have a problem with alcohol?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Huber gets out of jail

Daniel ("Potatoe") Huber was released from the McHenry County Jail yesterday about 11:00am, after posting $4,500 bond on his two felony charges related to the July 1 traffic fatalities of Alec Kaiser and Jacob Norys.

It took McHenry County Sheriff's Dept. accident investigators several days after the July 1st crash to determine that Huber may have been drag-racing with Kaiser, who was driving the Norys family car. In the seven weeks since the crash, to my knowledge the Northwest Herald has not reported the ownership of the car.

A telephone call was placed from Kaiser's cell phone to Huber's cell phone at 1:58AM. The crash probably occurred at 2:00AM and was reported at 2:02AM. Kaiser's cell phone records might indicate the time at which the call was terminated. Certainly, Huber knows whether Kaiser and he were talking when the crash occurred.

Additional information that probably should have been held for court has apparently been given by an Assistant State's Attorney to the Northwest Herald reporter. I'm more than curious about the leak, since such information could very likely compromise the State's case against Huber.

There appear to have been at least two passengers in Huber's car, a man and a woman.

Presumably, the Sheriff's Department or the State's Attorney will be able to get cell phone records for the telephones of Huber and Norys. Since there was marijuana in the urine of both Kaiser and Norys, investigators should be looking hard at where two 16-year-old high school sophomores would get marijuana. If the feeling is "everybody uses it", then maybe it's time to make some examples out of the users and the suppliers. Regardless of whether it was a contributory cause of the crash, it's unlawful.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pot deal before July 1 crash?

Since I'm traveling this week, I could not be at Daniel Huber's court date with Judge Sharon Prather this morning. According to the Northwest Herald, Huber's bail was reduced from $100,000 to $45,000. This means that, if Huber can post 10% ($4,500), he can leave Hotel Nygren. Rumor has it that Huber's passenger was a female, and no doubt that the McHenry County Sheriff's Department (MCSD) and the State's Attorney's Office are zeroing in on her identity, if they don't already know it. Today's Northwest Herald article mentions the first report that a marijuana deal was to take place between Huber and two boys, who died on July 1 at about 2:00AM on Davis Road, outside Woodstock. The boys were Alec Kaiser, 16, and Jacob Norys, 16.

The urine of both boys tested positive for marijuana, although blood tests reportedly showed no marijuana. It's interesting that the Northwest Herald reporter is able to learn information that ought to be kept confidential by the State's Attorney's Office and the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Normally, details of a case under investigation are not released to the press.

It's also interesting that the Northwest Herald is now reporting that Huber stopped, turned around and went in the other direction. Does this mean he passed by the crash and failed to stop to try to help boys known to him? Was he in front of them or behind them? If behind them, how far behind was he?

Anyone knowing the identity of Huber's passenger is encouraged to contact MCSD. Kaiser had about $300 cash in his possession, and that money may have been his earnings from work on the farm. Did he spend some of it on a marijuana purchase from Huber?

Investigators should be able to trace his cash from the time he cashed his paycheck or received his wages in cash. Online records with Huber's next court will be updated this evening and that date will be available tomorrow at As of this time, Huber is still in custody.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Beth Bentley - 120 weeks gone...

Beth Bentley has been missing now for 120 weeks, and it seems that Woodstock Police are no closer to finding her, or finding out what happened to her, than they were on May 24, 2010.

One of Beth's sons sent a long comment to last week's article that was published on August 12. Scroll down to read it, or search for "Bentley" on this site. It is not too late for interested parties to band together and take a fresh, thorough look at this missing-person case. Rather than back-biting and sharp-shooting, an in-depth investigation could be commenced by members of the family and limited public involvement.

I suggest limited public involvement in order to be as certain as possible that anyone involved in her disappearance not become a party to results of a new investigation. Yes, some noses would get out of joint when people were excluded. So be it.

Perhaps the family does know what the police have been doing. Only they know what they know. I suspect that the Woodstock Police have remained close-lipped, and my guess is that they have revealed little about any investigation that they have made.

Davis Rd. mailbox gone

On July 20 I wrote about a mailbox on Davis Road that was built into a brick column near the roadway. Tonight I was informed that the mailbox that the mailbox has been removed.

The removal resulted from the actions of others who raised the issue and persisted in complaints until "officials" finally acted. It should take only one complaint from a resident or other interested party and then the "officials" should engage and follow through promptly to effect compliance.

Why did take over a year for action?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Decision on Nygren

From Annapolis, Md., where it's sunny, hot and clear, and the air is clean. Not like in McHenry County this week. What should residents of McHenry County do about Keith Nygren?

Do you believe him when he says that he didn't pay Greg Pyle after suspending him WITH PAY in January? Pyle was put on paid administrative leave after being arrested on ten felony charges.

Does McHenry County still have a County Auditor?

Nygren would have had to take Pyle's case to the Merit Commission to impose a discipline of more than 30 days. Presumably, an unpaid suspension would be that type of discipline, and the matter would have been public, since the Merit Commission is a "public body". But Nygren didn't.

In seven months he didn't. Does anyone believe that in ten years Greg Pyle never took a vacation? Who did he go to Europe with? Did he just run over to Europe on his day's off? Really?

So now Nygren tells us that it was a coincidence that the FBI charged Pyle when Pyle's vacation and benefits ran out. And how it was all arranged in advance that Pyle would resign when his pay and benefits ran out. Does Nygren think everybody in McHenry County is stupid?

And it appears that Nygren is going to "let" Pyle resign, instead of firing him. This is the Sheriff of McHenry County, folks. Why did he take such a soft line on Pyle? Where was the outrage at the embarrassment to the Sheriff's Department and the County?

And why did Undersheriff Zinke call out SWAT and MARV to go and arrest a sex offender recently, when they didn't do that to nab Pyle? They knew Pyle had guns. Why was Pyle allowed to turn himself in, giving him time for a float test for a couple of pieces of computer equipment? Is that what the FBI used to start their investigation of Pyle?

I heard the major media are clamoring for a Q&A session with Nygren. Gee, I hope they take their gas masks with them. They will need them.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Feds arrest Pyle

From Dayton, Ohio You can read the whole story (almost) in the Northwest Herald.

Suppose Nygren wishes now that he had not canceled the August Merit Commission meeting? Pyle is still getting his 7 grand a month. Maybe he'll get a raise to pay his increased legal bill.

Is Nygren still holding Pyle's job in the evidence room open for when he is found not guilty and wants to return to work? What happened to the computer equipment that WFRD fished out of that pond last January?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why bearing down?

Over the past few days several people have asked me why I continue to beat away on the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

Why do you think? Because they are such an easy target?

I heard recently about a deputy who beat up a person who had been arrested. The subject was handcuffed and in the patrol car. The subject was in the patrol car when he was battered (the term in the law) by the deputy.

Should the deputy have been charged with a crime? Darned right he should have!

Should he have been prosecuted and convicted? Yes.

Should he have gone to jail? Absolutely.

And then there are the times when deputies falsify crash reports. Several years ago a woman was driving past a squad car, when the deputy suddenly started a left u-turn from the shoulder and drove into the side of the woman's car. As I heard the story, the initial report indicated the deputy was at fault. Then the positions of the deputy and the woman got switched in the report, and the woman ended up as Unit 1, the at-fault driver. Funny thing, though - she was not ticketed.

And because her car was "Unit 1", the County refused to pay the $5,000+ in damage to her car.


I helped her as far as I could. I'm not an attorney. The sergeant who falsified the report wouldn't return the woman driver's phone calls. Undersheriff Lowery wouldn't engage. Sheriff Nygren refused to intervene. I suggested that she sue the County. Unfortunately, she didn't.

And more recently I heard about a supervisor who refused to change a crash report. What? A supervisor with integrity at the Sheriff's Department?

Well, I'm sure there is more than one. There are many honest deputies at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

I remember meeting a couple of street cops in Denver who wanted to write tickets to political bigwigs who parked on the City sidewalks outside a well-known downtown restaurant. The problem was that the District Captain had ordered them not to. Since they liked their district and didn't want to end up patrolling the stockyards at midnight, they followed orders and ignored the lawbreakers.

Honest cops who observe wrongdoing and want to report it should not have to worry about losing their jobs or losing positions within a Department that they have earned.

Is it time for the McHenry County Sheriff's Department to have an Internal Affairs Division? Well, maybe, as soon as we have a sheriff who rewards fairness and integrity and obeys the laws himself, beginning with traffic laws.

Code 18 - what is it?

On the Illinois Traffic Crash Report is a required item for completion labeled "Contributory Cause(s)". There is a line for the Primary Cause, and there is a line for the Secondary Cause.

There is a whole list of choices for the deputy who is completing the report of a crash.

The idea is that the deputy who investigates a crash then makes an informed conclusion of the cause and reports it. This aids in the creation of accurate reports by IDOT for crashes statewide, and no doubt those reports then get compiled for Federal reports.

In the July 15 crash at 11:20AM on a Sunday involving Patrol Cmdr. John Miller of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department in his take-home squad car, Sgt. Schmitt chose Code 18 for the primary cause of the crash. What is Code 18?

Code 18, according to the IDOT code legend, is "Unable to Determine".

Do you think maybe Sgt. Schmitt didn't attend any traffic crash investigation schools or training? Could the fact that Sgt. Schmitt is one of Cmdr. Miller's subordinates have anything to do with the choice of an indefinite code? Could friendship have been a factor?

Did Sgt. Schmitt have any reason to suspect whether the driver, Cmdr. Miller, was utilizing any electronic device at the time of the crash? Was Miller in a hurry? Was he upset about anything? Didn't Sgt. Schmitt wonder why Cmdr. Miller took his eyes off the road long enough for the vehicle to run off the roadway and strike a mailbox in front of a residence?

A law-enforcement officer in another state wrote to me recently and said, "I'm no different than the other guy and I should be treated the same way as anyone else."

Well, "anyone else" would have gotten a ticket for Improper Lane Usage. Sgt. Schmitt could have said, "Sorry, sir (or John), but I'm going to have to write you a ticket", but he didn't. Does this discretion put every ticket he writes in jeopardy?

Will the sharp defense lawyers start asking deputies whether it is the policy at MCSD to give fellow deputies a pass on tickets?

Why didn't Sgt. Schmitt complete the Crash Report electronically on his in-car computer, instead of handwriting it? Had he prepared the Report electronically, to whom would it have gone when he hit Send? It would have gone to his lieutenant for review. Would Sgt. Schmitt have been dragged over the coals for the Code 18 and for the bare-bones, 21-word Narrative that failed to describe what really happened?

The squad vehicle didn't run off the road by itself. Driver error was the cause. What was the error? If an electronic device was in use, isn't there a law about that?

Who will pay for the damage to the patrol SUV in this off-duty, personal-use crash? If it was caused by carelessness, should the taxpayers have to take it on the chin?

Poor use of NIXLE

Is anyone's life different or better, or protected, by immediate information that two kids have been arrested for barn-burning?

Why would the McHenry County Sheriff's Department waste a resource to tell the public something it can read online after dinner or tomorrow morning in the Northwest Herald and the Daily Herald?

NIXLE should be used for urgent messages, like the road closure Saturday southeast of Richmond, after a fatal crash on Route 12.

Just imagine all the drivers in the County who receive NIXLE alerts on their cell phones and then take their eyes off the road to read the message. Of course, the law says you aren't supposed to use your electronic device to read or send messages while you are driving.

The only problem is that in every block you can see drivers who are tooling along while they read their text messages.

MCC prices - out of sight

Why are MCC prices out-of-sight?

MCC. That's McHenry County College. A 2-year college. A junior college. How do they get away with over-charging for courses, even short, non-credit, occasional courses?

The following courses were announced in the weekly electronic bulletin of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce.Topics include:

Managing Conflict with Peers     Sept. 7
Active Listening: Improve Your Ability to Listen & Lead     Sept. 14
Changing Yourself and Your Reputation      Sept. 21
Influence: Gaining Commitment, Getting Results       Sept. 28
Ongoing Feedback: How to Get It, How to Use It      Oct. 5

Courses are scheduled from 8:00-9:30 a.m. at the Shah Center, in McHenry, just south of Bull Valley Road.

Now, get this. The fee for each "course" is $40.00. If you opt to sign up and pay in advance for all five, get a 15% discount and pay $170. The promo reads, "McHenry County College Shah Center recognizes the need for short-term, targeted workplace skill enhancement for area employees."

Does MCC think that an employer will pop for the $40 (or the $170)? What is really going to be covered (and beneficial) in just 90 minutes? To me, it doesn't look like a "course" or even a workshop or seminar. It's a class.

There is nothing wrong with an institution's covering its cost. But let's say 15 show up at $40 each. That's $600. The person teaching it gets $50-75. And the rest? Ka-ching. Right into MCC coffers (and out of the pockets of those attending).

And what if an unemployed person thinks a little skill "enhancement" might help at his next interviews? Can he afford the $40? Why not price a 90-minute class at $15-20 and attract more registrations?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Beth Bentley - Week 119

Beth Bentley vanished 119 weeks ago. Was it on May 23, 2010? Or May 22? Or May 21? Or May 20?

One person knows. Two-three know. Maybe half a dozen know.

Is there any public clamor for finding her?

When was the last time a news article about Beth appeared in the Northwest Herald or the Daily Herald? Or the Chicago Tribune or Sun-Times? Has there ever been an article in The Woodstock Independent?

So far as I know, there has never been a real search. Of course, you need some type of clue for a location to begin a search. Maybe one good place would have been in Mount Vernon, Ill. Like, maybe, immediately after she vanished. At the house where she was thought to have spent the week-end with her traveling buddy. And the two brothers.

If Beth was believed to have had dinner on Friday night, May 21, 2010, with Jenn Wyatt and Ryan and Nathan Ridge at the Frosty Mug in Mount Vernon, why weren't all Mug employees immediately interviewed by officials then? One waitress reportedly waited on them and remembered them. Later, an attempt was made to discredit that waitress on a Facebook page, asserting that Beth was in the Frosty Mug two weeks earlier. But that was Mothers Day week-end 2010, when some said she was in St. Louis with the Mystery Man at a gorgeous hotel.

The Woodstock Police Department has been characteristically silent. I can understand police silence in a criminal case. But this is a Missing Person case. In missing person cases don't police solicit the help of a community, in order to develop leads?

Why was Beth identified by police as an Endangered Missing Person? Did she have a medical condition that might have become apparent to many as time passed? Would she have needed treatment for that medical condition? Was she at any risk of personal harm because of that condition? Did she have a doctor who knew of that condition? Is there proof of that condition? Would that condition have expired or become moot after a period of time, on its own?

If you begin asking around the Woodstock community about Beth, will people now say "Beth who?" and "Oh, is she still missing?"

Yes, she is still missing. For two years and two months!

Alleged drag-racer still in jail

The man accused of drag-racing that may have involved a double-fatality, single-vehicle crash on July 1 remains in the McHenry County Jail.

Daniel Huber, 20, was arrested last week and charged with two felonies, after a McHenry County Sheriff's Department accident investigation team identified that he may have been racing with Alec Kaiser, 20, who was driving a car owned by the family of his passenger, Jacob Norys, 20, when it crashed on Davis Road, west of Dean Street in rural Woodstock. Both Kaiser and Norys died in the crash.

Huber, locally known as "Potatoe" and so identified in Kaiser's cell phone directory, had met with Kaiser and Norys at the Mobil station on Route 47, on the south end of Woodstock. After a conversation there, the boys headed west on Davis Road. As they left the gas station, Huber was following Kaiser, according to an article in the Northwest Herald.

The crash time has been reported as 2:02AM, but it may have been 1-2 minutes before that, assuming it takes moments to interpret an outside sound and for the sheriff's department to be contacted.

Kaiser's cell phone showed an outgoing call to "Potatoe" at 1:58AM. Presumably, the accident investigation team obtained cell phone records that show the duration of that call and will attempt to determine whether Kaiser and Huber were talking on their cell phones at the time of the crash.

Was Huber in front of Kaiser? When he reached the next intersection at Davis Road and Stieg Road, only a short distance west of the crash site, did he not wonder why Kaiser wasn't still behind him?

Or was Huber following Kaiser? Did he see Kaiser's vehicle leave the roadway and then just drive on by?

A person in a vehicle at Davis Road and Stieg Road reported that he heard the crash. MCSD reports indicate he drove east on Davis Road to the crash site, phoned in the crash and left. That person's name in the MCSD report is not Huber's name.

Have the investigator's looked closely at this unusual coincidence? What is the likelihood that a car would be at that intersection at 2:00AM, just at the time of the crash, and then the driver would find the crashed car but drive away after calling in the crash. That driver did not report seeing any other car. Is there not some law that requires a person, even if not involved, to attempt to render aid?

Why didn't that person report seeing Huber's car? Is there any chance that Huber wasn't racing Kaiser west from Dean Street? Did Huber turn north or south at Dean Street, or even make a U-turn and go back east on Davis Road?

Or is there yet another possibility?

On Friday, August 10, a McHenry County Public Defender was appointed by Judge Gordon Graham for Huber, who remains in custody in the McHenry County Jail on $100,000 bail. A 10% bond of $10,000 will get him out.

Huber has a court date on August 14 on a Motion to Reduce Bond. Because Huber is charged with two felonies, his Motion will be heard by Judge Prather on the morning call.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Money hurts ...

... but not enough.

Some people believe that the only way you can "hurt" a company (business, organization, government) is to get in their pocketbooks. Hit 'em in the checkbook and profit account, and they'll straighten up. Does that work? Will it work at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department?

In my opinion, no.

A $300,000 settlement negotiated by the risk management operation of McHenry County with Jerome and Carla Pavlin is not going to smack Sheriff Keith Nygren where it hurts.

Just what is it going to take to get his attention and force correction at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department?

What it is going to take is a new sheriff in town. A new name and face at the helm. Somebody new in the big, over-size chair in the corner office. A different name on the door, over the word "Sheriff".

Voters had better bring in Mr. Clean in November 2014. There isn't going to be any special election in November 2012 for the unexpired term of Nygren.

How much more damage will occur while Nygren is in office? How many more lawsuits are there against the Sheriff's Department because of actions of some of Nygren's deputies? Do they same names keep occurring in citizens' complaints and lawsuits?

Would Nygren be willing to change the rules and send disciplinary matters to the Merit Commission for all suspensions of five days or more? The current policy is "more than 30 days". If Nygren disciplines a deputy or supervisor "for 30 days or less" with no pay for some infraction (sometimes actually a crime that could charged and prosecuted), the public will never hear about it. There is a huge difference between not complying with Departmental policy and committing a crime; that distinction is too often lost on Nygren.

Are there any good candidates for the office of Sheriff who will clean up this mess and restore the integrity, honor and respect of the Sheriff's Dept.?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Crash Reports - why?

What is the purpose of a crash report? Why should they even be filled out in the first place? Usually they are completed electronically and transmitted to IDOT. Sometimes they are completed manually, in a deputy's handwriting; i.e., printing.

Tell me what happened here. The report reads:

"Driver of unit #1 stated he was S/B Timberline Tr. Unit #1 inadvertently ran off the roadway and struck a mailbox."

Well, shame on that car. Why would it up and do that? And why do it right at a point where it would damage property under the authority of the United States Postal Service?

OK, so what really happened? Why would a vehicle leave the roadway and hit a mailbox in a 25MPH speed zone at 11:20AM on a Sunday morning?

The vehicle happened to be a McHenry County Sheriff's Department vehicle, a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe, driven by Patrol Cmdr. Lt. John Miller. The crash report does not indicate whether Miller was on duty.

There is a protocol when a Sheriff's Department vehicle is involved in a crash. When vehicle damage is greater than $500, in order to assure an impartial investigation of the crash, often the Illinois State Police will be contacted, and a trooper will be dispatched to take the report. If a trooper is not available, then an officer from a nearby police department is called.

In this case, Sgt. Schmitt, a subordinate of Lt. Miller, wrote the crash report. I'll avoid the word "investigated", because nothing indicates any investigation was made. And who approved his report? Lt. Miller, his supervisor. And the driver!

Miller's squad car was damaged on the front and right front, with the front center being the point of first contact. What was the driver doing when his vehicle "inadvertently" ran off the roadway? Was he on the phone? Texting? Checking email? Using some electronic device? If you take your eyes off the road long enough, the vehicle's direction just might change.

The report does not indicate whether the vehicle was towed; that section was not checked Yes or No. The Contributory Cause was listed as "18" but the legend for codes is not part of the report.

In my FOIA request I asked for any supplementary reports or statements by any investigating officer of MCSD. None was furnished. Does that mean that Miller did not write out a To/From to Undersheriff Zinke and that Zinke did not write one to Sheriff Nygren?

Maybe the next time that a subordinate investigates a superior's crash, he could save some time by just writing "#1 hit mailbox". That's three words, instead of 21.

Needless to say, no ticket was issued, and there was no media release by MCSD. The report had this note in the diagram section: "No diagram. Vehicle moved." OK, so why not diagram what happened and where the vehicle was moved to. Were there any skidmarks? Were there tire tracks on the shoulder for some distance? Any ruts, driveways, culverts, signposts? How far off the roadway was the mailbox? Was it destroyed? Any witnesses?

Was a report made to the United States Postal Service? A customer service clerk told me today that a report was required.

This is only a big deal because it appears to have been kept quiet. If the Department had a policy of disclosing all Department-vehicle wrecks, then any one would not be a big deal, if it was properly handled.. How much damage is "more than $500"? Are drivers in wrecks automatically tested for alcohol and drugs? Even at 11:20AM on a Sunday? Even a Commander?

By the way, does anyone know where 2113 Timberline Trail is (Greenwood Township)? Google Maps doesn't know it.

Sheriff: deputies "did nothing wrong"

Give me a break!

"Our people did the right thing." 
Sheriff Keith Nygren is quoted in this morning's Northwest Herald - Page B1) as saying "Our officers did nothing wrong." His statement was in the article about the $300,000 settlement paid to a couple who were roughed up by his deputies.

McHenry County just settled a lawsuit with Mr. and Mrs. Pavlin for $300,000.

Right, Keith. McHenry County just forked over $300,000 because your people did the right thing.

Hello? Has he paid any attention at all to the court cases of Jerome and Carla Pavlin against the McHenry County Sheriff's Dept., seven deputies and himself? (Photo credit (left), McHenry County Blog - Thanks!)

Keith Nygren has become the poster child for recall of Illinois elected officials.

Nygren is also quoted as saying, "Our people did the right thing, and I support them 100 percent." That's good, Keith. That's why the County settled for $300,000. Because Deputies Bruketta, Mandernack, Vogel, C. Jones, Lambert, Pyle and Shepherd did nothing wrong.
How about the illegal entry of the home? (A judge ruled on that one.)

How about excessive force?

One of your deputies, Keith, wrote in his report that he "assisted" Mr. Pavlin to the floor with an arm bar. "Assisted"? Anybody know what an "arm bar" is? As you watch the training video below, imagine a large male deputy grabbing an 80-year-old man who weighs about 150 lbs. Imagine the deputy "assisting" a slender senior citizen suddenly down onto a hardwood floor. Mrs. Pavlin told me the deputy slammed her husband to the floor.

Your officers "did nothing wrong", Keith?

Or how about refusing to leave the house after the wanted person was in custody and removed from the house? What right had the other deputies to stay in the house? Why did they want to search (illegally) the house of the parents of the person in custody, who was already in the patrol car?

Your officers "did nothing wrong", Keith?

Why would the Pavlins call the Crystal Lake Police Department for help and protection from your deputies, Keith? And why didn't Crystal Lake respond to a call for help, even though it was outside their jurisdiction?

And, Keith, why didn't you investigate the crimes committed by your deputies and charge them? 

McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren says he supports these guys "100%". Doesn't this worry anyone else?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

NWH Comments policy?

The Northwest Herald published an updated article today about Daniel Huber's alleged involvement in a drag race gone bad on July 1. The Sheriff's Department issued a media release that Huber was involved in a late-night race with Alec Kaiser, 16, on Davis Road, just south of Woodstock and in unincorporated McHenry County. Kaiser and his passenger, Jacob Norys, 16, were killed when the vehicle left the roadway.

Earlier today Comments were allowed to the article. Some of them were condescending and rather vicious. Others were compassionate. Some were right on-target about responsibility.

By 5:00PM the Comments had been removed and no more were allowed.

It would be interesting to read and try to understand the Comments policy of the Northwest Herald. Why would they decide to allow comments and later decide to remove all of them?

In my comment I offered a possible reason for the Woodstock Police officer's not asking Kaiser and Norys for identification. If they were in the private parking lot of the Mobil station at 2025 S. Eastwood Dr., Woodstock, and not on the public roadway, then the officer may have believed that he did not have the legal right to ask for identification.

If he had, would the boys have provided it? Most likely. And the officer would have quickly realized that neither boy held a driver's license that was valid at that time of night. He would not have been able to cite either one, because he had not seen one of the driving on a street, but he could have asked them how they intended to get home and get the car home. Then he could have called Mr. Norys to come and get his car and the boys.

It appears that there was a passenger in Huber's car who has not yet been identified. If you know who that passenger was, provide the name to the Woodstock Police Department and/or to the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

Huber faces two felony charges: aggravated street racing (625 ILCS 5/11-401B) and failure to report an accident (death) (625 ILCS 5/11-506(A). He would have been advised of his rights in the Jail Court this morning, and his next court date is August 15 before Judge Prather for the status on a warrant. No defense attorney is yet listed in online Circuit Court records.

Online jail records indicate that Huber is still in custody. His bail is $100,000, although he can be released on a $10,000 bond.

Impound case re-scheduled

The Woodstock Administrative Adjudication Court meets once a month, on the second Thursday.

There is a man here in Woodstock whose vehicle was impounded recently, and his court date was today. He was referred to me recently for information about how the court operates, and I had explained to him what I know about it from observing operations over several months.

He was very clear that I am not an attorney and that I was not giving him legal advice. I was giving him information, and I urged him to consider retaining an attorney if he needed or wanted one. In fact, he was solicited by half a dozen attorneys to defend him on his $500 vehicle impoundment ticket.

I don't know if he spoke with any of them, but I urged him to ask their cost to defend him and their assessment of the likelihood of a successful outcome for him. If he won and was found not liable, he'd get his $500 bond back and pay the attorney out of that. If he lost and was found liable, his $500 bond would be converted to the $500 fine, and he'd have to pay the attorney on top of the fine.

As I understand it, when he was cited and his vehicle was impounded, he was told that his court date was today, August 9.

He called City Hall yesterday and learned that his case would not be called today because the police department had not forwarded the paperwork to the court. I suggested he might want to consider going to court today, since today was the date on his ticket to appear, and try to speak to the judge about his case. If I had been issued the ticket, I would have appeared as directed by the police officer. If the police failed to produce the paperwork, I would have asked the judge to dismiss the case.

I don't know whether Judge Eterno would have dismissed the case. He might have.

The man told the prosecuting attorney that he thought I would be there this morning, as I had told him that I might, if I so arranged my schedule. The prosecuting attorney told him I could do nothing for him (which is right) because I'm not an attorney (which is right). Had I been there, it would have been only to observe and support him in defending himself.

The defendant knows that I am not an attorney and that I do not practice law. He knows that I suggested he talk to an attorney. The attorneys who solicited his business offered free consultations. I don't know if he took advantage of them.

The man said that he was told this morning that his case was not on the docket and that he could not talk to the judge.

In courts judges will often notice people lingering after all the scheduled cases have been called and will then ask if anyone is there for a case that was not called. At that time he could have stepped forward, and Judge Eterno probably would have asked why he was there.

Since he had a ticket with today's court date on it, I wonder if that's correct. Should he have been able to speak to the judge and have his case called? Was it his fault that the City wasn't prepared? Would Judge Eterno have listened, found the City wanting in its prosecution, and ruled in favor of the defendant? Was the prosecutor right that the man could not have his case heard today or even talk to the judge?

Should he now speak to an attorney and file a Motion for the case to be dismissed?

Crime-fighting by MCSD

I hear there is a new knuckle-brained plan at our McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Deputies drive their patrol cars to certain locations ("hot spots") in the County and then park and wait for crime to come to them.

Why, all you have to do is look at the Crime Map on the Sheriff's website and you can see all the crime. Serious crime, I mean. Like Motorist Assists and Citizen Assists...

Squad cars are pretty well marked these days, including with reflectorized strips. So don't you think that a burglar, robber or other miscreant driving around and looking for a mark might just spot the patrol car and head on down the road a little farther?

What happens when Dispatch radios a call? The deputy can't go; he is assigned to sit somewhere and wait for crime.

Who goes? A shift sergeant?

Who thought up this scheme? What do the deputies think of it?

Makes a lot of sense; right? Right?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What's the pursuit rule?

I can understand that a law-enforcement agency might not want the public to know what its pursuit policy is. Would this just mean that criminals would take off, knowing that officers won't chase them?

How fast is too fast?

Is 80MPH on E. Wonder Lake Road, southbound from the area of the center of "downtown" Wonder Lake toward  Route 120, too fast?

How about 90MPH? Too fast?

How about 100MPH?

How about 120MPH?

If you are chasing a traffic violator and he's hitting 120MPH in a 35-45MPH zone, do you let him go? What happens at a signalized intersection? Does he blow the light and get through, with luck, without smashing into cross-traffic? Does the deputy chasing him run out of luck and cream cross-traffic?

The car being chased crashed somewhere south of Route 120 in Bull Valley. Will the Northwest Herald have all the details in the morning?

It's official - Pavlins win $300,000

The McHenry County Blog publishes today a copy of the settlement between Mr. and Mrs. Pavlin and the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Named in the lawsuit as Defendants were the
County of McHenry,
Sheriff Keith Nygren,
Deputy Jeremy Bruketta,
Deputy Kyle Mandernack,
Deputy Trevor Vogel,
Deputy Christopher Jones,
Deputy Ryan Lambert,
Deputy Greg Pyle, and
Deputy David Shepherd.

To my knowledge Cal Skinner was the first to reveal that the deputies inside the Pavlin home had gone upstairs. This was after their son was taken into custody and removed from their home.

The Pavlins had ordered the deputies to leave, and the deputies refused. The Pavlins called the Crystal Lake Police Department for help - for protection against the Sheriff's Department.

Be sure to check out the links to the Chicago Tribune story by Bob McCoppin.

Mrs. Pavlin was awarded $200,000, and Mr. Pavlin was awarded $100,000.

And it probably cost the $500,000 to fight it. The County will say it "only" cost $100,000, because that's the deductible before the risk management firm takes it on the chin for the balance. Sure can't wait to find out what the cost of "risk management" is next year and where the County Board will bury that premium. Ain't nothing free, laddies.

The  suit charged
  • False Arrest,
  • Excessive Force,
  • Failure to Intervene,
  • Illegal Search of Home,
  • Civil Conspiracy and
  • Malicious Prosecution
Of course, the Sheriff's Department and its deputies admit no wrong. Of course.

And this is just one of many cases against the Sheriff's Department.

Perfect reason for MCSD crash inv. unit

Recently I was told that the traffic crash investigation unit of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department was being disbanded.

The investigation into the July 1 double-fatal crash that killed Alec Kaiser and Jacob Norys is a perfect example of why this unit should remain staffed and as a viable entity of the Sheriff's Department. Without the manpower to investigate, it is likely that Daniel Huber would have escaped charges. Instead, today he was charged with aggravated street racing and failure to report a fatal traffic crash.

I've heard some rumors as to why the traffic unit is being disbanded. One was that the fatal crash rate was dropping in McHenry County. Well, tell that to principals and students at the high schools, both public and private, in Woodstock.

Next rumor? I'm holding off on this one until I can get more information. If it's true, then the Illinois State Police and the Attorney General's office, and maybe the FBI, ought to descend on the Sheriff's Department.

Deputies have learned that they can depend on my discretion. I do not reveal sources. In fact, had Judge Mahoney not granted my request to quash the subpoena from the sheriff's law firm in the civil rights case involving Zane Seipler, I was prepared to refuse the identification of anyone, even if it meant jail.

I was hoping not to have to follow the example that a court made Judith Miller, a New York Times reporter, in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. I think she was jailed for 85 days for refusing to divulge sources. My hope was that Judge Mahoney would allow me to remove my car from hourly parking in the garage across from the Federal courts building in Rockford.

The best way to contact me is by telephone. This means no written record. Next best is by U.S. Mail. If you want me to destroy your letter after you send it, just say so.

So, Deputies, help me with some information. Why is the traffic unit being cut?

I understand your fears of retribution and retaliation, if you get caught talking to me. MCSD will never learn from me that you have contacted me.

President wrong to lower flags

President Obama is flat wrong to lower the U.S. Flags nationwide following Sunday's shooting in the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He has ordered that U.S. Flags be lowered until dusk on Friday.

He had also ordered the U.S. Flags lowered after the shooting in the Aurora, Colo. movie theater.

Obama was wrong both times.

No disrespect is intended to the families of those affected by both incidents.

These shootings are not occasions for national mourning. Yes, we are shocked by them. Families mourn the dead and the injured. One killer is dead, and the other is in jail.

The U.S. Flag, the flag of our country, should fly high under all circumstances. It represents the strength and the integrity of this country.

I call on the President to stop minimizing the value of the Flag by lowering it. Nothing should result in the lowering of the U.S. Flag. It should fly high all the time. ALL the time.

If you agree, contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives. Ask their support to keep our Flag high on the flag pole and to tell President Obama to stop his foolishness. And, if Obama won't stop, then let our State refuse his request or order to lower our flags.

Did drag racing lead to deaths?

Daniel "Potatoe" Huber
A fresh article posted about 90 minutes ago on the Northwest Herald online edition reports the arrest of Daniel Huber, 20, of rural Woodstock, in connection with the double-fatality crash on Davis Road on July 1. Huber is charged with aggravated street racing and failure to report a fatal traffic crash.

I had heard gossip about two weeks ago that racing was involved but, since the Sheriff's Department reports in the Coroner's reports didn't mention it, I didn't write about it.

Huber is identified as "Potatoe" in the article. In a July article here I noted that there were many telephone calls involving Potatoe on the cell phone data extracted from the phone of Alec Kaiser, who was driving the car that crashed. The car belonged to the family of Jacob Norys and was being used without permission of the owner. Kaiser and Norys were to be juniors at Woodstock High School this fall.

The gas station is identified for the first time in today's article as the Mobil station on the east side of Route 47, south of U.S. 14.

Read this paragraph carefully: "The video also shows a Woodstock police officer in an unmarked squad car pulling into the lot. He later told sheriff's deputies that he was responding to a reckless driving complaint, although none of the vehicles matched the description he had been given.

"The officer said he talked to one of the people in the Elantra, asking him whether he was old enough to smoke, before driving away at 1:54 a.m"

The Woodstock Police Department responded to my FOIA request last month that they had no information about any contact by one of their police officers with Kaiser and Norys. It appears now that the correct response should have been that such documentation might have been part of an ongoing investigation and, as such, was denied to me. Any involvement of a Woodstock Police officer with the Sheriff's Department as part of a fatal-crash investigation should be well documented!!!

The article says that Huber followed Kaiser west on Davis Road from Route 47. Davis Road is narrow and curving between Route 47 and Dean Street. West of Dean Street the roadway is mostly straight and hilly. The article doesn't state whether Huber passed Kaiser between Route 47 and Dean St. or west of Dean St. If he didn't, then he was behind Kaiser and Norys, when their vehicle left the roadway.

The Sheriff's Department report that was part of the Coroner's reports on Kaiser and Norys included information that someone reported the crash from west of the crash. As I recall, the reporting party said he was at Stieg and Davis Road, when he heard a crash. I don't recall the name of the person from those reports.

As I recall, Kaiser's cell phone showed a call to "Potatoe" beginning at 1:58AM. It seems very likely to me that Huber was talking with Kaiser at the time of the crash.

The Northwest Herald article says his bond is $100,000, but the Sheriff's Corrections website lists his bond as $10,000. Also, according to the Northwest Herald article, Huber's next court date is September 7 and, as of 5:35PM his status in jail records is "Confined". Jail records indicate he has a court date on Thursday morning, August 9, 8:00am, at "RTS". RTS is the Rights Court in the Jail; enter through the Corrections Building.

There is a surprising amount of investigatory information in the Northwest Herald article. I won't be surprised if Huber's defense attorney, whoever that is or will be, raises the issue of unfair publicity and prejudice to the defense by so much information hitting the public in the first press release pertaining to Huber's involvement. Much of the information was contained in the media release on the Sheriff's website.

Crystal Lake - smart move

The Crystal Lake City Council dodged a vote last night on the proposed ordinance to begin decriminalizing marijuana there.

Many thanks to the common sense of Mayor Shepley and Council members Cathy Ferguson and for voting to kill that proposal. Thumbs down to Council members Dawson, Thorsen, Brady-Mueller and Schofield. What were they thinking of?

How is that police chiefs are now putting themselves out front on laws? It's the People who make the laws. The cops are there to enforce them. Did Police Chief David Linder dream up that scheme on his own, or was he told to do it?

If the ordinance had passed (or, more likely, when it does pass, it will mean a revenue boon to Crystal Lake. Violations ("tickets") will cost the violator (formerly known as the "offender") $500-1,000. The money will be sucked up through the administrative adjudication court, meaning 100% of it stays in Crystal Lake.

Remember Woodstock Police Chief Robert Lowen's vehicle impoundment law recommendation on January 3, 2012, two days after a state law became effective allowing Woodstock to rip vehicles away from their drivers and hold them for $500 ransom? I believe that Chief Lowen didn't write that January 3 letter to the City Manager, for the City Council. I'm sure he writes good letters, but my money is on the City's law firm as the creator of the letter. And he thought they might impound 50 vehicles in a year, raising $25,000. Ha-ha... They left that $25,000 figure in the dust.

Read Cal Skinner's article about the drug law change in Crystal Lake. It's on the McHenry County Blog and Paul Greenlee's long letter opposing the pot law. Also, read Cal's article after last night's meeting.

All those who want stoned drivers in Crystal Lake, speak up now. Come on, Chief Linder. Enforce the law, and stay out of the revenue-generating game.

Watch out, Woodstock. "Dedicated" parking?

Look out, Woodstock. Here it comes...

"Dedicated" parking. Know what that is?

Sure, you've seen reserved parking spaces in business parking lots. The owner's name might be on a plaque or stenciled on the parking pavement. You might see "Reserved for Employee of the Month". Or "Reserved for customers of ___." But these spaces are on private property.

Or maybe "Reserved for 501" on the first parking space nearest the back door to the Sheriff's Department in McHenry County. 501 is the Sheriff's car. Sure wouldn't want the sheriff to roll in late and have to walk from the end of the parking lot.

But now the Woodstock City Council is thinking about "dedicating" on-street parking for a private business, Harding Real Estate. Harding owns the building on Newell (across and up the street from the current Dorr Township office). He leases the building to DCFS, and DCFS contract terms require him to provide 48 parking spaces.

Apparently the 48 can be a combination of off-street and on-street parking spaces. I'm sure somebody in Springfield spent hundreds of man-hours agonizing over the wording for a contract that would be applied state-wide, regardless of demand.

Harding wants to buy a 100-year-old house ("well-maintained", according the City, and renter occupied) at 122 Newell St., so that he can demolish it for additional parking. Harding intends to add 5,000 sq. ft. to his DCFS building, and he must have more parking. Why not move the DCFS operation out of the residential neighborhood and stick it in a commercial location with adequate parking?

How many times have you driven into a parking lot and passed 8-10 empty handicapped spaces? Some law, whether Federal or State, requires a minimum number of handicap spaces, whether they are needed or not. They "might" be needed one day, so they must be provided every day. Makes a lot of sense; right? Wrong!

What the heck for? So that 8-10 of them can sit empty all day?

Hey, now here's an idea. Why doesn't Harding buy the Dorr Township building and acquire the needed parking spaces there.
City Councilwoman Maureen Larson said, according to the quote in the Northwest Herald, "You're asking us for an up-and-down vote to tear down a perfectly good building, and I don't know that I'm comfortable with that."

Why can't our Council representatives speak with straight tongues? Why didn't she just say, "I don't like it, and I shall vote against it!" When they waffle, this too often means a vote in favor is right around the corner.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Feldkamp executor changed - again

"In the beginning there is price; in the end there is cost"

I first heard that sometime in the late 1970s, and I have never forgotten it. It's true, whether you are buying life insurance, cars, houses, clothing, healthcare insurance - you name it.

And it can be just as true when you need legal advice.

You can go with a cheap (low-priced) lawyer, who may take twice (or more) and who might not even get it right with all the extra time. Or you can go with a lawyer with high expertise, who will charge a higher hourly rate. It will take him less time, and the job will probably get done right the first time.

And then there is the issue of not being able to afford a lawyer in the first place, which is a serious problem for many people. And so you do your best to struggle in a system that requires legal knowledge that you just don't have. You can perhaps do a great job with documents and be right on target with them but, if you don't know how to slug it out in front of the judge, then you may lose out.

That's what happened in Judge Chmiel's courtroom this morning.

It should have been a no-brainer to get a Motion to Vacate a recent court order dismissed. A lawyer representing Jackie Feldkamp would probably have been done in five minutes. Jackie and her husband did a great job with the documents that they prepared to get her appointed as executor of the estates of her late father and mother, and they did an excellent job preparing their own Response to the Motion to Vacate that was filed by an attorney for her brother, Scott Feldkamp.

Last Friday Judge Chmiel could have ended the Motion to Vacate, when Attorney Duane Slayton, of Hampshire, filed his Appearance. Even at that hearing Judge Chmiel told Slayton that he was very concerned about Slayton's not filing the Appearance until August 3. Judge Chmiel said several times that he was concerned.

Unfortunately, Jackie was late to court and missed the first ten minutes, when Judge Chmiel was reading the Riot Act to Slayton. If she had had an attorney there that morning, her attorney would have instantly asked Judge Chmiel to dismiss the Motion to Vacate, and Judge Chmiel probably would have had no choice but to do so.


Attorney Slayton has apparently worked on estate matters for Scott Feldkamp for more than two months, yet he never filed his Appearance. That bothered Judge Chmiel.

On July 20 Judge Chmiel terminated Scott Feldkamp's authority as executor in the two estates and appointed Jackie as the executor. So Slayton couldn't represent Scott Feldkamp as executor after July 20, because Scott Feldkamp was no longer the executor. Slayton was informed by Jackie that his services were no longer needed. He was done. Fini. Finished.

But then Slayton filed a Motion to Vacate Jackie's July 20th appointment as executor, and he filed it as attorney for Scott Feldkamp, executor. You can see the problem; right? After July 20th Scott was no longer the executor, so how could Attorney Slayton file the Motion for him. Plus Slayton himself had never filed an Appearance.

It was not until the date set for the hearing August 3, on the Motion to Vacate that Attorney Slayton filed his Appearance. And this bothered Judge Chmiel.

However, in the absence of an objection from Jackie, Judge Chmiel let it slide and, after further discussion during the hearing, he continued the August 3 hearing to today.

I think Jackie intended to continue her efforts to have the Motion to Vacate dismissed today but again, without an attorney, I think she wasn't confident of the protocol. Judge Chmiel said that "his plan" was to appoint an executor today, and Jackie didn't know how to object. Judge Chmiel hadn't yet granted the Motion to Vacate; he hadn't terminated Jackie as executor. So it was premature to consider appointing Howard Rigsby as executor. Jackie was still the executor.

That might have been Judge Chmiel's plan, but it could have been overcome. The first step would have been to get Attorney Slayton removed from the case, because his Appearance had not been timely filed. The judge could have so declared and then told him to have a seat in the peanut gallery, along with the rest of the audience. Not at the Attorney table, because he would have no longer been an attorney on the case.

Then Jackie could have argued, successfully I believe, that she was competent, capable and available to serve as executor. She had already done commendable work to identify the assets of the estates and was determining what was unaccounted for.

But Judge Chmiel appointed Howard Rigsby, an attorney in Woodstock, to take over as executor. How easy it is for a judge to say that. And it will be horrendously expensive for the estates. Rigsby will, no doubt, do a terrific and honest job as executor. And he'll charge for it. How much? I don't know his going rate, but I'll bet it's in the neighborhood of $300/hour.

With the problems in these estates, he'll earn every penny of it. He will have to sort out the legal custody of the family home in Marengo, the business on U.S. 20 at Harmony Road, other investments, the location and remaining value of estate liquid assets (and I don't mean the contents of any liquor cabinet), what happened to household furnishings and the value represented by them, and trace the flow of assets through accounts that may have been titled in other than the estate name and which have access authorized by other than the initial executor, Scott Feldkamp..

Will Attorney Rigsby be able to find out why Schmitt & Filler withdrew on August 30, 2011, after they cited lack of communication and cooperation from the initial executor? Since Scmitt & Filler represented the executor and Rigsby is now the executor, it seems to me that he might be able to learn the reason, and that might be of great help to him in his supervised administration of the two estates.

I estimate that Attorney Rigsby's fees will exceed $50,000 for administering the two estates. That's $25,000 out of each estate. Hmmm, already that sounds low. When the estates are closed, the accounting will be public.

My guess is that Jack and Audrey Feldkamp may have been fairly private people who would have preferred that the estate settlement was handled out of the public view. In that case, they should have consulted a knowledgeable attorney and put everything into one or more trusts.

In the beginning there is price; in the end there is cost.

Crystal Lake and marijuana law

This morning's Northwest Herald carries an article about a dangerous direction about to be embarked upon by the City of Crystal Lake. The top cop there, Chief David Linder, apparently is proposing that the City handle drug violations.

What does this mean?

It means all the fines stay in Crystal Lake, instead of going to the McHenry County Circuit Court. If a Crystal Lake case goes to Circuit Court, the City gets only a small piece of the action. Possession would become a City Ordinance violation, and the cops could charge a violator and summon him or her into Crystal Lake's own administrative adjudication court. In its own court, the City would keep 100% of the $500-1,000 fine.

And you can bet they will follow Woodstock and other communities and impound vehicles. Ka-ching, ka-ching. I believe Crystal Lake already has a vehicle impoundment law.

Will such a new law reduce marijuana use? Not likely. If a user thinks he could get away with a civil charge, not a criminal charge, might he take that chance? Laws ought to discourage violation; right?

And what about driving while under the influence of marijuana? If you can possess up to 30 grams and hope to escape with a civil violation (and administrative adjudication court), won't this lead to increased use by drivers? Yes, we can hope for sharp fines in Circuit Court for impaired driving or driving under the influence, but we already know how too often it's only a slap on the wrist and a waltz out of the courtroom and back to the car.

Of course, it's not just the fines, but also the carnage on the highways that must be considered - the injuries and fatalities and the property damage. Do you want more drivers who are stoned coming at you?

And don't forget the brains being fried by marijuana and whether it leads to use of harder drugs. There are some who think marijuana ought to be legalized. I'm not one of them.

Policing for profit

A comment to a week-end article in the Rockford Register-Star introduced this term to you - "policing for profit." I knew about the practice, but I hadn't heard this term before.

What is it? It's the confiscation of money (and property) based on the cop's assumption that the money (or property) was the result of a drug deal (or other crime).

You can read the article and comments here. Read down the comments to the one by "snuss".

I had first heard of this years ago, when I read a news article about a Hispanic man traveling west across Alabama with $15,-20,000 cash on his person. As I recall, he was a migrant worker who had saved his earnings for years to take to family in Mexico. When he got stopped, his vehicle was searched and the cop found the money, then confiscated the money and the car.

Read the article, and then think about today's article in the Northwest Herald about Crystal Lake and its possible direction on marijuana.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gas price gouging

The headline in the Chicago Tribune: "Chicago gasoline dives 25 cents with new cycle, pipeline restart".

And in Woodstock. The price for unleaded regular was still $4.199/gallon tonight.

When you buy gas at this inflated price, get the name of the station's district manager and make a call. Every voice really does count. Call and complain about price-gouging.

Call your State Representative, too. Ask him what he intends to do about price-gouging.

Customer for life

Sometimes, even when you are completely satisfied with a product, after a period of time you might begin to wonder whether there is a product that's a little lower in price.

Shortly after I bought my motorcycle in 1999, I put a Mustang seat on it.. It was pricey, but after a 2,000-mile trip, I was sold! I had read the testimonials in the Mustang catalog, and I figured they were all written by family members. No seat could be that good; right? The Mustang seat is that good.

Riding 250 miles on the stock Honda seat was a challenge. After putting on the Mustang seat, I rode to St. Louis (300 miles), then to Kansas City (250 miles), and then to Boulder, Colo. I remember that day! All 660 miles of it. When I pulled in at 10:00PM, I felt like I could have ridden at least another mile or two!

On the way back I had a 704-mile day, and my longest day since then was 800 miles back from Atlanta. I'll tell you - that's a long day at the speed limits.

When I asked Mustang about the best treatment to preserve the seat, they told me Protect All, and I ordered a can without asking the price. Now, it wasn't all that expensive, but it was more than the product on the shelf at the local automotive stores. I used it, and I have bought it twice since. Yesterday, when it wouldn't spray, even though it felt like half a can left, I looked at the price and shook my head. I think I bought it 2-3 years ago, and I wondered where the pressure had gone.

Instead of tossing the can, I called the company this morning at the toll-free number right on the can. When I explained the problem to Ken, he suggested I removed the plastic nozzle and run warm water over it. I had done that earlier and it hadn't worked, but I did it again - this time with hot water. When I re-inserted the nozzle, I had a full-pressure spray! Ken's advice was accurate, helpful and friendly. Thanks, Ken.

The seat on my motorcycle looks brand new, even though it has had 12 years of use and 70,000 miles of sitting on it.

If you are looking for a spray to polish, wax, treat and protect your motorcycle, car, boat, RV or even plane, I recommend Protect All. When I bought my last 6 oz. can, the tab was $6.95. You won't be disappointed.

Crime-mapping - worthless?

Be sure to check out the new Crime-Mapping feature on the sheriff's website. After you are done scratching your head, start asking exactly how much did it cost and how is it useful.

First you have to know about it and then find it. And then you have to figure out how it works.

Go to
Click on Crime Mapping
Click on the "Click here to view..." (you don't really want to view the "application"; you want to view the map; right?)
Then you are presented with a Disclaimer. This is probably where you will start shaking your head.
Now, stare at the map. Well?
Notice the Legend to the right. Wouldn't it nice if something happened after you click on one of those colored buttons?
Duh.... what to do next? (Scratch your head more at this point.)
Want to search for something? Click on the binoculars.
Select Crimes Against Persons (this will be the first thing you'll worry about; right?). Check for the entire County and for the past 30 days.
Click on Search.
Grab your seat!

The first two I hovered over were Motorist Assists. What is a Crime Against Person about that?

And look at the number of red dots. If this is accurate (it can't be), we'd better triple the number of deputies on the road. And put a couple of more floors on the jail building.

Then I hovered over another dot and read MOTORIST ASST.

And then CITIZEN ASSIST. What is a Crime Against Person about that?

Maybe this is why the Sheriff's Department needs an Intelligence Unit. But will the person in charge risk telling Undersheriff Zinke that the Department got a rotten deal on the Crime Mapping? Deputies have learned that they'd better be careful about opening their mouths about things being done wrong.

I told a friend today that it was a good thing I never got hired as a cop. The first day I would have been telling them everything that was wrong, and then I would have been washing patrol cars, not driving them.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wisconsin Carry - Bravo!

The following is a news release from Wisconsin Carry, a gun owners' organization that is standing up and doing something worthwhile. Not just collecting money. Wisconsin was an open-carry state and in November 2011 became a concealed-carry state.

Wisconsin is only about 15 miles north. Maybe we in Woodstock, Crystal Lake, McHenry, Harvard, ought to be packing up and moving. Just don't go shooting at Badger Guns/Brew City Shooters Supply range.

The news release from Wisconsin Carry follows, in its entirety:

Greetings in Freedom,

Wisconsin Carry has learned of some concerning information that we would like to pass along to our membership and right-to-carry interested folks in southeast Wisconsin.

In a recently published Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article which you can read here:

It was reported that the former Badger Guns (now Brew City Shooters Supply)  has, since 2009, been reporting the names of every customer that comes in to use their firing range to the West Milwaukee Police Department.  In this time over 25,000 customer names were reported to West Milwaukee Police Chief Dennis Nasci who ran a background check on each through "his system".

So far in 2012 it was reported more than 8,800 customer name records have been supplied to West Milwaukee Police by Brew City Shooters Supply to have a criminal background check run on them.  We do not know yet, how else West Milwaukee Police have been using these records they have been given by Brew City Shooters Supply, nor if they are storing those customer names for future reference.  We also do not know what other purposes West Milwaukee Police might choose to use these customer name lists for in the future. 

Having spoken with members of WCI who frequent Brew City Shooters Supply, though they were aware they signed a liability release to use the range, they were NOT aware in any way that their use of the range was being reported to West Milwaukee Police Department.

Wisconsin Carry does not believe it is the governments business if, when, or how often law-abiding citizens use a firing range.  We also believe that if a business is going to report law-abiding activities of customers to local police departments so a background check can be run with no reason or justification, they should be explicitly informing customers of this tactic.  Wisconsin Carry rejects the selective intrusion on customers privacy by any business with no reason or cause other than those customers patronage to participate in a legal activity.  

Wisconsin Carry rejects the use of public resource to run background checks on law abiding citizens with no probable cause or reasonable suspicion whether those citizens were using a firing range, attending church, going to the grocery store, or stopping in a corner tavern for a cocktail.  

We do not know if Brew City Shooters Supply also provided the names of customers who came in to purchase ammunition to West Milwaukee Police.

Wisconsin Carry has made an open records request of the Village of West Milwaukee for any and all information and documents pertaining to this scheme of Brew City Shooters/Badger Guns providing lists of law-abiding customer names to Village of West Milwaukee Police.  We will send out updates as more information becomes available as to the extent of the use of that information, whether the rights of law-abiding customers were violated by Brew City Shooters Supply or Village of West Milwaukee Police, and any other details which we believe would be of interest to the law-abiding gun owners of Southeast Wisconsin.

Carry On,

Nik clark
Chairman/President - Wisconsin Carry, Inc.

Illinois legislators - concealed carry now!

When will Illinois legislators get the message that law-abiding residents need concealed carry now?

Would injuries and fatalities have been fewer in Aurora, Colo., if the Aurora 16 Theater hadn't been a Gun-Free Zone?

Would injuries and fatalities have been fewer, if someone in the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisc. had been armed (as was a churchgoer in Colorado a year or two ago). Probably a Sikh would not carry a firearm into his place of worship. He might not carry a firearm at all, but that's his choice. But perhaps a visitor might have been armed and able to step forward?

If I showed up as a guest next Sunday, carrying openly as allowed under Wisconsin law, would the congregation feel safer or be alarmed. In order to avoid the problem of the law-abiding, armed man in Colorado at a movie theater after the Aurora, Colo. shooting, I'd call first to introduce myself and say that I would be armed.

In Wisconsin I have to carry my sidearm in the open. I cannot carry it concealed, although I probably could if Illinois issued concealed-carry permits and if I had one. On the other hand, it might be that my current concealed-carry permit might be valid in Wisconsin. I'll be sure to check before I go, and even that is no guarantee that the cop may not know the law as well as I shall.

Week 118 - Beth Bentley still missing

Or is she?

One hundred eighteen weeks ago Beth Bentley, then 41, vanished. Supposedly, she was last seen in Centralia, Ill., after her friend, co-worker, sometime alibi, traveling companion Jenn Wyatt says she dropped her off near the Amtrak Station.

Beth was reported missing to the Woodstock Police Department on Monday, May 24, 2010, after she failed to return home from a week-end trip with Jenn.

One story is that the women were going to Wisconsin. In another story Jenn says that they went to Mount Vernon, Ill. on Thursday night. Jenn says she drove Beth to Centralia on Sunday afternoon. They were to meet back up near Woodstock on Monday afternoon, so Beth could get home before her husband got home from his office.

People assumed that Beth had taken the northbound train to Chicago on Sunday night. She would have had to get to Ogilvie Transportation Center (only two blocks) and catch the Metra to Woodstock, arriving at 2:01AM. I wondered how she was supposed to get home from the train station. Some of those people may have gone to Chicago the next week-end to post Missing Person fliers.

Then Jenn called me on June 10, 2010, and told me that Beth never intended to take the train and that she didn't even intend to spend the whole week-end with Jenn and the Ridge brothers, Ryan and Nathan.

I've always wondered why the Woodstock Police Department classified Beth an "Endangered". It did so without explanation. Woodstock PD did provide me with a textbook description of the meaning of Endangered, but it never has explained why it classified Beth that way.

There are many reasons, including health factors, medication needs, emotional reasons, personal well-being abilities, dementia risks, prior suicide threats.

Not one of those was ever used to describe Beth.

But is there one that was (and could be) more likely than any of the others?

Typically, in a missing person case the family doesn't let up on demands of law enforcement for help. Typically, law enforcement makes frequent statements about search efforts and results. I don't know of one organized search.

Yet "typical" doesn't seem to have applied in this case. Some fliers went up. They came down. Supposedly a deputy told a window cashier at the Woodstock Dairy Queen to take down the missing person flier. A restaurant owner in Harvard had taken down the missing person flier after someone told her Beth had been found. That was during the summer of 2011; I told her Beth had not been found.

What really happened to Beth Bentley? Is she really "just" missing? Or was foul play involved? Was there a reason to make Beth disappear? How many people would have been involved to make that happen?

At least one. Probably, more than one. Two? Three? Could a half-dozen be involved? Directly or indirectly?

The Woodstock Police Dept. claimed to be the lead investigatory agency, because the report was taken here of Beth's being missing. The Mount Vernon (Ill.) P.D. and the Jefferson County (Ill.) Sheriff's Office have been involved. The Illinois State Police may or may not be involved.

No one knows, for sure, where Beth was last seen. Mt. Vernon? Centralia? Woodstock?

More than one woman has told me, "I hope I never disappear from Woodstock."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The truth about Jesse Jackson, Jr.?

If you want the truth about the current hospitalization of Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., read USAToday. After you do, you may still want the truth.

Consider these tidbits of information, all from that article.

He is suffering from debilitating depression.
His wife, Sandi Jackson, is a Chicago City Council member. Everybody know that?
Jesse, Jr., didn't try to kill himself.
He was not being treated for alcohol or drug addition.
Jackson, Jr. was transferred to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, when his office finally revealed where he was.
He had collapsed at his Washington, DC home on June 10.
Jesse, Sr. and brother, Yusef, took him to George Washington Hospital.
Sandi Jackson suggested Yusef take Jesse, Jr. to Sierra Tucson (Ariz.) Treatment Center.
Is his depression linked to a "lack of nutrients" and linked to a 2004 weight-loss surgery?
His depress "has not yet been diagnosed as a bipolar disorder".

Jesse, Jr. hasn't been told of the arrest of Raghuveer Nayak, a family friend and fundraiser.

Now that's depressing.

From the homepage of Sierra Tucson Care Center comes this information, "Sierra Tucson is a multi-licensed, accredited psychiatric hospital that is internationally known and respected as a leader in the treatment of addictions and behavioral disorders."

The American People want Congressmen who are healthy, physically and mentally. It's time for Jesse, Jr. to resign.

What do you think? $50,000/month? More? How much are the co-pay and the deductible on a Congressman's health insurance plan? Is there a cap on psychiatric treatment? How did Jesse, Jr. get from Washington, DC to Tucson? Private jet? Hospital jet? At taxpayer expense?

Remember when the smoke read "mood disorder"?

Wait, wait! Would Gov. Quinn appoint Rahm Emanuel? Get well quick, Jesse!