Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Suspect "un-arrested"; gets ride back to scene

Does it pay to have clout at election time in McHenry County?

On October 17 a man was arrested by McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Cody Smith for being in possession of a stolen political campaign sign. Not only arrested, but handcuffed (and presumably searched, although the report doesn't so state) and then transported toward the McHenry County Jail. Not to the Jail, just toward the Jail.

What political sign was it? "Before you vote, Google Bob Bless"

While Deputy Smith was transporting the prisoner, he was ordered to take the prisoner upon arrival to the Detective Division, where the prisoner was going to give a written voluntary statement, whereupon he would be released. Now, this is all before Deputy Smith ever gets his prisoner to the jail!!!

And, indeed, that's what happened. The suspect, now a prisoner since he had been arrested, handcuffed and transported, was delivered into the custody of Det. Travis McDonald. Deputy Smith's well-written statement indicates that the suspect completed a written voluntary statement (not included with the report) and "Detective McDonald then provided Steve a ride back to his vehicle on Algonquin Road." Dep. Smith also inventoried the stolen sign into Evidence at MCSD.

Sgt. Eric Ellis is Dep. Smith's supervisor and he approved Smith's well-written report. Should he have been asking, "What the hell is going on around here? This man was arrested!"

Pretty nice, eh? A suspect caught red-handed with the stolen political sign gets preferential treatment and knows before he ever gets to the jail, that he is going to be released (and not charged). Is this Chicago?

Why wasn't Steve booked into the jail? Why wasn't he charged? Why did Det. McDonald give Steve a ride back to his vehicle? Is MCSD running a taxi service now? Was Steve handcuffed while he was being transported back to his vehicle?

Who at the Sheriff's Department knew Steve was on the way in? Who arranged such "courteous" treatment and threw in the free ride back to his vehicle? Will Steve be suing the Sheriff's Department for false arrest?

Steve told Dep. Smith that he worked for the company that owned a billboard on the property where Steve was arrested. He claimed that his company had a contract that prohibited a political opponent's advertising. The sign found in Steve's vehicle was one allegedly stolen the previous day from the opponent's property.

Who should get involved in this? The McHenry County State's Attorney? The Illinois Attorney General?

64 million guns

The following came my way from Harvard resident Bill Matteson. Good thoughts, Bill.

"Yesterday in America  64 million legal guns didn't kill anyone
Yesterday in America legal guns saved  hundreds of lives
Yet the police are armed, on their person, off duty and in their home, they can defend themselves, as can the Mayor, also with bodyguards and the City council some have body guards, (taxpayer funded) and some carry handguns, some have weapons and body guards, they are protected, we are not

"Chicago says allowing the citizens to arm themselves is not the answer, it would be like the wild west. I ask, what is there now?

"Wake up Chicago.  Your Gun control is not working.   Remember the Riots when MLK was killed, the looting and burning, the shooting and killing was running rampant
The National Guard was called out, the shooting and looting continued for days,  Until the Mayor gave this order, "Shoot to Kill", as if by magic it stopped, the thug now knowing a real danger, went home,

"I cannot understand why Chicago and Illinois won't vote in a concealed carry law.
Due to the flash mob gangs it is unsafe for me a senior citizen to visit Chicago unarmed, because Senior citizens are singled out as least likely to offer resistance
Is the City protecting the Gangbanger, are they afraid some honest citizen might shoot one?"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Your Tollway dollars at work

Should it read "EOWA" (Elgin O'Hare Western Access) or EEEEOOOOWWWWWWW?

I like the second, myself.

And look at this hard-working crew...  What do you suppose that picture cost the taxpayers? It's one very-posed photo opp with Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur (seated, left) grasping paws with IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider. There are eight onlookers.

Is the photo in the Tollway palace or IDOT headquarters?

I don't know about you, but I just want the road open and clear. Ladies, just do your jobs and send all those other people back to their desks to earn their pay.

Why is the Tollway wasting time and money with an art contest for high school students? Just do a professional map or, better yet, don't. Let drivers use the State Map and figure it out from there.
Oct. 30, 2012: 793 deaths

Merit Commission cancels Nov. meeting

The McHenry County Sheriff's Department Merit Commission is supposed to meet monthly. There are bills to be paid, hires to be made, firings to be handled, and resignations to accept.

And an apology to be issued.

Greg Pyle must still have a job, even though he was jailed in January (released on bond) and jailed again after he was arrested on Federal charges. Nygren said he was going to let Pyle resign, but no resignation has yet been handled by the Merit Commission, so Pyle must sill have a job as a deputy sheriff in McHenry County.

Pyle has never been placed on unpaid administrative leave, since that has never been considered by the Merit Commission. Will he be suing the County for his pay?

The Merit Commission will not be issuing an apology to me for the lies contained in a letter sent to the Illinois Public Access Bureau as part of a Request for Review of an Open Meetings Act (OMA) violation.

The Commission's attorney relied on information from her "clients", the Merit Commission. Only three of the five commissioners were at the June 13 meeting. Present were Janelle Crowley, Chair, Patrick McAndrews (attorney), and Gloria (Urch) Van Hof. So three, plus the secretary for the Commission, know the truth. At least one of them lied - big-time - to the Commission's attorney, before she wrote on July 23 to the Attorney General in response to my OMA complaint.

If they were deposed in a lawsuit, would the one (or more) continue to lie? Their stories would start to conflict and unravel. I'm certain that Mr. McAndrews, Mrs. Van Hoff and the Commission secretary would tell the truth under oath.

They are lucky that I probably won't sue. I say, probably... No member of a public body should be able to escape punishment for lying.  But maybe they should lie awake at night, wondering if they are going to get hauled into court over the defamatory remarks about me that were sent to the Attorney General's office.

Dodge a Special Prosecutor? Really?

Has it only been a week, since the "Petition" hit the fan in the McHenry County courthouse?

One week ago a Petition for a Special Prosecutor was filed to investigate Undersheriff Andy Zinke for revealing a confidential DEA investigation to the president of a target company that reportedly was the destination for a load of illegal drugs. That president, of course, wasn't just any president of a local company.

This is the story - not the spin being generated by Zinke's allies and the local daily newspaper. There is a serious case  of "deflect and swerve" going on right now, as numerous parties attempt to blame Sgt. John Koziol and move the spotlight off Zinke.

Consider Sunday's headline in the Northwest Herald - "Will county dodge special prosecutor?" Instead of clamoring for a special prosecutor to root out evil in McHenry County, the paper devotes a considerable portion of the lengthy article off the purpose of the Petition by Sgt. Koziol.

County Board member Scott Breeden (leaving office in November) said he is "sick of repeated calls for special prosecutors". So, Scott, you'd rather have the problems go un-investigated? Breeden thinks "working things out" can happen at the door marked Sheriff over in the Government Center. I don't know Breeden, so I'm struggling here to remain polite and civil.

Next door at 2200 N. Seminary, a deputy has to be "darned" careful what he says and what he lets on that he has seen or knows. If you aren't among the "in crowd", then you risk the fate that descended on Deputies Seipler and Schlenkert (both of whom got their jobs back, along with years of back pay) and currently being endured by Scott Milliman.

If you are among the "in crowd", it appears you can mix business and pleasure with a confidential information, including a little late-night session on a couch, and hardly have the sheriff and undersheriff blink.

Koehler and Breeden ought to run a computer print-out of Nygren's legal expenses to fight all the lawsuits against MCSD. How much has McHenry County paid The Sotos Law Firm, P.C. (is this a new name?) in the past four years?

You know, Mr. Breeden? If Sheriff Nygren had just arrested Andy Zinke for breaking the law in revealing a confidential investigation, no special prosecutor would be needed. Well, maybe not; the State's Attorney would still have to prosecute the arrested person and might claim conflict-of-interest. But then maybe only a special assistant state's attorney would have to be appointed.

Restaurant sign - up or down

How many years ago did the Courthouse Grill close? Three? Four? For a long time its oval sign remained hanging near the sidewalk. It's gone now.

How many visitors to the Woodstock Square ask about this restaurant, as they stroll along looking for a place to eat?

Is it time for the canopy to come down? Was it time, a long time ago?

The City of Woodstock owns the building now. The City is likely to own it for a long, long time, considering the dollar amount of repairs needed. Maybe it can pull off a miracle and find a developer with a really deep pocket to purchase and redevelop this property.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Murder #436 in Chicago ...

... and it's only the end of October.

How many murders were there in Chicago in the whole year of 2011? 435.

What does Rahm Emanuel have to say? "Not good."

It's the Cook County Democratic state legislators who are preventing concealed carry in Illinois. When are they going to wake up and give Illinoisans the chance to protect themselves outside their homes???


Domestic Violence video - Discovery Channel

When a family court judge gave custody to the man who had fractured her son's skull, Holly Collins felt she had no way out but one.

Garland Waller and Barry Nolan invite you to watch this documentary tonight, aired as part of National Domestic Violence Awareness month. The following message is from them.

No Way Out But One
Primetime Television Premiere
On the Documentary Channel
October 29th at 8PM and 11PM

No Way Out But One will have its national primetime television premiere on the Documentary Channel on October 29th in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness month. The film tells the amazing story of Holly Collins, the first American woman to be granted asylum by the Dutch government on grounds of domestic violence.

The Documentary Channel is a network dedicated exclusively to airing the works of independent documentary filmmakers. It has a distribution base of approximately 25 million possible viewers and is available on DISH TV (Channel 197) or Direct TV (Channel 267). We hope you will tune in! The Twitter handle is @doc_channel and their Facebook is @Documentary Channel [not to be confused with the Canadian Documentary Channel].

And the news just keeps getting better - DVD copies of No Way Out But One are now available on-line through The Doc Store. Two versions are available - the award-winning full- length feature and a one-hour version for educational institutions, They can be found at  (Note from Gus: this link does not work; I'm trying to get a good link.)

More information about the film and the issues of domestic violence and the family court system can be found on our web site No Way Out But One.  We also post news items related to the child and family court on a daily basis on our Facebook page.

We shamelessly encourage you to “like” us on Facebook and let all those who might be interested know about the resources available on the web site, the TV premiere and the DVD.

About the premiere, Executive Producer Garland Waller said:

“With a little luck, and the support of good people like you, we will reach a tipping point that compels action and leads to a solution.  So many people are working hard now and getting results. We are committed to shinning a light in the dark corners of the family courts to insure that all children will be protected.”

Jenapea's on the Square

June 10, 2012
October 22, 2012
This was Jenapea's on June 10, 2012 (left), when a fire caused extensive damage and forced the restaurant to close.

And this (right) is Jenapea's today, 141 days later.

No doubt the owners of the restaurant are anxious to re-open. What's the delay?

The City of Woodstock has been in contact with the property owner and has, no doubt (again), "encouraged" him (or them) to finish up.

Maybe a little court action is needed to provide the "encouragement" to complete the repairs.

If you feel that the City should demand that the work be completed (with a stated deadline) and the property restored for occupancy (hopefully by Jenapea's), then call the Community Development office of the City of Woodstock at 815.338.4305. Don't just express your opinion. Ask what is going on and why the City isn't taking a firmer stand.

On behalf of all the businesses on the Square, the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce ought to be all over the City on this one, too. The Board of Directors ought to adopt a Resolution, and the Executive Director of the Chamber should approach and work aggressively with the City to get these wooden boards down and the space ready for occupancy.

A 4½-month period without business too often is a death sentence for a small business. Why have repairs dragged on for so long?

Want a squad car for YOUR driveway?

Recently a reader inquired whether I still had a photo of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department marked squad car parked (stored) at the home of Brian Goode, president of RITA Corp. in Crystal Lake. Goode, as you must know by this time, is a long-time member of the Sheriff's Department Merit Commission and high-dollar contributor to the political campaigns of Sheriff Nygren.

Sure enough. On December 20, 2010, there sat a fully-marked, operational squad car in Goode's driveway. This was just 20 days after Sheriff Nygren was re-elected as Sheriff (by only 53% of the vote), having beat out Mike Mahon and me in the 2010 General Election.

Did all Merit Commission members get squad cars for their driveways?

Just how does a resident in McHenry County qualify? Does it just take a phone call? Is there a waiting list? Do you make your request to Nygren or Zinke?

What do you suppose was the law-enforcement purpose of parking a County asset in the driveway of a taxpayer's home?

Let it be known that I don't fault Mr. Goode for having the squad car there. Anyone can ask for anything. However, the official of the Sheriff's Department who approved the assignment of that squad car deserves some scrutiny.

NWH spins Koziol Petition for Special Prosecutor

One of yesterday's articles in the Northwest Herald had my head spinning. Actually, all of them about the Koziol Petition in McHenry County Circuit Court about Undersheriff Andy Zinke caused me great wonder about the difference between newspaper reporting of fact and the opinions of the reporters and editors. Reporters' opinions are probably widely shaped by editors' red pens and Approved stamps.

This one paragraph - these few words - were among the most misleading: "No one is denying that Zinke met with Goode at some point after the undersheriff learned about the investigation. Zinke even brought Goode to Koziol. What’s not clear is whether the DEA gave Zinke the OK to meet with Goode, or whether the DEA thinks Zinke interfered with the probe."

Key in on the words "at some point".

On July 11 Sgt. John Koziol dutifully reported to Undersheriff Zinke, even bypassing his immediate superior, that drugs were headed to the RITA Corporation in Crystal Lake. See below for why Zinke would know the RITA Corporation.

By July 13 Zinke had told Goode. So, what's with the "at some point"? The "point" is known - actually. It didn't occur at some vague time in the future. Zinke would have contacted Goode on July 11, 12 or early on the 13th. Care to guess? How about July 11? That's my guess.

"Zinke even brought Goode to Koziol." Where do you suppose the Northwest Herald got that goodie? Not from the Petition. Why would Goode show up in the Sheriff's Department parking lot with a fistful of company records?

And the spin on this? "What’s not clear is whether the DEA gave Zinke the OK to meet with Goode..."

You be the judge. The Petition says that, when Koziol reported to the DEA agent that Zinke had revealed the confidential investigation to Goode, the DEA agent said "are you fucking [sic] kidding me". Does that sound to you like the DEA agent had told Zinke to talk to Goode?

In five words the DEA agent made it clear that Zinke had ruined an investigation. How (and, more importantly, why) would the Northwest Herald spin it?

Why does Zinke know RITA Corporation?

1. The address for Zinke's political campaign is at the RITA Corporation.
2. Brian Goode, President of RITA Corp., is a long-time member of the McHenry County's Department Merit Commission.
3. More than $50,000 in political campaign contributions have been made over the past ten years to incumbent Sheriff Keith Nygren. (Why such big bucks to an incumbent who often ran without opposition?)
4. As Undersheriff, Zinke would have known of the assignment of a marked squad car parked in the driveway of Goode's residence for lengthy periods.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Drug use condoned

Don't miss today's article on the front page of the Northwest Herald about drugs in the schools.

Is it any wonder that kids do drugs?

The article starts with "He knows he probably shouldn't have...". Give me a break. He ('Dan") knew he shouldn't have. Period. And he got some Adderall from a classmate for a little "boost" to his concentration for studying.

Pretty close to a Lance Armstrong attitude; right? Whatever it takes to do better.

So not only was what Dan did wrong, it was risky. He didn't know what effect the drug would have on him. He actually didn't even know that his buddy was selling him Adderal.

And how did his buddy get along without his own prescribed use of the drug? Where was his doctor in all this? How did Dan's buddy explain running out of Adderall early? How much of his monthly prescription did Dan's buddy peddle?

I'm sure Rick Atwater, Karla Steingraber, Jeff Puma and Connee Meschini are very nice people. But when are they going to take a hard line on illegal drug use with their clients and students?

How nice that Atwater "set up" Dan with the reporter. Presumably Dan is at least 18 (an adult) now. Is he still using drugs illegally? Is Atwater treating Dan for drug addiction now? If not, stay in touch. It won't be long.

The Northwest Herald did a great disservice to its readers and the overall community with this article.

How many readers will stick with the article all the way to the end, where Dan says "I probably should have never took it."

So, Doctors, count the pills in the bottles at the monthly med checks and keep track of those kids who are "always short". And do the lab work regularly to check for the expected therapeutic levels.

Beth Bentley - gone 129 weeks

This is the 129th week that Beth Bentley has been missing. She was age 41, when she vanished on May 23, 2010. Or was it on May 22? or May 21? or maybe even on May 20? And was it really from Centralia, Ill.? or Mt. Vernon, Ill.? Or from Woodstock?

At least three people ought to know. Jenn Wyatt. Ryan Ridge. Nathan Ridge. Will one of them (or all) cough up information about where Beth is?

So far (and it has only been 2 1/2 years) the Woodstock Police, believed to still be the lead investigative agency, has never named a suspect or even a person-of-interest in what many now believe is no longer a missing person case. Wow!

Last week a reader reminded me of Jenn Wyatt's indictment last summer by a McHenry County Grand Jury on two felony charges brought by the Woodstock Police Department that were related to the Beth Bentley missing person case. (Yes, it is still (only) officially a Missing Person case...)

When the charges were first announced, I thought (and wrote), "No way." The Woodstock Police Department didn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of succeeding, but on they went. And a Grand Jury indicted Wyatt. And a judge threw it out, long before it ever got close to a trial. Short of Beth's strolling into the courtroom and saying, "Hi, everyone. She's lying", Jenn was not going to get convicted.

This morning I was thinking of the phrase "A grand jury would indict a ham sandwich" and wondered about the source of that line. The source was easy to find on "New York State chief judge Sol Wachtler was famously quoted by Tom Wolfe in The Bonfire of the Vanities that a grand jury would 'indict a ham sandwich,' if that's what you wanted.'"

When the Grand Jury was presented with Woodstock PD's "case" and the statute was explained, why didn't the men and women on the Grand Jury see through the charges right then?

Their failure to realize that the PD really didn't ever have a case is inexcusable. But it's also preposterous that the State's Attorney's Office authorized charges in the first place and that they then took the charges to a Grand Jury.

How closely have the Woodstock Police examined the drug angle? Did Beth use drugs? Did people around her use drugs? People at the office? People at Gus's Roadhouse? If she did, where did she get them? Where did they get them?

Is there anyone on that circle of acquaintances who is no longer in Woodstock?

I've heard that Mt. Vernon doesn't have a lily-white reputation, so far as drugs go. How closely is the Woodstock P.D. working with the Mt. Vernon (Ill.) P.D. and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office to solve this missing person case? At all?

This country, this state, this county and this city have a huge job ahead to turn around the current acceptance and use of illegal drugs. The tolerance level must be Zero. You've got to be willing to turn in your own mother. It won't be easy, because so many think that recreational use is okay. It's not.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Courtroom hearing device

I should be able to hear everything at next Friday's hearing on Sgt. John Koziol's Petition for a Special Prosecutor to investigate Undersheriff Andy Zinke.

When I inquired a few months ago about hearing devices for a courtroom, I was told that a device is available.

Apparently, an interpreter has to be hired to set it up. Looking at this one, I'm not sure exactly what set-up is required. Perhaps he has to carry it into the courtroom for me, so that I'm not accused of bringing a metal weapon into a courtroom.

One wouldn't be needed, if judges would just speak up in a normal tone of voice and require the same of the attorneys and others at the bench.

I don't know exactly what to expect next Friday.

Woodstock Liquor Czar - too much power?

Was it a mistake for the Woodstock City Council to dismantle the Liquor Commission a few years ago?

What was left was, in effect, a one-man liquor commission, because the only person remaining in charge of booze in Woodstock was Mayor Brian Sager. Sager retains the title of Liquor Commissioner, even though there is no liquor commission.

Prior to dismantling the Commission, there were three liquor commissioners. There were appointed by Sager, as Mayor, with the "advice and consent" of the City Council. The liquor commission meetings were open to the public. Minutes of meetings were available to the public.

Now? If a liquor licensee or  applicant wants something, he must go on bended knee to the Liquor Czar and be happy with whatever bone is thrown his way. Meetings are scheduled at City Hall, and they are not announced to the public or open to the public. The City Council is informed of the mayor's actions as Liquor Commissioner.

The "bone" now is the privilege of letting people drink their own wine, if they carry it into a restaurant. Who even knew they could do that, but there were apparently "agreements" between the City and restaurants. An October 17 article in the Northwest Herald informed readers that liquor licensees will now be charged a healthy fee for a Permit to let you drink your own wine. There is something about a "corkage fee".

It's too late to read the entire article on the Northwest Herald website, because the article has already been archived. Now you must pay a fee to read it.

You can go to the Woodstock Library and read the file copy of the Northwest Herald for that date.

Or you can go to the Woodstock Library website and, if you are a library cardholder, search the Online Research Databases for NewsBank, and then for the Northwest Herald. Search for "corkage" and the article will be easily found.

Do you think the Liquor Commission should be re-established in Woodstock? Should two residents of reasonable ages and with sufficient brainpower be appointed? Two who would not necessarily just rubber-stamp whatever the mayor wanted?

If so, contact a member of the City Council and ask for your preference to be brought forward.

This, of course, leads me to another topic for a future article. Should City Council members be elected from specific districts in Woodstock, rather than at-large?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Big Brother issues NIXLE for Halloween

For how many years has Halloween been celebrated?

Kids put on costumes, grab their little plastic pumpkins or big pillow cases, and head out to gather much more candy than they'll ever eat.

Now comes a NIXLE alert from the McHenry County Sheriff's Department telling us what to do and what not to do.

I say, "Shut up!"

Parent know what to do. They'll do it, or they won't.

Sheriff won't admit failures

Is this the nicest thing ever said about Sheriff Keith Nygren?

“The current Sheriff will not admit when his deputies screw up and that reinforces them to continue their conduct.

“I don’t think the Sheriff has ever said one of “his boys” did anything wrong and he will spend to no end to defend them."

Where in the world did I read that?

Try this article in the McHenry County Blog today.

Now, if you think that is news, just wait for a blockbuster that is coming your way soon. I know you've waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's just about ready to.

Damage Control hits NWH front page

The headline of the Northwest Herald online edition right now is "RITA Corp. responds to special prosecutor request allegations". Look at the size of the print!

Is the Northwest Herald reporting news or creating it?

Since when have you ever read a defensive position spread at the top of a newspaper. This county needs a strong, independent, investigative newspaper.

Then read the comments, including my comment, which at 2:42pm was #15: "Can you people (above) read? Really? How did this suddenly become "common sense", "total story", "cooperating witness", "victim", "voluntarily", "smear"? It's Damage Control, folks. Read the Petition that was filed in Court. Have you actually read it? All of it?"

You can read the Petition that was filed on Tuesday. You can read it on McHenry County Blog and you might still find it on the Northwest Herald.

Do I believe the allegations in the Petition? Yes. Every one of them.

Somehow, I think the statement attributed to the unnamed DEA agent is not allegation. Read that one again, too.

Judge Meyer isn't about to repeat the two-year marathon that Zane Seipler's for a special prosecutor was. It appears he has put the State's Attorney's Office (SAO) on notice. "Take the case or don't."

They won't. The SAO defends the Sheriff - at least in civil matters. Remember?

Wouldn't it be way cool if the SAO waffles on November 2 and Judge Meyer rules that a special prosecutor will be appointed?

I still don't know Sgt. John Koziol. I am being told that he is not a disgruntled deputy. Well, maybe he is now. Maybe I would be, too, if I were faced with all the cr*p at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

Zinke never should have revealed the DEA investigation to Brian Goode, as the Petition says that he did. Zinke should have kept his mouth shut and let the investigation run its course.

If RITA Corp. came out clean, it would have been cleared. If the drugs weren't destined for RITA Corp., the DEA would have tracked them elsewhere. If there were "smooth operators" only down on the loading dock at RITA, then I'd accept the "victim" label for the RITA Corp. Thanks to Zinke, we won't really know.

"DWI Hit Parade" tops 1 Million hits

Do you read

Congratulations to Ken Rossignol, its publisher! The DWI Hit Parade has topped 1,000,000 views in its short (so far) lifetime.

Ken reports stories from around the USA about drunk drivers, including cops and judges. You can find his electronic reporting just to the right, in the right sidebar. Click on it often. Enjoy his work.

Ken is the former owner and publisher of St. Mary's Today, a 20-year "rag" in southern Maryland. Ken and I first got acquainted by email in 2000 and finally met this year. Ken sold the "Rag" in 2010 and devotes full time now to writing and to lecturing about the Titanic. Maybe you'll get to meet him on your next cruise.

If you think the political antics in McHenry County are something, you'll love reading St. Mary's Today - the Story of THE RAG. Find it on and Kindle. Search on for "Ken Rossignol" and read his other books, too.

Leist - Sheriff's lawyer or not?

Remember the 2009 case, when Peter Matwijiw was arrested by Deputy Robert Chamberlain of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department? Matwijiw was charged with resisting arrest. The case blew up on the Sheriff's Department, and Matwijiw was acquitted in a jury trial on April 13, 2011.

Matwijiw didn't take it lying down. He (Plaintiff) filed a lawsuit in Federal Court, claiming

"...that Chamberlain seized plaintiff without having reasonable suspicion that he was involved in criminal activity, in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights (Count I); falsely arrested plaintiff without legal justification or probable cause, in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights (Count II); used excessive force during the arrest, in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights (Count III); and committed the tort of malicious prosecution, in violation of state law, when he instituted charges against plaintiff for obstructing a peace officer and resisting a peace officer without having probable cause (Count IV). Plaintiff also alleges that Sheriff Nygren is liable for Chamberlain’s malicious prosecution..."

The Sheriff's Department is represented by the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office.

But, was it Don Leist who filed a Motion to Dismiss in Case No. 3:11-v-50191 in U.S. District Court Northern District, in Rockford? Why would the EEO officer be filing a Motion? It's not an employment issue.

Federal Judge Kapala denied the Motion on May 4, 2012.

Has Leist continued to nose around in the case? Why? Is there a failure-to-supervise issue here? Or is the Sheriff or Undersheriff directing Leist to perform duties outside the scope of his employment? Leist is an attorney. Why doesn't he refuse?

What is the status of Matwijiw's case in Rockford? Will there be depositions, continuing legal fees by both sides, transcripts, more trips to Rockford? Will it proceed to trial? Remember; Matwijiw was found Not Guilty in McHenry County court. Will the County settle?

Or will it be, "Damn the ice fields. Full speed ahead."

Is Leist the Sheriff's attorney?

Is Don Leist the Sheriff's attorney? or the Sheriff's Department attorney?

Or is he a civilian employee (only) of the McHenry County Sheriff's Office who is the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) "officer" of the Sheriff's Department (and who just happens to be an attorney by education)? Why did the Sheriff write into the job description that a law degree was preferred (or whatever the wording was)?

Leist was in court yesterday morning, acting like an attorney, not as a visitor to observe the matter involving a request for a Special Prosecutor to investigate Undersheriff Andy Zinke. By "acting" like an attorney, I mean proceeding beyond the railing in front of general seating and advancing across the courtroom floor to the jury box seating, where overflow attorneys sit and wait for their cases.

In his capacity as EEO "officer" (at a pay rate of $84,405/year) he is not the Sheriff's attorney. The Sheriff has an attorney. That would be the McHenry County State's Attorney. He doesn't seem to like "his" attorney very much, so he spends hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds in a year with Jim Sotos' law firm in Itasca.

Are there other times when Leist seems to be serving as the Sheriff's attorney?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Petition for Special Prosecution (vs. Zinke)

You'll have to read Cal Skinner's McHenry County Blog a little later (maybe after 1:00PM) to know what happened in Judge Meyer's court this morning.

I was there for the first step in Case No. 12MR000459, the request by Sgt. John Koziol for a Special Prosecutor to investigate Undersheriff Andy Zinke for allegedly divulging confidential information in a DEA investigation to Brian Goode, President of RITA Corporation.

But I don't have a clue what happened. I saw Cal taking notes. Judge Meyer called all cases that were uncontested or negotiated. Attorneys strode up to the bench, lips moved on the faces of the attorneys, Judge Meyer nodded and spoke, and attorneys left and others approached.

I did not hear Judge Meyer call the case involving Sgt. Koziol's request.

I did see MCSD EEO Officer Don Leist in the courtroom and guessed he was there to observe what was going on. I wondered why he stepped forward to the tables reserved for attorneys and why he crossed the courtroom and sat down in the jury seating area, an area normally reserved for overflow seating for attorneys involved in cases.

While Leist is an attorney by education and by registration with the Illinois ARDC, he is not the attorney for the Sheriff's Department. He is a civilian employee of the Sheriff's Department who just happens also to be an attorney. At one point Leist walked over the the attorney's table and engaged in a conversation with an attorney, while court was in session. Leist belonged seated in the general courtroom seating, just like every other observer there.

Hello? Where was the bailiff's attention? Are bailiffs ordered by their judges not to confront attorneys who fail to remain quiet in the courtroom or who sit in attorney seating, when they are not involved in a case?

In what I think may have been Koziol's case, there was some quiet discussion at the bench about something that was negotiated yesterday. Assistant State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally was at the bench, presumably representing Zinke, if that was Koziol's case that was actually being heard.

You know? When you can't hear because attorneys and the judge don't speak up, it's probably easy to get information wrong.

That whole matter, if it was Koziol's case, was handled in far too low a key by Koziol's attorney for anyone to expect success. There was a distinct absence of "personal power" and forceful, confident presentation. It certainly didn't need to be overbearing, but it should have been somewhere between assertive and aggressive.

I'll give today's courtroom festivities a grade of D.

Smearrrrrr..... a little early?

Don't miss this morning's lead article in the Northwest Herald. It must have been a slow news day.

Instead of hammering away on the gross error, and possible illegal act, by Undersheriff Andy Zinke, when he revealed a confidential DEA investigation to Brian Goode, president of RITA Corporation, the Northwest Herald chose to adopt a strategy in use by some deputies at the Sheriff's Department.

The law enforcement motto is "To protect and to serve".

Some say that this really means, "To protect and to serve us (meaning the deputies)" or that it means "to deflect and swerve."

The Northwest Herald, through its headline "Officer's lawyer tied to candidate" and its Page 1 article, tries to attach some importance to matters completely unrelated to Zinke's improper disclosure of a DEA investigation and today's court hearing.

So what if Jim Harrison went to law school with Jonathon Nye? A lot of students went to John Marshall Law School and became lawyers. A lot of them have stayed in the Chicagoland area.

And so what if Nye handled Harrison's divorce in 2001?

Recently the Northwest Herald came out with an edition on pink paper.

Today's should have been on yellow paper.

Let's ask Keith Nygren, "Are you still beating your wife?" Answer Yes or No. No, no explanation of the question is needed. Just answer it. Are you? Or are you not?

Pretty stupid question, right?

Or maybe asking a Northwest Herald reporter why he or she was in a bank before it was robbed? The fact that the reporter might have been in the bank 11 years earlier to make a deposit? Oh, that doesn't matter. The bank was robbed after the reporter was in the bank. Therefore ???

Today's hearing is about Zinke. That's the story!

Chamber HQ - going, going, gone?

Is the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce about to lose its building because of unpaid 2011 property taxes?

The Delinquent Tax List, published in today's Northwest Herald, includes the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce, PIN 13-05-355-022 in Dorr Township.

How much does the Chamber owe? $7,482.42

McHenry County Treasurer Bill LeFew will make application to the 22nd Judicial Circuit of McHenry County on November 13 for judgement, and then he will expose the property to Public Sale on November 19.

This is the building that got a lot of public attention just 3-4 years ago, when it was revealed that, under the leadership of prior Boards of Directors, the original mortgage of $80,000 had increased to $180,000, and the ownership was at severe risk of being lost. Instead of managing operating expenses, the Chamber borrowed on equity. Then the equity line dried up.

Oh my gosh. Am I responsible for this? Should I have dropped everything on September 28, when I received my renewal dues notice for $166.00, and rushed to the Chamber office with my check?

I didn't realize that the Chamber was so hard up for funds. When I hadn't paid by October 16th, my membership was terminated and my business name was immediately removed from the online membership list. Doing so must have saved the Chamber a lot of money. They saved $0.45 postage by not mailing me a Second Notice, and no doubt they saved money by getting my business name off the rolls quickly. Just how much do a few bytes cost for a small name/address online listing?

This Chamber could easily fix its funding problems. It ought to have 300-400 members, instead of just 220. If businesses got something for their money (such as regular mixers and worthwhile educational seminars), business owners would join and renew. If it recognized the value of "customer service" (membership services), local businesses and franchises of national companies would join - and stay. If it surveyed members (and non-members), it would find out what they want and figure out that it was important to deliver that.

Instead, it can't afford to pay its property taxes on time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Prim kicks off run for Sheriff

Bill Prim
Bill Prim fired the opening shot tonight with a tasteful launch of his campaign to win the race for Sheriff of McHenry County in November 2014. About 100 interested men, women and some children gathered at Bull Valley Golf Club, Woodstock, for a meet-and-greet with Bill and his campaign staff.

Bill made a brief introduction of his campaign platform and drew several rounds of applause.

If elected, Bill intends to create a "world-class sheriff's department", including an Internal Affairs Division. He said he'll repair the relationship with the McHenry County State's Attorney "in a matter of moments". He believes in transparency and will invite the public into his operations.

For more information, visit or contact his campaign via or phone at 847.787.7566

Comment tomorrow on NWH Zinke case

You'll be able to comment online tomorrow after court time on the Northwest Herald's articles on the beans spilled by Undersheriff Andy Zinke in the DEA case.

About a year ago the Northwest Herald changed its policy to one that does not permit comments until a case actually made it into a courtroom.

In this case (12MR000459) Judge Thomas Meyer drew the short straw. He's probably wondering how he got so lucky.

He'll be clear to the parties that he is not adjudging Zinke's guilt. The matter before him is whether to appoint a Special Prosecutor.

Think back to when he was asked to appoint another Special Prosecutor. He was careful to draw the line in the sand and to say that his decision was not based on whether or not he thought Sheriff Nygren had broken the law. Judge Meyer ruled that he wasn't going to appoint a Special Prosecutor to go after Nygren. I understood him to say that he thought the State's Attorney could, but the State's Attorney decided he wasn't going to.

The Northwest Herald article in this morning's paper, written by Sara Sutschek with contributions from Kevin Craver, went soft on that case against Nygren. Some would say, "as expected". In referring to the request by Zane Seipler for a special prosecutor to investigate Nygren, the article said the legal action was because Nygren had used the same seven-point star (badge) in both official capacity as sheriff and in campaign literature.

Nice try, but that wasn't it. The Northwest Herald omitted the real basis for Zane's action, which was allegations of "theft, official misconduct and misappropriation of (County) funds."

You owe $141,000 on national debt

On the DenverPost website today is an ad for Jason Plummer, U. S. Congressional candidate in (Illinois) District 12.

"How much does every taxpayer owe on the national debt? $141,xxx." That ad is paid for by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce!

Why is it on the Denver Post website?

How come that ad isn't running in Illinois???

Why Koziol removed from narc. det. unit?

Why do you suppose Sgt. John Koziol was removed from a long-time assignment to narcotics? And when did that happen? Who ordered him out of narcotics? Did his supervisor, Lt. Popovits, stand up for him?

Did Koziol ask to be transferred from narcotics? Under duress? Was he told to leave narcotics "or else"?

As I've said, I don't know Koziol. I wouldn't recognize him, if he knocked on my door. So, whatever I write isn't coming from him.

He must have still been a detective in narcotics in July, when he was on the DEA task force in Rockford. That's when he learned that a drug shipment was headed for the company in Crystal Lake owned by a man on the Sheriff's Merit Commission. That's when he reported the case to Undersheriff Zinke.

Did he start letting off steam after Undersheriff Zinke revealed to the president of a suspect company that the DEA knew about drugs headed to the RITA Corporation in Crystal Lake?

Unless Koziol is good at the poker table, his displeasure at Zinke's indiscretion, and possible criminal act, was probably clear at the outset.

He must have had to make a run for the First Aid cabinet for a band-aid for his tongue, right after running into Zinke and Brian Goode in the Sheriff's Department parking lot.

How is McHenry County going to protect its deputies who, in the future, uncover wrongdoings that might implicate friends of higher-ups in the Sheriff's Department?

Open letter to MCSD

The following email has been sent to the McHenry County Sheriff's Department:

"Dear Deputy Knop and all other MCSD employees handing media announcements:

"Please inform me in advance of all media events involving the McHenry County Sheriff's Department and the DEA case involving RITA Corp., Sgt. Koziol, Undersheriff Zinke and Sheriff Nygren.

"Please email me at

"Please text me at 8479717083

"Thank you."

Koziol - disgruntled? Not?

Undersheriff Zinke says Koziol is a disgruntled employee.

Why am I hearing from so many employees of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department that Koziol is not a disgruntled employee?

I don't know Sgt. John Koziol. To my knowledge, I've never heard from him, had a conversation with him or been anywhere near him.

What choice did Koziol have, when he realized the DEA investigation had been compromised by Zinke? Was he supposed to go to Zinke and complain? Complain to Sheriff Nygren?

Koziol couldn't even complain to District 2 of the Illinois State Police. It doesn't have the best track record (at least, with me) for keeping the name of an informant confidential.

Koziol will be ostracized within the Department. And he shouldn't be. He stood up for what many good employees in the McHenry County Sheriff's Department stand for. They may not stand "up" for it; they know the risk to their careers in doing so.

Where did the drugs come from that were enroute to RITA Corporation? How many other truckloads of illegal drugs are known to have been headed for RITA Corporation?

Why would Brian Goode be in the Sheriff's Department parking lot with a fistful of company records to talk to Zinke in July? "I told Brian everything." How did Sgt. Koziol keep his composure? Or did he?

Be sure to read Nygren's blaming statement about Koziol in today's Northwest Herald. Nygren didn't express outrage at Zinke's alleged compromising of the DEA investigation. It's certainly "safe" for Nygren to say that he "can gladly answer any questions" after the DEA closes its case.

When is the last time that Nygren did anything "gladly", other than laugh when that $12,000 hit his checking account each month while he was vacationing in Wisconsin or Florida?

Here's what must change. When a sheriff's deputy is assigned to an inter-governmental task force, such as Koziol was, and criminal activity in his own department is suspected, that deputy must be relieved of his department's requirement to report it to his supervisors, up to and including the top dog in the department.

What if Koziol had not been so required, and what if the suspicions of the DEA are true?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Here's $5,000 - thankyouverymuch

RITA Corp., 850 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, Ill.
Whatever would possess Undersheriff Andy Zinke to reveal to Brian Goode, President of RITA Corporation in Crystal Lake, that a large shipment of cannabis was headed there?

If some doper on the truck dock is going to hide 4,000 pounds of marijuana in the back of his Honda Civic after work, Goode wouldn't know about that, would he?

7/13/12 Zinke tells Brian Goode about confidential DEA investigation.

9/18/12 $1,000 political donation to Zinke from Reliance Tool & Mfg, Elgin.
9/18/12 $1,000 political donation to Zinke from Home State Bank, Crystal Lake
9/18/12 $5,000 political donation to Zinke from R.I.T.A. Corp., Crystal Lake

What coincidence would there be in the same reporting date for three donations to Zinke's political fund? Was that date chosen for convenience, or was it the actual date on which the donations were received by the Citizens to Elect Zinke campaign, which uses RITA Corporation for its mailing address?

And why does the Schedule A-1 for the Campaign show a "Received" stamp at the State Board of Elections with the date "Sep 17 2012", but the Schedule A-1 is dated 9/18/12?

Of course, there is no connection between the leak of information in July and the five grand donated in September. No connection! Right?

Zinke must go today

The filing of the Notice of Motion and Petition to Appoint Special State's Attorney to investigate Undersheriff Andy Zinke deserves an immediate reaction by Sheriff Keith Nygren.

Does anyone know where Nygren is?

The Law Offices of Nye & Associates, Ltd. (Jonathan D. Nye, Esq.) filed the documents today as Case number 12MR000459, based on statements of McHenry County Sheriff's Department Sgt. John Koziol.

The DEA was working a drug case this year and in July contacted Koziol, who was part of a Rockford Area task force. The DEA determined that a large quantity of drugs from Mexico were headed for the RITA Corporation in Crystal Lake. He reported this confidentially to Undersheriff Andy Zinke, who spilled the beans to Brian Goode, President of RITA Corporation, long-time friend of Sheriff Nygren, political supporter (to the tune of $50,000 over the past ten years) of Nygren, and member of the Sheriff's Department Merit Commission.

Will this be a career-ending move by Koziol?

Will he be next to follow Seipler, Schlenker and Milliman? Whistleblowers are not welcome at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, and all deputies know it.

The Petition will be first heard on Thursday, October 25, at 9:00AM in Judge Thomas A. Meyer's courtroom. He is probably wondering how he got so lucky this year. This couldn't be in a better courtroom!

When Koziol reported to the DEA agent that Zinke had let the cat out of the bag, the DEA agent, according to court papers, said, "are you fucking kidding me?"

Maybe Zinke and Pyle will be roommates in Boone County Jail? Do you think?

Explosive filing in McHenry County Court

An attorney has filed an explosive Motion in McHenry County Court that alleges that Undersheriff Andy Zinke leaked information about a confidential investigation to Brian Goode, member of the Sheriff's Department Merit Commission, long-time contributor to Sheriff Keith Nygren, and President of RITA Corporation.

Many tons of cannabis enroute to the RITA Corporation address in Crystal Lake had been uncovered by the DEA.

Still reading the Motion, which is many pages long. Watch for further information.

If true, Zinke will be out of the November 2014 race for Sheriff. And he ought to be out of a job by 5:00PM. Good going, Andy.

"Why I Carry a Gun"

Read this well-written explanation by Col. (Dr.) Benjamin Findley (USAF (Ret.)) about his reasons for carrying a gun.

What if one or more of the customers in the spa in Wisconsin last week-end had had access to a concealed weapon? And Wisconsin allows both concealed- and open-carry.

Why wasn't the wife of the killer armed? Had she warned her co-workers that her husband might go off his rocker?

Should employees be armed in a workplace? Just routinely? How nervous will the "Nellie's" get, if they see guns? (That was proven last year in a Culver's in Madison, Wisc., when a woman diner called the police to report five armed men enjoying a meal in Culver's. She was asked and correctly informed the dispatcher that the men were not causing a problem. Then the cops showed up, and the cops became the problem. All charges levied against the five men were dropped.)

I like the banner that reads, Start Seeing Motorcycles".

Maybe there needs to be a banner that reads, "Start Seeing Guns".

Why do we tolerate high gas prices?

What's the difference between Woodstock, Ill. and Fairfield, Ill.? Say, on gas prices...

Woodstock, Ill. $3.75/gal.
Fairfield, Ill. $3.06/gal.

Supply-and-demand? Taxes? Price-gouging?

Obviously, we can't drive 325 miles to fill up. But I'll bet there is something that we can do.

It doesn't do any good to complain to the kid in the convenience store who hands out the receipt when the printer has no paper. Or who gives you the paper towel when the dispenser near the pump hasn't been refilled.

And it might not even do any good to call the retailer's office or the distributor, if only a few people call.

What if we could track down the components to a local price? And what if we all decided that we'd buy from one station in, say, Woodstock, until prices go down? Maybe, like, for a month or so.

Use Gas Buddy to find the lowest gas price in your area. And help out by posting prices. You might like the Fuel Log on that site to keep you informed of the actual MPG that the ol' buggy is getting.

Air up those tires (check the spare, too) and think about a tune-up before winter. You do want your car to start every morning; right? And remember the winter-grade windshield washer fluid.

Just what does it take? 791, so far

The IDOT counter reads 791 fatalities on Illinois roadways in 2012 - so far.

The Chicago Tribune reports on an early Tuesday morning crash in Aurora, Ill., where a 15-year-old male passenger was ejected from a speeding car that crashed into a house.

Parents and Teachers: print that article and discuss it with your kids, whether they are drivers or passengers.

The boy was a rear-seat passenger and was not wearing a seatbelt. He was one of four 15-year-old boys in the car, which crashed about 1:40AM today.

So the questions ...

Why were four 15-year-olds joyriding at 1:40AM?
On a school night?
Was it the first time the driver had taken his father's car for a joyride?
Why wasn't the boy who died wearing his seatbelt?

The driver, of course, had no driver's license. Why did he take his father's car?

Why were three boys so stupid as to ride with an unlicensed driver?

Why don't parents and schools do a better job of teaching kids that they are not "bulletproof"?

After the fatal crash here on July 1, I contacted the two Woodstock High Schools to inquire about driver education and passenger safety education. That was in July. One principal did not reply. The driver's ed teacher didn't reply. The other principal replied that he'd be in touch. OK, so school has been open two months now.

Maybe he's not really going to be in touch with me.

Somebody needs to look every kid in the eye and tell them in straight-forward, no-nonsense language that, when they do stupid things, they can die. Or kill someone else. Or be seriously injured.

Playing "nice" and saying "please" aren't working too well...

Eagle vs. Big Bird

This one came my way this morning. I like it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Save the date - Nov. 18

The third annual dinner and silent auction of Jail Brakers will be held on Sunday, November 18, from 4:00-7:00 PM at the Woodstock Moose Lodge, 406 Clay Street, Woodstock.

Jail Brakers is a Illinois not-for-profit and Federal 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to providing support to families who are experiencing the separation of a loved one due to incarceration.

A donation of $20.00 will enable them to continue their mission to help families cope with the stigma associated with incarceration. In addition to offering hope, this support group aims to prevent inter-generational cycles of crime and reduce recidivism.

The group is in need of donations of turkeys and silent auction items. Join in for a fun time. Don't miss out on their famous Turkey Bingo and door prizes.

Last year many silent-auction items were very suitable for holiday gifts, so think ahead about taking care of your early shopping as well as having a good time and helping a great cause.

For more information, contact via

Before you vote ...

The threat to freedoms in the USA is real. Every day we read about the drug cartels invading the USA. Fast-and-Furious is "old" news now, but it still belongs on the front page of U.S. newspapers.

Look at the pictures of the fire power that the "bad guys" have. Maybe, instead of buying a Glock .40 or a Colt .45, we should all be buying AK-47s.

Who is trying to weaken the U.S.A?
Barack Obama?
Hillary Clinton?
Eric Holder?

Before you vote in the November 6 General Election, visit and watch the five short videos there.

There's another, a compilation of the five, that can be viewed here:

Watch those short videos before you vote. If you don't watch all of them, at least watch some of them.

Never, never give up

This one came from the "Go For No!" email that shows up regularly in my in-box:

"The very first company I started failed with a great bang.

"The second one failed a little bit less, but still failed.

"The third one, you know, proper failed, but it was kind of okay. I recovered quickly.

"Number four almost didn't fail. It still didn't really feel great, but it did okay.

"Number five was PayPal."

- Max Levchin, former CTO of PayPal

Like it? Want to know more? Visit  Sign up for the free e-newsletter.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I'm not drunk

I'm not drunk. I'm driving home. Ain't nobody drivin' my pick-up truck.

So said Bibb County (Georgia) Superior Court Judge Howard Simms, after blowing a 0.083 at a roadside checkpoint. And they let him drive five miles home.

Both city and county law enforcement was involved, and a couple of the officers got disciplined.

And the judge? Off to rehab...


Thanks to for the tip on this story!!!

Carry concealed in McLean County?

Is it legal to carry a loaded concealed weapon in McLean County, Ill.?

First, you have to figure out where McLean County is. Google it. If you are in Bloomington and Normal, Ill., then you are in McLean County.

McLean County State's Attorney Ronald C. Dozier is saying that he might not prosecute certain people who get arrested for some weapons violations. For a general idea of what he is talking about, find his August 21, 2012 media release. You might start on the County's website.

At the current time his media release can be viewed here. If you are planning to carry concealed in that County, read the release carefully.

And the next State's Attorney in McLean County may feel differently.

And note that it will not keep you from being arrested. If the McLean County Sheriff, his deputies, or the Chiefs of Police and/or officers believe you have violated the law, you are probably going to be arrested. State's Attorney Dozier then may or may not prosecute you. But you'll need a lawyer and bond money and a deep pocket to fight the charges. And then to get your record expunged, if you are not prosecuted or are not found guilty.

Support the NRA and ISRA in fighting for us to be able to lawfully carry concealed weapons. Your financial support is important. If you don't know how to join those organizations, contact me.

How long has Beth been gone? 129 weeks

Beth Bentley, then 41, vanished on May 23, 2010. That's 129 weeks. Without a trace.

When was the last time you read a media release from the family or the Woodstock Police Department about her? Six months? A year? Longer?

I believe that Beth did not voluntarily vanish. So, what happened to her?

Did she know something that someone did not want talked about? What could that have been?

When she supposedly left for a week-end getaway with her co-worker, friend and financial beneficiary, Jennifer Wyatt, Beth reportedly took only summer clothing for the few days away. She was not known to take a large sum of cash with her. Her primary phone and credit cards reportedly show no usage since that May 23.

Beth apparently told her husband, Scott Bentley, that Jenn and she were going to Wisconsin. However, Beth rented a car and supposedly Jenn and she drove to Mount Vernon, Ill. on the night of May 20, 2010. Did they? Three people know. Jenn knows. Brothers Ryan and Nathan Ridge know. They know because supposedly Beth and Jenn showed up at their house in Mount Vernon after 330 miles of driving.

The cell phone records of Beth, Jenn, and Ryan are very revealing. There is a story there from the pattern of phone calls and text messages. And the frequency of calls at unusual times. Example: why were there so many attempts by Jenn to reach Ryan on Sunday morning, almost like she was in a panic to reach him?

And from the absence of calls. You'd think there would have been calls late that Thursday night, as Beth and Jenn drove to meet Ryan and Nathan.

Some have suggested that they all had other phones. Those throw-away phones. Pre-paid phones. Think so?

And what's the story with Beth's camera? In whose possession was that camera? For how long? Why? Did the police get a chance to examine it and view the images from that camera? Where is the camera now?

Somebody is going to break one of these days. There are people who know what happened to Beth. Even now is not too late for increasing pressure on them to reveal more about what they know.

Did any patterns change? Did anyone leave Woodstock? Whose time could not be accounted for on that week-end? Who missed work? Anyone get a ticket between Woodstock and Mount Vernon that week-end that would establish their location?

The Woodstock (Ill.) Police Department may still be the lead investigating agency. Chief Lowen said quite awhile back that the Illinois State Police was involved. FOIA requests were denied, citing an ongoing investigation. Wyatt was arrested earlier this year on two felony charges related to Beth's disappearance, and then her case was through out. I wonder if there is still an "ongoing investigation" in this Missing Person case, as Woodstock Police still call it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

CWP and the State of Maine

Now here is a modern approach to concealed weapons permits (CWP).

In the State of Maine, the town of Kennebunk (in the news recently for another reason) posts complete information on its website regarding applications for a concealed weapons permit.

That information includes this paragraph: "Per Maine State law, a gun safety course must be taken prior to receiving a CWP. If you are renewing a CWP that was issued prior to April 15, 1990, you are exempt from this requirement. As well, individuals with prior military service are also exempt; however, a copy of a DD214 must be supplied."

And the fee: a whole $35.00.

Imagine that!!!

Guns and girls

Why should you teach your kids about guns?

Check out this story about a 12-year-old Oklahoma girl.

She was home alone, when an intruder broke in. She phoned her mother, who told her to get the gun and hide.

So here was a 12-year-old who knew how to handle a firearm responsibly.

Teach your kids now.

Help a Heart on Oct. 25

Like to help a woman who needs a new heart?

A fundraiser for Alicia Weber, of Spring Grove, is scheduled for Thursday, October 25, 5:00-9:00PM, at The Shores of Turtle Creek, 7908 Winn Rd., Spring Grove. Plan to donate $10 at the door and expect to find a cash bar, entertainment and appetizers.

See today's article in the Northwest Herald.

And visit for more information.

Donations can be mailed to Alicia Weber "Hope For a New Heart", c/o Harris Bank, 1310 S. Route 12, Fox Lake, IL 60020.

Hey, if you needed a new heart, would you want others to help you?

Ill. State Police and speeding

On September 28 I emailed Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau to tell him about my experience driving on that morning on the Illinois Tollway from Huntley to O'Hare and back.

Speeders in the eastbound 45MPH work zone were traveling about 62MPH. On the flip side, westbound, in the 55MPH zone drivers were traveling an estimated 70MPH, with some as high as 75-85MPH.

Yesterday a sergeant in Springfield responded on behalf of Director Grau, leading off with "The ISP strictly enforces all of our “Fatal Four” traffic offenses – speeding, driving under the influence, failure to wear seat belts, and distracted driving when observed." (It used to be the Fatal Five; tailgating and improper lane usage have been replaced by distracted driving.)

" ... strictly enforces ... speeding..", eh? Not so!

A strict enforcement of speeding would be, in my opinion, 1) zero tolerance for speeders and 2) obeying speed limits themselves.

How many times have you been passed by a Trooper traveling 10-15MPH over the speed limit, no red lights or siren, just going down the road and leading a long line of cars also speeding?

If Troopers themselves began obeying speed limits, this would go a long way to turning the tide in Illinois (and elsewhere) and restoring obedience to posted speed limits.

I support the use of PhotoRadar, not only in work zones (where the State Police must warn drivers with signs that PhotoRadar is in use), but on all Illinois highways, especially the Tollway, the Dan Ryan and the Edens and the Kennedy. Put cameras about every 3-5 miles. This way, a speeder will collect 2-3-4 tickets within minutes.
By the way, failing to wear a seatbelt is not a "cause" of a fatality and should not be listed in the Fatal Four (or Five). Failure to wear a seatbelt often results in a fatality, when a serious crash occurs as a result of speeding, DUI, distraction, etc. but, in and of itself, it is seldom a cause of a crash.

Friday, October 19, 2012

District 1 - dangerous for campaign workers

Got a call at 6:13PM about two political campaign workers in District 1 who were assaulted tonight.

When they went to a door on the east side of the Fox River and about seven blocks south of Algonquin Road and rang the bell, they were greeted ("greeted" must not be the right word) by the homeowner, who smelled of beer. He assaulted the man and then hit the campaign worker's wife. They left the property quickly. (Maybe the ringing doorbell interrupted Wheel of Fortune or something.)

They dialed 9-1-1, and an Algonquin Police officer showed up. But he was uncertain of the jurisdiction and whether the address in question was actually in the Village of Algonquin or in McHenry County, and he refused to go to the door of the man who committed the assaults. The officer parked down the street and apparently told his dispatcher to notify the Sheriff's Department.

No deputy had yet arrived, and I suggested that the person contacting me call the Sheriff's Department directly and get an ETA of the deputy. And, if it was going to be very long, to request the dispatcher to seek assistance from Algonquin and have the Algonquin officer return. A deputy finally showed up about 7:00PM.

Be careful going to doors, even if you are in your own neighborhood. And, if you are assaulted or threatened, go immediately to a safe place and dial 9-1-1.

The elderly couple are at Sherman Emergency Care and being treated at this time. Hopefully, the deputy is back at the residence where it happened and taking the perp into custody.

Chicago - the carnage continues

When will Chicago wake up?

When will its Mayor figure out what to do?

When will the Police Superintendent get it figured out?

An 18-year-old senior was shot to death during a robbery this afternoon outside a private school, contracted by Chicago Public Schools, in the southeast "war zone".

Banner Academy South High School is located at 2330 E. 99th St., Chicago. The student resisted five robbers and was shot at about 3:40PM.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Chicago is the city that wants to tax law-abiding gun owners on weapons' and ammo purchases. They can't figure out that the law-abiding citizens are not the ones causing problems.

Their way isn't working. Why won't they try concealed-carry and see if that works? Let's arm students and teachers, too.

Slick's discipline remains out-of-sight

For the present time, the disciplinary records of McHenry County Sheriff's Department Deputy Jason ("Slick") Novak remain locked away at the Sheriff's Department and out of the public's view. Is this right?

How are internal investigations at the Sheriff's Department handled?

The sheriff's department did nothing wrong in its investigations of Novak, according to the Northwest Herald article on October 19. The denial was attributed to Michael Combs, Assistant State's Attorney and Chief of the Criminal Division.

The State's Attorney's Office is the legal representative of the Sheriff's Department. Many believe the relationship between Sheriff Nygren and State's Attorney Lou Bianchi is more than a little strained. But the fact is that the State's Attorney's Office represents the Sheriff's Department. What else could Attorney Combs say?

A lawyer always denies wrong-doing by his client. So the statement is really superfluous. But it looks good in print.

I fell out of my chair laughing, when I read, "If she's (the Confidential Informant) thanking them for their work, then that proves that the sheriff's department's investigation was on the level."

A little action on Novak's couch in the middle of the night? That was on the level?

Hundreds (how many? 600? More? Many more?) of text messages and many hours of telephone calls between Novak and the C.I.? That was on the level?

And to which investigation is Attorney Combs referring? The drug investigation that led to Branham's arrest or the investigation into any wrongdoing to Det. Novak?

Novak got ten days off without pay and was transferred from detectives to patrol. He wasn't "busted" from Detective to Deputy. He was always a deputy, just assigned to the detective division at the sheriff's department.

Was there actually a violation of criminal laws here, but the Sheriff's Department "chose" not to go after one of its own?

In another case at the Sheriff's Department involving a deputy who had sex with an informant, that deputy got only a three-day suspension.

This is how our Sheriff's Department is currently run. And this is why the next Sheriff (2014) had better come from outside the Department.

Why wasn't Sheriff Nygren outraged by this behavior of a deputy? Was the battery dead in his cell phone?

Thank-you cards to deputies?

This morning's Northwest Herald article explains more about the "cards" in the Branham case, about which I wrote yesterday. It seems that "Fiance" sent thank-you cards to deputies for arresting her boyfriend.

The defense had subpoenaed the cards and other information, and the State had filed a motion to quash that subpoena. Judge Prather ordered the evidence given to her for her inspection in camera. Yesterday she ordered that the cards were to be given to the defense attorney, Hal Stinespring.

Now what person sends thank-you cards to detectives after colluding with them as a Confidential Informant to get her boyfriend arrested? Hello???

And has sex with the detective to whom she is providing information that leads to the arrest?

That sexual involvement is presented in detail in the Motion by the defense that is on file with the McHenry County Circuit Court. Is it true? I guess, just because it is written in a Motion filed with the Court, it is their statement of belief. Its veracity will be determined in court.

And then there is "the dress"... Is this a "Monica Lewinsky" re-run? (No offense, Monica.)

Now, who is the Confidential Informant? She is identified as "Fiance". Today's Northwest Herald article says that "According to court documents, his (Branham's) fiance had contacted police..." Is she the Confidential Informant? Seems so. I have her name but, since it hasn't appeared in Court documents or the media, I'm not publishing it. Yet. Actually, I'm not really sure why I'm not...

The Northwest Herald doesn't provide the timeline for Trouble's rendezvous with Slick. "Trouble"? - the C.I. And "Slick"? Det. Jason Novak of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

Readers would be shocked to learn the time intervals here. They are in the public court record.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Branham case moves along

The case I was in court to watch today was the case against Christopher Branham, a Crystal Lake man arrested on charges filed after a Confidential Information provided information to a narcotics detective of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

The case (CF000426) isn't new. It was filed April 29, 2011.

Action got underway recently, when the defendant's attorney filed a Motion that contained shocking information about a sexual relationship between the detective and the informant.

The State's Attorney's office countered with a Motion to Quash a subpoena that had been sent to the Sheriff's Department.

The Sheriff's Department was ordered to respond to the subpoena but to direct the response to Judge Prather for her examination in camera; that is, for her eyes only.

Today there were winners and losers

Judge Prather granted part of the State's Motion to Quash and denied part of it. The judge turned over to defense counsel and to the State's Attorney's Office an interview with Detective Novak and the Confidential Informant, as well as "cards" that the C.I. had sent to members of the Sheriff’s Department.

Judge Prather quashed the remainder of the subpoena as irrelevant.

This case will be back in court on November 7 at 9:00AM, in Judge Prather's courtroom (304).

DISCOVER Card - great customer service

I love it when I get great customer service from a company! Today it happened - again. From DISCOVER Card - again.

When I was traveling in August, three fraudulent charges appeared on my DISCOVER Card after I used the card in a BestBuy in Annapolis, Md. I received a text alert from DISCOVER that something in their computer system had been triggered, and they had issued me a credit.

When I inspected my account online, I found two additional fraudulent charges, for a total of three.

I reported it and DISCOVER issued credits to my account and sent me a new card.

When I reconciled my next statement, I found a fourth fraudulent charge and called DISCOVER to discuss my account. Each of the three representatives was very friendly and helpful. I didn't have to tell "the whole story" over and over. When I asked to be transferred, it happened.

I recognize great service and like to be as quick to praise it as I am to be critical when I get rotten service.

Here's a good one for you.

In case people are wondering about some of the management problems at the Chamber of Commerce, here's a good example.

The Chamber spent a lot of money and time planning a golf outing for Monday, October 15.

I'm not a golfer, but isn't mid-October a little late for a golf outing?

On October 10 I showed up at 8AM for what I had been told would be a Membership Committee meeting, only to find out the meeting had been changed to October 11 at 3:30PM. I felt like a very un-valued member, since I had asked when the meeting would be and had been told only a week before - but not told it was changed.

The golf committee was to meet at 8AM, although at 8AM no one was there.

The Golf Outing event remained on the Chamber's homepage through Monday, October 15.

But today, when I visited the Chamber's Facebook page to "Unlike" it, I found that my previous "Like" had already been changed. Bash, bash, bash...

And I found a notice on the Chamber's Facebook page, dated October 11, that "We have been informed by the Bull Valley Golf Club that they have cancelled the Chamber outing scheduled for today (emphasis added) due to weather." Below the "notice" was the announcement for the Golf Outing, which read that the date of the Golf Outing was Monday, October 15.

No, it wasn't scheduled for October 11; it was scheduled for October 15!

Anybody else confused?

If your business is a member of the Woodstock Chamber, be careful, very careful, about suggesting that the leadership is doing anything wrong. You too might find yourself kicked out of the Chamber unilaterally by the President and Executive Director.

Hear ye! Hear ye!

"All rise ... Judge Prather presiding." Then the Judge: "Be seated."

No problem hearing that this morning in Judge Prather's courtroom. After that, it was "iffy".

In most cases, Judge Prather spoke in her usual, clear, firm, loud-enough tone of voice, so that she could be heard in the courtroom.

In some of the cases, the attorney spoke almost loudly enough to be heard in the courtroom.

Now, if the other attorneys had kept quiet (those standing by the tables or the railing), then more of what was said at the bench could have been heard.

And then came the case I was there to observe. An attorney approached and identified a case on the call - to the judge, that is. The State was present. The defendant was not. And Judge Prather never announced the name associated with the case, so I wasn't really sure it was.

In fact, even now I'm not sure. What I did hear her say was "Sheriff's Department" and "Motion" and "denied in part" and "continued to November 7".

How simple it would be if the judges and attorneys just spoke up in normal tones of voice. They don't have to shout and even speak loudly. Just speak in a normal tone of voice that can be heard throughout the courtroom. I wonder what their resistance is to allowing people in the courtroom to hear what is being said at the bench. It's a public courtroom in the USA, not a secret society in Russia or China.

The attention of the bailiff to the noise and conversation in the courtroom and in the entrance way should be a given. What is he there for? To keep order which, in my opinion, includes that the courtroom is to be quiet, with respect properly given to courtroom proceedings. If the "People" in the courtroom can hear, then they'll be quiet and listen.

What a concept!

Winnebago to try for concealed carry

Residents in Winnebago County (just a hop, skip and a jump across Boone County, west of McHenry County) will take a shot at gaining the right to carry a concealed weapon, according to a Chicago Tribune article this morning.

In spite of cautionary warnings from the Winnebago County State Attorney, proponents will move forward with meetings that claim the Second Amendment over-rides Illinois' very restrictive law on carrying a concealed gun.

My own opinion? Guaranteed prosecution for anyone who so carries.

However, maybe State's Attorney Joe Bruscato would issue a statement saying that he agrees with the Illinois statute and that he will not prosecute someone who is in compliance with the law.

Will he answer this question?

Can an otherwise law-abiding person carry an unloaded handgun in his "container" (briefcase, lunchbox, Jewel-Osco bag, fanny pack, zipper personal planner binder fitted with an internal holster) if he is "transporting" the gun from here to there, wherever "here" and "there" happen to be?

Unloaded is not so good as loaded, but having a weapon and ammo immediately available, when needed, is a lot better than the gun's being locked up at home miles away.

That's what the law says.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Write-in candidate at MCC

Joe Rosner was at MCC tonight for the County Executive referendum debate. Joe is a guy who knows how to smile. His whole face just lights up when he smiles.

How nice to meet someone who smiles. And smiles "big". It was nice to meet his wife, too.

Joe is a write-in candidate for the 63rd District State Representative's slot. That's the one presently occupied by Jack Franks.

For information about Joe and his campaign, go to

To vote for Joe, write in his name and be sure to blacken the circle.

DH endorses these two

Summers (L), Chirikos (R)
I ran into Scott Summers and Nick Chirikos tonight at the Patriots United-sponsored program at MCC.

Scott is a candidate for the County Board in District 6, and Nick is a candidate for the County Board in District 1.

Cal Skinner got his good article up fast on McHenry County Blog, so check there for what happened.

Mike Tryon said he thought he had been invited to be on a panel, until people started telling him recently that they were looking forward to a debate.

Jack Franks and Mike did a great job tonight, presenting their very different viewpoints about the County Executive referendum on the November 6 ballot.

Jack didn't need a microphone and could have entertained an audience at the Government Center right from the stage at MCC. The sound guy was a few seconds behind Mike and several times didn't get Mike's microphone on when he began speaking. But Mike handled it well.

You'll be able to watch a re-run on the Patriots United website at

Bad manners? Who released letter?

Check out the cease-and-desist letter on the McHenry County Blog, sent by Bob Bless' attorney to County Board District 1 challenger Nick Chirikos.

The letter (undated as reproduced on McHenry County Blog), prepared and sent by Attorney Ronald Justin of Arlington Heights to Nick, threatens Nick with legal action and is prefaced with "Notice to cease and desist".

I don't know if Attorney Justin does his own typing or if he needs to hire a new secretary. The heading of the letter indicates the letter is to "Nick Chirikos" and the salutation reads, "Dear Mr. Nick Chirikos". The letter contains no reference as to whether it was mailed by U.S. First Class Mail, FedEx'ed, e-mailed, faxed, sent by Certified Mail or even whether it was sent.

At 5:11PM I sent a text message to Nick that I had posted a comment on McHenry County Blog, and Nick replied that he hadn't seen the letter yet. The publication on McHenry County Blog got him by surprise.

I know Nick. I believe that he would not speak ill of a person in an election campaign. I believe Nick would not libel or slander anyone. He's a businessman, and no doubt he understands the consequences of such action.

Now, what if he has accurate information about a candidate running against him. If the information were significant to the campaign and of a type that the voters should know about, this is another story.

Attorney Justin threatens to "... file suite [sic] for slander and libel ..." File "suite"? Now, that's sweet, isn't it?

The Daily Herald endorsed Nick, along with Anna May Miller and Yvonne Barnes. The paper endorsed on three of the five candidates. It did not endorse Bob Bless "because of 'a pending ethics investigation by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission',” according to an October 16th article on McHenry County Blog. (Just as a defendant is innocent in court until proven guilty, innocence before the ARDC should be presumed.)