Sunday, September 29, 2013

ObamaCare - a better mousetrap?

Watch this video about ObamaCare.

Remember that book, Who Moved My Cheese?

ObamaCare is not about that.

Are you sniffing around the cheese on the mousetrap? Still think it's a good deal for your kids to stay on your health insurance until they are 26? Or that pre-existing conditions will disappear?

I was in the insurance business for 18 years. You can't just give higher-risk people the same rate for insurance as you give healthy people. It just doesn't make sense.

Somebody has got to pay for it.

So this video is a pitch. Stick it out.

Do you buy U.S.-made?

Well, do you? Or do you buy the cheapest? Cheapest-made or lowest-price?

I read something in Reader's Digest back in the 1970s and cut it out and saved it. I saved it for years, and then it got away from me. It was a short, very short piece that spoke about just this. It referred to Americans' wanting "the best value", "the most for their money" and, at the same time, it referred to what the cost was going to be in jobs. There was a specific reference to telephone services through AT&T.

Forty years later, look where we are.

Let's start paying attention, every time we buy, to just where the product was made. Was it actually manufactured in the U.S.A.? Look on the packaging. Read the fine print.

Buy 5% more American-made products. And, as the presenter says, share the video with at least two people.

Beth Bentley - gone 175 weeks now

Beth Bentley has been missing for 175 weeks. Beth, 41 when she vanished, was a Woodstock resident - wife, mother, law office employee, friend of many, financial benefactor of some, traveling companion of Jennifer Wyatt on that fateful week-end of May 20-24, 2010.

Beth and Jenn had reportedly left Woodstock on a Thursday night and driven to Mt. Vernon, Ill. Details of the week-end have never been released by the Woodstock Police Department, which claims to be the primary investigating agency, because she was reported missing to them.

According to the Woodstock Police in old news, other agencies were also involved - Mt. Vernon and Centralia PDs, the Jefferson County (Ill.) Sheriff's Department and the Illinois State Police.

That's a lot of horsepower for virtually no results.

What really happened to Beth? Did Jenn really drop her off near the Amtrak Station in Centralia, Ill. on Sunday, May 23, 2010, about 6:00PM.

Does Jenn really have no idea whom Beth was to meet or how Beth was to get back to Woodstock, where Beth's car had been parked in Jenn's garage?

Why did Beth rent a car and what roads did they take to Mt. Vernon? Why did Beth leave the rental car with Jenn, who did not have a valid driver's license (Jenn's California driver's license had expired in November 2009)? What time did Jenn leave Mt. Vernon on Monday to re-connect with Beth?

After Jenn was ticketed in June 2010 (after Beth's disappearance) for no valid driver's license in McHenry County, how did she come up with a valid driver's license to show the Assistant State's Attorney (ASA) on that ticket? She had showed a McHenry County deputy an expired California license at the time she was ticketed. She blew off her first court date but, when she showed up for her second court date, she miraculously had a valid Illinois license.

But was it really valid on the date when her ticket was issued? Or was it issued after the date of her ticket and misread by the ASA in court?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Apologies for blog ads

My apologies to readers for some of the raunchy ads being placed on my blog by Google Ads. I have no control over the ads they choose and, if they don't clean up their act, I'll cancel my use of the advertising.

Your clicks on these ads provide small remuneration to me, which I appreciate; I have no idea how the content is selected.

Please let me know if you find any ad objectionable, and I'll forward your complaint to Google.


New sign at Sheriff's garage

The McHenry County Sheriff's Garage is sporting new signs at the entrance to its garage facility on Russel Court.

The last time I was by there, it was to photograph the squad car of a deputy who ran off Dean Street early one Monday morning. He reportedly indicated that a deer ran out in front of him, but it appeared to me that the car had just drifted off the road, rather than swerving off.

The crash report was one of the most simplistic I have read. It was basically worthless. It was an excellent example of how NOT to write a Crash Report, because it was impossible to learn anything important about the crash.

While I was there photographing the squad car, I was asked what I was doing, and I explained my reason. The deputy who asked me was polite and accepted my answer.

But now they have claimed the property and marked it with this warning. I wonder what force of law the sign actually has. Can a department of the County actually draw a line in the grass and threaten anyone who crosses it with arrest?

It is County property. It's a parking lot. It is taxpayer-supported. I wonder if the restriction was approved by the County Board.

Questions, questions, questions....  Answers to follow.

THIS will stop shootings in Chicago!

I'm not sure why, but every day I check the Chicago Tribune for news of recent shootings. And every day I am not disappointed. Except I am outraged!

One of the headlines this morning? "9 wounded in overnight shootings across Chicago" In the story: "Someone inside a dark car fired shots toward a group standing on a sidewalk, hitting the four."

What will stop these shootings? The cops can't be everywhere. Cleaning up the mess later by looking at street surveillance videos is not good enough.

Here's what will stop the shootings... when the punks have to be afraid that people on the street on going to start shooting back!

What if the shooter in the "dark car" had to worry that, by the time the car got to the end of the block, people on both sidewalks would be pumping lead into the car?

It would take about 48 hours for word to spread around Chicago that drive-by shootings are unhealthy for the shooters!

The People of Chicago can thank their Democrat state legislators (Representatives and Senators), their Aldermen, and their Mayor and Police Chief for the continued shootings. They can thank Rep. Ann Williams and Rahm Emanuel and Garry McCarthy and many others. Maybe there ought to be a rolling Wall of Shame on a truck driving around Chicago with these names and their pictures on it. They blocked concealed carry for a long time, and they are still dragging their heels. Illinois and Chicago should have not only concealed carry, but also have open carry.

Didn't McCarthy say his officers will shoot any citizen who turns around with a gun? What if it's a law-abiding citizen who just shot a vicious criminal? Yes, officers must be cautious and careful. But McCarthy had better train and direct his officers properly!

Chicago has become America's War Zone. Where's Obama? He's got his nose stuck in the air and is looking at Syria, when he ought to be paying attention right here at home.

Friday, September 27, 2013

What's up in Gonigam v. Nygren (FOIA case)?

I didn't go to court yesterday to watch the shenanigans in the malingering and evasive tactics being thrown around at 2200 N. Seminary in Pete Gonigam's case against the McHenry County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff Keith Nygren.

Pete, as publisher of, is trying to pry loose, via FOIA, the 100-page "investigative report" of MCSD EEO officer Donald Leist into the "extraordinary police work" (my words) of Undersheriff Andy Zinke, when he revealed to Brian Goode, President of RITA Corporation in Crystal Lake, that illegal drugs were headed to RITA Corporation from Texas.

Judge Meyer isn't letting much grass grow under his feet on this case. He must have tossed the "Continued for 30 Days" rubber stamp into the trash can. Take a look at the frequency of court dates... Judge Meyer is getting everybody back in court every week, instead of every month.

All those "Status-Attorney" court dates are the haranguing that's going on trying to resolve the question of who will represent Nygren and Leist. Nygren and Leist don't want the McHenry County States' Attorney to represent them, because Lou Bianchi is backing Zinke's opponent in the Republican Primary, Bill Prim.

Leist apparently thinks (wrongfully, in my opinion, if he does so think) that Bianchi wouldn't represent them fairly. I believe Bianchi would represent Nygren and Leist fairly and also that Nygren and Leist wouldn't like Bianchi's fair and correct legal advice. They don't want the Illinois State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office to represent them, either.

Of course, I'm biased. I think that MCSD should release the full 100-page report and let the public see the quality of the "investigation" and Leist's findings.

Look how Judge Meyer is shortening the leash. This case was before him on Thursday, and they'll be back on Tuesday! Less than a week. Maybe Tuesday at 9:30AM will be the day to be there and watch...

CASE No. 13MR000309 Filed June 18, 2013



10/01/2013 9:30AMMcHenry County Government Center201STATUS - ATTORNEYMEYER, THOMAS A    

Two officers in deep SCAT

Two Denver PD officers are in deep trouble, thanks for possible drug use and cell phone usage that didn't please superiors in the right way.

The Denver Post reports that the two officers were part of the Department's SCAT (Special Crime Attack Team), which are elite teams of hand-picked officers.

One officer was recently accused of using cocaine. Nice, huh? Think we have anything like that in McHenry County?

But what really got my attention was this one.

"Another member of one of the district's teams, Jay Whittenburg, began serving a 90-day unpaid suspension last week after he admitted to investigators that he sent sexually explicit text messages to a woman from his department-issued cellphone while on duty."

How differently a similar "problem" was handled right here in River City; errr, I mean, in McHenry County.

A deputy at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department sent and received over 1,000 text messages between a confidential informant and him - many from his MCSD (taxpayer-supported) cell phone. And there were many (hundreds?) of telephone calls, too.

What action did MCSD take? The deputy got ten days off, and then he got some over-time to make up for his pay loss. Who handled his discipline? Sheriff Nygren, who is hardly ever around? Or Undersheriff Zinke, who would like to still be around after December 1, 2014?

Maybe Zinke could speak out and say whether he objected to Nygren's going soft on that deputy, if that's what happened.

Had MCSD slapped its deputy with a 90-day unpaid suspension, it would have gone to the Merit Commission for blessing by five friendly members. They probably would have approved it, and then it would have become a public record, subject to FOIA. By keeping the discipline to "30 days or less", MCSD avoided putting the matter out to public viewing.

If you are in the in-crowd at MCSD, you will get handled by the kid gloves. If, however, you're not, you'll get fired and then have to fight to get your job back. Several of those fights are still going on, even though they don't make it into the local papers.

Rep. A. Williams fights on - against concealed carry

Rep. Ann Williams
Anyone who thought the fight for a fair concealed-carry law was
over on July 9, 2013, has another "think" coming.

Rep. Ann Williams (D-11 (Chicago)),is taking a swing at Illinois' new law for concealed carry. Is she getting ready to holler, "Move it over, Feinstein!"

The Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday that Williams wants to ban concealed carry from all places that serve alcohol. The Legislative agreed, and then over-rode the Governor's veto, to what ended up at Public Act 098-0063. It says that, if a restaurant's sales are more than 50% for food, then a concealed-carry licensee can dine there, armed. Williams wants to mess with that new law before the Illinois State Police can even start issuing licenses!

You don't see her stumping against gun violence by the gangbangers in Chicago, do you? Why not?

Want to know a little about Williams? From her State website:

Attorney; received a B.A. in Journalism from University of Iowa and a J.D. from Drake University; former Assistant Attorney General and Legislative Director for Attorney General Lisa Madigan; chair of the Illinois Green (Environmental) Caucus; lives in Chicago’s West Lakeview neighborhood.

She also is Sub-Chairperson of the House Firearms Sub-Committee. Maybe being a sub- of a sub- is a little wearing on her ego...

With that background, it's certainly no wonder that she can count herself as an anti-gunner.
 Care to contact her about her absurd stance on concealed-carry?

District Office:
1726 W. Belmont
Chicago, IL  60657
(773) 880-9082

Concealed-carry group meeting - Oct. 10


The McHenry County Right to Carry Association (MCR2CA) will present a meeting in October for members and the general public to explain the new Illinois law on concealed carry of loaded firearms. Rep. Jack Franks will be present to explain the intent of the Illinois Legislature, and general information will be available about the timetable of the Illinois State Police to announce a roster of authorized instructors, training requirements and the application process for licenses.
The meeting will be on Thursday, October 10, at 7:00PM at the Woodstock VFW, 240 N. Throop Street, Woodstock. The meeting is open to the public, and there will be no charge. 
MCR2CA is an organization of concerned residents of McHenry County, Illinois, and other areas who believe in the right to carry loaded, concealed handguns outside their homes for self-defense.
MCR2CA is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Obamacare - cost?

Are you sitting down?

"The average price for basic health coverage purchased on health insurance exchanges created by President Barack Obama's health care reform law will be $249 a month, not counting subsidies, in 48 states reviewed by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a government report published Wednesday." (Huffington Post)

Those three little words that mean so much? No longer "I love you". Now they will be "not counting subsidies".

Read the article and see how much "subsidies" will cut down that average premium. Who pays for those subsidies?

Guess ...

Casciaro - no new trial

Yesterday's result in Mario Casciaro's request for a new trial was no surprise to me. Casciaro and his attorney, Brian Telander, were arguing for a new trial on what seem to me to be a number of valid points.

Not the least of which was that Judge Prather had shut Telander down in closing arguments in the trial by telling him, in front of the jury, to "wrap it up". Did that unfairly influence the jury? Did it say to the jury that prather considered Telander's arguments as a waste of her time, the Court's time and the jury's time? Ya think?

This is the case in which Shane Lamb "knocked down" Brian Carrick inside Val's Food in Johnsburg in December 2002 and, as some believe, killed him. Yet the McHenry County State's Attorney Office arranged for Lamb to get immunity to testify against Casciaro.

More recently, Lamb was charged with Battery in a McHenry County case filed November 5, 2012, and pled out on Sept. 11th before Judge (guess who?) ...  That would be Judge Sharon Prather. And what great punishment did Lamb get? Less than $700 court costs on the two charges; no time in jail beyond the 86 days served; one-year conditional discharge.

The same Judge Prather who must have thought Lamb to be a righteous citizen deserving of immunity. Oh, barf...

Attorney Telander has solid legal arguments and, no doubt, expected Judge Prather never to admit to any errors in her courtroom. So appearing yesterday was merely a step along the legal trail, and the next stop will be the Appellate Court.

Mick Combs, Chief of the Criminal Division of the McHenry County State's Attorney Office, told the reporter for the Northwest Herald that he wasn't  surprised that Casciaro's requests would be denied. Well, no one was surprised. But did the State's Attorney Office "prevail"? Sounds nice, but Judge Prather was just protecting her courtroom, not the State's Attorney Office.

Was Casciaro railroaded? Has any defendant ever been "railroaded" in a McHenry County Court by the State's Attorney Office? I didn't attend Casciaro's trials, but I've heard the train pass through courtrooms at 2200 N. Seminary in Woodstock. Maybe that's the cause of any hearing impairment I have. A loud train whistle in a closed space is hard on those little hairs in the ears that are affected by loud noises. And by flapping arms, too.

But the legal reasoning for Judge Prather's decision yesterday sold it for me. In the words of the prosecutor, "It's a bunch of nonsense." 

Should AP reporter be disciplined? Fired?

The Northwest Herald this morning carries an Associated Press article about the arrest of four gang members in Chicago for a park shooting that wounded 13 people.

What kind a weapon was used?

1st paragrah, "an assault rifle"
3rd paragrah, "the assault rifle"
11th paragraph, "the assault rifle"

Just before the 11 last words in the story, the reporter used "AK-47-style rifle".

Ahhh, an "assault-type" rifle. A look-alike. A semi-automatic rifle - that's one where you have to pull the trigger each time you fire. Just like any other firearm (except fully-automatic weapons that require a special license to own (military, police, very, very limited other ownership).

Maybe the NRA or ISRA should haul Jason Keyser, the reporter, and his editor and the Associated Press into court for false reporting.

What to do with the four gang-bangers? It was a 20-year-old convicted felon who provided the rifle. How about 50 years in prison for him? The other three were 21, 22 and 22. How about 50 years for them, too? With no parole?

And then put their pictures on billboards all over Chicago's South Side and West Side with "Was it worth it?" That might just be enough message for more of the gang members to start waking up.

Extension Open House - Oct. 1

The University of Illinois Extension, located right here in Woodstock at 1102 McConnell Road, will hold an Open House on Tuesday, October 1, from 10:00AM until 2:00PM. Lots of free and close-in parking.

What classes/courses does the Extension offer?

You can find out by going to

For information, call 815.338.3737

Monday, September 23, 2013

HAHS - Saturday, Oct. 5

HAHS does not stand for Hang Around Horses Saturday (but it could).

The Hooved Animal Humane Society will have an open house, picnic, fun horse show and other festivities on its property at 10804 McConnell Road, east of Route 47 in Woodstock.

Gather up the kids and be at the HAHS for a good time. The horses were frisky this morning, thanks to the cool morning.

HAHS is a great place to volunteer, too. If you like raking and cleaning up after horses and other hooved animals, you'll like it here. For volunteer opportunities, see and/or call (815) 337-5563. Sorry, no riding.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Nobody wants Nygren case

FirstElectricNewspaper was back in court last Friday, and its publisher will be continuing to wear out the path to Judge Meyer's door on Thursday, Sept. 26.

It seems that no lawyer wants to lay his head on the chopping block for Sheriff Nygren (and Undersheriff Zinke) and employee Don Leist. This is in FEN's case to get the McHenry County Sheriff's Department to release Nygren's investigation into Zinke's disclosure to Brian Goode, President of Crystal Lake's RITA Corporation, that the DEA believes illegal drugs were on a truck shipment to RITA.

FEN filed a FOIA Request for Nygren's report. MCSD denied the request (guess who probably told the FOIA Officer to deny it). FEN appealed to the Illinois Attorney General's Public Access Counselor, who told MCSD to release it. Nygren refused. FEN now is asking the McHenry County Circuit Court to order Nygren to release it.

The McHenry County State's Attorney would normally represent the Sheriff's Dept. in a matter like this. Leist and Nygren believe they won't get a fair shake from Lou Bianchi's office, because Lou is supporting Bill Prim as a Republican candidate in the March 2014 Republican Primary (running against Zinke).

Of course, that is a weak position that Nygren and Leist have taken, because Bianchi is, by law, the attorney for the Sheriff's Dept. Bianchi would follow the law and ethics and give a good defense to Nygren and Leist, even though their position is indefensible.

So the game of "musical lawyers" goes on. The Illinois State's Attorneys Special Prosecutor ( was a good choice, but Leist and Nygren don't trust the advice they'd be getting from that Office. So they are shopping for an attorney who, like Burger King, will give it to them "their way".

FEN reports that "Friday (Judge) Meyer said none of five public lawyers from neighboring counties submitted by Leist and the State's Attorney's Office would agree to take the case."

There is an incredibly strong message right there about this case. Why is Nygren refusing to release the 100-page report about Zinke's paux pas regarding the DEA confidential investigation?

Zinke could, as a campaign issue, give Nygren the green light to release the report, halting the entire legal process. Why would he not do so?

How many reasons would you like?

Beth Bentley - missing 174 weeks

Beth Bentley, 41 when she went missing in May 2010, has now been missing for 174 weeks.

No information has been released by the Woodstock Police Department for over a year. Maybe for two years. Is anyone there, or anyone in Woodstock or elsewhere, doing anything to find Beth?

Would it help to examine her medical records in detail? Who could get access to her medical records, any hospitalization records and charts, any laboratory reports? While HIPAA plays a role here, it shouldn't be such an immovable roadblock to any information that could lead to Beth.

Beth is missing. She vanished, disappeared. Somebody knows what happened to her?

What if someone in her circle of family, friends, acquaintances or co-workers could provide information that would lead to finding her?

What would medical information for the months leading up to May 20-23, 2010, reveal?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Merit Commission to meet Monday

The McHenry County Sheriff's Department Merit Commission, a "public body" and a commission generally thought to be quite friendly with the sheriff (snce he selects them, subject to the consent of the County Board), has scheduled a Special Meeting for Monday, September 23, 2013, at 8:30AM. The meeting will be held at the Administrative Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock.

The meeting notice reads, "The MERIT COMMISSION has scheduled a special commission meeting on September 23, 2013 at 8:30 AM, to conduct regular business of the commission as necessary and appropriate."

Am I the only one who marvels at the wording of the meeting notice?

It's a "Special Meeting" to conduct "regular business". What's wrong with that picture?

The Open Meeting Act requires announcements and agendas to contain enough information for the public to understand what business will be transacted at a meeting of a "public body". Think this fills the bill?

If I were sitting on the Moon and trying to figure out what is going on, I'd say the Regular Meeting, scheduled for September 12, was not held and was re-scheduled to September 23. Maybe that's the case. It's impossible to tell from the County Calendar whether the September 12 meeting was not held; it's still on the schedule.

What if MCSD Lt. "Liked" Prim or Harrison?

What would happen at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department if a Lieutenant or Sergeant (or Deputy) "Liked" Republican challenger for Sheriff, Bill Prim, or Independent candidate Jim Harrison?

There are probably not enough bytes left in cyberspace to write about all the ways that deputy would be ostracized, retaliated against, disciplined, given Poor performance ratings, assigned to the stockyards at midnight (oh, wait; we don't have stockyards in McHenry County), etc. He'd be washing squad cars, not driving them.

Until now...

According to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, such a "Like" on Facebook is legally-protected speech. Imagine that...

Read the article here.

Of course, just because it is legally-protected speech, doesn't mean that any deputy at MCSD is actually going to do it.

Thanks to the reader who called this to my attention! You know who you are. (And that reader is not, and never has been, employed at MCSD.)

Who caused Starbuck's problem?

This morning's Associated Press article, printed in the Northwest Herald, explains to those who read it closely who actually created the dilemma that led to Starbuck's CEO Howard Schultz' letter yesterday that has inflamed the gun rights' groups and their members.

Near the beginning of the article the author of the AP article, reporter Candice Choi, lays the blame on those who put together "Starbuck's Appreciation Days". These were people who expressed their appreciation to Starbuck's for its policy of observing state laws regarding firearms. If the State allowed you to carry, then Starbuck's was happy for you to come in. In some areas (not in Illinois, of course) coffee drinkers showed up with guns.

The real culprit, though, is Shannon Watts and her group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. This group formed the day after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting. The Moms group has been, according to the AP article, "organizing 'Skip Starbuck's Saturdays' to urge the coffee company to ban guns at its stores."

Chicago-area Moms' members were at the February 22 Illinois House Judiciary Committee meeting in Chicago and took up more than its five-minute share of time to beat its own drum.

Committee Chair Nekritz allowed each of the three Moms to speak, rather than giving five minutes to the group of them. And then she refused to allow a man from Elgin to speak, even though he had registered in advance to speak. Maybe if he hadn't worn his NRA vest, Nekritz might have allowed him to speak.

Starbuck's has brought negative attention to itself, and CEO Schultz will be wise to move back to a neutral position of respecting state law.

And the idiots who flaunt their openly-carried guns in other states and who walk into Starbuck's with their rifles should have their heads examined. They are actually hurting the effort of law-abiding, gun rights' citizens.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A lawyer's advice

"Frank Gosser said an attorney's supposed to give his client his best advice 'even when they don't want to hear it.'"

That sentence appears in a article following Attorney Gosser's resignation as attorney for the McHenry County Mental Health Board.

The statement caused me to think about who is the attorney for the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Many people would say Lou Bianchi is. Lou is the McHenry County State's Attorney, an independent, elected official of McHenry County and not beholden to the sheriff. By law, I believe the State's Attorney is the legal counsel for a county sheriff.

So why does the Sheriff and the McHenry County Sheriff's Department spend so much money every year with the Itasca-based law firm, The Sotos Law Firm P.C.?

Could the answer lie in Attorney Gosser's statement?

If Lou Bianchi, as State's Attorney, were to give his client, the Sheriff, the best advice (that the Sheriff did not want to hear), in what position would that place the Sheriff? If the Sheriff hires his own attorney, will that attorney give him his best advice that the Sheriff wants to hear?

What would be an example of this?

Remember an arbitrator's decision that Sheriff Nygren didn't like? The Sheriff appealed to the McHenry County Circuit Court and didn't like the decision there.

So the Sheriff appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court. He didn't like their decision, either.

So he appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. It refused to hear his appeal.

How much did all that cost? Did Attorney Sotos tell Nygren that he was wasting his (our) money? Did the sheriff tell him to appeal, anyway?

Would Lou Bianchi have told the Sheriff, following Judge Meyer's decision in the McHenry County Circuit Court, "Give it up, Keith. You are not going to win."

Another example is the case of Jerome and Carla Pavlin, Crystal Lake-area senior citizens who were roughed up by deputies and who won a lawsuit against the Sheriff's Department. Charges never should have been filed against them in the first place. Once they were (March 2008), they should have been dismissed a long time before they finally were (July 2009).

I was in court on the day that they were dismissed. The Assistant State's Attorney told Mr. and Mrs. Pavlin that the charges were being dismissed "with prejudice" and then she explained to them, while still standing in front of the judge, that that meant charges were not going to be re-filed against them. Smack! Take that, Sheriff Nygren! And a Federal judge ruled that the deputies had illegally entered the Pavlin home.

I believe if the State's Attorney had gotten the full story much sooner, the charges would never have been filed or would have quickly been dropped. Instead, the Pavlins incurred substantial expense to defend themselves.

This is why McHenry County voters must elect a new face to the Office of Sheriff in November, 2014. A clean sweep at the top of the Sheriff's Department is absolutely required to restore the faith of the public and the morale of the deputies. The "gang" on the inside must be broken up. It can no longer be tolerated for deputies to break the laws and get away with it. This statement applies only to certain deputies.

Most of the deputies (male and female) are the "good guys". But they are afraid to speak out. They have watched what has happened to Zane Seipler, Scott Milliman and others. So they keep their heads down, work their shifts and get away from the Department. This must change!

Howard Shultz, Starbuck's CEO, collapses

Starbuck's has knuckled under to the anti-gunners. In a letter to the public today, CEO Howard Schultz stated that he no longer wants guns in his coffee shops. In other words, the law-abiding, armed customers are no longer wanted.

Only armed criminals need enter. Now, he didn't say quite that, but the criminals can read between the lines.

What will I do with my Starbuck's card? I've already cut it up.

I shall call Starbuck's customer service, and I shall inform the manager of every nearby Starbuck's that I used to be a customer and why I no longer shall be.

They want a boycott? They've got it.

Today! - National Cheeseburger Day

Betcha you didn't know that today (September 18) is National Cheeseburger Day! (I didn't, either.)

Thanks to emails from Famous Dave's, now I do. And you do, too.

Now the question is, what are you going to do about it?

What Woodstock restaurant has the best cheeseburger? Nominations are open.

I'll say that Culver's belongs on the list.

A little farther away, a bunch of joints on Randall Road will probably be in the running. For me, it's nothing but ribs, when I go to Famous Dave's.

And a lot farther away, for ribs you can't beat Hickory House Ribs in Aspen. Just a little too far to go for lunch today.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Sliders" in McHenry County?

Are there "sliders" in McHenry County?

Don't know what a "slider" is?

Watch this TV news report.

What can you do?

1. Take your car keys with you.
2. Lock your door while you fueling.

Pretty simple, eh?

Hanna Schacht arrested in Wisconsin

On January 15th I wrote about a plea deal in a vehicular homicide case. The article was titled "Plea deal, no jail". The driver of the car was Hanna Schacht.

Today a reader sent this: "This same woman just killed another man in Wisconsin. Drunk driving. He was a good friend. Nothing else I can say..."

Wisconsin Court records indicate that Hanna Schacht was charged in Portage County in a case filed September 16 (yesterday). Details of the case are not available yet. Madison and Chicago papers don't contain articles yet. Presumably, the Northwest Herald will find her arrest newsworthy.

Whom do we thank at the McHenry County State's Attorney Office, along with Judge Graham, for their leniency in McHenry County Court? Maybe if Judge Graham had thrown her in jail for the 120 days, instead of staying her sentence, her behavior might have changed.

Since Schacht is charged with DUI, I wonder how many of the court-ordered urine drops she successfully passed. Her next court date is January 14, at the one-year mark for her conditional discharge. Since she didn't keep her nose clean, will Judge Graham call her in and jail her? The McHenry County case is No. 12CF000457, if you want to look it up.

NOTE: The Northwest Herald now has an article about Schacht's arrest. She apparently had a 0.15% BAC after the crash.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Know about this Illinois War Memorial?

Watch this YouTube video about the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial created by a private company in Marseilles, Illinois, a small town of 5,100 located east of Starved Rock State Park. It's south of I-80, between Ottawa and Morris - about 76 miles from Woodstock.

Mark your calendars for the third week in June 2014 and consider going there for the annual memorial services. Illinois Valley Cellular is the company behind this Wall.

Thanks to the friend and reader who informed me today about this.

McHenry County style of justice

Mark Medina's stepfather has been arrested and charged with murder, according to the Chicago Tribune tonight. Medina was found dead of stab wounds on Saturday afternoon. Who called the police?

Read the Tribune article and also the article in the Northwest Herald about this outstanding family.

Medina was charged with first-degree murder in 1996, but the charge was reduced. Other records indicated he was sentenced to 15 years in Stateville Prison at Joliet.

The stepfather, Victor Lopez, 46, is cooling his heels in McHenry County Jail now. The cops knew him pretty well, too.

When do you suppose our prosecuting attorneys and the judges are going to stop plea-bargaining and start nailing some hides to the barnyard doors? I've heard it said that 95% of the people in prison were not found guilty at trial; they pled out their cases. Better to take five years than to risk 25.

If the charges are solid and the investigation was good, why not go for the 25? Hello? Think the prospect of 25 years in prison might deter others. Answer: it won't.

Just like the Administrative Tow ordinances don't keep people from driving drunk or driving without a license.

The Woodstock cops had their suspect in custody Saturday night, but they fiddled around with the news and didn't reveal the suspicion or arrest.

Woodstock needs to put up some billboards reading, "Criminals unwelcome. Get out, while the getting is good." And then make their lives so miserable that they move on.

I love America. Don't lower the flag.

I see that our Commander-in-Chief has ordered the lowering of flags for what happened at the naval yard in Washington, D.C.


I am so sick and tired of this stupid President's lowering the U.S. Flag every time some nutcase goes on a shooting spree that (redacted).

The U.S. Flag should be flown high every day. I believe there is NO reason to ever lower the U.S. Flag, except at night when it has been flown on an unlighted flag pole. If I had a U.S. Flag and a flagpole, I would refuse to lower the flag.

The act by that jerk in Washington (I mean the killer, not the C-in-C) is not - repeat, not - an act of terrorism. It sounds to me like a workplace killing.

Maybe people should be allowed to carry guns in the workplace, whether it's a Navy yard, a military base, a school, or City Hall. Then, when some nut shows up and starts shooting, somebody could shoot back.

Instead, all the knee-jerk liberals want law-abiding citizens disarmed. Well, the heck with that!

Do restaurant owners like compliments?

While I was on a three-week, 3,300-mile motorcycle trip in August to Virginia, South Carolina and central Florida, I stopped in a number of fast-food restaurants with those names that are familiar to all. Usually, you can count on the quality of the food and an acceptable level of service.

Not so on this trip.

I'd say "Sell your McDonald's stock", if restaurant food and service in Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carlina is any measure of what's ahead for McDonald's. I walked out of at least two of them, when service was so slow that I thought I'd have to cross the road and spend the night in a motel. In others, the food just was not very tasty. But I ate it, anyway, and got back on the road.

Then there was a Steak 'n Shake somewhere, and I pulled in on a very hot afternoon and sat at the counter, where I thought service might be faster than at a table. I finally got the attention of a young female employee and asked for a glass of water. After several minutes, I asked again and she said, "I thought you wanted it with your meal." I mean, there I sat, perspiring from the heat, and she thought I didn't want it right away? Then she never came back for my order, and I walked out.

Then I stopped in a Dunkin' Donuts in Port Wentworth, Georgia, and the donut was fresh and the coffee was good. An added plus was a great conversation with a man on a BMW motorcycle. Our conversation quickly got around to concealed-carry, and he mentioned that his pistol was in his pack on his bike. I warned him about Illinois, just in case he intended to head this way in the future.

And then I ate in a McDonald's in Haines City, Fla. Now there was definitely something "wrong" with that restaurant. It was clean; the staff was friendly; the food was hot. Imagine that. So I called the McDonald's customer service line and gave them an earful. A couple of days later, I received a nice phone call from the manager and, when I got home, there was a nice letter from the franchisee in Orlando.

So, when you get good service somewhere, speak up. Take care to not only thank them in the restaurant, but also to call the hotline and "report" the great service!

Zinke political email; Flag Code violation?

Has Undersheriff Andy Zinke committed a misdemeanor under the Federal U.S. Flag Code?

On September 15 his political campaign sent an email regarding his petitions to run for Sheriff of McHenry County, Ill. At the bottom of the message appears the image of the U.S. Flag. Notice that his wording is "Zinke Sheriff", not "Zinke for Sheriff".

Section 3 of the U.S. Flag Code, as described, follows:

Title 4, "§ 3. Use of flag for advertising purposes; mutilation of flag
Any person who, within the District of Columbia, in any manner, for exhibition or display, shall place or cause to be placed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawing, or any advertisement of any nature upon any flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America; or shall expose or cause to be exposed to public view any such flag, standard, colors, or ensign upon which shall have been printed, painted, or otherwise placed, or to which shall be attached, appended, affixed, or annexed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, or drawing, or any advertisement of any nature; or who, within the District of Columbia, shall manufacture, sell, expose for sale, or to public view, or give away or have in possession for sale, or to be given away or for use for any purpose, any article or substance being an article of merchandise, or a receptacle for merchandise or article or thing for carrying or transporting merchandise, upon which shall have been printed, painted, attached, or otherwise placed a representation of any such flag, standard, colors, or ensign, to advertise, call attention to, decorate, mark, or distinguish the article or substance on which so placed shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $100 or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both, in the discretion of the court. The words 'flag, standard, colors, or ensign', as used herein, shall include any flag, standard, colors, ensign, or any picture or representation of either, [Emphasis added] or of any part or parts of either, made of any substance or represented on any substance, of any size evidently purporting to be either of said flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America or a picture or a representation of either, upon which shall be shown the colors, the stars and the stripes, in any number of either thereof, or of any part or parts of either, by which the average person seeing the same without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag, colors, standard, or ensign of the United States of America"

What strikes me is that this advertising restriction appears to affect on those in the District of Columbia. Why would the national Flag Code be limited to D.C.? Why would not all persons throughout the United States be subject to the provisions and conditions of the U.S. Flag Code?

So maybe Zinke did not violate the Flag Code. In my opinion, though, he disrespects the U.S. Flag with his political advertising use of it.

Only one dead? "Suspicious"

Woodstock Police, aided by MIAT, are investigating the death of Mark Medina, 34, who was found in Woodstock on Saturday afternoon. Northwest Herald reports indicate police were summoned to the 1900 block of Sheila Street for an "unresponsive" man.

The news article's update online at 11:19PM Sunday referred to a press release sent from the Woodstock Police Department (to media) on Sunday morning. That press release does not yet appear on the PD's website.

And, according to the newspaper article, police deem Medina's death "suspicious". I guess so, if he had multiple stab and incised wounds. Am I the only one who questions whether any danger to the public exists, in the  absence of further information about who caused Medina's death?

Is there a suspect or person-of-interest?

Medina was convicted of aggravated battery with a firearm in 1996 and spent several years at Stateville State Prison. In 2011 he was convicted of a drug offense and got another year there. He is reported to have several gang-related tattoos. One unofficial website says Medina was admitted to Stateville on 1/17/12 and had a projected parole date of 1/28/12. (Does this provide a clue as to what is wrong with the penal system in Illinois?)

Yesterday I wrote that two died, after receiving information from a reader. The Northwest Herald is reporting only Medina's death; the information I received may be incorrect.

Is a body with multiple stab wounds more than "suspicious"? If the wounds weren't self-inflicted, who stabbed Medina? Where is that person? Who reported an "unresponsive" man? Were police notified by telephone?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Two dead? And no danger to public?

Woodstock residents should be relieved to read the Northwest Herald this afternoon and learn there is no danger to the public, after two died dead on Saturday afternoon.

I first received a text from an out-of-town reader about the death of Mark Medina, 34, in the 1900 block of Sheila Street, Woodstock, yesterday. Then I read the newspaper article, which said that Medina died of multiple stab wounds.

Four paragraphs down, the article stated, "Arriving officers found a man who was deceased." Is this a second dead man?

And then, ""No danger to the public is believed to exist, authorities said."

Does this mean that a suspected killer is in custody?

MIAT (Major Investigations Assistance Team) was activated. Was that because a suspected killer is at large or to analyze and investigate the crime scene?

I am reminded of the Feldkamp/Bloom triple homicide in McHenry County in June 2011, where two died from stab wounds and one from gunshot. The McHenry County Sheriff's Dept. handled that crime scene and did not even activate MIAT. Sheriff Nygren declared at a press conference less than 24 hours later what had happened, based on nearly worthless statements made by the Feldkamp son who was at the house and before any thorough investigation or analysis of the crime scene.

Failing to activate MIAT after three died meant that only MCSD deputies were involved and, after Nygren declared what happened, there is not a person on the planet who thinks any MCSD deputy would be brave enough to step forward and say, "Wait a minute! What about this? and this? and this?" There are enough holes is the so-called "investigation" to drive a Mack truck through.

Had MIAT been activated at that time, officers from various municipal police departments in the County would have combined their efforts for a thorough, independent investigation.

Used books - donate, recycle or this?

What do you do with your used books?

Do you try to donate them to the library? Will the library take them? What does the library do with them, after they accept them? You think that the library will inventory them, list them and put them on the shelves. Right? Does it? You'll have to ask.

You can donate them to the McHenry County Defenders. Then you can go into the store at the Woodstock (Ill.) Square Mall and buy them back.

You can just dump them in your trash.

Or you can do this... Visit the website for Little Free Library!

Build and "plant" your own library box in your front yard. Then others can take the books and read them. And return them, put them in other boxes, or put in their own books for other readers.

Or maybe you can get permission from City Hall to put it on public property at City Hall, at a park or at other places around town.

If you are going to put it in your front yard, you'd better ask City Hall whether you need permission. You may (or you may not).

Coloradoans recall 2 over gun positions

I was in Colorado last week on election day (September 10) for recall votes on two State elected persons, State Sen. (and Colorado Senate President) John Morse and State Sen. Angela Giron. The two became unpopular with voters over their stands on gun-control issues.

Anyone who thinks long-time Illinois State Representative (and Speaker of the House) Mike Madigan and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton can't be dumped is nuts. All it takes is to educate the public and get the public mad enough to dump them. Madigan has had a lock on Illinois for 27 years, and look at the mess this state is in. Of course, it isn't only his fault. He gets lots of help from like-minded elected reps.

Maybe, during the next election, voters will start to connect the dots.

And maybe the same connection will be made right here in McHenry County, especially in the race for Sheriff.

Do the voters really have any idea how low the morale is at the Sheriff's Department? And why?

It is critical to change the top command at the Sheriff's Department. Since recall is not an option, election day is the only possibility. The first critical election will be the Primary Election in March 2014. Find someone circulating a petition for Bill Prim, the Republican challenger to Andy (the Finger) Zinke. And start now to persuade all Republicans to vote for Bill Prim in March.

After that, voters can then choose between Prim and Jim Harrison, an Independent candidate for Sheriff. Harrison will not be on the Primary ballot. All his efforts will be focused on winning in the General Election. At this time no Democratic candidate for Sheriff has been identified.

The Number One reason to push Zinke into retirement (or employment elsewhere) is that Sheriff Nygren wants Zinke to succeed him. I'll always remember a remark that Nygren made to me in a meeting in his office. Nygren told me he "had to drive 20MPH over the limit in Wisconsin, just to keep up with traffic."

Nygren had to know my stand on speed limits and that I had caused 8-10 drivers to appear in court on traffic charges and that every one (at that time) had been convicted. Why would a sheriff tell a citizen that he was a speeder? I could think of only one reason - that he considered himself above the law. And Nygren's speeding ticket in Wisconsin in January 2012 was proof of that for me.

Total cost of traffic ticket

$235 in court costs and fees for a $50 ticket? Would you be mad, too?

A reader wrote to me recently about the shaft delivered by the McHenry County Circuit Court during a settlement of a Bull Valley speeding ticket.

"I just came home from court to 'google' Why the heck I just paid $250 in court cost. For a $50 speeding (minor/reduced) ticket.

"I read your article and would like to thank you for the information on who to send my complaint to. I am guilty of my crime. I made a mistake. I though going to court and paying for the fine, missing work  was punishment enough.  How I paid for clerk $15, court automation fee $15, Court Doc fee $15, Electronic Citation (?) $5, Mental Health Court fine (what is this stuff??) Drug court fine (? for a speeding ticket?) $5, Court Fee $5, Court Security Fee $25, Court Supervision Bull Valley $35, Attorney fee Bull Valley (why when I plead guilty?) $25, States Attorney auto $5, Child Advocacy Center Fine (?) $13 PTF-10 TR/CR Surcharge (clueless) $20 Fine Bull Valley Here's my reduced fine of $50! State Police OP Assistance $15. 

"I know you aren't the guy I need to complain to I just hope more awareness is brought to this BULLcrap in BULLvalley!"
If you get a ticket and are cited into the Circuit Court in Woodstock, be fore-warned of the possible financial consequences.

If you appear in court to plead Guilty, you WILL be assessed an outrageous amount of court costs and fees, in addition to the fine. The judge will set the fine. And a number of judges explain that they do not set the court costs and fees. The costs and fees are set by the Illinois Legislature and the McHenry County Board. Often, judges will reduce fines, because they know you are going to get it socked to you at the Payment window. And that you don't realize just how outrageous the costs and fees will be until you get to the Payment window. Some judges even tell defendants not to be mad at them or at the women who work at the Payment window.

The only reason to appear in court is to plead your case and to try to be found Not Guilty. Otherwise, pay the ticket in advance. Do not go to court to pay your ticket fine. Read your ticket. Ask questions well before your Court Date. (And do you think the cops know you probably won't fight a ticket?)

If you are going to plead Guilty, or if you decide to because you think you can't win in court, then bite the bullet and fork over the $120. That's a smaller bullet than a fine PLUS the huge amount of court costs and fees.

Want to complain about it? Call your State Representative, your State Senator, and your elected County Board members for your District (or all of them). Election time is coming up. Ask your elected representatives where they stand on this issue. Tell them to lower these costs. Ask them what they will do to lower these costs.

Beth Bentley- now missing 173 weeks

How many more weeks will Beth Bentley be "missing"?

On the week-end of May 20-23, 2010, Beth Bentley vanished. Her friend, traveling companion and co-worker, Jennifer Wyatt, says that she dropped Beth off near the Amtrak Station in Centralia, Ill. on Sunday, May 23, and that they were to meet up in northern Illinois and return together to Woodstock on Monday, May 24.

There are many unanswered questions, if that's true?

What was Beth going to do after Jenn dropped her off about 6:00PM that Sunday?
How was Beth going to get back to northern Illinois?
Did Beth know that Jenn did not have a valid driver's license?
Why did Beth leave the rental car with Jenn?
What route did Jenn take to return to Woodstock from Mt. Vernon, Ill.?
What time did Jenn plan to meet Beth on Monday, and where?
When did Jenn first become concerned that Beth might not meet her?

Why doesn't the record of cell phone activity on Jenn's phone support a frantic effort to contact Beth?

Why wasn't Beth reported missing to the Woodstock Police Department until almost 11:00PM on Monday, May 24, 2010?

Why hasn't Beth's disappearance ever been classified as something other than Missing Person?

What does "Endangered Missing Person" really mean in the records of the Woodstock Police Department? In what way was Beth considered "endangered"?

Who polices the police?

A reader recently suggested an article after forwarding this story about police brutality in Florida.

Don't miss this part of the article: "a 12-month study by Cambridge University researchers revealed that when the city of Rialto, California, required its cops to wear cameras, the number of complaints filed against officers fell by 88 percent and the use of force by officers dropped by almost 60 percent. Watched cops are polite cops."

And don't forget the recent case of Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Pavlin, formerly of McHenry County (near Crystal Lake). They were injured, when deputies went to their home to arrest their adult son. The wording in one deputy's statement was that he "assisted" Mr. Pavlin (age 80) to the ground with an arm bar. Mrs. Pavlin described it as the deputy's body-slamming her husband to the hardwood floor.

The deputies had already arrested the younger Pavlin and should have left the residence. Instead, they refused to leave and wanted to search the senior Pavlin's home. The Pavlins asked them to leave. The Pavlins even called the Crystal Lake Police for help, which was refused.

After the son was arrested, the deputies had no legal right to remain in the Pavlin's home. A court later decided that even their entry was unlawful!!!

Rumor has it that the action of the deputy cost the County $250,000. The Pavlins moved out-of-state because they feared the deputies might come back.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Seipler and Truck Enforcement

Zane Seipler weighed in on the Northwest Herald article about truck enforcement on his own blog.

I encourage you to read that article, in which Seipler reports that the one "dedicated" truck enforcement deputy is not really enforcing any truck violations. He is assigned to the MCSD Training Division, and he "gets" to chase after abandoned vehicles.

If I remember correctly from my cops-and-robber days in Colorado, a detail investigating abandoned vehicle required Special High Intensity Training, which sometimes was referred to by its initials. It's a dead-end assignment, right next to patrolling the stockyards at midnight on a Sunday. Except there aren't any stockyards in McHenry County. So you can imagine just how important that duty is.

Why take a good deputy and pigeon-hole him like that?

If McHenry County had a paid investigative reporter, he'd be filing FOIA requests for the details on truck tickets issued in the past 4-5 years. How many? For what violations? Who wrote the tickets? When were they issued? Who was cited?

And, importantly, who was stopped but not cited?

What was the disposition of the tickets? Were there multiple violations by the same driver or same company? Where were the tickets being issued? What parts of the County were left alone?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Truck enforcement - really?

This morning's Northwest Herald carries an article about truck enforcement in McHenry County.

With all due respect to the reporter, the article was a joke. He no doubt believes the line of baloney he was fed for his article. And a reporter ought to be able to believe sources. It's not the reporter's fault when he reports what he is told.

But let's look at the content.

He is right that a "select" group monitors trucks. Since he mentioned McHenry County, you'd think that he might be including deputies of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, because the big rigs might be mostly on County roads, outside municipalities. No city cops are roaming County roads. Is anyone?

Deputy Chief Birk, of the City of McHenry PD, is right. Overweight trucks damage roads and are dangerous in other ways.

Who are the "experts" referred to? "Enforcing" truck laws means writing tickets. "Educating" truck drivers and owners is a kind gesture.

The Sheriff's Department reportedly issued 191 tickets between 2009 and 2012. That's a four-year period. 191/4 = 50/year. Or one ticket a week. I'll bet if you look at the records, you'll see the bulk of the tickets were written in 2009 and 2010. Still, on the average, it's only one a week. Which is nothing, compared to the problem. Probably one ticket a day could be written. Why not?

Trucking company owners and farmers are powerful politically. And the load rolls downhill from there.

The article says, "The department has one dedicated truck enforcement officer who also handles accident investigations and several deputies with specialized truck enforcement training."

What it doesn't say is who the "dedicated" truck enforcement deputy at MCSD is, how many hours he is on the road every week looking for truck violations, how many tickets he has written, etc. I don't know who that deputy is. In case Keith or Andy gets upset with me, that deputy and I have never communicated.

And who are the "several" deputies? Glad they have the training. It's too bad they aren't allowed to put their training to work. Has any one of them written even one ticket this year? And how many in the past three years? Twelve tickets in six months? Those deputies should either be allowed off the leash to do their jobs well, or they should be replaced.

Are there orders from the top of the food chain at MCSD to leave truckers alone? Only the deputies know...

The article further stated, "'Commercial motor vehicles and roadway safety are key to our economic recovery,' Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said. 'If drivers are operating illegally or unsafely, it is our responsibility to educate them and protect our community.'”

If that's not a political statement, I'll eat the newspaper page it's printed on. First of all, it doesn't make any sense. Secondly, it's wrong. Here's the correct statement: "If drivers are operating illegally or unsafely, it is the responsibility of the Sheriff's Department to cite them."

And this statement? "Load weight limits for 18-wheelers cannot exceed 80,000 pounds, the equivalent of 9,600 passenger cars driving over a section of roadway at the same time." No, it is absolutely not the equivalent, because the 9,600 cars are on their own set of four wheels, not piled atop one another. The load on an 18-wheeler is supported by four axles of four tires each, or 16 tires. That's what's breaking up our highways.

The McHenry County Sheriff's Dept. does not have an operating truck enforcement unit. It used to have one. It should have one. It does not have one.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Beth Bentley - Week 172

Beth Bentley vanished 172 weeks ago, on the week-end of May 20-23, 2010.

Either she walked (or rode) away from the Amtrak Station in Centralia, Ill. or it's very likely foul play is involved.

How hard should it be to decide which?

How about putting Jenn Wyatt on the "box" and asking her about the week-end and the activities on Sunday and the drive to Centralia and what, if anything, Beth told her about her (Beth's) plans from Centralia on. Exactly what were the plans, if any, for Jenn and Beth to meet up on Monday, so that Beth could collect her car from Jenn's garage at 749 Tara Drive, Woodstock, and get on home.

Would Jenn voluntarily take a polygraph now?

And go get Ryan Ridge and Nathan Ridge and ask them to take a polygraph.

Find out what they know and what they don't know.

If you disappeared, would you want people to keep your name in the news and to keep your disappearance on the front page?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

How privileges work at MCSD

Deputies at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department are all riled up about a situation that occurred in the parking lot in front of the McHenry County Jail last week. Well, let's say that many deputies are riled up, and they know that they'd better keep their mouths shut.

A deputy showed up at the Jail to work out in the gym at the jail. He drove to the front (west) parking lot and parked in a spot normally used by the public. When a Corrections supervisor went to see what that car was parked there, he spied a badge and gun in plain sight in the vehicle.

Since Crystal Lake just experienced some smash-and-grab thefts from autos and the public was reminded to place valuables out-of-sight, deputies are wondering if squad cars and badges and firearms are off-limits to miscreants.

What happened after that is unclear. The "good" deputies believe that the careless deputy violated General Orders and should be disciplined. However, the errant deputy is on the A-Team at MCSD (i.e., in the in-crowd), and it has appeared so far that no action is going to be taken against him.

Where is the leadership in the Sheriff's Department of McHenry County? Why are deputies treated fairly and equally, in terms of infractions?

What would have happened, had a civilian left a firearm, loaded or unloaded, in plain view in the passenger compartment of his vehicle? On government property?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Way to Go...

This is the way to go.

Nebraska and Colorado drivers (and Iowa drivers) are considerably better drivers than those found in Illinois.

They are courteous, don't tailgate, don't cut back in quickly after passing, don't speed, don't speed in Work Zones, and they regularly change lanes at interstate ramps to allow drivers to enter. What a difference!

The Nebraska Department of Transportation uses common sense in its Work Zones by not unreasonably lowering the speed limit when no construction is near the highway. In many Work Zones the traffic was reduced to one lane, but that lane could travel at 65 (or even 75) MPH. Fines for speeding are doubled in Work Zones but, by maintaining a reasonable, safe and high speed limit, drivers don't speed.

Now consider the Illinois Tollway and its 39-mile Work Zone, where the 45MPH speed limit is in effect 24/7/365, whether workers are present or not. The driving public just thumbs its collective nose at IDOT and ISP and goes ahead and speeds.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Concealed carry in Florida

Even though Florida has had concealed carry for quite a number of years, I was surprised at the reactions to my inquiries in Arcadia, Florida. Arcadia is in the central part of the state, about 50 miles east of Sarasota.

While I was there, I decided to ask store managers about concealed carry.

First up was a manager of a McDonald's. She told me politely, but emphatically, that weapons were not wanted in the restaurant. "Only police can carry in here," she told me. When I asked her about signage on the door, she said, "It's there" and we walked over to the door.

No shirts? No service.
Dogs? No, except for service dogs.
Nothing about guns.

Later in the day I ran into the owner of the store. His response was "Concealed? No problem!"

At Walmart I asked the front-end manager. She said, "Absolutely not." Then she told me that anyone who purchased a firearm in the store had to be accompanied by a sales clerk to the door. Really?

So I asked for the store manager. She called him and then told me, no problem, as long as it's concealed.

If that's how it is in Florida, what will it be like here in Illinois?

Every store I enter here, I ask for the owner or manager and ask that his/her store not be declared a gun-free zone. Recently, the "anti-gunners" descended on Starbuck's, where I had previously been told by managers that they will follow State law. When you go in stores, start asking. And tell owners and managers that you will deal only with stores that permit law-abiding, licensed citizen to carry their firearms concealed.

Otherwise, you stand the chance of being a duck in a shooting gallery. Where do you think the criminals and robbers will go? Right into gun-free zones.

3,300 miles later, back in Woodstock

I just returned from a three-week, 3,300-mile motorcycle trip through the southeastern U.S. What a trip!

On Day 1 I rode toward Charleston, W.V., taking interstate highways to Cincinnati and then U.S. 60 to Hurricane, W.V. Two-lane roads through scenic areas are the right way to travel!

On Day 2 I took U.S. 60 from Charleston to west of Clifton Forge, Va., where I took I-64 into Lexington and then U.S. 60 again into Richmond. Again, beautiful, twisting two-lane roads.

It's often hard to find good stopping places quickly for photos but, when the curves require you to slow to 25-30 MPH and there is a parking lot, it's time to stop. This "bug" was at the Mystery Hole museum in Ansted, W.V. (Fortunately, it was closed, so I couldn't trade my motorcycle for it...)

I spent almost a week in Richmond and then headed south to Columbia, S.C. for a family visit. After that, on to Arcadia, Fla. for a visit with my older sister.

I thought about doing a little "investigating", while I was so close to Lehigh Acres, Fla. That's where Scott Feldkam confronted three juveniles with a handgun in about 2008. And, if I'd taken my last "Gus for Sheriff" sign with me (hard to do on a motorcycle), I thought it would be fun to go by Nygren's home in Cape Coral and plant it in his front yard for a photo op.

I started back on Friday. As expected, the fastest drivers in the nation are in Atlanta, and there were huge traffic jams in construction zones.

Continuing early Saturday from Chattanooga, Tenn., I quickly rode into rain. Heavy rain. One thing I learned about rain in the Southeast, when it starts, it starts. It was like a line on the highway. Dry on one side; raining hard on the other. No time to put on my rainsuit. So I got wet - for five minutes. Then the road was dry, and I dried out on the way to Nashville.

At Champaign I rode west on I-74 and turned north on IL 47. When I stopped for gas in Gibson City, it looked like rain, so I suited up. And it rained hard, while I was still at the gas station. By the time I had the rainsuit on, the rain was stopping, but I kept it on all the way to Woodstock (which kept it from raining again).

After two 700-mile days on the trusty Honda Shadow, I feel like I'm still riding!

Beth Bentley - gone 171 weeks

As I rode past Mt. Vernon, Illinois, yesterday and saw exit signs for Rend Lake, Mt. Vernon and Dix Road, I thought a lot about Beth Bentley.

I thought about stopping at the Frosty Mug and asking about a Friday night, May 21, 2010, when Beth and Jennifer Wyatt and two men were supposed to have had dinner there.

I thought about stopping at the marina and asked about a boat rental on Saturday, May 22, 2010. The Woodstock Police Chief said a boat was rented and all who went out on it, came back. But a local resident said that the marina operator told me no boat like that went out. It can't be both ways. Which is true?

I thought about Dix Road and how it leads east from I-57 to the house in rural Mt. Vernon, to which Beth and Jennifer may have driven early Friday morning, May 21, 2010.
I wondered whether any detectives might be in their offices on Saturday afternoon at the Mt. Vernon PD or the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. And whether they would talk to me.

My last FOIA request to the Woodstock PD was denied because releasing information might jeopardize an ongoing investigation. Of what? Beth's disappearance has never been called anything but a Missing Person case. Unless ...

Good job, Judge Meyer!

I've been watching Pete Gonigam's case against Sheriff Nygren with great interest, and I commend Judge Meyer for holding a short leash on the antics being tried to drag it out.

I enjoyed a great laugh from afar last Tuesday, when co-defendant Don Leist, the sheriff's department EEO officer (and informal legal advisor to the sheriff and also former member of the Office of the McHenry County State's Attorney), asked for 30 days to pick his own lawyer.

Judge Meyer must have thrown away his "Continued-for-30-Days" rubber stamp, because he gave Leist three days and wanted everybody back in court on Friday, August 30.

Gonigam, publisher of, hasn't written about Friday's court, nor has Cal Skinner written about it on his McHenry County Blog. Online Court records indicate that Judge Meyer wants the "party" to continue on Thursday, September 5.

Gonigam did write about it on August 28.

What's is all about? The Sheriff's Department doesn't want to release its 100-page report of the "investigation" by Don Leist into Undersheriff Andy Zinke's huge mistake in revealing a confidential DEA investigation to Brian Goode. Leist decided that Zinke hadn't done anything wrong.

Gonigam had filed a FOIA Request with the Sheriff's Department, which was denied. Gonigam appealed to the Illinois Attorney General, and the Public Access Counselor told MCSD to release it. MCSD didn't.

The only recourse left to a requestor is to go to court. And so Gonigam did. Judge Meyer isn't going to let this drag out past the next election, plus he wanted the report submitted to him.

Let's hope that Gonigam, after he wins, goes after MCSD for his legal expenses. Is MCSD acting frivolously, in withholding the report? Is the "investigation" going to look like Swiss Cheese?

Was it conducted in as thorough a manner as the Feldkamp/Bloom deaths were? That got only 265 pages of reports. Was the conclusion reached in less than 24 hours, as it was in the Feldkamp/Bloom triple homicide in June 2011, and everything else was just report-writing?

Around MCSD, once a conclusion is reached, then everything else is just supporting blather. Did Leist start with the premise that Zinke was innocent and then work backwards from the end?

It's unfortunate that the Illinois Attorney General's Public Access Bureau doesn't have a full set of molars to sink into recalcitrant FOIA deniers. But this is Illinois...

NOTE: (3:29PM) I just learned that Friday's court date was postponed. I wonder what the reason was...