Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Want a debate in the sheriff's race?

Andy Zinke ditched the Patriots United debate. Many know that by now. He said there would be two other debates, so a third (the Patriots United debate) was unnecessary.

Unfortunately, it looks like there will NOT be two other debates. The Northwest Herald isn't planning one, and the League of Women Voters hasn't planned one.

Today I shall send email messages to both Republican candidates for Sheriff of McHenry County, asking them to name three organizations they would agree to appear before for a debate.

You know, kind of like Judge Meyer did, when he was trying to get parties in FirstElectricNewspaper.com's FOIA-denial case against the McHenry County Sheriff's Department to select legal representation. Judge Meyer got tired of the run-around, and he asked Nygren and Leist to give him names of three lawyers they'd accept for their defense. Nygren and Leist didn't think they'd get a vigorous defense from the State's Attorney Office (SAO). (Gee, why would they think that? Just because their position was indefensible, did they think the SAO would go out on a limb for them?)

So here's the deal, Andy and Bill. Reply to my email. Give me the names of three organizations you'd agree to stand before.

Maybe the Northwest Herald, as the County's leading daily newspaper (the only daily newspaper?) will stand up here and announce a debate. Maybe they'd get somebody like Robert Herguth from the Better Government Association for moderator. There's my first choice!!!

If you want a debate, call the Northwest Herald and leave a message for Jason Schaumburg. Dial 815.459.4040

D-200 pays maintenance guy to go away

What's wrong in Woodstock?

The Police Department doesn't prosecute a felony committed by a police sergeant and gives him just 30 days off without pay. And don't give me that nonsense that the State's Attorney won't accept a felony charge or that Woodstock PD couldn't find some other acts to prosecute. Or that the City can't fire any employee it wants to get rid of.

Woodstock District 200 lost 90 pounds of copper from two schools and reported the theft to the Woodstock Police Department last July.

Police tracked the stolen copper to Behr Iron and Metal, located out on Washington Street west of Woodstock, but apparently it "couldn't be traced to an individual." Give me a break!

Are Behr Iron's records so sloppy that it doesn't know what employee took in the 90 pounds of copper? Come on, coppers. Everybody in the world knows that thieves steal and peddle copper pipe. Didn't the idiot (oh, sorry, bud; I meant "employee") at Behr consider that the piping might be stolen?

Ninety pounds of copper didn't just show up in a grocery sack. How big a pile would 90 pounds of copper pipe be? Different lengths? Different size pipe? All straight? Some curved? Maybe some looked like it had been cut off quickly with a hacksaw or torch?

Doesn't Behr Iron train its employees to suspect someone who brings in 90 pounds of copper for "scrap"? Don't they maintain a log of scrap bought and whom they paid?

Ninety pounds of scrap copper at $2.50/lb. is only $225. But it's going to cost District 200 (that is, taxpayers) $7,000 to replace which, no doubt, it already has.

District 200 apparently suspected maintenance man Thomas Harrison. So what did it do? It's paying him $9,000 to go away. And not to sue.

Talk about a spineless decision! Kind of like Woodstock PD's giving a suspected felon 30 days off and, initially, not even removing him from his position of authority in which he committed the alleged felony! And the Office of the State's Attorney deciding that a employee disciplinary action was enough punishment.

How hard did Woodstock Police investigate the copper theft? When you examine the Stolen Property and Recovered Property reports of the Woodstock PD every month, you see that they recover hardly any of the stolen property.

Between April 2008 and August 2013, over $2,000,000 worth of property has been reported stolen in Woodstock. How much has been recovered? Less than $290,000. In other words, about 15%.

District 200 Superintendent Ellyn Wrzeski told the Northwest Herald that "the 'time and expense of a disciplinary process' made a settlement the more attractive option."

Where will Harrison go to work next? Will his next employer get a good reference from Woodstock District 200 and thus not be forewarned?

There are certain events over which taxpayers, whether of the School District or the City, would be willing to bear the risk of litigation. When you think an employee has stolen from you, you don't pay him off to leave.

Compliments to the Northwest Herald for filing its FOIA Request to extract information from D-200. Shame on D-200 for not reporting to taxpayers what was going on.

Privacy waiver in concealed-carry application

A reader re-contacted me after reading the previous article on this subject, and he reminded me of our e-mail exchange last summer on this very topic.

I had contacted the office of McHenry County's Illinois Senator Pamela Althoff, who had told me that the Illinois State Police had spotted this overly-broad language and had suggested a change. Sen. Althoff told me that the legislator had not intended the broad, all-inclusive waiver.

But it's in the law. If you don't like it, I suggest contacting Sen. Althoff and your Illinois Representative, as well.

What does this waiver say?

"430 ILCS 66/30 (b) The application shall contain the following:
(3) a waiver of the applicant's privacy and confidentiality rights and privileges under all federal and state laws, including those limiting access to juvenile court, criminal justice, psychological, or psychiatric records or records relating to any institutionalization of the applicant, and an affirmative request that a person having custody of any of these records provide it or information concerning it to the Department;"

It says "a waiver of the applicant's privacy and confidentiality rights and privileges under all federal and state laws..." and then it proceeds to identify a few of them.

But note that, as worded, it is a waiver of all of the applicant's privacy and confidentiality rights and privileges under all federal and state laws...

You have a right to remain silent. Are you waiving that?
You have the right to an attorney. Are you waiving that?

You have a right regarding search and seizure. Are you waiving that?

You have ... etc., etc., etc.  Beginning to get the picture?

Before you apply for a concealed carry license, you may want to talk with your attorney and get his or her opinion about the legal meaning and extent of the waiver you are required to grant. Make that call before you sign the application. Be sure to ask if you grant the waiver, can you ever rescind it?

Bond - shaken, not stirred

Did someone shake Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond, when they should have stirred her?

In today's l-o-n-g article about the new Illinois statewide hands-free cell phone law that goes into effect at midnight, local Northwest Herald reporter Joe Bustos attributes this remark to Bond: "hands must be on the wheel and the cellphone has to be in a secured area where it's not distracting the driver."

Welcome to the Nanny State.

Where did that restriction come from? Has anyone else ever heard that?

There has been widespread publicity (well, maybe not "widespread") about the new law. You don't want to get caught having a conversation when you are holding your phone to your ear or, as people do with those annoying direct-talk phones, out in front of your mouth.What about the visitors to Illinois who cross the state line at midnight, who don't know about this law? Are there signs on all roads leading into Illinois?

This article was the first time I had heard of or read the bit about "the cellphone has to be in a secured area where it's not distracting the driver." The new law can be read at 625 ILCS 5/12-610.1; just go to www.ilga.gov and click on Illinois Compiled Statutes. Then search down. It takes a little getting used to, but eventually you'll find it.

So, if Bond is right, having your cell phone in your lap, on the dashboard or on the seat next to you could cost you.

I have a friend in Chicago who got zinged $100 for just answering her phone and saying, "I'll put you on speakerphone, Mom." A Chicago cop happened to be stopped next to her and wrote her a ticket.

Read the law carefully. Taking a picture or video with your phone could land you in hot water, because the device is covered in the definition of "electronic message". Electronic message includes "a digital photograph".

Got a GPS that is stuck to your windshield with a suction-cup holder? Trying to program that or maybe even looking at it could land you on the wrong end of a ticket. Will a cop eager to satisfy his quota early in the month cite you, if he sees that your GPS is on? Why? He (or she) might decide that your windshield-mounted GPS is not "physically or electronically integrated" into your motor vehicle?

"But it's plugged into the power source," you may claim.

"Tell it to the judge" might be his reply. If you are on the losing end of the traffic court case, it'll cost you about $300 ($75 + $225 court costs), not just the $75 for the violation. Are you a gambler? The cop knows you're not.

If you are the driver, when can you use your handheld cellphone? When you are parked on the shoulder (now there's a life-threatening location, if you are on a Chicagoland interstate highway). Or if you are "...stopped due to normal traffic being obstructed..." and your vehicle is in Neutral or Park. What does "obstructed" mean? I'll bet it does not mean sitting at a red light.

This law does not apply to a driver  using a two-way or citizen's band radio or the amateur radio network. OK, good buddy; you're safe. That's a big 10-4. What legislator slipped that nonsense into this law???

A word to the wise. Get that Bluetooth working and figure it out before midnight.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Wm. Ross in jail - who pays?

William J. Ross is still in jail in Las Vegas. He was arrested and jailed on November 7, after Jacqueline Schaefer's body was found in his house on November 6. Ross is charged in McHenry County with Concealment of a Homicidal Death (Case No. 13CF001037).

Who is paying for the Clark County (Nev.) Correctional Facility (in Las Vegas) to house him? Will McHenry County get the bill for $70-90/day?

The first question that came to my mind is, how did the McHenry County Sheriff's Department (MCSD) complete its investigation so quickly (in just one day) and decide to charge him?
The house on property apparently titled to him was reportedly unoccupied, as in "vacant"; not lived in. According to published reports, anyway; it may have been vacant for more than 18 months. The room inside was sealed up. How did they conclude so quickly that Ross was the one who concealed the death?

Did Judge Gordon Graham issue the warrant for his arrest on November 6 or 7? A status hearing was scheduled in his court for November 21. Then Judge Caldwell issued a new warrant on December 18, after the Grand Jury heard information about Ross. The next McHenry County court date is June 18, when a status hearing on Judge Caldwell's warrant is scheduled before Judge Prather.

How long does a Governor's extradition take? Did Gov. Quinn approve it? Is it on the Nevada Governor's desk now? More than seven weeks have passed?

Did MCSD just say, "Hey, it's his house. He must have concealed the body." Is that enough to get a felony charge accepted by the State's Attorney Office?

The concealment statute is now 720 ILCS 5/9-3.4 (not 720 ILCS 5/9-3.1, as shown in the online Court record). Section 9-3.4 (a) reads, "A person commits the offense of concealment of homicidal death when he or she knowingly conceals the death of any other person with knowledge that such other person has died by homicidal means."

How the deputies know almost immediately that it was Ross who knowingly concealed Jacqueline Schaefer's body in his house?

Concealed carry show-stopper?

How do you feel about Privacy? And the invasion of yours?

In the statute for the new Illinois concealed-carry law, an applicant for a concealed-carry license must agree to a waiver of his privacy and confidentiality rights and privileges under all federal and state laws. Read it. That's what it says.

"430 ILCS 66/30 (b) The application shall contain the following:
(3) a waiver of the applicant's privacy and confidentiality rights and privileges under all federal and state laws, including those limiting access to juvenile court, criminal justice, psychological, or psychiatric records or records relating to any institutionalization of the applicant, and an affirmative request that a person having custody of any of these records provide it or information concerning it to the Department;"

For some potential applicants who read the law carefully and understand what it really means, this section will become a show-stopper. Certain applicants will refuse to apply for a license, because they believe they should not have to waive these rights under all federal and state laws.

There doesn't seem to be any provision for recovering your rights, once you have waived them. Suppose you change your mind about holding a concealed-carry license and return it to the State Police with a letter of cancellation. How do you regain these rights?

What if you move out of Illinois? Once you have waived your rights, they may be gone - forever.

Will this section of the law be challenged in court? Is it unreasonable to require an applicant to waive his "privacy and confidentiality rights and privileges under all federal and state laws"?

The legislators didn't think so. Maybe it's time to give them more time to think about it - like voting them right out of office at the next election.

NWH - no plans for debate in Sheriff race

A Northwest Herald reporter today ended her online story about Zinke's bailing on the Patriots United debate with this sentence - "The newspaper presently has no plans to host a debate."

Let's see; Zinke refuses to step up to the plate, if a debate is organized by Patriots United. Why? According to the paper Zinke "... said he rejected the invitation because the debate's sponsor, Woodstock-based Patriots United has board members who openly support Prim."

Does that leave only one possibility for a sponsor of a debate before the March Primary in this critical race for McHenry County Sheriff? That possibility being the McHenry County League of Women Voters (or, as my dad used to refer to the League in St. Louis, "the league of lady bootleggers").

Here's an idea. The McHenry County Blog and Cal Skinner could sponsor a debate.

Or maybe FirstElectricNewspaper and Pete Gonigam could put one together.

Wait. I'm not running for Sheriff. I could sponsor the debate.

I don't foresee Andy Zinke showing up for any of these. We could just put an Empty Chair at the table for speakers. Well, Clint? What do you think?

There ought to be at least two debates in the Republican Primary; three would be better.

What questions would you ask Bill Prim and Andy Zinke?

Post your questions for the candidates in the Comments. (Be polite, now.)

Do NOT lower the Flags

Dec. 24, 2013 (This will be published on Dec. 30)

When is someone going to rattle Gov. Quinn's cage enough to instill a little common sense. Just a little; that's all I ask.

Just got a message that the guv has ordered the lowering of the U.S. and Illinois Flags because of the death of the Cook County Sheriff's investigator, Cuauhtemoc Estrada.

I was deeply saddened by his death. He was shot and killed outside a VFW Hall in Bellwood on Friday night, December 20, after he saw that his daughter and her boyfreiend were being robbed.

He was off-duty. Governor, off-duty. It was not a line-of-duty death.

This is the guv's attempt to ram gun violence down everyone's throats by lowering the United States and Illinois flags unnecessarily and improperly.

If you would like to join me in protesting improper lowering of the U.S. and Illinois Flags, call Gov. Quinn at 217.782.0244 or email him at pat.quinn@illinois.gov

Or, if you really want to waste your time and have your comment disappear into a Black hole, go to http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/Pages/ContacttheGovernor.aspx and dump your comment into the guv's "bucket", where it might get counted before it is ignored.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Beth Bentley - gone 188 weeks

There was speculation in McHenry County in November, when a woman's body was found in a sealed-up room in an unoccupied house in McHenry County. More than one reader contacted me to ask if I thought it could be Beth's body.

It wasn't.

There is still wide interest in finding out what happened to Beth. Her friend, co-worker, traveling companion, alibi, and financial benefactress says she dropped Beth off near the Amtrak station in Centralia, Ill. on May 23, 2010. Less than three weeks later she called me and told me Beth never intended to take a train and that Beth never intended to spend the week-end at the Ridge house in Mt. Vernon.

So, what did Beth plan to do? As her "BFF", is there any way that Jenn Wyatt didn't know what Beth's plans for the week-end were?

They had plenty of time to plan the trip; Beth left her own car in Jenn's garage and rented a car. Jenn couldn't have rented it, because her California driver's license was expired. She shouldn't even have driven it (or any other car). Jenn got an incredible break in Woodstock in December 2009, when she was stopped for a seatbelt violator. The cop did not ticket her for the expired driver's license, even though the information on the ticket showed the D/L was expired.

Did the cop not notice it? Did the supervisor not question it?

If Beth and Jenn drove to Mt. Vernon on the night of Thursday, May 20, didn't they talk about their plans, especially if Beth didn't plan to spend the week-end with Jenn and the Ridge brothers? Wouldn't Beth have told Jenn what she planned to do and whether she planned to do with someone? What was Beth's plan, when those other plans fell through?

What, really, was the deal about Centralia? Would Jenn not have asked what Beth would be doing after she got out of the car? Who drove the rental car to Centralia, Jenn or Beth? Or was the rental car even used for that trip?

The Woodstock Police have always considered this case to be a Missing Person case, yet they classified Beth as an Endangered Missing Person. Why? What would make Beth eligible to be deemed "endangered"?

This case will crack open. I believe there are identifiable people who know exactly what happened to Beth Bentley. Will one of them eventually seek immunity and spill it? How about the least culpable one? Will she or he finally come forward?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Zinke pulls out of debate

The McHenry County Blog is reporting that Andy Zinke has pulled out of a scheduled debate that Patriots United was planning that would have given voters a chance to size him up against Bill Prim. Both are candidates in the Republican Party Primary scheduled for March 2014.

On the one hand, you'd think that Zinke would want every opportunity to expose himself to voters.
On the other hand, maybe not.

Do you think someone might ask him about his inaccurate (or outright false) statement in his fundraising letter in which he wrote "Less than 90 days from now, voters will go to the polls on March 18, 2014, and choose the next Sheriff of McHenry County."

As candidate, does he not read and approve everything that goes out? Or did, perhaps, he not even understand the distinction between a Primary Election and a General Election? Did he think he would become Sheriff on March 18, if he topped Prim in votes?

Voters do not choose the next Sheriff of McHenry County on March 18!

Have dates been set for the Prim/Zinke debates to be sponsored by the Northwest Herald and the League of Women Voters?

Amnesty - Obama's Top 2014 Priority?

Is it really true that Obama's top priority in 2014 is to pass an Amnesty Bill?

I oppose this. There are millions who want to come to the U.S. legally. Why should the U.S. allow those who came here illegally to be able to stay here? Or, for that matter, those who came here but over-stayed their visas, and thereby became illegal aliens.

What part if ILLEGAL is the President of the United States, a lawyer himself, unwilling to understand and accept? He swore to uphold the Constitution and the laws, didn't he?

The People of the United States must get across to their Senators and Representatives that this president is out of control. He is violating his sworn oath and endangering the future of the United States.

In 2010 I helped an African student get out of McHenry County Jail. He had violated the terms of his student visa and had been scooped up by ICE. His parents finally collected $3,500 for his bond and I took it to the Immigration Court and posted it for him, so that he could be released. He was supposed to get back in school. He didn't.

In April a judge told him to clear out by July 31. He chose to stop communicating with me. I don't know if he left the USA or not. ICE will now consider the Bond as breached and forfeited to the U.S. Government and will issue a warrant for him.

It looks to me like he has cost his parents the $3,500, and life will likely not be much fun the next time he gets picked up, if he is still in the U.S.

Looking back, the Court should have put him on a much shorter leash, and it should have required some reporting and proof that he was back in school.

Prim campaign: Zinke bails on debate

The following press release has been issued by the campaign of Bill Prim for McHenry County Sheriff:


Republican candidate for Sheriff Bill Prim Saturday called Andrew Zinke’s decision to pull out of the only scheduled debate a decision that denies the people of McHenry County a chance to weigh for themselves the qualities and abilities of the two candidates.
            “Mr. Zinke has now deprived the voters of an excellent opportunity not only to learn our positions on the issues but to get a sense of the people behind the positions, and how we conduct ourselves in a high-stakes, high-pressure environment.
            “The Sheriff’s Office, and law enforcement in general, is frequently stressful,” Prim added.  “Voters want to see for themselves how a candidate for that office operates when he has to think on his feet and make rapid decisions.  Mr. Zinke has just denied the voters that chance, and that is a feeble showing indeed.”
            The Prim and Zinke campaigns had previously both formally committed to the debate, to take place under the sponsorship of Patriots United.  No other organizations, neither the Northwest Herald newspaper nor the League of Women Voters (both of which have been mentioned as possible debate sponsors), have contacted the Prim campaign regarding a debate before the March 18 primary election.  Either of those groups would be fine with him, Prim said.
            Prim said voters should be on the lookout for Zinke to find scheduling difficulties or other reasons to avoid any other debates.  “Mr. Zinke will have a very hard time defending his decision to give the RITA Corporation, and his political donor, early warning about DEA surveillance of a drug shipment, not to mention the huge budget run-ups in the Sheriff’s Office over the last several years with nothing to show for it.  I expect him to drag his feet regarding debates in order to avoid defending himself on these and other issues.”

MCSD Jail - co-ed now?

What happened last Saturday at the McHenry County Jail (a/k/a McHenry County Correctional Facility)? Normally, male and female inmates are kept segregated But now, it seems, not always.

There is a door between the men's and the women's sections. Naturally, this door is supposed to be closed and locked. Locked, as in closed tightly. Secure. Guards (now called Corrections Officers (COs)) have keys to pass through locked doors. They are supposed to close and lock doors behind them. Supposed to.

It seems that last Saturday a CO passed through such a door and failed to ensure that the door was tightly closed and locked. I mean, this ought to be a no-brainer; right? You close the door and "test" it. You try to turn the knob or lever. You shouldn't be able to pull it open.

But the door didn't lock. This can only mean the the guard failed to check it, after passing through it.

A male inmate was able to open the door, leave the men's section, enter the women's section and proceed to a cell of someone he knew. Let's see; what might a man want to go to a woman's cell for? Particularly, if they were already "pretty well" acquainted? You guessed it.

He didn't do this unobserved. The story is that it was noticed that he had passed through, and it was reported to at least two guards.

What should have happened next? The first guard to whom it was reported should have immediately reported it to his or her supervisor. He or she then should have commenced a search for the man in the women's unit. It shouldn't have been too hard to find the male inmate. It seems his destination was known and reported.

If there were some fear that the male inmate might overpower the CO, then the CO could just slam the cell door and lock both the man and the woman in the woman's cell. I can, of course, think of a reason not to do that: what if the man was there to harm the woman?

Possibly the first guard might have waited for a second before commencing the search. The story that came to me was that 90 minutes passed before a search was initiated. The first two COs did not immediately begin to check out the reports that a male inmate had entered the women's section. What possible reason could they have for not investigating immediately?

Jail supervisors have to know who went through the door and failed to secure it. There is video surveillance of the interior of the jail.

By Thursday no word had reached the outside world. Who would have been informed? Certainly, jail supervisors - those are sergeants. And their lieutenants. And the Deputy Chief in the Jail would have been informed - that's Patrick Firman, And the Chief of the Jail - that's Dan Sedlock. And, of course, the Undersheriff - that's Andy Zinke, who wants to be the next sheriff. And also the Sheriff - that's Keith Nygren, who probably had his cell phone on at some time during the week.

MCSD made a big deal recently of all its certifications; for ex., from the American Correctional Association. Would something like this very important lapse in security be enough for the ACA to yank its accreditation?

Zinke is likely to take a big hit on this one, because it is he who is believed to be running the Sheriff's Department. Zinke is not insulated by the lengthy chain-of-command. Zinke is responsible for everything that happens at the Jail and with the deputies - whether he likes it or not.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Should prostitution be legal?

Check out Cal Skinner's article this morning on McHenry County Blog about the recent problem in Crystal Lake with massage "parlors".

He recites the problems in Crystal Lake, Woodstock, Algonquin and McHenry (City) since 2010, when several places have been shut down as fronts for prostitution. Local police have sent in undercover officers who apparently recognize when they are getting rubbed the wrong way.

I wonder in how many cases a problem of entrapment occurs. What if the customer asks for "more" and, when an additional price is mentioned, offers to pay up. Where does he (or she) hide the handcuffs and badge?

Or is it like the tobacco and alcohol stings at Walgreens, when an under-age kid is trained and sent in by the police, makes an illegal purchase, and then walks out of the store to the cop waiting in his squad car to report the illegal purchase?

With the direction in which many states are going with new laws, is it maybe time to legalize prostitution? What is really the harm, if a customer goes into a business, pays some money for a service and leaves?

The customer is not going in for a "massage". If s/he wants a legitimate massage for.relaxation or therapy or treatment, then he can go to a trained and licensed massage therapist.

At first, I thought McHenry County Blog might be supporting legalized prostitution in its sentence, "The Cities of Crystal Lake and McHenry, Villages of Algonquin and Woodstock, because of their Home Rule status, could license the parlors and make them subject to spot inspection." (Note: Woodstock is not home-rule)

But the final sentence in the article, "I’m sure others could come up with additional requirements that would dissuade prostitution locally" makes me feel less certain of that position.

Should prostitution be legal?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Watch those signs...

Was everybody driving carefully last night?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What's wrong with court systems?

Kane County, this time.

The Northwest Herald reported on December 24th that Tyrell Sumling, 24, of Carpentersville copped a plea to felony aggravated domestic battery for a five-year sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He must serve 85% of the sentence, but he got credit for 445 days in the Kane County Jail.

FOUR HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE DAYS??? So much for a speedy trial...

How bad a guy is he?

2008 charged with domestic battery; convicted
2010 charged with domestic battery; convicted
2011 charged with domestic battery; convicted
6/19/2012 charged with aggravated domestic battery; convicted

If he's 24 now, then he was, maybe, 19 in 2008, 21 in 2010; 22 in 2011. The judges, probation officers and any parole officers certainly didn't get through to him.

85% of a five-year sentence is 4.25 years, or 4 years 3 months.

Will he be rehabilitated? Or will the severity of his crimes increase?

NWH not reporting Ohlrich lawsuit against MCSD

I did not read anything in the Northwest Herald today about the lawsuit filed yesterday in Federal Court by David Ohlrich of Wonder Lake.

Maybe this is what you might call derogatory news about the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Nygren takes a hit in the lawsuit, when Ohlrich claims, through his attorney, that "The incident alleged in this Complaint was part of a pattern and practice of Defendant NYGREN in failing to properly supervise his officers" (¶ 44) and "Defendant NYGREN, as the official policy maker within the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department, acted with deliberate indifference to the rights of Plaintiff in maintaining, overlooking and preserving the unconstitutional practices, policies and customs delineated above." (¶ 47)

Awww, how can anyone possibly claim that Nygren would act "with deliberate indifference" about anyone's rights?

Deputies must be trained as to what they can do and what they must not do. There are still deputies who claim the entry into the Crystal Lake home of Jerome and Carla Pavlin was lawful, in spite of a judge's ruling that it was not.

In eleven months McHenry County will have a new Sheriff. The time cannot pass quickly enough. Voters must select the candidate who will lead the Department out of the quagmire it's in. Morale must rise, so that employees can view their positions and careers with interest and optimism. Numerous command positions must change.

What's massage; and what's not

Did you see the article last week, when the Northwest Herald took a stab at trying to explain what "real" massage is? Several "masseuses" were arrested and charged with various crimes, such as prostitution and giving massages without the requisite State License.

Cal Skinner sent a FOIA request to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), asking about the last two license checks in Crystal Lake on massage therapists. The IDFPR responded to him on December 19 that it had no documents responsive to his request. Does that mean that the IDFPR has never inspected a massage therapy practice in Crystal Lake? Ever?

One of the places mentioned in the Northwest Herald article was Marigolds [sic] Massage. Woodstock had a "massage" business by that name on Route 47 a couple of years ago; it got shut down pretty quickly.

The legitimate massage therapists in this area are outraged!

The ones I know have spent years building up a professional practice. Initial training is required, membership in a professional association is a good idea, and CEUs cost time and money. Massage is not just for relaxation.

Woodstock massage therapist Stacy Barden, owner of Harmony Falls, a Therapeutic Oasis, established her practice in 1996. She sent the following Letter to the Editor of the Northwest Herald:

"As the owner of Harmony Falls massage therapy clinic in Woodstock I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Northwest Herald and their reporters for once again missing a chance to tell the real story but instead selling out to sensationalism and continuing to publish inaccurate information.

"I do not own nor have I ever owned or operated a “massage parlor”.   My business at Harmony Falls massage therapy is a clinic, opened in 1996.  I am a Licensed Massage Therapist not a masseuse.  I complete continuing education classes in massage therapy and ethics every year.  I am a member of the American Massage Therapy Association and Nationally Board Certified.

"In addition to wellness patients the massage therapy patients that I work with are people with health conditions such as cancer, neck and back pain, organ transplants, injuries, broken bones, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s, diabetes, heart conditions and Lymphedema.

"The article titled “Massage therapist say arrests gave wrong impression to some” (printed on Thursday December 19, 2013) proceeded to repeat an already published article on prostitution arrests as the bulk of the new article.  Shame on you, Northwest Herald, for being too lazy to practice quality journalism, capture the opportunity to educate your readers on massage therapy and profile those who are licensed massage therapists in McHenry County.  I don’t foresee my continued support of the Northwest Herald  without necessary corrections to the article and photo.  Northwest Herald please take note my readership and support to your newspaper are dwindling quickly.

"To learn more about massage therapy please visit
American Massage Therapy Association, www.amtamassage.org 
Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals, www.abmp.com
National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, www.ncbtmb.org
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, www.idfpr.com

"I would like to invite everyone to learn more about the benefits of massage therapy and to receive a massage in 2014 from a licensed massage therapist.

"Stacy Barden, BS, LMT, NCTMB, BFRP, Owner
Harmony Falls
728 East Calhoun Street
Woodstock, IL 60098

Monday, December 23, 2013

New lawsuit against Sheriff Nygren, MCSD, Dep. Nulle

Today a new lawsuit was filed in Federal Court against McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren, the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, Dep. Nulle, the Village of Wonder Lake and Wonder Lake Police Officer Harding. The lawsuit, Case No. 3:13-cv-50391, was filed on behalf of David Ohlrich, by Louis Meyer, of Meyer & Kiss, LLC, in Chicago.

Ohlrich was arrested a year ago, on December 25, 2012, after he was awakened by Ofc. Harding and Dep. Nulle. He was sleeping when his sister called paramedics about her chest pains. His sister met the paramedics and talked to them outside the house in Wonder Lake. Ohlrich was arrested on charges of domestic battery, even though his sister made no complaint and had no injuries. Charges against him were nolle prossed on March 18, 2013.

This paragraph attracted my attenion: "12. Defendant NYGREN is being sued in his individual capacity in a Section 1983 claim in that he was deliberately indifferent to the actions of Defendant NULLE, described more fully below."

Under Count III at Paragraph 44, the Complaint reads, in part, "The incident alleged in this Complaint was part of a pattern and practice of Defendant NYGREN in failing to properly supervise his officers."

Missing dog - Woodstock

This morning I received my first-ever robocall about a lost pet.
It seems that Nikki is missing from the area of Gerry Street in Woodstock.

The robocall advised not to try to capture Nikki but, instead, to call 815.989.7577

Have you seen this dog?

Pet Name : Nikki
Pet Kind : Dog
Gender : Male
Breed : Smooth collie tri color black body, white neck and feet, face black and tan with white spot by his nose
Contact Name : Laura Rizzo
Phone Number : 847-989-7577
Missing City : Woodstock
Lost Date : 2013-12-19
Alert Date : 2013-12-23
Alert Status : Active

Want to know about other dogs that are missing or lost? Go to www.findtoto.com
Lose your dog? Post the news there.

Wm. Ross still in Nevada jail

November 6: woman's body found in McHenry-area vacant house.
November 7: William Ross jailed in the Clark County (Nev.) Correctional Center in Las Vegas.

Extradition starts. Supposed to be a no-brainer. Just prove the guy in jail is the one wanted in McHenry County for concealment of a homicidal death.

Maybe it's not so simple as announced.

The woman has not been publicly identified yet.
The cause of death has not yet been released.

How many stories have there been in our local paper? The last one was November 12.

December 22: Ross is still in jail in Las Vegas. According to jail records there, he is being held as a fugitive from another state on a complaint or warrant. Online records seem to indicate that he has a felony arraignment there on February 13.

What is a fugitive? Wikipedia: "A fugitive (or runaway) is a person who is fleeing from custody, whether it be from jail, a government arrest, government or non-government questioning, vigilante violence, or outraged private individuals. A fugitive from justice, also known as a wanted person, can either be a person convicted or accused of a crime, who is hiding from law enforcement in the state or taking refuge in a different country in order to avoid arrest in another country."

If a person leaves an area before he is charged with a crime (or even before a crime is discovered), is he a "fugitive" or only a wanted person. Could a crafty lawyer spring him from the Nevada jail because of the wording there? How does the McHenry County Complaint that resulted in charges here, and his arrest there, read?

A caretaker had been maintaining the outside property for a year. What prompted him (or her) to enter the house and open a sealed room?

Is the McHenry County (Ill.) Sheriff's Department still open? What would be a reason for withholding the identity of the dead woman for so long?

Trouble on the NWH site?

If you are experiencing trouble on the Northwest Herald website, be sure to enter "www." in front of nwherald.com

The staff at the paper is aware of the problem and is working to correct it. I had trouble reading comments and cannot log into their site.

Thanks to the staff there for quickly re-directing me from Subscription Service to the News Room to the I.T. staff.

If you normally access the site by just typing nwherald.com, try with www.nwherald.com

If you are having trouble logging in to make comments, stand by while they fix that, too.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Beth Bentley - now missing 187 weeks

On this Sunday before Christmas, 187 weeks after Beth Bentley went missing, let's wish her spirit joy and peace, wherever it is.

She is missing, but not forgotten.

Model Railroaders - one more week

The Kishwaukee Valley and Eakin Creek Model Railroad Club's annual winter display at Sun City in Huntley (Ill.) will continue for one more week. 

If you want to see a fantastic indoor display of model trains, be sure to bundle up and head to Huntley.

If you are really interested in model trains, watch for their open house in 2014, when you can see and closely examine their outdoor "garden" railroad.

The winter display is in Sun City's Prairie Lodge Social Lodge at 12880 Del Webb Blvd. For hours and a telephone number, click on the link below.

For more information, visit the Club's webpage on the Del Webb Sun City website.

Missouri - report gun ownership to schools?

PARENTS: Own a firearm? Tell your kid's school.

Oh, really?

I'm almost afraid to write about this. I don't want to give the libs in Cook County and Chicago any ideas. But I'll do it, anyway.

If you own a gun and have children enrolled in public schools, how would you like to be forced to disclose your gun ownership to the school(s)?

Are you kidding me?

Check out this article by Michael Schaus. Think your kid wouldn't be bullied by the anti-gun teaching and administrative staff?

A pre-filed bill has been placed on record in Missouri. Kind of gives new meaning to the "Show Me" State, doesn't it?

I remember praising Missouri (where I was born and raised) earlier this year, after calling the Missouri State Patrol to find out if my Pennsylvania concealed carry permit would be valid in Missouri. The trooper said something like, "Sure. Why not?"

Did a Cook County Democrat moved to Missouri? I hope that bill isn't contagious!

I have a better idea. Why don't we require every grade, middle and high school to provide mandatory classes in firearms safety and ownership. Let's put a shooting range in every school and teach kids about responsible firearms ownership, maintenance and use.

When they graduate with a B or better, let's cut them a break on the cost of a concealed-carry license. Consider the training requirement fulfilled and charge them only $50 for a five-year license.

Speaking of the cost of a five-year license, let's file a class-action lawsuit against the State of Illinois to reduce its prohibitive and punitive level of costs associated with applying for a concealed-carry license. An applicant for an Illinois resident license will fork over $300-500 for a five-year license. If I move 15 miles to Wisconsin, it'll cost me $43.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ice or no ice

To go or not to go. That is the question.
Click to enlarge image

Somedays it's just better to stay home. Then, on other days, you just want to go.

When it's too slick to walk to the car and you wonder whether the car will stop when going downhill, what do you do?

You know, don't you, that you can always get to the car...

The question about whether the car will stop on the hill is still unanswered. Where's the anchor?

Distracted Driving 101

A reader spotted this on Facebook and sent it to me.

How true! No wonder the legislators decided to exempt police officers, when they wrote the law about being distracted by electronic devices while driving.

How many distractions are there?

In-car computer
In-car dashcam
Police radio
Department cell phone
Personal cell phone
Switches or buttons to activate emergency lights and siren
Button to choose which siren tone to select
Button to choose which combination of emergency lights and/or alley lights

Where does the driver put his donut???

Friday, December 20, 2013

MCC targets concealed-carry of firearms

There was a vigorous discussion of a proposed concealed-carry policy at last night's Board of Trustees meeting at McHenry County College.

I read a statement during the public comment period, asking the Trustees to allow off-duty law enforcement officers to carry their firearms on campus and also not to declare Parking Areas A and B as gun-free zones.

Then I waited around for Item 15 to come up. I want to thank Trustee and Chairman Parrish for calling Item 15 before the break he wanted, rather than after. Thank you!

The proposed policy got additional nit-picking during the discussion, and the Board appears headed toward designating Parking Areas A and B, those nearest the childcare center, as areas when vehicles containing firearms cannot be parked.

Today I re-read Public Act 098-0063, and I believe that the College cannot so designate Lots A and B. At last night's meeting a sub-section was read that allows a public community college to develop "resolutions, regulations, or policies regarding the storage or maintenance of firearms, which must include designated areas where persons can park vehicles that contain firearms."

After dissecting this sub-section, I believe that, since MCC will not be developing resolutions, regulations, or policies regarding the storage or maintenance of firearms, it cannot designate certain parking areas for vehicles containing firearms.

Every word in a statute is important, and the location of every word is important. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

And one more re-reading clarified that it is not necessary to unload a firearm and place it in the trunk of a locked vehicle, after driving into one of MCC's parking lots. The firearm, even loaded, can be placed in the glove compartment or console. Or it can be placed in the trunk, which itself is defined as a "case".

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Ron Parrish, invited comments from the public on this proposed Policy. You can email them to mcctrustees@mchenry.edu or you can send them to him at trustee_parrish@mchenry.edu  He will distribute them to all trustees, unless you indicate that your email is to him (only).

At this point I would guess that Trustees Parrish, Wilbeck, Jenner and Liddell will vote against the proposed policy. That leaves Trustees Kisser, Miller, Walsh and (Student Trustee) Diversiev, whom I think will vote for it. In a tie, I believe it will fail. MCC President Vicky Smith is, in my opinion, firmly in favor of a policy and one as restrictive as possible.

To point out the lie, or not?

I'm hesitant to critique Andy Zinke's latest campaign letter, which a reader forwarded to me today. The risk is that he will fire his letter-writer and hire a more competent person. But, since I've heard that he says he never reads the Woodstock Advocate, maybe he'll keep using the same person.

First of all, who really cares to receive wishes for a joyful Christmas from somebody running for office? Those wishes should be reserved for people you really care about, not for strangers who you hope will vote for you.

The most serious error in his letter is this: "Less than 90 days from now, voters will go to the polls on March 18, 2014, and choose the next Sheriff of McHenry County."

That is absolutely untrue. If Andy doesn't know that statement is false, then Aurora University ought to rescind his new MBA, and Nygren ought to stop talking about Andy's "leadership" skills. We all suspect that candidates for office might stretch the truth from time to time. But to lie outright?

Voters will NOT choose the next Sheriff of McHenry County on March 18. What they will do is select who the Republican candidate for Sheriff will be in the General Election on November 4, 2014.

Next, he writes that "...since I became second-in-command, the Sheriff’s Office has become the top-rated Sheriff’s Office in the state."

The other day a friend asked me if I knew what "megalomania" is. Little did I suspect that I'd think of it again so soon. What is it? "... delusional fantasies of power, relevance, or omnipotence, ... characterized by an inflated sense of self-esteem and overestimation of their powers and beliefs."

The Sheriff's Office certainly did not become the top-rated S/O in Illinois (if, indeed, it is) because of the second-in-command. It achieved that rating because of the deputies who work hard every day, in spite of having to constantly be looking over their shoulders, so they don't get caught in a "gotcha" moment.

Why is Andy seeking the job as top cop in the Sheriff's Department. Think maybe $145,000/year has something to do with it?

Andy announces a fundraiser on January 14 in Richmond. Let's hope the DUI patrols haven't exhausted all their funds before then.

When is it IOD?

IOD ... "Injured on Duty"

When is an injury considered job-related?

If an employee is injured on the job, how hard is it to determine whether his injury is job-related?

There have been, in my opinion, some questionable claims (and approvals) for for Line-of-Duty deaths of police officers around the country. For example, a police officer in Denver was working off-duty as a security guard at a wedding reception a few years ago. He ejected somebody from the party (or perhaps prevented an unwanted person from entering), and that person came back with a gun and shot him. Denver PD quickly announced that was a Line-of-Duty death. In my opinion, it wasn't.

Closer to home, an off-duty Johnsburg PD officer was speeding (like, really fast) on a county road and crashed on the way to get crime-scene film developed at Walmart. In my opinion, there were several factors that should have eliminated a claim for Line-of-Duty death. I don't know whether it was finally approved.

And, even closer to home, a Woodstock officer several years ago was injured while on duty. He had responded to the scene of an accident while on-duty, in uniform, in a squad car and going there because he was dispatched. After arriving, he slipped and fell on ice and injured his back or neck. This morning's icy conditions reminded me of this pending case.

The fight for on-duty, line-of-duty disability benefits has been fought for about seven years. Why must an employee fight for this? Why did the Woodstock Police Pension Board agree that he was working his shift, in uniform, in a squad car, responding to a call from dispatch and then declare that this was not an on-duty injury? How did they come up with that? And why didn't the then-City Manager and Council go to the defense of a city employee and tell that Board it had made a bad decision.

The Board of Fire and Police Commissioners is in the news right now on another matter, but this line-of-duty injury case was mishandled by another different Board, also composed of Woodstock residents. Our City's Boards and Commissions should be counted on to make careful and correct decisions.

Is it possible that any decisions are being made on other than the facts before a Board?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Crowley was on BOFPC - really?

While reading 2012 Minutes of the Woodstock Board of Fire and Police Commissioners today, I came across Janelle Crowley's name in the Minutes of the June 4, 2012 regular meeting.

Why did this surprise me? Crowley was the Human Resources Director of the City of Woodstock and left her employment position in 2011. She serves on the Merit Commission of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, where she chairs that Commission. Surely, the City could have found a third member of the public who didn't already hold a similar committee position elsewhere.

Her name appears in the Minutes of only that one meeting, and I understand she has moved from Woodstock and no longer can serve on the BOFPC. Does she still live in McHenry County? She is still listed as a member of the Merit Commission, where her term expires April 30, 2015.

The BOFPC has had a number of scheduled meetings that were not held (it is supposed to meet quarterly). The previous three Commissioners were Ron Giordano, Tom Schroeder and Larry Howell. Crowley must have succeeded Schroeder. Now Crowley is gone and the BOFPC is down to two members.

The September 10, 2012 Minutes of the BOFPC reflect that Crowley was absent.

The Minutes of the next meeting, September 16, 2013, indicate that Giordano and Howell were present, and no member was absent. So Crowley was gone by then.

Why hasn't a third member been appointed? Has the City published the vacancy? Not to my knowledge. Couldn't the City identify an interested person and approach him or her?

I'm an interested person, but there is obviously no way that the Mayor, City Council or Police Chief would want me on the BOFPC. After all, I'm a person who thinks the police should be the first to obey the laws, not the last.

What if there had been a third person on the BOFPC who wasn't too cozy with the police chief? It's certainly okay to be friendly and polite. But what if the third member held the view that he or she represented the People of the City of Woodstock as a Board commissioner? Would Mayor Sager appoint an outspoken person who would hold police officers to a higher standard?

Who wants to be on the BOFPC? Be sure to contact the Woodstock City Manager right away to express interest. Then do some lobbying among the City Council members. How about a woman with children on the BOFPC?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ill. Sneak Attack - Jan. 1

Have you been wondering what Illinois legislators planned for the Jan. 1 sneak attack into your wallet or purse? Well, here it is:

Check out this site for 14 new Illinois laws (out of the hundreds) - what they are and what it will cost you not to know there.

And the winner is ... handheld cell phones (held by drivers). Is the fine really only $75. Isn't it more like $100 or $120 in Chicago? Does this mean that Chicago will have to cut its fine, so that it is not greater than the fine under the State statute? Not likely.

Thanks to Jay Schulz of The Woodstock Independent and Harvard Community Radio, where I saw this mentioned on his Facebook page.