Sunday, June 30, 2013

DUI ticket, but 0.00% BAC

You say it can't happen? Really?

Recently I wrote about Woodstock's vehicle impoundment law and the opportunity for police to ticket a driver and impound his car. If the ticket is dismissed, the driver is still out the $500 for his impoundment fine, the tow charge and the storage fees.

Why? Because of the legal advice from the City's law firm, Zukowski Rogers Flood & McArdle, of Crystal Lake. ZRFM either wrote or approved the ordinance that became Woodstock's law.

There is a way, one way, for you to get your $500 back. You have to go to trial AND be found Not Guilty. If a judge dismissed your ticket or the State's Attorney abandons prosecution, you are still out your $500. Is this fair?

Here's the story of Jessie Thornton, 64, a retired firefighter, who was ticketed by the Surprise (Arizona) PD for DUI. Now get this: his BAC was 0.00% and a drug recognition expert cleared his as sober, but Surprise's "Finest" ticketed him, anyway.

The DUI charges have since been dropped, and Thornton is suing the Surprise PD in Federal court. Go get 'em...

Could this happen here? You betcha.

The City of Woodstock needs to re-visit its ordinance immediately and remove the unfair requirement of a trial and Not Guilty finding for a driver to recover his $500 impoundment fee.

Agree? Call City Manager Roscoe Stelford and Mayor Brian Sager tomorrow. City Hall: 815.338.4300.

Peace on the Square

An article in the Northwest Herald this morning informs readers that the Woodstock Police are (or will be) at work on the Woodstock Square. Of course, I got a good chuckle at the wording ...

"Each year, the summer season brings with it a bump in police activity on the Square, from public intoxication to disorderly conduct." I mean, after all ... wouldn't we expect better behavior from our police officers?

Just kidding, of course.

You read the entire press release from the PD for yourself on the PD's webpage within the City's website at  Hover over City Departments, then hover over Police, then click on Press Releases/Crime Alerts. After that, you'll have to click on "See all items...", in order not to miss it. (This is why no one will ever see it - - too many clicks to find it.)

No problem with getting rid of drunks and rowdy loiterers, but one Ordinance you'll have to watch for is the one that prohibits "groups blocking sidewalks". This one will be enforced against the juveniles who are hanging out in the Park on the Square.

But do you think it will be enforced against the customers of the Farmers Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays? Not likely.

I do wonder why the City permits vendors to set up shop inside the Park on the Square. Can any business set up there? You probably have to be a member of the Farmers Market group. Maybe all businesses should have to set up on the street around the Park and not inside the Park?

And don't forget. No Frisbee throwing or playing catch in the Park on the Square. No bicycle riding in the Park on the Square or on the sidewalks in or near the Square.

Got a question about these "rules" (laws)? Call the Police Department? Don't like some of the rules? Show up at the City Council meeting and speak your piece. Ask for action and how you'll know if anything is happening. Call your City Council representatives directly.

Have you encountered any unruliness on the Square? Do you have any concerns about visiting the Park in the Square at any hour of the day or night? Post a comment here with your concerns and be sure to notify the Police Department ( and the City Manager ( If it's urgent, call the PD at 815.338.2131

Live by the gun, die (almost) by the gun

An 18-year-old Chicago punk wanted in a double-homicide was found shot Friday night. Remind me once more about "innocent until proven guilty" stuff?

As yet, his name has not been released by the Chicago Police.

What is in the morning Chicago Tribune is that in December 2012 he was charged with three counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance. The Chicago Tribune reported that "... records show he was sentenced to two years probation and community service for the December 2012 controlled substance arrest."

However, the Chicago Tribune, in the same paragraph, reported that "A month before that, he was charged with manufacturing or delivering heroin, unlawful use of a weapon and not possessing a firearm owner ID card."

So, let's see now ... In November (or so), he has a weapons charge. In December he has a weapons charge and gets probation and community service. Who the heck was the judge? Let's see a front-page article in the Chicago Tribune with the names of the judge, the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney!!!

In June he is suspected of murdering a mother and a 5-year-old boy.

I'm not much in favor of "street justice", but what are the chances that "somebody" decided to save the police and the courts some time? One of the problems is, they didn't. Now some Illinois legislators and Chicago politicians will resume whining about the high cost of treating "victims" of gun violence.

The 18-year-old wanted man was shot four times Friday night - the shooter got him in the buttocks, neck, leg and groin.

Beth Bentley - gone 162 weeks

When Beth Bentley didn't come home on May 24, 2010, from Mt. Vernon, Ill. with her friend and traveling companion, Jenn Wyatt, did anyone think three years could pass with no progress in finding her?

If you don't know the mystery surrounding her disappearance, read back to postings here almost every Sunday since then.

Check out this lengthy article published earlier this summer in Disclosure. It appears to have been first published early in May, because the first of 12 comments is dated May 7, 2013. It may be written by a Jack Howser; it's not clear who or where he is.

He does write that he attempted several times to contact Beth's husband, Scott Bentley, numerous times without success. A number of points in the story don't agree with so much of what has been written previously but, with so many questions unanswered in this mystery, who is to say what is correct?

Thanks to the Woodstock Advocate reader who informed me of the article on Disclosure News Online.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Paula Deen - where will I shop?

Just this week I began paying a little attention to the Saga of Paula Deen. It makes me sick. She is being victimized by the press and by a disgruntled (former?) employee.

OK, here's where I won't be shopping -

Home Depot

Who's left? Here are companies for me to do business with:

Alice Travel
Landles Candles
Random House
Metropolitan Cook and Entertaining Show
Springer Mountain Farms
Epicurean Butter

Victory tour - Today through Sunday

It's time to polish up your motorcycle-operating skills, grab your driver's license with the correct endorsement and head over to Randy's Cycles near Marengo.

The periodic demonstration tour of the Victory factory cycle tour is in town. I happened to stop by Randy's this morning, and I'll be going back tomorrow or Sunday to drool over (okay; well, near) the new bikes.

I have had my motorcycle serviced by Randy's since 1999, and they have maintained it satisfactorily for me every year. My trusty steed ('97 Honda Shadow ACE 1100cc) has 77,000 miles on the odometer. I say it's almost broken in, but I get kidded all the time at Randy's that it's dirty and that I need to take a new bike home.

Recently I met a preacher in Belvidere who bought a Victory at Randy's last year, and today two men from Hebron (as in Hebron, Indiana) were at Randy's on his recommendation. That's a 111-mile ride, one-way. They'll like doing business with Randy.

Randy's is located at 18307 Beck Rd., Marengo, Ill. Where's that? Think the corner of U.S. 20 by Donley's Wild West Town, Then go west on Beck Road about 200 yards and turn left into Randy's. For hours and information, call 815.923.0500. And visit

Thursday, June 27, 2013

MCSD take-home cars - how many?

Photo snagged from M.C. Blog
Cal Skinner filed a Freedom of Information Act request recently with the McHenry County Sheriff's Department for information about the take-home cards.

I didn't count the number of employees on the list with take-home cars, but one writer of a comment mentioned 109.

You'd think we are NYPD! We're not.

You can read Cal's article on McHenry County Blog. Be sure to read the Comments. Skim down the list. You'll see the Business Manager has a car. Why? Does she even live in McHenry County? Does the County pay for her gas to commute from/to Boone County or Winnebago County?

It would be interesting to know how many times deputies have been called out "after hours" and have needed to go screaming (lights and siren, I mean) from their homes to a crime scene. How many in the past year? Two years? Any? Ever?

Dep. Fringer is on the list. Has her car been returned to the parking lot while she is out on FMLA?

And how about Lt. Carlson? Has his car been returned to the lot, while he is recuperating from the leg injury he suffered when he wrecked his personal car on June 6?

I think MCSD's policy is, if the deputy is off for more than three days or on vacation or medical leave, the Department car goes back to the lot for use by someone else. Is that how the program is supposed to work?

Island Lake about to violate OMA

The Village of Island Lake is about to violate the Illinois Open Meetings Act. A Village Board meeting is scheduled for tonight at 7:30PM and one of the items on the agenda is an assault weapons ban.

Illinois law requires "public bodies" that maintain a website to post agendas at least 48 hours in advance. As of this morning, no agenda is published on the Village's website.

Could it be that they don't want residents to know that they are thinking about springing an "assault weapons" ban on the town? Not publicizing the meeting would be one way to keep residents in the dark.

Municipalities all over the state, but especially in northern Illinois, are panicking as the date draws near for Gov. Quinn to sign HB0183 into law. Quinn, a Chicago, Democrat, anti-gunner, says he is "studying" the bill. Yeah, sure. Maybe studying how to avoid political suicide if he does sign it (or doesn't).

Local law firms must be licking their chops over the legal fees that HB0183 is generating for them. I've previously called HB0183 "The 2013 Lawyers' Relief & Retirement Act" because of the municipal-law legal work it generates and the defense fees that municipal-law lawyers will earn, as innocent people continue to get hurt in gun-free zones.

Let's say that the City of Woodstock tells people they cannot be armed in the Park on the Square. Let's say there is a shooting there. Then let's say that the victims sue the City of Woodstock for prohibiting them from arming themselves for self-defense. Ka-ching, ka-ching.... just listen to the dollars rolling out of Woodstock into its outside law firm.

Now repeat that scenario all over McHenry County.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How will ISP ever issue CWLs?

I guess we need to give up all hope that the Illinois State Police will be able to understand the legislature's directive about regulations for the concealed carry license. ISP apparently cannot even understand a simple written request.

On June 5 I emailed the ISP and asked for some information. I wrote,
"Will you please let me know the number of FOID card 
applications received in March, April and May 2013? 
When will this information be posted on your 

For background, the number of FOID card applications in the last three months posted were
December 2012: 31,249
January 2013: 61,172
February 2013: 56,078

Today I received this reply:

"*This chart only reflects the number of applications 

 More accurately, the reply should have read, "This chart only reflects the number of applications received and posted."

So I'm left to wonder, what part of "received in March, April and May 2013" could they not have understood?

Are you voting? Only 6 days to to

Have you been voting in the Main Street Matters competition? It's easy and quick. Only two towns in Illinois are in the contest. Woodstock and Grayslake.

Voting ends June 30, and you can vote once every day. Vote early & vote often.

So, go to
Click on Illinois on the map;
Click on Woodstock;
Be sure to cast your vote!

And remember to buy Benjamin Moore paints.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Marengo set to spring new gun law TONIGHT

Here come the bans. Last week it was discussion in Algonquin.

Tonight, Marengo is ready to pass a LAW.

Tonight, June 24, 2013, 7:00PM. Marengo City Hall, 132 E. Prairie St. On the agenda of the City Council meeting is "Item 7. New Business (a) An Ordinance Amending Chapter 12 and 40 Regarding Burning and Use of Weapons in the City of The [sic] Marengo Municipal Code."

But this particular law is not the one that law-abiding gun owners and those who fear Government are concerned about. What Marengo will decide tonight is whether to expand the allowable use of firearms on agricultural lands that are now a part of the City. It is something in the order of, if you can shoot on County property, you can shoot on agricultural land within the city limits of Marengo. You'll have to read the proposed ordinance to know whether this is for target shooting or only for varmint control.

However, farther down in the Agenda for tonight's meeting is ¶f "Discussion and Request for Direction Regarding Concealed Carry Law." THIS is the one we law-abiding gun owners are worried about.

The City Fathers in Marengo will decide tonight whether to look into writing new ordinances of the types that are causing panic in Highland Park, Evanston, Melrose Park, Park Forest, Berwyn, Hainesville, St. Charles, Park Ridge and West Chicago this week.

If you live in Marengo, it would be a good idea to attend this meeting and the one on July 8. Watch for that agenda and read it carefully.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Grand Canyon Walk

Watch Nik Wallenda walk a 2" tightrope across the Grand Canyon this afternoon - Sunday, June 23. Start watching online at 6:40PM CDT.

What more can I say?

FEN's civil suit against Nygren and MCSD

Want to read the full Complaint filed in court by the against Sheriff Nygren and the McHenry County Sheriff's Department (MCSD) because of FEN's denied FOIA request?

You can read the complete document right here.

Your thoughts?

Should MCSD stop horsing around, stop wasting taxpayer dollars and release the investigative report and the audio recordings of the interviews with the deputies?

Remember, that report is the one where Nygren cleared Undersheriff Zinke of any wrongdoing in connection with revealing to Brian Goode that tons of illegal drugs were headed across Texas to Goode's RITA Corp. in Crystal Lake.

A DEA investigation was working, and Zinke told Goode about it. Do you suppose there is anybody who thinks that was okay? Besides Nygren, I mean.

Beth Bentley - 161 weeks gone

Beth Bentley vanished 161 weeks ago, probably on Sunday, May 23, 2010.

The Woodstock (Ill.) Police Department (WPD) claims to be the lead investigatory police department in this case, which it classified first as a missing-person case and subsequently escalated slightly, when it named Bentley as an Endangered Missing Person.

WPD never explained the "endangered" classification. "Endangered" is commonly used in cases where there is a known physical or mental health issue, a need for prescribed medication(s), threats of harm, etc.

WPD never updated the flier on its website to remove questionable details or the dissolution of the Woodstock Area Crime Stoppers organization that had offered one-half of the $2,000 reward.

The local (Woodstock) Crime Stoppers group was involuntarily dissolved on June 14, 2013, for failure to file its last Annual Report or pay the miniscule filing fee ($10.00?). The last Board let the 25-year-old organization go down the drain without a struggle to keep it going. Offers to re-energize it got no response. Obviously, "younger blood" was needed for it to continue, but the Board did little or nothing to perpetuate the group. Remaining funds were transferred to the Crime Stoppers of McHenry County, and presumably the $1,000 reward was abandoned.

Whether or not the Crime Stoppers of McHenry County still offers its own $1,000 reward in this case is anyone's guess. It is virtually impossible to contact the group or get a response from them. In any event, no one is likely to step forward with information about Bentley for the petty sum of $1,000. No private or family reward has been mentioned for almost three years.

Who should care if a married woman goes missing from a community? If family and friends don't "raise hell", should anyone else? I've had several women tell me that they hope they never go missing from Woodstock.

What does that tell you about whether Woodstock is a caring community?

Friday, June 21, 2013

NWH finally covers FEN's suit against Sheriff

What is it about the end of the business day at the end of a business week that makes that a good time to release a story? At 5:00PM today the Northwest Herald published a story about the lawsuit by FirstElectricNewspaper (FEN) against the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

Publisher Pete Gonigam is trying to get the report of Sheriff Nygren's investigation of Undersheriff Andy Zinke, who outed a confidential DEA investigation involving illegal drugs enroute to the RITA Corp., whose president is Brian Goode. Goode is a member of the Sheriff's Merit Commission, a b-i-g financial contributor to Nygren's political campaigns, and a donor of $5,000 to Zinke's political campaign a couple of months after Zinke told him about the drugs headed toward his company.

Don Leist, EEO Officer for the Sheriff's Department and the man to whom Nygren gave the task of investigating Zinke, had this to say (in the article) about FEN: "I've learned to just ignore those blogs. They're full of erroneous and half information."

As Ray Stevens sings in one of his popular songs, "Ayy-yup."

A funny thing ... if "those blogs" were full of erroneous and half information, we'd be in court, not the sheriff and Leist. I wonder if we'll find out that Leist's report on the Zinke investigation, if there even is a report, is "full of erroneous and half information". 

Leist is identified in the first paragraph of the Northwest Herald as "an attorney within the Defendant". Wait! Maybe we don't have to wait for his report to become public. How about erroneous and half information?

Yes, Leist is an attorney; that is, he has a law degree and he was an attorney with the McHenry County State's Attorney Office. But, so far as I know, he is not an attorney within the Sheriff's Department. He holds a civilian's job and does not provide, to my knowledge, any legal service or legal advice to the Department. I don't think he is an attorney for the Sheriff's Department. He is a desk jockey for Equal Opportunity.

When Nygren wanted to hire Leist, he had a job description for the EEO position written to read that a law degree was preferred. It was not required. The previous occupant of the office (for how many years? 10?) was not an attorney. The job probably isn't even needed any longer.

How Leist got in the middle of the FOIA spat is anyone's guess. Mrs. Jan Weech is a very capable FOIA Officer for the Sheriff's Department. Who knows? Maybe she felt that the investigative report should be released. Will she be retiring quite soon?

I think it's very likely that Judge Meyer will hammer Nygren and Leist over their refusal to provide the investigative report on Zinke to and Pete Gonigam. Case No. 13MR000309 has a court date on July 10 and another one on September 17. This is the type of case that could be heard in its entirety on July 10 and be over (but it won't be).

Pungent odor at Health Department

Man, oh man. What's that smell?

As I entered the McHenry County Government Annex behind the courthouse this morning, I smelled vomit. The odor was strong.

The sidewalk appeared clean. Where was that smell coming from? Did someone get sick on the way into, or out of, the Health Department?

It turns out that the smell is from the mulch that was spread along the upper level of the sidewalk near the building entrance, under the bench outside the front door. And the smell is worse, when the humid is high - like, when it's raining. That's certainly one way to discourage employees from going outside at noon time for a little fresh air!

So, the questions are:

How long has that mulch been there?
Who put it there?
When was the odor first noticed?

And, most importantly, why hasn't it been removed and replaced?

You can bet that, if the County Administrator's office or the Sheriff's office was in that building, it would have been replaced the day after it was first noticed!

The mulch should be removed Monday. Period. Just because it's at the entrance to the Annex (and not the Government Center main building or the Administration Building) is no excuse.

If it doesn't get removed promptly, a FOIA request for details will get all the smelly details.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Murder rate in the U.S.

I came across this from on Facebook.

What do you think? Starting to feel a little safer? Well, maybe not; after all, McHenry County is not all that far form Chicago.

Several readers of the Facebook thread challenged this statement.

Isn't everything on the internet true?

Northwest Herald snubs FEN lawsuit against Nygren

Earlier this week Pete Gonigam, publisher of, filed a civil action against the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

I think the Northwest Herald still has a reporter at the courthouse. Maybe in these lean times it doesn't.

Or maybe it doesn't want to run any news story that is not complimentary of Sheriff Nygren.

Gonigam's lawsuit is about the failure of the Sheriff's Department to comply with an order from the Public Access Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General's office to release its investigative report by Nygren of Zinke for divulging confidential information about a DEA investigation to one of Nygren's political supporters and a member of the MCSD Merit Commission - and a huge financial supporter to Nygren over the past years.

The excuses given by the Sheriff's Department don't hold water. The sheriff got Donald Leist involved as his Legal Affairs Officer. Who even knew that the sheriff had created such a position that. He hired Leist to replace his previous EEO officer. He didn't need a lawyer for that civilian position; he didn't even need the position. But he picked up Leist, who was leaving the State's Attorney Office for the new job.

Leist is a common-law employee of the MCSD, not a lawyer for the Sheriff's Department.

A directive from the Public Access Bureau (PAB) doesn't have any teeth in it, so a public body" (in this case, the McHenry County Sheriff's Department) can just sit back and thumb its nose at the PAB. I suspect the Sheriff thought Pete Gonigam wouldn't sue him for the investigate report, but that's exactly what Pete is doing.

Is there even a report? And who investigated the allegations that Zinke had acted improperly? If MCSD had an Internal Affairs Division, it would have been the investigating authority. But did Nygren have his civilian employee dig in all the dirt? Is there anybody in McHenry County who doesn't see what's wrong with this picture?

The Northwest Herald is keeping its head down in the foxhole on this one. Why?

Earlier this week a reader told me that he thought the Northwest Herald ought to hire me as its investigative reporter. I'd be its first. Or first, in a long time.

Drones used in U.S. - did you say not?

Are drones being used on U.S. soil?

You probably said, "No way."

How do you like your words? With ketchup? Mustard? Want fries with that order?

Mueller admitted the use of drones on U.S. soil. Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa nailed FBI Director Robert Mueller during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Retirement in September won't come soon enough for Mueller. How fast can he skate between now and then?

And the U.S. Government and Obama wonder why people don't trust them? And let's throw Quinn and Culleton and the Madigans and Emanuel right in the pot with them.

The best quote in this morning's Northwest Herald was in a Letter to the Editor by Jackie Petersen, when she quoted Benjamin Franklin in her letter under the heading "Where is the outrage?" She wrote,“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Woodstock government - change to ward system?

Should the City of Woodstock change its city government to a ward system and allow residents to elect their own representatives to the City Council?

Woodstock government has a mayor plus six residents on its City Council. If you are not happy with someone, it's hard to get rid of him or her.

What if Woodstock switched over to a ward system? If residents in a certain part of town feel they aren't getting the police assistance they need, then they have one Council member to turn to. Or maybe their potholes aren't being filled. Or they need more Code enforcement.

Residents could lean on their elected representative on the Council. If they don't get heard, they could elect someone else at the next election.

What do you think? Do you think you would be better off with a ward system?

How would residents get the question to the public? My guess is that the mayor and current members of the City Council would never go for a ward system. Would the question have to be put to the voters in a referendum?

NWH says, "Be ready for concealed weapons law"

Notice how nothing is being done to prepare the public for this law?

How is Susie Q. Public going to act, when she notices someone with a gun? Now, the firearm is supposed to be concealed, but she'll be standing in line at Jewel and notice the "print" of the weapon under a jacket. No doubt I'll hear her screaming a mile away.

And then every police car in the County will run "hot" to Jewel, and deputies and officers will swoop in with their guns drawn (causing far greater threat to the public), while the poor customer is just trying to fish out his Rewards card and pay his bread.

Training should be already taking place in every police and sheriff's department that the officers will be seeing guns and should be expecting to encounter law-abiding, licensed individuals with firearms. They must know how to deal with them respectfully. That is going to be a struggle for some of them.

Gun owners are ready to print off applications and apply. The PDs and the State Police ought to be readying their procedures. Not a big deal; just pushing paperwork from one desk to another.

The legislators, in their infinite wisdom, decided on a 16-hour training requirement. That's more than in any other state. Why 16 hours? I can think of three reasons.

1) Illinois will then prohibit anyone from another state from carrying concealed in Illinois, because that visitor will not pay $300 for a non-resident Illinois concealed carry license;
2) Illinois will not grant reciprocity to non-residents, because anyone from another state will not have 16 hours of training that Illinois will require;
3) Other states will not grant reciprocity to Illinois licensees because their own residents are not welcome to carry in Illinois.

Now the State Police are supposed to come up with the composition of a 16-hour training program. Alone? Without input from the public? Will the NRA, the ISRA, and the Public get a chance to weigh in on the reasonableness of the training requirement?

Who will educate business owners about why they should NOT post their businesses against concealed carry? Let's educate the public about killing zones (also known as Gun-Free Zones). Let's educate the public about ignoring people who step out of their cars with unloaded firearms, heading for the trunks of their cars.

I, for one, will not be shopping at any business that posts against concealed carry, and I shall make sure to so inform the owner or manager.

Maybe this is the readiness that needs to be taking place.

MAIG: Boston terrorist = gun violence victim?

Get the latest on NYC Mayor Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) rally in New Hampshire yesterday. According to, MAIG named Boston Marathon terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a gun violence victim.

Can you believe that nonsense? Tsarnaev was killed in gun battle with police. He's a victim?

What do you suppose is wrong with Bloomberg? Has all his money gone to his head? Is the green coloring of the money causing some mental disturbance? Should he be committed for 180 days (or, maybe, 180 years) for observation?

Everybody I know is against gun violence. The mayors I know are against gun violence. Ask Mayor Sager if he is against gun violence. I'm sure he is. Ask Mayor Shepley of Crystal Lake. Is he against gun violence? You bet. I'm against gun violence. All the gun owners I know are against gun violence!

I am also against anyone who attempts to restrict my Second Amendment rights or to confiscate any of my legally-owned guns. And I'll be against anyone who attempts to change laws and make me a criminal. And that makes me against Bloomberg.

Bloomberg's Gang is on a nationwide bus tour. Is there any wonder that protesters of their stupid rhetoric show up? When they get to Chicago, I'll be there; i.e., if I decide to risk my life by going into Chicago. Maybe I won't be there.

Hey, here's an idea. When the MAIG Gang shows up in Chicago, let them hold their rally at 87th & Stony Island, without any police protection.

Medical practice of the future?

Watch this fascinating video with Eric Topol, M.D., and how he uses SmartPhones and apps in his practice of medicine.

His book is The Creative Destruction of Medicine - How the digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care.

Want to see how you might treat, or become aware of, diabetes or heart disease?

Algonquin tries end-run on gun permit bill (FEN) reports on the end-run by the Village of Algonquin, when the popular Crystal Lake municipal-law firm threw its weight around on one of the most-talked-out provisions (now) in the pending bill on concealed carry.

Attorney Brad Stewart of Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McCardle, identified by FEN as a "gun law expert", apparently gave some incorrect information to the Village Board of Algonquin. FEN reports, "Some parts of the pending law are pretty clear, Stewart said. For instance, the presumption that applicants should be issued a concealed gun carry license but allows police to object 'if there's a very good reason.'"

That is not right. Law enforcement (LE) officials can object to an application for a concealed carry license if LE believes that the applicant is a danger to himself or others. That is a very narrow classification and gives the applicant an opportunity to fight a specific objection.

And there is no "presumption" that applicants "should" be issued ...  The bill waiting on the governor's desk says "shall issue".

The legislature wisely (albeit under considerable pressure and close watching) passed a "shall issue" law to avoid exactly the type of situation that Stewart described. How do you ever fight "very good reason"?

Read FEN's article here.

EVERY municipality in McHenry County must now be watched carefully. Zukowski, Rogers et al. represents a fair number of local municipalities. Other law firms share the rest of the pie.

So, maybe Gov. Quinn shouldn't sign HB0183, and Illinois will just go to Constitutional Carry on July 9. Let Chicago slide on down the drain. Stay clear of Cook County. Of course, that's pretty hard on McHenry County residents who have to go there daily for their bread and butter. You guys might try armor-plating your vehicles and buying some Kevlar clothing.

FEN sues Nygren, MCSD (FEN) has filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Keith Nygren and the McHenry County Sheriff's Department (MCSD) over Nygren's refusal to respond to a FOIA request.

Pete Gonigam, publisher of FEN, previously filed a FOIA request to get the investigative report by the Sheriff's Office into Undersheriff Andy Zinke's outing of the DEA investigation of drugs headed for RITA Corp. in Cyrstal Lake. MCSD denied the FOIA request. That's the one in which Nygren said there was no wrongdoing by Zinke.

Gonigam appealed the denial to the Public Access Bureau (PAB) of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, and that Office told Nygren to comply and provide the response.

Unfortunately, a directive from the PAB doesn't have any teeth, and it appears that Nygren & Gang just put their hands over their eyes and over their ears and went on about business as usual (used loosely, of course).

Gonigam's recourse is the McHenry County Circuit Court, and yesterday he filed his case. Case No. 13MR000309 can be inspected at the McHenry County Government Center.

A date to hear a motion is set for July 10, 9:00AM, in Judge Meyer's courtroom, 201. The next date after that is September 17, 9:00AM, same judge, same place.

The way things go in McHenry County, Nygren will be out of office by the time this case gets resolved. Thirty-day-period after 30-day-period will come and go; there will be delaying tactics designed to drive up Gonigam's costs. Your tax dollars will be hard at work to keep this report, if there even is a report, out-of-sight.

What could happen, of course, is that Judge Meyer could aside one hour on Friday and tell both sides, "You each get 20 minutes, and I get 20 minutes. And then the Sheriff's office will comply, or Sheriff Nygren goes to jail."

Read the whole story on

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

McHenry County - concealed carry OK?

Will McHenry County be the first county in northern Illinois to join southern Illinois counties in recognizing concealed carry?

Macon County officials are crafting regulations to allow concealed carry in the county, State’s Attorney Jay Scott said.

What would it take for us to join Tazewell, Madison, Randolph and other counties where the State's Attorneys are saying that they "would not prosecute people who carry a firearm outside their home if that person is legally allowed to possess a weapon."

Will Lou Bianchi jump on this bandwagon?

Such statements do not change Illinois law. Police, deputies and troopers might still write tickets. The scope is probably very narrow. But the State's Attorneys are saying they won't prosecute in certain cases. It's not a guarantee or a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Contact the office of Lou Bianchi and tell him that you'd like him to join these down-state colleagues and give us the privilege of defending ourselves outside our homes. Email him now at

Rockford Tea Party FB administrator - a light-weight!

Earlier this afternoon I began reading a thread on the Facebook page of "Rockford Tea." Not because I'm a Tea Party kind of guy, but I was interested in Saturday's event on Saturday morning in Rockford, where I hoped to learn more from Ill. State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-35 (Rockford)).

After reading one particularly offensive remark made by the Site Administrator to a poster, I asked the Administrator to identify himself by name and informed him that he was wrong in certain claims he was making about concealed carry and the Second Amendment.

The Administrator responded almost immediately, "Rockford Tea said, "Gus philpott...actually please point out your objections specifically...otherwise i can only view your post as a personal attack."

I prepared this reply but, before I could post it, he had blocked me. "@Rockford Tea, you said to Keith Turner 2 hrs. ago, "you obviously cannot read, because if you could read, you would reread what the Second Amendment .." That is said in a condescending, demeaning manner. You are stating your beliefs, not the law. Here in Illinois, we are still governed by the law. So, again, will you please identify yourself?

So, he had asked me for information about my objections, but he was afraid to wait for my reply. That is the chicken's way out.

Then he sent me the following message:

"Rockford Tea
"I am afraid I will have to delete you from the event gus and block you from further interactions. Personal attacks on my page are not allowed sir."

 Whew! Talk about a thin skin!!!

This is perhaps one good reason why I avoid the Tea Partiers. Too many of them are not interested in facts or information. This guy, whoever he is, hiding behind the anonymity of "Rockford Tea", assumes the holier-than-thou attitude of "I'm right; you're wrong, and you're blocked!"

Banner month for Woodstock Impound law

March 2013 was a banner month for the Woodstock Vehicle Impoundment law. How so?

The police department reported to the City Manager (and the City Council) that it collected $16,000 in Impound Fees. That's 32 vehicles impounded.

I thought it was the record month, but it only tied March 2012. Originally, Chief Robert Lowen told the City, in his pitch for such a law, that he thought his Department would impound approximately 50 cars per year. If they impound 32 in one month, that's 64% of the year's estimate - in just one month.

I wonder if anyone in the City is analyzing these impoundments. Is anyone determining what violations are generating the tows? Is anyone following up to determine how much the tows are costing drivers? There are towing fee and daily charges. How much? And which officers are impounding the most vehicles? And what violations and drivers are being cited but not generating tows?

How many drivers are forfeiting their vehicles, because they cannot afford to pay the impound fees, towing charges and storage fees, plus the fines for the tickets? Is the Woodstock City Council proud yet?

How many drivers are forced to pay these fees and charges, even when their tickets are dismissed in court or plea-bargained down from impoundable offenses? The way Woodstock's law is written, even if your charge is dismissed, you can't get a refund of your $500 impound fee. You have to have a trial and be found Not Guilty.

That's what the City of Woodstock wanted, or it's what the municipal law firm recommended. And that is wrong!!! Apparently I'm the only one who thinks so.

It seems to me that the City shouldn't be just licking the gravy off the plate, but that it should have to do the dishes, too. In other words, the City of Woodstock (and all municipalities with impound laws) should be analyzing the impact on drivers and reporting its findings.

Are these impound laws really a deterrent against the violations that result in towing? I seriously doubt it.

Bentley flier back on WPD website

The missing-person flier for Beth Bentley has been restored to the Woodstock (Ill.) Police Department website, not that anyone is likely to see it. It is buried down several clicks where, very likely, no one boldly ever goes.

Monthly reports of Bentley's disappearance to the Woodstock City Manager and City Council were dropped several months ago, and on last Sunday it was observed that Bentley's flier was gone from the PD website. Now it's back.

Unfortunately, it has never been updated. It's pretty likely that this case has gone cold and that no investigative time is being devoted to it.

The flier contains information that is now doubtful, but it has not been removed or updated. For example, Beth wasn't "staying" in the Mt. Vernon Illinois area. She was visiting for the week-end.

Only one person has publicly said that Beth was dropped off on the afternoon of May 23, 2010, near the Centralia (Ill.) Amtrak station. Jenn Wyatt is that one and only person. Did she really droop Beth off there? Does the mileage record for the rental car support the 50-mile roundtrip?

Have Ryan and Nathan Ridge been interviewed about that? Separately? As to the time when Jenn and Beth left Mt. Vernon? And the time that Jenn returned? And what their conversations were all about, regarding what Beth was to do after being dropped off? And about who used Beth's phone to order a pizza from Pogue's Pizza at the time she would have been on the way to Centralia?

And that no one using any names connected with Beth bought a train ticket "at" the Centralia station. Was the station even open on that day? Don't passengers buy their tickets on the train? Maybe the station was open that Sunday? Was it? Any locals know the operating hours for any ticket window in Centralia?

Credit cards - no activity since 5-23-10. But what about the activity "on" May 23 - the payment on a credit card that later went into default and was written off? Am I the only one who thinks it is suspicious that a payment was made on the account on the very day she vanished?

There is no longer a Woodstock CrimeStoppers group. Was the reward offer transferred to CrimeStoppers of McHenry County or did it expire when the Woodstock group disbanded?

Would it really be too much work for the Woodstock Police Department to update its missing-person flier for a resident who has been missing for more than three years?

Free hypnosis talk Wed. night in Woodstock

What is hypnosis good for?
Can anyone be hypnotized?
How long does it take?
Will I remember everything?
What's the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?
Will it hurt?
Why would I want to be hypnotized?
Do police use hypnosis?

Get answers to these and other questions on Wednesday, June 19, at the Woodstock (Ill.) Public Library. We'll meet in the downstairs training room and will start at 7:15PM.

No reservations needed.
Open to the public.

Attorney General Mudd stalls again

This morning's Northwest Herald carries an Associated Press story about the Friday, June 14th, filing of a further motion by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Mudd (err, Madigan), begging for more time to decide whether she will appeal the December 11, 2012, ruling by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that the Illinois law against concealed carry is unconstitutional. (The Chicago Tribune didn't bother to inform its readers.)

The story included, "Documents filed late Friday but made public Monday indicate that the bid for a "second and final 30-day extension" would allow Madigan's busy staff to continue researching the issues that could be part of a possible appeal to the Supreme Court of a lower court's decree."

When did the AG's staff begin "researching the issues"? December 12? or June 1? The Court of Appeals should just say, "No, honey, you've had plenty of time. You should have started sooner. Motion denied! Bang!" Hit on the head with your gavel, your honor.

All Lisa is doing is muddying the water and continuing to obstruct the will of the People and the 11th-hour efforts of the General Assembly to comply with an order  that got jammed down their throats.

It's all part of the Madigan-Madigan-Quinn-Cullerton movement to keep law-abiding citizens in Illinois from carrying concealed, loaded firearms for their personal protection.

Even when HB0183 finally becomes law, it will be months before applications can be submitted. And more months before they will be approved and licenses issued. Many people who want to apply will not be able to afford the total outlay of $500 to do so.

The bill requires 16 hours of training, with credit to veterans for 8 hours if they have honorable discharges. So you can bank on time that the Illinois State Police will take to wrangle about what the training requirements will be, and how the 8-hour requirement will be structured.

And why should the State Police get to say? What input with the People have to the training requirement?

Election time will be approaching. It is time for the People of Illinois to dump the two Madigans, Cullerton and Quinn. I read recently that Boss Madigan has been Speaker of the House for 25 years. Really? REALLY?

If that's true, considering the mess that Illinois is in, shouldn't he be run entirely out of the General Assembly?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Obama birth question still open?

What if the United States has a president who is not qualified to be president? Imagine the implications of having a legally-unqualified person in the White House!!!

Why isn't everybody concerned about this question?

Listen to what Sheriff Mack has to say about this:

This ought to be a huge, ongoing, front-page story in every newspaper in the United States until it is resolved. Is Obama's birth certificate "a fake and a fraud", as Sheriff Mack states?

Is it grand-standing to ticket yourself?

A commenter to a recent article expressed that a cop who writes himself a ticket is "grand-standing". Is he?

Years ago I read a story about Reuben Greenberg. While he was a rookie patrolman, he got into an accident on the way to a call. It was his fault, so he wrote himself a ticket. That's integrity. Greenberg rose to Chief of Police in Charleston, S.C. and is the author of Let's Take Back Our Streets.

How often do cops get into accidents and get tickets? Not very often. The tickets, I mean. There have been numerous accidents in Woodstock and in McHenry County that have been the fault of the officer/deputy-driver, and no tickets were issued. Want a list?

But I wasn't there when Greenberg wrote himself that ticket. Ever since I heard the story, though, I have thought highly of him.

And then there is Richard Knoebel, Police Chief in 2006 of the Kewaskum (Wisc.) Police Department. He realized he had passed a stopped school bus, and he wrote himself a $235 ticket. And paid it. Grand-standing? I don't think so.

And then there is Lt. Don Carlson of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Don ran off the road in Boone County one night about ten days ago. Don used to work for the Boone County Sheriff's Department. The crash report says that Don told the deputy that he was talking on his telephone. He ran off the county road on the left side, traveled in a ditch for 100 yards and hit a tree - hard. The deputy identified "speed" as a contributing factor in the crash.

The Boone County deputy and his supervisor did not ticket Carlson. Should Carlson have written himself a ticket? Maybe while he was in his hospital room or at home recuperating?

Actually, the deputy or his supervisor should have written the ticket. It had to be clear to them that a serious driver error had occurred.

A ticket isn't a terrible thing. Drivers get over it. But giving a fellow law-enforcement officer a "bye" in that situation was wrong.

Sheriff Duane Wirth ought to be all over Deputy Prine, who wrote the crash report, and Sgt. Reid, his supervisor. Did friendship with Carlson play a role? Wirth announced last week that he will not run for re-election in 2014. Wirth told the Rockford Register Star that two (unnamed) persons have expressed interest in running for Boone County Sheriff.

Sheriff Wirth ought to order the blood lab result from the hospital. If it was 0.00% BAC, that protects Carlson, Prine and Reid from any allegations of favoritism. OSF St. Anthony's Hospital must have a record of the BAC. Why didn't the Boone County SO request it?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gas prices dropping - not in Woodstock

On Wednesday the Associated Press had this to say about gas prices: "The worst may be over for drivers in the upper Midwest who have been grappling with the highest gasoline prices in the continental U.S. ... "

And's chief oil analyst said, "...prices could drop below $4 a gallon..." (but not before you'll need to fill up).

And what are gas prices per-gallon now?
Belvidere $3.99
McHenry $4.09
Crystal Lake $4.11
Woodstock $4.23

Mt. Vernon $3.65!!!
Springfield, Ill. $3.72 (better not anger the legislators)

How do we force down the price of gas in Woodstock? Stop in and tell the clerk to notify her regional office that you are not buying in Woodstock until the price comes down.

Then buy in Crystal Lake or McHenry while you are there. Obviously, it doesn't pay to make a special trip there for gas.  Keep an eye on your gas gauge and your planner, and use to monitor prices.

Is Chicago lost?

"6 dead among 26 shot Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning"

That was the headline in this morning's Chicago Tribune. And that's just one day.

Obviously, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy have lost control of Chicago. They both should be ridden out of town on rails. Just don't bring them this way.

It will very likely take the Illinois State Police and the Illinois National Guard, if not Federal troops, to restore order and safety in the City of Chicago.

How long will it take before law and order are restored?

Look at the dumb plan reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. According to an AP article, "The Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday that 600 adults will be hired next month to work along the routes, which are being established to make sure students from closed schools can get to their new schools safely."

Read the Sun-Times article here. Right ... hire people to stand on walking routes and call the police when students are threatened. No money to keep the schools open, but hire walker-watchers.

It's time to take back the streets. I plan to re-read Let's Take Back Our Streets! Chief Reuben Greenberg (retired), of the Charleston, S.C. P.D. wrote it, and it was published in 1989. I hope to meet him on this summer's motorcycle trip through North Carolina, where he now lives. I'll take along his book, in hopes of getting it autographed.

My favorite story about Chief Greenberg is that, when he was a rookie, he got involved in an accident on the way to a call. It was his fault, and he wrote himself a ticket. Now that's my kind of cop!

You can help ...

Thanks to an article on McHenry County Blog, I learned of this food-raising event in Crystal Lake to aid the people in Haiti.

In these days of instant news and of news becoming "old news" very quickly, it is, unfortunately, too easy to forget that on January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. That's only three years ago. The earthquake killed 220,000. Think about that for a minute.

The population of McHenry County is about 309,000.

The earthquake wrecked the lives of hundreds of thousands more.

A food-packing event is planned for Sunday, August 4, starting at 9:30AM, at Hannah Beardsley Middle School in Crystal Lake. For information, visit

The goal is to pack 80,000 meals at a cost of $0.25/meal. You can donate through a link on that site.

Yes, we have problems right here in McHenry County. Don't ignore those. But this is a chance to help out people whose lives are likely to be impacted for a long, long time to come.

Woodstock PD center-lane enforcement

The June traffic initiative of the Woodstock Police Department is to nail violators of the center lane on Route 47. It's about time. How many drivers cut around stopped cars to enter the left-turn lane?

This is a huge and dangerous problem, and I'm glad to see that Woodstock Police will concentrate on it. However, like many other traffic enforcement issues, addressing it one ticket at a time will not solve the problem. But it's a start.

How about using the mobile electronic bulletin board, too? Put up a message: "Obey center-lane laws." That's short enough not to distract a driver. Move the trailer around. Use it in both directions on Route 47. (It could also be used for seatbelt enforcement, rather than wasting the time (overtime pay!) of officers to write those pesky tickets.)

What intersections will get attention?

Northbound and Southbound Eastwood Drive @ Lake Avenue
Southbound Eastwood Dr. @ McConnell Road
Northbound Eastwood Dr. @ Country Club Road
Northbound Eastwood Dr. @ Irving Avenue 
Northbound Eastwood Dr. @ McHenry Ave. (Afternoon Shift)

Drivers will be especially interested in this statement in the announcement on the PD's website: "Officers will adopt a zero tolerance for median violations while the outcome of the stop will remain at the officer’s discretion."

A-ha! How will an officer decide who gets a ticket and who gets a warning?

I remember one clear example of abuse of discretion by the Woodstock PD. An officer offered me a warning for a headlight that had been burned out for 10 miles and 15 minutes on a cold January night. That was fair, since I had documented numerous headlight problems on my car and had them repaired on the following day. But then a second officer showed up and reminded him of an order at the PD that, if I got stopped, I got a ticket - no warning.

So it was a case of reverse abuse of discretion. The first officer exercised discretion and common sense. I never found out how high up the order at the PD originated.

During an "initiative", should there be any discretion? Will the $1,000-suit driver of the new, clean Cadillac with Bull Valley Golf Club plates get a warning? Will the guy with the old pick-up truck for his lawn service get a ticket? Care to make a guess?

Beth Bentley - now missing 160 weeks

Why has the Woodstock Police Department dropped Beth Bentley's Missing-Person poster and information from its website???

Beth Bentley, 41 when she went missing three years ago, has been gone for 160 weeks.

Every week I ask questions.

Every week I hear no answers.

Who cares that Beth Bentley disappeared? Who cares about getting to the bottom of what, exactly, transpired on the fateful week-end of May 20-23, 2010?

Did Jennifer Wyatt-Paplham and Beth really drive to Mt. Vernon, Ill. on the night of Thursday, May 20, 2010?

What time did they get there? What happened then?

What were their activities on Friday? On Saturday? On Sunday?

Was everything "friendly"?

Why did Jenn drive Beth to the Centralia, Ill. Amtrak station? Or did she?

Did anyone analyze the mileage on the rental car? Tolls? Gas receipts? Or, if no receipts, statements about timing and amounts of gasoline purchases?

Did the rental car have an I-Pass? Where and when were tolls charged? Did police view the images of the rental car passing through toll plazas?

Paint your town red .... well, ...

The City of Woodstock is one of only two cities in Illinois that have been entered in the "Main Street Matters" paint program of the Benjamin Moore & Co. paint company.

OK, so we probably wouldn't want to see the entire historic Woodstock Square painted red, but a fresh coat of paint wouldn't hurt anything.

From now until June 30th you can vote every day at

Go there each day, click on Illinois, then on Woodstock, and cast your vote. It's that easy.

The City wouldn't put any money into Main Street Illinois just a few years ago, but it doesn't mind looking for a free paint job.

Email your friends everywhere and ask them to vote daily for Woodstock. An easy way to do that is to forward this article to them. Just use the little white envelope at the bottom of this article to forward it. Add your note, asking your friends to vote today and everyday.

Look out, gun owners; here they come

A few weeks ago I wrote about expected efforts by municipal law firms on new local gun laws. I think I referred to the proposed law as the Lawyers' Relief & Retirement Plan. Today's Northwest Herald puts it in writing for more people to see.

The Crystal Lake Mayor, Aaron Shepley, has got it exactly backwards. The headline on Page A10 over the continuation of the front-page article reads, "CL mayor: Debate should be public."

BUT, and this is a huge "but", he thinks that public meetings "...on the pending legislation [meaning, adoption of local ordinances [not to be confused with State legislation]] should be done in public, 'so people can hear what our views are'."

wrong, Wrong, WRONG. There should be public meetings, so that CITY OFFICIALS can hear what the views of the people are!

One of the problems is that most of the Sheeople don't even know what reasoned views are on the topic of "assault" weapons. First of all, the term is wrong. "Assault" (fully automatic) weapons have been banned since about 1934.

What the anti-gunners want is to ban weapons that look like "assault" weapons.

You know the saying, "One picture is worth a thousand words"? The picture that sticks in my mind is the man standing on the roof of his building during the L.A. riots with an "assault" (-type) rifle, protecting his business from rioters.

Could this happen here? Picture if you will, Mayor Shepley, gangs roaming downtown Crystal Lake, setting cars afire and looting jewelry businesses and restaurants, terrorizing citizens. Picture your able police being over-whelmed or, worse, incapacitated. Now picture law-abiding citizens with AR-15s with 15- and 30-round magazines protecting lives and property.

Still want to take away "assault"(-type) weapons? You'll be passing out medals, not tickets.

Not mentioned in the article is the City of Woodstock. As late as Friday, I was told that Woodstock has nothing on its radar for any weapons ban. That, from the person who should know. Hopefully, no elected official has gone around him to the City's law firm, the same one mentioned in the news article.

The comments from McHenry's Deputy Police Chief are worrisome. First of all, why is he even speaking out? His language to the reporter should give McHenry (City) residents great cause for concern, when they apply for their concealed carry licenses. Deputy Chief John Birk apparently said something about "who can successfully receive a permit (license)" and his worries about who shouldn't have one.

Those who "shouldn't have one (a concealed carry license)" are spelled out in the bill that will become Illinois law, when the governor gets back from Gold's Gym and has worked up the strength to lift his gold pen and sign HB 0183.

Look at Deputy Chief Birk's list:
"criminals who haven't been caught committing a crime"
"(criminals) who haven't been found guilty of a felony"
"a person who has no documented history of their mental illness"
"someone with a pending court case"

Birk is a danger to liberties and freedom. Is he making his own laws? His job is to enforce laws as they are written. He is certainly entitled to his private opinions, and he should not be expressing them as McHenry's Deputy Police Chief.

Harvard's Police Chief, Dan Kazy-Garey, is the only voice of reason in the article. He knows that anyone could be carrying a loaded, concealed firearm right now. If they are, they are breaking the law. Police will have nothing to fear from the law-abiding, licensed person carrying a loaded, concealed firearm, and it sounds like Kazy-Garey already knows that.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Anyone show up last night?

I just noticed this announcement on the Woodstock Blog feature of the Northwest Herald.

Group plans vigil for Newtown victims, gun reform

Posted on June 13, 2013 - 11:15 a.m.
WOODSTOCK – Six months since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., a group is holding a candlelight vigil on the Woodstock Square to honor victims and promote gun reform.

The Newtown Candlelight Memorial will start at sunset Friday, June 14. It's expected to last from about 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

A sign-making session will precede the vigil from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the 2nd floor of the Woodstock Square Mall. The vigil will take place at Woodstock Square Park.

The event was organized by a loose group of McHenry County residents who want to protect children, schools and communities from gun violence. They encourage "common-sense reforms," according to news release.


 Did anyone show up? Did anyone know about it?

Why do some people confuse the issues of sympathy for victims and the desire to "promote gun reform"? What they mean is taking the guns awy from law-abiding citizens, and they won't get any sympathy from me on that one!

Yes, indeed, I am sorry for the children and families of Newtown. "Honor" the victims? I don't think so. Remember them? Express sorrow for them? Yes.

But promote gun reform? Perhaps it would have been "politically incorrect" to picket the gathering or wear my t-shirt that promotes the Second Amendment and freedom for law-abiding gun owners, along with the right to carry a loaded concealed weapon in Illinois. But I would have, had I known of that gathering.

No responsible gun owner encourages gun violence. In fact, we are working hard to prevent further gun violence. Taking guns away from responsible and legal gun owners (by criminalizing ownership)? There is absolutely nothing "common sense" about that. Period!

Guess it's good that I didn't know about that gathering last night!

Valuable chapter in Blink

The entire book of Blink - The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (author, Malcolm Gladwell) is worth reading slowly and carefully. This book is not laborious, but it's not for the speed reader, either. I just finished the first section in Chapter Four, about Paul Van Riper (USMC, Retired) and the war games of 2002 called Millennium Challenge.

Read it, and then think about the U.S.A., Illinois, McHenry County and your town. Is our leadership prepared to 'thinking without thinking"?

Are those who are hired to protect and serve us prepared to operate this way, still within a command structure?

As you read Blink, think about the next election in McHenry County for Sheriff. This is a crucial decision for our county.

It is interesting to note that the longtime sheriff of Boone County is finally retiring. The Rockford Register Star reported on Thursday that Duane Wirth will not seek re-election in 2014. Wirth, 72, has been sheriff for almost half of his life. By coincidence I was at his department on Friday, and I could just walk in without getting scanned or having to pass through security. It had a nice, rural, not-unfriendly feeling to it.

Later in the day a Rockford-area resident commented to me, "You may think the McHenry County Sheriff is powerful but in our county Boone County's Sheriff is god.”

Friday, June 14, 2013

Gov. Quinn calls 1-day session re pensions

Can you believe this total waste of time and money?

Chicago Tribune's Clout Street reports, "A frustrated Gov. Pat Quinn has once again changed strategies in his effort to get a pension reform bill on his desk as he acknowledged Friday he’s “prepared to do whatever necessary” to try to break a deadlock between his fellow Democratic leaders."

"whatever necessary"? How about resigning?

How stupid is it to call a one-day session and expect to fix a decades-old problem? And, if they do "fix" it in one day, every person able to do so had better clean out his bank account on June 20 and get out of Illinois.

Deputy runs off road while on phone

Much has been in the news of late about the hazard of cellular telephone usage while driving. Claims are that it is a greater distraction than DUI. Not that "DUI" is a distraction; it's much more an impairment.

Last Thursday evening, a week ago, Lt. Don Carlson, 45, of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department got the wrong end of attention at an accident scene. At about 10:21PM on June 6, while off-duty, he ran off a Boone County road while talking on his phone.

Boone County Deputy Prine (#784) responded to a location on Manchester Road (a/k/a Sharon Road) about 0.3 mile east of Poplar Grove Road in Leroy Township. Had this crash occurred about 2,500 feet north, some cop from Wisconsin would have handled it.

Dep. Prine's report reads, "Unit 1 Driver advised Unit 1 was traveling east on Manchester Rd. east of Poplar Grove Rd. Unit 1 Driver stated he was on the telephone talking when Unit 1 crossed over the westbound traffic lane and entered the ditch located on the north side of Manchester Rd. Unit 1 Driver continued to drive eastbound in the ditch attempting to exit the ditch but struck a tree. End"

Sgt. Reid (#791) liked that report and approved it.

The speed limit there is the Illinois open highway speed limit of 55. There are no skid marks on the roadway near the point where the car left the road. From the tracks still remaining in the tall grass on the north shoulder, the car just gradually left the roadway, as if it drifted off to the left. The tracks gradually drifted farther off the roadway. Then the tracks straightened out, and the vehicle, a 2000 Chevrolet Suburban, missed one tree and hit the next tree - hard. A piece of side trim is embedded in the tree trunk and sticking straight out from the tree.

The vehicle was in the ditch for 290 feet, according to the diagram, before it hit the tree, and then it proceeded another 37 feet before stopping.

Carlson probably made the right decision to ride it out, rather than jerking the wheel to re-enter the roadway, which probably would have resulted in flipping the vehicle. Still, he hit the tree hard, prompting thoughts about what his speed must have been when he left the roadway and how much he attempted to slow after entering the ditch. Contributory causes on the Crash Report are 4 (too fast) and 5 (improper turn).

Carlson was transported by Capron Rescue to St. Anthony's Hospital.

The Crash Report code for BAC is "96". This denotes that no type of test for presence of alcohol was offered. Dep. Prine must have concluded at the scene that alcohol was not suspected. No traffic citation was issued by the Boone County deputy.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Milliman v. Nygren - Next Round?

McHenry County Blog reports today on the May 29th filing of the Third Amended Complaint in Federal Case No. 11-cv-50361.

I'm sure that December 1, 2014, won't come soon enough for Keith Nygren. That's the date his successor will be sworn in.

I actually thought Keith would have bailed out by now, except for the $12,500 monthly salary he collects. Has anyone seen him lately? Where is he these days? Minocqua? Cape Coral?

Paul Scharff would like to know. Paul is pounding on the Sheriff's Department, trying to get access to old records in a closed case. According to Paul's book, Murder in McHenry, the McHenry County Sheriff's Department didn't even know it had an unsolved double homicide as a "cold case", when it was contacted in recent years.

Is that the only unsolved homicide on its books?

But back to Milliman v. Nygren. Read today's article in the McHenry County Blog about the case and look carefully at the summary of allegations against Nygren. If you have the patience to wade through the entire Complaint, have at it.

Get well wishes for Lt. Carlson, MCSD

I hear that "Get Well" wishes are in order for Lt. Don Carlson of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. He was injured in a vehicle crash in Boone County recently - reportedly a single-car crash in the early morning hours. Get well, Don.

So far, the "regular" media hasn't picked up the story. There has been no news reporting in the Northwest Herald or the Rockford Register Star.

And word is being kept pretty quiet around the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Was there a mysterious deer that suddenly appeared in the middle of the road and then vanished without a trace, causing Carlson to swerve and run off the road?

Which is worse - hitting a 150-lb. deer or ramming a tree? Frankly, I'll take the deer out. I hope.

On the other hand, if I were a little tired in the middle of a night or if possibly I'd had a couple of drinks, my reflexes might be slower and my instinct might be to swerve. Alcohol won't be a factor for me, because I won't drink any alcohol if I am to drive around here. If I had just one beer (yes, really; only one) and got stopped, my car would get towed and I'd get tossed in the slammer for DUI, even if the BAC came out at 0.01%.

Then I'd have to walk until I could scrape up the $500 impound fee and wait out a Not Guilty verdict in a jury trial 3-6 months later, before I could get the $500 back. And I'd still be out the towing fee ($150) and storage at $40/day. But then I'd find the nastiest shark I could to sue.


I'm re-reading Blink - The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell. Have you read it?

It's about what your mind realizes in the blink of an eye. It's about listening to your intuition and paying attention.

Have you ever had the thought, "I ought to turn here" or "I ought to cross the street"? Did you? What happened when you didn't?

Gladwell also wrote The Tipping Point (2000).

You can get either book at your favorite bookseller or borrow them at your public library.

When was the last time you read something worthwhile?

MCSD has Legal Affairs Officer - since when?

I wonder if McHenry County voters realize that the McHenry County Sheriff's Department (MCSD) now has its own Legal Affairs Officer. Did MCSD officially create the position? Did the McHenry County Board approve it? Or was the "title-creep" within the MCSD?

For years MCSD had an Equal Employment Opportunity "officer" (employee). This was a civilian position in the sheriff's department and apparently was established in response to a Court order in a Federal lawsuit. Then that employee retired a year or two ago. It's still a civilian position. It still doesn't require a lawyer as the employee. A clerk could do the job for $30,-40,000/year.

The sheriff expanded the job qualifications to something like "law degree preferred" and hired what must have been a pre-selected candidate who just happened to have a law degree, Donald B. Leist. And not only a law degree, but a desk just down the hall and down one floor, in the office of the McHenry County State's Attorney.

The position didn't require a law degree. The Department had gotten along just fine without it. After all, the Sheriff's Department has a lawyer - the State's Attorney. Nygren doesn't use Lou Bianchi much, though. Not with Jim Sotos standing by in Itasca to cash County checks. In fact, maybe the MCSD didn't even need the position at all, since McHenry County still has a Human Resources Department.

Leist recently identified himself as "EEO/Legal Affairs Officer" to the Public Access Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General's office. Leist's letter was the Sheriff's Department response to Scharff's appeal to MCSD's denial of FOIA information to Paul Scharff.

Paul, as you probably know, is co-author of Murder in McHenry and is trying to extract information from the MCSD about his father's unsolved murder in 1981. Except he knows it's not unsolved. Larry Neumann was fingered, after Neumann became enraged after his ex-wife, Debbie Neumann, called him. Both Larry Neumann and Debbie Neumann are dead now.

Scharff requested information under the Freedom of Information Act. MCSD denied his request. Scharff appealed to the Attorney General. They wrote to MCSD. MCSD replied to the Attorney General's office. Then the Public Access Bureau sent Scharff a copy of Leist's letter (response to AG request for reason(s) for denial) and told him he had seven days to reply. Only the AG letter didn't explain any decision on Scharff's FOIA request.

Read Paul Scharff's latest blog entry titled "Justice gone backwards. It’s a sad day for the citizens of McHenry County." Scharff's blog can be easily accessed and followed through the link on the right sidebar to McHenry County 1981.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

ISRA explains HB 0183

The Illinois State Rifle Association has distributed this explanation of the recent concealed carry legislation that is parked, gathering dust and coffee-cup stains, on Gov. Quinn's desk.


The concealed carry bill, HB0183 (as amended), which passed through the Senate and House by overwhelming majority, is now waiting for Governor Quinn's signature. Please keep in mind that the Governor has not signed the bill, it is not yet law. He still may Veto the bill, or he may use an Amendatory Veto. Since no one knows what the Governor will do, the synopsis of the bill will not be valid if the Governor vetoes it or uses an Amendatory Veto. Many of you have been asking what the bill contains - below is a brief outline. This synopsis of HB1083 is not legal advice.

  • One statewide shall-issue licensing standard.
  • With regard to concealed carry licenses, preempts local authority of governments to regulate handguns and ammunition for handguns, including licensing, registration, and transportation.
  • With regard to FOID card holders, preempts local governments from regulating the transportation of all firearms and ammunition.
  • Not preempted are AWB enacted prior to or within 10 days of the enactment of this legislation - after that date, new AWBs would be preempted. Local governments could still regulate rifles and shotguns, but not handguns.
  • Grants "safe haven" protection for people carrying concealed while in their vehicle even in prohibited areas.
  • Upon exit from their vehicle, the firearm must be locked in their vehicle. If they wish to lock their firearm in their trunk, it must be unloaded before exiting the vehicle.
  • License to be issued by the Illinois State Police.
  • $150.00 fee for 5 years.
  • Requires 16 hours of training, including range time. Up to 8 hours of credit will be recognized for those who had hunter safety, was honorably discharged from the military, or had other CCW training. At this time, states with shorter training time, such as Utah, may only be credited 4 hours. The administrative rules of what the allowances will be, have not yet been determined.
  • Private property owners can post their property prohibiting concealed carry. "Safe haven" still applies to their parking lots.
  • Restaurants with 50% or more of their receipts from food, but still serving alcohol, are legal to carry in, but are still subject to private property posting by the owners or operators.
  • Law enforcement may object to a person they believe to be a "clear and present danger" to themselves or others. Applicants can appeal that decision to the Concealed Carry Licensing Board.
  • The State Police have 180 days from the effective date of this bill to be set up to begin processing applications.
  • Within 60 days of the effective date of this bill, the Illinois State Police shall begin approval of firearm training courses and instructors.
  • There is no reciprocity, but "safe haven" applies to out of state concealed carry permit holders.
Prohibited Places: remember that "safe haven" applies to most of these places:
  • Property under control of an elementary or secondary school
  • Pre-school or child care facilities
  • Property under control of an officer of the legislative or executive branch of government, except DNR regulated areas where firearms are allowed
  • Courthouses
  • Libraries
  • Airports
  • Gaming facilities
  • Stadiums, arenas, sporting events
    Amusement parks
  • Museums and zoos
  • Buildings under the control of local government
  • Jails and detention facilities
  • Hospitals and mental health facilities
  • Mass public transportation
  • Bars
  • Public gatherings, but walk through is allowed to get to your home, place of business, or vehicle
  • Places that have special event liquor licenses
  • Any public park, with an exception for walking or bicycle trails, if only a portion of the trail goes through the park. The walkers and bicyclists must stay on the trail
  • Colleges and universities and property under their control; they may develop their own rules
  • Any area where firearms are prohibited under federal law
  • Nuclear facilities ("safe haven" for the parking area does NOT apply)
The United States District Court has extended the June 8th, 2013 deadline for a concealed carry law to July 8th, 2013. Although I think the Governor will take action before that date, we just will have to wait and see what that action is going to be.

Richard A Pearson
Executive Director

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This eagle's for you, Bud

Change ... can you handle it?

Over the years I've heard the Serenity Prayer in numerous locations and contexts. You know it; right?

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. "

I struggled with the first sentence and frankly admitted my struggle, because I have always believed that I could change things. That's how a salesman is wired. Nothing happens unless you make it happen.

So I liked the picture of our national symbol. I hope there are plenty more who feel the same way.

emergency DRILL at WNHS Thursday

An emergency preparedness drill will be conducted tomorrow morning (Thursday, June 13) from 9:00AM-Noon at Woodstock North High School, 3000 Raffel Road.

I understand that the Woodstock PD is planning to have plenty of large signs nearby to alert passersby. If you see police, fire and rescue personnel there tomorrow morning, don't be alarmed.

Of course, if you see flames and walls falling down, be alarmed.

New local gun laws - coming your way?

ALERT - North Shore Townhall Meeting on Municipal Gun Regulations - Thursday, June 13, 7:00pm
Several communities trying to pass so-called "Assault Weapon Bans"

After the passage of IL HB-183 (amended to be CCW) through both houses of the Illinois Legislature, Rep Drury and Lt. Gov Sheila Simon have issued statements urging the passage of local firearms bans during a window of time provided for in the bill.
Simon and Drury are promoting bans on semi-automatic firearms that you own under the guise of "Assault Weapons".  This would likely include popular sporting and defensive firearms like the AR-15, and  standard-capacity magazines for all kinds of handguns and rifles.  Law-abiding gun owners could face confiscation of their firearms or criminal prosecution.

At this time, Deerfield and Highland Park appear to be considering new local ordinances. 
What about your town? 

If you live in the North Shore area, please come to this Townhall Meeting to learn what you can do to stop this effort to ban your firearms.

What: North Shore Townhall Meeting on Local Gun Regulations
Where: Vernon Township Community Center, 2900 N. Main Street, Buffalo Grove
When: Thursday, June 13, 7:00 pm

Monday, June 10, 2013

New stop sign postponed to Aug. 6

Watch out for the new stop sign on Country Club Road, east of the Post Office, where you turn into Bull Valley Country Club, that could be coming to a corner near you soon.

I jumped the gun about a decision by the Woodstock City Council at its June 4th meeting. After seeing the question as part of the Consent Agenda for that meeting, I made an assumption that they had passed it.

The issue was tabled until the August 6th meeting.

This gives residents time to clear their calendars and to plan to attend the August 6th City Council meeting. In the meantime, you can wind up the Council members and give them your 2¢ worth. Better yet, give them a buck's worth.

The documentation in the City Council packet is "interesting", to say the least. Based on that documentation, the issue never should have gone to the City Council. And, once it did, the action of the City Council at its June 4th Regular Meeting should have been 0-7. That's for 0 for; 7 against.
But what did they do? They considered it and postponed action. If they do approve it, then every driver on Country Club Road - e-v-e-r-y driver - will be required to stop 24/7/365.

How did this even come up? One resident in Bull Valley Country Club area complained. One. That's o-n-e. Just o-n-e. One person contacted the City of Woodstock. Oh, he said he had talked to others. Did the City get their names? Did the City contact them? If so, it's not documented. The City didn't.

What did happen was that the City sicced its consulting engineers (at what cost?) on that corner to determine whether it should become an all-way stop intersection. Hampton, Lenzini & Renwick spent some hours pondering the weighty problem and wrote up a report and a recommendation. What was its recommendation?

They recommended AGAINST it. The consulting engineers said that a four-stop there was not warranted. That should have been the end of it. Stop (oops, sorry). End. Finis. But they wrote that it might be possible in the future that such a stop could be warranted and suggested, maybe, a study during the summer months.

But the City of Woodstock couldn't wait for summer. After all, the Village of Bull Valley is putting in a dog park on the northwest corner of that intersection. It won't even be in Woodstock. And what do you think the charge will be to Woodstock residents, if they want to park their dogs there? Hefty, for sure. If at all.

The question (remember now; brought up by one (that's o-n-e)  resident made its way onto the June 4 agenda. Do you think the City surveyed the hundreds of drivers on Country Club Road?

Garbage! Baloney! And some stronger words! Why should hundreds of drivers each day and night on Country Club Road have to stop at that corner, 24/7/365, so that a few residents trying to get out of their Bull Valley Country Club homes won't be inconvenienced for 10-15-20 seconds to get on their way?

Maybe a few hundred phone calls to Roscoe Stelford, Woodstock City Manager? Call him at 815.338.4300 or email him at  Be nice now; remember; he's new to the job.

Keep in mind that Roscoe inherited this problem. It would have started under the reign of the recently-retired City Manager, Tim Clifton. He is the one who just should have said "No."

And you will want to let the City Council members know your feelings, because they are the ones who will vote on it.

Want to email the members of the Woodstock City Council? Send your emails to:;;;;;;,