Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Run that stop sign at Walmart?

Are you thinking about running that stop sign at the Walmart in Woodstock? Or parking in the fire lane and running into the store "just for a minute"? Or cranking up your stereo to the point it could be heard on the Square? Or reckless driving or any other violation of Woodstock's Traffic Code or the Illinois Vehicle Code?

Woodstock Police can now ticket you in the Walmart parking lot, thanks to a new Vehicular Control Contract (VCC) between the City and Walmart. It was tucked away in the Consent Agenda for  City Council action on January 21. I wasn't there, but I presume they passed it without discussion.
Woodstock doesn't have many VCCs in effect. The one for the parking lot in front of the old Jewel-Osco location must have expired after Jewel moved.

The City refused to enter into a VCC at the new Jewel-Osco location. Jewel corporate offices wanted it. The strip of stores were Papa John's is wanted it. But there was a third property owner who didn't, and the City would not write a VCC with the two who did want it.

I heard plenty of complaints about dangerous conditions for pedestrians trying to cross the driveway between the parking lot and Jewel or Hallmark or the video store (before it closed).

Walmart's voice, as a big taxpayer, is louder. When they speak, the City listens.

I wonder if Walmart or the City will install signs to alert drivers that traffic laws will be enforced in the Walmart parking lot. (This could be asking too much.) That would also be a good place for the police department's electronic message trailer. Hint, hint...

Perhaps the police will be ticketing the tractor-trailer units that park there overnight. Or will they just call the big tow truck and have them towed? A ticket is the right action, Officers.

Transparency in McHenry County?

On January 16, 2014 the Northwest Herald published an article about the arrest of a suspect in the 2006 murders of Nick Romano, 71, and Gloria Romano, 65. The article reported that Michael W. Romano, 54, a son of the dead couple, had been arrested in Las Vegas on January 14. The article also reported that Romano had waived extradition to McHenry County.

So here's the question. Why don't charges against Romano show up in the records of the McHenry County Circuit Court? An online search this morning reveals no charges of any type against a Michael Romano since June 2010. The Sheriff's Dept. press release states that Romano is charged with First Degree Murder (4 counts).

The article ends with this sentence, "The decision to present the case to a grand jury was made by the State’s Attorney’s Office, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. A criminal indictment was returned earlier this month remains, but it remains sealed." (The version of the press release on the Sheriff's website now does not mention any sealing of the grand jury indictment.)

If the Grand Jury indicted Romano, issued a warrant, and Romano was arrested and jailed in Las Vegas on January 14, why is the indictment still sealed?

Is McHenry County becoming the new Guantanamo? These actions are those about which residents must be vigilant. Records must be made public as soon as possible.

What are deputies or State's Attorney investigators waiting for? Last week (Jan. 22) an extradition order was signed in Las Vegas for William J. Ross. He's available for pick-up. Romano is available for pick-up,.

Are officials in McHenry County waiting for two-week, reduced-fare, advance purchase on plane tickets to go to get them? Certainly, there must be a government rate. Who will make that trip? Deputies? State's Attorney investigators? Will the trip be out-and-back? Or will time for a little "vacation" be allowed?

Or are they waiting for clear roads, so they can hop in a van for a 1,700-mile drive there, pick them up, and drive 1,700 miles back? I doubt that.

They should pick up those prisoners without delay, before some crafty lawyer throws up a roadblock and stalls or prevents extradition of either.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Zinke endorsement bragging makes no sense

I've got to wonder who is writing Andy Zinke's campaign letters. Is he writing them? Or did he hire a 5th Grader to write them? Maybe Fukoku Kyohei is writing them.

Andy is bragging today that Leslie Schermerhorn has joined his team. Frankly, I'm disappointed that she, along with other "big" political names, has done so. Do they not read the newspaper? Don't they pay any attention to Zinke's spoiling a confidential DEA investigation by revealing it to a man whose company was the delivery point for a large shipment of illegal drugs?

Why don't the other politicians think that is important? Is it just the Good Old Boys (and Girls) Network circling the wagons, hoping to retain control of McHenry County politics?

But back to today's letter.

The deception starts right in the first paragraph: "With seven weeks until Election Day, we are in the stretch run of our campaign for McHenry County Sheriff."

Andy, are you stupid? Or do you just think the people of McHenry County are stupid? March 18th is the Primary Election, not "Election Day" (November 4, 2014). Your campaign, Andy, is in the Republican Primary. The race for Sheriff is NOT decided on March 18, Andy. That's just the first election you have to worry about.

If you don't win the Republican Primary, you're history. You can't get on the ballot for the General Election, and come December 1st, you'll retire, quit, get demoted or get fired. Your little stunt with the RITA Corporation fully qualifies you for the last choice of those four options.

Zinke's announcement continues, "I look forward to working with Leslie as the next McHenry County Sheriff." Leslie is going to be sheriff? Did you miss freshman English, Andy?

And then, "In many ways, this campaign has been about demonstrating why I will be the Sheriff who is the best choice for the future of McHenry County." Did you miss senior English in high school?

Andy, we've never met, but we know who each other is. I wouldn't even consider a vote for you, because Nygren is your boss, your supporter and your mentor. Nygren - the guy who told me he had to "drive 20MPH over the limit in Wisconsin, just to keep up with traffic." I shouldn't have been polite that day in his office and held my tongue.

The Sheriff of a county should be the first to obey laws, not the last. Can you tell the public that you will obey all the laws (as the oath of office requires) and that you will demand of your employees that they obey all the laws?

Take this McHenry County survey

McHenry County residents can fill out an anonymous and confidential survey through February 15, 2014.

The 2014 McHenry County Healthy Community Study seeks input on aspects of living  and working in McHenry County to identify trends and guide community planning efforts.  Participants will be asked to rate services such as public transportation, bike/walking paths, jobs and safe neighborhoods, as well as health care issues and insurance options.

Residents can access the survey by visiting and clicking on the "Community Study" box.
Results of the study will be presented from 9 AM to noon May 21 at McHenry County College.  For information, call 815-334-4456.

We knew Nygren wasn't around...

Andy Zinke has confirmed that Sheriff Keith Nygren hasn't been around for three years.

In the press release about Leslie Schermerhorn's endorsement Zinke said, "Andrew Zinke ... is currently serving as Undersheriff, acting as office [sic] head in the absence of the sheriff since 2010..."

And here people thought we were kidding, when we kept saying, "Where's Nygren?"

Nygren was re-elected by the sheepeople of McHenry county in November 2010, when he beat Democrat Mike Mahon and Green Party candidate Gus Philpott to stay in office. If I remember correctly, he immediately left on a month-long trip through the Panama Canal. I guess you can do that, when you earn $12,000/month and don't have to work.

Taxpayers have coughed up $145,000/year for Nygren to vacation in Florida, Wisconsin, the Panama Canal, and who knows where else, while carrying around a badge in his pocket.

Are "unwanted" texts ok?

With all the snarl in Woodstock recently over an inappropriate text message, you'd think that employees everywhere would be super-cautious about not only texting, but to whom they direct texts.

Let's say, just for example, you (a male employee) have a new female employee working for you.  Right away, workplace rules and etiquette tell you that she is off-limits. It just doesn't matter how attracted to her you are. Or how much you believe she might be attracted to you.

Or maybe the roles are reversed. Maybe "you" are a female supervisor, and you've got a new (male) employee working for you whom you'd like to "supervise" a little more closely. Maybe ... a lot more closely... Does that only happen in dime novels?

Back to the male-supervisor, female-subordinate example. Aside from the inherent risks in workplace relationships, how are you going to find out whether there is any mutual interest?

One way would be to politely open the subject, in a way that you darned well hope will not backfire on you and result in a workplace harassment action.

Another way would be to get her fired and then offer a little after-hours consolation and sympathy. Of course, if she figures out that it was you who fired her, she just might not be very receptive to your advances .... err, offers of sympathy.

Another possibility is that you might send her a text message. What? This one is really high risk. Electronic messages don't vanish into thin area after they are sent. There is no way to say "Oops" and retrieve them.

What might you say in a text? What might you infer? What might be read between the lines? Would a little banter work? What about the ol' double entendre?

Just food for thought here.... 

Wrong no-gun sign at Advocate Health Care

What's wrong with the no-guns sign at Advocate Health Care in Wauconda?

As businesses rush to post their premises against the concealed carry of firearms, some will rush too quickly. As did Advocate Health Care in Wauconda (and probably system-wide).

A friend of the Woodstock Advocate provided me with a photo of the new sign on the door at Advocate. The first problem is that it is much larger than the 4"x6" sign approved by the Illinois State Police. The next problem is that it reads, "NO FIREARMS ALLOWED ON ADVOCATE PROPERTY. Carry of a firearm (loaded or unloaded) onto Advocate property is prohibited by law. (Public Act 98-0063 Section 65a-7). Advocate Health Care"

What's the problem? It does not conform to the signage approved by the Illinois State Police. To view approved signage, go to and then click on Concealed Carry (right side) and then on Signage Information (left side). Signs must be a certain size and not contain extraneous wording. Further, it is the Statute that is to be published on the sign, not the Public Act.

Does that mean this sign is meaningless? If you are armed, can you just walk right past the sign? After all, the premises are not properly (legally) posted.

The practice manager was very polite and friendly, when I called about it this afternoon. She spotted right away, when she went to the ISP website, that the sign is non-conforming.

Of course, decisions are made elsewhere. I'm sure the sign was created at the Advocate corporate level (at considerable expense, maybe? a rush job?) and shipped to her office, with orders to post it.

Former employee threatens Panera Bread

This morning's Northwest Herald carried an article with an astonishing amount of information about a crime involving Panera Bread - without naming which Panera. Which Panera must be a secret.

A secret fairly easily solved, I would guess. Since Woodstock Police filed the felony complaint with the McHenry County State's Attorney Office and Woodstock is listed as the Filing Type, my guess is that it was the Woodstock Panera Bread that was involved.

I wonder what the urgency would be about withholding that information.

But the real area of interest about this is the amount of information about this active case that was released to the reporter.

Compare this case to the Beth Bentley case - the case of a missing resident, a missing human being - a lot more important than a former employee's alleged threats to expose "harmful information" about his previous employer. Woodstock PD has denied FOIA requests for Bentley information, citing the potential to interfere with an investigation.

In the case against Charles r. Wagner, 47, a Woodstock resident and former employee at a Panera Bread (in Woodstock?), the Northwest Herald reporter wrote that "He is accused of demanding an undisclosed amount of money, or he would reveal what police called harmful information intended to damage the reputation of Panera Bread..."

Two more paragraphs of information about the case were given in the article. You can read today's article in the online edition of the Northwest Herald. Or you could spend 75¢ for today's paper or break down and subscribe to it for $10/month and find it on your doorstep every morning.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Prim Meet-and-Greet tonight

Bill Prim is approachable and open to questions about how he will run the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Bill is one of two candidates for County Sheriff in the Republican Primary Election to be held March 18.

At tonight's meet-and-greet Bill responded candidly to direct questions about the changes he would make upon taking office. Among them are cuts in unnecessary overhead, such as eliminating the office of the Legal Affairs Officer and combining the positions of office manager and business manager.

A recently-created management position pertaining to courthouse security would be eliminated, and a close look would be taken at the position involving a highly-paid employee who has been on extended sick leave. If someone else is really running that department, I ask - why isn't the sick employee on sick or disability leave?

Does anybody know what the "business manager" does at the Sheriff's Department or what possible duties could necessitate her being awarded a take-home car for commuting to her out-of-County residence (contrary to the McHenry County Policy that take-home cars require in-County residence)? Why would Sheriff Nygren and Undersheriff Zinke authorize and tolerate that waste and violation of the County Vehicle Policy?

Prim would not make arbitrary cuts in the Department. I would say that line deputies need have no concerns. If their duties are necessary to the safety of residents of the County, their jobs ought to be safe.

Many guests tonight were getting acquainted with Bill for the first time. I believe they found him open and transparent. What you see if what you get?

For more information about Bill and his campaign, visit

Are you registered to vote from your current residence?

William J. Ross - back soon to McHenry County

Last week a judge in Las Vegas approved the extradition of William J. Ross to Illinois.

This is the same William J. Ross wanted since November 7, 2013, in McHenry County for concealment of a homicidal death. He was charged after Jacqueline Schaefer's body was found on November 6th in Ross' home in McHenry County, outside the city limits of McHenry.

This is the same William J. Ross about whom the McHenry County State's Attorney Office said it couldn't (wouldn't) reveal any information because of a pending criminal case.

And the same case in which Gov. Quinn's office told me about an extradition order approved and sent to Nevada.

And the same case for which Nevada Gov. Sandoval's Extradition Officer was very helpful in providing information about the date on which Gov. Sandoval approved Gov. Quinn's request.

And the same case on the public docket in Las Vegas, where on January 22 a judge ordered Ross available for pick-up.

It makes me wonder what the secrecy in McHenry County was all about. Ross was already in jail in Clark County, Nevada. The extradition process was in progress. It was certainly not the case that Ross might flee before he was arrested; he had already been arrested and was cooling his heels in jail.

So why do you suppose McHenry County State's Attorney Office wasn't willing to provide an update to the public?

How fast will Ross bail himself out of McHenry County Jail, once he is back here? Is the concealment charge one for which he can released on bond? How much bond is typical on a concealment charge?

As in all cases, persons charged are presumed to be innocent. Has the Sheriff's Department actually developed a case against Ross, or did they just decide that, since he was the owner of the house, he must have put her body there? After all, their complete investigation before charging him only took a day. Will this blow up on them?

Outrage continues

The more often I re-read Section 30 of the new Illinois concealed carry law, the more outraged I become.

The Illinois legislature really put one over on the pro-gun folks in Illinois. Last summer, when the bill (H.B. 183) was being hotly debated right up to the 11th hour, only one pro-gun group in the entire state was vocal about opposing it. On Facebook it was "Pass Conceal Carry" that warned readers to "watch out". The NRA and the ISRA, both of which have my memberships, failed. But, if you ask them, they will say they succeeded.

Not if Rights count for anything!

On July 9, 2013, the General Assembly passed the concealed carry bill into law. Had they not, many think "Constitutional Carry" would have become the law in Illinois. Maybe; maybe not.

To my knowledge, there was never a warning to the public that one section of the new law would rip important rights right out of your hands, if you applied for a license. Privacy rights. Confidentiality rights. Under federal law. Under state law.

Section 30 of the new law (430 ILCS 66/ ) includes a required waiver of your rights. The Applicant must agree. The Applicant must waive his rights. If you apply for a concealed carry license (just "apply" for you), you must give up important rights!

Section 30(b) reads, 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 thee records provide it or information concerning it to the Department".

What person in his right mind would waive these important rights? What responsible Illinois Representative or Senator would draft such wording into a Bill? What Representative or Senator would vote in favor of any bill containing such wording?

Well, enough of them did. It was compromise. It was collaboration.

I'll tell you what it was. It was a shame!

Well, guys and gals, you who have applied have lost those rights. You have given them up. They are gone. Not just your privacy rights about mental health issues or records or criminal records or institutionalization records. You gave up ALL your rights to privacy and confidentiality under federal AND state law.

So when you get pulled over on a traffic stop and the cop knows you have an Illinois concealed carry license and he starts nosing around (invading your privacy), forget it. You cannot legally stop him (or her).

A "trailer bill" is being drafted. Will the legislators restore ALL your rights? Will they revoke and rescind Section 30? Will they nullify that clause in your application? Will they restore your rights? Will they retain only the right to nose into your mental health and criminal past, if any?

Are you sure?

2nd Annual Groundhog Day Bowling Event

Wayne's Lanes
(bowling alley in the movie Groundhog Day
109 E Church St.
Woodstock, IL
Saturday, February 1, 2014

8:00am - 4:00pm
$15** for 2 games of bowling, shoes and...

Scones/Juice/Coffee/Hot Chocolate from 7:30am - 11:00am
Slice of Pizza and Soft Drink from 11:00am - 4:00pm
Additional pizza for $2 a slice, $9 for whole pizza (from Napoli's)

Groundhog Day Bowling pic and other raffles*
(*All net proceeds from the day go to Adult & Child Therapy Services)

** Price corrected 1/27/14, 8:40PM

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Beth Bentley - gone 192 weeks

I hear that there is some chatter on a Facebook page that is questioning whether I could name 25 people who should be on an investigator's list regarding the disappearance of Beth Bentley in May 2010. So I sat down and wrote out the list. (And, no, Kool Breeze, I am not going to name the one who won't be on my list.)

I went sailing past 25 without even slowing down.

One member of Beth's family called somebody a "moron" on that page and said that a private investigator had been hired. Funny how that's news to quite a number of people. Here's what he had to say on the "Missing Beth Bentley" page on Facebook:

"He has always been a moron, he doesn't do it for the sake of finding her or in any good interest. It's all for his own publicity. Plus he doesn't have a clue what the hell he's talking about. Most of his consistent "questions" are already known. Also a PI was hired and it didn't get anywhere unfortunately."

If he is referring to my "consistent 'questions'", yes, the questions are known. But where are the answers?

Private Investigators charge thousands of dollars. If they are worth anything, they get somewhere. An investigator's list would have been twice as long as mine, because he would have picked up leads (names) from the people he interviewed. 

It is believed that the $4,000 raised at Gus's Roadhouse was spent the following week in Las Vegas. No one knows what part of it was spent on finding Beth or why such a quick search, if there was a search, was focused there. The Reward Fund at Chase Bank reached the grand sum of about $140. Two people kicked in $125 on top of the $25 opening deposit. Remember the infamous Trust document?

So I say to that family member: Where is your own blog or website about your mother? Where are your weekly postings? Where is the ongoing plea to the public to provide information that will lead to her or lead to those responsible for her disappearance?

I didn't know her. I had never heard her name before she disappeared. Why do I write every week?

Because a Woodstock woman is missing, and the City should not forget her. The local police never enlisted the help of the public. It was "We're the police; we know best." The Woodstock Police no longer update the City Manager or the City Council on this case. It's "out of sight, out of mind."

When they charged Jenn Wyatt with two counts of perjury, they didn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of convicting her. That was obvious upon the filing of the charges. The State's Attorney Office never should have accepted the charges. When you charge someone with a crime, you ought to believe you have the evidence to convict them. Woodstock PD didn't and should have known it.

So the question is, Where is Beth Bentley?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Ill. Senator shoots FOID in the back

Ill. Senator Ira Silverstein (D-8 (2951 W. Devon St., Chicago; 773/743-5015; unpublished e-mail address)) is trying to shoot gun owners in the back. This week he introduced SB 2646, which would require all FOID cardholders to carry $100,000 of liability insurance "specifically covering any damages resulting from negligent or willful acts involving the use of a firearm while owned or carried by the person."

The problem?

No insurance company issues such a policy.

So, if such a policy is required but you can't buy it, would that allow the ISP to revoke your FOID card?

And we all know that having a FOID card doesn't mean that you actually own a firearm. It is your Illinois permission to own or handle a firearm.
Sen. Silverstein ought to be a pretty smart guy, what with a law degree from John Marshall Law School and in the Legislature since 1999.

But he is sneaky - like a fox lurking around the hen house.

Maybe he should be targeted by lobbyists for replacement, when his Illinois Senate term expires. 

Anyone who thinks the attack on concealed carry is over should think again. Stay in contact with your elected representatives and plan now to attend IGOLD.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nygren provides affidavit in FEN case

OK, everybody. Put on those reading glasses. You know, the special ones. The ones that let you read between the lines. Even as I write these words "between the lines", I am about fall off my chair, laughing, because I'm thinking of the late William Oncken, Jr., a businessman and speaker well-known for his popular Harvard Business Review article, "The One-Minute Manager Meets the Monkey."

In his humorous, and pointed, article and recorded talk, he advises never to read a written report from a subordinate without that subordinate being right in the room, because 50% of it will be "bullshit" and the subordinate is the only person who will know which half.

Pete Gonigam, publisher of (FEN), wrote on January 20th about the affidavit that Sheriff Keith Nygren provided to the McHenry County Circuit Court in FEN's suit to get Don Leist's "investigative" report about Undersheriff Andy Zinke's outing of a confidential DEA investigation to political friend and Nygren and Zinke contributor, Brian Goode. Goode is President of RITA Corporation, to which a truckload of illegal drugs was heading from Texas. Zinke decided it would be okay to tell Goode about this.

Read FEN's article here. It's titled "Sheriff "Thoughtfully Considered" Facts, Inferences In Zinke Report

Judge Meyer will hear arguments on January 29. Legal wrangling is expected to delay release of the report until after the March 18th Primary Election. My guess? If it ever sees the light of day, it will be after November 4. If Zinke wins the race for Sheriff, it will never be seen. 

Why doesn't Zinke just write a note to Nygren, "Boss, give 'em the report."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

People in Need Forum (Sat.) - reminder

This Saturday (Jan. 25th) the 11th annual People in Need Forum will be held at McHenry County College. Volunteers arrive by 7:30AM, and the Forum will run from 8:00AM-12:30PM.

The Forum is for volunteers, helpers, agencies and services providers. The Forum provides them with the resources and information in order to help those who have the actual needs. There is no charge for the programs. Come on time, and plan to stay for the closing remarks. Don't bail out early...

See details and the schedule at

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Illinois - nuts on license plates

Reading Cal Skinner's McHenry County Blog this afternoon, I found several items in his continuing stories about new laws in Illinois.

Some of these items today pertained to new license plate descriptions you can expect to see on our roads. A few of them are wild turkey hunters, diabetes awareness, Alzheimer’s awareness, nurses, the Red Cross, the Illinois Police Association, retired law enforcement officers, the H Foundation-Committed to a Cure for Cancer, public safety drivers, K-9 Memorial, and Prince Hall Masons. 

Illinois, along with many other states, has moved deeper into the list of stupid decision-makers with the large number of special plates. It's getting so you cannot even read the plate number on some of them. 

And, if Illinois runs true to form, a person can get the same plate number/name in different categories. An example of this struck home a few years ago when I found that an unpaid toll violation was marked against my license plate, MR GUS. Somebody "out there" has a passenger car plate with this on it (this is my motorcycle license plate), and he had run a toll on the Edens. The Illinois Tollway quickly corrected its records when I called, and that was the last I heard of it.

If you report a hit-and-run and give the plate number but not the category for the plate, the cops are going to experience a delay in finding the car. My preference would be to do away with all the special categories (and special fees). The purpose of a license plate is to be able to identify a vehicle, not for a decoration or to suck more money out of vehicle owners.

Ross transfer to Illinois may be soon

Utah authorities expect to get William J. Ross on his way to Illinois.

Ross was re-booked on the Governor's Warrant that was approved by the governors of both Illinois and Utah. The District Attorney's office in Las Vegas is arranging a hearing in District Court this week, where a judge is expected to sign orders releasing Ross for pick-up by McHenry County.

Bringing Ross to McHenry County is probably not like in the movie, Con Air. At least, let's hope not. Will McHenry County Sheriff's Department send two deputies to pick him up? Will it be a one-day roundtrip? Will they take custody of Ross at the Clark County Correctional Facility and immediately return to LAS for the flight home?

Ross has been sitting in jail there since November 7, when he was first picked up.

So far, Ross has no attorney-of-record in McHenry County Circuit Court on Case No. 12CF001037, although a Crystal Lake attorney has represented him in the past. The first step may be a bond hearing on his charge of Concealment of a Homicidal Death.

The body of Jacqueline Schaefer was found in Ross' house in McHenry (County, outside City Limits) on November 6. The cause and manner of her death has not yet been released by the Sheriff's Department or the McHenry County Coroner.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Old courthouse building - what's next?

In last week's (Jan. 15-21) The Woodstock Independent, Cort Carlson, the director of the Woodstock Community and Economic Development Department, weighed in with some information and an invitation.

The old McHenry County Courthouse and Sheriff's House sits on the Woodstock Square. How many people are familiar with its history and with its future?

The City of Woodstock, which now owns what we must not let turn into an embarrassing "white elephant", has created a new website at

There is a link on the website to a new video on YouTube, which was written and directed by Woodstock resident Harold Rail of Afterglow Creative Services and is narrated by local storyteller and author Jim May. Take 18 minutes and watch the video. Make sure your whole family sees this video.

Soon there will be an online survey on the courthouse website for you to complete. Bookmark that site and return in the future to complete it. When I hear that it's on the site, I'll write about it. The survey questions can be read in Cort Carlson's column in the Jan. 15-21 Woodstock Independent.

NOW is the time to save the courthouse. Will a private developer or business partnership with deep pockets show up to fund its restoration? In my opinion, probably not.

The City of Woodstock should fund the restoration and preservation of the old courthouse. Go ahead and commit now to its preservation.

It is interesting that the old courthouse and the Opera House might have been demolished in 1972 for parking lots. What a huge mistake that would have been.

Grace Hall got away from Woodstock history a few years ago, and the wrecking ball and dump trucks removed all trace of it. I'll long remember the night that the Mayor and the City Council gave the OK for that. The People of Woodstock should make sure that the same fate does not meet the Old McHenry County Courthouse.

Watch the video.

I have a wonderful DVD titled the Courthouse Girls of Farmland. Seven women, all senior citizens (ages 77-94) of Randolph County, Indiana, raised money to fight off the demolition of their old courthouse. If you'd like to see the DVD, get in touch with me.

Obama - a third term?

The rumbles about Barack Obama's interest in a third term as POTUS are starting. What would keep it from happening?

Try the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

But would a little thing like "detail" keep him from trying? Not if you judge anything by the number of Executive Orders he has issued - most of which We, the People, know nothing about.

It took over four years for the 22nd Amendment to be ratified. That's what put it in place and created an effective blocking mechanism to prevent a so-called Leader from hanging on, as FDR did.

It would not be good for this country for Obama to make such a stupid move.

How many Executive Orders has Obama issued?

According to the National Archives, it looks like this:

Administration of Barack Obama (2009-Present)

Disposition of Executive orders signed by President Barack Obama:
  • Subject Index
  • 2009 - E.O. 13489 - E.O. 13527 (39 Executive orders issued)
  • 2010 - E.O. 13528 - E.O. 13562 (35 Executive orders issued)
  • 2011 - E.O. 13563 - E.O. 13596 (34 Executive orders issued)
  • 2012 - E.O. 13597 - E.O. 13635 (39 Executive orders issued)
  • 2013 - E.O. 13636 - E.O. 13654 (19 Executive orders issued)

166 Total Executive orders Issued"


What other news reports have caused me to think it is many more than that?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why is Obama purging senior military leaders?

I received this by email today. I don't know the source. This seems absolutely reasonable to me, based on what Obama is doing to this once-great country. Keep buying ammo, guys.

Why is Obama purging senior military leaders?

This is the answer an Army Colonel gave,

Most branches of the service routinely engage in war “games” and come up with strategies and tactics on how to handle every type of military conflict and scenario that can be imagined.  One of the big new battle scenarios being actively discussed in the military recently is how to handle civil unrest in the U.S. and fighting in the streets.  What will the Army do if called in to fight armed civilians in the streets of the United States?  How will that urban warfare be conducted?  Will troops be able to fire upon other American citizens when they have taken an oath to protect American citizens?

Many in the military are discussing the very real possibility that Obama will attempt to stay in office beyond two terms.  It's speculated that Obama will do this by declaring a state of martial law.  The easiest way to declare martial law is when there is massive civil unrest and riots throughout the U.S.  Thus, it is believed that Obama, and his regime, will intentionally create a situation of massive civil unrest.  Some believe he has already started to implement that strategy by forcing Obamacare on everyone (when the populace did not ask for it and less than 300 people in power voted for it). Perhaps the Administration is not too concerned over the totally dysfunctional Obamacare website and the additional fact that millions will be dropped from their existing insurance policies which they already had and liked.  The Administration may not care if getting health care becomes more difficult and more expensive because it is all leading toward civil unrest.  It is believed by some that Obamacare will only get worse and worse, and then in 2 to 3 years when people have a very difficult time getting medical treatment for themselves or their loved ones, people will be enraged.

Moreover, it is being speculated that around the same time when the frustration levels over Obamacare are hitting a critical point in 2 to 3 years, there will be a “glitch” in the welfare payment (or EBT) payment system.  The tens of millions who rely on EBT handouts to sustain themselves will be cut off.  The overwhelming majority of the EBT recipients are Black.  The Obama regime will then blame the “glitch” on the Republicans who froze government spending which “forced” Obama to suspension of EBT payments. (Obama will intentionally drive spending up and up uncontrolled knowing full well that one day the Republicans will be backed into a corner and finally vote for a freeze in spending.) Obama will create heightened racial tension by telling everyone that the White Republicans are racially motivated and did this to hurt the Black community.  This manufactured racial tension, combined with  growing tensions over the then-collapsing medical coverage due to Obamacare, will result in race wars and civil unrest.  People will take to the streets.

By the way, the Army Colonel, who is telling saying this, is Black.  He specifically commented, and outwardly expressed his embarrassment, about how Blacks have become so dependent and enslaved by the welfare system and the Democrats that it would be very easy to create civil unrest and race wars merely by cutting off, or dramatically hindering, EBT payments for only a month or so.  He believes that most Blacks, who have a misguided sense of entitlement, will then take to looting stores and rioting.

Once the race wars, civil unrest, and violence becomes pervasive throughout the U.S., Obama will declare martial law and take over.  Elections can, and will, be postponed under martial law.

The colonel noted that this possibility is clearly being analyzed and discussed inside the military because such a martial law strategy is nothing new.  Tyrannical and dictatorial leaders in the past have done the martial law strategy many times.  He noted that dictators such as Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler did basically the same thing.  He went on to say that one of the most recent examples of this strategy was when Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines from 1972-1981 due to civil unrest.  The Philippines had democratic elections up until that time.  When martial law was declared, the Philippine constitution was suspended, its Congress dissolved, all elections were suspended, and Marcos remained in power for years beyond his elected term. The alleged “terrorist bombings” that occurred in the Philippines, which lead to Marcos declaring martial law, have always been questioned and never proven to be the acts of actual terrorists.

He concluded by saying that many believe this is the real reason behind the purgings of military generals.  The older members of the military, and especially its generals and leaders, tend to be more conservative and they believe in the Constitution - and following the Constitution.  Thus, a tyrant and dictator needs to get rid of these military leaders before a state of martial law is declared if the rising dictator wants the military to follow along and do what the dictator says.  Due to the loss of many experienced military leaders the past few years, the military is now being run and guided more and more by younger, inexperienced leaders. The type who won’t really know what to do if martial law was declared.  Moreover, he noted that there is a growing mind-set throughout the military now that every soldier needs to keep quiet and just follow along with what Obama says and wants to do or you will be fired and your military career ruined.  Again, I was told this is nothing new since removing strong military leaders in advance of declaring martial law is a historically-proven element of a rising tyrant and dictator.

Beth Bentley - gone 191 weeks

When Beth Bentley was reported missing on May 24, 2010, did anyone think that, 3½ years later, she would still be wondering where Beth is?

The story of her disappearance is known to many and doesn't have to be repeated today.

But questions persist. Was there ever, really, any suspicion then that her disappearance wasn't voluntary?

Beth is still classified as a Missing Person by the Woodstock (Ill.) Police Department. Shortly after that initial classification, the word "Endangered" was added.

Why? What did the police learn that caused them to add "Endangered" to the poster that still appears on the PD's website, although it is buried down too many "clicks" where nobody will see it? Can you find it?

What would the Woodstock Police learn today, if they dusted off the cold-case file on this case and re-interviewed all the people known to be in Beth's life? And those who have come into the circle since? And those who have tried to leave the circle?

Skilled investigators, trained in missing person cases, would pick up on nuances - whether stories told now were exactly the same as 3½ years ago or whether minor differences would be understood as normal over time - and whether stories had changed enough to result in an "A-ha" moment requiring a deeper look.

I could name about 25 people who ought to get a close look. Is the police list even longer?

Should Police update the missing-person flyer and correct the errors that now are obvious in it?

What's wrong in FRG?

"Vandalism hits FRG Metra"

That's the headline on Page B1 of today's Northwest Herald.

Fox River Grove Village President Bob Nunamaker is mad about vandalism involving signs torn from walls, damaged display cases and jammed locks. There was a $3,500,000 project but it seems somebody didn't arrange for security cameras to be installed sooner. It's called Project Management, Bob.

From the initial tone of the article, you'd think a LOT of damage occurred, but the total isn't estimated. The article does say the FRG is responsible for the first $5,000 in repairs.

Nunamaker says the FRG Metra station will close after the 10:11AM inbound train and remain closed until the following day at 5:00AM. Once the Morning Grind Cafe opens its second location at the FRG station, the station hours will be the same as those of the Cafe. Presumably, the outdoor warming heaters will remain in operation; they were not mentioned.

Village Trustee Michael Schiestel lays the blame on the homeless, although nowhere in the article was there any other reference to any homeless population in the area. The article ends with Schiestel's quote, "Usually, if someone is homeless and needs a place to stay, they don't rip the handles off the wall."

Was a homeless or transient group known to hang out at the station between trains?

NWH questions Coroner's absence

The Northwest Herald, in big, bold print on its editorial page, today questioned the absence from office of McHenry County's Coroner, Dr. Anne Majewski. She has been out of the office for about three months on medical leave and is working from home.

I know Anne and like her. I'm glad she is McHenry County's Coroner. I find it interesting that the Northwest Herald is in the attack mode, but it never went after Sheriff Keith Nygren or reported on the percentage of time he was ever in (or out of) the office or how he ended up being called the "cell phone sheriff."

There does seem to be an issue here that is properly raised but may be unsolvable. The Coroner is an elected official. The Coroner doesn't "report" to anyone. The Coroner doesn't have a supervisor or boss.

If a common-law employee is out of the office on medical leave, should that employee be working from home? No, that employee should be on temporary disability status, not working, and devoting all time to recovering and returning to work.

But, when the employee is not a common-law employee but an elected official, the same rules don't really apply. It's commendable that Dr. Majewski is trying to fulfill as many of her duties as she can from home.

But she can't sit down face-to-face with employees and read 'between the lines", when they bring problems and issues to her attention. And she certainly cannot attend or conduct autopsies or inquests. She has a good staff, and they will do the best they can to run the office as she would, in her absence.

The Northwest Herald editorial (a consensus of editorial opinion at the paper) questions whether Dr. Majewski should "step down - even temporarily - while she recovers from whatever is ailing her."

What is the mechanism under State law that provides who takes over, if an elected Coroner can't serve?

In case of a vacancy in the Office of the Sheriff, it is the Coroner who takes over; not the Undersheriff, who is appointed (not elected)). What happens to "management depth" at the Sheriff's Department, when the Coroner is not available?

NWH; there will be a debate

Northwest Herald Editor Jason Schaumburg says there will be a debate in the Primary race for Sheriff in McHenry County.

His statement is in Views on Page 2 of the print edition this morning. Wrote he, "The Northwest Herald is in the process of securing a location to have the two candidates debate. Zinke and Prim have told us they are willing to do it."

The Primary is March 18 - 58 days from now. The paper seems to be aiming for late February. How long will the NWH "process" take? How long does it take to reserve a location? Ten minutes? Twenty? You make a phone call. After you reserve the place and date, there is plenty of time for the rest of the details.

Hint: If you haven't called MCC about using the conference center, here's the number: 815.455.3700

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Woodstock D-200 Sup't. search forums

In case you missed the announcement in The Woodstock Independent (TWI) or on the District 200 website, the Woodstock District 200 Superintendent Search will reach the public this week, when there will be three public forums. They are scheduled for

Tuesday, January 21, 3:45-5:00PM
Wednesday, January 22, 3:45-5:00PM
Thursday, January 23, 3:45-5:00PM

All will be held at Woodstock North High School, 3000 Raffel Road. The top three candidates are Michael Moan, Michael Pope and Jeff Schwiebert. As of press time for TWI, the order of appearance had not been released.

The format for each session will be:
  • 3:45 - 4:15 p.m. –  Reception in the Commons
  • 4:15 - 4:30 p.m. –  Candidate comments in the Auditorium
  • 4:30 - 5:00 p.m. –  Question and Answer Session
My opinion? That's certainly convenient scheduling, if you are a teacher in D-200. But is that "the public"? Administrators and staff ought to still be hard at work, earning their generous pay. Moms may be at home, waiting for their kids to be dropped off by buses, or maybe they sat in the carpool line, trying to stay warm with the car engines turned off, and have just driven their kids home. Dads and a lot of Moms will probably be at work, so that they can afford the high property taxes for D-200.

So who will attend? And why did D-200 schedule three different forums? Do they really think that moms and dads will cut work and be able to attend all three? How else will they meet all the candidates? Or does it really matter, since the School Board will hire the candidate they like?

Will District 200 use technology to stream the forums on its website?

The following message has been sent to the School Board Trustees and Superintendent Wrzeski:

"Regarding the Superintendent candidates' search forums scheduled for this week, may I suggest that you stream them live on the internet and archive them on the D-200 website, so that parents, who are working to pay the extraordinary property taxes that support D-200, will have the opportunity to view the candidates' remarks and hear the Q&A?

"Also, may I suggest that you establish an email address, such as or, rather than having email for you dumped on the webmaster?"

SCOTUS on bloggers

Here we go ...

"SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A blogger is entitled to the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist and cannot be liable for defamation unless she acted negligently, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday."

Check out the Chicago Tribune article about the U.S. Supreme Court and bloggers. You can read it here.

Also in the article, "'As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable,' 9th Circuit Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel."

What's the problem right here in McHenry County? We write about what we know and believe. Those about whom we write would like for our writings to be untrue, and so they accuse us of writing untrue things. But what we write is true.

For example, Sheriff Keith Nygren says he fired Zane Seipler (the first time) for writing bad tickets.

Zane says he was fired for complaining about racial profiling at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

The Sheriff's own attorney told a Federal Court judge that "Mr. Seipler was fired for complaining about racial profiling." I was standing right next to that attorney, when she made that statement to Magistrate Judge Mahoney. And I wrote down her exact words while I was standing there. (The transcript contains her exact words.)

Now, who is telling the truth? And who is lying?

Keep your brain working

Do you do something every day to keep your brain working?

Try the Word Winder CrossWinder on the Merriam-Website website at

It's free, and there are other free brain-teasers there, such as BeeCubed and Citations. Those rotate daily, so check back often. is good, too.

About the ads on this blog

I do not choose the ads that are appearing on this blog. GoogleSense chooses them, and I don't know, or control, the criteria for them. I agree with one reader who recently commented that one of them is "salacious".

If I can't figure out how to get rid of the one for some computer game called League of Angels, I may just have to remove all the ads. I didn't even know what League of Angels was, until I Googled it. I've not clicked on that ad or gone to that site.

My apologies to anyone who finds the ad offensive.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Drug bust - but was traffic stop valid?

McHenry County Sheriff's Police made a traffic stop on Monday. According to the Northwest Herald, "Police said members of the Intelligence Led Policing Unit stopped a 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix on Route 47 near Cooney Road when they observed the occupants making excessive movements."

Will they have to eventually kiss those charges good-bye? Since when is it P.C. to stop a driver because of "...  occupants making excessive movements"? Is that a new statute in the Illinois Vehicle Code?

Presumably, they really had a legal reason to pull over the driver, but he was released at the scene. The article makes no mention of any traffic ticket or warning issued to him.

This ought to be an interesting case to follow. Jorge L. Gonzalez Martinez, 18, of Wonder Lake, was arrested on several drug-related charges and is currently a guest in Hotel Nygren with an $80,000 bail. His court date on Case No. 14CF000047 is February 4. It'll be a short commute, unless someone comes up with $8,000 to bond him out.

Wm. J. Ross - Nevada case dismissed?

Is something falling apart in Nevada with holding William J. Ross for McHenry County, regarding his confinement on a warrant out of Illinois?

The Clark County (Nev.) District Attorney Office says a case (No. 13F18113X) against Ross was dismissed yesterday, Jan. 16, on the Court's Motion.

They don't have any record of Case No. 14GW0922X, which is now shown in Ross' inmate record at the Clark County Correctional Facility.

Is it possible that records have been scrambled and that he'll be released?

Earlier this week the Extraditions Officer for the State of Nevada told me that Gov. Sandoval had approved the extradition request from the State of Illinois and that a hearing on the extradition would be scheduled.

Is it possible that Ross changed his mind and agreed to be extradited?

The voice tree at the Clark County Court system is for the birds. After you wade through all the options and hear "Press 8 or stay on the line", then within a second you hear, "Are you there?" and you are sent back to Voice Tree Hell, and the entire message plays again. They've taken voice-tree direction (mis-direction?) to a whole new level.

By the way, the McHenry County Administration is looking into how to send callers elsewhere, when they press "0" after dialing 815.334.4000. As he explained at the Management Services Committee this week, if one employee is sick and another is the recording secretary for a committee meeting, the third will spend her time answering the phone and re-directing callers.

Voice-trees must be user-friendly. It is unfair to force a caller (by removing the zero-out option) to listen to a lengthy message and then, when they hope they have reached the right office, to feed them an announcement about a 10-12 minute wait or, worse, to send them back through the entire message.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Court Costs - a real bummer

When a Huntley cop writes you a speeding ticket, how much does the City of Huntley really get?

Let's say the total fine, if you plead guilty and fork it over without going to court, is $120.00.

Court Automation Fee $8.00
Court Document Fee $9.00
McHenry County - SC Rule 529 $36.74
State of Illinois - SC Rule 529 $15.98
State Police OP Assistance $8.00
Sub-total $77.72

And last, but not least,

Fine - Huntley $42.28 (35.2%)

Next time you see your friendly County Board member or State Rep or State Senator, be sure to tell him or her how much you appreciate their tacking 183% onto your fine to keep Government working for you.

Knock, knock ... (who got the subpoena?)

Knock, knock...

Who's there?

You know that one; right?

Who heard someone at the door Monday night and found it was a deliveryman? No, not from Kohl's. Not the milk man, making a last-minute stop. And it wasn't a process server looking for Cinnamon.

But it was a process server. Who got a subpoena? And in which case?

That one wasn't delivered by mail, where a busy person might not have time for 7-10 days to pick it up at the Post Office.

It was delivered, up close and personal.

[On a side note, Johnny Cymbal, who recorded the above song, his famous Cinnamon, on March 11, 1993, died of a heart attack in his sleep five days later. He was 48.]

School zone speed limits - Did you know this?

How do you understand the School Zone Speed Limit? What does "present" mean to you?

What does the law say? "On a school day when school children are present and so close thereto that a potential hazard exists because of the close proximity of the motorized traffic, no person shall drive a motor vehicle at a speed in excess of 20 miles per hour while passing a school zone or while traveling on a roadway on public school property or upon any public thoroughfare where children pass going to and from school." 

Want to read it for yourself? 625 ILCS 5/11-605(a)

What do the State Police say? If it's a school day, between 7AM-4PM, and you can see kids, SLOW DOWN TO 20MPH..

This means on Country Club Road, just east of McConnell Road, at the Crystal Lake Montessori School, SLOW DOWN between 7AM-4PM, if you can see even one kid outside the school building. The building is well off the roadway - down the hill, across the parking lot. If one kid is outside the building, the school zone speed limit is "hot".

You'd never know this from my request to the Bull Valley P.D. for clarification. It's impossible to reach an officer or even the chief there. One officer did call me back and left a message. The message said he'd call back the next day. He didn't. The Chief didn't call back, either.

Personally, I believe that "present" means near the roadway, not 200 feet off the roadway, walking from Mom's minivan directly into the school building. But the State Trooper said, "What if you are going 55MPH and lose control of your car? You could travel across the school yard and hit a child." Well, yes, and my car could, at 20MPH, blow up and send the spare tire sailing over the tree tops to smash a kid 300' away...

And if you are on Greenwood Road or West Wonder Lake Road by Greenwood Elementary School, same deal. If you can see a kid between 7AM-4PM, slow down to 20MPH - ALL THE WAY through the school zone.

OK, you've been warned. If you are behind me and I drive into a school zone on a school day between 7AM-4PM, I shall slow all the way down to 20MPH, and I'll maintain 20MPH to the sign that announces the end of the school zone. You never know when there might be a small child way down on the school grounds whom I can't see. Please do not rear-end or tailgate me.

Look at it this way... I'm saving you $375, plus court costs and fees and driving school and points.

NOTE: (1/18/14) I may be wrong about the 7AM-4PM effective times for school zones. I was told this several years ago and believe I even saw it in the Code. Today all I see is "On a school day when children are present..."

McConnell Road speed limit

At the January Coffee with the Chief an area resident asked about the speed limit on McConnell Road. I may have misunderstood Chief Lowen, but I thought he said that Woodstock extended all the way to Lily Pond Road.

It does, but with the exception of a short stretch west of the Hooved Animal Humane Society. Here's what you need to know about speed limits on McConnell Road, from the Woodstock City Code.

Illinois Route 47   Halma Lane   30  

Halma Lane   City limits   35  

Applewood Drive   1,300' to the east   45  

So the big question is, Where are the "City limits" mentioned above? It's hard to tell when you are driving east on McConnell Road between Halma Lane and Applewood Drive; however, if you are traveling west, the City Limit will be at or near the 35MPH speed limit sign.

When you see that 35MPH sign westbound, right across the road there should be a 45MPH speed limit sign for eastbound traffic. The Dorr Township Road District should install a 45MPH sign there, but I haven't been able to persuade them to do so in 3-4-5 years of asking.

If you are eastbound, you may be able to legally increase your speed to 45MPH at that point, based on the speed limit on the opposite side of the road.

Then, eastbound, you re-enter the City of Woodstock where the 45MPH sign is. Where does that 45MPH zone end? At "1.300' to the east" (of Applewood Drive). That would be just west of Greenview Drive, where there is a 45MPH sign for westbound traffic. It seems to me that the speed limit in Woodstock from Greenview Drive to Lily Pond Rd. becomes the State speed limit of unposted, rural 55MPH.

If you are westbound on McConnell Road, you will see a 45MPH sign just west of Greenview Drive, in front of the City Park there. (Yes! That's a Woodstock City park on the north side of McConnell Road, although you'd never know it from signing. It looks like a private park belonging to the homes there; it's not. It's McConnell Road Park, owned and maintained by the City of Woodstock.)

Opposite the 45MPH westbound sign, there ought to be a 55MPH sign for eastbound traffic. But there's not. Maybe the City of Woodstock doesn't want you to know that the speed limit changes there, because then drivers might speed up.

Where does Woodstock end on McConnell Road? Out near Lily Pond Road. Again, you'd never know it, because the City has installed neither a Welcome to Woodstock sign for westbound traffic nor a Leaving Woodstock sign for eastbound traffic.

At the Coffee with the Chief, the same area resident who asked about speed limits on McConnell Road mentioned a new Bull Valley sign on McConnell Road as you approach Country Club Road. Watch for a future article about the speed limits near that intersection.

Why a stamp costs so much

You probably already know that postage goes up on January 26. That 46¢ stamp on January 26 will cost you 49¢ on January 27.

Why does it cost so much to send a letter?

I was thinking about that this morning and harkening back to the days of my youth in University City, Mo. and the first time I must have hoofed it down to the corner to mail a letter.

From 1919 (No! I wasn't around then) until July 1, 1928 (I wasn't around then, either), it cost 2¢ to mail a letter. Imagine that. Two pennies!

From 1928 to August 1, 1958, it was 3¢. Wish I had saved a few of those stamps.

From 1958 to to January 7, 1963, it was 4¢.

From 1963 to January 7, 1968, it was 5¢. Just a nickel to mail a letter. As an insurance salesman, I could afford to send you a letter first, to let you know I was going to call and pester you to buy a policy.

From 1968 to May 16, 1971, it was 6¢. That's 40+ years ago. A bunch of readers here weren't even born yet and, by then, I was already living in Denver.

From 1971 to March 2, 1974, it was 8¢.

Let's skip ahead a few years ...

On February 17, 1985, a first-class stamp cost 22¢.

On January 1, 1995, the same stamp cost you 32¢.

May 14, 2007, 41¢.

January 27, 2014, 49¢.

Now why has postage gone up?

Remember when you could walk down to the corner and drop a letter in the mailbox? Today you can hardly find a corner mailbox. USPS savings!

Mail delivered to your door? Newer homes have cluster mailboxes. Live in a townhouse or apartment? You have to hoof a block or move to your mailbox! USPS savings!

Mail carriers used to walk their routes. Now they have USPS vehicles. More savings?

Automation should result in savings (and lower prices). Nope, higher prices to customers (and high wages to union workers). When you mail a birthday card in Woodstock to your neighbor in Woodstock, it has to go to Arlington Heights and come back. USPS savings?

I remember a day in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1991 when I was trying to buy 10 postal cards. The postal clerk was stoned! He fanned out the cards and was having trouble counting to 10. I complained to the Postmaster, and she told me he was "being careful" because he had just finished paying back a $600 shortage from his cash drawer. I said, "Oh, you mean he stole $600 and got caught, and you couldn't fire him because the union is too strong."

That guy was earning $31,000/year! USPS could have hired a clerk from 7-11 for less than $5.00/hour to do a better job. I think John Q. Public has no idea how high wages in the USPS are. That's why rates are out of sight. Oh, and the stupid government requirement that their pension be advance funded.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

When you see this No-Guns sign

The Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) issued this Informational Alert today about the "No Guns Allowed" signs that are beginning to appear. I saw my first one in Woodstock yesterday at 100 N. Benton St. That building houses Headstart on the first floor, and I believe there may be residential housing above it. I wonder how that sign affects a resident there.


As you may know, the concealed carry law enacted last year ironically includes provisions that will greatly impede your ability to defend yourself against violent criminals.  Among these impediments to self defense is a provision allowing private property owners to prohibit concealed firearms on their property.  The law requires such property owners to post government-approved "no guns allowed" signs on property entrances. 

As implementation of concealed carry goes forward, more and more of these "no guns allowed" signs will be springing up in businesses across Illinois.  Although law-abiding firearm owners are offended by such signs, most of us accept that private property owners are free to limit access to their property as they see fit.  Nonetheless, the placement of such signs poses some serious public policy implications to those who honor free exercise of basic human rights.

In practical terms, the official "no guns allowed" sign actually declares, "No Self Defense Permitted Beyond this Point."  Thus, a property owner who posts a "no guns allowed" sign is telling you point blank, "I don't care if you and your family are in danger, I will not allow you to defend yourself."  The net effect of the property-owner's self-righteous indignation is that anyone who enters the posted property unarmed is being set up for violent attack.

The beauty of concealed carry is that only handful of citizens need to be armed in order to protect the greater part of society from harm.  This benefit arises out of the fact that would-be criminals are never really sure which citizens around them may be armed.  As a result, their criminal urges may be stifled in the interest of not getting shot.

Given the deterrent value of concealed carry, the posting of "no guns allowed" signs openly invites criminals to enter a business to commit mayhem without the fear of facing an armed citizen.  Under the concealed carry statute, persons licensed to carry must obey these signs.  By their very nature, criminals will not be deterred by a plastic pictogram stuck to a window.  Consequently, armed criminals will be absolutely assured that nobody in the establishment is capable of warding off their violent behavior.  "No guns allowed" signs give a distinct advantage to those who seek to harm others.

For thugs who may be too shy to perform for an audience, the parking lots of "no guns allowed" establishments would be little more to their liking.  It would be a given that anyone leaving such a business would be unarmed and, thus, easy pickings for robbers or rapists.  Likewise, these criminals would be free to burglarize cars in the parking lot to harvest guns dutifully left behind by permit holders who enter the antigun business.

All in all, it's distinctly possible that posting a "no guns allowed" sign makes patronizing a business more dangerous now that concealed carry has been passed than it had been to patronize the same store before the passage of concealed carry.

Quite a few people have contacted ISRA headquarters to report businesses that have posted "no guns allowed" signs.  Many of the people ask how they should respond to the posting of such signs.  Below are our recommendations.

1.  Carrying a concealed firearm in to an establishment bearing an official "no guns allowed" sign is not lawful and should not be attempted.

2.  Business owners who post "no guns allowed" signs consider lawful firearm owners to be social outcasts.  Therefore, those businesses should be avoided, but not without first hearing how displeased you are with their decision.  We recommend that you ask to see the manager and then politely tell him or her that you are a lawful firearm owner and that you disagree with their position on concealed carry.  Advise the manager further that, as long as the offensive sign is posted, you will not spend money at their establishment and that you will tell all your friends to avoid doing business with them as well.

3.  Reward businesses who allow concealed carry by spending money in their establishments.

4.  Remain active in the gun rights movement at a local level.

5.  Join the ISRA.

6.  Donate to the ISRA so that we may carry on the fight to preserve, protect, and enhance gun rights in the state.

Wm. J. Ross - now 2nd case in Nevada court

William J. Ross, wanted in McHenry County for Concealment of a Homicidal Death and in custody in Clark County (Nev.) Correctional Center since November 7, now has a second case listed in his custody record. It is Case No.14GW0922X.

There was to be a hearing today on a Motion in Case No. 13F18113X in the Justice Court there, which may have been in regard to the extradition order approved by the Illinois and Nevada Governors. It was re-set to tomorrow, due to a clerical error.

It would certainly be nice if the McHenry County State's Attorney Office (SAO) kept the public better informed of releasable information in this case. Motions and court dates are public record.

Why should the public be informed? Ross is wanted for Concealment of a Homicidal Death. The charge was filed against him, after Jacqueline Schaefer's body was found in a house in McHenry County owned by Ross.

The McHenry County Sheriff's Department and the McHenry County Coroner's Office have not disclosed the cause and manner of Schaefer's death, although it is known.

What if Ross didn't do it? Not only is he entitled to be presumed innocent, what if he is innocent? That would mean the person who caused her death is on the loose.

It won't take the public long to recall a case in which the State's Attorney Office (albeit, a State's Attorney prior to Lou Bianchi) accused a McHenry County resident of murder, prosecuted him, saw him convicted and imprisoned, including time on death row. After several years he was released. The actual killers were caught, tried and convicted.

Is the public entitled to more information at this time? And could the SAO provide it, without endangering any ongoing investigation?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Great town hall meeting, Woodstock

Reboot Illinois sponsored a town hall meeting tonight with three Illinois State legislators. Attending were Senator Pam Althoff and Representatives Jack Franks and Barb Wheeler. The town hall was moderated by Matt Dietrich, Executive Editor, along with Madeleine Doubek, Chief Operating Officer.

Reboot Illinois has its sights set on four areas:
State finances;
Business climate and job market;
Schools; and
Government accountability and transparency.

Much of the 90 minutes was devoted to the pension problems of the State. Jack gave the example of the police chief earning $120.000/year who retires on Friday and on Monday is back at the same desk as Director of Security or Director of Public Service, receiving a $100,000/year pension and earning $120,000/year in his new position.

The dreary topics of state government were off-set with some lighter moments, such as when Barb mentioned how many hours of House time were wasted on whether dogs can ride on laps in cars.

Regarding the "temporary" increase in State income tax, Jack said that he "didn't think it was 'temporary' when we passed it."

Pam gave an example of a failed state teacher-training program in which students were to study and graduate, become teachers and return to their home neighbors to teach. It was calculated that each teacher would cost the State $196,000! But one-half of them never graduated. Money down the drain! (That reminded me of the Promise Program at MCC.)

The City Council chamber at Woodstock City Hall was full. I urge you to attend future town hall meetings.

And I encourage to visit and register for your daily dose of reform news.

Short fire safety video re 9v batteries

9v battery
Watch this short fire-safety video about safe disposal of 9-volt batteries and what could happen if you don't dispose of them safely.

Then share this with family, friends, everyone. And get out that roll of electrical tape right now!

How authors learn

Fiona Quinn
How do authors learn what they need to know when writing thrillers and mysteries?

Take a look at the blog Thrill Writing.

Ready to get on track with your own writing career?

And check out Virginia is for Mysteries.

No, wait; don't just "check it out." Buy it. (I did.)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Coffee with the Chief & Identity Theft

The 99th Coffee with the Chief was held at the Woodstock Police Department, and the meeting was well worth the time of the 27 residents who attended.

Tonight's presenter was Tom Lydon, of the Consumer Affairs Division of the Office of the State of Illinois Comptroller, Judy Baar Topinka.

Tom had much good information and many safety tips for residents, along with some interesting examples of how crooks steal a person's identity: dumpster diving; skimming; phishing; pre-texting; radio-frequency ID (RFID).

Check your bankcards right now for the RFID symbol.What can you do to protect yourself from a crook walking past you and collecting your credit card information?

1. call your credit card issuer and request a card without the RFID symbol;
2. buy an aluminum case at Walmart or Target (pay cash) or online;
3. go hi-tech and pull out a piece of aluminum foil and wrap it around your card(s).

In 2012 12.6 million IDs were stolen. Tom says the estimate of 33 hours to resolve problems caused by the ID-theft crooks is probably low.

Don't fall for any e-mails that appear to be from IRS. They will mail you or show up at your door.

Look into adding Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes to your credit bureau records and card accounts. If you are 65 or older, a Credit Freeze is free.

Order free credit reports from the three major credit reporting bureaus by going to You can get one without charge from each credit bureau every year. Consider ordering one every four months, rather than all three at once.

Coming up:

January 21, 7:00PM City Council meeting. K-9 Officer Brinx retires.
February 11, 7:00PM 100th Coffee with the Chief. Special program by a Bomb Squad.