Monday, May 26, 2014


MARV = Mobile Armored Rescue Vehicle
MRAP = Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle

Why is the McHenry County Sheriff's Department procuring all these military-style vehicles? Why the militarization of the Department? What's the cost of a "free" vehicle?

Part of the cost is getting it back to McHenry County. What did Keith Nygren have to say about MARV, after MCSD acquired it?

What he didn't tell you in the YouTube promotional video was that the annual insurance cost was going to be $10,000. What? $10,000/year additional premium? For a vehicle that wasn't even street-legal? For just one vehicle?

When I saw the MARV at a Harley-Davidson dealership display, it didn't have windshield wipers or license plates. Does it have to be hauled everywhere on a trailer? Or do deputies drive it on the street, anyway?

What does MCSD need with an MRAP? Does Nygren or Zinke expect IEDs on McHenry County roads?

Who can drive these specialty vehicles? Special certification is needed, and the insurance company probably insists on it. But how many MCSD drivers are actually qualified to drive them? One of those qualified drivers has been sitting in the Boone County Jail on a Federal no-bond hold.

How will the MRAP get to where it's needed? Will a trailer service be called it? Ha! You can believe that deputies will be driving it, whether thoroughly qualified or not. And who will challenge them? Certainly no local cop is going to ticket a deputy driving the MARV or the MRAP, unless he is a very, very short-timer.

What are the annual maintenance costs for the MARV or the MRAP? What do parts cost? Who will work on them? Will the mechanics at the Sheriff's Garage work on them? Where will they get the training? How long is the training and where is it conducted? What will the training cost, all expenses disclosed? Must all the mechanics be trained to work on these vehicles, which are hardly ever used?

Farewell, Woodstock

On Thursday I flew back to Chicago to pick up my motorcycle. The flight was delayed three hours, due to crew shortage, and the United Express flight had only five passengers. It felt like a charter!

After a ride on the 'L' to Jefferson Park and a Metra to Crystal Lake, I picked up the bike and had a few final rides around Woodstock. And Sunday morning, as I started back south, I had clear roads and light traffic all the way to Parkersburg, W.V.

And I do mean clear roads. Never before had I experienced such light traffic and smooth traffic flow through Chicago and Indianapolis. Through Chicago traffic slowed only once in the Loop for an accident on the inside shoulder, and in Indianapolis everyone was already at the Speedway for the 500, and there was little traffic on I-865 and I-465 around that City.

It may rain tomorrow, but it'll be warm for a 400-mile ride south on I-77.

Metra trains, still running NW?

Will someone please send a Metra schedule to Cmdr. John Miller of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department? Does he really believe there are no trains between 3:30PM and 8:30PM on a weekday?

John, the trains run frequently on weekdays, leaving Ogilvie Transportation Center for Crystal Lake. It has been this way for years. In fact, there are 13 trains between 3:30PM and 8:30PM, including the one at 8:30PM.

To save time, you can click right here and see the schedule. If you miss the 3:30PM train, you won't have to wait five hours for the next one.

In fact, why are you even riding the train to Chicago and back? And why would two deputies be going with you? And, looking at the way you three three are dressed, were you heading to Navy Pier?

Next time you go to a deposition, wear a suit and try to look professional.

MCSD - good management in final days?

Is it true that both the Sheriff and the Undersheriff of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department are on vacation at the same time?

Rumor has it that Nygren is playing in Florida and Zinke is in Springfield, Mo. True?

If it is true, who is running the ship (into the rocks) in McHenry County?

It is believed that Nygren has taken many extended vacations during his final term in office, which began December 1, 2010. His reign ends November 30, 2014. It would be fascinating to know how many days he has been at work since December 1, 2010, and how many days he has not been at work. What have the taxpayers gotten for their $150,000/year? Not much.

Nygren, as the elected Sheriff, is still responsible for the proper running of the Department. When he is gone and allows his Undersheriff to leave on vacation at the same time, that is a terrible management decision.

Is there anyone else at MCSD who is trained to run the Department and make decisions affecting the Department  and the County of McHenry?

If Zinke were acting responsibly as Undersheriff, he would not leave town when Sheriff Nygren is gone. Who approved his vacation time? Did Nygren sign off on Zinke's vacation request? Did Zinke sign his own vacation request?

With a lame duck and an election loser in the Number 1 and 2 spots at MCSD, is it any wonder that decisions of this type are making made? Like, who cares?

Should the County Board declare the Office of Sheriff abandoned and vacant? And cut off Nygren's pay for the next six months?

Thomas M. Novak - who?

Who is the Plaintiff in one of the most recent cases filed against Sheriff Keith Nygren?

Thomas M. Novak is the father of a minor boy who was arrested in October by McHenry County Sheriff's Department deputies, after one of them observed him late at night walking along River Road near Burnett.

The Complaint reads that the deputy observed young Novak as intoxicated, even before the deputy exited his patrol car. How does a deputy "decide" that a person is intoxicated before he has even approached him?

Novak was apparently injured while being detained and then was not treated for his injures. Bad move by the Sheriff's Department.

At least, in the Pavlin case, both Pavlins were treated for the injuries they received at the hands of the deputies at their home.

The three deputies at the October scene on River Road are not identified in the Complaint.

Novak, through his attorney, has requested a change of venue, stating that he cannot get a fair trial in McHenry County.

Gee, why would he think that?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Beth Bentley - 4 years later

It was four years ago tonight that Beth Bentley was reported missing to the Woodstock Police Department.

What really transpired between Thursday night, May 20, 2010, and Monday night, May 24?

Did Beth and her friend, Jenn Wyatt, really drive to Mt. Vernon, Illinois? What were the plans between Beth and Jenn on Monday, when Jenn was supposed to meet Beth back up this way, so they could arrive together at Jenn's house on Tara Drive?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Who is Thomas M. Novak?

Who is Thomas M. Novak, plaintiff in a new case filed against Sheriff Keith Nygren on March 4th?

Deputies are starting to talk about it, even though the word around 2200 N. Seminary Ave. is all hush-hush. Check out Case No. 14LA0060 in the McHenry County Circuit Court.

Novak is represented by Attorney Albert R. Pino.

Whenever the Sheriff is sued in his official capacity, his statutory defense attorney is the McHenry County State's Attorney. That would be the duly-elected Hon. Louis Bianchi. But Nygren and Bianchi aren't best friends, so Nygren blows a lot of taxpayer money hiring out-of-County attorneys.

Nygren could use Bianchi's office and the taxpayers would not have to cough up outrageous fees charged by private counsel. Who is the Sheriff's attorney in this case?

Court records indicate that the law firm of Knight Hoppe Kurnik & Knight represents Nygren. Who? Where'd they come from?

Using the FUI investigative technique (Fountain of Unimportant Information), on Google I found the firm. It has a Schererville, Indiana address, only 96.2 easy miles and a few tolls southeast of the McHenry County Courthouse. Think their lawyer will charge their $400/hour for commuting?

But wait! A little more digging uncovers an Illinois office at 5600 N. River Road, Suite 600, Rosemont, Illinois. And the law firm's listed attorneys include Sarah Hansen Sotos.

Sotos. Sotos. Why is that name familiar?

Oh, I remember... The Sotos name was on a subpoena mailed to me, when the Sheriff thought he could squeeze 27 months' worth of documents out of me in the Seipler v. Nygren et al. Federal case in Rockford. I filed my own Motion to Squash it (I know, I know ... quash...) and won. James Sotos is the sheriff's good friend and beneficiary of large legal fees because Nygren won't use Lou Bianchi's office.

Could there be any relationship between Sarah Hansen Sotos and James Sotos? Why didn't Nygren hire James to Sotos defend him?

The Defendant in 14LA0060 is, according to online court records, Keith Nygren "of McHenry County Sheriff Office". That leaves some wiggle room without looking directly at the papers filed in Woodstock. Is Novak's case against Nygren as Sheriff or against Nygren personally?

And just who is Thomas M. Novak?

Want to know more about the case? Show up Friday morning at 9:00AM in Judge Meyer's Courtroom 201, when a Motion will be heard.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

More Motorcycle Safety Tips

Yesterday Trooper Cannaday (South Carolina State Police) offered other tips of valuable to motorcycle riders.

When you stop for a traffic light or stop sign, stop at least 18' behind the vehicle in front of you. Then keep your bike in first gear, even though it means holding the clutch. Do it!  Then watch your mirrors - both of them. Keep an eye on traffic coming up behind you and be prepared to avoid being rear-ended.

He demonstrated how fast he could pull out from behind a stopped vehicle.

Practice it. (Borrow your neighbor's car for this. heh-heh). You don't want to hit your own car while practicing in your driveway or street in front of your house. Better yet, go to a parking lot and find an empty corner for your practice.

Walk from Rockford to Washington? R U kidding?

Thanks to The Woodstock Independent (TWI) in its April 30-May 6 edition (TWI doesn't seem to allow online access to previous week's articles; if it doesn't I can't figure it out), Woodstock and McHenry County residents learn of the walk by Lou Ness from Rockford to Washington, DC.

In a past life Lou was executive director at Turning Point. She'll hate me for saying that, since Lou's column starts of with "I'm a Christian, and for me, Easter is everything rolled into one week." Well, no, she won't "hate" me. It's just that many Christians don't believe in reincarnation. I have no idea whether Lou does.

Lou and her granddaughter were contacted by a cop after a local busybody reported them walking along U.S. 30 west of Warsaw, Indiana and wanted those "transients" checked out. The cop asked her why she was walking to Washington, D.C. When she told him, "To end poverty," the cop said she could start at his house!

Follow Lou on her website at  See her route. Do  you know someone along the way who might provide a meal or a night's lodging?

And don't just look at "Donate" button. Grab your credit card and hit that button!

Go, Lou!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Motorcycle safety

South Carolina State Police Trooper Cannaday gave a great motorcycle safety talk and demo ride at Carolina Honda in Columbia today. He didn't bore the crowd with too many statistics, but the ones he gave were important:

In 2013, there were 125 motorcycle fatalities. Of those, 94 were not wearing helmets.

Year-to-date in 2014? 19 fatalities, of which 15 were riding with helmets.

Surviving a motorcycle crash is not guaranteed if you are wearing a helmet, but ...

The State Police in South Carolina currently have only 13 motorcycles for the entire state. (No comment.)

He demonstrated slow riding in tight (full wheel-lock) circles. Who can do that? I want to learn! He never scraped the undercarriage or his feet. His eyes seemed to be fixed on the centerpoint of the circle he was making. Amazing! Then he rode at a slow-walk speed - barely moving. He explained the use of some power to the engine plus use of the rear brake to accomplish that without a wobble or putting feet down.

South Carolina's "red light" law allows a motorcyclist who has waited two minutes at the red to proceed safely. As I recall, Illinois has a law, but it doesn't specify a minimum waiting period. It seems to me that the law leaves it up to the cyclist to decide when he has waited too long. Anyone know the law?

Trooper Cannaday answered questions about concealed carry. If you are licensed to carry concealed and your holster peeks out from under your jacket when you raise your arms while riding, that would not be a big concern to him.

When asked about wearing a exposed holster that completely conceals a firearm, he said this is no problem, since the firearm itself is concealed.

In South Carolina a motorcycle trike rider needs only a regular driver's license - no motorcycle "M" endorsement. However, a motorcycle rider operating with a sidecar must have the "M" on his license.

Several Goldwing riders here will head to Madison, Wisc. for the national Goldwing riders' convention. When they learned I was from Illinois, they expressed concern about transporting their firearms in Illinois and through Chicago. They don't understand the law and think they must place their handguns in a locked box while in Illinois. Not so. I recommended they read the law. Carefully!

I topped the day off with test rides on a Honda Goldwing and a Honda (Goldwing) F6B, which is a little lower and lighter. The Goldwing, weighing in at 900 lbs., was surprisingly easy to balance and ride.

Friday, May 9, 2014

More MCSD Mismanagement!

Is it really true that Undersheriff Zinke (the man who wanted voters to make him the next Sheriff of McHenry County) authorized five (that's f-i-v-e !!! (5)) deputies to go to Texas to pick up their new toy, a mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle???

How great a fete of mismanagement is that? Maybe there's an award MCSD can claim for Worst Waste of Taxpayer Dollars in the month of May!

Among those who are known to be making the trip are Patrol Commander John Miller, Deputy Hildreth, a corrections officer, and two others.

Why five? How are they traveling? Did they drive? Get a room for five at Motel 6? Or does it mean five separate rooms?

One deputy (and a lower-paid one, at that) could have flown to Texas, picked up the MRAP and driven it back in two days, plus the one day to get there.

Or it could have been trucked back on a semi. Heck, maybe RITA Corporation could have saved a little room in a tractor-trailer unit for it.

Will the lack of professional and organizational management at MCSD result in huge, unnecessary expenses, most of which will only be uncovered after December 1st? That's when there will be a new sheriff in town.

I recall my days as a volunteer deputy sheriff in Colorado. At the time I held a Commercial Pilot's license and an instrument rating. Occasionally, the Department wanted a pilot to fly to a distant location in Colorado on Department business and I'd volunteer. Of course, there was no pay for it, because I was a volunteer.

But who got the gravy flight? A lieutenant (employee). Sure, "rank hath its privileges". But it cost the Department for that guy to bore holes in the sky that day, instead of doing his job behind the wheel or at his desk.

The concepts of efficiency and economy certainly do not exist at MCSD!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What's in Texas that MCSD wants?

Rumor has it that the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, under the "leadership" of soon-to-be-ex Undersheriff Andy Zinke and absentee Sheriff Keith Nygren, is soon to be home to yet another expensive and unnecessary vehicle.

What's a MRAP? It's a Mine-Resistent Ambush-Protected vehicle. What the hell does MCSD need with that?

This is what an MRAP looks like:

Why would MCSD send Patrol Cmdr. John Miller and another deputy to Texas to bring it back? Is this good use of $175,000/year worth of personnel? Wouldn't you love to see the expense records for this trip?

Air fare, ground transportation, lodging (they won't be staying at Motel 6 (you can turn the light off, Tom)), meals (they won't be eating at Burget King). What do you think? Five MPG? Gasoline or diesel fuel? Did MCSD investigate having a civilian drive it back or having it trucked here?

Anyone else think that the big, bad Government is gearing up to squash the little guys? Are We the People going to have to buy more .50 cal. weapons, just to even the playing field?

Think Bill Prim will get rid of the MRAP and MARV? I'll bet he won't. Just a guess on my part...

Wake up, everybody.

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." The words were never truer than now. Thanks to John Philpot Curran (1750-1817), Irish judge and politician for these enduring words to live by.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Be alert for scammers - always

The Citizens Alert Social Media Network in Marengo provides the following message to warn McHenry County residents of a scam that is targeting the Marengo area. And maybe other areas that police are slow in announcing.

"Earlier this week I received a phone call from a man stating he was from Microsoft Tech support and he was calling to inform me that my computer had been communicating with Microsoft because it had errors or a virus that they needed to clean up. Well, I'm no fool so of course I did not grant him access to my computer. Sadly though many people would, especially the older generations, that don't understand how easily someone could hack into your system when provided with certain information. I notified my mother-in-law who also lives in Marengo, and wouldn't you know, she received a call the next day, from the same scammers. I did some research and found that these scammers take people for hundreds of dollars for "tech services" that never occur and they mess with their computers. My husband and I did notify the police department but, as you already know, there is nothing they can do. They did however verify that they have been getting multiple calls of the same nature. That is why I am notifying you. You are the only person I know of that can reach so many in the community to warn them before they are victims."

What's this??? !!!

Take a look at one of the new toys at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Did they really buy this or work a deal with the Feds to get it from over-stock?

What rationale could MCSD possibly have for picking up one of these? Who would ride in it, anyway?

Is this what a Commanding Officer would use to respond to the scene of a violent crime?

Would he first drive to the lot in his regular assigned squad car and pick up the keys to the "special" vehicle?

What are operating costs for such a vehicle, even if it was free?

Does something like that get about 5 MPG? Or maybe 5 GPM?

Somebody's big ego was behind it. Whose?

What's the new fuel-savings plan at MCSD? Converting the gasoline engines to what? Will this gas hog be converted?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Zinke - next Woodstock PD Chief?

A nasty rumor has begun circulating that Mayor Sager might have a card up his sleeve named Zinke.

Nothing could be worse for the Woodstock P.D. than for the losing candidate in the McHenry County Republican Primary in March to be hired as Chief of the Woodstock Police Department.

Sager and Nygren favorite Jose Rivera may recently have gone on a junket to Mexico. Rivera had close ties to Nygren and is rumored to have carried a badge and ID card connecting him to the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Is that where this scheme was cooked up?

Let's hope the taxpayers of Woodstock didn't pay for Sager's trip. What possible benefit for the City of Woodstock could there be in paying for its mayor to head south on the taxpayers' dime?

Let's think of some reasons for Zinke NOT even to be considering for the top cop job in Woodstock.

#1 A picture is worth a thousand words:

#2 Zinke plastered a magnetic sign on a County squad vehicle with his name and title as Undersheriff, in an obvious politically-motivated ploy to put his name in front of a lot of voters in one parade. No other deputy, supervisor or command officer has done that, and Zinke pulled that dumb stunt and got away with it, because Sheriff Nygren looked the other way.

#3 Zinke failed to activate the Major Investigations Assistance Team (MIAT) at the time of the County's first murder in May 2011 or, days later, when a triple homicide occurred near Marengo in June 2011.

Rather than choose Nygren's political favorite for a City position, the Woodstock City Council would do well to examine carefully whether there is a rising star in the Woodstock Police Department who has paid his dues and worked hard to learn what's best for the City. And it's the CITY COUNCIL that should make the decision, NOT the Mayor. Do they have the "intestinal fortitude" to stand up to him?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Firearms Registration? Confiscation?

Could it happen?

Are you concerned about confiscation of your (now) legally-owned firearms? Do you believe that the Second Amendment protects you from confiscation?

Pay close attention to what is happening in Connecticut and in other states, including Illinois. Watch carefully what U.S. Sen. Feinstein is proposing and listen carefully to the words coming out of Obama’s mouth.
Now read Essential Liberty, by Rob Olive.  For $6.99 you can get it
immediately (without shipping expense or sales tax), delivered wirelessly to your Kindle or other e-reader, to your SmartPhone or even to your computer. You can even read a lengthy portion of it without paying for it. If you do, and if you don’t spend your $6.99 to read the rest of it, then don’t cry when the Feds come after your guns. You were warned.

Where do we draw the line? When do we stand up and tell the POTUS and Congress, and State elected officials, “Enough! Don’t make us the ‘bad guys’ through laws and then come after us!”

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A sensible stimulus package

Here's a stimulus package that makes sense!

I encourage you to view this video, then get on the phone, write letters, send email and pay personal visits at the offices of your elected representatives - U.S. Congress (Senate and House) and Illinois elected officials. Watch them like hawks.

If they tell you they are going to do something, follow up and find out if they really did it!

Bob Basso makes sense. What do you think?