Sunday, January 31, 2010

Phil prognosticates before Willie

If you want the real scoop from the "real" groundhog on February 2, read on. Did you know that the Woodstock Chapter of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club is right here in this Woodstock? Originally conceived as a social networking group, the Chapter continues to dust off the banner annually.

The following communication came from "the" Club in Pennsylvania.

"For the first time, Punxsutawney Phil’s followers can receive his official prediction via their mobile device by texting “Groundhog” to 247365 between now and Feb. 2. After the initial text message, participants will be invited to submit their e-mail address to receive additional tourism-related messages.

"Punxsutawney Phil holds the fate of winter close to the vest and in his stump until daybreak on Feb. 2, but the moment he emerges you can be among the first to learn of the forecast on your mobile phone,” said Mickey Rowley, deputy secretary for tourism at the Department of Community and Economic Development. 'While we would love to have everyone come to the Pennsylvania Wilds to see Phil at Gobbler’s Knob, we don’t want anyone to miss his forecast.'

"The text promotion was announced during Punxsutawney Phil’s annual visit to the Pennsylvania Farm Show, which is underway this week in Harrisburg.

“'Punxsutawney Phil’s popularity has grown so fast in the last few years. The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the perfect place for people to see him in person,' said Mike Johnston, vice president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

"In addition to a text notification, a Webcast of the Groundhog Day festivities will be available at, including links to Punxsutawney Phil-related videos on YouTube.

"In a tradition dating to the 1800s, Groundhog Day is celebrated each Feb. 2 in Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in the Pennsylvania Wilds. According to folklore, if the groundhog emerges in the early morning and sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of wintry weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.

"The more than 30,000 visitors who visit Punxsutawney each year for Phil’s prognostication can expand their experience by exploring the Groundhog Wine Trail or by staying in a bed-and-breakfast featuring a farm-to-table dining experience."

Red-light cameras - for or against?

Read this morning's article on about Illinois Sen. Dan Duffy's effort to repeal red-light camera enforcement laws. Sen. Duffy wants drivers to contact their legislators and stir up support for his bill.

He stirred me up, all right. And I’ve already emailed Sen. Althoff to ask her to oppose his proposed legislation.

Sen. Duffy is pushing SB 2466, which would do away with red-light cameras at intersections. He thinks they have caused an increase in intersection accidents. He’s missing the point. There are fewer accidents, because drivers have increased their awareness that the yellow light means slow and stop, not stomp on the accelerator.

Of course, there are still a few reckless drivers who do step on the gas, even when they aren’t the first car in line to go on through the light. Some of them even swerve around the law-abiding driver who approaches a “stale” green cautiously, in anticipation of its changing to yellow and then to red.

Red-light cameras catch violators, plain and simple. A driver at the speed limit, who is alert as he approaches an intersection, has plenty of time to slow and stop, if the light changes to yellow as he approaches. Yes, they scream bloody murder, if they get caught running a red. Maybe, if they’d put down the coffee, McBreakfast, cell phone, map, iPod, BlackBerry, etc. and pay 100% attention to the driving, they wouldn’t find themselves on top of a red light and get caught running it.

Red-light cameras are safer than a cop sitting there. First, the cop has to make a decision about whether the driver violated the red light. Then he has to decide if it is safe to run him down. The cop will be on the wrong side of the intersection to pursue; he’ll be where he could see the light change to red and the driver proceed through it. Then he’ll have to pull out, cross the intersection with emergency lights and possibly siren (risking an intersection accident with unsuspecting cross-traffic), and chase down the violator and find a safe place to pull him over.

Drivers are provided a video as proof of the violation. It’s right there, clear as day. With most of the red-light tickets, I’ll bet that there is little defense.

So, where’s the beef?

Seipler within striking distance

A poll still running on The Woodstock Advocate has been consistently showing Zane Seipler as attracting one vote for every two that the incumbent getting for the Republic primary on Feb. 2. That's this Tuesday!

Seipler has held onto this ratio almost from the beginning of this poll, with the count right now at 153-85. I am continually reminded that it's not the size of the dog in the fight that counts; it's the size of the fight in the dog. This is what puts Zane within striking distance for a win on Tuesday.

In the privacy of the voting booth, you can cast your ballot for the person in your party who is your choice. No threats, no intimidation, no retribution, no retaliation. Vote your conscience. You're the one you see in the mirror every morning. On February 3 will you be able to look in the mirror and know that you voted for the right person?

By the way, the incumbent's sticker on the front page of this morning's Northwest Herald says "Re-elect February 2, 2010." Isn't it more the case of "Select", not "re-elect"? The election for the office of Sheriff of McHenry County is not until November 2. On February 2 the best that Nygren could do is get selected as the Republican candidate for Sheriff. That's a lot different than being elected sheriff on February 2.

On February 2 it's only those who vote Republican who get to choose between Nygren and Seipler. One of them will be on the November 2nd ballot. That is when the election is!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

NRA announces endorsements for Ill. House

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has announced its endorsements for the Illinois House of Representatives, and they are:

Dist. 50 Kay Hatcher
Dist. 54 Suzie Bassi
Dist. 56 Ryan Higgans
Dist. 62 Sandy Cole
Dist. 68 Dave Winters
Dist. 69 Joe Sosnowski
Dist. 94 Rick Myers
Dist. 100 Rich Bauer

These endorsements and a candidate's "grade" can be viewed at HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Crisis Intervention Training should resume

An estimated 350 men and women attended this morning's People in Need Forum at MCC. The program was put together to provide information to interested and concerned residents who are, or want to be, volunteers in helping those in need.

More information will follow, but I want to comment on the presentation that closed today's event. That presentation was by two women from the McHenry County Crisis Line.

This is a service set up to respond to those who are in crisis and to those who call on behalf of a family member, friend or neighbor who is in, or approaching, a mental health crisis, and to provide information. It's okay to call the crisis line for information, which I think many do not know.

The Crisis Line phone number is (800) 892-8900.

The speakers mentioned Crisis Intervention Training (C.I.T.) and that no training had been provided to law enforcement agencies in McHenry County in the past four years, because state funding had dried up. If State dollars aren't there, then law enforcement agencies need to budget money this training for their officers.

Surely, the Sheriff's Department could pay for it out of the millions of dollars of "profit" generated by the hotel for detainees at 2200 North Seminary. How much did the sheriff say he has added to the McHenry County coffers by his jail rental program? I think he called it a "dividend" to the taxpayers.

There aren't any "dividends" to taxpayers. The jail rental program is a profit center. I say, use some of the profits for necessary training.

Every sworn deputy and correctional officer should receive Crisis Intervention Training. And, no, they don't need a 40-hour program. Every deputy and C/O should have a basic 4-hour program and be educated about mental health warning signs and signals. A program could be videotaped to avoid costs of repeated live training. It could be web-based. It could even be just audio-recorded onto cassettes or CDs.

Would a deputy be willing to listen to it as s/he commutes to/from work? Then there wouldn't even be any on-duty time involved.

The Sheriff's Department is being sued right now for a death that occurred during a mental health call. The call went "south" really fast. Too many deputies in the immediate presence of the unstable person resulted in an escalation of his mental health state, resulting in his charging a sergeant with a knife. He was shot with a non-lethal weapon, but the multiple necessary shots resulted in his death.

When dealing with a mentally-ill person who is also intoxicated, the first order of business ought to be to de-escalate the commotion and disorder at the scene by reducing the number of deputies in the immediate vicinity of the unstable person and halt the shouting of multiple, possibly conflicting commands by too many deputies. One Crisis Intervention Trained deputy needs to be in charge and be allowed to control the scene.

This is essential training for deputies and police officers. Residents should contact their law enforcement agencies to request training for their officers and to ask when the officers will be trained.

Friday, January 29, 2010

It must be fear

Desperate acts generally are the result of great fear.

Will there be an internal investigation at the Sheriff's Department? Will it be handled internally or will an impartial outside agency be called in? If the Illinois State Police come in, will they be impartial?

How much will this little act of stupidity cost the sheriff's department in legal fees and insurance pay-out? Will the culprits be identified, charged and convicted? Will administrative discipline be greater than 30 days, so that it reaches the Sheriff's Department Merit Commission and then becomes public record under the Open Meetings Act.?

Will Sheriff Nygren issue an apology for the acts of one or more of his employees?

Blogger receives threatening email

Dave Bachmann, author of the blog, has posted an email he received from a "fan". If you'd like to read that email, go to that blog. It's not for tender eyes. I was reminded of emails I received in the past two years and of my efforts to file a cyberstalking complaint locally.

The year's sheriff's campaign really has some people hot under the collar. Too bad they don't have the guts to step up and put their own names on their nastygrams.

What is cyberstalking?

You can read the statute for yourself at 720 ILCS 5/12-7.5 For some reason, I cannot get through the State website at tonight to access the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Maybe you'll have better luck than I.

You can report an Internet Crime by calling toll-free number to the Illinois State Police Internet Crimes Unit at 888-70-CRIME (888-702-7463). Or do it online at

NWH and Cal Skinner call off duel

The Northwest Herald and Cal Skinner apparently will not meet at high noon on the town square. A solid article in the FirstElectricNewspaper (FEN),, reports that the Northwest Herald and Cal Skinner, who writes the McHenry County Blog,, have agreed in principle to drop their respective lawsuits.

The ink isn't on the deal yet, but each apparently agrees to withdraw his (its) lawsuit, not say "I'm sorry", and not admit to any wrongdoing.

Read Pete's article on FEN. It's a good one.

Itemized campaign expenses

I don't remember a campaign year when political campaign expenses for a County office have been scrutinized in the same way as they have been this year in the race for Sheriff of McHenry County.

Take a look at the expense summaries that are posted now on Many, many of them are reimbursements for apparent cash expenditures for things like campaign meals. As you look at the list, ask yourself how it just seems to happen that so many of the expenses come out in rounded numbers; ex., 1/16/2008 $200.00 for 8 meals; 2/8/2008 $165.00 for 7 meals; 7/1/2008 $146.00 for 7 meals; 9/16/2008 $135.00 for 7 meals; 6/29/07 $286.00 for 8 meals; 7/31/2007 $277.00 for 6 meals; and on and on the list goes.

A forensic accounting analysis might be very revealing, but just go and look at the list of expenses, especially the number of raffle tickets purchased. Why would a political campaign be purchasing raffle tickets? If one was a winner, who would get the prize? The campaign?

And how about this one on 9/7/2006: $800.00 in fives for golf outing bag change. What in the world is that one? Was there a corresponding deposit later for all the $20s, $50s and $100s accepted, when "change" was given?

And then there are the Florida meal expenses, totalling thousands of dollars for "campaign" meals. Scroll down through the expenses and ask yourself: Why? Why? Why?

And don't miss all the "campaign" meals in and near Minocqua, Wisconsin.

LitH House auction - is it legal?

Remember the house in Lake in the Hills that the owners abandoned? And in which pipes burst and flooded the house? And which was foreclosed on? And the bank didn't want it and deeded it back to the owners? After which the owners deeded to the Village of Lake in the Hills?

The village spent $30,00 to rehab the house, and how it wants to unload it even though, according to this morning's Northwest Herald article (Page 1B-4B) says "Significant work is required to make it livable."

The plan is to auction the house. What do you think of its plan? Here's the gimmick.

The village has not only set a reserve (any eBay bidder knows what that is) AND it is requiring bidders to cough up a $5,000 non-refundable deposit just to bid.

Unfair? Unconscionable? Unethical? Is it even legal?

When you don't know what the reserve is, you are gambling with your bid. Who is his right mind would throw $5,000 at the Village just to bid, without knowing the minimum selling price?

And the village wants $5,000 to bid?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jailbrakers hold fundraiser

The Jailbrakers support group held a fundraiser tonight in McHenry at Corkscrew Pointe, located at 1402 N. Riverside Dr.

Jailbrakers is a support group for youth and families who have a loved one who is/has been incarcerated. The group meets every Friday for 13 weeks and is designed to help address the issues of family identity, acknowledging difficult emotions (fear, anger, shame), identifying individual needs and learning to communicate them effectively.

According to 2007 U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2.4 million children have a mother or father behind bars. According to 2009 Illinois Department of Corrections figures, the average number of Illinois State Prison inmates was 45, 529.

Supporters for tonight's included Corkscrew Pointe, Old Town Pizza Company (McHenry) and Joseph's Market (Crystal Lake). Raffle items were donated by Big Brother Big Sister of McHenry County, Books Galore, My Special Assistant, Frontier Chiropractic (McHenry), Scentsy Basket, Lasting Impressions (Crystal Lake), Salon Entourage (Crystal Lake), Snap Fitness (McHenry), Options4Health (Marengo), Corkscrew Pointe, Sandplain (Reiki (McHenry)), and Karma Yoga (Fox River Grove).

Musical entertainment was provided by Harold Rail and Sam, Diane, and Joseph Tambone.

For information about this group, contact or telephone 847/961-5353.

If you haven't been in Corkscrew Pointe, be sure to stop in for your next bottle of wine. Ask John and Debby about the Illinois wineries and the local wines. Phone: 815-578-8360

Ahhh, finally! "That" letter...

I was afraid I wouldn't get "that" letter, but today it arrived. The one with the badge of the McHenry County Sheriff in the upper-left hand corner. The badge that reads "Sheriff - McHenry County Sheriff's Police".

At least this year they changed the return address from "Keith Nygren Sheriff" to "Citizens for Nygren", so I knew this one was a political campaign letter and not a summons or subpoena. It was just four years ago that I almost went through the roof, when a similar letter arrived and I found a campaign letter in what had appeared to me to be an official envelope.

Four years ago, I complained to some official office about the mis-use of the badge of office and the use of the office "Keith Nygren Sheriff" to get recipients to open his political mail.

The stationery for this year's letter is bad enough. At the top of the letter is the emblem of the sheriff's office, a seven-pointed star (badge) with the wording "Sheriff - McHenry County Sheriff's Police." Is there anyone in McHenry County who doesn't think that is the official badge of the sheriff's department?

Why is the badge of office, or its close likeness, allowed on political campaign stationery?

Only because the people in responsible state agencies or the County's election office or the County's Law & Justice Committee will not take a stand and say, "Stop! Desist! No more!"

The letter begins, "On behalf of all the men and women at the McHenry County Sheriff's Office..." What gives Nygren the right to include all his employees in a political campaign letter?

Then it continues, "...I would like to thank you for your on-going encouragement and support for our public safety mission." How does he know that he has the "on-going encouragement and support" of the people of the County? From what I hear, there are many, many people who are dissatisfied with the sheriff's department under Nygren and certainly more than a few employees who are not very happy.

And, no, the people have not "joined forces" to make our county safer. When I tried, I was told that I was wasting the time of the courts by reporting dangerous drivers and trying to get them ticketed. Who told me that? Sheriff Nygren. He'll remember the tape I played for him of the message he left on my answering machine.

And recall Dave Bachmann's efforts to halt drug activity in his Hebron neighborhood. He got so mad at the sheriff's department that he is devoting considerable time, money and energy to writing lengthy articles on

Now Nygren says that he began his police career in our county in 1971. Wait. Didn't he tell the Northwest Herald that he started in DeKalb in 1971? And what about the "over 42 years of law enforcement experience" that he claimed in 2009? (Examine how carefully his sentence is crafted. He did start his "police career in our county" in 1971.) What about the four years before 1971 that make up the first four years of his "over 42 years"?

"Experience has been a wonderful teacher", he says. I heard "experience" defined once as "something you wished to heck was happening to someone else." Which parts fit that? All the lawsuits against the sheriff's department? The training and supervision on mental health calls that result in a subject fatally injured only 43 minutes after deputies first arrived? Failure to halt serious drinking and impaired driving by deputies? Continuation of "professional courtesy" to deputies who wreck patrol cars (and don't get tickets)?

He concludes with "it is my sincere hope that you will consider casting your vote for me." You should. You should "consider" it, and then vote for Zane Seipler on February 2.

And then on November 2, vote for me. I shall guarantee you will never see a political letter with the emblem of office on it!

Response to NWH Letter to Editor

In today's Northwest Herald Crystal Lake resident Betty Doak expressed her opinions about concealed carry.

She asked, "Do citizens really need to walk around with loaded weapons? Would that make us safer?"

If the criminals weren't walking around with loaded weapons, then citizens would not need (or want) to.

"Would that make us safer?" The answer to that question is an emphatic "Yes."

She alleges that more guns would result in more gun violence. All you have to do is read Professor John Lott's book, More Guns, Less Crime, and you'll learn that more guns do not result in more gun violence. And that crime has dropped in every state that has adopted concealed carry.

She is right that we don't need "paranoid unbalanced people" toting concealed weapons. The same laws that permit concealed carry are designed to weed those people out.

I disagree with her position that only the reckless and imprudent think that concealed carry is a good idea. City, county and state officials around the country have learned from their actual experiences that concealed carry is a good idea. Are they all "reckless and imprudent"? Many law enforcement officers support concealed carry. Are they "reckless and imprudent"?

Ms. Doak, if I see you getting mugged on a street in Crystal Lake, what would you like me to do? Run to where I can get a good cell phone signal? Try to get someone to open a door, so I can call the police? Drive to the Crystal Lake Police station and send them back to you. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Wouldn't you want me to defend you?

A story to read and remember

On October 16, 1991, Dr. Suzanna Gratia Hupp's life changed forever.
Her parents and she were in a Killeen, Texas, restaurant, when a madman drove his truck through glass windows of the restaurant and began executing people in the restaurant, including her father and her mother.
Her gun was in her vehicle, because Texas laws at that time prohibited her from taking her gun into the restaurant. Had she had it with her, she knew she could have taken the gunman down.
She became a Texas state legislator and was instrumental in passage of broad concealed carry laws there, and she travels throughout the country, promoting concealed carry.
You can buy her new book, From Luby's to the Legislature: One Woman's Fight Against Gun Control, through Read Between the Lynes Bookstore in Woodstock.

Who started what?

A reader sent me today a long list of programs that have existed at the sheriff's department in McHenry County over the years. He questioned the current claims of who started what.

I remember trying to get information several years ago about the McHenry County Anti-Gang Task Force. When I called the sheriff's department for information, they acted like they had never heard of it. Sure wish I'd saved the name of the person who told me it didn't exist. I knew that it had existed; otherwise, why would I have had the name of it?

Now it's back, but with a new name.

You can check out the reader's long list of comments, which I forwarded to Zane and he posted on his campaign blog at

Shhh, don't call Animal Control

Tonight (yeah, I know.... short notice) is the Annual Groundhog Wine & Beer Tasting to benefit Family Health Partnership Clinic. For a really good look at the little "rat" with the bottle, click on the image. (Then click on the Back button on your browser to come back here.)

Tonight, Thursday, January 28th, at DC Cobbs, off the Woodstock Square! 6:00p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Tickets available at the door
$25.00 each or $45.00 per couple
Souvenir wine/beer glasses
Sorry, no tastings of the groundhog will be available.
Remember, drink responsibly, whether or not you intend to drive home.

Watch the DirtyKeith... blog

For several months a blog has been reporting considerable behind-the-scenes information worth mentioning. If you haven't visited that blog (or haven't been there recently), check it out at

I think this was the blog that first reported the Nygrens' homestead exemption on their Cape Coral, Florida residence, which had been claimed at the same time as the Illinois homestead exemption on their Hebron residence. Since then, the Nygren family has claimed that only Mrs. Nygren is a Florida resident, and the Illinois homestead exemption has been discontinued by local taxing authorities.

Keith, of course, still claims Illinois residency. That's necessary to hold the elected office of sheriff. Only his wife is a Florida resident. But together they get the Florida homestead exemption. Would he have to resign as McHenry County Sheriff, if he were deemed a Florida resident?

Actual travel records, if they ever became available, would prove just how much time he spent in Florida in 2009. At first, Nygren told the Northwest Herald that he spent only a few days in Florida; then the newspaper re-worded that to something like only a few days at a time.

He, like any other employee, is entitled to vacation time, but not vacation time based on his "over 42 years of law enforcement experience." Nygren's vacation time should be based on his 12 years as sheriff of McHenry County. How much time is that? Three weeks?

Is there anyone who thinks he took only three weeks (15 working days) vacation in 2009?

Zane's sign lights up

Check out Cal Skinner's blog at this morning for a story and a great night-shot of Zane Seipler's large commercial sign at Routes 31 and 176 in (near?) Crystal Lake.

Will ClearChannel file a vandalism complaint with the McHenry County Sheriff's Department? Pity the poor deputy who gets stuck with that call.

And who will investigate the vandalism? Will deputies investigate? Will sheriff deputy detectives investigate? Will the Undersheriff or Sheriff review the investigative work and decide what resources, if any and how much, get allocated to the immediate investigation?

With the political views of investigators be considered, before they are assigned?

"Oh, no," you say. "They will be impartial in their investigation."

Should an outside agency be asked to investigate?

I'm pretty sure that no one called up Keith and asked permission to vandalize Zane's sign. (There is no contact phone number on his campaign website.) And, if they did, Keith would tell them not to do so. And not to tell him, if they did. Wow! Otherwise, he have to arrest them; right?

Gee, why am I reminded now of the phone call from the Illinois State Police captain to Keith about a big drinking party of deputies of the McHenry County Police Benevolent & Protective Association, after I asked the State Police to set up a DUI checkpoint near the bar? Great way to catch drunk drivers, isn't it? You just call their boss, so he can tell them not to get too sauced up that night.

That's how the buddy system works in some police circles.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is desperation setting in?

Is desperation setting in? Is the handwriting on the wall?

Why would someone vandalize a large political sign on a tall platform? ClearChannel has been asked to file a police report and to be prepared to prosecute the vandals. No doubt somebody will be bragging about his "bravery" to climb up on that tall platform, and the more he talks, the bigger the chance to nab him/them and trace them back to the origin of their efforts.

Why would people steal yard signs?

Why would people vandalize a sign location by smashing a light fixture in a yard that illuminates one of Zane's yard signs?

Why would people destroy light fixtures on stone columns of a property where Zane's signs are displayed?

Why, don't we know that it's only common vandals who just happen across these signs for one candidate in an important County race? Yeah, sure...

Every time you see a Nygren sign, think Zane.

And don't just "think" Zane. Get on the phone and call five people and tell them to go to the polls on Tuesday (that's this Tuesday, everyone!), ask for a Republican ballot and vote for Zane Seipler. And tell them to call five people and ask two things:

1. Vote for Zane for McHenry County Sheriff, and
2. Call five people and ask them to do two things (No. 1 and No. 2)

When Zane and I go head-to-head in the race for November 2, it'll be a good, strong, honest, forthright campaign. But, for now, on February 2, this is Green Party candidate Gus Philpott asking you to vote for Zane Seipler on February 2.

Zane - in the dark...

You know that nice LARGE sign for Zane Seipler's campaign that is on the corner of Route 31 and Route 176, "that crazy intersection" in Crystal Lake (only it's not "in" Crystal Lake)?

The big one? The big one with the lights so that it can be seen at night? (Click on the image to enlarge it; then click on the Back button on your browser to come back here.)

If you drove by last night, you might have noticed that it was dark. Did you wonder why?

Here's why. Someone stole the lights on the sign, cut the wires and began unscrewing the bolts.

Would you say the opposition is a little worried? Maybe a LOT worried? What kind of screwball, dirty tactic is that?

I was reminded this week of a sheriff's race in St. Mary's County, Maryland a few years ago. The local media ( was to publish a print edition on election morning that was going to rip the sheriff who was running for re-election. As the news trucks drove around and dropped off the papers, when they turned the corner and drove out of sight, deputies pulled up at the newsboxes and removed all the papers.

The neat thing is that they got caught at it. The publisher sued and, although it took a while for his case to wind its way through court, he won $425,000!!! Look what happens when you interfere with freedom of the press.

Somebody knows who vandalized the sign. People talk. Zane's campaign may not find out today or tomorrow, but they will find out.

Oh, by the way. I confess.

I didn't do it.

Getting rid of drugs

Knock, knock... flush, flush.

No, that's not what I mean. What do you do with all those old prescription drugs that have been hoarded for years, "just in case" that same old ailment recurs?

Well, first of all, most know that prescription drugs have an expiration date, and you really ought to discard them at some point after the x-date.

The following came to me this morning from a reader:

Proper Disposal of Prescription Drugs

Federal Guidelines (

Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so. For information on drugs that should be flushed visit the FDA’s website.

To dispose of prescription drugs not labeled to be flushed, you may be able to take advantage of community drug take‐back programs or other programs, such as household hazardous waste collection events, that collect drugs at a central location for proper disposal. Call your city or county government’s household trash and recycling service and ask if a drug take‐back program is available in your community.

If a drug take‐back or collection program is not available:

1. Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers.

2. Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.

3. Put the mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.

4. Conceal or remove any personal information, including Rx number, on the empty containers by covering it with black permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.

5. Place the sealed container with the mixture, and the empty drug containers, in the trash.

***** Gus's comment *****

So I called MDC Environmental Services, which is Woodstock's trash collection service. They don't have any special program, but a helpful CSR suggested that I call the police or fire department or ask at your pharmacy.

I called the Woodstock Osco Pharmacy and, wonder of all wonders, it will accept "old" drugs for disposal. So, remember; don't dump them in the toilet. But, if you do (and if you have a dog), be sure to put the lid down!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Looking for a job?

Job seekers will find helpful information in a series of sessions to be held at the Woodstock Public Library, 414 West Judd Street.

The first will be "Resume Building", on Thursday, January 28, 7:00-9:00PM. Janelle Crowley, Human Resources Director of the City of Woodstock, will present this session.

On Thursday, February 4, the library staff will lead a class called "Online Job Search Resources". That class will be 7:00-9:00PM.

On Saturday, February 6, the Library will host sessions for resume help, which will be guided by an employee of the McHenry County Workforce Network. Individual resume assistance is available during 20-minute appointments between 10:00AM-Noon.

The next session will be "Effective Interviewing", on Thursday, February 18, from 7:00-9:00PM. Janelle will conduct that class, too.

A second round of 20-minute appointments for resume help will be offered at the Library on Tuesday, February 23, from 7:00-9:00PM.

To register online, go to

For information, call the Library at 815.338.0542 or email

Mental Health Court graduates nine tonight

A ceremony was held tonight at the McHenry County Government Center to recognize the nine persons who completed a program of the Mental Health Court and who were presented with their graduation certificates.

The graduation ceremony was presided over by Hon. Charles P. Weech, the presiding judge of the Mental Health Court. Court was called to order, and then Scott Block, Mental Health Court Coordinator, explained that this is a special court that conducts programs over 18-24 months that include community mental health treatment and intensive court supervision. The objective of the program is to help enrolled persons to avoid jail time for their offenses.

Judge Weech described tonight's ceremony as a celebration of those who have achieved their goals. He described the program as a unified, collaborative effort of the court, the sheriff's office and the mental health community.

McHenry County State's Attorney Lou Bianchi congratulated the graduates and told them that this graduation is the beginning of a future with a promise.

Scott Block said the program is under continual review and improvement. He recognized one member of the audience who is a graduate of last year's Court program and who is continuing to be involved as a mentor.

Cherryl Ramirez, Executive Director of the Association of Community Mental Health Authorities of Illinois, came from Champaign County to attend tonight's graduation ceremony and to visit our successful Mental Health Court. She is helping to establish a similar jail diversion program in Champaign County. She said there are 200 Mental Health Courts in the United States, including the nine in Illinois.

Judge Weech presented a graduation certificate to each graduate and also a special coin to each. Each coin contains this inscription, "Life is a journey, not a destination" and another inscription.

County Board Chairman Ken Koehler gave the closing remarks and read a letter from Illinois Senator Pamela Althoff, who could not attend this evening due to a scheduling conflict. Ken expressed the pride of the entire County in the graduates and in the program.

The program for tonight's graduation ceremony carried this message: "Nothing is predestined: The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings."

Information about the McHenry County Mental Health Court can be viewed at

Woodstock HPC - all 7

The Woodstock Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) held its first meeting of the new year last night and on the new day during the month for its meetings. The HPC changed its meeting date to the fourth Monday, so that it will not too often fall just before a semi-monthly City Council Meeting.

The meeting was called to order by Allen Stebbins, Chair, and the newest members introduced themselves.

In addition to Allen, the HPC members are Yvonne Gilbert, Craig Hallenstein, Jodie Kortz-Osborne, Paul Marsala, Rodney Paglialong, and Erika Wilson. This means that the HPC is fully staffed with citizen volunteers.

Certificates of Appreciation were displayed for two members of the community who completed their work on the HPC last year: Don Frick and Bev Ganschow. Certificates of Appreciation are being prepared for Merida Johns and Lucia Matlock, who also completed their service last year.

During the public comment period, I addressed the HPC and reminded them that, more than a year ago, the HPC had forwarded to the City Council a nomination for Grace Hall as a Landmark. Last April the City Council tabled the motion to consider Landmark status, and it has never considered it. I asked the HPC to request the City Council to "un-table" the nomination and act on it - not just let it die without a decision.

Chairman Stebbins asked the Commission members if they had questions or comments; they did not. It appears to me that the HPC will let the City Council skate on this issue without raising it again. Of course, one never knows when a concerned citizen will raise the issue directly with the City Council...

The HPC viewed a video produced by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior about standards for rehabilitation. Ten Standards are presented for preservation of important buildings. As I watched it, I felt that Grace Hall met every one of them.

Then Nancy Baker, City staff member assigned to the HPC, presented a slide show of a walking tour of the downtown historic district. Nancy is a wealth of information, and I recommend (again) that she be engaged to make a video of one of her presentations. Past and present HPC members, Nancy, and other City employees and members of the community know about Woodstock, and this information should be preserved now, while it is available.

You know what I mean - while memories are good and people who know about the buildings and the history of Woodstock are still living. This would make a great multi-year project for Woodstock and Marian Central high school students and maybe even some MCC students.

"Poems" at MCC on Feb. 4

MCC Student Peace Action Network
Press Contact: Molly McQueen 815-943-6711
For Immediate Release
January 26, 2010

Rescheduled “Poems from Guantanamo” Event on at MCC

Crystal Lake—A controversial program featuring poems by inmates at the Guantanamo prison facility for terrorist suspects that was canceled in December, has been rescheduled at 7 PM, Thursday, February 4 at the McHenry County College Conference Center.

Marc D. Falkoff, Ph.D., a professor of law at Northern Illinois University, and editor of the recently published book, Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak, will be the speaker.

Citing security concerns college official canceled the program before its schedulable December 3 presentation, which coincided with the funeral of a Crystal Lake Soldier killed in Afghanistan. Commenter’s on local news sites had threatened to disrupt the program and accused program organizers of treason.

The program is part of the long-running Current American Issues Series of forums presented at the college and is sponsored by the MCC Student Peace Action Network (SPAN), Pax Christi, and the McHenry County Peace Coalition.

Since Falkoff 2004 he has been a principal lawyer in the habeas representation of seventeen prisoners being held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay on suspicion of involvement with terrorism. For this work, he was named the Charles F. C. Ruff Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year in 2005. He received the Frederick Douglass Human Rights Award in 2007 from the Southern Center for Human rights and in 2008 was the recipient of the Bill of Rights in Action Award from the Constitutional Rights Foundation in Chicago.

Falkoff writes and speaks frequently about the rule of law in the context of the war on terror. The book of prisoner poetry he edited, "Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak," was a bestselling anthology translated into a dozen languages. Abused, desperate and isolated, Guantánamo prisoners turned to writing poetry as a way to preserve their humanity. Despite the Pentagon's efforts to suppress the poems, Falkoff and a dedicated group of pro bono lawyers succeeded in giving the detainees a voice.

SPAN organizer Molly McQueen says that two off duty Crystal Lake police officers have been hired for security.

The program will be moderated by MCC instructor Dr. Todd Culp and is free and open to the public.

After the program Falkoff will be available to sign copies of his book.

For more information call 815 943-7611 or e-mail

Why vote in the Primary?

A friend in another county sent this today. Please read it. It makes sense. Ask all you encounter between now and Tuesday to get out and vote on Tuesday, February 2.

"Just a friendly reminder, because it is so very important. Tuesday February 2nd is The General Primary. I know many folks don't like to vote in the primary because you have to declare a party. The only question to ask then is, "Do you want someone else to select the people on the November ballot?"

"The intent of my e-mail is not to tell anyone who to vote for, but to exercise your right "To Vote". There is alot going on in Washington and in Illinois that we are both aware of and not aware of. So listen to the news, read the papers watch your e-mails. I find it so amazing that so many of the candidates spend time and money bad mouthing each other rather than addressing the issues. So think about programs and practices like stimulus programs like the 26 million dollar loss on cash for clunkers, forced medical insurance, amnesty for illegal aliens, reduction of medicare to pay for other options that would be open to illegal aliens, excessive spending, government takeover of private businesses through bailouts (banks and auto), lack of fiscal accountability, buying of votes for programs through granting of special exemptions and financial assistance to states, votes being held that are not transparent and held at what seems to me to be less than appropriate times, i.e. late at night and the eve of Holidays...I don't need to go on.

"My intent is not to preach, but to ask you to vote."

When I'm Sheriff...

... I'm going to have to arrange for regular time with Dave Gardner and the crew at Harvard Radio,, and its affiliate, McHenry County Radio, at

Today I spent about 45 minutes with Dave and we talked about the sheriff's race. You can catch the interview at I had a blast there, and I want to thank Dave here for the opportunity to be on the Morning Buzz.

I liked Dave's idea of emergency lights on my "basic undercover car" (my red VW Beetle). What do you think? Bubble or low-profile light bar? Inside, undercover car lights? Strobes in the parking lamps? McGruff decals on the trunk? How about an eee-uuu-eee-uuu German "siren"?

Tune in at Monday through Friday for the Morning Buzz and on Saturday morning for the Week-end Ride with Henry Stevens.

Hey, if Round Lake Heights Police Chief Don Johnson can have one, maybe I can, too.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sign control to affect convenience (stores)

Well, they did it.

Last week I wrote about the new keg ordinance. The City Council passed it, as expected, along with grabbing more control over window signs at stores that sell liquor.

I didn't go to the meeting. I would have stood to express the opinion in person that I had e-mailed to all seven, and I'm just as sure that they didn't want to hear it. Thanks to the one Council member (out of seven) who responded to me.

Before the liquor store at 47 and McConnell Roads was sold to the man who owns the liquor store just up the street, a question arose at the City Council level about the percentage of sales that was composed of alcoholic beverages. As I recall, the mayor said that alcohol-related sales were to be less than 50% of sales, since it was a convenience store that also sold alcohol, and not a liquor store that also sold bread and milk.

The next day I walked through the store, and it appeared to be that 90% of the shelf space was devoted to alcohol. I later raised the question with one of the Councilmen, but there apparently was never any follow-up or analysis of the store's sales records.

Then the sale took place, and now it is obviously a liquor store, not a "convenience" store.

OK, so what does 20% of window space that faces a public way mean, or does anyone (except the City Council) really care? And besides, the ordinance only applies to "convenience" stores, not to liquor stores. What's the purpose of an ordinance like that?

Says Councilman Mike Turner, according to the Northwest Herald, "In general, I don't like this kind of law, but we do regulate signs, and I think some stores have gone overboard, and this reflects poorly on our community."

So the law is in place for aesthetics? If so, the Council has skated way, way out into the pond on thin ice. Here come some more lawsuits?

Where's the hammer? When a question came up at a previous City Council meeting about enforceability of the proposed ordinance, the Mayor responded that, if a store were not in compliance when its license came up for renewal..... Well, you can guess the rest.

Sort of like, our way or the highway...

No doubt that cluttered windows look trashy, but is this law the way to fix that?

And, if the ordinance applies to convenience stores, but not to liquor stores, here comes a lawsuit. It's only a matter of time.

The City doesn't seem too concerned about the new temporary, cardboard signs attached to the permanent signposts outside the liquor store at 47 & McConnell Roads. They can't be within Code, but they are still there.

Oh, and the keg tag? What's next? A tag on a case of bottled beer or cans? Or a tag on a bottle of Jack Daniels? There are plenty of State liquor laws that control (or should control) dispensing beer to minors. A tag on a keg is not going to stop one glass of beer from reaching a minor!

The ordinance was passed unanimously. What I don't understand is, when a Councilman doesn't like a (new) law, why he doesn't vote against it?

Sometimes I think that an analysis of Council voting records would reveal an interesting insight in voting patterns. Too many votes by the Woodstock City Council are unanimous.

Guns in the courthouse?

A comment to a recent article got me thinking about guns in the courthouse. The author of that comment wrote that he thought only active law enforcement personnel who were not involved in a case could enter the courthouse armed. And then a second reader commented.

Read their comments in the article (below), titled "Security - at what price?"

Back on April 20th I wrote about being shocked by firearms in a courtroom, when the Woodstock Board of Fire and Police Commissioners and the Woodstock police chief, Bob Lowen, were defendants in a civil action in Judge Feetterer’s courtroom.

Both Chief Lowen and Deputy Chief Steve Bozer were sitting in the courtroom with their firearms. I felt that, in a civil action in which the chief was a defendant, the chief and his deputy chief should not have been armed.

Sure, they could have stepped in if some criminal action arose, and they could have provided additional cop power for the courtroom security officer (I still want to call them “bailiffs”). Heaven knows that he’d need it.

Could there have been a subliminal influence on the judge, when he looked over and saw two armed men in his courtroom?

When I was in Colorado, we didn’t have electronic screening at the courthouse doors and deputies who were to testify in trials checked their weapons in a gun locker before entering the courtroom. The only person armed in the courtroom was the bailiff, as far as anyone could see.

Yes, times are different today.

For the most part, the public trusts the police. I say, “for the most part.” Well, having just written this, I am wondering if “most” belongs in that sentence.

Thinking about the recent publicity that courthouse security hires primarily retired police officers, I wonder about their firearms qualifications and their mental and physical sharpness. When you hire security, you expect Security.

How easy would it be to overpower and disarm a security officer in our courthouse? Unfortunately, it would be too easy.

Why Green Party?

Do you know that Green Party candidates do not accept donations from corporations?

Read the following press release from Rich Whitney, Green Party candidate for Governor of Illinois in 2010. For more information, see


Contact: Brandon Punke, Communications Director, 618-434-0046


Carbondale, IL- Green Party candidate for Governor Rich Whitney issued the following statement Friday in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission:

In a transparently political decision, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its own recent precedent yesterday and paid tribute to the giant corporate interests that already wield tremendous power over our political process and political speech. Drawing upon a much older precedent – the legal fiction of corporate “personhood” that it created in 1886 – the Court determined that these contrived “rights” trump the public interest in having genuinely representative government.

The limitations on corporate influence currently in place were already inadequate to prevent corporate and banking interests from dominating government at both the federal and state levels. These forces have already undermined the democratic process to the point where our government has become a plutocracy – rule by the wealthy – rather than something that could still be called a democratic republic. Increasingly, it has also become a “kleptocracy,” as these same interests have used their control over government to privatize public functions and raid the public treasury.

Corporate and bank campaign contributions already direct the actions of the Democratic and Republican parties, their candidates and officeholders. An army of highly paid corporate-and-bank-sponsored lobbyists reinforce the message, peddling their influence through the power to give or take away campaign cash. As Will Rogers used to say, “We have the best politicians money can buy.” The American people recently witnessed a crystal clear example of how the system “works” – works to ensure that corporate interests are served, that is – in the recent fiasco known as health-care reform.

On top of all that, five corporate conglomerates control the vast majority of what most Americans consume as “news.” But yesterday the Supreme Court declared that that wasn’t enough. Now it has reopened the floodgates for corporations to promote their policy agenda and their chosen candidates – and to trash any candidate that crosses them – with no holds barred.

But with every problem comes an opportunity. In the face of this devastating threat to what remains of democratic process in our country, I, along with my fellow Green Party candidates, now present an even clearer choice to voters. We remain the Party that stands on principle, the Party that does not accept, and whose candidates do not accept, corporate money. We are the Party that is serious about establishing government of, by and for the people.

Our commitment to this goal goes beyond our commitment to swearing off corporate money, however. We stand for a direct challenge to corporate domination of not only our political system, but our economic system.

As the Illinois Green Party platform states:
By definition, a "corporation" is a legal fiction – a business entity or organization that . . . has been given “rights” comparable to human beings, yet does not have the same legal responsibilities as human beings. . . .

While originally subject to strict regulation under state charter, corporations over the years have eroded these social controls and now exert much more control over governments than governments exert control over them. Even in his day, Abraham Lincoln warned:

'I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country . . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.' - Letter to William Elkin, Nov. 21, 1864

But just as the corporation was a creation of human beings, acting through their government, human beings, acting through government, can rein in the power of corporations – or even abolish them if they so choose. And herein lies the answer to the challenge posed yesterday by the Supreme Court. The Court has spoken: Corporations have First Amendment rights, and for the time being, we the people are stuck with the consequences of that decision. But we the people always have the power to decide whether a corporation is chartered or licensed in the first place, and under what conditions. We also retain the power to decide which corporations are allowed to do business in our state, and under what conditions.

Again quoting our platform, the Green Party not only favors “alternatives to the corporate model,” such as worker-owned enterprises and workers’ cooperatives. It also favors reinvigorating our corporate chartering laws, such that corporations will be permitted to operate “only if they minimize or eliminate their environmental harm, engage in no socially destructive behavior, pay a living wage to their employees, do not abandon communities that have benefitted them, and [meet] other publicly beneficial criteria.”

To this we can add a new requirement: that corporations shall not be chartered, nor foreign corporations allowed to do business in Illinois, unless they agree not to engage in speech aimed at influencing its officeholders or candidates, or provide monetary support to any organization that aims to influence officeholders or candidates.

The Supreme Court trumped the public interest by declaring that corporations have rights of free speech. But through the Green Party, the people can trump the Supreme Court, by declaring that no corporation has the right to exist in the first place unless it agrees not to use its First Amendment rights to influence elections and political decision-making.

If elected Governor of Illinois, I will do everything in my power to completely bar corporate and banking influence over government.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Remember Serpico?

I just finished reading Serpico today. I’ve seen the movie several times, including recently, but this is the first time I’ve read Peter Maas’ story about Serpico. If you don’t know the story, see the movie or read the book (or both).

I was especially interested in Frank Serpico’s testimony before the Knapp Commission, when it was investigating corruption in the New York Police Department. After nine days of hearings, it appeared the Knapp Commission had collected all the public testimony it intended to gather. Political pressure mounted, and the Commission went after top brass and the mayor’s administration favorites. Serpico addressed the Commission in the second round with these words:

“Through my appearance here today I hope that police officers in the future will not experience the same frustration and anxiety that I was subjected to for the past five years at the hands of my superiors because of my attempt to report corruption.

“I was made to feel that I had burdened them with an unwanted task. The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist in which an honest police officer can act without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers.

“We create an atmosphere in which the honest officer fears the dishonest officer, and not the other way around. I hope that this investigation, and any future ones, will deal with corruption at all levels within the department, and not limit themselves to cases involving individual patrolmen.

“Police corruption cannot exist unless it is at least tolerated at higher levels in the department. Therefore, the most important result that can come from these hearings is a conviction by police officers, even more than the public, that the department will change.

“I also believe that it is most important for superior officers to develop an attitude of respect for the average patrolman. Every patrolman is an officer and should be treated as such by his superiors.

“A policeman’s attitude about himself reflects in large measure the attitude of his superiors toward him. If they feel his job is important and has stature, so will he.

“It is just as important for policemen to change their attitudes toward the public. A policeman’s first obligation is to be responsible to the needs of the community he serves.

“The department must realize that an effective, continuing relationship between the police and the public is more important than an impressive arrest record.

“The system of rewards within the Police Department should be based on a policeman’s over-all performance with the public rather than on his ability to meet arrest quotas. And merely uncovering widespread patterns of corruption will not resolve that problem.

“Basic changes in attitude and approach are vital. In order to insure this, an independent, permanent investigative body dealing with police corruption, like this commission, is essential.”

Peter Maas (1929-2001), Serpico, the cop who defied the system, pp. 301-302 (The Viking Press, New York. 1973)

Zane's ad in the Sunday NWH

Just in case you missed Zane's ad in the Northwest Herald today.

We Know We're The Underdog


Informed citizens, local business and government leaders, have long known about Keith Nygren’s questionable judgment, behavior and the atmosphere of intimidation he has created within the Sheriff’s Department. The harsh tactics he has foisted on many private citizens are well known throughout the County.

People tell us that, until now, they felt they had no option other than tolerate a man who has, over a period of too many years, learned to “work” the system.

People wonder how Mr. Nygren somehow manages to afford and maintain three homes . . . in three different states. Most voters are unaware that Sheriff Nygren spends an inordinate amount of time in Florida, where his wife is a full-time resident. In fact, the Nygren’s home is recognized by the State of Florida as housing permanent residents. As a result, Florida has issued a $50,000 Homestead Tax Exemption, as the Nygrens seemingly “work” the system from both ends.

Evidence suggests that Mr. Nygren travels to his Florida home on a more or less regular basis. Official disclosure records indicate that the Nygrens have spent hundreds of campaign donation dollars, in upscale Florida restaurants. (Mr. Nygren also spends time at his Minocqua, Wisconsin home where official records show that the Nygrens enjoy meals at Chy’s Red Steer Super Club, also funded by campaign contributions.) Instead of performing his day-to-day duties, at his desk here in McHenry County, he is apparently living a life of leisure under the Florida sun. It’s time to elect a full-time Sheriff who lives in McHenry County.

At age 36, I am at times questioned about my experience. It’s a little known fact that I am four years older than Keith Nygren was when, at 32, he attempted his first bid for Sheriff, as a Democrat.

I’m inspired knowing Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence at age 33. Of course, I make no claim to be Thomas Jefferson. However, I am fully qualified and well-prepared to serve. I have spent 14 years of my life serving and protecting my country and community.

Unlike Mr. Nygren, I have served in our Nation’s armed forces. I am a Navy Veteran, a certified and experienced police officer as well as a highly trained and qualified correctional officer. For those who may not know, my wife Rose is a registered nurse who has also dedicated her life to serving others. Together, we have three beautiful children, ages five, three and four months. Like yours, our family is a part of the McHenry County community and its future.

My intention is to return the Sheriff’s Department to one based on fairness, honest hard work, and a level of integrity that has been missing for many years. Accountability, transparency and fiscal responsibility will be the hallmarks of my administration. Under my leadership, the Sheriff’s Department will be saying goodbye to questionable ethics, cronyism and the business-as-usual ways of the past.

With your support on February 2nd, a new era of ethical law enforcement will begin in McHenry County. “A New Beginning” is on the horizon and we can usher it in together. When you enter the privacy of the voting booth to cast your secret ballot, you will have the opportunity to choose the man who will lead the Sheriff’s Department into the future, leaving the unfortunate ways of the past behind.

Zane Seipler
Republican Candidate for McHenry County Sheriff

Paid for by Citizens for Zane Seipler (in the Northwest Herald; free here)

Security - at what price?

Yesterday I received one of those letters that I like so much ... the juicy ones.

This one asked whether I might take on wasteful spending and patronage at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

What's that, you say? There's "wasteful spending"? "Patronage"? You're kidding...

In a separate letter recently I was asked about the three vehicles at the sheriff's disposal. Now, why would one man need three vehicles at his disposal? A Tahoe, a squad car and, what was the third one?

(I do recall telling someone in Colorado that my perfect house would be a one-bedroom home with a six-car garage, but that assumed I might win the Lottery and be able to afford it out of my own income and assets, not off the taxpayers' nearly-unlimited spending account.) But I digress.

What does courthouse security cost the taxpayers? We all see the screening equipment at the entrances. And the huge number of security officers (guards) standing around. Is there a supervisor or chief who never makes the rounds to count noses and see how many are doing nothing?

Oh, but what if there is an emergency? Well, if there is, we are all dead. I mean, what if some mother hides a bomb in a stinky diaper? Is one of the guards going to dive into that diaper and find whatever is setting off the alarm? Oh, just looks like the diaper pins...

But what does security really cost the taxpayers? Wouldn't it be interesting to see a spreadsheet on that? Recently, there was something in the news about the security service for the Administration Building at 667 Ware Road. A private security service has the contract there, and those guards probably earn about $12.00/hour. If some miscreant went in there with evil on his mind, he'd have the drop on them in a heartbeat.

But what about the guards at the courthouse itself? What do they earn? And what do the supervisors earn? And the chief of security? What's the supervisory ratio there?

This particular letter writer mentioned a $100,000 salary for the chief of courthouse security. You've got to be kidding. And didn't Nygren take him to a meeting of the national police chiefs' association (or something like that) in Florida last year? Seems like I saw something in a blog about that.

Why do the lawyers who come and go every day have to stand in line like the rest of us sheep? Surely, there could be a procedure created to allow them to bypass the lines of us "common people."

Who makes the rules for the lawyers? Couldn't the chief of security set up a system that would create a photo ID for those who are in the building every morning and/or afternoon for appearances, hearings, trials, etc. They could have to apply for it and wait for it to be issued and then have it with them, and maybe they could be asked to enter the east door to avoid the stares and the catcalls when they stroll past the herd waiting to enter and queue up for the privilege of paying fines and exorbitant court costs. Of course, for most of them the parking in the east lot is limited.

Don't members of the bar get passes in Kane County to bypass court security? Why not here?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

HarvardRadio to interview Gus Philpott

The Morning Buzz on on Tuesday, January 26, at 8:05AM will feature an interview by host Dave Gardner with Green Party candidate for Sheriff of McHenry County Gus Philpott.

Listen (and watch) on (that's .net). Tune in about 8:00AM and catch the show from the top.

By the way, tune in right now. Great music. Friendly-looking host (Henry Stevens) on the "Week-end Ride."

This station is online only, and you can catch the re-play if you are stuck on I-90 Tuesday morning.

Woodstock Advocate endorses Seipler

The editorial board of The Woodstock Advocate endorses Zane Seipler for Sheriff of McHenry County in the February 2nd Republican Primary Election!

The board held a long meeting this morning, attended by the owner, the publisher, the editor, the reporting staff, the treasurer, the secretary, the coffee maker and the custodian and discussed the qualifications of each Republican candidate.

After three pots of coffee, we reached a consensus.

We decided we cannot support a candidate who, as incumbent sheriff, believes that a citizen is wasting the court's time when he makes a personal traffic complaint against a serious traffic violator and is willing to go to court to testify (and who had a record of "wins" in McHenry County Traffic Court).

We cannot support a sheriff who allows a deputy to refuse a traffic complaint from another driver who is willing to go to court to testify about a serious traffic violation.

We cannot support a sheriff who appears to condone "managed" report-writing by deputies after a serious or fatal incident. Putting all the deputies in the same room with a supervisor, so they can get their stories straight, is not good cop work.

We cannot support a sheriff who drives 85MPH in Wisconsin "just to keep up with traffic", when the speed limit is 65MPH.

We cannot support a sheriff who disciplines deputies just up to the point (30 days) where their actions would have gone to the Merit Commission and into public view; example, when one deputy is shoved by another (battery) and "persuaded" not to report it to the Woodstock Police.

We cannot support a sheriff who fails to see that a ticket is issued to a deputy who runs a stop sign and causes an accident.

We cannot support a sheriff who fails to see that a ticket is issued to a deputy who carelessly drives off the road and rolls a squad car.

We cannot support a sheriff who knows that a deputy caused a crash involving a citizen's car and refuses to pay for the citizen's damage.

The editorial board believes that the arbitrator in the Seipler matter made the right decision and that the incumbent sheriff is wasting taxpayer dollars to appeal to the Circuit Court, where the case will malinger for 12-24 months.

The editorial board of The Woodstock Advocate believes that Zane Seipler is the better choice for Republican candidate for Sheriff on February 2. The board endorses Zane Seipler and wishes him success on February 2.

Look guilty - clear out?

Take a look at this statement of Mike Kenyon, Kane County's GOP leader and chairman of the county board's judicial and public safety committee, from this morning's Dailly Herald article about Kane County Coroner Chuck West.

"He (West) is in line to get a pretty nice pension," Kenyon said. "If I was him (sic), I would ask myself, do I want to take a chance on losing my pension? Do I want to resign and walk away from this, or do I want to stand and fight? And if I stand and fight, am I willing to risk losing everything? If there's any truth to it, I would think his lawyer would be telling him to resign. But then again, not everyone listens to their lawyer." (

Kenyon appears to have already found West guilty.

Mike, if you are innocent, you stand and fight against allegations, insinuations, slander, libel, smoke, etc.

What would you do, if similarly suspected? Actually, West hasn't even been charged, according to the article.

I am more worried about this information: "While visiting the residence, police said, the coroner discovered a collection of guns and ammunition, which he turned over to police to be destroyed or recycled."

Why weren't the guns and ammo turned over to police for "safe-keeping" and then release to the executor of the estate or an heir? Who gave the police the right destroy or "recycle" property of a deceased?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Equal air time?

Zane Seipler got his 55 minutes of fame this morning on, and it seems that Keith Nygren will be Dave's guest on the Morning Buzz.

The station's website shows that Nygren will be interviewed on Monday, January 25, at 8:05AM.

Gee, won't he be late for work?

I would assume that work hours for administrators at the sheriff's department ought to be 8:00AM-5:00PM, with an hour for lunch. If Keith is in Harvard from 8:05-9:00AM, will he get docked for $145 for the two hours of work he'll miss? Could any other employee take time off on short notice for a non-emergency?

Maybe getting on the radio a week before a primary election is an emergency for Nygren!

Does his radio appearance constitute political activity on County time?

Zane's campaign continues to gather steam. Zane has run a grass-roots campaign, and his momentum is quite likely to result in a Massachusetts-style victory. What an accomplishment!

Political robocalls? Yea or Nay

Sicked and tired of the robocalls yet?

In a recent survey, 25 readers responded to the question, “Should political robocalls be allowed or prohibited?”

Allowed: 7 (28%)
Prohibited: 18 (72%)

Many thanks for participating!

Seipler on

Zane Seipler was interviewed for almost an hour this morning on Harvard Radio ( by talkshow host Dave Gardner.

If you missed it or want to hear it again, go to It started off with genuine humor, when Dave commented that he was honored to have "this young whippersnapper" with me. Dave said he had seen Zane in the video from the Northwest Herald and said, "You looked a little stiff, dude."

Zane's humorous response and smile were great. He said, "I felt like I was in enemy territory for a while."

Zane is working hard to win the Primary on February 2.

Let's have a real Massachusetts-style upset right here in McHenry County!

Statement regarding surveys

Note to readers:

When you vote in a survey on this blog, I make no effort to trace who is voting. The confidentiality of your vote is 100%.

Thanks for reading and for voting.

Survey Results - Pledge not to confiscate?

On January 13 I wrote "How about this pledge?", referring to a pledge that could be sought from mayors and law enforcement heads throughout the county (and state). To view that article quickly, just enter "pledge" in the search box at the upper left corner of this website and click on "Search".

A survey was posted last week that asked this question, “Should police chiefs be asked to pledge not to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens?”

Many thanks to the 34 readers who participated in this survey. Their responses were

Yes 26 (77%)
No 8 (23%)

Why is this question particularly important now?

Here's what one reader had to say after last night's McHenry County Right to Carry Association meeting: "Deputies are instructed to arrest first when it comes to guns. Even if the FOID (card)is valid and the gun is stored properly. We always take the gun and if the person is legit, he can come pick up the gun later."

Illinois - heading into bankruptcy?

Check out the following from Crain’s Chicago Business, January 10:\

“While California has an even bigger budget hole to fill, Illinois ranks dead last among the states in terms of negative net worth compared with total expenditures. The state's liabilities, including future pension payments, exceed its unrestricted assets by $39 billion, more than 72% of its total expenditures as of mid-2008, according to Richard Ciccarone, managing director and chief research officer at McDonnell Investment Management LLC, an Oak Brook money manager that invests in bonds. "It's probably higher now," he adds..”

Gee, aren't we proud of the management skills of our state's officials and elected representatives?

NIU responds about Nygren degree

On Monday, January 11, I took a shot at NIU for its use of the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) at to suck $9.50 out of someone's pocket to find out if a person is a graduate. The title of that article was "Rip-off at NIU".

I was interested in confirming Keith Nygren's claim of a degree from NIU.

One reader fired a load of buckshot back and waived FERPA (the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) in my face, as if an acronym would scare me off. It didn't.

NIU replied to my FOIA request, citing an exemption in FERPA that permits them " disclose 'directory information' on a student, so long as that student has not opted for the non-disclosure of his/her 'directory information'."

NIU wrote that Keith Nygren received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Sociology and Anthropology from Northern Illinois University in 1970. His dates of attendance at NIU were from fall 1964 to summer 1970."

It's too bad the woman in the office didn't know about the FERPA exemption and just answer my questions. Thanks, NIU!

Back to the Past?

Check out Zane Seipler's ad on Cal Skinner's blog at

The February 2nd Primary is right around the corner.

Where does Jack stand on Right-to-Carry?

This afternoon I called the office of Illinois State Representative Jack Franks (D-63rd) to inquire about his position on right-to-carry. It should have been a simple, easy, friendly, non-confrontational call. After all, I am a resident of the 63rd District, and Jack is the elected State representatative from my District.

The phone was answered by a woman who identified herself as Lori, and I identified myself by my full name and asked how she was. When I told her I was calling to ask what Jack's position is on concealed carry, she hesitated and then said she was not going to answer my question. She told me that I knew where he stood and that his position had not changed.

She said she had seen my website and that I knew where he stood.

I was hoping that he had educated himself more on concealed carry since 2005, when I loaned one of legislative aides a book by Professor John Lott, called More Guns, Less Crime. I hoped Jack had learned in the past four years that crime has gone down all over the United States, as the number of states embracing concealed carry has increased.

But she refused to answer even my simplest question, which was, "Is Jack in favor or opposed to concealed carry?"

When I asked her last name, she refused to give it. And she told me not to put her name on my website. She told me that I do not have her permission to put her name on my website so, beyond the name she used when she answered the phone, I shall comply with her request and not use her name.

I'm a pretty polite guy, so I shall not write my opinion of her refusal to provide even the simplest answer about the position of the elected representative on a question of widespread interest to people of McHenry County, of the State of Illinois and of the constituents in his own State District.

How much better it would have been to be friendly and just say that he is still opposed to right-to-carry. The call would have been over, and he might even have retained my vote based on overall representation.

I urge every concerned citizen to call Jack's office in Woodstock at 815/334-0063 and ask, "Is Jack Franks in favor of or opposed to the right of a law-abiding, trained, qualified resident of Illinois to carry a concealed, loaded firearm?" Ask the reasons for his position and what it would take for him to change his mind.

You may wish to call his Springfield office, instead, at 217/782-1717.

Last night Lou Rofrano, organizer of McHenry County Right to Carry Association, told an audience of 500 that politicians need three things: 1. your vote; 2. your money; 3. your active support through letter-writing, making phone calls to stir up the vote, and putting out signs.

Jack's opponent, Republican candidate John O'Neill, will get all three from me. Looking for campaign contact information now.

What is MCSD policy re FOID cards?

What is the policy at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, when a deputy stops a driver who has a Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) Card?

If a driver gets stopped for a traffic violation and offers his FOID card with his driver's license, what action is a deputy supposed to take?

Is he supposed to confiscate any firearm and take it to the sheriff's department, where the driver who possesses the firearm legally can retrieve it?

If you are traveling to the shooting range and get stopped, would you tell the deputy that you have a firearm in the trunk of your car, unloaded or properly cased?

Or suppose you have the handgun in the console of your vehicle (which the Illinois Supreme Court has deemed a "container" under Illinois law)? Would you tell the officer that it's there? Is a glove compartment also contained a "container"?

Read the law, and use the right words if you are suspected of a firearms violation. And use very few of those right words. Since it's a felony, you risk prison time. Remember: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law." You probably know the rest.

Would you permit a search of your vehicle, if a deputy asked if s/he can search?

You might think, "Sure, why not? It's legal." Better think again. How does "Charged with a felony" sound to you? Any idea how much you'll spend to defend yourself?

This would be a good time to find a lawyer who is an expert on Illinois firearms law (and who is a right-to-carry advocate). Since you are the one who will foot the legal bill, get the answer ahead of time, preferably in writing.

Last year I talked to a lawyer who was obviously not in favor of right-to-carry. That opinion came through very clearly. So I had to ask for "professional legal advice", not personal opinion. That's what I was paying for, and that's what I wanted.

Did Nygren distort the truth about ISA Resolution?

I called the Illinois Sheriffs' Association this morning, when I could not find the 2/3/2009 Resolution about right-to-carry on its website (

Last year the Association switched website providers, and the Resolution did not get posted on the new website. Shortly after 9:00AM I was told that it would be posted on the current website today and would be found under the "Information" tab.

It may be that only the Resolution will be posted and not the Conditions that Sheriff Nygren mentioned last night, which are discussed in a separate, recent article on the Woodstock Advocate. The Resolution was passed at the 2009 Winter Conference of the Sheriffs' Association.

By 10:00AM the Resolution was posted. Read it here:

The very first thing I noticed is that Sheriff Nygren may not have told the truth, the complete truth and nothing but the truth at last night's meeting of 500 men, women and children at the McHenry County Right to Carry Association meeting.

Nygren said that the Resolution "was passed by 90% of the sheriffs present" at the 2/3/09 Illinois Sheriff's Association meeting. That is not what the Press Release from the Illinois Sheriffs' Association says.

Read what the Press Release about the Resolution says is: "Out of 79 sheriffs responding to our (ISA) survey, 90% of those sheriffs support concealed carry with the right type of restrictions, training and scrutiny."

Ninety percent (90%) of 79 is 71. Seventy-one sheriffs favored right-to-carry on the survey. Ten percent (8) were not in favor of it, and 23 sheriffs did not respond. I'll assume that those 23 do not favor right-to-carry and didn't want say so.

That 90% is the number of sheriffs favoring right-to-carry who responded to a survey that led to the Resolution.

There are 102 sheriffs in Illinois. Only sixty (60) of them attended the 2009 Winter Conference. Forty-two did not attend.

The Resolution could have been passed at the Winter Conference by a simple majority of those present. If 60 attended and if all were present when the Resolution was voted on, then it would have taken only 31 sheriffs at the Winter Conference to pass the Resolution. A fair assumption is that between 31 and 60 sheriffs voted in favor of the Resolution.

How did Sheriff Nygren vote, if he was at the 2009 Winter Conference and if he was present when the Resolution was voted on?

Not all politicians introduced tonight

At the big meeting of the McHenry County Right to Carry Association, organizer Lou Rofrano introduced several policitians tonight. And then he asked if others were there.

He knew that I would be there. Right after the article in the Northwest Herald announcing the organization and meeting, I wrote to him (couldn't call; no phone number given in article). The letter didn't come back, so he got it.

Zane Seipler was there, too.

Lou introduced Keith Nygren and even had him on the stage with other speakers.

When I made my comments at the end of the meeting, as reported in a separate article here tonight, I didn't throw in that I was a candidate for Sheriff; maybe I should have. In fact, I know I should have, but by that time in the meeting most had left their seats and were talking noisily in the back of the room. Zane didn't ask for attention, either.

Lou knew my position on concealed carry. I am a strong proponent for concealed carry, and I have been nagging my Illinois legislators for it since 1996.

I'll cough up my $20, anyway. It'll be in the mail today, Lou.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

State Sheriffs support right-to-carry

At tonight's kick-off of the McHenry County Right to Carry Association, McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren, incumbent and Republican candidate for Sheriff in the February 2, 2010, Primary Election, told the estimated 500 in attendance that on February 3, 2009, the Illinois Sheriffs Association ( passed a resolution to support the right to carry concealed, loaded handguns in Illinois.

His statement was carefully worded, and at no time did he say that he favored concealed carry. Several years ago the executive director of the Association told me that the sheriffs in northern Illinois in the Chicago suburban area did not favor concealed carry.

What Keith said was that the Resolution was passed by 90% of those (sheriffs) who were present.

There were several things he did not say.

He did not say that he voted for it. He did not say how many sheriffs of the 102 sheriffs in Illinois voted for it. He did not say how large the group of sheriffs present at the time of the vote was.

Keith said the Resolution contained several Conditions that the sheriffs felt were important.

Comment: some of these conditions are BRIGHT RED FLAGS that demand the close attention of gun owners. Attendees were polite tonight, and no one jeered, hissed or booed.

The conditions include, in part:

1. The permit to carry concealed would be issued by the State, rather than by local sheriffs or police chiefs. (This is good; it eliminates favoritism and prevents a sheriff or police chief from denying a permit on personal grounds.)
2. The permitholder would have to receive adequate training, including live fire at a range.
3. A sheriff or police chief would provide input on an applicant. THIS IS A DANGEROUS CONDITION.
4. An Illinois driver's license would indicate that the licensee was qualified for a concealed weapons permit. THIS IS A DANGEROUS CONDITION.
5. Guns would have to be stored properly in the home.
6. A "flash" law to penalize anyone who abused his right-to-carry privilege, allowing the privilege to be taken away forever if he abused the privilege. THIS IS A DANGEROUS CONDITION.

The dangers?

The local sheriff or police chief could stall or prevent a permit's being issued to an otherwise qualified applicant, just because he didn't like him. Can you just imagine my application passing across Keith's desk? What would he write on it - that I was stalking him?

Police officers and deputies do not face harm from law-abiding, gun-toting drivers or citizens. One attendee challenged Keith tonight; wish I had gotten his name and spoken with him.

Keith referred to concealed carry as a privilege. NO. It's not a privilege; it's a right! That';s what tonight's meeting was all about. Again, no jeers or catcalls. What a polite group!

When the microphone opened up for audience remarks, I mentioned that, when I moved to Illinois in 1996, I had telephoned the sheriff's department to ask where to get an application for a concealed carry permit. At this point I could have sandbagged Keith, but I didn't. I told the truth. That year was the year before he took office. A deputy laughed at me and said, "You will never get a concealed carry permit in Illinois."

I added that, after Jack Franks was elected, I had asked him several times to support a concealed carry law, and every time Jack answered with, "Well, I'm a member of the NRA, aren't I?" And I fell for it.

After I loaned Professor John Lott's book, More Guns, Less Crime, to one of Jack's legislative aides in 2005, hoping to influence her with facts, I was told that "Jack will never support concealed carry."

I urge every voter to call Rep. Jack Franks (815/334-0063) and ask, specifically, "Will Jack support a concealed carry bill?" Let me know what you find out. Get an answer: Yes? No? Post it right here. You may need to catch him in person and ask him face-to-face. Do not accept, "Well, I'm a member of the NRA, you know."

500 at Right-to-Carry event

The McHenry County Right-to-Carry Association kicked off its formation tonight with a large meeting in Lakemoor at Lakemoor Banquets. The parking lot was crammed with cars and trucks, and an estimated 500 were gathered to hear Lou Rofrano introduce the organization.

Lou started off with the Pledge of Allegiance and recognition of veterans, past and present. He gave his story about the reasons for forming the group, and he stressed the importance of the individual efforts to change the culture that exists here in Illinois. Lou mentioned other important groups in the right-to-carry movement: the NRA, the Illinois State Rifle Association,, and the McHenry County Sportsman's Club.

Lou introduced Sheriff Nygren, who told the group about a resolution passed by the Illinois Sheriff's Association that supports right-to-carry. In a separate article I will address that resolution, how it passed, and the Conditions that the Sheriffs' Association believes are important.

Lee Lexow, of the McHenry County Sportsman's Club (Richmond, Ill.), reported that Wisconsin allows "open carry" of loaded handguns but prohibits concealed carry. Before strapping on the Buntline Special when you get to Lake Geneva, be sure to find out what the exact law is and whether non-residents are entitled to carry in the open. Lee was at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1991 and had friends in the Luby's Restaurant for a chamber of commerce meeting, when a gunman drove a pick-up truck through a window into a restaurant and executed more than 20 diners in the restaurant.

A woman, whose name I did not clearly understand, gave a good presentation about concealed carry and stressed the importance of being empowered, smart and in control with regard to self-defense.

Valinda Rowe, of, is an avid proponent of concealed carry. She mentioned the Illinois State Police website and its encouragement for women to carry car keys and hair combs for self-defense. She said that website also encourages women to be "imaginative" and that she imagines a 9mm or a .45 for self-defense. She added that "the purpose of right-to-carry is to stay alive until the police arrive."

Mike Weisman, 1st VP of the Illinois State Rifle Assn., said the ISRA is in it 107th year. He mentioned that oral arguments in the Chicago gun case will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 2, 2010.

Nick Provenzano, candidate for County Board District 3, recommends right-to-carry right here and right now!

Joe Walsh, Republican candidate for Congress 8th District (Melissa Bean's seat) said, "The most important Amendment in the Constitution is the Second Amendment. It's the one that protects all the others."

To join the McHenry County Right to Carry Association, send $20 to them at P.O. Box 24, Spring Grove, IL 60081.

Email questions, concerns or comments to

Watch for its website coming soon at