Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gus, the new "cell phone" sheriff?

If I am elected Sheriff of McHenry County, Ill. on Tuesday, will I become the new "cell phone" sheriff?

You will not reach me in Cape Coral. You will not reach me in Minocqua. And you sure as heck won't reach me in Argentina!

You can reach me at the office. Or leave a message at the office; I'll call you back.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Can MCSD inmates vote? No?

After Monday's night's candidates' forums at MCC, I asked McHenry County Clerk Kathie Schultz if inmates at the McHenry County Jail were permitted to vote. She said that they are, but they must vote an absentee ballot. Also, a felon is not permitted to vote.

A felon would be a person convicted of a felony. A person charged with a felony and incarcerated awaiting trial is not a felon and should be able to vote until such time, if ever, that he is convicted.

Today I received the following email:

"I am writing to let you know that I have a (relative) in McHenry County Jail, awaiting trial on Feb 14th. He is being accused of a crime that he is innocent of. He and several others in the jail want to vote for you, however the guards are making it difficult for them to do so. He wanted me to send you an email letting you know that you should make sure that all of those people are given their constitutional right to vote. Instead they are being discouraged to vote, as this is a close race."

This is not the first communication that I have received about impediments to exercising the right to vote in the McHenry County Jail.

I shall be at the McHenry County Clerk's office on Monday morning to request an investigation into practices at the McHenry County Jail that restrict or eliminate lawful voting by inmates.

Wouldn't you think that Sheriff Keith Nygren, who boasts that "Experience Counts", would be scrupulous in his attention and direction to jail personnel that they not interfere with voting by inmates?

Campaign signs gone

As the Aurora (Ill.) Police Department faces possibly 20-25 officer lay-offs during budget woes, I got to thinking about how a police department really can save money.

After a campaign sign was stolen, I opted not to file a complaint with the Woodstock Police Department because of an officer's time to respond. However, after three were believed to have disappeared, I changed my mind. (Two were stolen; one was removed and laid on the ground.)

I would have gone to the P.D. and filed a report without the involvement of an officer, but in a previous contact I had been told that an officer would be dispatched to take a report (in another matter). Why can't a police department handle "lesser" crimes that involve only a report and no suspect be handled in the police station? A dispatcher could give the complainant a form to complete and submit. Then an officer could call with any follow-up questions.

Now I see that all the smaller campaign signs are gone from the corner of Route 47 and Judd Street, across the road from Wendy's. The big ones are still there; only the small ones are gone.

Who removed them? The City? Probably not, since so many other political campaign signs remain in place. IDOT? Probably not; only the smaller ones were taken. The business owner nearby? Again, probably not, although I'll have to check the party for the remaining signs. In any event, the signs were in the right-of-way, which is not owned or controlled by the adjacent property owner.

So, who did steal them?

Thanks for the support!

From a reader in southern Illinois:

"Gus, I have watched and read what you have had to say through the Beth Bentley site and want to wish you good luck in the election. I am way down here in the southern part of the state so, I can't be of much help to you except to wish you good luck."

This message means a lot to me. Thank you!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nygren's shameless letter

The empty envelope that I received yesterday from the Nygren political campaign may have contained a shameless letter from incumbent Republican Sheriff Keith Nygren.

On stationery imprinted with the official emblem of office (7-point star (badge), Seal of the State of Illinois, wording (Sheriff, McHenry County Sheriff's Police)) and from "Keith Nygren, Sheriff", Nygren beseeches voters to vote for him on Nov. 2. "Begs" might be better word.

He opens his letter with these words, "On behalf of all the men and women of the McHenry County Sheriff's Office..." What gives him the right to send a political message to voters and impart the "behalf" of the employees of his office? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Did he ask them first, if he could beg on their behalf?

Did he survey them? Anonymously? At all?

He asserts that the residents of McHenry County have joined forces with the Sheriff's Office to make our county safer. Oh, yeah?

How come, when I sought help from the Sheriff's Office to arrest drivers for serious traffic violations and deputies refused to cite drivers, Keith backed them up? I would have gone to court to testify, and I frequently did so.

Why did Keith call and leave a message for me one day to stop complaining about drivers, because I was wasting the time of the courts which, he said, would never convict a driver on another driver's testimony. What he didn't know was that I had a perfect string of at least eight convictions in a row.

How little he really knew about how traffic court operated!

Trading (treading?) on the employees' behalf in a campaign letter was shameless!

How eagles learn to fly

Did you ever wonder how eaglets learn to fly?

Watch this 3-minute video at

Is there someone in your life who needs a little push? Help them today!

$75 Bounty in the works?

Rumor has it that a new $75.00 fee will be assessed to those who are picked up on warrants in McHenry County.

Is this a Bounty?

Details are not clear to me yet, and I don't know if this is a reward only to a deputy who finds the person wanted under a warrant or if it is a County-wide bounty, payable to any law enforcement officer who stumbles across the person named in a warrant.

How might a deputy find that person? By running the license plate of every car that passes him. Or by an optical digital recognition system urged in Canada, if it is brought to McHenry County. Or during a traffic stop. Or by stopping and detaining a person walking along a road or highway, even if legally doing so and not breaking any law.

Hello? Can you spell r-a-c-i-a-l p-r-o-f-i-l-i-n-g? Will this worry a large segment of our County's Hispanic population?

This fee/surcharge/cost (Bounty) may be planned to go into effect on January 1. Efforts are underway to learn whether it is specific to the McHenry County Sheriff's Department or if it is a fee to be imposed by the Circuit Clerk for McHenry County, and then doled out across the County.

Open letter to McHenry County Board

To Chairman Koehler and all members of the McHenry County Board:

Regardless of my status as a candidate in the Nov. 2 election against Keith Nygren, isn't there something that can be done to rein in the uncalled-for expenditure of County assets in Sheriff Nygren's unceasing attempt to avoid taking Zane Seipler back on the Sheriff's Department? The arbitrator ruled against Nygren. Judge Meyer ruled against him. Now Nygren is heading to the Appellate Court on our dollars.

The County now owes Seipler for two-plus years' back wages. How much has Nygren wasted on this legal maneuvering?

How can the County Board put the brakes on a runaway Sheriff?


Gus Philpott

Wednesday death, a suicide

On Wednesday, Oct. 27, a death-by-suicide was being investigated by the Woodstock Police Department. Early on Wednesday morning a woman's scream was heard by residents at Prairie View Apartments, apparently when she discovered a body in a garage. Police quickly responded.

The policy at the Woodstock Police Department, and perhaps at other McHenry County law enforcement agencies, is not to issue a press release following a death by suicide.

In other words, hush it up. This is a short-sighted policy and one that needs to change. How to change it? Contact the Woodstock City Manager and the Mayor and the six members of the Woodstock City Council.

A series of four programs on suicide awareness and prevention was just concluded in McHenry County. The programs were presented by a team of representatives of Family Service & Community Mental Health Service, the McHenry County Crisis Line and Centegra Health Systems.

Information on awareness and prevention of suicides was given to attendees in four County locations. The final program was in Woodstock on the evening of October 26.

It is imperative to talk about suicide and to understand and recognize the factors that lead to suicide. Recognizing the signs and acting to intervene can, literally, save a person's life. Sometimes you have to stick your nose in someone else's business. Sometimes you have to intrude. Sometimes you have to refuse to go away, when they say they will be "okay."

Suicide prevention organizations stress the importance of not sensationalizing suicide. It is, indeed, a tragedy and for all concerned. Not all of them can be avoided.

Is it worth it to intrude? Yes. And don't get talked out of saving someone's life. That person thinks there is no option, no alternative. That it's the end of the line. It's not, but it looks that way to them. Get help by calling the McHenry County Crisis Line at 800.892.8900

You don't have to wait for a crisis to call. You can call for information. If you need to know what to do if someone is threatening suicide, call the Crisis Line today for that information.

MCC takes wrong turn; approves P.D.

The MCC Board of Trustees has taken a wrong turn in approving a police department for its small campus. The vote was 4-1.

Interested in running for the Board? Want to make a difference? The following information is from the MCC website at

The McHenry County College Board of Trustees has two seats open for new board members for the April 5, 2011 Consolidated Election. According to the Illinois Public Community College Act-whether filling a vacancy or running for election, all candidates for the position must meet the following eligibility requirements. A candidate must be:

•A U.S. Citizen
•A resident of the community college district (MCC District #528)
•At least 18 years of age

Petitions for McHenry County College trustee candidates will be available from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at McHenry County College - Office of the President, room A233, at McHenry County College, 8900 U. S. Highway 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2738.

Candidacy petitions for McHenry County College Board of Trustees positions will be available beginning Sept. 21. Petition filing starts at 8 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 13 and ends at 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 20.

For more information contact: Pat Kriegermeier, Office of the President, at (815) 455-8726 or email her at

For more information about the benefits of becoming a community college board member, visit the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) website at or read more at

Well, maybe now MCC will have to post legally-enforceable speed limit signs on its perimeter road. It seems an expensive step in order to put up legal signs!

Jewel hours - to 1AM

When did Jewel-Osco stop being a 24-hour store?

I went to Jewel early this morning, planning to run in for a few items and avoid the lines. Too late! Or rather, too early. I was greeted by an almost-empty parking lot, which wasn't too surprising at 2:50AM. But, when the door didn't open when I approached, that was a clue.

I knew that some of the doors were turned off late at night, requiring customers to enter and leave by limited doors near registers, so I tried another door. Same result. Then I checked the Hours sign.

Jewel is now closed at 1:00AM six nights/week, and it closes at 12:00AM on Sunday nights.

I figured that Walmart was open, but my shopping can wait a little longer.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nygren campaign - out of money?

Just got in the mail, and today I received an envelope from Citizens for Nygren. Ah-ha! I knew what that was. And I recognized the familiar, 7-point star - the emblem of office for the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

Just to be sure, I got my magnifying glass to read the small lettering on the badge. Sure enough! It reads, "McHenry County Sheriff's Police". The Great Seal of the State of Illinois is emblazoned in the center of the badge. Isn't it illegal to use the Seal of Illinois on political campaign literature?

Now here's the kicker, and why Keith's campaign must be running on Empty.

The envelope was sealed. And empty. There was nothing in the envelope. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Zero.

No plea for funds. No plea for a vote on Tuesday. Apparently, no money to print anything to put in the envelope!

"Too late, Keith. I already voted early." And I didn't vote for you.

Do you think maybe the Post Office took an I.O.U. for the pre-sort Standard U.S. Postage to send that envelope to me? At least, I hope it was paid, since the "stamp" was printed on the envelope.

Illegal immigration backlash

An email to me today contained the following message, which may actually be about 5 1/2 months old.

"Broad Support for Arizona's SB1070"

"A new Pew Research poll reveals that the majority of Americans support most of the provisions offered in Arizona's new immigration enforcement law. Seventy-three percent of Americans believe that individuals should carry proof of legal status, 67% support police being able to detain an individual that can't prove legal status, 62% support police questioning an individual they suspect to be in the country illegally, and 59% support the Arizona law.
- Pew Research Center

This prompted me to visit the Pew Research Center site, where I found an article with today's date and titled, "Illegal Immigration Backlash Worries, Divides Latinos".

From that article comes the following:

"About four-in-five of the nation's estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants are of Hispanic origin. A new national survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, finds that Latinos are divided over what to do with these immigrants.

"A small majority (53%) says they should pay a fine but not be deported. A small minority (13%) says they should be deported, and a larger minority (28%) says they should not be punished."

Of course, "four-in-five" is 80%. And 80% of 11,100,000 is 8,880,000. And that's a lot.

The number of Hispanics surveyed was not mentioned. What other result would you expect than "not be deported" or "not be punished", which is what 87% of those surveyed thought!

You can read the article at

Author's note: thanks to the eagle eye of "blue", who spotted my math error, which has now been corrected. (7:29PM)

How's this for support?

Here's a message I received from a supporter. Pretty nice, eh? Too bad she is in Cincinnati!

"I know you're super busy - just wanting to give you a last minute CHEER! Win this thing so that I can write to CNN Headline News to ask them to do a story about it, then I could see you on when I watch Robin Meade, mornings. Gus for Sheriff, Gus for Sheriff!!! After the elections, when you have a life again hopefully, I'll have to tell you about a crazy/controversial race here in Cincinnati, including the outcome. If the saying, 'may the best man win' were a guarantee, I'm sure you'd have it in the bag - I'm hoping it will happen!"

And, closer to home (right here in McHenry County), what did our own State Senator Pam Althoff say to The Woodstock Independent? "Until you see results where the good guy wins, it's not going to change."

How right she is.

You can help the "good guy" win the Sheriff's race. Call five people this week-end and ask them to vote for me. And ask each to call five others and make the same request. It can happen!

Nygren files appeal; to waste more money

Sheriff Keith Nygren is not only a poor loser. He is a free-spender of tax dollars, to the detriment of McHenry County taxpayers.

At 2:51PM the Northwest Herald posted an article online that Nygren is appealing Judge Meyer's decision regarding the Zane Seipler reinstatement. You can read the entire article at

The arbitrator ruled against Nygren. Judge Meyer ruled against Nygren. Now the case is headed to Elgin and the Illinois Appellate Court Second Division. That's the court that delivered a knock-out punch to Nygren in the Bob Schlenkert case, taking only three days to deliver its blow.

Nygren apparently told reporter Jill Duchnowski today, “My position on that has never changed." But Nygren's position did soften after Judge Meyer ruled. Did he forget?

Maybe his attorney had a little heart-to-heart with him. From the Northwest Herald article, "After McHenry County Judge Thomas Meyer’s ruling Sept. 28, Nygren appeared willing to consider reinstating Seipler as part of a 'creative solution' that might have involved ethics or other training."

Why didn't Nygren reinstate Seipler?

Today's NWH article continued, "But, Nygren said, Seipler never showed interest in returning.

“He never once reached out to us,” Nygren said. “He has no interest in resolving this from what I can tell.”

Surely, Nygren can't be so stupid as he sounds in those remarks. But is he that stupid? To try to fix the blame on Seipler? No interest in returning? Of course, Seipler is interested in returning. And it was Nygren's responsibility and obligation to contact Seipler, not vice versa. Nygren is the one who lost in court. Nygren is the one who was told to put Seipler back to work.

I am reminded of a remark made to me by a Woodstock cop, after a deputy refused to issue a ticket to a driver on my complaint. He said, "She (the deputy) has no idea how much grief you are going to cause her."

Well, I guess Nygren has no idea how much grief Zane is going to cause him now. I have an idea what is up Zane's sleeve, and it's not going to be pretty. Nygren may be on really shaky legal ground. I wouldn't be surprised if his attorney advised him just to put Zane back to work.

I'm sure that readers, and taxpayers, will be seeing much more in the courts over this. And Nygren shouldn't be able to escape the consequences of his decisions by merely retiring on December 2. He should be held personally accountable for his decisions.

Does Nygren have a grudge against Zane that goes beyond the official employer-employee relationship? Zane has kept the heat on Nygren relentlessly through Well, it looks like Zane will have a paid vacation for a few more months. I mean "paid", because Zane will get all his back pay, once MCSD runs all of its options. Where will it go, when Nygren loses in Elgin? The Illinois Supreme Court? And after that?

Signs I forgot to place...

Doggone it! There is one place I forgot to post a campaign sign!
Somewhere in the planning stages, I forgot to calculate the mileage to Cape Coral and how much to plan for a little jaunt to Lee County to place a sign. Let's see ... 1359.6 miles each way at, hmmmm; what's the mileage rate?
Just think how nice a Green sign on that lawn would look...

Will he, or won't he?

D-Day. October 28, 2010. D-Day for Keith Nygren, that is. This day, today, is the day that Nygren must put up or shut up. By 5:00PM.

That's his deadline for appealing his loss in Judge Meyer's court regarding Zane Seipler.

So, will he appeal? Or will he pass up the appeal? Or stall, and try an appeal after close of business today and waste more time (and taxpayer money) fighting a losing battle?

Even passing up the appeal won't get Zane his job back without more of a fight.

Nygren will stall, and stall, and stall. He'll create obstacles and roadblocks. He'll drag his heels. He might create nearly insurmountable challenges for Zane. Will Zane be sent back through the Academy for 12 weeks of basic training? But in doing so, Nygren will continue to demonstrate that he doesn't understand the man with whom he is dealing. Does he think Seipler will give up?

Is Nygren fighting this battle the same way that U.S. is fighting the Taliban? If you don't understand your enemy, you sure don't have much chance of winning the war! Nygren should have spent more time on strategy and less on tactics.

Zane has lots of time; he's a young man. Nygren? He's out of time. Even if he wins the election next week, how long will he really stick around McHenry County? Will he bail out pretty fast and head for Florida, where he'll try to enjoy Cape Coral as long as he can afford payments on a $690,000 mortgage (on a house now valued at $309,000). That ought to be giving him heartburn.

And if I'm elected on Nov. 2? The legal battle with Seipler will be over, and Zane will be back on duty, because Zane has prevailed in the courts and he is owed his job back - and his back pay. And I won't delay his back pay. And I'll pay Bob Schlenkert every penny that is owed him.

I'll pay Lisa Jarva the $5,300 that the McHenry County Sheriff's Department has owed her since July 13, 2008. And no more traffic crash reports will be falsified to blame a citizen, when a deputy causes a crash. She won't even have to sue for it.

Tonight: MCC P.D.? - no, No, NO, NO!!!

The MCC Board of Trustees will be asked tonight to approve a Police Department for McHenry County College.

Somebody spent hours crafting a two-page letter for the signature of newly-installed MCC President Vicky Smith. Unfortunately, almost no one outside of a small group at MCC will read it.

Is a Police Department needed on MCC's campus? Absolutely not! No, as in NO! What is the matter with those people?

A decision to establish a Police Department is nothing short of empire building. Who came up with that idea? Should Director of Security Mike Clesceri share the blame? Or maybe not "share" it?

I'm sure Mike must be a nice guy; after all, somebody hired him. But he's a California cop who came here to little, ol' McHenry County for a job and now wants "Chief" in front of his name. Why is he on my list of favorites? Well, refusal to enforce MCC's stupid (unenforceable) 15MPH speed limit (which was set before he came) has something to do with it. And refusal to push the Trustees to adopt a legal speed limit that could be enforced is another reason.

$20,000 for start-up costs for a P.D. is just the tip of the iceberg. President Vicky's letter doesn't even mention the $68,000 for two police interceptor vehicles. But the trustees may have already approved that, and before she showed up on the scene. Whom will they chase? Drivers who park across two spaces?

Read Pres. Vicky's two-page letter in the Board packet for tonight's meeting. Obviously, she didn't write it; she just signed it. Go to; at the bottom, click on Board of Trustees. Then find tonight's meeting date and click on Packet. Scroll down almost to the end (about Page 59 of 61).

On the second page of her letter it says that "Of the 25 community colleges in the state surveyed by the College (MCC), all but three were protected by sworn police officers on campus." Is MCC is one of the 22 that is already so protected? The previous director of MCC security was a sworn police officer! Doesn't MCC employ sworn police officers part-time? That's pretty loose flying with words...

MCC can hire out finger-printing and pre-employment checks for a whole lot less money than setting up its own police department! It doesn't need its own crime lab. Can you just imagine what will be coming down the pike? Their own jail? And hiring Crystal Lake PD officers for $46.00/hour (four hour minimum), just because Joe Alger and his flag-waving buddies showed to protest a speaker? No, the cops were not even needed that night. They could have been called by campus security, if needed. The College didn't need four C.L. PD officers standing around for $800.

Got an opinion but can't go tonight? Call 815.455.3700 and leave a message for Pres. Smith.

Is CrimeStoppers for McHenry County hiding?

Supposedly, CrimeStoppers for McHenry County is an Illinois corporation in good standing (except with me) and may be a 501(c)(3) organization for fundraising purposes. To me, this means they shouldn't be in hiding. But they are.

The only public contact for them is P.O. Box 295 in Woodstock (60098). I wrote to that address in September, and exactly 30 days later I received a letter from the Secretary of the organization. Coincidentally (oh, really?), she replied one week after I faxed a letter to the Registered Agent for the corporation, an attorney in Crystal Lake. He can remain nameless here, because he is "just" the Registered Agent.

She didn't answer my questions which, of course, meant that I asked them a second time.

When organizations hide, scrutiny should increase. And it will. I had already seen the 2010 Report for "Crime Stoppers of McHenry County" (sic), which isn't even the legal name of the group. That report, for 2009, contained no overall financial information and no names of officers or board members.

What might the public like to know?

Who are the officers and board members of CrimeStoppers for McHenry County?
What are the gross annual revenues?
What are the expenditures? (They report pay-outs on 12 tips for $3,400 in 2009, and a total of 118 tips (and ten tip numbers skipped "accidently (sic)"
When and where are the meetings of this group?

"CrimeStoppers for McHenry County has no connection to or knowledge about a "reward fund" in the Beth Bentley case..." and "CrimeStoppers simply offered a reward of $1,000 from their funds for information that leads to an arrest in this case." How do you have "no knowledge" but then offer a $1,000 reward? This confusing position was included in the October 10 letter from CrimeStoppers for McHenry County.

So, here is the problem. CrimeStoppers for McHenry County offers a reward of $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest (I suspect the Secretary meant to say "up to $1,000"), but the Beth Bentley Reward advertisements state $5,000 ($1,000 from Crime Stoppers of Woodstock; $1,000 from CrimeStoppers for McHenry County; and $3,000, presumably from Scott Bentley) for information that leads to locating her.

So a good tipster might walk away with, assuming averages, 28% of the total reward fund of $5,000, or $1,416. Nobody will cough up sensitive information for that puny amount.

WTTW snubs Green Party candidate for Gov.

Why is WTTW-TV Channel 11 (Chicago) snubbing Green Party Illinois gubernatornial candidate Rich Whitney by excluding him from tonight's debate on the campus of Northeastern Illinois University?

Tonight, Thursday, October 28, WTTW Channel 11 and the City Club of Chicago will hold a gubernatorial debate in the WTTW studios. Bill Brady and Pat Quinn have been invited, but Rich Whitney, Green Party candidate for Governor, has been excluded.

There will be a rally against WTTW's undemocratic and exclusionary debate this evening at 6:00PM at the WTTW studios at 5400 N. St. Louis Ave. Instead of an ordinary protest, people are encouraged to consider the season, and come dressed in their Halloween finest!

Here is Rich Whitney's facebook event about the pre-Halloween Rally:

Date: Thursday, October 28
Time: Rally at 6:00; Debate at 7:00, but the rally will continue!
Where: Outside WTTW studios on the campus of Northeastern Illinois University
Address: 5400 N. St. Louis Ave., Chicago

PRE-RALLY before 6:00 - Come to NEIU by the Brown Line, or by the 82, 92 or 93 bus!

POST-RALLY after the debate has concluded - location TBA!

Care to bombard WTTW with your calls? Call (773) 583-5000

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Murder or suicide in apt. complex?

Was there a murder or suicide discovered early Wednesday morning in Woodstock?

A resident of the Prairie Ridge Apartments told me this afternoon that he had heard "terrible" screaming about 6:00AM and that police were swarming all over a garage near his building off Leah Lane between Country Club Road and McConnell Road.

As of this time just before midnight, there is nothing posted on the Northwest Herald website or on the Woodstock Police Department press release webpage.

To the resident it had sounded like a body had been discovered in a garage.

Anybody know anything?

Original Beth Bentley WPD press release restored

For some reason the Woodstock Police Department has republished the original press release dated May 27 in the Beth Bentley disappearance case.

The May 27th release does not carry any date of publication on the City Police Department's website index; nor does it display an expiration date, as the second notice (June 9) does.

The May 27th release contains what is now believed to be erroneous information that Beth had "reportedly" been seen boarding a train for Chicago on Sunday, May 23. The police must have been told that by Scott Bentley or Jennifer Wyatt, but no attribution is contained in the police announcement.

The June 9th update from the Woodstock Police Department reads that Beth was dropped off at the Centralia train station for a 6:00PM train to Chicago. Even that information appeared to be incorrect as early as June 10th, when Jennifer Wyatt called me and told me that she had dropped Beth off near the Centralia station and that Beth had never intended to take the train to Chicago.

Surely, the Woodstock Police would have had that information.

The mystery continues, and Facebook posters continue to claw at one another's throats as they take sides and form opinions about involvement and guilt of various parties close to Beth. Some, including me, have been banned by moderators of the original Facebook page, and now at least one Woodstock woman has been banished from the second Facebook page dedicated to finding Beth.

Beth has been missing for 22 1/2 weeks.

NWH streams LWV forum

If you weren't among the 80 or so people in the audience Monday night at the League of Women Voters' forum, you can watch portions of the forum on the Northwest Herald website at

Notice how Nygren avoided answering the moderator's question about the cost of the jail bed rental program; all he talked about was the amount of money brought in - not what the moderator asked about- the cost.

When those rental beds disappear, if the Feds yank out all the ICE detainees and move them to lower-cost detention, not only will the County's income disappear but the costs of operating a large, vacant jail area will continue.

Sheriff's shooting range - safe location?

Recently a reader asked me if I thought the current location of the shooting range of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department is safe.

His letter mentioned that the range appears to be aimed directly at Camp Lakota, the Boy Scout camp, which the reader thought to be about 3/4-mile from the range. The range is located on Hartland Road, south of Nelson Road, and next door to the McHenry County Highway Department's garage and near homes on Nelson Road, where residents are often bothered by the sounds of gunshots for many hours. Across Hartland Road to the east is Valley Hi Nursing Home, operated by McHenry County.

Residents in the area are concerned about lead eventually entering the water supply in the area, but they have been unsuccessful in garnering official attention at the McHenry County Government level to the potential problem of groundwater contamination.

If anyone knows of problems with stray lead flying off the range, will you please let me know? You can comment below this article or contact me directly.

Interviews for sheriff on Star 105.5 and Y103.9

Care to listen to those interviews you missed on Star 105.5 and Y103.9, just because your alarm didn't go off and awaken you Saturday or Sunday morning at 5:55AM?

Recently Stew Cohen, news director at Star 105.5 and Y103.9, interviewed Mike Mahon, Keith Nygren and me for Northwest Spectrum. Nygren's interview won't be broadcast until this week-end, but all three interviews will be streamed on and, starting today, Wednesday, October 27. Go to either website and type "news" in the search box. Then search for the interview you'd like to hear and click on the audio stream.

The race this year is of significance to McHenry County voters, because they have never had a choice in the general election since Nygren took office. No major elected office should go uncontested in any year. That's my position, and I'm sticking to it!

When The People stop watching, then funny things start to happen. Like a golf car decorated with official Sheriff's Department decals being auctioned off as part of a political campaign fundraiser and the winner's getting it to delivered to his home with the official decals still on it.

Did that really happen, or is it just a rumor? Who was the winner, anyway?

Roll up those sleeves!

The Chicago Tribune gave me a nice mention following the Illinois Policy Institute forum for candidates at MCC. And, while I had rolled up my sleeves at a previous forum (why didn't we have debates?), I didn't do it that night.

Said the Tribune on October 12:

"Green Party candidate Gus Philpott, 71, of Woodstock, stressed citizen rights and manpower distribution, including residents’ right to bare (sic) arms.

"'I pledge not to confiscate weapons from law-abiding citizens during an emergency,' he said. 'I’ve heard enough complaints and am ready to step up. I’d be a one-term sheriff, and clean up the mess and leave it in good hands for the next sheriff.'”

Yet I do thank the Tribune reporter. Any press is good press.

And it's true. Elect me on Nov. 2 and McHenry County will get a one-term sheriff. I'll buy that broom I've been talking about (and forgot to buy early in the campaign season) and clean house at 2200 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock.

And the jailers will stop spraying cleaner on inmates' tables and will spend their time doing Jailer work, not maintenance work.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Even a quarter counts

At last night's candidates' forums at MCC, something Kathie Schultz during the County Clerk forum reminded me that I owed her office a quarter. Back on September 20th one of her clerks allowed me to skate away without paying the two-bits for a photocopy of a letter I had delivered. I didn't have my wallet in my pocket and was in a hurry, so I said I'd come back and pay.

And I intended to. I even made myself a note to do so. And then I must have tossed the note (my To-Do Lists are far too long), and the debt slipped my mind. I'm not sure what Kathie said, but the light bulb came on during the forum.

It was just before 7:00PM, when I was in the building at 667 Ware Road for a meeting. When I asked the guard if I could just take an envelope with the coin and slide it under the door to the County Clerk's office, he told me that Kathie was in her office.

What? And she was! Now there is a hard-working, loyal, County elected official - in her office, working well after 5:00PM. She gets my vote on Nov. 2!!!

Thank you for the big smile, Kathie, when I paid up!

NIXLE alerts - only urgent ones, please

When I signed up last week for NIXLE alerts from the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, I was hoping to receive only emergency-type announcements; you know, like if a prisoner escapes from the jail or a homicidal maniac runs out of the courtroom and escapes from the courthouse.

Yesterday I received an "alert" from the Crystal Lake P.D. about Halloween trick-or-treat hours. I don't want such "alerts" and I don't need any P.D. telling me how to keep kids safe. What NIXLE doesn't tell you, when you sign up, is this (from the C.L. PD reply):

"Nixle allows for agencies to send information to Nixle subscribers within a 10 mile radius. The radius allows for messages will go to any subscriber based the address they registered. Even though you may have subscribed to the McHenry County Sheriff’s office, the message can be sent to any and all regardless of jurisdiction. As a result, we are able to send information outside of the Crystal Lake City limits. Some Nixle bulletins will stay within Crystal Lake as they would not be of benefit to residents outside of our jurisdiction. This Halloween message obviously applies to anyone and everyone."

When I tried to access my NIXLE account via the link in the alert, I found the link to be broken, so I emailed the C.L. PD officer in charge of NIXLE. I received a prompt and polite reply with a tollfree number to call at NIXLE. When I called it, I learned that NIXLE does not provide telpehone support to civilians.

So I'll email them, and perhaps they will correct the link in future email alerts.

Don't you just love (hate!) snafus like these???

Bill's great idea

Green Party candidate Bill Scheurer has a great idea. Just in case you don't know - he's running against Joe Walsh and Melissa Bean.

He recently published two letters. One was to Responsible Republicans; the other was to Disappointed Democrats. He suggested that those in each group find someone in the other group and agree to swap votes. He wrote, "They vote for me, and you vote for me. That way it comes out a wash."

This same philosophy will work for me in the sheriff's race in McHenry County. Responsible, awake, thinking Republicans don't want Keith Nygren but don't want to vote for a Democrat. Republicans in McHenry County aren't going to vote for a Democrat. And there aren't enough Democrats to elect Mike Mahon.

So, the logical action is to vote for me, Gus Philpott. Vote for a man who is not a politician and won't become one. Vote for a man who is not a cop but who understands the "cop mentality". And doesn't have it.

I like cops, contrary to the opinions of some in McHenry County (and elsewhere). I like HONEST cops. I like cops who realize that the laws apply to them. They don't speed in Illinois or in other states. If stopped, they wouldn't even think about "badging" the officer who stopped them, as a way of getting out of a ticket. I like cops who are the first to obey laws, not the last.

If someone tells me on Nov. 3, after I win the election for sheriff, "Listen, Gus; don't rock the boat", I'll use the same words as Putney Swope did in the movie by that title: "I'm not going to rock the boat. I'm going to sink the boat!"

What's in that "boat"? Favoritism. Use of the badge of office as a political tool. 13-14-15 weeks' annual vacation. That's the "boat" that's going down.

Integrity, transparency, truthfulness will be in. Can McHenry County handle this?

Congressional voting records

Here's an interesting website where you can easily inspect your Congressman's voting record.

This link shows a congressman's voting record compared to the recommendation of the American Family Association. Republicans voted with the AFA about 75% of the time; Democrats about 20%.

You can change the state and see how our own congressmen voted. This is a good site if you want to see how the votes were done in all districts, and it even has a bio on all congressmen.

The link will open to Tennessee. Follow the instructions to view Illinois congressmen.

Many thanks to the reader in Huntley who sent it to me.

Jailbrakers - community support group

A volunteer-based community youth and family support group continues to serve McHenry County families who have an incarcerated loved one. The group, called Jailbrakers, was formed to support those who have a family member in jail or prison and to break the cycle of stigma that often surrounds family members.

A pilot program started last fall. Due to its success and requests by the families, the group is preparing to launch its third series of group sessions. This program was initiated by Ms. Cheryl Niemo, who is a Family Resource Developer with Family Service & Community Mental Health Center, McHenry, Ill. (Jailbrakers is not associated with Family Service.) Through her work in the county and her personal experience, Cheryl discovered that this is a population of McHenry County citizens needing support services around emotional and family matters addressing stigma, fear, shame and isolation. This independent, volunteer-based community program is free to those who attend.

On Friday, October 29, at 6:30pm, Cheryl Niemo will be conducting the volunteer training at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 221 Dean St., Woodstock, Ill. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please plan to join in. The group would love to have your support.

A 12-week support group will begin on Friday, November 5, at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Woodstock.

A Turkey Bingo Fundraiser at the Woodstock Moose Lodge, 406 Clay St., is scheduled for Saturday, November 13th, from 3pm-6pm. Come and play Bingo at the Fundraiser. There will also be a Silent Auction; the group will appreciate donations of goods or services.

For information or with questions, contact Cheryl Niemo by email via

DH expands headline over Letter to Editor

The Daily Herald published a Letter to the Editor yesterday from Mark Gummerson (make that, R. Mark Gummerson!), raking me over the coals for my recent criticism of some of the court security officers at the McHenry County Government Center.

The Daily Herald provided this grandiose headline over Mark's letter: "Court security, like Nygren, does fine job". The only problem I have with the headline is that nowhere in Gummerson's letter did he say that Nygren does a fine job. From what hat did the DH editors pull that one? Gummerson wrote that Nygren had put a "fine team together". Howie Parth may have done part of it; Parth's predecessor probably had some hand in forming the current staff, too. The headline just doesn't match the letter.

I didn't know of Mark's letter until after tonight's candidates' forum at MCC. Upon arriving home I found an email with a link to an article on the Dirty Keith vs. Dirty Harry blog. That article, at, titled "When a Stupid Lawyer does Stupid Things...Before he Thinks!!", discussed the submission to the Daily Herald.

I tried to post a comment on the Daily Herald, but it would not accept it, even though I shortened the length to well under the maximum number of characters. So I'll just post my comment here:

"Attorney Mark Gummerson failed to mention his close personal friendship with, and considerable financial support of, the current sheriff, which included special privileges in the Reserved parking section aon the east side of the courthouse. Of course, he'll vote for Nygren.

"To the point of his criticism of my comments, the court security staff is packed with retirees from departments. A better plan would be to let those men live on their retirement pensions and hire and train younger men and women who need jobs. I didn't say all CSOs are not capable of performing their duties, but some of them clearly would be physically unable to do so, if an altercation arose in a courtroom. In the courtrooms bailiffs (CSOs) are often inattentive and function more as "room monitors" (and often not even that). Their primary duty is often just announcing, "All rise. The court is in session." It's fine for Mark to respect them, but to expect them to protect him is another matter.

"Visit any courtroom and observe the CSOs. Decide for yourself. My opinion is based on observations in numerous courtrooms."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sheriff candidates meet in final forum

Just when I was getting all warmed up, it's over. Tonight was the final scheduled forum of candidates for election the Office of Sheriff of McHenry County on November 2.

If the voters of McHenry County want a Sheriff who is "real people," there really is only one choice. To me, the choices look like they are between a politician, a cop and a real person.

Don't get me wrong. Mike Mahon is a nice guy. He's honest. He is doing his homework and digging out information on budgets and some expenditures. He's working hard to support those four kids under 11 and his wife, who is at home with the kids.

Is it enough that I'll take the 20% pay cut that I've said I would? That I'll drive my own car to work and not expect the County to provide me with a $75,000 white Chevy Tahoe with heated leather seats? That I'll buy my own gas and not ask the County to reimburse me?

Tonight I said I'd do away with the prevalent use of cell phones for official communications during calls. Those cell phone conversations are not recorded for posterity on Department recording equipment, as are police radio transmissions.

Those conversations, directives, responses are important and need to be recorded. They are like the dashboard videocameras. Often they will catch the deputies doing things exactly right. But sometimes they won't. Then it won't be easy to sweep poor handling under the carpet. And, if I'm sheriff, we don't be doing that kind of sweeping!

Thanks to the League of Women Voters for running a tight program and for starting with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Parked in Jewel lot? Read and heed

After you finish your shopping in the Woodstock Jewel-Osco and return to the parking space where you left your car, will it be there?

A warning sign posted near Jewel reads, "WARNING - Unauthorized vehicles will be towed..." (Click on the image to enlarge it; then click on the Back button on your browser to come back here.)

Here's what you need to know about this sign and the part of the parking lot it "protects": This sign does not govern parking spaces IN FRONT OF Jewel (but you'll never know that from the sign). This tow company does not have a deal with Jewel-Osco. If your car gets towed, Jewel didn't have anything to do with it.

Jewel-Osco uses a different towing company (not C&M), and cars abandoned in the Jewel parking lot would be towed only on the authorization of the store manager. And it won't happen while you are shopping in Jewel, either.

BUT, if you park after 10:00PM in the western portion of the parking lot (that is, from in front of the Hallmark Store and west to the street, including in front of Little Caesar's and Papa Murphy's), your car will likely be gone in a heartbeat, if you turn your back on it.

What's wrong with this picture? There is no warning to drivers that parking after 10:00PM is prohibited. The tow truck driver will just yank your car and haul it to Union. Then just try to get it back without paying for it!

If you don't like this policy, complain to the owner of the Hallmark Store and to the owners and managers of the stores over in the little strip from Little Caesar's to the street. Tell them that you will stop shopping in their stores, if they don't persuade their landlord, the property owner, immediately to terminate the towing deal until adequate warning signs against late-night parking are posted.

"What is an authorized vehicle?" and "Who deems a vehicle to be unauthorized?"

If your car is about to be towed,or if you see a car about to be towed, call the Woodstock Police Department immediately. Demand that the officer question the tow truck driver and see his written authority to tow the specific vehicle that he is about to tow. The driver won't have any authorization. It's the tow truck driver, who is probably earning minimum wage and may not even have a high school education, who is making the decision to tow a specific car. Demand that the police officer prevent removal of the car.

One reader recently reported that he heard that a Jewel customer parked in the parking lot one night and went into the store to shop. No sign in the lot informed the driver that he had to park in front of Jewel. Within minutes a tow truck pulled up and hooked up the car. No one in the parking lot will see the invisible property line between property owned by Jewel-Osco and by the company that owns another portion of the lot.

What does it cost to get your car back? Try $170.00 for the tow and, if you don't have the $170 and have to wait a few days before you can bail out your car, you will get soaked for $40.00/day for it to collect dust in Union.

Such rates are exorbitant and should be outlawed. A local tow would cost about $100.00, and storage for a car 22' long and 6' wide ought not be greater than $10.00/day.

I got an interesting response at the Woodstock Hallmark store, when I called for information this morning. The employee who answered the phone (who can remain nameless, since she was probably just following orders) directed inquiries about the towing contract to the property manager. Then she refused to provide the name or phone number for the property manager and also would not provide the name of the owner or manager of the store! Now, is that good customer service?

Youth + texting = crash

The Crystal Lake Police Department issued the following press release:

"On Sunday, October 24th at approximately 1:01 PM, Crystal Lake Police and Fire Rescue Departments responded to the 800 block of Wedgewood Drive in Crystal Lake to a report of a traffic crash involving an automobile that struck a private residence. Upon arrival of emergency responders, it was determined that neither the driver of the vehicle nor the single occupant of the residence had sustained any injuries. A representative of the City of Crystal Lake Building Department also responded to the incident to evaluate the structural integrity of the affected residence.

"In the investigation that followed, it was determined that a 16 year-old female juvenile from Crystal Lake, had been operating a 1998 Lexus ES300 westbound on Country Club Drive. The vehicle then left the roadway at a curve in the road and traveled across a lawn before striking the residence, causing extensive damage to both the vehicle and the structure. It was also determined that the juvenile was improperly using a cellular phone to send and receive text messages just prior to the crash. The juvenile driver of the Lexus was subsequently issued traffic citations for failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision and improper use of an electronic communication device. The juvenile was released to a parent pending prosecution."

Just what part of "dumb" did that kid not understand?

And where is her name? Just because she is 16 is no reason not to publish her name. She has a driver's license (well, "had" a driver's license). Kids today think they are so smart... they are taught not to drive and text; they are taught not to drive while distracted. Then they do it, anyway. ("Well, gee, Dad; I wasn't distracted. I was just texting...")

Dumb, dumb, dumb...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dorr Township ALERT

Dorr Township officials have announced an "Open House", which ran several days last week and will run Monday and Tuesday late afternoons. This is not your "usual" open house with punch and cookies to find out about senior services, bingo, and mutual aid. Better hide your checkbook and head over to 140 Newell St. on Monday and/or Tuesday. The following announcement appears on

"Dorr Township would like to announce its plan to hold informational open houses at the township office, 140 Newell Street, Woodstock. The open houses will provide information to the public on options for expansion of existing facilities at the Dorr Township Office and also the Dorr Township Highway Department, located at 12322 Davis Road. Options will also be presented for consideration of facilities on a non-specific site.

"These representations are a result of recommendations from staff and the efforts of a citizens' planning committee that was formed after electors voted against purchasing property in 2009 without specific plans for the property.

"Open house dates are scheduled for October 20, 21 and 22 from 10:00 am. until 4:00 pm., and October 25 and 26 from 5:00 to 7:30 pm. Marc Rhode, of Legat Architects, will be present on Tuesday evening, October 26, to answer questions regarding the site plan options.

"For more information, please contact Dorr Township at 815-338-0125"

Some Dorr Township residents think that township government is already too large and should be shrinking, considering that ground is lost every time a municipality annex land. Administrative costs for relief are a high percentage of the actual amount doled out; when I say "high", I mean high! And Dorr Township now maintains only about 32 miles of roads.

It was the citizens' planning committee that actually brought to a vote the question about $2.7 million that the Township had accumulated quietly, but legally, over the years. The committee thought the Township ought to refund $1,000,000 to taxpayers. Out of what woodwork all those people came for the annual meeting last April to vote down that refund, I have no idea.

Show up Monday and Tuesday and ask questions. And then start showing up every month to observe how your township is operating. As Supervisor Bob Pierce said at one meeting earlier this year, "We don't want to behave like Grafton Township" (or something like that). And he's right; we don't. But more than the 5-6 interested voters should be showing up every month.

Did the author of the announcement mean "presentations", not "representations"?

Who has time to read 390 comments???

Dan McCaleb wins the prize! Dan is with the Northwest Herald and wrote an editorial today about the "incivility" shown to a League of Women Voters' (LWV) moderator who did not want the audience to say the Pledge of Allegiance. That fiasco occurred at the LWV forum where Melissa Bean actually showed up to face off with Joe Walsh and Bill Scheurer last week.

As of 8:53PM there were 390 comments to Dan's editorial, which takes the audience to task for over-riding LWV moderator Kathy Tate-Bradish's "excuse" that the Pledge was not on her agenda.

Well, Dan, be sure to show up at the LWV forum at MCC Monday night, 7:00PM. The first part of the "show" is the forum for candidates for Sheriff. What better event could there be to start off with the Pledge of Allegiance. The Sheriff of the County must pledge his allegiance to the Flag and to the Republic for which it stands. I don't mean Keith; I mean any Sheriff. Every Sheriff!

If tomorrow night's agenda doesn't include the Pledge, then the moderator can plan on a 1-minute delay, and the audience won't want to hear any snide remarks about disrespect.

"Unit 501, respond to ..."

Check out today's article on First Electric Newspaper and the photo of McHenry County Sheriff's Department Unit 501 - a golf cart decked out all all the official trappings of a marked patrol vehicle. (Photo to the right: courtesy Click on image to enlarge it for more detail; then click on the Back button on your browser to return here.)

The low number - 501 - indicates that this vehicle is probably assigned to the Sheriff. Could this be right?

The photo doesn't show whether there is a light bar or siren, but it clearly shows other official markings:

1. The 501 lettering that matches squad car numbers;
2. The "McHenry County Sheriff" lettering that matches lettering on squad cars;
3. The 7-point star (badge) that matches the emblem of office on MCSD vehicles and stationery.

Is this an official vehicle of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department? FEN reports that the golf cart was paid for out of Nygren's political campaign fund, according to soon-to-be-reinstated-Deputy Zane Seipler. In whose name is the Bill of Sale for this golf cart? The Sheriff's Department? The political campaign? Nygren's name? Someone else's name? It shouldn't take an investigator in an undercover car long to figure that out.

My question? Who paid for the paint job and the lettering? Does the Sheriff's Department employ its own painter? Are these decals that came out of Sheriff's Department stock?

FEN got the story exactly right about how the identiciation of the undercover car was revealed. Nygren doesn't seem to like the truth, because his response to FEN was, "Hah. Oh, yeah."

The following appeared in the FEN article: "The comment from one ex-spook: 'It sort of proves why it's not really very good tradecraft to gas up a covert vehicle at an official site.'"

It doesn't "sort of" prove it. It proves it! Keep in mind who the top dog is at the Sheriff's Department - the one in whose office the buck stops. The one whose "Experience Counts." The one who bears the ultimate responsibility for the decision to gas up undercover cars at the Sheriff's Department fuel pump.

Didn't Nygren (or any of the other command personnel) learn at FBI schools that you protect the undercover status of a covert vehicle by keeping it away from police headquarters?

And why didn't Undersheriff Zinke give the Northwest Herald reporter the same answer as he would have given me, had I called to ask about the undercover car? The answer should have been, "We don't reveal ownership information about vehicles with Illinois license plates." That would have ended the story, except for all the comments on this blog that showed up so quickly from people supposedly "in the know."

Beth Bentley - Week 22

It was TWENTY-TWO (22!) weeks ago that Beth Bentley is reported to have disappeared from Centralia, Ill. Many are not sure now that it was even from Centralia. Could have been Mt. Vernon and anywhere between Mt. Vernon and Woodstock, and maybe nowhere near any of those places.

The last announcement of the lead investigatory law enforcement agency, the Woodstock Police Department, was on June 9. At that time WPD classified Beth as Missing and Endangered, but without any explanation of "endangered". Nothing was reported about her missing any medications, being at a known health risk, having been threatended by anyone, suffering any memory problems, etc. So, what did "endangered" really mean?

The reward fund is stagnant. There are three components to it:
Up to $1,000, Crime Stoppers of Woodstock;
Up to $1,000, CrimeStoppers for McHenry County; and
$3,000 from another source (not known if it is an "up to" reward)

The Crime Stoppers of Woodstock reward was broadened to include information that would lead to her whereabouts.

CrimeStoppers for McHenry County (a separate CrimeStoppers organization) is hiding out behind a P.O. Box and is very difficult to contact. They took a month to reply to my first letter and then the Secretary chastised me for not understanding CrimeStoppers. I have re-contacted them for the information requested the first time. They are apparently a 501(c)(3) organization and cannot hide.

The McHenry County Sheriff's Department, although it furnishes dispatchers for the tip line, refused to provide a contact other than the P.O. Box, and the Undersheriff did not acknowledge or reply to my September 16th request for information. He told a reporter that he has never received an email from me. My September 16th email wasn't returned as undeliverable, so what happened to it?

And the $3,000 reward fund? Presumably, the Bentley family (that would be Scott Bentley) is in charge of that. Will it pay out if somebody spots Beth at a bus stop? Are the funds escrowed for the reward? Or does someone know it's a sure thing that she won't be spotted at a bus stop?

Information to follow about a new billboard in southern Illinois...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

NWH policy differences

When someone submits a letter to the editor of the Northwest Herald by e-mail, s/he is required to include a real name, street address and phone number. A NWH employee calls that person to confirm that the letter really was submitted by that person. Recently, the NWH employee has begun asking whether the person remembers what he or she said in the letter.

The Northwest Herald will not print letters from "assumed names." In other words, it will not allow the sender of published letters to hide behind a fictitious name.

But online it's a different story. The Northwest Herald will allow anyone with access to the internet to register a fictitious name and to submit for instantaneous publication a comment through an online comment box below a news article. This allows libel, cheap shots and false information to be published, and seldom are comments removed by NWH staff.

It is time for the Northwest Herald to adopt a more responsible position and to align its online Letters policy with the policy for its print edition. Why should the policies be different?

This will reduce or eliminate the sniping and lies from the Northwest Herald. How about it, editors?

Friday, October 22, 2010

What happened to the "Madison 5"?

Remember the story about the five armed men peacefully having a meal in a Madison, Wisc., Culver's, until the Madison cops showed up. They were called by a "Nervous Nellie" who told the cops that, while the men were not causing any problem while carrying their weapons openly (as allowed by Wisconsin law), she would feel terrible if "something" happened and she hadn't called.

Two of the five men were arrested for Obstruction of police because they refused to provide ID. Those charges were dropped.

However, the five were arrested for Disorderly Conduct. Seems the Madison Police Dept. is not familiar with the opinion of the Wisconsin Attorney General, who has said that carrying openly, absent any unusual or threatening actions, is NOT disorderly conduct.

Looks like Madison is a good place to avoid, even if you are a law-abiding citizen!

The law-abiding gun-toters have a lawsuit against the Madison Police Department. Clean 'em out, guys.

Flag are at half-staff through Saturday dusk

Another military death in Afghanistan! Lance Cpl. Alec E. Catherwood, 19, of Byron, Ill., died on October 14.

U.S. and Illinois flags are to be lowered to half-staff immediately and until sunset, October 23.

Every time I receive e-News from the State of Illinois I hate to read of one more death in that part of the world.

I support our troops. I do NOT support this country’s decision to engage in a war that could drag on for 15-20 years before we finally do pull out. This country still does not understand the nature of the war we are in there.

Think back to what it must have been like in this country in 1775-76. We, in the U.S.A., are free today because “insurgents” refused to give up.

Read more about Cpl. Catherwood at

Respect the lowered flags. Don’t just drive by. Pause and think about the significance of the lowered flags.

Philpott interviewed by Star 105.5, Y103.9

It’s a good thing that I am not a conspiracy theorist, or …

Recently I was interviewed by Stew Cohen for the Northwest Spectrum public service program that airs on Star 105.5 and Y103.9. It was a fast-paced interview, and Stew gave me a lot of air-time.

I know you all were up to hear it. Right? The schedule for broadcasting Northwest Spectrum was Saturday’s at 6:00AM on Y103.9 and Sundays at 6:00AM on Star 105.5. You were up to hear it, weren’t you?

The interview is to be streamed on the websites of both stations: and, respectively.

NOTE: Don’t click on the banner to listen to this week’s Northwest Spectrum. That link is disabled. You must scroll down to the narrative description of the interviews and then click on the audio stream.

BUT NOT YET. My interviews were broadcast on October 16-17.

Now the broadcast schedule for Northwest Spectrum has changed. The new schedule is
Sunday, 6:00AM Star 105.5
Sunday, 10:00AM Y103.9

So you no longer have to beat the roosters up at 6:00AM; now you can just skip church and hear Mike Mahon this Sunday, October 24, and Keith Nygren on Sunday, October 31.

The stations have not put the interviews up on their websites yet. They were going to wait until after Keith’s aired two days before Election Day, but the interviews might be online sometime this next week.

Go to either website and enter NEWS in the search box. If you don’t find the interviews behind the banner for Northwest Spectrum, scroll down.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Celebrate what's right with the world

Suzanne Ness, founder of Living Forward, a life-coaching service, will present a lunch-and-learn program at PNC Bank in Carpentersville on October 27th.

Her press release reads, "This workshop is based on the award winning video "Celebrate What's Right With the World", by Dewitt Jones, a former photographer for National Geographic. We will be showing the 22 minute video and then discussing ways to incorporate the principles from the video into everyday life. You'll be inspired and renewed as you learn simple ways to shift your perspective and begin seeing what's right rather than what's wrong with any situation."

DATE: Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
TIME: 11:45AM-1:00PM (Registration begins at 11:30 AM)
LOCATION: PNC Bank, 2429 Randall Rd., Carpentersville, Ill. (At the corner of Randall and Huntley Rds.)
COST: $25 per person (includes lunch)

For more information, visit There is a registration link on that site.

Still have questions? Email Suzanne at

Some will say ...

... that I should have been out electioneering on Wednesday afternoon, instead of helping two McHenry women resolve problems at DCFS. But they called on Monday, asking for help. How could I say No?

DCFS wasn't doing anything wrong. There was just a breakdown in communication. I had suggested going in person, rather than phoning again. They received a courteous reception, and the supervisor and investigator with whom we met were clear, specific and helpful.

When you go to vote ...

As I prepared to vote early this week, I faced the dilemma that I hope every voter recognizes this election time.

Do you vote for the best man (or woman), or do you vote for the best person who has the best chance of winning?

The race where this was an issue for me is the Illinois Governor's race (and some others). Rich Whitney is the best candidate but, as the Green Party candidate and with little money (compared to the others), he trails the pack. I don't want Quinn as Governor, so that leaves Brady.

The choice? Brady or Whitney.

I chose Rich Whitney. The only way for the best man to win is to get enough votes.

This state desperately needs a straight shooter for Governor.

I didn't vote a straight Green ticket. There are good Green candidates in all the races, and I support the growth of this third established political party in Illinois. The Green Party is a bonafide political party.

Study the candidates. Then vote for the best candidate, regardless of party.

Philpott - more experience than Nygren

When I read the Daily Herald's endorsement of Nygren for Sheriff, my first thought was "No surprise."

Second thought? That's an endorsement? They might as well have endorsed him because he is the tallest man in the race or the heaviest man in the race. Or the man with the most homes in other states.

But then I realized that I actually have more experience as a deputy sheriff than Keith Nygren does.

He has never worked as a deputy in a jail; I have.
He has never worked a dispatcher's console for a sheriff's department; I have.
He has never driven a squad car for a sheriff's department on numerous shifts; I have.
He has never ridden a motorcycle on traffic patrol; I have.
He has never driven a squad car 100 miles through the Colorado mountains to a state prison to pick up an prisoner with a due date in court and had to drive back while out of radio range.

Nygren doesn't have any experience as a deputy sheriff! He has been only an appointed or elected Sheriff.

The Daily Herald referred to Nygren's 42 years of experience. Keith, what was the name of the first department you were with and why did you leave that department?

The Daily Herald called Democratic challenger Mahon's plan to save $1,000,000/year at MCSD "ham-handed and naive."

At least, they mentioned that I am running. Which I am.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Was it CALEA's fault?

I just realized whose fault it was that the undercover car was being gassed up at the County pond. CALEA did it!

All that paperwork, all those reports, all those processes and standards - - they are responsible. Wasn't it DownByTheRiver who agreed with me that a business could have a faulty process but, as long as they described it correctly in their reports, then the company would be recognized as certified? The example was with ISO 9000, but it fits CALEA, too.

I'd love to hear from some of the detectives about their orders where to gas up. Did any complain about gassing at the County Sheriff's Department pump? I'd be willing to bet that some did and that they got put in their places. Did some say that they wanted to "live" their cover and recognize the dangers of gassing up at the MCSD pump?

Is it true that it's not a good career move to argue with your supervisors at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department? By "argue", I mean question, disagree, propose alternative ways to do things.

Is it a "I'm the boss, and you'll damn well do it my way, or else" atmosphere?

I don't know the answer to that question. Such an atmosphere would be stifling and dangerous.

There IS a General Order at MCSD

I've been wondering about this, and I didn't have to wonder for long. Thanks to I have read the General Order of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department that the Undersheriff violated yesterday, when he sounded off to a Northwest Herald reporter.

Here it is. Decide for yourself. Is calling a citizen and a political challenger to your boss "ignorant, self-serving" a violation? Did Andy Zinke just earn himself an unpaid vacation? Say, about five days? Maybe Keith will toss him the keys to the house in Cape Coral for a little R&R.

And how come Andy is taking the spotlight away from his boss? Maybe he wouldn't have been so polite...

MCSD General Order 1.5.00

23. Courtesy and Demeanor.

a.) Members shall be courteous and tactful in the performance of their duties and promptly respond to all requests for assistance in accordance with Departmental procedures.
b.) Members shall maintain a professional demeanor, control their tempers, exercise the utmost patience and discretion, and shall not engage in argumentative discussions, even in the face of extreme provocation.
c.) In performing their duties, members shall not express any prejudice concerning race, religion, natural origin, sex, or other personal characteristics.
d.) Members shall not use profane or intentionally insulting language or gestures.

Thanks to MCSDExposed for "outing" this G.O.

You know? I'm sure Andy and I will get along fine, starting December 1. No hard feelings on my part, and I hope none on his.

Still considering Yes on Ill. Constitutional Amendment?

If you are thinking of voting "Yes" for the Illinois Constitutional amendment to recall a governor, be sure to read Cal Skinner's article on

What did Cal, a former State legislator, have to say about the amendment, which was proposed by Woodstock's own Rep. Jack Franks?

Cal wrote, "It is worse than useless, because it gives the appearance of reform. It is not."

See the article at

But you needn't take Cal's word for it, or mine. Read the official notice to all residents of Illinois from Illinois of State Jesse White. Ask yourself if it would be worth $101,000,000. Would it be used for political threats?

OPM. That is what is so easy for legislators to spend. Other Peoples' Money.

Arm-twisting in political season

Suppose you are a vendor to the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. You regularly do business with the Sheriff's Department. You might not get a LOT of business, but it's regular. And, in this economy, every dollar of income counts.

Now it's political payback time. An employee of the Sheriff's Department contacts you and wants you to display a Nygren campaign sign.

You don't really want to, but ...

What do you do?

Politely decline? (and then wonder why you aren't getting so much business from the Sheriff's Department)

Or do you begrudgingly agree and allow that sign to be posted?

This is what needs to be cleaned up in McHenry County. "It's just politics, you say?" What is it, really? OK, you write the words. (You know why I'm hesitant. I don't want a letter from what's-his-name, who fights all those frivilous, losing, legal battles at the direction of Keith Nygren.)

How desperate is NWH?

Just how desperate are the Northwest Herald editors in the support of their endorsed candidate for the Office of Sheriff of McHenry County in the November 2nd election?

Desperate enough to twist headlines and mislead busy readers who won't take time to get the "whole story"?

Several years ago a NWH reporter told me that reporters write stories and editors write headlines. Is that still the case?

Yesterday morning I wrote about the fueling of what appeared to be a privately-owned car at the Sheriff's Department garage gas pump. Within an hour the first two comments were posted to make references to an uncover car. Additional comments quickly followed, as the word must have spread around the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

The Northwest Herald headline over the first story was "Sheriff's department says blogging candidate outed undercover car." I didn't ever mention "undercover". Undersheriff Andy Zinke did.

This morning the Northwest Herald continued to run the story but changed the headline to "Sheriff's candidate identifies undercover police car on blog". Changing the headline, in effect, created a second article and separated the 55+ comments for the first story.

Wrong again. I wrote about a privately-licensed car sucking up gas at the County trough. The car was later identified by the Undersheriff, Andy Zinke, as an undercover car!

I wonder if the editors at the Northwest Herald need a remedial reading course. I hear there is a decent one at MCC. Did they even read my (first) article? It's not even that long. Nowhere is "undercover" mentioned or even alluded to.

All I saw was a black, nice-looking car with "regular" Illinois passenger car plates on it; well, not quite. It didn't have a front plate, on which I commented yesterday morning. After all, Illinois is a two-plate state. One reader picked up on that.

Can't wait to enter the courthouse this morning for a jury trial that has been on my calender for weeks. Maybe I'd better bundle up in an overcoat, scarf and heated gloves. Will it be chilly there?

Oh, I just figured something out. "They" must have known I was planning to be at the courthouse this morning, and so fueling of that car was arranged for yesterday morning. But how did they get me to pass by the sheriff's department garage just as the car was being driven back to the parking lot?

I do smile when I enter the courthouse and pass through Security. Several months ago one of the courthouse security guards recognized me, looked around to be sure no other guards were nearby, and then said, "Good morning, Sheriff." Little things mean a lot! Thanks!!!

At-heel survives City Council

At last night's Woodstock City Council meeting, an agenda item to remove the at-heel provision in the dog-control law failed.

Woodstock resident and businessowner Mark Indyke had collected and presented petitions with approximately 500 signatures of residents who asked the City Council to remove the at-heel provision. Doing so would mean that all dogs in Woodstock in the "public way" would have to be leashed.

Mark didn't attend last night, but his wife, Leslie-Anne addressed the Council and did a good job of presenting the problems and dangers of some off-leash dogs. Mark was in Florida to celebrate his mother's 90th birthday. You had your priorities straight, Mark!

Three early-morning runners who are accompanied by their off-leash dogs were as persuasive as the pages of 500 petitioners. Maybe more so. Perhaps the 500 names should have been read to the Council. Or maybe all 500 should have shown up last night. What if each had taken three minutes to pitch his or her position. We'd still be there!

The Council felt that the current law protects residents adequately. It will, however, consider increasing the financial penalties by raising both the current minimum and maximum fines for violations.

The Council deliberately for quite some time. It probably wouldn't have mattered if Mark's mother had been born a month one way or the other from October 19. Being there, Mark, wouldn't have made any difference. Being with your mom was the right choice.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zinke blames Philpott over u/c car

Undersheriff Andy Zinke of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department slipped into the attack mode this afternoon, when he made rash and improper statements to Northwest Herald reporter Jill Duchnowski.

Earlier today I wrote about the fueling of a black Kia Amanti at the Sheriff's Department garage. The car was clean, trash was removed from it (quite a bit, too, or else trash from the car was added to other trash already in the bag), and then the car was parked in the sheriff's department parking lot.

Jill correctly identified my description of the car as a "privately-owned luxury car."

Several readers (most likely deputies?), such as Hans, But Seriously, Toa, Notawannabee and Just commented on the possibility that it was an undercover car; I had not.

It was Andy Zinke who gave the word to the media that the vehicle was, indeed, an uncover car. Now, what publication has more readers? The Woodstock Advocate or the Northwest Herald?

But I'll tell you what is really stupid. Gassing up a snazzy undercover car at the sheriff's garage fuel pump. Zinke told the Northwest Herald that they are "rethinking" their fueling policy. Well, duh... Why didn't somebody over there earning over $100,000/year think ahead that fueling an undercover car at the County gas pump might appear suspicious??? It's quite easy to gas up at Citgo and file a statement with the State of Illinois to recover the gas taxes.

I wasn't the one who "outed" the car. Hans, But Seriously, Toa, Notawannabee and Just all did their parts, and Undersheriff Zinke confirmed it.

Had they all kept their mouths shut and their fingers off their keyboards, the car would have remained a "privately-owned luxury car" and a one-shot story.

By the way, aren't there General Orders that direct sheriff's department employees how to refer to the public? Calling a citizen "ignorant, self-serving" is probably a violation of the GOs.

Be sure to read the Northwest Herald article at

Nygren Fla. homestead exemption clarified

My, how time flies when you are having fun.

Recently, I remembered the hoop-de-lah over the Nygrens' Florida homestead exemption as having occurred earlier this year (2010). After a phone call and finding the file with the hard copies of letters, I realized that the big flap over their claiming the homestead exemption in two states (which is illegal) was in 2009, not in 2010.

The Lee County (Fla.) Property Assessor told me that the homestead exemption was in effect on the Nygren's Cape Coral home for the year 2009. When the Nygrens did not provide her with proof of their continued residency there earlier this year, she removed the exemption from the Cape Coral home earlier this year for the Tax Year 2010.

Did Keith smell a rat in the trap, and was that why they didn't respond to the Fla. Property Assessor's request? Did he figure out that, by claiming the Florida home as "homestead", then he was skating on thin ice about eligibility for re-election? It would have been too late to bail out on the 2009 homestead exemption, but did he think that not claiming it in 2010 might help him slide by?

Either way, my opinion is that he was ineligible to file petitions to run for re-election. But he's on the ballot, and he may get the highest number of votes. And then he may have to worry about surviving a quo warranto action by the McHenry County State's Attorney or by an individual.

What would be the legal effect of winning with the highest number of votes and then being disqualified?

The County Board would try to appoint his successor from the Republican Party. Or he might retire, and then the County Board would try to appoint his successor from the Republican Party.

Or a judge might slam on the brakes and order a run-off between Mike Mahon and me or even a new election.

Whoever said that politics wasn't interesting?

Crime Stoppers & Beth Bentley

This morning I visited the periodic meeting (the last one was in April) of the Woodstock Area Crime Stoppers group and asked some questions about the reward offer in the Beth Bentley missing-person case.

Normally, Crime Stoppers rewards are offered only for information leading to the arrest or indictment of a suspect in a crime, plus in certain drug cases. In the Bentley case the offer was broadened by the Woodstock group to pay for information that leads to Beth's location. The reward offered by the Woodstock group is "up to $1,000", and the decision is made by the board of the Woodstock group.

The Woodstock group is a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning that donations to the group are tax-deductible. When you consider your charitable giving for the end of this year, you might keep the Woodstock group in mind. Donations can be made payable to the Woodstock Area Crime Stoppers and mailed to them, in care of the Woodstock Police Department. I'm sure that the PD's rep will be happy to deliver your check to them. Contact me if you prefer to mail your check to a different address, and I'll obtain it for you.

It may be a different matter with the Crime Stoppers for McHenry County group. Although the June 9th flier of the Woodstock P.D. about the missing Beth Bentley indicates participation by the McHenry County group in the reward amount, a recent letter from that group states: "CrimeStoppers for McHenry County has no connection to or knowledge about a "reward fund" in the Beth Bentley case so cannot address any conditions you perceive there to be. CrimeStoppers simply offered a reward of $1,000 from their funds for information that leads to an arrest in this case, an offer we frequently make in major cases."

That statement in its October 10, 2010, was confusing to me. How can that group have no knowledge about a reward fund, yet offer $1,000 for information in that case?

Although I wrote to the McHenry County group on September 10 for the names of its officers, I had to contact its Registered Agent on October 5 to get a reply. Perhaps it was just a coincidence that the Secretary wrote to me on October 10. And that the officers' names were not included.

The McHenry County Sheriff's Department apparently does not know who runs the Crime Stoppers for McHenry County group, because Dep. Aimee' Knop could (would) not tell me and Undersheriff Andy Zinke did not reply to my email.

The Illinois Secretary of State knows who the officers are. The following information is from the Annual Report filed on Nov. 18, 2009:

Louis Mattheson, President
Helen Torscher, Secretary
Susan Heizer, Treasurer

The next step is to discover when and where the group meets, so that I can present to them the opinions of three callers to the tip line who were dissatisfied in their contacts.

When I indicated in my September 10th letter that I knew of dissatisfied callers, the reply did not ask for information. The response was, "I find it curious one could have a "less than satisfactory" experience and that anonymous calls then share their "less than satisfactory" experience with each other."

But not curious enough to ask what the "less than satisfactory" experiences were...

I found the reply from CrimeStoppers for McHenry County to be rather condescending, and I am not one to let a sleeping dog lie.

Why at County gas pump? black Kia 231 6790

Why would a privately-owned luxury car be stopped at the County Sheriff's Dept. gas pump on a Tuesday morning? Maybe because no one is watching?

A black Kia Amanti four-door sedan was at the Sheriff's Dept. garage gas pump at 10:20AM. I didn't actually see gas being pumped into it, but I did hear the clink of the closing of the fuel cover panel over the gas cap, and a man wearing an orange t-shirt and jeans deposited a bag of trash in the trash can by the pump. The car looked clean; had it been washed there?

The man in the orange t-shirt then drove into the parking lot between the County headquarters and the Health Department and parked in one of the parking spaces.

The car had Illinois passenger plate 231 6790 mounted on the back and no front license plate. Doesn't the owner know that Illinois is a two-plate state and that a license plate is required on the front?

Does anyone know whose car this is?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ruling on Nygren ineligibility pending

First Electric Newspaper ( reported earlier today that the McHenry County State's Attorney is investigating my recent request to ascertain whether Keith Nygren was ineligible to file papers back in November to run for re-election to the Office of Sheriff of McHenry County.

An online check tonight of Lee County (Fla.) property tax records indicates that the Cape Coral home received a $50,000 homestead exemption for the Tax Year 2009.

Local residents will recall that the Nygrens (that's Mr. (Sheriff) Keith Nygren and Mrs. Nygren) claimed homestead exemptions on homes in two states (Illinois and Florida) for at least two years. They were to have relinquished the Hebron, Ill. home's homestead exemption when the (larger) Florida homestead exemption was granted.

They didn't.

When word leaked out earlier this year that they were claiming two homestead exemptions, then-McHenry County Assessor Donna Mayberry quickly faxed a letter to the Lee County Assessor, advising that the Illinois homestead exemption would be removed.

FEN surmises the point might be moot, since the Florida homestead exemption has apparently now been removed. Now, why would the Nygrens give up that $50,000 homestead exemption unless Keith was worried about not being a resident of McHenry County? Why? Because, if he isn't (wasn't) a resident, then he can't run for or serve as Sheriff!!!

See the full article on FEN at

Employment issues still unresolved

Remember Dep. Bob Schlenkert? The deputy who got his job back? The one who was supposed to be paid his back pay, when he got his job back?

Nygren is too busy figuring out a plan to train jailers to slice tomatoes, but he can't find time to hire a bookkeeper to figure out the past-due compensation and write up a pay slip for Bob. I haven't talked to Bob, except to greet him one day in the hallway at the courthouse as we passed. But my understanding is that he hasn't been paid yet.

I guess he'll have to sue Nygren for the backpay that was awarded to him by the arbitrator and upheld by the appeals judges.

Wouldn't you think that the County Administrator would be lowering the hammer on Nygren for stalling? Oh, wait; the Administrator doesn't have any power over the elected Sheriff. No one has any power over him? Not the Merit Commission, whom he appoints. Not the County Board, although they could squeeze him with the checkbook.

And what about Nygren's stalling in putting Zane Seipler back to work. Will Nygren stall to October 28 and then announce an appeal? Or will he not appeal and then malinger longer on putting Seipler back to work and paying him for the two years that he didn't work?

Maybe I'm naive, but I think Nygren just paid Schlenkert (is he back on Patrol yet?) and put Seipler back in a squad car, quite a bit of the anti-Nygren snarling would calm down.

Actually, I need to thank Keith for not doing so. So, "Thanks, Keith." You are keeping the fires at your heels burning brightly. I thank you for that, and I'll bet that Mike Mahon does, too.

Every time a voter passes one of Nygren's signs and reads "Experience counts", he has got to be thinking, "Yep. Experience at stone-walling and running up unnecessary costs!" And those thoughts are costing Nygren votes every day. Yea!!!

To obey the law or not ... that is the question

As I drive around McHenry County, I see many election signs in the right-of-way along roads. The signs are placed in violation of IDOT and McHenry County laws.

IDOT is clearly in charge of enforcing sign laws along State highways (you know the ones: 14, 47, 176, 173, 31, 23, etc.). The County's Planning Department has told me that it does not enforce the County's sign laws; those laws are enforced by the townships.

Maybe that explains why the sign violations are not enforced along County roads...

So, what do I do? I think I know the law. Do I place my signs in the right-of-way because the law is not enforced? Or do I just watch the visibility of other candidates' campaigns and know they are gaining an edge by violating the law? As I drove around the County yesterday, I saw many places to put signs, and I chose not to.

Or do I assume that, maybe, there must be a section of law that I haven't found, which permits campaign signs to be posted in the right-of-way, since the County Sheriff has so many of his signs placed in the right-of-way? I think I'll go with this one.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Clowning magazines offered ...

Know a clown who might be interested in some past editions of clowning magazines, such as:

25 years worth of Clowning Around and Calliope?
Over 10 years of Linking Ring?
The last several issues of Laughmakers (possibly, from 1991 on)?
Some issues of Balloon Magic?

I met "Sweet Tomato", a clown from the Indianapolis area, when my stepson and I were on a car trip to South Carolina about eight years ago. She was wearing her clown costume and passed us on I-65. I called the phone number on her van, told her that she had just passed us and told her that my sister in Florida was also a clown. She said, "Oh, you're in the red bug; right?" And right she was.

If you know someone just entering the clown business or someone with years of experience who might like these magazines, please forward this article to him or her.

Sweet Tomato will give the magazines to the person but would like the person to pay the shipping. That's certainly reasonable.

She also has numerous books, small and large, about balloons, clowning and magic.

And she has several good magic tricks, including lots of scarves, button pins, CDs and taped music that she used over the years.

Contact Carol, a/k/a "Sweet Tomato the Clown" at