Saturday, December 20, 2014

Quinn Signs Juror Pay Increase Bill

Jurors across Illinois will get a pay boost starting in June under legislation outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn signed Friday.  The Chicago Democrat approved the measure passed earlier this month requiring counties to pay jurors $25 for the first day of service and $50 each day thereafter instead of as little as $4 a day now.

The new law was opposed by county leaders who are concerned about  increased costs, although it also reduces the number of civil case jurors from 12 to 6 to keep costs down.  County officials have complained that even with fewer jurors they'll be left paying out more.  As FEN exclusively reported, McHenry County, for instance, will need an estimated $220,000 more per year to pay for jurors who currently only get $12.50 for the first day of a criminal trial and $25 for each additional one.

Even at $50 per day, however, jury pay will still amount to less than the State's current minimum wage.  That's $8.25 per hour, a figure many activists complain is itself too low.  Spreading $50 over an eight-hour period only works out to $6.25 per hour.

Separately, Quinn signed another measure eliminating a 10-year time limit to file claims for asbestos-related sickness.  The measure was heavily backed by Democrats and trial lawyers.

Quinn Appoints Pal As Three-Week State Comptroller

Governor Pat Quinn friend and budget director Jerry Stermer took the oath of office Friday afternoon to serve out what's left of the late Judy Topinka’s term as State Comptroller.  Present was Nancy Kimme, Topinka's Chief of Staff, whom incoming Gov. Bruce Rauner had repeatedly urged Quinn to appoint instead.  Stermer said she'll continue to manage the office’s day-to-day operations, anyway.

"We have to make sure the job is done and done right,” Quinn said, calling Stermer, his own former chief of staff whom he's known for 40 years, “a respected and experienced budget expert who will carry out the duties of comptroller with integrity and heart.”  He said picking Stermer over Kimme, a member of Rauner's "transition team", had nothing to do with politics.  Rather, Quinn said, it was to show that Democrats and Republicans could work together.    In a statement, Rauner said keeping Topinka’s staff in place was “an appropriate decision.”

With Stermer ready to sign the State's checks for the next three weeks,  the focus now shifts to how to fill the new term Topinka won last month and to the Legislature.  Technically, Republican Rauner can appoint whomever he wants for the full four years.  However, critics like Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan complain that would be "undemocratic."  Quinn, for one, wants a new law setting up a special election for comptroller in 2016.  Republicans say if that happens, someone --although they've named no names, yet-- is bound to challenge it in court.

Obituaries

Nicholas Sapone, 90, of Huntley, died Friday. Visitation will be Sunday from 4 to 8 pm at DeFiore-Jorgensen Funeral Home, Huntley.  A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 am Monday at St. Mary Catholic Church, Huntley.  Burial will be at Crystal Lake Memorial Park.

Sapone was born Jan. 30, 1924, in Chicago, the son of John and Florence.  He married Linda Lichtenberger on June 25, 1967.  He is survived by his wife; daughters, Debra Hoya and Laura (Porfirio) Estrada;  grandchildren, Patrick, Nicholas, Ashley and Matthew, and his brothers, Joseph and Michael Sapone.  He was preceded in death by his parents and sisters, Francis Gill and Angela Sapone.

Police Blotters

The filing of charges is not proof of guilt. A defendant charged is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  For individuals subsequently found not guilty or nolle prossed, FEN will add a notation here upon submission of a court record.
Lake in the Hills
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Huntley Board Impasses On Faster Funds For Facade Improvement

The Huntley Board wound itself into a knot Thursday over a developer's request to accelerate assistance payments to improve the facade on a Downtown Main Street building he'd just bought.  The most allowed is $10,000 in any year and $20,000 during five years but Joe Billetteri asked for the maximum in one chunk now.

Billeteri, who's building the new Downtown retail center at the nearby site of the former Sawyer Kelly mill, said he'd only closed on 11808 Main two days ago but already had an architect's estimate that it would cost $65,000 to return the "modernized" building to its turn of the century look.  He told the Board he'd like to do it all at once, though, not a little bit at a time.

Trustees were generally in favor of that idea but not too sure about doubling a year's worth of assistance. Discussion really began to bog down when Mayor Chuck Sass complained the side and back of the building looked pretty ugly, too.  Billetteri eventually promised to clean them up, as well, at least to the extent possible but by that point some trustees had lost track of what they were arguing about.   "This is getting confusing," admitted Nikko Kanakaris.  "Me, too," agreed J. R. Westberg.  Harry Leopold said  he wasn't confused, just that he didn't have enough information.

Sass closed out the discussion on the premise that the rest of the Board seemed to be split three to three on increasing the matching funds all at once and told Billetteri to come back again next month.

Separately, the Board OK'ed a new liquor license for Pub 47, a grill to open at the former Sponsor's/Del Toro's restaurant site on Route 47, and what amounts to a replacement license for Sammy's Restaurant at 47 and Main which a new owner is about to purchase.  Trustees also said they were fine with concept plans to move Huntley's Culver's up the highway from its current location to a new one at 47 and Powers Road.  Detailed plans still have to pass formal review, though.

D158 Levy Up For Inflation As Property Value Dwindles

The D158 Board of Education held a hearing on the District's new property tax levy Thursday which few attended and at which no one spoke, then passed a measure to tap taxpayers for $66.4 million next Spring.  The best guess right now is that the figure's close to $600,000 more than t he District will actually get.  The Board OK'ed a theoretical 1.5 percent increase against inflation but the value of the underlying tax base fell an estimated 1.16 percent. CFO Mark Altmayer said the upshot will probably work out to .72 percent more than the District received from property taxes last year.

Separately, Board members OK'ed $7.3 million in bids for Phase Two of Huntley High's expansion to accommodate another 1,000 students.  Finishing touches for the first part of the expansion are being completed now..  Work on the rest isn't expected to get underway until this Spring.

In the pic:  Despite a lot of new construction in the Huntley area, the value of all the property in D158 actually fell for the 2014 taxable year.

Judge Says Sheriff's Office "Waived" Withholding Zinke Report

Judge Thomas Meyer Thursday ruled that, 23 months after FEN asked for it, the McHenry County Sheriff's Office has to turn over part of the report of an investigation of former Undersheriff Andy Zinke.  However, Meyer said since Zinke, acting as a Sheriff's official, only showed the summary of the investigation to a Crystal Lake Northwest Herald reporter, that's all the Sheriff's Office has to turn over.

FEN asked for a copy of an internal Sheriff's investigation into a complaint in 2012 that Zinke told the man who hosted his Sheriff's campaign headquarters that the Drug Enforcement Administration was tracking a five-ton shipment of marijuana headed for his Crystal Lake Warehouse.  Former Sheriff Keith Nygren said the investigation found Zinke, his choice to succeed himself as Sheriff, hadn't done anything wrong.

FEN Publisher Pete Gonigam was disgusted at Meyer's ruling.  "If I gave a d**n about what someone else claims the report says, I'd have just taken Nygren at his word," he said in an interview with himself.  "I'm still enjoined from saying anything about the index to the report --that was over a year ago-- but I've got a pretty good idea of what they might have been hiding and I'm not sure it will be in the summary."

Nygren denied FEN's Illinois Freedom of Information Act request for the report almost two years ago claiming it was part of an official "adjudication" about discipline.  The Illinois Attorney General's Office decided it wasn't and told Nygren to turn it over.  However, the then-sheriff ignored the order, so FEN went to court to enforce it.  Meyer, though, found that Nygren's unilateral decision about Zinke was really an "adjudication," after all.

In the interim,however, the Northwest Herald claimed in an editorial to have "seen" the report FEN couldn't get, admitting it contained derogatory information adding that the material was only useful to Zinke's "opponents".  It wasn't until this September that FEN could subpoena the newspaper's former reporter to the stand to admit she'd examined a copy of the report almost two years ago, then October before it could put Zinke, then still the Sheriff's number two man, in the witness box to testify he was the one who gave it to her.  Meyer's decision Thursday was that in doing so, Zinke had "waived" the disclosure exemption the Sheriff's Office had been claiming since the start.

Meyer's order to turn over the report summary only applies if current Sheriff Bill Prim doesn't want to appeal the decision.  It's somewhat theoretical, anyway.  After 18 months of Circuit Court arguments and an unsuccessful Sheriff's trip to the Court of Appeals, the judge and state's attorneys weren't sure Thursday where what's supposed to be the only copy of the Zinke report is anymore.  Someone's supposed to find it by Jan. 9.

Quinn Orders Special Legislative Session For Special Election Vote

Gov. Pat Quinn Thursday ordered lawmakers to return to Springfield Jan. 8 to decide whether voters should get to pick a new comptroller in 2016 after the death of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. Topinka, a Republican, had won a second term in November but died last week.   Quinn, a Democrat, called the move a “democratic right” but Republicans said it was pure party politics.

The  special session would come only days before Governor-elect Bruce Rauner becomes the State's first GOP governor in more than a decade.  Attorney General Lisa Madigan's already ruled that, once Rauner's sworn in he'll have the power to appoint Topinka's replacement for the rest of her four-year term.  However, if the Democratic-controlled legislature approves the special election, Rauner’s expected appointee would have only two years in office and, presumably, be forced to run again during a more competitive Presidential election year.

“Nobody but Judy Baar Topinka was elected to do this job," Quinn said in a written statement. "That’s why it’s so important that voters have the soonest possible opportunity to elect their comptroller."

"A partisan and constitutionally-dubious 11th hour law would face a certain legal challenge and force the people of Illinois to endure a protracted and legal battle that no one wants," replied Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin in a joint statement.

Besides a battle over the comptroller, the Special Session might re-open the door to other legislation, too.  In the Veto Session ended two weeks ago, the General Assembly failed to come to grips with measures to raise the state's minimum wage, set up a State health insurance exchange or extend the temporary Illinois income tax hike.

Obituaries

Kathleen Lyle, 74 of Sun City, Huntley, died Tuesday in Arlington Heights following a short illness.  A memorial will be scheduled in coming months. Burial will be in St. Joseph Cemetery, River Grove.

Lyle was born Feb. 29, 1940, in Chicago, the daughter of Edward and Catherine (Grundhoefer) Sharkey. She married John P. Lyle, Sr., on Aug. 20, 1960.  She is survived by her children, John Lyle Jr., Robert Lyle and Cheryl Lyle, and  brothers, Thomas (Candace) Sharkey, Patrick (Mary Lou) Sharkey and Robert (Phoebe) Sharkey.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Kidney Foundation.

Ruth Merriman, 92, of  Algonquin, formerly of Wauconda, died Monday in Arlington Heights.  Memorial visitation will be  Saturday at Davenport Family Funeral Home & Crematory, Crystal Lake.  from 9:30 am until an 11 am  funeral.  Internment will be at Acacia Memorial Park in Norridge.

Merriman  was born May 11, 1922, in Chicago, to William and Elizabeth (Sheparski) Schloen. On Feb. 14, 1942, she married William Frederick Merriman.  She is survived by her children, Steven Charles (Arlene) Merriman, Sue Carole (Dale) Strang, and William Glen (Bonnie) Merriman, and grandchildren, Deanna Grivetti, Melissa Blunk, Jennifer Burdick, Tim Merriman, Stephanie Merriman, Kevin Merriman, Christopher Merriman, and Amanda Merriman. She was preceded in death by her parents and husband.

Ruth E. Calkins, 82, of Lake in the Hills died.  Visitation will be today from 3 to 9 pm at Friedrichs Funeral Home,  Mt. Prospect. Funeral Services will be held there at 10 am Saturday. Entombment will be in Memory Gardens Mausoleum

Calkins was the wife of the late Robert P. Calkins; mother of Lynette (Terry) Klaus, Kim (Michael) Flowers, Joseph Benedetto, Jason Calkins and the late John Benedetto; stepmother of John (Jill) Calkins and James Calkins; grandmother of six grandchildren and sister of Alan Atchison, Robert (Rhoda) Atchison, and Marjorie McCullough.

Police Blotters

The filing of charges is not proof of guilt. A defendant charged is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  For individuals subsequently found not guilty or nolle prossed, FEN will add a notation here upon submission of a court record.
Lake in the Hills
December 17
0008 HRS 4300 BLOCK OF ROLLING HILLS DR.  SUICIDE ATTEMPT.  Female, 48 years of age, attempted suicide.  Transported to Sherman Hospital.
0716 HRS 10 BLOCK OF MANCHESTER CT.  DISORDERLY CONDUCT.  A male subject verbally threatened a child at a bus stop.  PENDING INVESTIGATION BY REPORTING OFFICER.
1309 HRS 3500 BLOCK OF SONOMA CIRCLE.  FRAUD.  Unauthorized purchase was made on a credit card.  PENDING INVESTIGATION BY REPORTING OFFICER.
1746 HRS OAKLEAF RD. & ALGONQUIN RD.  ACCIDENT.  Two vehicles.  Property damage only.
1827 HRS 101 PYOTT RD.  (BUCKY’S).  ACCIDENT.  Two vehicles.  Property damage only.
2115 HRS 2265 W. ALGONQUIN RD. (THORNTON’S).  ACCIDENT.  Two vehicles.  Property damage only.
December 18
0427 HRS 1205 S. ROUTE 31. (WAL-MART).  DRIVING WHILE LICENSE SUSPENDED.  CERRITOS, JACQUELINE M., F/W 18 YEARS OF AGE, 31 HICKORY DR., CARPENTERSVILLE.  CHARGES: Driving While License Suspended and Speeding.  RELEASED ON BOND.
1620 HRS 1205 S ROUTE 31. (WAL-MART).  UNLAWFUL DISPLAY OF VEHICLE REGISTRATION.  WEYRAUCH, SIA D.,  F/W 68 YEARS OF AGE, 4304 CHURCH HILL LN.,  CRYSTAL LAKE.  CHARGES: Unlawful Display of Vehicle Registration and Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle. RELEASED ON BOND.
0716 HRS 10 BLOCK OF MANCHESTER CT.  FOLLOW-UP ARREST:  DISORDERLY CONDUCT.  FIELDS, JEFF LYNN,  M/B 46 YEARS OF AGE, 4553 ROLLING HILLS DR., LAKE IN THE HILLS.  CHARGE: Disorderly Conduct.  RELEASED ON BOND
1854 HRS RANDALL RD. & MILLER RD.  ACCIDENT.  Two Vehicles.  Property damage only.
Algonquin
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bianchi Picked To Head Illinois State's Attorney's Association

McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi announced Wednesday that he was recently elected President of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association.  That selection comes three year's after Bianchi was twice fount not guilty of official misconduct.

The Illinois State’s Attorneys Association is a bipartisan organization of all the elected state’s attorneys in Illinois banded together is to "promote the orderly administration of justice", mostly be lobbying.  “I appreciate the honor to be elected by my colleagues to this important position in the Association. I intend to work closely with my fellow State’s Attorneys to ensure the highest quality of prosecutorial services to the citizens of Illinois.”

Winnebago County Judge Joseph McGraw, now Chief Judge of the 17th Circuit Court, in two separate trials twice acquitted Bianchi in 2011 after he said Special Prosecutors got both the facts and the law wrong in what Bianchi's attorney said was  "not a good-faith prosecution."

Although the cases collapsed three years ago, they remain divisive and reverberations continue even now.  Last month a federal judge had to appoint attorneys to represent witnesses in a civil case brought by former Assistant State's Attorney Kirk Chrzanowski.  He was a witness in one of Bianchi's prosecutions who's suing the State's Attorney for firing him for it afterwards.

In the pic:  McHenry County State's Attorney Lous Bianchi after his second acquittal.

Dundee Twp. OK's Tax Levy Increased For Inflation

The Dundee Township Board Wednesday approved a theoretical $3.05 million new property tax levy.  The total was "ballooned" to 4.99 percent more than this year's levy even though State statutes limit the increase to 1.5 percent to cover inflation and a little more attributable to new construction.  "It's hard to tell just what we'll actually get," said Supervisor Sue Harney, "because we don't know what the [underlying value of all property] is yet."

Whatever it turns out to be, Harney said the Township's unlikely to receive very much more than a couple of thousand more than this year's $3 million.

The Board also approved a nominal $1.6 million levy for the Dundee Township Road District.  That, too, was ballooned to 4.99 percent, said Harney.

Weekend Closings Announced For I-90 At Route 25

The Illinois Tollway Wednesday announced that beam removal at the Route 24 Elgin interchange with I-90 will probably slow the movement of late Friday Christmas shoppers and commuters.  Weather permitting, starting at 8 pm, one lane on the Jane Addams in both directions will close between the Fox River Bridge and Route 25 followed by closure of a second lane at 10 with intermittent full closures of east and westbound lanes until 5 am on Saturday. Similar overnight closures are scheduled Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Up to 9,000 vehicles a day use the existing interchange where the current bridge and the four ramps that make it up are being reconstructed to accommodate widening the tollway to three lanes each way.

Chicago Couple Guilty In $3.4 Million State Public Health Scheme

A federal jury deliberated for only five hours before convicting a Chicago businessman and his wife of all 17 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering against them.   Leon Dingle Jr., 77, and Karin Dingle, 75, will be sentenced April 9 for  stealing $3.4 million in State taxpayer money for AIDS and cancer-awareness campaigns in minority and underserved communities.

Prosecutors said the Dingles and four others who earlier pleaded guilty stole $2 out of every $5 they received in $11 million in no-bid, upfront-funded grants from the Department of Public Health between 2004 and 2010. Assistant U.S. attorney Timothy Bass said the Dingles spent the money on luxury cars, swank vacation home, yacht-club expenses and family gifts like a $95,000 payment on their son’s mortgage.

Dingle defense team blamed the crimes on their bookkeeper Jacquelyn Kilpatrick.  She pleaded guilty in the case and testified against the Dingles.

“People have to be able to trust that their money is going for the right purposes,” U.S. Attorney James said. With the Dingle convictions, the scorecard for Lewis's public corruption task force into state grant fraud now stands at 13 including former state Rep. Connie Howard, a Chicago Democrat, and Jeri Wright, the daughter of President Barack Obama’s one-time pastor.   Lewis would not comment on further indictments although at least one more case has yet to go to trial.

Previously convicted were Chicago State Rep. Danny Davis niece Quinshaunta Golden, the former Public Health chief of staff who controlled the grants, and former agency human resources director Roxanne Jackson. Both await sentencing.  In the clear, according to Lewis Wednesday. is former agency director and President Barack Obama friend, Eric Whitaker, declared a hostile witness in the Dingle case.   Lewis said Whitaker “is not a target” of the investigation for “any type of charge.”

In the pic:  The Dingles at a Georgia resort.

Obituaries

Lorna M. Friedel, 79, of Davis, IL, formerly of Huntley, died Wednesday in Loves Park.  Visitation will be Friday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 11008 N Church St, Huntley, from 1 pm until a 2 o'clock funeral Service. Burial will follow in the Huntley Cemetery.

Friedel was born Jan.8, 1935, in Mendota, the daughter of Emil and Lucille (Bauman) Schlesinger.  She is survived by her husband Ronald; daughters, Cindy (Paul)Mattingly of Waupaca, WI, Connie (James) Manny of Grand Rapids, MI, and Lori (Martin) Zaccardo of Brownwood, TX; stepsons, Charles (Maureen) Friedel  and Stanley (Laurie) Friedel, both of Woodstock; stepdaughter, Millie (Michael) Donahoe of Davis; six grandchildren; two brothers, Norman (Diane) Schlesinger of Plano Mervyn (Kay) Schlesinger of Mendota, and her sister, Donna Ganz-Bauer of Mendota.  She was preceded in death by her parents; first husband, Donald McCollum; granddaughter, Sara; stepson, Jeff, and sister, Charlotte.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Alzheimer's Research.

Dianne C. Deegan
, 71 of Sun City, Huntley, died Sunday at her home unexpectedly.  Private family services will be held at a later date.

Deegan was born Jan.16, 1943, in Blue Island, the daughter of Chester and Hortense (Jauchzer) Adams. She married John A. Deegan on Aug. 17, 1963 in Blue Island. She is survived by her husband; sons, Robert R. (Samra) Deegan of Buford, GA, David A. (Christy) Deegan of Glen Ellyn and John C. (Monica) Deegan of Chicago; grandchildren, Savannah, Brooke, Morgan, Lucy, Rose, Clare and Olive, and her brother, Donald (Judy) Adams of Sugar Grove.

Police Blotters

The filing of charges is not proof of guilt. A defendant charged is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  For individuals subsequently found not guilty or nolle prossed, FEN will add a notation here upon submission of a court record.
Lake in the Hills
delayed--FEN's FOIA suit.  Again.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Main Stop, Lower Speed To Encourage Algonquin Bypass Usage

An Algonquin Public Works crew installed four-way stop signs at Main and Washington Streets Tuesday and expect to erect 25 mph speed limit signs on Main Street, probably early next week to help persuade motorists to use the new Route 31 Bypass.  "We want the Downtown to be a destination, not a cut-through," summed up new Algonquin Police Chief John Bucci.

There've been  no traffic studies yet but three months after the $88 million route opened, it's obvious from streetcorner observation that most of the Route 31 traffic through Algonquin isn't driving through it anymore.  Instead, it now heads north or south via the Bypass relieving a lot of the congestion that used to back up behind the Route 62/Algonquin Road  intersection.  However, just as obviously, a lot of the 31 commuters who plan to head east or west are still using Main Street to reach the old intersection to make a turn.

Deputy Chief Jeff Sutrick said that's shame because the east/westers would save a lot of time if they'd use the Bypass, too.  For instance, Sutrick said the PD did tests to time the difference between using Main to get from Klasen Drive through the Harrison Street light and the same thing taking the Bypass.  On a weekday morning,  "Using Main Street, it took an average of 11 minutes and 6 seconds," said Sutrick.  "The result of the test using the Bypass ... took 5 minutes and 18 seconds," he said.

"It takes drivers a while to change their habits," observed Bucci.  That's what the changes on Main are meant to encourage.new habits.  The four-way Main/Washington stop is already in effect, the new signs topped with flashing red lights so motorists won't miss them.  The slower speed limit will take over as soon as the signs are up.  That might not be until next week, though.  Streets Supervisor Vince Kilcullen said,  "First I have to make them."

In the pic:   Crewmen Tuesday installed new four-way stop signs at Main and Washington Streets in Algonqun and new "stop ahead" signs so motorists won't miss them.

McHenry Board Expands McRide Program Before Pace Agrees

The McHenry County Board Tuesday OK'ed extra funding for McHenry County Senior Transport and approved a pair of intergovermental agreements expanding the County's dial-a-ride program to, among others, Algonquin and Grafton townships for seniors and the Village of Huntley for everybody.  However, there's still no agreement with the Pace suburban bus agency to provide the new rides and even after there is one planners don't expect service to start until at least March

Most of the argument about senior transportation in McHenry County came on a resolution for a $600,000 in extra Senior Services grant funding, over one third for the County's McRide program.  After establishing that each trip really costs $16, District Six Board member Diane Evertsen complained that some residents might be, "taken aback when they find out that the riders only pay $1 and the taxpayers have to pay the other $15."  However, District Three Member Nick Provenzano countered that McRide's, "the foundation for transportation in the future."  Said Provenzano, "McHenry County's not a very friendly place if you don't have a car."

The funding measure and the two expanding service in southeastern McHenry County both passed 22 to 2.  However, MCDOT Senior Planner Scott Hennings told FEN Tuesday an agreement to add PACE bus service in Algonquin and Grafton townships and Huntley isn't likely to go before the County Board until next month.  "We have a draft agreement that looks like it has everything we want," said Hennings.  "March 1 is probably going to be the earliest date of service," he said.

Algonquin and Grafton townships plan to use McRide as a supplement to their existing senior bus programs so waiting won't be a big problem.  However Huntley plans to use the program to provide transport for seniors who live in the non-Grafton half of Sun City.  A delay until March might be a problem there, since the Village's Board only funded a stopgap senior taxi voucher plan until Dec. 31.

Huntley Mayor Chuck Sass this morning said there are no plans to extend it.  "I'm glad they said [Pace service] would start in March.  We thought it might be April or something," said Sass.  "The last time [the Huntley Board] funded [subsidized taxi service for seniors] they made it clear it would end at the end of the year," said Sass.  "We got $40,000 for Pace in the new budget," he said.  "I think we've done enough."

New PD Chief, Flat Tax, New Gas Station Feature At Algonquin

The Village Board applauded Tuesday as Clerk Jerry Kautz swore in Algonquin's first new Police Chief in 30 years.  Then trustees put the final stamps of approval on another flat property tax levy and an ordinance change to bag a new gas station/convenience store on the East Side.

Deputy Chief Bucci, 42, took over the Algonquin PD helm after former Chief Russ Laine's retirement Monday.  Bucci became a cop in 1998 and joined APD two years later where he's been a patrol officer, a DARE officer, a detective, and a defensive tactics instructor.  He made four years ago, went to the FBI National Academy the following year, took a Master’s in public safety administration the year after that and became Deputy Chief of Operations last year.  His becoming Chief leaves the PD short a Deputy Chief again but there's been no replacement named yet.  Meanwhile, Laine's on the list to become Illinois Northern District U.S. Marshall.  No decision's expected there until at least March.

Algonquin's new levy's set at $5.5 million.  "The same as the previous year," said Trustee Jim Steigert who advanced the motion. 

A plan to allow outdoor seasonal merchandise display at a proposed gast station on Algonquin Road but behind a nine-foot brick modesty wall squeaked past Thornton's company planners' review, according to Real Estate Manager Tony Rubino.  Tuesday's official OK means construction will begin this Spring with a "late Summer" target opening.

In the pic:  Wife Amy Bucci pins insignia on Algonquin's new Police Chief John Bucci

Rauner Says Agencies Want More Money Than In "Dishonest" Budget

Republican governor-elect Bruce Rauner said Tuesday that State agencies are planning to ask for at least $760 million more than the State's budget calls for.  However, he wouldn't tell the crowd at a Better Government Association luncheon in Springfield what he plans to do about it.

Rauner said the requests for more funds for the budget year ending June 30 were the result of "fundamentally dishonest" appropriations in which Democrats intentionally underfunded agencies to make the budget look smaller. “Some of the department heads tell us they were told to submit a low budget figure, spend what they wanted and that it would be dealt with after the election,”  Rauner said.  "They're now saying, 'We're calling in the chip. We want the money now,'"  he said.

The problem as Rauner described it is simple. “If they are spending more than they have budgeted, that will result in more unpaid bills," he said. "We’re over $5 billion now and climbing.”  The incoming governor offered no solutions, though.  "We're not discussing any recommendations we're making," Rauner told reporters later.

Rauner's first budget address isn't scheduled until Feb. 18.

In the pic:  Bruce Rauner

Obituaries

Edward James Kain, 91, of Huntley died Tuesday at his home.  Memorial visitation will be Friday from 4 pm until military honors and eulogies at 7 at Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory, Crystal Lake. Inurnment will be private in Crystal Lake Memorial Park.

Kain was born Oct. 2, 1923, in Oak Park to the late Edward and Ella (nee Quinn) Kain. He married Marjorie Morris on May 4, 1946, in Coral Gables, FL.  Survivors include his children, Edward (Emilie) Kain of La Verne, CA, Charles (Gayla) Kain of West Frankfort, Barbara Deuchler of Crystal Lake, Mary Knoll of Sugar Grove, and Karen (Ibro) Ovcina of St. John, USVI, and grandchildren, Conor (Hannah) and Edward Kain, John (Lisa Floyd) Deuchler, Mason (Connie) Wallick, Missy Kain, John Ovcina, Renee (Matt) Hawkins, Jaffer and Zac Ovcina, Ashley Davis and Zane Rawls, Angela (John) Bishop and Robert (Rachel) Miklos.  He was preceded in death by his wife; son, John Kain, and sister, Sr. Mary of God, O.P.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to a charity of choice

Police Blotters

The filing of charges is not proof of guilt. A defendant charged is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  For individuals subsequently found not guilty or nolle prossed, FEN will add a notation here upon submission of a court record.
Lake in the Hills
December 16
1455 HRS ALGONQUIN RD. & RANDALL RD.  ACCIDENT.  Two vehicles.  Property damage only.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Horse Race For Huntley Board, Probably LITH, Too

A not unexpected horse race shaped up Monday in Huntley and probably in Lake in the Hills as well on the first day of filing for candidacy in the Spring local Consolidated Election. 

In Huntley where three seats will be up for grabs, incumbent Trustees Niko Kanakaris and Harry Leopold submitted nominating petitions but so did former Trustee Pam Fender and newcomer Darci Chandler, a Wing Pointe resident.  Fender passed on a run for the Huntley Board two years ago for an unsuccessful bid to be Grafton Township Supervisor.  Chandler's a local political unknown.  According to her Facebook page, she works at Honeywell and some other Internet listings indicate she's an engineer.

Elections are also due for three seats in Lake in the Hills.   Incumbents Russ Ruzanski and Frank Covone filed to run Monday, for re-election in Ruzanski's case, for a first run for Covone who's finishing out the term Paul Mulcahy left behind when became Village President.  Incumbent Ray Bogdanowski, expected to run again, didn't file Monday, however, he was reported to be out of Town.   LITH Planning and Zoning Commissioner Bill Dustin did, file though.  Assuming Bogdanowski  files later, LITH will have a game of political musical chairs this Spring, too.

In Algonquin Trustees Debby Sosine, Jim Steigert and John Spella turned in petitions to seek re-election.  There've been no rumors of other likely candidates.

Turning to the local school districts, no one turned in a petition to run for the D158 Board of Education.  Over at District 300, incumbents Joe Stevens and Steve Fiorentino, both of Algonquin but from different townships, filed. There'll be four spots on the Board be up for election this Spring.

The last day for filing for the Consolidated Election will be this coming Monday.

Grafton Township Takes Inflation Increase In New Tax Levy

The Grafton Township Board approved a new "ballooned" property tax levy Monday.  Although the request for taxes totaled $1.16 million, a theoretical 2.9 percent increase from last year, Supervisor Jim Kearns said the current best estimate from McHenry County tax calculators was that it's about what the Township will receive counting an allowable 1.5 percent increase for inflation and an added increment from new construction growth.

Kearns said three factors drove the increase.  Foremost was an expected 20 percent increase in the cost of health insurance for Township employees for the coming year.  Second, was the need to start putting money into the General Assistance fund again after drawing down reserves this year.  Third, was the need to make up for the absence of this year's Senior Services grant for Grafton's Senior Bus service. 

Kearns told trustees that, with the status and timing still uncertain for Pace suburban bus service in Grafton, he's tentatively budgeting on the premise that there won't be any.  After the meeting he sold FEN that, in hindsight, "maybe we should have asked for the Senior Services grant," worrying later about how to give it back if Pace service becomes a reality.

The Board also approved an $833,000 Grafton Road District levy, a nominal 4.99 percent increase from this year.  Road Commissioner Tom Poznanski said any smaller request risked losing $33,000 in funds to the District from the arcane rules for the State's Motor Fuel Tax distribution.

Sheriff, LITH PD Issue Pre-Emptive Phone Scam Warnings

The McHenry County Sheriff's Office Monday warned of a phone scam that hasn't showed up in McHenry County yet but probably will.  That follows a similar anticipatory warning about a different scam last week from Lake in the Hills.  "We want to alert residents before scams appear," explained LITH PD Chief Dave Brey.

Monday's Sheriff's warning was sparked by a scam showing up in Kendall County in which victims are supposed to pay a supposed fine for missing jury duty via (surprise) a pre-paid credit card.  Last week's LITH warning was about a nastier scam that's appeared in Cook County in which a caller claims to have kidnapped a family member who won't start losing body parts if the victim sends money via wire transfer really fast.

Brey said, at the moment the locally occurring phone scam du jour is the one allegedly from the IRS demanding back taxes paid by (surprise) a pre-paid credit card.  "We've had two complaints in the last couple of weeks," he said. 

State AG Finds Rauner Can Appoint 4-Year Topinka Successor

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan Monday reached the legal conclusion about appointing a new State Comptroller that most ordinary people probably would.  So, some Illinois politicians panned it.

Madigan said the State Constitution and ratification arguments when it was adopted in 1970 allow outgoing Democratic Governor Pat Quinn to appoint a replacement for the late Judy Barr Topinka to serve until the end of her current term.  With the January start of  the new term to which she'd just been elected, however, incoming Republican Governor Bruce Rauner should get to pick, presumably, someone else, the AG concluded.

However, Madigan said it would be "undemocratic" to have Rauner's choice serve the full four years of Topinka's second term and "urged" legislators to pass a law for a Comptroller's special election in 2016.

All Quinn's office would say Monday was that he was still making up his mind.  Rauner agreed with the part about his appointing someone to succeed Topinka but rejected the special election. "The constitution requires that Bruce appoint a comptroller to a four-year term and that is how we plan to proceed," said spokesman Mike Schrimpf.

Via a spokesman, Senate President John Cullerton said the Legislature needs an “immediate special session” before Rauner takes office so it can pass a special election law.   However, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin opposed that idea.  “[Democrats] apparently aren’t satisfied,"  he said. "They want every office in the state of Illinois,”

Rauner and the Topinka were the only Republicans who won election to State offices this year.

Obituaries

Richard Couch, 61 of Huntley died Friday at JourneyCare Hospice in Barrington  following a lengthy illness.  An informal gathering will be held at the Couch home Saturday from 1 to 5 pm.

Couch was born Sept. 7, 1953, in Hannibal, MO, the son of William and Ruth (East) Couch.  On Feb. 26, 1978, he married Lisa A. East.  He is survived by his wife; son, Todd; sister, Karen (Chris) Potter of Virginia, and brother, Russell of Florida.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the JourneyCare Foundation, Barrington.

Steven J. Souvigny, 56, of Hampshire died Sunday at Presence St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin.  A Graveside service will be held Wednesday at 11:00 am in the Hampshire Center Cemetery in Hampshire.

Souvigny was born Feb. 6, 1958, the son of Russell J. and Joan (Ziemba) Souvigny. On December 18, 1992 he married Vicki Bersch in Chicago. He is survived by his wife and son, Daniel.  He was preceded in death by his parents.

Arlene D. Mattingly
, 89, formerly of Huntley died at Alive Hospice in Nashville, TN, November 4.  A memorial service in Huntley, and burial in Union Cemetery will be held in June.

Mattingly was born in 1924, the daughter of Peder and Theresa Danielson.  She married John R. Mattingly on Feb. 23, 1943, in Woodstock.  She is survived by sons, Leonard (Wilma) Mattingly, Nashville, TN, and Terrance (Marilynn) Mattingly, Clermont, FL; grandchildren, Kristina (Phillip, ret. US Army) Jett, Forney, TX, Natalie (Matthew) Clark, Algonquin, Michael Mattingly, Waterman, and Kelly Mattingly, Shelbyville, TN; Sister, Florence (Dick) Gray, Colorado Springs, CO, and brothers, Merlin (Marie) Danielson, Belvidere, and Bernard (Ginny) Danielson, Woodstock.  She was preceded in death by her husband and an infant son.

Larry D. Brown, 77, of Algonquin died Saturday in Algonquin.  Funeral Services will be at 10 am Thursday at the Willow Funeral Home, Algonquin. Internment will be at Algonquin Cemetery.

Brown was born Feb. 28, 1937; in Arkansas City, KS, the son of Francis and Lois Brown.  He is survived by his children, Lori (Randy) Schulenburg, and Michael Brown; grandchildren, Joy, Matthew Schulenburg, Mason and Lana Brown; mother; and sisters, Marabell Rohovit and Yvonne (John) Yost.  He was preceded in death by wife, Margery, and father.

Memorials may be directed to Gospel Justice Initiative, Elgin.

Police Blotters

The filing of charges is not proof of guilt. A defendant charged is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  For individuals subsequently found not guilty or nolle prossed, FEN will add a notation here upon submission of a court record.
Lake in the Hills
December 15
0515 HRS PYOTT RD. & RAKOW RD.  NO VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE.  PETROCCI, BRIAN W., M/W 56 YEARS OF AGE, 210 E ALGONQUIN RD.,  ALGONQUIN.  CHARGES: Driving While License Expired for More Than One Year and Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle.  RELEASED ON BOND.
1128 HRS 2000 BLOCK OF LITCHFIELD LN.  INFORMATION FOR POLICE.  Female was issued a no trespass warning for residence.
1130 HRS 9625 HALIGUS RD. (MARLOWE MIDDLE SCHOOL).  ASSIST POLICE.  Assisted the Huntley Police Department with a possible Violation of an Order of Protection.  UNFOUNDED.
Huntley
December 8
A deceptive practice report was taken in the 13400 block of Winterberry Ln.
A vehicle theft report was taken at a storage facility in the 10500 block of Rt. 47.  A snowmobile was reported stolen out of a storage unit.
December 9
William C. Sanders, age 41, of 11811 Woodcreek #C, Huntley, was charged with retail theft at a store in the 12300 block of Rt. 47.  Mr. Sanders was released with a notice to appear in McHenry County court on January 26, 2015.
A theft report was taken in the 10800 block of Woodstock St.  Lawn decorations were reported stolen.
December 10
Pamela J. Tintner, age 44, of 7002 Nathan Ln., Carpentersville, was charged with sale of alcohol to a minor at Tee 2 Green Indoor Golf, 11173 Dundee Rd.  Ms. Tintner was released with a notice to appear in McHenry County court on January 12, 2015.
Elizabeth M. Strauss, age 48, of 10613 S. Rt. 47, was charged with sale of alcohol to a minor at Best Priced Tobacco and Gifts, 11711 E. Main St., Huntley.  Ms. Strauss was released with a notice to appear in McHenry County on January 12, 2015.
Griselda Vazquez, age 33, of 20 Arrowhead Dr. #14, Algonquin, was arrested for driving with no valid driver’s license and driving with one headlight near the intersection of Rt. 47 and Main St.  Ms. Vazquez posted bond and was released with a McHenry County court date of January 9, 2015.
December 12
Briana Mendoza, age 18, of 611 Chardonnay Ln., Crystal Lake, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and no front registration plate near the intersection of Rt. 47 and Freeman Rd.  Ms. Mendoza posted bond and was released with a notice to appear in McHenry County court on January 26, 2015.
A burglary to motor vehicle was reported in a parking lot of a business in the 13200 block of Village Green Dr.  The victim states that a driver’s license and debit card were stolen from her purse that was left in her unlocked vehicle.
Aleksander Stanislaw Filipowski, age 38, of 280 Norman Ct., Des Plaines, was arrested for driving while license revoked, improper lane use, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and an electronic communication device violation near the intersection of Rt. 47 and Huntley Crossing.  Mr. Filipowski posted bond and was released with a McHenry County court date of January 19, 2015.
A 17 year-old boy from Lake in the Hills, and two 15 and 16 year-old boys from Huntley were charged with possession of cannabis near the intersection of Rt. 47 and Regency Parkway.  The subjects were released to their parents with a McHenry County court date of January 12, 2015.
December 13
A 16 year-old boy from Lake in the Hills was charged with a curfew violation and possession of drug paraphernalia near the intersection of Wellington Dr. and Ashley St.  The juvenile was released to his father with a McHenry County court date of January 26, 2015.
Seth K.D. Wilhoit, age 29, of 1403 Northfield Ct. #2B, Harvard, was arrested for DUI, transportation of open alcohol and improper lane use.  Mr. Wilhoit posted bond and was released with a McHenry County court date of January 23, 2015.
James G. Wockner, age 51, of 11509 Reed Rd., Huntley, was arrested for DUI, resisting a peace officer and improper lane use near the intersection of Rt. 47 and Reed Rd.  Mr. Wockner posted bond and was released with a McHenry County court date of January 16, 2015.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Flu, Flu-Like Bugs Biting More People In McHenry, Kane Counties

The latest report from the Illinois Department of Public Health shows more people getting sick and more positive lab tests this flu season than at the same point last year.  The latest McHenry County Department of Health report agrees on the more people sick part but finds confirmed flu cases down.

Illinois is one of 14 states where the flu is already widespread and one of six states in which doctor's offices are seeing flu-like illness at rates much higher than average, according to a national report Friday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  IDPH reported intensive care flu admissions more than doubled, for instance, more than doubled from the previous week.

In McHenry County, however, while visits to hospitals by patients complaining of flu-like symptoms reached 15 percent, the number who tested positive for influenza actually fell from more than 30 percent to a little over 20.  The Kane County Health Department reported somewhat similar results, although flu-like symptoms were only about 10 percent of all complaints with about 37 percent testing positive for flu bugs.

Epidemiologists report the most severe flu seasons tend to be dominated by some version of the Type A H3N2 flu strain but some physicians don't think this year's vaccine isn't working very well against it.  There's speculation the mutable virus might have mutated.  Even so, health experts still recommend getting a flu shot to protect against variants that haven't changed and other flu strains.

The McHenry County Department of Health has already held vaccination clinics to protect residents against the flu and two more are scheduled this month in Woodstock.  The cost is $30; Medicaid and Medicare Part B accepted.  Appointments for adults and children 9 years and older can be made at 815-334-4510 or online at https://www.co.mchenry.il.us/county-government/departments-a-i/health-department/annual-flu

In the pic:  Complaints of flu symptoms increased in McHenry County in the week ended Dec. 6 although tests indicated almost 80 percent of patients had something else.

Tollway To Open All Lanes West To Rockford Tuesday

In time for Christmas, The Illinois Tollway announced this morning that all traffic on I-90 between I-39 in Rockford and the Elgin Toll Plaza will start traveling on three new lanes of pavement in both directions Tuesday morning. Officials said the the speed limit from Rockford to Tyrrell Road in Elgin will revert to 65 mph by the end of the week.

“Now that the first phase of the $2.5 billion I-90 project is complete, drivers have three new lanes of roadway in each direction for 37 miles between the Elgin Toll Plaza and I-39,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur.  In honor thereof the Tollway will be handing out free coffee Tuesday--but only at the Belvidere Oasis.

Phase Two of the Tollway widening (east of Elgin) is still underway.  The I-90 corridor from downtown Chicago to Rockford serves nearly one million travelers per day. The project encompasses 62 miles and includes reconstruction and expansion of I-90 to eight lanes from the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to Randall Road in Elgin and six lanes from Randall Road to I-39 near Rockford, as well as major improvements to seven interchanges.

In the pic:  Tollway widening at Route 20 west of Huntley.

Kids Home For Holidays: Give Me A Break

School Winter Break starts in a week.  "What will you do?" as Karl Malden used to ask, "What will you do?" although that was about lost credit cards a problem that's solvable, not kids complaining, "I'm bored."  Anyway, one possible answer is LITH Parks & Rec's Winter Camp, "a fun, action packed place to go for safe and affordable care during winter break."

Camp takes place at LITH Village Hall and is available 7am - 6pm.  The low daily fee of $33 for residents, $40 for non, including all activities and trips.  Participants bring their own snacks, drinks, and lunch daily.

Field Trip Schedule includes:

12/22 SportsCity, Woodstock - group games, batting cages, basketball, volleyball
12/23 Xtreme Wheels, Crystal Lake - roller skating including pizza lunch
12/26 AMC Theater, LITH - Night at the Museum 3
12/29 Nature Center, Crystal Lake
12/30 AMC Theater, LITH - Annie
1/2 Leafs Center, West Dundee - ice skating

Signups are at: https://jobs.lith.org/webtrac/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/wbsearch.html?xxmod=AR&wbsi=8681593b-ab56-c38e-e411-6f8496f1eeaa&xxactivitynumber=2036&xxsearch=y  .  Parks & Recreation Department at 847-960-7460 is the place to call for more info.

Last Day For Jan. 1 Obamacare Coverage Today

Today is the last day to sign up for a health plan on the Illinois marketplace with coverage starting Jan. 1. Enrollment's open through Feb. 15 but choosing one after today means coverage won't start until February or March.

The current enrollment period in ObamaCare began a month ago with an administration-set a target of 9.1 million people in total.  The Department of Health and Human Services headed into the weekend claiming nearly new 1.4 million people have enrolled but there's no breakout yet on how many of them signed up for expanded Medicaid.  

Individuals who make between $11,670 and $46,680 are supposed to qualify for a tax credit to help pay the premiums for plans purchased at  HealthCare.gov.  A family of four would qualify for a subsidy if they earn about $23,850 to $95,400.  Of the more than 217,000 people in Illinois who bought a health plan on the online marketplace in the last enrollment period, 77 percent got help to pay for the health insurance, according to HHS.

GetCoveredIllinois, the State's exchange held a series of last-minute Affordable Care Act presentations over the weekend.  There was at least one snafu, though.  The State's website showed it being conducted from 9 am to Noon but library officials said it had been reset to run from 1 to 4 pm.  Others are still scheduled.  There's a list here:  http://readymchenrycountyil.gov/events/Clinics.aspx?lang=en

The State's ACA enrollment website is here:  https://getcoveredillinois.gov/

Obituaries

Manuel “Manny” Garcia, 63, of Huntley died Friday at St. Alexius Medical Center following a lengthy illness.  A memorial gathering will be held Tuesday from 9 am until a 10 o'clock Funeral Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church, Huntley.

Garcia was born May 4, 1951, in McAllen, TX, the son of Manuel and Maria (Villarreal) Garcia. On Aug. 3, 1975, he married Roxanne A Ruhland.  He is survived by his wife; his brother, Bob (Linda) Garcia of Gilberts, and sister, Nazzereen Reeves of Atlanta.

Police Blotters

The filing of charges is not proof of guilt. A defendant charged is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  For individuals subsequently found not guilty or nolle prossed, FEN will add a notation here upon submission of a court record.
Lake in the Hills
December 14
0159 HRS 1200 HEARTLAND GATE (KEN CARPENTER PARK).  DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL.  GOLLEHON, JAMES C.,  JR.,  M/W 35 YEARS OF AGE, 4292 LARKSPUR LN.,  LAKE IN THE HILLS.  CHARGES: Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Disobeying Traffic Control Device, and Improper Lane Usage.  RELEASED ON BOND.
0340 HRS 2265 W. ALGONQUIN RD. (THORNTON’S GAS).  THEFT. Of a cellphone.  PENDING INVESTIGATION BY REPORTING OFFICER.
0817 HRS 100 BLOCK OF HILLTOP DR.  DOMESTIC.  Boyfriend vs. Girlfriend.  Verbal only. No Priors.
1636 HRS RANDALL RD. & MILLER RD.  ACCIDENT.  Two vehicles.  Property damage only.
1740 HRS 220 N. RANDALL RD. (MORETTI’S).  ACCIDENT.  Two vehicles.  Property damage only.
2046 HRS 10 BLOCK OF ACORN LN.  DOMESTIC BATTERY.  Boyfriend vs. Girlfriend.  One Prior.  FAIL TO FILE.
Algonquin
December 12
14:24pm Magiera, Zofia, DOB: 02/13/1947, of 2857 Sorrel Row, Lake in the Hills, was charged with Retail Theft. She was taken into custody at 1500 S. Randall Rd. She was released after posting bond with a court date of 01/28/2015 in McHenry County.
16:22pm Ward, Sammie IV, DOB: 05/01/1996m of 2013 Orchard Ln., Carpentersville, was charged with Retail Theft. He was taken into custody at 1410 S. Randall Rd. He was issued a Notice to Appear with a court date of 01/28/2015 in Algonquin.
December 13
20:59pm A 16  year-old and a 15 year-old, both from Huntley, were charged with Retail Theft. They were taken into custody at 734 S. Randall Rd. They were petitioned to the McHenry County Juvenile court and released to their parents.
23:32pm A 17 year-old from Algonquin was charged with Retail Theft. She was taken into custody at APD. She was referred to the Tri Area Court for Teens and released to her parents.
December 14
19:42pm A 15 year-old and two 16 year-olds, all from Woodstock, were charged with Retail Theft. They were taken into custody at 1500 S. Randall Rd. They were referred to Tri Area Court for Teens and released to their parents

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hearts Of Gold To End After Saturday Christmas Distribution

Homegrown charitable group Hearts of Gold held the 35th Christmas distribution for poor families in Algonquin and Lake in the Hills Saturday.  It was also the last there'll probably be.  "Hearts of Gold [nonprofit] corporation is ending," said President Kathy Anderson.

As an impromptu group, Hearts of Gold took over the earlier Algonquin Make a Wish Come True Christmas distribution in 1998, formally incorporating in 2002.  Volunteer Petra Schmid said requests for help have waned since then, though.  At its peak the group helped 130 local families have Christmas.  "This year we had 31," she said.  Even as appeals fell, however, the number of often elderly core volunteers dropped even more.  "Three Board members retired this year," said Schmid, "and no one's stepped forward to replace them."

Organizer Kathy Terry said even though Hearts of Gold is going out of business there are still local families who need help and local residents and businesses willing to assist them.  "The Giving Trees [in the lobbies of several local businesses and public buildings] were wonderful," she said.  "We had only five families that weren't 'adopted'".

In the pic:  Local charitable group "Hearts of Gold" sent out its last distribution of Christmas food, clothes and toys for needy families in Algonquin and Lake in the Hills Saturday.

Eagles Mostly Elsewhere For First Fox River Search Event

The first area "In Search of Eagles" event was truer to its name Saturday than anyone intended.  A medium haze might have been a factor but, whatever the reason, bald eagles who had been fitfully soaring (and screeching) along the Fox River Friday were mostly conspicuous by their absence Saturday.

"I saw one at McHenry Dam this morning," Spring Grove resident Linda Oeffling during an unproductive visit to Algonquin Dam.  As many as 40 hopeful eagle spotters checked those two locations and the dam in Carpentersville trying to catch a glimpse of the national birds that have been spending a lot of time in the area for about five years now.

Biologists believe there are as many as 15 bald eagle nests in the the Chicago metro region and Boone County.  FEN can confirm there's definitely one with two resident eagles this year in a densely wooded area about 100 yards above the Carpentersville dam.  At least there were; they're not there this morning, too.

Saturday's search was sponsored by the  Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, McHenry County Conservation District and McHenry County Audubon.  Friends of Hackmatack organizer Cindy Skrukrud said even if the bald eagles were walking Saturday, "It's really great we've got eagles in the Chicago area."

In the pic:  Algonquin's Cornish Park is usually a good place for a family eagle-spotting expedition.  There's spotters' bulletin board at http://www.baldeagleinfo.com/eagle/directory/IL.html for tips on others.

Discount Offered On Early AAYO Ball Registration

The Algonquin Area Youth Organization has about two weeks left for early (and discounted) baseball and softball registration for 2015.  This year was a good one for AAYO.  Spring enrollment was up from 2013 and Fall Ball signups reached an all-time record.  Organizers say the earlier children are registered the smoother the pre-season runs and even offer $20 off normal registration until New Year's Eve.  The place to start for online signup is here: https://active.leagueone.com/Olr/Pages/Welcome.aspx?ClubId=14339  Enter code 20off for the discount.

In the pic:  Some of AAYO's players lined up for the Founders' Days Parade this year.

Critics Deride New Illinois Lottery Regime

The Illinois Lottery will seek bids for a new private lottery operator after Gov. Pat Quinn formally terminated the State's private management contract with Northstar Lottery Group this week.  The termination agreement came a little more than three months after he directed lottery officials to sever ties with the company for falling short of promised revenues for the third consecutive year.

However, even though Northstar is out as the Lottery's manager, its two major owners, GTech and Scientific Games, are guaranteed to continue as lottery vendors on technical matters until at least June. 2018.  Lottery Director Michael Jones defended the new setup saying GTech and Scientific Games are the dominant providers of the type tech services so making them the suppliers will allow a new private operator to focus on developing better games to boost the lottery's bottom line.  "Previous lottery technical skills aren't required," said Jones. "Terminals and instant tickets are the knives and forks of the lottery business. We're trying to hire a chef."

Maybe so, but frequent Lottery critic McHenry County State Rep. Jack Franks was dubious.  "We've been paying them as much as 25 percent or 30 percent more than they get in other states for the same services," said Franks, "I don't know that we got the best deal here."

Incoming Governor Bruce Rauner wasn't very happy, either. "We were not consulted or even informed," said  Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf in a written statement. "This is a bad deal that creates a new binding contract that will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars."

Under Northstar management the Lottery posted record profits but were still nearly a half-billion dollars less than what the company promised when it took over the day-to-day operation three years ago.  The State could end up paying Northstar as much as $12 million to cover the cost of shutting down management of the Lottery.

Obituaries

Maryrose H. Thoma, 89, of Huntley died November 29 at home.  Visitation will be Saturday from 11 am until a Noon memorial service at the Evangelical Covenant Church, Elgin.  Burial will be at a later date in the Abraham Lincoln Cemetery.

Thoma was born July 18, 1925, in Chicago, the daughter of Frank and Rose (Gombotz) Gombotz. On April 23, 1955, she married Donald Thoma in Oak Park.  She is survived by her husband; children, Donald F. (Beth) of Algonquin, David H. (Sylvia) of Hebron, Margaret Rose (Keith) Sobieszczyk of Woodstock, Gregory V. (Lissa) of Newbury Park, CA, Paul R. Thoma of Boulder, CO, and Julia A. (Brad) Bellmore of Woodstock, and grandchildren, Tara, Valerie, Hailey Rose, Samuel, Joseph, Michaella, Zach, Alisha, Jenessa, Savannah, Amelia, Olivia, Felicia Mary, Tanya Andrea, Ryne Joseph, Mackenzie Anne, Cody Jay, Ciara and Chloe. She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Frank and Victor Gombotz.

In Lieu of flowers, memorials in her name may be directed to the Evangelical Covenant Church, Elgin.

McHenry County Indictments

A McHenry County Grand Jury returned indictments this week against the following individuals:  The charges against these defendants are merely allegations against them.  The defendants are presumed innocent of any crime until proven guilty in court. For individuals subsequently found not guilty or nolle prossed, FEN will add a notation here upon their submission of a court record.

BRIAN C. HERNANDEZ, DOB:  02/27/1988, 701 MOHICAN TRAIL, LAKE IN THE HILLS.  UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF HYPODERMIC SYRINGE. --Lake in the Hills PD

TIMOTHY L. PORTER, DOB:  03/20/1981, 3312 S. CARPENTER STREET, CHICAGO.  HOME REPAIR FRAUD. --McHenry County Sheriff's Office
   
GARY M. GHARIDINI, DOB:  01/24/1960, 2365 APPLEWOOD LANE, WOODSTOCK.  AGGRAVATED BATTERY. --Woodstock PD
   
LARS E. HOLMER, DOB:  03/07/1974, 5107 W. JACKSON STREET  RM 01-9, CHICAGO.  UNLAWFUL FAILURE TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER. --Woodstock PD
   
TODD M. HAFFNER, DOB:  05/02/1962, 1016 WISE STREET, ELBURN.  COMPUTER TAMPERING. --Woodstock PD
   
JUSTIN M. HANSON, DOB:  04/05/1989, 398 S. ORIOLE TRAIL, CRYSTAL LAKE.  AGGRAVATED BATTERY.  (TWO COUNTS). --Crystal Lake PD
   
RAYMOND D. ELYEA, DOB:  05/11/1963, 520 DEVONSHIRE, CRYSTAL LAKE.  DRIVING WHILE LICENSE REVOKED, DUTY TO NOTIFY UPON DAMAGING UNATTENDED VEHICLE. --Crystal Lake PD
   
MANOLO GONZALEZ-PARRAS, DOB:  09/25/1987, 3910 GROVE, MCHENRY.  AGGRAVATED DOMESTIC BATTERY, DOMESTIC BATTERY. --McHenry PD
   
KENNETH M. BURGER, DOB:  01/26/1961, 107 S. PARK STREET, HARVARD.  AGGRAVATED BATTERY, RESISTING A PEACE OFFICER. --Harvard PD
   
ROBERT A. KAUFMAN, DOB:  01/13/1981, 509 5TH STREET, HARVARD.  AGGRAVATED BATTERY, DOMESTIC BATTERY. --Harvard PD
   
ERIC A. NIEMESZ,  DOB:  09/13/1995, 104 ½ E. FRONT STREET  #B, HARVARD.  UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. --Harvard PD
   
ALEXANDER G. JENSEN, DOB:  02/23/1990, 1170 POND POINT ROAD, WOODSTOCK.  UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. --McHenry County Sheriff's Office
   
JAMES W. HERNANDEZ, JR., DOB:  09/16/1986, 234 POMEROY AVENUE, CRYSTAL LAKE.  UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DELIVER CANNABIS, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CANNABIS, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA, DRIVING WHILE LICENSE REVOKED. --McHenry County Sheriff's Office
   
MICHAEL P. LARSEN, DOB:  02/13/1986, 1911 PINE DRIVE, MCHENRY.  UNLAWFUL POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DELIVER CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (THREE COUNTS), UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (THREE COUNTS), UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CANNABIS, AGGRAVATED DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE. --McHenry County Sheriff's Office
   
KRISTEN B. HARTWIG, DOB:  02/12/1981, 1483 BRIDGEDALE DRIVE, CRYSTAL LAKE.  UNLAWFUL POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DELIVER CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (FOUR COUNTS), UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (FOUR COUNTS), UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA. --McHenry County Sheriff's Office
   
MICHAEL A. ALLAWAY, DOB:  05/16/1995, 620 EDGEBROOK DRIVE, CRYSTAL LAKE.  UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CANNABIS WITH INTENT TO DELIVER, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CANNABIS, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA. --McHenry County Sheriff's Office
   
MICHAEL J. SKRODZKI, DOB:  06/10/1991, 650 W. ECHO LANE, PALATINE.  UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CANNABIS, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA (TWO COUNTS). --Woodstock PD
   
NICHOLAS R. PIECHOCKI, DOB:  01/14/1995, 823 NOTTINGHAM LANE, CRYSTAL LAKE.  UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA, POSSESSION OF FIREARM AMMUNITION WITHOUT FOID CARD, UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF ALCOHOL BY A MINOR, CRIMINAL DAMAGE OF PROPERTY. --Crystal Lake PD

Police Blotters

The filing of charges is not proof of guilt. A defendant charged is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  For individuals subsequently found not guilty or nolle prossed, FEN will add a notation here upon submission of a court record.
Lake in the Hills
December 12
0930 HRS 960 E. OAK ST. (SUNSHINE EARLY LEARNING CENTER).  ACCIDENT.  Vehicle vs. Pedestrian.  Property damage only.  Delayed from 121114.
1027 HRS 1100 BLOCK OF PATTON AVE.  IDENTITY THEFT.  Identity theft.  PENDING INVESTIGATION BY REPORTING OFFICER.
1105 HRS 10920 REED RD.  (HANNAH MARTIN ELEMENTARY).  AMBULANCE ASSIST.  Male, 10 years of age, with a head injury.  Transported to Centegra Woodstock Hospital.
1804 HRS ALGONQUIN RD.  & CEDAR RIDGE DR.  ACCIDENT.  Two vehicles.  Property damage only.
December 13
0321 HRS 300 BLOCK OF TECUMSEH TRAIL.  DOMESTIC.  Boyfriend vs. Girlfriend.  Verbal only.  No Priors.
0921 HRS 1300 BLOCK OF CUNAT CT.  SUSPICIOUS AUTO.  Report for insurance for broken car window.
1021 HRS 200 BLOCK OF RANDALL RD.  ACCIDENT.  Two vehicles.  Offending vehicle fled.
1136 HRS 1111 PYOTT RD.  (LARSEN ISLAND).  CRIMINAL DAMAGE TO PROPERTY. Lawn damaged by unknown vehicle.
1741 HRS CRYSTAL LAKE RD. & ACORN LN.  ACCIDENT.  Two vehicles.  Property damage only.
2200 HRS 100 BLOCK OF NORTHLIGHT PASS.  DOMESTIC BATTERY.  Brother vs. Brother.  FAIL TO FILE.