147 Harvard School District Employees Have Over $100,000 Deducted from Their Pay Checks in Union Dues Each Year

Harvard High School

Harvard Unit School District 50 has 147 union members.

They have $26.96 per pay period deducted from their pay checks.

Multiplying the almost $4,000 per pay check going to the Illinois and National Education Association union means $103,429.30 flowed to that union coffers in the most recent year.

Another category of employee pays $21.59 per pay period.

Presumably these are support employees.


CL Independence Day Parade – Part 8 – Lauren Underwood

The Democratic Part had a banner in front of its entry. The woman on the far side wears all sorts of buttons, but I can’t make them out.

Right after the Republicans came the McHenry County Democratic Party banner.

Perhaps some Democrat or someone with better eyes than I have will share the names of the candidates promoted on the buttons on this woman’s JB Pritzker shirt.

Lauren Underwood, the woman running against Randy Hultgren for Congress in the 14th District, was first in line.

Lauren Underwood waved at the crowd, walking in front of her banner.

It was easy to see who the candidate was with Underwood walking in front of her banner.

Loren Underwood introduces herself to Crystal Lake voters. Her 14th District includes all of McHenry County, expect Algonquin Township. The top of Algonquin Township is Crystal Lake Avenue.

Underwood has numerous people walking with her.

Another shot of Lauren Underwood’s banner and her supporters.

There was a second banner carried by Underwood supporters. It urged people to vote by mail.

Lauren Underwood campaign workers will be urging people to vote by mail this fall.

Kenneally Sues Nunda Township for. Financial Records

In mid-January, McHenry County States’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally filed a Freedom of Information Act request for extensive financial and employment records with Nunda Township.

2013 to 2017, similar to what he requested of Algonquin Township.

Nunda replied that the request was “unduly burdensome,” but came up with almost 2700 pages by the end of January.

Kenneally’s office paid $412.25 for a banker’s box of records.

Nunda asked for an advance payment of $300 for the additional records.

It was paid.

Nunda wrote that about 2000 more pages were to be copied.

Patrick Kenneally

By July 17th, Keneally’s patience apparently ran out, because he filed suit against Nunda Township alleging various violations of the Freedom of Information Act including failure to provide the requested documents in a timely fashion, refusal to provide documents in an electronic format, failure to justify the 15 cents a page copying charger, improper charging of advance payment, plus saying that no charge should have been required because “the request was in the public interest.”

The suit charges Nunda Township with acting in “bad faith.”

It then asks for the allows $2000 to $5000 civil penalty for each violation of the Freedom of Information Act, plus a refund of the $712.25 already paid.

Illinois Leaks Points to Examples of Fake News in Northwest Herald

Illinois Leaks, the publication from Edgar County Watchdogs covers more news about Algonquin Township than the Northwest Herald.

This article, which started with a comment by Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Andrew Gasser under the NWH’s article on last week’s Township Board meeting, is published with permission below:

Northwest Herald Editor takes to Facebook to refute claims of being Fake News -Let the comedy hour begin!

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –John Styf, Editor of the Northwest Harold took to the Cary Grove Politics Facebook page in what appears to be an attempt to school the Algonquin Township Road Commissioner on journalism and fake news after he posted a statement pertaining to an article the paper ran found here.Andrew Gasser, Algonquin Township Road Commissioner posted the comment below along with a logo he has created mocking the Northwest Harald as Fake news.

“Never once in my prepared remarks did I refer to the Algonquin Township Highway Department as ‘my office’.

“I did say ‘my speech’ and ‘Highway Commissioner’ but never once did it call it ‘my office’.

“It is not my office but the peoples. I am simply blessed to occupy it for a while.

“Go listen to what I said.

“This the problem with the greedy McHenry County political class.

“They think they own everything once elected.

“More #FakeNews from Ed, Hannah, and the northworst herald.

“Simple little things like this ruin journalism.

The Editor Responded to Gasser’s post:

Jon Styf  –Andrew Gasser 

You seem to be misunderstanding a direct quote and a paraphrase.

Direct quotes have quotes around them, paraphrases do not.

This headline paraphrases what you said about the office you hold.

You spoke on that office, which is highway commissioner.

The direct quote, here, is this: “I ask that you approve the proposed resolution to abolish the Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner and bring it under the auspices of the township supervisor and the board,” Gasser said.

“There’s no need for mudslinging, placing blame or political paybacks; this is all about good, honest, open and transparent government.”

If you have any other journalism-related questions, feel free to ask.

My number is 815-526-4630. We’re happy to help you be informed on that. You also seem to be misinformed on “fake news” after someone attempted to co-opt the term.

It refers to lies and complete fictitious stories meant to get a reaction or misinform, particularly on Facebook, where people shared completely false stories heading into the past general election.

This is not that at all.

This is coverage of a local meeting with accurate direct quotes.

You might not always like what it says, but that does not make it “fake news.”

Has Mr. Styf provided the needed information to point to Fake News by his reporter Ed Komenda?

Fake News – “It refers to lies and complete fictitious stories meant to get a reaction or misinform”

Using his definition of Fake News we must ask, does Komenda’s story found at this link meet his definition of fake news or has he provided himself selective cover by keywords such as “and”, and “complete”?

Reporter Ed Komenda confers with photographer Gregory Shaver after the July meeting of the Algonquin Township Board meeting.

As he defined it, fake news must be both a lie and complete fictitious stories meant to get a reaction or misinform.

So in short, a story with a lie is not fake news because his definition combines lies with the word “and” as a second qualifier, which points to complete fictitious stories meant to get a reaction or misinform.

So using his definition, even a story published that has lies and fictitious information, as long as the “complete” story is not fictitious, it’s not fake news.  LOL

Lie?  – “Between Feb. 28, 2017, and May 15, 2017, a group of Algonquin Township Highway Department employees spotted a red Rabine Group vehicle driving roads, stopping and surveying at certain intersections.”  

Our article on this subject proved the information quoted by his reporter could not be true based on the documents, which we published.

The timeline was a fabricated timeline and considering the narrative of the entire story was predicated on a false timeline, would that mean the story was fictitious?

[This Illinois Leaks article is a stunning take-down of the Northwest Herald reporting on when Rabine did what.]

Misinform? –The article the NWH published regarding the reason for the Road District unionizing was filled with misinformation.  As we said in our article on the subject, they should print a retraction and apology for such a blatant disregard for the facts.

PolitiFact: “Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word.”

Merriam Webster– Fake news is, quite simply, news (“material reported in a newspaper or news periodical or on a newscast”) that is fake (“false, counterfeit”).

Many papers walk a fine line by printing enough truth as to avoid being called fake news, yet still fill them with enough lies or unverified quotes and misinformation they end up destroying their credibility and misinforming the public. Such appears to be the case with the Komenda story referenced in this article.

How about this article by the same reporter on the subject of township road district abolishment?

Headline – “Algonquin Township trustees to consider pushing road district consolidation referendum”

Nope!  Fake News. 

There was no consolidation issue being pushed at all.  What was being pushed was the abolishment of the Road District.  All this reporter had to do was read the statutes to understand this had nothing to do with consolidation.  The title was not true and mislead the public in our opinion.

“Algonquin Township officials will vote Wednesday night on a question that has drummed up controversy in McHenry County: Should voters have the chance to consolidate the highway department?”

Nope!  Fake News!

There was nothing on the agenda about consolidation.  I wonder if the reporter could tell us who the highway department was consolidating with?

“The move also follows letters and phone calls from McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks pressuring the township to put a referendum on the November election ballot allowing residents to eliminate the road district with a majority vote.”

There it is!

An element of truth.

In that paragraph it points to eliminating the road district, which is in fact abolishment, not consolidation.

That being the case, how did he get it so wrong with all the other claims of it being a consolidation effort?

Was that by design?

Was it to misinform?

“In effect Jan. 1, the law allows township trustees to ask voters whether they want the road district abolished and its responsibilities given to the township.”

Once again, he points to abolishment yet the title of the article misleads the public as he knows it is not about consolidation with two paragraphs both pointing to abolishment.

“The responsibilities of the highway commissioner would transfer to the township supervisor in 2021”

Nope!  Fake News!

From the law: – “On that date, all the rights, powers, duties, assets, property, liabilities, obligations, and responsibilities of the road district shall by operation of law vest in and be assumed by the township……. Thereafter, the township shall exercise all duties and responsibilities of the highway commissioner as provided in the Illinois Highway Code.”

Nothing in the law points to the Highway Commissioners duties transferring to the Township Supervisor as was reported. The reporting provided false and misleading information and the Editors allowed it to get published without verifying it with the law. Such misinformation becomes problematic as voters may not want the Supervisor to have such powers and they would vote based on the misinformation.

Additionally, Komenda reports conflicting information. Are the responsibilities given to the Township as stated in one paragraph or are they transferred to the Township Supervisor as stated in another?  Cant have it both ways.

The Editor suggests people contact him if they have any “journalism-related questions”.

May I suggest people review the Principals of Journalism and the nine core principals prior to calling to share your journalism-related questions?










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Paul Powell Remembered

A Chicago Tribune editorial earlier this month brought back memories of former Secretary of State Paul Powell.

He died in 1970, reportedly which making love with his mistress in Michigan.

When I got to Springfield in 1973, I was told that he owned a steak house on Sixth Street that, where under a different name, politicians still ate.

The Mansion View Motel, across from the Governor’s Mansion, was also said to be owned by Powell.

Secretary of State’s employees visiting Springfield were supposedly told to stay there.

When his Capitol desk drawer was opened by staffers of the successor Governor Richard Ogilvie appointed there were checks made out to “Paul Powell.”

It didn’t take much imagination to conclude that Powell probably cashed such checks and kept the money.

But what members of the public remember is that there was  a shoe box full of money in his St. Nicholas Hotel room.

Paul Powell’s shoe box and briefcase(from Tribune Editorial).

That same hotel had a French restaurant for a time in the mid-70’s.

Eating with then-State Rep. Brian Duff (who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for Secretary of State against Charles Carpentier, Jr.) we talked to a local FBI agent.

He told us that most involved in the investigation thought the money found in the shoe box was but a small portion of the cash that was in Powell’s hotel room, that most had been taken by Powell staffers, that they had left but a part of it in the shoe box to make it seem that the rest had not been taken.

Power Taken Away from Citizens at Township Meetings Since 1960 – Part 2

State Rep. Allen Skillicorn asked the Legislative Research Unit to detail what power at Annual Town(ship) Meetings by the General Assembly since 1960.

I have written previously about how the power to set township budgets was taken away from voters after electors in Algonquin and Nunda Townships cast votes township officials didn’t like.

That was anecdotal.

What you read in this report is not.

Almost $66,000 Flows from Woodstock Employees into Coffers of Police and Public Works Unions

$65,888.77 went from tax dollars in 2017 to the two unions representing Woodstock Police and Public Works unions.

Below you see two types of 2017 payments from employees of the Public Works Department.

One category is administrative; the other membership.

Perhaps a reader can identify the difference.

In any event, the money went to Local 150 of the Operating Engineers.

The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council/Woodstock Lodge 191 received the following annual payments:

CL Independence Day Parade – Part 7 – Donna & Rosemary Kurtz

Dona and Rosemary Kurtz thanked Crystal Lakers for allowing them to serve in public office.

Behind State Rep. Allen Skillicorn were Rosemary Kurtz and her daughter Donna.

For 45 years mother and daughter–Rosemary and Donna Kurtz–served local residents in elective office.

I kidded P:aul Mingus, Donna’s husband and driver of the convertible, that their had stepped up quite a bit from their previous parade entry, which I christened the “Kurtzmobile.”  Photo from 2013.

Donna is a member of the McHenry County Board and served on the McHenry County College Board previously.

Rosemary Kurtz served as Crystal Lake City Treasurer, then beat me for a seat in the Illinois House and, most recently, won a seat on the Crystal Lake High School Board.

More Evidence of Democratic Party Infighting

During June, McHenry County Blog ran the court papers in a suit between progressive and organization Democrats.

Here is evidence that the fight continues.

A friend of McHenry County Blog penned this piece:

McHenry County Dems’ District 1 Chairman Kathryn Potter Trashes Jack Franks Again

McHenry County Democratic Party’s District 1 Chairman Kathryn Potter once again took to Facebook to trash the most powerful Democrat in the county, Jack Franks.

(She criticized him earlier this month when he offered ice cream to his constituents.)

She also rebuked State Rep. Allen Skillicorn.

Her criticism focused on two aspects.

  1. Franks and Skillicorn should not meddle in outside affairs.
  2. As state lawmakers, Franks and Skillicorn could have lowered property taxes by shifting more education spending to the state but refused.

Is Potter considering a far-left primary challenge against Franks for McHenry County Board Chairman in 2020?

As revealed in her previous attack on Franks, Potter supports

  • an income tax hike via amending the Illinois Constitution and enacting a progressive income tax,
  • getting rid of McHenry County’s ICE detention facility (even Bernie Sanders refuses to say ICE should be abolished), and
  • no cuts to school spending despite 74% of voters demanding cuts.

She accused Franks of “lying” and “undermining local Democrats.”

Potter herself was not in attendance at yesterday’s Algonquin Township meeting, although Democratic county board candidate Michael Vijuk was.

McHenry County Government’s Union Employees Statistics

With the United States Supreme Court having rules that public employees don’t have to pay union dues, McHenry County Blog is looking at the potential impact on local governments, including school districts.

Here is the information for McHenry County:

Description Total  
FOP Labor Unit 148,239.80  
Local 150 Dues – DOT Admin 27,570.61  
Local 150 Dues – DOT Memb 6,920.76  
Local 150 Dues – Facilities Admin 12,771.54  
Local 150 Dues – Facilities Memb 3,130.82  
MAP 515 Circuit Clerk Dues 18,894.00  
SEIU Dues 11,814.87  
SEIU Percent 59,389.64  
  # Employees  
FOP 290  
Local 150 40  
MAP 47  
SEIU 215  

The Service Employees International Union is the only one whose dues are a percentage of an employee’s salary.

Power Taken Away from Citizens at Township Meetings Since 1960 – Part 1

State Rep. Allen Skillicorn asked the Legislative Research Unit to detail what power at Annual Town(ship) Meetings by the General Assembly since 1960.

I have written previously about how the power to set township budgets was taken away from voters after electors in Algonquin and Nunda Townships cast votes township officials didn’t like.

That was anecdotal.

What you read in this report is not.

CL Independence Day Parade – Part 6 – Allen Skillicorn

Catching the attention of kids and adults were three guys on bicycles doing tricks. Here is the first one, lapping, so to speak, Craig Wilcox volunteers handing out candy.

State Rep. Allen Skillicorn came next.

Almost got a shot of all three of Allen Skillicorn’s cyclists here.

Delighting the children along the route were three cyclists doing tricks.

You can see why children would focus of this element of the State Rep. Allen Skillicorn entry.

Then came Skillicorn’s truck, complete with signs and trailing an elephant.

Allen Skillicorn had a truck with large signs with a trailer carrying an elephant.

Skillicorn supporters were handing out bubbly gum.

This candidate,Allen Skillicorn, was on the shady side of the street.  In the background is a sign saying, “Taxation Is Theft.”

At the tail end of the Skillicorn entry was a person carrying a sign that said, “Taxation Is Theft.”

He was walking next to two females wearing buttons saying, “Big Government Sucks.”

GOP Seeks Volunteers

A message from McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Diane Evertsen:

Rauner Volunteers Needed

As you know, the Rauner team is using our Headquarters office for their campaign volunteers to get out the McHenry County vote.

This coming Saturday, July 21st, from 9 am to 9 pm, is another Day of Action for their team and they’d love to have you join with them in making telephone calls.

If you’ve never been engaged in this before, you’re in for a really fun time.

This is a really great way to connect with other McHenry County residents to encourage them to get out to vote in the November election.

Diane Evertsen in Crystal Lake’s Independence Day Parade.

I’m not entirely sure what other questions volunteers will be putting forth this Saturday, but you won’t be asked to convince people or engage in long conversations.

As you know, the Governor’s race is already heating up and we have to do everything we can to promote Republicans in State government.

If you can spend even one hour to make phone calls on Saturday the Rauner Team will greatly appreciate your help. You can show up at any time after 9 am to volunteer for one hour or the whole day – whatever fits into your schedule.

If you’d like further information, please contact Nolan Kirchner who’s in charge of Rauner volunteers at the Headquarters: [email protected]

Trump Cuts Money for Obamacare Facilitators

Any rational Congress would have turned to people who know how to sell insurance to enroll people in Obamacare.

But, no.

Obama’s Democratic Party allies in Congress set up something new–facilitators.

Why not use insurance agents I thought at the time?

The Chicago Tribune reports there will be less money to hire “facilitators.”

Now the Trump Administration is cutting money for facilitators.

Why not eliminate the subsidy and ask insurance agents to do the job?

Will Paul Serwatka Resign at Tonight’s Lakewood Village Board Meeting?

Village President Paul Serwatka’s future with Lakewood may draw a good number of people to the 7 PM Board meeting at RedTail Golf Club.

He accomplished most of the goals he set forth in his 2015 campaign for Trustee and 2017 campaign for Village President.

Under the article about last Tuesday’s meeting being cancelled for lack of a quorum, there are twenty-two comments outlining various views about recent Lakewood governance issues.

There are six more under the article reminding people of the meeting.

If one wants to see what going on in Lakewood from various viewpoints, those comments are the place to start.


Roskam on Trump Meeting with Putin

A press release from Congressman Peter Roskam:

Roskam condemns failure to confront Russian election interference, hostility towards U.S. allies

Washington, D.C. – Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL) released this statement following the press conference held by President Trump and Vladamir Putin:

Peter Roskam

Russia’s interference with our democratic process is appalling and undeniable.

The President has a responsibility to not only confront Vladimir Putin for attacking our democracy, but to use all tools available to prevent future acts of aggression that could undermine the cornerstone of our republic – free and fair elections.

Vladimir Putin is not our ally – he is a brutal dictator who has undermined our democratic institutions; invaded and continues to illegally occupy the territory of our allies Ukraine and Georgia; and continues to support the massacre of hundreds of thousands in Syria.

We must maintain a united front with our partners around the world to confront Russian aggression.

Today’s press conference was an affront to American democracy and the Intelligence Community and a victory for Russian propaganda.

The President has a duty to hold Vladimir Putin to account. 



  • Rep. Roskam considers Putin’s regime as a major threat to U.S. national security and international stability that must be confronted on all levels.
  • Rep. Roskam stands with the U.S. intelligence community’s findings that Russia actively interfered with the 2016 elections and strongly supports Special Counsel Mueller’s ongoing investigation to hold those responsible accountable.
  • Rep. Roskam supported sanctions against Russian entities responsible for interfering in our elections and condemned Russia’s role in the nerve agent attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal on British territory.
  • Rep. Roskam released a statement of support for the anti-Kremlim protests across the Russian Federation.
  • Earlier this year, Congress provided $380 million in funding to boost our election infrastructure and $300 million to combat Russian cyberattacks. Rep. Roskam is also leading a resolution condemning Russia’s interference in European elections and calling for robust sanctions against these bad actors.

Defenders Garage Sale at Algonquin Township Highway Department on Route 14

A press release from the Environment Defenders of McHenry County:


Keep the spirit of “Spring Cleaning” alive and donate your things to The Environmental Defenders!

Woodstock, IL – June 28, 2018 –The Environmental Defenders will hold its annual Summer Garage Sale Fundraiser from Thursday, July 19 – Saturday, July 21.

Our Garage Sale is a great way to both donate your items and shop for new ones!

From a recent Defenders’ garage sale.

Donation dates precede sale.

By donating and/or shopping, you’re part of a great fundraising effort that supports our organization, which works to preserve and protect the environment here in McHenry County.


  • Sun  7/15/18 2:00pm to 5:00pm
  • Mon  7/16/18 10:00am to 3:00pm
  • Tue  7/17/18 10:00am to 3:00pm
  • Wed  7/18/18 10:00am to 3:00pm


  • Thu  7/19/18 9:00am to 4:00pm
  • Fri  7/20/18 9:00am to 4:00pm
  • Sat  7/21/18 9:00am to 4:00pm


Algonquin Township Highway Department, 3702 US Highway 14, Crystal Lake, IL (Next to The Hollows.)


Did you miss our Spring Garage Sale? Time to start gathering up your donations for our Summer Sale! We are looking for lightly used household items and well-worn tools. All items must be CLEAN and in working order with all their parts. If it needs a cord to run, please make sure you include the cord and any rechargeable battery packs. We get a lot of interest in basic tools so if you have some to spare – we’d love to have them to raise these funds. Other items that sell well are: toys in working order, tableware and serving pieces, household items, seating, and yard and garden tools. Sorry, we cannot take the following items: clothing, stuffed animals, kitchen appliances that are not clean throughout, non-working small appliances, large appliances, TVs, computer monitors or computers. Please be thoughtful when choosing your items for donation.

Founded in 1970, The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the environment. The Defenders have been involved with diverting things from the landfills since 1970 and doing a garage sale is a form of recycling. Donations and membership are encouraged and are tax-deductible as charitable contributions.  For more information, visit www.mcdef.org or through Facebook at facebook.com/Environmental Defenders or call 815-338-0393, MondayFriday,10am-4:30pm.

Woodstock Police Seek Help in Fatal Hit and Run

A press release from the Woodstock Police Department:

Seeking Information – Fatal Hit and Run

First fuzzy photo of red hit and run car.

The Woodstock Police Department continues to seek information regarding a vehicle in connection with a fatal hit-and-run that happened on Thursday, March 30th, 2017.

Route 14 and Lake Shore Drive in Woodstock.

Daniel P. Anderson, 43, of Woodstock, was killed after being struck by this vehicle on Route 14 near Lake Shore Drive around 9:48 p.m.

Second fuzzy photo of the red hit and run car.

The vehicle didn’t stop after the incident and continued west on Route 14 towards Route 47.

Third fuzzy photo of the red hit and run car.

The Woodstock Police Department is looking for a small red car, unknown make and model, in
connection with the incident.

Fourth fuzzy photo of the red hit and run car.

We are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying this vehicle.

The attached pictures are the only photos available of the vehicle.

If you have any information regarding this vehicle, please contact the Woodstock Police Department at 815-338-2131.

We will honor your request to stay anonymous if that is your preference.