Marengo Schedules Meeting to Discuss Litigation in Secret

Arpil 22nd is the night Marengo City Officials scheduled a 5:30 Executive Session to discuss “pending or imminent litigation,” then cancelled it.

The same topic was put on the agenda for the regular meeting at 7, along with a fund transfer that appears to include a shoring up of the Police Pensino Fund and, iot appears, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund:

Defenders Celebrate Earth Day

From the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County comes the photo below:


The Annual Earth Day celebration in McHenry County took place on a windy, but beautiful day on April 20.

The Environmental Defenders and the McHenry County Conservation District once again co-sponsored the event, which has taken place at the Conservation District’s Prairieview Education Center for many years.

The Defenders had a total of six displays on:

  • education
  • transportation
  • single-use plastic reduction
  • water & natural resource protection
  • restoration at Sterne’s Fen,
  • as well as a welcoming and membership table.

Pictured above are Victoria Mankowski and Jacob Tubb from Crystal Lake South High School, who came out to volunteer with us. The two seniors assisted Earth Day goers on a project to transform old t-shirts into shopping bags – always a popular activity with kids and adults alike.

Pritzker Ignoring Past Mistakes in Repeating Delaying Pension Payments

From various souirces:

Members of House and Senate Democratic Leadership Critical Of Pritzker’s Plan To Skip Pension Payments

Willis and Lightford join others who have spoken out against Pritzker’s proposal to skip pension payments over the next seven years, including $1.1 billion next year alone


“It’s a good sign for Illinois taxpayers and retired public employees that top Democratic lawmakers in Springfield are throwing cold water on J.B. Pritzker’s plan to skip pension payments.

“It’s not too late for other Democratic lawmakers to join them. Our state cannot afford a repeat of the past pension gimmicks.

“With the end of session rapidly approaching, Pritzker and Democratic lawmakers must rein in their unrealistic spending proposals if our state is to protect taxpayers and meet its obligations to public employees and retirees.” – Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot

In a misguided effort to increase spending while attempting to close Illinois’ multi-billion dollar budget deficit, Governor J.B. Pritzker has proposed reducing state payments to the state’s five public pension systems for the next seven years.

Pritzker’s administration has refused to detail what the total cost of the pension holiday would be to taxpayers in the long-term.

 One analysis shows that just next year alone, Pritzker is proposing a $1.1 billion reduction in pension payments.

Skipping pension payments threatens the integrity of our state’s pension system while exposing taxpayers to increased liabilities in the future.

Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller recently called Pritzker’s proposal “preposterous.”

And Pritzker’s plan was not received well by some top Democratic lawmakers in the Illinois General Assembly:

 One analysis shows that just next year alone, Pritzker is proposing a $1.1 billion reduction in pension payments. Skipping pension payments threatens the integrity of our state’s pension system while exposing taxpayers to increased liabilities in the future.

Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller recently called Pritzker’s proposal “preposterous.”

And Pritzker’s plan was not received well by some top Democratic lawmakers in the Illinois General Assembly:

House Majority Conference Chairperson Kathleen Willis“[W]e don’t want to repeat history. We don’t want to see this. We’re open to ideas. But that doesn’t necessarily mean this idea.”

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford“I hope that [skipping pension payments] isn’t the desired goal.”

Willis and Lightford aren’t the first to speak out against Pritzker’s pension holiday.

Here’s what others have said, including some groups who have been aligned with Democrats in the past:

Joint statement by the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) and the Illinois Education Association (IEA):

IFT and IEA oppose underfunding of the pension systems. While we support many of the concepts in the Governor’s proposal, like the sale of pension obligation bonds and re-amortization of the unfunded liability, we would urge that those concepts be implemented in a way that doesn’t fall short of the FY20 required payment.”

Unanimous statement by the Teachers’ Retirement System Board of Trustees

“TRS opposes any Fiscal 2020 budget for the state of Illinois that will appropriate to the System less than $4,813,577,696, the contribution calculated under state pension funding law and certified by the System on January 14, 2019. TRS opposes any extension of the target date currently in statute for the System to reach 90 percent funding. The target should remain no later than fiscal year 2045.”

Illinois Retired Teachers Association President Roger Hampton

“Delaying pension payments just kicks the can down the road again and costs future generations of Illinois taxpayers (if any left) billions of dollars.”

Illinois Retired Teachers Association Executive Director Jim Bachman

“This is the same road that we’ve gone down many times… [Pritzker] said it was his intent to be putting more into the system, if possible, to reduce that debt, but in lieu of that we went the opposite way.”

Earth Day Film at MCC

From the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County:

Environmental Defenders’ Education Committee to show documentary film “Earth Days” on EARTH DAY

Woodstock, IL – April 12, 2019– The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County in partnership with MCC’s Sustainability Center announces a free showing of Earth Days – a story of our growing awareness and understanding of the environmental crisis and emergence of a popular movement to confront it during the 1960s and ’70s.

“On the one hand, there are the environmentalists and the ecologically minded bills signed into law by several presidents. On the other, there’s automobile pollution, endangered and extinct species and reckless farming practices.

“This wide-ranging documentary looks at both aspects of the American environmental movement — its triumphs and its failures.”

Nominations: Writers Guild of America Award for Best Documentary Screenplay.  Discussion to follow.  Directed by Robert Stone.

When:  EARTH DAY – Monday, April 22 from 7 PM until 9PM.   Doors open at 6:30. 

Where: Luecht Conference Center, McHenry County College, 8900 U.S. Highway 14 in Crystal Lake.  Event is free to the public, but donations appreciated.

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County helps educate the public on environmental issues through our quarterly documentary film series held at McHenry County College and co-sponsored with the Sustainability Center.

Founded in 1970, The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the environment in McHenry County.

Inquisitive Cats

A cartoon from the Chicago Triubne has a cat in front of a computer screen:

It reminded me of how Keely Cat would get between me and my screen:

Keely Cat takes a dim view of those county board members who wanted to send out the McHenry County Republican Tax Collector. He still can’t understand why they thought he couldn’t take care of an rabid bat that might penetrate the Skinner household. The biggest thing he has hunted is a bug.

The Meaning of Easter

From Nathaniel’s Hope, a program called Buddy Break to give parents of special needs kids three hours off about once a month run locally by First Church, a Methodist Congregation:

Jesus is ALIVE!

Today we celebrate because Jesus Lives!  

Why is this a big deal?

On what we know as Good Friday,  God sacrificed his most precious gift, His son, Jesus. When He was nailed to the cross, Jesus took our sin with Him and fought the battle for us. Though He sacrificed His life for us, the real victory came when He beat death and rose from the dead, on what we know as Easter morning! He won the battle over sin, so we would not have to die, but could live forever.  

This is what we celebrate on Easter!  Because HE LIVES!  HOPE LIVES!

But why did He do this? Because He loves us and wants us to be with Him forever.

He gives us the gift of eternal life, by offering us forgiveness of our sins.  Jesus died so we could live, and live with hope. But we must choose.

So today, we do not need to fear death.  We have the hope of eternal life in heaven.

In the midst of our suffering, we don’t have to despair. We hang on to Hope. 

The Hope represented by Easter is the very Hope that we at Nathaniel’s Hope share with you. 

So no matter what you are facing today, remember HOPE LIVES!

Happy Easter!

Love from your friends at Nathaniel’s Hope 🙂

Father Back Home after Meeting with Police

More from the Chicago Tribune:

Parents of missing Crystal Lake boy ‘AJ’ Freund have stopped cooperating, cops say; father back home after police lead him away

As Crystal Lake police continued to search for 5-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund two days after he was reported missing, authorities say the boy’s parents have stopped cooperating with them. Investigators are following up on “hundreds of tips,’’ Crystal Lake police Chief Jim Black said Saturday. “This is still an ongoing investigation,’’ Black said.

AJ’s Father Leaves Home with Police

Latest on little AJ Freund from the Chicago Tribune:

‘Disturbing’ development: Parents of missing AJ Freund have stopped helping; father leaves home with police Saturday afternoon

Amanda Marrazzo

As Crystal Lake police continued to search for 5-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund two days after he was reported missing, authorities say the boy’s parents have stopped cooperating with them. Police have said they don’t believe the 5-year-old was abducted.

McSweeney Goes After Pritzker Again

From State Rep. David McSweeney:

David McSweeney attacks JB Pritzker on sanctuary state issue.

McSweeney writes,

“Our taxes are already too high, but Governor Pritzker wants to spend more tax dollars to make Illinois a sanctuary state!

“I’m fighting to CUT taxes for hardworking Illinois families who desperately need relief.”

Power of Township Government Diminished

From Governor JB Pritzker:

Gov. Pritzker Signs Legislation Allowing More Wind Energy Production in Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker signed HB 2988 today, clarifying current law around zoning standards for wind energy development across the state.

The new law will create jobs, revitalize communities with new investment in rural areas — including tens of millions of dollars in annual payments directly to landowners and farmers and hundreds of millions of dollars in property tax payments to schools and local government bodies — and produce clean, renewable energy that will help Illinois work toward lowering its emissions.

“I’m committed to putting our state on a path toward 100% clean and renewable energy, and this bill I signed into law today will help get us there,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. 

Would windmills be profitable without Federal subsidies?

“Illinois has over 3,500 megawatts of operating wind capacity, and under my administration, we’re going to further embrace our clean energy future and take bold action to combat climate change.”

HB 2988, which takes effect immediately, allows only counties and municipalities to establish standards for wind farm development. Townships will no longer have zoning authority over wind farm development.

“I appreciate Governor Pritzker’s support of this important bill,” said Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago), the bill’s House sponsor.

“This legislation reaffirms existing law and enables counties and municipalities to enact wind zoning energy regulations, ensuring that our state can continue expanding our clean energy economy through the development of wind farms throughout Illinois.”

“Wind and solar companies are making tens of millions of dollars of investment in Illinois’ new green economy,” said Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago), the bill’s Senate sponsor. “We can’t let unnecessary government regulation block the creation of high-paying jobs and the much-needed property tax revenue wind farms will produce for our schools.”

Today’s bill signing is the latest action the governor has taken on the environment. Just days after entering office, Gov. Pritzker joined Illinois into the U.S. Climate Alliance and directed the IEPA to monitor the Trump Administration’s environmental proposals and identify opportunities to protect Illinoisans from environmental harm. Gov. Pritzker has also joined Great Lakes governors in opposition to the president’s proposed 90% cut to Great Lakes Restoration Initiative last month and participated in the Midwestern Governor’s Climate Convening on Tuesday.

Looking at Future for Local Demcoratic Party Women

Commenter “An American” predicts that McHenry County Democratic Party Chair Kristina Zahorik will replace Lauren Underwood as 14th District Member of Congress as Underwood replaces Dick Durbin as U.S, Senator:

Kristina Zahorik

Don’t forget this is a person who was a Hillary supporter, came in 8th out of 9th in the delegate race in McHenry County, stood idly by as progressives were expelled from her party for wrongthink, and only won her 2018 SCC race because of Mike Madigan money being used to attack the progressives who were running.

She doesn’t speak for the county and it’s questionable whether she even speaks for her own party.

Her outrage over Ted Nugent has nothing to do with family values.

It’s based on politics.

She would say nothing if it were a vulgar left-wing musician.

She’s just riling up the anti-Trump people and trying to build up her bona fides with them.

She’s now positioning herself as a bridge between the old guard machine Democrats and the dorky new radical resisters.

She is not only the chair of the mchenry county dems, but also of the il dem party county chairman association, and she is the state central committeewoman of the 14th district.

She is in those spots for a reason.

The timing will work out well — Dems are set to gain a lot of power in mchenry county and other counties throughout the 14th district.

That and her attending #resist rallies will gain her more trust among the further left Democrats.

Don’t be surprised to see her end up in Lauren Underwood’s seat and Lauren to end up in Dick Durbin’s seat.

Lauren is on a media circuit since the resignation of DHS secretary Nielsen.

The media loves her.

She is getting shoutouts from AOC begging her Twitter army to donate.

Lauren will have DCCC and Pritzker money in addition to the dorky resist crowd’s money.

They will do everything they can to hang on to the 14th in 2020.

Come 2022, redistricting will make things much easier for them.

Dick Durbin is only running because Trump is president and because the Dems are in a minority in the Senate.

Don’t count on him to serve a full term. A

t that point, I think Underwood becomes a senator and Zahorik ends up a congresswoman.

People are picked WELL in advance.

This happens from presidential elections to city council.

Have you ever wondered where people like Underwood and AOC came from?

AOC was a bartender.

Underwood was a fake nurse living with mommy.

These people became political stars overnight though???

Former Lt. Governor to Take on Democrat Sean Caster for Congress

She doesn’t make it explicit, but I’m betting that at the meetings announced in the following press release from former Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti is going to announce a candidacy for Congress in the 6th District:

Former Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti to Announce Future Political Plans Monday

Sanguinetti will discuss plans at three events beginning at 10 a.m. Monday

WHEATON, IL – Former Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti will make a major announcement Monday morning in Wheaton detailing her plans to continue serving the public.

Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti when she spoke to the Algonquin Township Republican Party.

Following the initial announcement, Sanguinetti will travel to Cary to meet with business owners and to Barrington for an evening meet and greet with supporters. The media is encouraged to cover the events.

Open media events include:

Don Manzullo
  • 10 a.m. — Wheaton — Sanguinetti makes announcement in front of hometown supporters at Seven Dwarfs Restaurant, 917 E. Roosevelt Road, Wheaton, IL.
  • 12:30 p.m. — Cary — Sanguinetti tours manufacturing facility and hosts roundtable to discuss jobs and the economy with former Congressman Don Manzullo and local business owners at Illinois Blower, 750 Industrial Drive, Cary, IL.
  • 6:00 p.m. — Barrington — Sanguinetti discusses campaign with supporters at McGonigal’s Pub, 105 S. Cook St., Barrington, IL.

Another Analysis of Anna May Miller’s Time Cards from Illinois Leaks

Republished with permission from Illinois Leaks:

Algonquin Township Road District -Time Card Tuesday #11

BY KIRK ALLEN ON APRIL 16, 2019 • ( LEAVE A COMMENT )

If you are new to our Time Card Tuesday series we urge you to catch up by first reading part 123456789 and 10.  

As pointed out in our last article, it is abundantly clear, whoever was managing payroll has some explaining to do.

Our goal was to close out this series of Anna May Miller’s time cards with the remaining 2015 time cards, however the volume of errors contributed to our inability to complete the entire year for this week’s edition.

That being the case, the first payroll period of the year and the applicable time cards is where we begin this week’s Time Card Tuesday.

As a special note of interest with this series, we have received multiple communications from people in other units of government and even the private sector that are now taking steps to identify and prevent bad math time card pay that they have identified after this series began.

The payroll record for this week’s coverage is for the first pay cycle in 2015 being January 1- January 14th, 2015.

In a consistent pattern to previous time cards reviewed, we find math to be an issue on the first pay cycle of 2015 as well.

Bad math on the time cards reflect 80 minutes of extra overtime and 4 hours and 15 minutes of extra regular time.

As if the time card math is not confusing enough, the actual payroll record reflects Miller was paid for 66 hours of regular time, even though the time cards only reflect 60.5 hours documented.

Considering the documentation is padded with an extra 80 minutes, it would appear the pay of 66 hours provided 6 hours and 50  minutes of extra pay for regular time, which appears to total an extra $204.90.

The overtime documented on the time cards total 6 hours while the payroll record points to 6.50 hours of overtime. 

With bad math overtime of 80 minutes on the time cards, it appears extra overtime paid included an extra 1 hour and 50 minutes not found on time cards.

At $45 an hour for overtime, that equates to $82.50 in extra overtime.

Of additional interest is the inconsistencies for vacation time taken and paid. 

The time cards for this period reflect 12.5 hours of vacation taken yet the payroll record only reflects 6 hours of vacation pay, which raise the question, was the remaining 6.5 hours combined in the regular pay total? 

If so, that could reflect pay for vacation while such vacation may not be deducted from the available vacation time.

Either way, the inconsistencies in time cards and actual payroll records is troubling and yet another example of how local government is operating with taxpayers funds.

Combining the extra regular time and overtime, it appears $287.40 in extra income was provided in the first payroll cycle of 2015. 

That would bring the running total of bad math pay to $20,510.41.

You can download the time cards at this link or view below as well as the payroll record at this link or view below.

Stay tuned for next week’s Time Card Tuesday.

Home Invaders in Woodstock Arrested

From the Woodstock Police Department:

Home Invasion and Mob Action Arrests

J9mmy Carey

On Sunday, April 7th, 2019, at approximately 3:25 a.m., the Woodstock Police Department was dispatched to the 1900 block of Sheila Street in reference to a Home Invasion that had just occurred.

The suspects had fled the scene prior to officers’ arrival.

Roger Gardner

First responding officers learned that the suspects were all known to the victims and this incident was not a random act.

Leads and information continued to be developed over the next couple of days, leading to the identification of four suspects in the incident.

Donley Conley

The Woodstock Police Department’s Investigations Division, along with guidance from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, was able to obtain arrest warrants for four suspects.

With the assistance of the US Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force and the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department, one of the suspects, Andrea Varnado, was taken into custody at her residence in Woodstock on Tuesday, April 9th .

Three of the four suspects had fled the McHenry County area adding to the complexity of the investigation.

The US Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force was able to locate the other three suspects in the Racine, Wisconsin area and also took them into custody without incident.

Information regarding this incident was not previously released due to this being an isolated incident, there being no perceived threat to the general public, and due to the sensitive nature of the information with known suspects being at-large.

Arrested Persons:

Andrea Varado
  • Andrea L. Varnado (F/B/36), 1732 Havens Drive Woodstock
  • Donley M. Carey (M/B/33), 1732 Havens Drive, Woodstock
  • Roger L. Gardner (M/B/25), Unknown Address, Racine, WI
  • Jimmy D. Carey (M/B/33), 1226 Erie Street. Racine, WI

Charges:

  • Varnado – Home Invasion – Class X Felony, Mob Action –
    Mob Action – Class 4 Felony, $100,000 (10% Applies)
  • Donley Carey – Home Invasion – Class X Felony – Homr Invasion, Class 4 Felony – Mob Action, Battery – Class A Misdemeanor, Bond: $200,000 (10% Applies)
  • Gardner – Class X Felony – Home Invasion, Class 4 Felony – Mob Action, Bond: $200,000 (10% Applies)
  • Jimmy Carey – Class X Felony – Home Invasion Battery,
  • Class 4 Felony – Mob Action, Class A Misdemeanor Bond: $150,000 (10% Applies)

The public is reminded that an arrest is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law

“Would You Even Hit a Kid?”

“Sure, if he deserved it,’ was the reply of one day care worker in 1973 or 1974 to a newly-minted Ph.D. from Michigan State in an Illinois Economic and Fiscal Commission commissioned a study on DCFS.

That stunning reply obviously meant that the woman, which had chosen the wrong line of work.

Now comes DCFS with a new training mechanism, which is explained in the press release below:

Gov. Pritzker Tours New DCFS Simulation Center

Chicago — As officials prepare to expand training for child welfare workers, Gov. JB Pritzker toured SIM Center at Emerald City, the Department of Children & Family Services’ new simulation center in Chicago. Joined by DCFS staff and training leaders this morning, the governor reiterated his commitment to protecting children in the state’s care.

“Every child deserves the opportunity to grow up in a safe environment and live a healthy life,” said Gov. JB Pritzker.

“There is no more foundational duty of the state than to keep protect our children. With new leadership at DCFS, innovative training facilities and adding 126 more caseworkers, the State of Illinois will take child welfare seriously under this administration.”

The SIM Center at Emerald City opens for trainings beginning Tuesday, and it will simulate real-world experiences that an investigator will encounter on the job.

As the capstone of a six-week course, simulations are used to train new and veteran Child Protection, Intact and Permanency staff and their supervisors.

Those include simulations of entering a home, a courtroom or a hospital emergency room in order to conduct a full investigation following allegations of abuse or neglect.

Marc Smith, acting director of DCFS, pointed to the importance of real-world learning techniques to help prepare caseworkers for challenging situations. 

“After spending decades working with and in the Department of Children and Family Services, I know the vital role training serves in preparing caseworkers to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said Marc Smith, Acting Director of the Department of Children and Family Services. 

“Front-line staff face tremendous pressure, but with innovative, real-world simulations like those provided by the SIM Center at Emerald City, caseworkers will be more prepared and children will be better served by our state.”

DCFS’ first use of this form of experiential learning was established by legislative statue through the creation of a child protection academy.

The current Simulation House model was developed in collaboration with the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) in 2016 and DCFS will continue to partner with UIS to develop the content and format for the SIM Center in Chicago.

The Child Protection Training Academy (CPTA) at UIS provides students and professionals with the opportunity to experience simulated investigations, risk assessments and other scenarios encountered by child protection professionals.  

While the Springfield Lab includes one Simulation House and a mock courtroom, the Chicago Simulation Center houses two simulation apartments, a mock courtroom and a mock medical/interview room.

The funding for the Chicago Simulation Center and the Simulation Lab at the University of Illinois – Springfield is provided through DCFS budget appropriations.

The new Chicago center will provide a cost-effective and results-oriented foundation for educating the next generation of workers in a family-centered, trauma-informed, strength and reality-based simulation environment to improve outcomes for children, youth and their families.  

As the administration works to improve DCFS’ services, Governor Pritzker has also expanded expert services that the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall already provides to DCFS, asking them to conduct an independent and comprehensive review of how the agency’s Intact Family Services unit functions, and has asked for initial actionable recommendations in May.

This will ensure that respected independent experts with a deep understanding of DCFS operations and challenges can provide immediate input to the new director and administration.

Update on Missing 5-Year Old Boy Search

From the Crystal Lake Police Department:

Crystal Lake Police Search for Missing 5 Year Old Male Child

Crystal Lake Police Department Detectives, working collaboratively with members of the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children continue to actively investigate this case.

Andy “AJ” Freund

During the last 24 hours, several police search and rescue canine units, trained specifically to locate people, were utilized in an attempt to locate Andrew.

The canine teams only picked up Andrews “scent” within the residence indicating that Andrew had not walked away on foot.

On April 18, 2019, the Crystal Lake Police Department also activated an ILEAS (Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System) mutual aid request.

15 police agencies responded, along with 4 drones, to assist with a coordinated search of public areas.

Approximately 373 acres were covered during a foot search and approximately 497 acres were covered via aerial search by drones.

At approximately 6 p.m., the police department requested the activation of a sonar team to scan areas of Crystal Lake.

A boat and sonar technicians from fire departments within the mutual aid
MABAS Divisions 4 and 5 responded to assist.

Sonar technicians utilized cameras to search under all of the docks/piers along the entire shore length of Crystal Lake and utilized side scan sonar techniques within the lake itself off of the Main Beach area.

The sonar teams concluded their search at approximately 10 pm without locating anything.

Depths found in Crystal Lake in by the Illinois Geologic Survey.

In reviewing all investigative information thus far, there is no indication that would lead police to believe that an abduction had taken place.

At this point, the police department has no reason to believe there is a threat to the community.

Information obtained currently has police focusing on the residence.

The police department would like to thank the public for their continued offers of assistance and support.

This morning police investigators are continuing to actively investigate this case and continue to review all tips or leads sent to the police department.

At this time, if the to assist, we are asking that you search your property and that you report anything suspicious to the Crystal Lake Police Department.

Additionally, the Crystal Lake Police Department encourages anyone with information related to this case to contact the Crystal Lake Police Department at 815-356-3620. Anyone with a cell phone can send an anonymous tip to the Crystal Lake Police Department by texting the word

CLPDTIP along with the tip information to 847411 (tip411). Normal text messaging rates do apply.