Found that the former Democratic Party Congresswoman Gabby Gifford has endorsed incumbent Republican Mark Kirk for re-election over Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.
This race is getting stranger and stranger.
Found that the former Democratic Party Congresswoman Gabby Gifford has endorsed incumbent Republican Mark Kirk for re-election over Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.
This race is getting stranger and stranger.
A press release from Republican McHenry County State’s Attorney candidate Patrick Kenneally:
Patrick Kenneally in his ongoing effort to review the budget and fulfill his commitment to cutting the budget 10% by the end of his first term has announced that he will dramatically cut payments to outside agencies to train Office lawyers.
Every attorney in Illinois is required to complete 30 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credits biennially.
Currently the State’s Attorney’s Office’s unnecessarily pays to send its attorneys to trainings throughout Illinois and, sometimes, the Country to obtain the necessary credit hours.
Tuition, lodging, and meal reimbursement for these trainings costs taxpayers thousands.
Many of the trainings cover topics that Office lawyers can research and present on or are within the expertise of local attorneys and judges.
Furthermore, the McHenry County Bar Association regularly offers CLE trainings.
As State’s Attorney, all office lawyers will be required to join and participate in the McHenry County Bar Association and take part in its trainings.
“This will not only save taxpayers money, it will go a long way toward building on collegiality and relationships the Office has with the local defense bar.”
I have had my problems with internet documents posted by both McHenry County College and McHenry County government
They posted documents which could not be searched.
MCC was “afraid” someone might copy them and, then, alter them.
The documents also could not be copied in a form which could be searched when posted on the internet.
All I wanted to do was to be able to copy and post agenda items that might interest the public.
It was as if those governments wanted to make it as hard as possible for people to figure out what they were doing.
Fortunately, both governments decided that the public could be trusted with searchable documents.
Others, however, continue to resist posting public documents.
Some didn’t know that constituents might be interested in such things as agenda packets given to board members.
I remember pointing out to the Crystal Lake City Council that the public couldn’t follow what was happening very well only having a copy of the agenda.
Shortly thereafter, the backup material given to Council members started appearing on the Crystal Lake web site.
Much more transparent.
Now, Woodstock resident Susan Handelsman has found a new tool to use in her quest to make District 200 more transparent.
She found this part of state law:
105 ILCS 5, Article 10,
(105 ILCS 5/10-6)
(from Ch. 122, par. 10-6)
Regular and special meetings.
The directors shall hold regular meetings at such times as they may designate, and special meetings at the call of the president or of any 2 members. Public notice of meetings must be given as prescribed in Sections 2.02 and 2.03 of the Open Meetings Act. No official business shall be transacted by the directors except at a regular or a special meeting. In consolidated districts and in districts electing a 7-member board of school directors under subsection (c) of Section 10-4, 4 directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. In all other districts 2 directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. If the president or clerk is absent from any meeting or refuses to perform his duties, a president or clerk pro tempore shall be appointed. At each regular and special meeting which is open to the public, members of the public and employees of the district shall be afforded time, subject to reasonable constraints, to comment to or ask questions of the board. When the president or district superintendent of schools receives a written correspondence from a resident within the school district's territory, requesting the consideration of a matter before the board, the author of the correspondence shall receive a formal written statement from an appointed official of the board stating the board's position on their request, no later than 60 days from the receipt of the correspondence by the president or district superintendent of schools. The formal written response from the board shall establish a meeting before the board or list the reasons for denying the request.
(Source: P.A. 90-757, eff. 8-14-98.)
And, she sent the following email to Woodstock School Superintendent Robert Moan:
I request consideration of the school board that searchable agenda packets be made available to citizens online.
A copy of this email will be sent to you at District 200 offices through regular mail.Thank you
We’ll see what happens.
A press release from
Del Webb’s Sun City Huntley cordially invites the overall community to attend the September 11, 2001 15th Anniversary Program. The annual 9/11 American Flag Memorial is being held on Sunday, 9/11/16 at 1:00 pm, lasting approximately 90 minutes. Bring personal seating.
In remembrance of 9/11/01 where more than 2,976 people perished, there will be a public American Flag Display. On a grassy hillside near the fountain on Del Webb Blvd., each victim is remembered by a flag. The flag display is open to the public from 9/9/16 through 9/11/16 with Taps played at sunset each evening (approximately 7:10 pm).
A Memorial Garden is added this year for those lost since 9/11 as a result of 9/11/01. A Memorial Museum will be located at Prairie Lodge in the Drendel Ballroom for short films, memorabilia, and a history of the annual event.
Visiting hours on 9/11/16 are 10:30 am – 12:30 pm & 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
The events of that day will be marked with a wide variety of community participation. We extend to all an invitation to join us in our effort to “NEVER FORGET”
Haven’t looked at the finances of Nancy Zettler, the Democratic Party’s candidate to replace Mike Tryon yet.
The recent $5,000 from the Illinois Education Associations’ Political Action Committee leads me to believe readers might be interested.
When she first filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections, she reported $8,640. That was on February 25th.
Here are the contributions reported during the first three months of the year:
She was also given $250 in amounts less than $150.
Zettler spent $1,463.86, ending the quarter with $4,046.11.
From April through July the following contributions have been logged with the State Board of Elections:
An additional $3,462 was raised in amounts under $150.
Zettler ended June with $14,433.89 in the bank.
At the end of his speech to contributors at the Boulder Hill Country Club last Thursday night, Republican State’s Attorney candidate Patrick Kenneally spoke of the effects of crime on families of the law breaker.
We do this job because we know that at the heart of much of the human misery and unhappiness that people must endure, there is usually a crime; whether itPatrick Kenneally Raises Money for State’s Attorney Race be drug addiction, domestic violence, or coping with a prior victimization.
And the effects of crime can be inherited and often ripple down through generations.
I had a case involving a young lady named, let’s say, Amy.
While growing up, she and her sister were raped on a weekly basis by her uncle who she went to live with after her father died. Amy ended up running away and later had a child out of wedlock.
At 20, she returned to get her sister who had just drank part of a bottle of DRAINO in an attempt to kill herself and was in the hospital after having to get half of her stomach removed.
Upon returning and seeing the state of her sister in the hospital, Amy finally felt compelled to tell the police what was really going on. We prosecuted Amy’s uncle and he was convicted and sentenced to over 20 years in prison.
Sadly, this was not enough for Amy.
Shortly after her uncle’s conviction, she started using drugs and I don’t know where she is.
But I do know that now, Amy’s son, whose mother is now a drug addict, will have to deal for a lifetime with hardship because of crime committed by a man he never knew.
Putting monsters like Amy’s uncle away is deeply gratifying and a no-brainer.
But very few of the people we prosecute are irredeemable sociopaths.
Most of the defendants I see in criminal court remind me of people I have know at some point in my life.
Further, many of these defendants were themselves victims before they victimized.
So as much relief as I feel when the court has reached the right outcome and defendants are sentenced and punished, the whole enterprise is always tinged with sadness.
We as prosecutors are asked to step into the breach of people’s chaotic lives.
We are asked to solve a defendant’s problems once and for all while at the same time satisfying a victim’s rightful demand of punitive redress.
We usually give a defendant every chance and try to divert those willing to make fundamental changes away from prisons and to programs that can help them.
But for those who are too selfish, immature, or cruel to accept the eminently reasonable restrictions imposed by society, they must e held accountable by us.
That is justice.
Justice requires faith.
Justice does not always leave everyone involved with a smile on their face and mailboxes filled with thank you cards.
It is often hard and unbending and when looked at out of context, may seem unkind.
Essentially we are forcing obstinate and unruly people to face up to the consequences of their actions, which creates upheaval in their lives. But in the long run, holding people unflinching accountable for their criminal conduct is in the best interest of society, the victim, and, most importantly of all, the defendant.
That’s what we try to do.
I’ll leave you with a quote that I think best sums up the ideal prosecutor who must balance all the competing demands they face:
“The qualities of a good prosecutor are as elusive as impossible to define as those which mark a gentleman.”
And those who need to be told would not understand it anyway.
A sensitivity to fair play and sportsmanship is perhaps the best protection against the abuse of power.
And the citizens safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes and who approaches his task with humility.
Lou Bianchi is this kind of prosecutor.
I hope to be that kind of prosecutor
A press release from McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim:
Grab your friends and family and join the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office at our second annual Open House from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27th at 2200 N. Seminary Ave. in Woodstock, IL.
This event will give the community the opportunity to observe the day to day operations of the Sheriff’s Office and to meet many of the men and women who serve the community each day.
During this free event there will be tours of the department, a display of police vehicles, children’s fingerprinting, crime prevention information, and a K9 demonstration at 12:00 p.m.
Helicopters from Flight-For-Life and Air One will also be present between 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. weather and calls-for-service permitting.
Due to the event being located at the McHenry County Courthouse, everyone entering the building will be subject to a security check point at the east entrance.
Items that are not permitted into the courthouse are foods, liquids, flammable items, cameras, sharp objects, knives, weapons, or anything that may be viewed as a weapon. The Open House is a rain or shine event.
McHenry County Sheriff’s Office (East parking lot)
Located within the McHenry County Government Center
2200 N. Seminary Ave.
A press release from the Crystal Lake Police Department:
This Labor Day, families and friends will be celebrating the end of the summer.
Sadly, this festive time is also a dangerous time on our roads, as many alcohol- impaired and drug-impaired drivers get behind the wheel after celebrating.
For this reason, the Crystal Lake Police Department is partnering with the Illinois Department of Transportation to stop drunk drivers and help save lives.
The high-visibility “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown runs from August 22nd through September 5th.
During this period, law enforcement across Illinois will show zero tolerance for impaired driving and seat belt law violators.
Increased state and national messaging about the dangers of drunk and drugged driving, coupled with roadside safety checks and increased officers on the road, aim to reduce impaired driving in Crystal Lake and Illinois.
During the crackdown period, there will be a special emphasis on impaired driving enforcement.
Local drivers should expect to see more patrol vehicles and increased messaging about the dangers of drunk and drugged driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made it even easier to get home safely when you’ve been drinking, with the free SaferRide mobile app, available through iTunes and Google Play. The app allows you to call pre-selected contacts or a taxi, and also identifies your location so you can be picked up.
In addition to looking for drunk drivers, the Crystal Lake Police Department will be stepping up seat belt enforcement, particularly at night when seat belt usage rates are at their lowest.
The Crystal Lake Police Department recommends designating a sober driver and not letting friends and family drive drunk as just two of several simple steps to avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for drunk driving.
Other important tips include:
Elgin businessman and Lakewood Village Trustee Ken Santowski’s efforts to re-cycle Styrofoam are featured on the front page of the Chicago Tribune.
He has taken on a task like few others.
He has set up Styrofoam re-cycling locations.
The result has been Santowski’s having to discontinue the collection of Styrofoam.
Below are the notes and speech of Republican candidate for McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally.
Welcome to everyone and thank you all for doing me the honor of attending.
Begin by acknowledging every past and present member of law enforcement in this room. Please stand up.
While it seems self-evident, these days we unfortunately have to say it.
These men and women who daily risk their lives for our safety and freedom from insecurity are heroes and model citizens.
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Kenneally said he looked forward to a close relationship with Sheriff Bill Prim.
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Thank also to all the employees of the states attorneys office.
We have the best staff in the State.
In the last two years, we have tried over 35 felony jury trials and lost only two.
I’d put that record up against any other office in the Country.
[Thank guest speakers]
So Lou has made the highly questionable decision of hoping to leave me in charge.
Beyond that, the way things are going, how prosecutors and especially police are being portrayed, I have concerns about our future.
It’s become clear to me that this hostile criminal justice “reform” movement that has hijacked policy discussions has fundamentally shifted the landscape facing law enforcement in ways Lou could not have imagined 12 years ago.
Some in this cynical group of reformers seek to re-imagine everyone involved in the criminal justice system as somehow in someway willing contributors to a broken, corrupt, even racist system of justice that has become weary and insolvent by its insistence on imprisoning all of these non-violent “drug offenders” we’re constantly hearing about.
We hear that prosecutors are more self-promoters than ministers of justice.
Seeking to win at any cost.
We hear that prosecutors are a mere extension of the blue wall of silence.
Using their legal know-how to provide cover for police misconduct.
We hear that high-profile, newsworthy instances of police and prosecutorial misconduct are not exceedingly rare exceptions.
Rather, they are examples of the curtain being pulled back to reveal the hidden truth deliberately concealed from public view.
Well, I believe that this now fashionable crisis of faith in law enforcement and prosecutors stems not from widespread or systemic misconduct, but poor PR and one-sided reporting.
I’ll say this.
Thousands may hate police and prosecutors for what they think do, but not a hundred hate police and prosecutors for what they actually do.
Let’s talk about prosecutors.
Who are we?
What do we do?
Why do we do it?
I can assure you, it’s not for the money.
The average debt of a lawyer coming out of law school today is about $140,000.
The starting salary for a prosecutor in McHenry is about $50,000. The average starting salary of a recent law school graduate in the private sector is $84,000.
It’s not just throw people in jail, at least not in McHenry County.
In McHenry, 0.001% or 1 thousandths of a % of our population resides prison. [As commenters pointed out, the correct figure is 0.10%. Kenneally writes, “In 2012, there was 100 per 100,000. I screwed up decimal place. That’s why I went to law school and wasn’t a math major.’]
This is on par with if not less than countries held out to us as models for moderate sentencing laws, such as France, Belgium, Germany, and South Korea.
Just so I’m clear, no minor or first time drug offenders are ever being sentenced to prison.
It’s a myth, it doesn’t happen.
We seek prison only for the excessively repetitive, violent, sexually dangerous offenders.
We, as prosecutors, are not covering up police misconduct.
We recognize the special danger posed by lawless acts on the part of those people entrusted to uphold the law.
Over the last twelve years, this Office has prosecuted those police officers for violating the law and will continue to do so.
The reason there have been so few prosecutions is not because of cover-ups, but because these instances are so rare.
A press release from State Senator Pam Althoff:
Springfield, IL… The rights of grandparents and great-grandparents to visit children under the care of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) are expanded under a new law sponsored by State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry).
Governor Rauner signed House Bill 5656 into law Friday—the state fair’s Future for Kids Day—which adds great-grandparents to the statute requiring DCFS to make reasonable accommodations to provide for visitation privileges to non-custodial grandparents.
“It’s important these kids are able to maintain connections with family members, especially grandparents who can play a vital role in a child’s life,” said Sen. Althoff, chief senate sponsor of the bill. “This common-sense law gives them that opportunity.”
The new law also states these visitation privileges should only be provided to non-custodial grandparents or great-grandparents if it’s in the child’s best interest.
DCFS may deny a request for visitation after considering specified criteria, but grandparents are allowed to request a clinical review when denied visitation.
More information on the new law can be found here.
On Saturday, McHenry County Blog published a thoughtful analysis by Cary Grade School Board President Scott Coffee about the situation facing those wishing to consolidate Crystal Lake High School District 155 with its four feeder grade schools. You can read it here.
Under that article was a thoughtful comment by Lakewood bond analyst Steve Willson, which is posted below:
People often argue from analogy,
“businesses achieve economies of scale as they grow; so should government.”
The problem with this statement is, of course, that the incentives of business and government are diametrically opposed.
Businesses have an incentive to save money.
Governments have an incentive to spend as much as possible.
Think about it from your own experience:
have YOU found that big governments are less bureaucratic or more bureaucratic than smaller governments?
And this is true of school districts.
If you consolidate four school districts, you lose three superintendents.
You gain six assistant superintendents, assistant principals, assistant curriculum coordinators, etc.
Now, if my contention is true, then it should show up in the data.
And it does.
I’ve examined the data on expenditures for all the school districts in Illinois.
I’ve performed this analysis for several years’ data.
I always leave out Chicago because it is such an outlier, although if I include it, it simply reinforces the conclusions.
And here are the conclusions:
There is no statistically significant correlation between expenditures per pupil and outcomes as measured by graduation rates and test scores.
Some schools spend $9,000 per pupil.
Some spend up to $28,000.
Here in McHenry County, the range is around $9,000 to $18,000.
There is no statistically significant correlation between teacher wages and outcomes.
There is no statistically significant correlation between teacher experience and outcomes.
There was only ONE statistically significant relationship:
bigger districts spend more per pupil than smaller districts.
And in addition to the wage issue, which will almost always be resolved in favor of the higher wage scale, the bureaucratic factor is overwhelmingly against consolidation.
The Huntley Area TEA Party is holding a meeting Wednesday, August 24th, at 7 PM at the Huntley American Legion Hall.
The Manufacturers Political Action Committee of Springfield contributed $2,000 to Steve Reick’s campaign for State Representative late last week.
His opponent, John Bartman, has reported no contribution of $1,000 or more since opening his campaign committee about a month ago.
A press release from Governor Bruce Rauner:
CHICAGO – Governor Bruce Rauner today signed a bill to take action in combatting human trafficking. This bill protects victims who often have language barriers, emotional challenges or economic hardships by creating a Task Force to look at how the State of Illinois can partner with agencies across the state to counter these egregious offenses of human exploitation.
“Human trafficking is modern day slavery where people are put into forced labor which all too often involves forced sexual activity,” said Governor Rauner. “Human trafficking predators prey on vulnerable people and we have to take action to help protect them, because no one should endure this pain. Signing this bill and creating this Task Force is an important step in combatting this issue head on.”
HB 2822 helps to address the growing problem of humantrafficking across Illinois. It establishes a human trafficking task force comprised of legislators, members of the Chicago Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and the Director of the Illinois State Police. The Department of Children and Family Services will also provide the Task Force with administrative and other support.
“Modern slavery is a reality — and today, it takes the form of sexual exploitation,” said Senator Karen McConnaughay (R–St. Charles), chief sponsor of the bill.
“In the past nine years, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center has identified nearly 30,000 trafficking victims. Those numbers are absolutely unacceptable in our communities. My goal in creating this Task Force is to take an active step toward ending the cycle of sexual abuse of children and adults across the state.”
“Human trafficking is all too pervasive, even in Illinois, but it largely goes unnoticed despite the severe impact of the crime,” said Representative Sheri Jesiel (R–Winthrop Harbor). “I am proud of this legislation that will help bring this difficult issue ofhuman trafficking to light so we can fight it and effectively support those impacted, ultimately rescuing many more victims from exploitation.”
The Task Force shall submit a report with its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly on or before June 30, 2017
The following letter to the Northwest Herald is published with the permission of its author Linda Iverson of Huntley:
Compare the media bias of two headlines from the August 13 Northwest Herald:
One states “McHenry County Board Chairman Candidate Wants to Nix Valley Hi levy” another headline claims “Jack Franks, Lake County Board Chairman Pledge to Use Government Consolidation Power.”
Editors decided to use the negative word “nix” in the first story, and readers also have to read down to the second paragraph to finally learn it’s Michael Walkup proposing the elimination of the tax levy.
Walkup’s proposal is bold and would make real and lasting difference to property tax bills, while the effect of Franks’ consolidation legislation is not proven with hard numbers.
A candidate’s success depends to an extent on name recognition, and Walkup deserves equal treatment.
The Northwest Herald has been cheerleader for Jack Franks for years, and this example of subtle bias shows that the Northwest Herald will not change their bias any time soon.
State Rep. David McSweeney has donated $2,000 to McHenry County Board member Andrew Gasser’s Political Action Committee.
He did so at the end of the first week of August, according to the State Board of Elections web site.
An email from Andrew Gasser:
It is about that time.
Whether we are elected officials, elected party officials, party leaders, or just ticked off citizens I hope we can all agree on #NeverHillary. I am not so worried about what Trump says as much as what Hillary has done.
The silent majority has spoken inside the Republican Party and we have two choices.
As one congressman told me: Andy this is a binary decision for me personally.
After speaking with the Trump Campaign today they need our help. Some of us are walkers. Some of us are talkers. The Trump campaign needs callers and so I am blasting this to my “mega-list”. If you would like to help simply read the email below and message Jim Magel (cc’d on this email) or myself.
We also have a need for someone to drive down to Champagne to pick up Trump signs for the northern collar counties. Perhaps we can reach out to our Lake and Kane County GOP friends to see if we cannot help coordinate our efforts to get some signs brought up this way.
While we will work for all of our excellent local GOP candidates we would be foolish to ignore the presidential race. While many of us did not vote for Trump (I voted for Ted Cruz) for me personally I cannot sit idly by and let Hillary appoint two to five Supreme Court Justices. I am fully behind and supporting Donald J. Trump for President and I know many of you are as well. I have had two yard signs stolen and I can only imagine this is happening everywhere.
I am asking you to forward this email onto all of your political friends and new friends who want to help do something. All politics start local but if we could just find one solid volunteer in every precinct in McHenry County (and dare I say Lake, Kane, DuPage, Coles, Mercer, ect) Trump will win Illinois. Use social media and share this message if it is your desire.
Let us all be the leaders we are and show the United States of America that Illinois can vote Republican – hasn’t happened since 1988 so let’s start now.
Feel free to call me with ideas, suggestions, gripes, complaints, or other pleasantries.
Be Blessed Everyone and God Bless America,
Chairman, Algonquin Township Republican Party (850)866-0155
A Friend of McHenry County Blog sent photos of the mailing that the House Republican Organization sent out on behalf of Steve Reick’s State Rep. candidacy.
You can see it below:
The following was written by Cary Grade School Board President Scott Coffey:
A new, consolidated district is NOT required to migrate to the highest wage rates of the legacy contracts of the combined districts.
However, that has been the experience of consolidating districts in this state.
It’s just easier to cave in.
Because the alternative requires a substantial amount of effort on behalf of the new Board members and Administration of the new consolidated district to battle the newly formed union to agree to a successor agreement that more closely matches the lower cost agreement rather than the most expensive labor agreement.
And, that, apparently is just too hard to do.
Somehow, people have come to believe that the new district has to live with the more expensive contract, that is not true.
Consolidating the 4 elementary’s that feed D-155 (3, 26, 46, 47) would be quite challenging.
Obviously, all 4 communities have to vote to approve.
And to get approval, there has to be an incentive for each community to want to consolidate.
We’ll start with taxes.
The Operating Tax Rates [dollars per $100 of assessed valuation] for the 4 districts are:
Cary 26 = 3.88827
CL 47 = 4.3488
PG 46 = 4.87884
FRG 3 = 5.717264
At a minimum, the entire proposal would have to drive down to at least Cary’s rate, otherwise Cary residents will vote NO to what would effectively be a tax increase.
So what happens if all the districts migrate to Cary’s rate?
Taxpayers save the following based on current EAV:
Total = $11.2 million
This is great for most taxpayers, but for Cary residents its tax-neutral.
What’s the incentive for their YES vote?
One might have to design the referendum with a new Tax Rate that is even below Cary’s current rate.
But, back to the above scenario, of course this means also that the new consolidated district will operate with $11.2 million less in annual operating revenue.
At a minimum, the question is, are there enough cost savings opportunities in the new district to cover the lost revenue?
Note: Existing debt service stays with the community that originally issued the debt so that is not a part of the puzzle.
Could a new Board successfully navigate all the challenges (and there are dozens of other issues I haven’t mentioned) and put a successor district in a financially affordable and sustainable position for the future?
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