Mary Beth Salvo Running for Oakwood Village Trustee as Write-In

Not all of Oakwood Hills’ meetings on the gas-fired peaker electric power plant were as open as this one.

In a town that packed the Holiday Inn during the peaker plant fight, there were not enough candidates filed to fill seats being vacated on the Oakwood Village Board.

Incumbent Trustee Chad Rider is running for re-election.

Newcomer Matthew Cane is also running for Trustee

The seat with no candidate has resulted in the filing by Mary Beth Salvo as a write-in candidate for Village Trustee.

Village President Paul Smith seeks to retain his position.

A Successful Petition Challenge

Since the petition challenge phase of elections has entered McHenry County big time, I thought posting a successful petition challenge might be useful to some in the future.

Here is the one that Deputy County Clerk Linda Fitzgerald filed against State Rep. Allen Skillicorn’s tax limitation referendum petition:


Chris Savino Files as Write-In Candidate for Lakemoor Village President

Lakemoor Village voters will see a write-in line on their ballots.

Chris Savino has decided to run for the office, but the name won’t be on the ballot unless people write it in.

No loner can one write in Donald Duck, the original angry bird.

Anyone can run as a write-in, buy the Democrats in Springfield have been making it tougher and tougher.

Used to be you could write in Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck.

Democrats got tired of reading Mike Royko’s columns about the number of votes such candidates received, so required people to sign up at the Clerk’s Office a week ahead of time.

Then, it was two weeks.

Now it is over two months ahead of the election.

Another Day Off Proposed for State & Local Employees – Be Still My Heart

“Yes We Can,” says this tee shirt found on a Lower Manhattan vendor.

A bill has been introduced to make August 4th a legal holiday.

What happened August 4th?

That’s the day that former President Barack Obama was born.

The state already gives public employees Lincoln’s Birthday and Presidents’ Day off.

But, the Democrats control the Illinois General Assembly and one can’t predict was Republican Governor Bruce Rauner would do if the August 4th Obama Birthday bill reached his desk during his re-election campaign.

The bills to watch are

The Single Member Districts Jack Franks Wanted for This Decade

One of the emails from Jack Franks political operative Oliver Serafini sent before he got his full-time job as “Communications Specialist” went to County Board member John Jung.

A reader asked if I had a copy of the map.

Looking in McHenry County archives, I found the following map for a 16-person County Board:

Jack Franks’ third suggestion for single-member districts.

Signs the Recession Not Over in McHenry County

When I went searching for the people Democrat Jack Franks wanted to hire, I thought he would have done so in December.

Turns out that he didn’t accomplish the goal of hiring a caseworker (whom he calls an Executive Assistant) and a Communications Specialist until January.

Part of my search consisted of filing a Freedom of Information request for Human Resource Department paperwork.

I asked for all the new hires in county government during December.

Most surprising were three in the Circuit Clerk’s Office.

They were for the position of Court Specialist I.

This is an entry level job.

Paying not much.

What surprised me was that three of those higher had bachelor’s degrees.

One was saving money to go to law school and seeking court experience.

The other two were not.

It reminded me of reading about college grads sweeping streets in India decades ago.

When I asked Circuit Clerk Kathy Keefe about it, she replied,

“I am always surprised by that as well. We have hired quite a number with Bachelor’s Degrees over the last few years, and our recent group of hires oddly enough all had degrees.

“Court Specialist I is our entry level position that we have in all our divisions, but generally work our counters, phones, and clerk in the courtrooms.

“We have been very lucky to get some really great pools of applicants through the County’s HR Department.

“This last group of hires are all working out very well.

“The biggest risk of hiring those with degrees is that sometimes they leave fairly quickly because they get better offers.

“If we have higher level positions that open up and we are able to promote them, sometimes we can keep them.

“If we don’t, many times they get poached by attorneys or even other departments here in the Courthouse.

“My theory is that I would rather have sharp people for a shorter time, than ‘not so sharp’ for a long time.”

Asked about pay, Keefe sent the following:
“[They] start at $12.25 per hour, but after 6 months they are evaluated and if they meet certain training goals they are eligible for an additional $.50 per hour.

“They are eligible for an additional $.50 per hour at the end of 12 months of employment if they are doing well.”

Listen to the County Board’s Committee of the Whole Meeting Thursday

Want to hear Ringmaster Jack Franks try to tame the Republican lions who have not shown themselves to be pussy cats at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday.

You can do so by clicking on the audio button on February 17th.

Typing “McHenry County Board” in Google will bring you to this page.

What you will see is below:

Click on the “Meeting Portal” button near the top right and it should take you to a page which will allow you to listen to the meeting. The “audio” button does not work until the meeting starts at 7 PM.

If that doesn’t work, click here.

The meeting starts at 7 and the Democrats have been recruiting people to criticize Republican members and praise Chairman Jack Franks, so it might be a show you want to attend in person.

If you listen or attend, please share what’s happening in the comment section for those who are otherwise occupied.

A month ago, you will remember that Chairman Franks sprung three referendum questions on the members right before he adjourned the meeting.

That’s despite his explanation of the purpose of Committee of the Whole meetings was to allow members to discuss what would be considered at the upcoming Tuesday Board meeting, which starts at 9 AM.

McHenry County Abortions Down 36% Since 2007

In statistics released by the Illinois Department of Public Health are found that of the
39,856 abortions in 2015, 361 were on McHenry County women.

The long term trend shows a significant reduction in abortions.


  • 2014 – 392 abortions
  • 2013 – 444
  • 2012 – 486
  • 2011 – 442
  • 2010 – 483
  • 2009 – 506
  • 2008 – 562
  • 2007 – 564
  • 2006 – 531
  • 2005 – 486

Other information in the report for 2015 follows:

  • None were for young women under 19 years of age.
  • 103 were from age 20-24.
  • 96 were from 26-29.
  • 62 were aged 30-24.
  • Less than 50 were married.
  • 296 were unmarried.
  • 205 were 4-7 months into the pregnancy.
  • 111 were 8-11 months along.

Another question asked include whether the woman had previous live births.

The answer to that one is 192 had and under fifty had not.

317 had not had previous miscarriages.

233 had had previous abortions.

There is no organization providing abortions in McHenry County.

There are two organizations providing ultrasounds and counseling with the goal of convincing women to give birth to their babies:

1st Way Life Center in Johnsburg

Informed Choices in Crystal Lake




Andrew Gasser’s New Blog Entries

The Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner’s race is by far the most heated race in an off year cycle in at least 20 years.  Driving through Crystal Lake and Algonquin you cannot turn with out seeing signs for the race.

Last week the challenger posted two new links on his blog pointing out the cost difference between Algonquin Township and the other townships inside McHenry County.

You can see Gasser’s blog here.

Crystal Lake City Council & High School District 155 Candidates’ Night at MCC on Thursday, Feb. 16th

The McHenry County League of Women Voters is holding a candidates’ night at McHenry County College’s auditorium.

Candidates for the Crystal Lake City Council and Crystal Lake High School District 155 will appear at 6:30 to meet personally and 7 for the meeting itself.

In previous years, this forum has been held closer to the election–in March.

Mike Walkup’s Township Supervisor Handout

At the Nunda Township Republican Party’s candidates’ night two weeks ago, all of the major candidates had literature for the taking.

The only candidate for Township Supervisor not running with other candidates is Mike Walkup.

An adamant opponent of the existence of township government, Walkup distributed the leaflet you see below:

Mike Walkup’s description of why people should elect him Nunda Township Supervisor.

County Offers Low Cost Rabies & ID Chipping

A press release from the McHenry County Health Department:

Low cost rabies vaccination, microchip event February 16

Appointments available by calling the Crystal Lake facility

Crystal Lake Ill. –Due to continuing demand, McHenry County Animal Control & Adoption Center (MCAC) is offering a third low cost rabies vaccination and microchip clinic for McHenry County Residents from 3 to 5 pm on Thursday, February 16th, at its Crystal Lake facility, 100 N Virginia Street (intersection of Woodstock Street and Route 14).  Appointments are necessary and can be made by calling 815-459-6222.

For safety purposes, it is strongly suggested that children not attend this busy event.  All pets must be leashed or in carriers.  Please do not bring animals that are in heat.  Information about bite history or dogs that are easily stressed will be requested when making an appointment.

Keely Cat got his chip and shot from his Vet.

Microchipping at this low-cost clinic is offered for $15.  Rabies vaccinations are $15 for one year or $30 for three years.  Registration fees are separate and required at the time of rabies vaccination. The cost of registering your dog can be found on the Veterinary Public Health Section of the Health Department website, Registration tags are required by law.

There is no cure for rabies, and it is almost always fatal. Rabies vaccinations provide your pet with the best protection against this disease.  Unlike dog tags and collars which can fall off or be removed, microchips are a more permanent form of pet identification.  Animal microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are typically implanted just beneath the surface of the skin between the shoulder blades. The process is similar to receiving vaccination through a needle.

Assessment Quality in McHenry County After the Last Township Election

Every so often, it seems useful to share measurements of assessment quality among McHenry County Townships.

These are basically measures of the work of township assessors, although the quality of their work can be increased or decreased by changes made by the McHenry County Supervisor of Assessments and the Board of (Assessment) Review.

This information comes from analysis of property assessments compared to sale prices.  Statistics are not calculated if there are less than 25 sales in a township.

The measure of quality I have focused on since the lat 1960’s has been the “coefficient of dispersion.”

Put in human talk, that is the “margin of error.”

You will note that the lowest margin of error in 2014 was found in Grafton Township.

The 11% margin of error, while high, is significantly lower than the 18% countywide average.

What would a 10% margin of error mean?

Let’s use a sales tax analogy.

If the sales tax were 5% (and I remember those days in Illinois) and there were three shoppers buying $100 worth of goods,

  • one shopper would pay $4.50
  • one shopper would pay $5
  • one shopper would pay $5.50

There would be an equal chance of any of those results.

Naturally, if the shopper paying right on the money ($5) and the shopped paying too much ($5.50) knew of the $4.5 shopper, there would be consternation at the check-out line.

Consider then, the results if the average margin of error were 20%, instead of 10%.

The County’s average is 18%, brought down by Grafton Township’s 11% margin of error.

Assessments is all but Algonquin and Richmond Townships are just as likely to be

  • 20% too high as
  • just right as
  • 20% too low.

So, using the 5% sales tax on $100 purchases again,

  • one shopper would pay $4
  • the second would pay $5
  • the third would pay $6

This should give you an idea what some people are so disturbed at the property tax.

It is not just that tax districts have generally taken as much as is allowed by state law.

It is that there is inequity anywhere one wants to look.

= == = =
Current Assessors are

  • Alden Township – Constance Jones
  • Algonquin Township – Robert Kunz
  • Burton Township -Jessica Huber
  • Chemung Township – Doug Hawthorne
  • Coral Township – Rich Kaszniak
  • Dorr Township – Veronica A Myers
  • Dunham Township – Geri Alten
  • Grafton Township – Alan Zielinski
  • Greenwood Township – Karen D. Roth
  • Hartland Township – Mike Crouse
  • Hebron Township – Tracie VonBergen
  • Marengo Township – Jon Klick
  • McHenry Township – Mary Mahady
  • Nunda Township – Mark Dzemske
  • Richmond Township – Patricia O’Neill
  • Riley Township – Tammy Benitez
  • Seneca Township – Paul Bockman