Skillicorn Sponsors School Choice Forum

A press release from State Rep. Allen Skillicorn:

Representative Skillicorn Co-Hosts A Focus on Student Safety Presentation for National School Choice Week

East Dundee, IL –Representative Skillicorn is co-hosting a Focus on Student Safety for National School Choice Week along with the Heartland Institute, Americans for Prosperity and the Illinois Conservative Union.

Details for this FREE event are as follows:

Date: Thursday, January 24, 2019
Time: 7 pm-8:30 pm (Light refreshments will be served).
Location: Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Dr. , Elgin, IL 60123
Building E – University & Business Center, Room E 106
(Spartan Dr. & Lehr Dr. – Parking directly across from building E)

Topics to be presented:

  • Elgin Police Department’s Student Resource Officer Team –Tips to guard your child’s/student’s safety on-line.
  • Lennie Jarrat, The Heartland Institute – Reducing Bullying and Violence in Our Schools.
  • Brian Costin, Americans for Prosperity – What School Choice Means for Families.

For more information, contact Lennie Jarratt at (312) 377-4000 or [email protected]

This event is FREE but seating is limited. Please register at the following link:

National School Choice Week 2019: More than 40,000 school choice events across all 50 states.

Rockford Man Gets 12 1/2 Years for Drug Induced Homicide

A press release from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office:


Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that 38-year-old Jaynell J. Ross of Rockford, Illinois, was sentenced to 12 years and 6 months in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the Class X felony offense of Drug Induced Homicide following a sentencing hearing before the Honorable Judge James Cowlin.

Under Truth in Sentencing Guidelines, Ross must serve 75% of the sentence imposed.

Additionally, Ross’ McHenry County sentence will run consecutive to a six year sentence which he received on November 14, 2018 in Winnebago County, Illinois, for a violation of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act.

In July of 2017, Andrew Giblin of McHenry County was found deceased.

Jaynell Ross

Giblin’s death was later determined to be as the result of the adverse effects of heroin and cocaine ingestion.

An investigation into the death of Giblin was commenced by the Narcotics Unit of the Office of the McHenry County Sheriff.

Leads derived by the Sheriff’s department resulted in a multi-jurisdictional investigation where Jaynell Ross was subsequently identified as the person who delivered the drugs which caused Giblin’s death.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the investigation by the Rockford Police Department.

As part of the multi-jurisdictional collaboration, undercover purchases of heroin were made from Ross resulting in criminal charges in Winnebago County for those acts.

The case was prosecuted by John T. Gibbons, Chief of the Criminal Division of the Office of the McHenry County State’s Attorney.

The case was investigated by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

The Latest on Robert Miller’s Quest to Gain Crystal Lake City Council Ballot Access

From Crystal Lake City Council candidate Robert Miller’s wife Dianne:

Here is the latest on Robert’s court case….

Robert Miller filing petitions for Crystal Lake City Council. Photo credit: Dianne Miller.

Robert had a status hearing yesterday in McHenry County.

The attorney for the hearing board and a new attorney for Hopkins, Brady and Ferguson were in attendance.

Appears that Hopkins, Brady and Ferguson are still being represented by the law firm that Mayor Shepley’s wife works for.

Brady, Ferguson and Ralph Dawson were there too. (We have never seen Hopkins in court)

Robert came to court prepared with his legal brief in hand.

The attorneys had nothing.

The judge [Thomas Meyer] was surprised that Robert had his brief ready.

He worked his butt off researching case law and he found some interesting cases which he highlighted in his brief.

Since Bob is pro-se he also had to educate himself on the proper way to format and write a brief. I think he did a great job!

Robert discussed with the judge the importance of getting this resolved quickly.

It was decided that the attorneys have until February 5th to file their briefs and another court date was set for February 11th.
(February 11th is Robert’s birthday!)

The judge is supposed to give his decision then.

I was not able to find ANY information on the Marshall Lowe/Dell Miller election ballot challenge [which Lowe won in court under fairly similar circumstances].

I wound up doing a FOIA with McHenry County (both County Clerk and Circuit Court Clerk), the State of Illinois Election Board and lastly
Algonquin Township.

They all replied that they have no records.

I did find it interesting that the reply I received from Algonquin Township was a written letter from their attorney Jim Kelly.


Their attorney handles their FOIA requests?

No wonder Algonquin Township is so messed up.

Every other place I have submitted a FOIA to has had a FOIA clerk respond to me – not an attorney!

Since Charles Lutzow is the FOIA officer – why is he having the attorney respond? What an incredible waste of money!

I have attached a copy of their response but if you decide to put that up on the blog, please remove my email address.

Man on Snowmobile Dies Near Pagles Road in Harvard

A press release from McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski:

McHenry County Coroner, Dr. Anne Majewski, announced this morning that her office is investigating the death of a Harvard, Illinois man killed early this morning when the snowmobile he was driving struck a tree in the 4400 block of Pagles Road in Harvard, Illinois.

The 911 call came in at 1:05 am this morning with Harvard Fire and Rescue and the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department responding to the scene.

The man was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene at 2:19 am.

At the scene the coroner’s office was informed that he was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

The deceased is identified as 32 year old Brandon J. Shields.

An autopsy will be conducted tomorrow in the McHenry County Coroner’s Office to determine cause of death.

The crash remains under investigation by the Illinois Conservation Police.

Unlike CL High School Board, Cary Grade School Board Posted Summary of Proposed Teacher Contract Three Days in Advance of Contract Vote

Crystal Lake High School District 155’s Board was scheduled to meet last night to pass the new teachers’ contract but cancelled the meeting because of bad weather.

Now, the vote is scheduled for Thursday night.

No one in the public is privy to the details although Cary Elementary School Board President Scott Coffey–a candidate for the high school board in April–offered the following prediction, written Tuesday before the Tuesday night meeting was cancelled:

Scott Coffey

This issue encapsulates many of the key issues that are fundamentally wrong with how this district operates.

The teacher’s contract is the single largest expense a school district has to bear and yet the Board completely fails to disclose any information to the public prior to the actual vote.

If I had to guess, this agreement probably covers the next 3 years at a cost to the taxpayers of over $150 million.

Of note is the fact that they scheduled a closed session prior to the actual vote in order to explain the details of the agreement to the Board.

I’ve gotten the sense that some of the Board members don’t even know the full extent of the details of the agreement.

Typically, an exemption to the Open Meetings Act allows a board to discuss collective bargaining issues/strategies in closed session, however, given that the agreement is finalized, what could they possibly be discussing in closed session that shouldn’t actually be discussed in open session?

With the upcoming election, I had hoped to get on the Board and address this expiring labor contract, but it looks like this board has jammed through a new agreement prior to seating a new board that will now have to live with the contract’s long term consequences.

Given that this district will have run up $45.3 million in deficits over the last 6 years with no end in sight, I am afraid they are just pouring more gas on the fire.

We will have to wait until tonight when the board allows the public to see the details.

Consider that Cary Grade School District 26 posted a summary of its teachers’ contract three days before the public board vote, something the high school district has refused to do.

The summary is below:

The only element of this summary that might be difficult to understand is the term “TRS.” It stands for Teachers Retirement Fund. Many school districts assume both the employer and the teacher share of this payment for teacher pensions. Apparently, cary does not.

The meeting starts at 6:30.

You can watch the Board meeting here.

Board member’s contact information.

District phone number: 815-455-8500

The Local 150 v. Algonquin Township Road District Decision in Which Andrew Gasser Was Not Held in Contempt of Court

I read the 160-pqge transcript in the following and wondered what the court order said.

You can read it below:

To me, the transcript began to get interesting d end the proceedingsfirst at page 122, when Andrew Gasser attorney Robert Hanlon tells the judge that his order was not specific enough to know what should be done when.

On page 140 Hanlon states that the court hearing is about whether Gasser “was willfully and contumaciously violating your order.”

At this point the Judge admits he’d “have to fashion something in the order, other than…more specific than I fashioned in the September 20th order, obviously.”

That being the case, Hanlon said, “then he couldn’t have willfully violated your order to begin with.”

On page 143 Hanlon argues that if the Judge were to amend his court order, “certainly then he cannot beheld in contempt, and then the order would be ripe for appeal as well, because it would end the proceedings.”

The following exchange made me smile:

Judge: Can IO amend my order sua sponte to that effect?

Hanlon: You’re the judge.

Judge: That doesn’t mean as much as you think.

On page 150, the Judge notes, “There’s nothing punitive bout indirect civil contempt. It’s all coercive. Sp, there’s no penalty, it’s simply a coercive tool of the Court.”

Local 150 attorney Paszata suggests ordering Gasser sequentially to strike members from the eight suggested arbitration panels.

Gasser then testified that his twenty years experience in the Armed Forces taught him how to follow orders.

“Never in this entire process have I willfully or gone out of my way to say I’m not going to comply with something legally. It’s something I fought for fro twenty years.”

The Judge stated, “I don’t find your conduct to be contumacious or disrespectful to the Court.

“So for these reasons, I’m not going to — I’m denying the Petition for Indirect Contempt of Court.”

He then went on to describe what he wanted in the new order.

Below is the article that Illinois Leaks, including the court transcript, can be found below:

Algonquin Township Road District vs. Union 150 – Court Transcript- the truth

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –As promised, the transcript of the recent Union 150 case against the Algonquin Township Road district has arrived and available for download at this link or viewed below.

Most telling is the fact it does not contain many of the allegations we heard locals spreading on social media.

There are several very interesting points made of which we point out a few below.  We urge everyone to read it to get the truth as to what went on in court rather than listening to a bunch of gossip on social media.

  • Local 150 filed three motions seeking money, specifically:

1) Motion for Sanctions $159,095.00  (Denied)

2) Motion for Attorney Fees under the Open Meetings Act  $161,106.50 (Denied)

3) Motion for Attorney Fees under the Freedom of Information Act (One Count) $52,095 (Awarded  $31,850.)

  • Local 150 also filed a motion to hold Andrew Gasser in Contempt. (Denied)
  • Local 150 asked for costs totaling $1,756 and was awarded costs of $451. (25%)

Out of claims totaling $374,308, the Road District was ordered to pay $32,301, or only 8.6% of the money Local 150 demanded.

Does Local 150 have any order that allows the Union to have an employee restored to employment?

No, contrary to claims from the social media warriors reporting otherwise.

What is the focus of NWH reporting, – Rob Hanlon is late and Andrew Gasser has 21 days to pick an arbitration panel.

What would the NWH headline be if the court awarded all of Local 150’s fee demands?

Hanlon caused $400,000 in more legal fees……

While the entire transcript is very interesting reading, two things jumped out at us.

  • Union 150 – “We think that there’s no way that they could have been terminated for just cause”

They think?  How interesting that they did not say they “know”. 

  • The Judge– “I do look at the September 20 order, and it is not as precise or specific as in retrospect it should have been, in my opinion. And so I’ve listened to your testimony under direct and cross-examination as well as your statement. I don’t find your conduct to be contumacious or disrespectful to the Court. So for those reasons, I am not going to — I’m denying the Petition for Indirect Civil Contempt.”

So it was the judge’s order on September 20 that was not precise, rather than Andrew Gasser ignoring the courts as has been claimed.

Go figure, truth prevails once again.

Kane County Judge Assigned to Tirio v. Illinois Integrity Fund Case

The McHenry County Circuit Court has decided no local judge should hear the case that McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio has filed against the cats paws for the Illinois Integrity Fund that may end up with McHenry County Board Chairman as a defendant.

Kane County Judge Kevin T. Busch has taken on the case.

A summary of his career follows:

He has a 1981 Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and received a Law degree from John Marshall Law School in 1985.

Sean Casten Provides 25-30 Minutes for Constituent Questions in Algonquin

From a Friend of McHenry County Blog after attending Congressman Sean Casten meeting in Algonquin:

The purpose of the meeting was a round table discussion on the partial government shutdown.

Jack Franks, McHenry County Board Chairman, was host and moderator. Approximately 120 people were in attendance.

In the opening remarks, Rep. Casten emphasized that the partial shutdown is not about border security – it is about two personalities – President Trump and Mitch McConnell.

He emphasized that there is bi-partisan agreement on the Democrat House Bills to fund the government that were approved but not taken up by the Senate.

He did also point out that there was a $1000 application fee for registering as a DACA recipient under the executive order that was originally written by President Obama.

Sarcastically, he said the wall would have been paid for if President trump did not cancel the Obama Executive Order.

Math tells me that there must be 5.3 M DACA eligible people in the US.

He also said the State of the Union Speech is “on Hold” as that is the No.1 security risk with the Super Bowl being the No.2 security risk.

He, and the Democrats, do NOT want people who have been deemed “essential” but not getting paid as security for those events.

There were a number of people who then talked for a few minutes each about how the shutdown is effecting them and what they could possibly do to help:

  • Two members of different credit unions indicated they could help people affected through bridge loans
  • Two people talked about how their food banks could help
  • Two union members talked about how the shutdown is hurting their members and that they still had to go to work without pay.
  • One union represented the airline maintenance workers.
  • One woman cited how difficult it is for her family – husband lost job prior to Christmas, she worked for the EPA and was furloughed so their family had went from two incomes to zero. She related what she was doing to save money and talked about fixed expenses e.g. day care for one, it still had to be paid or the child would lose its place.

With about 25 – 30 minutes left in the meeting, the floor was opened to questions.

One of the panel members had suggested drafting a new Constitutional Amendment that would prevent any future government shutdowns.

One “pro-wall” woman said she wanted border security/safety for American families.

Rep. Casten cited some murder statistics (I believe 2000+ convictions in 2018) and I think he may have said (not entirely sure) that a large number of people committing those murders had come across our northern border.

Then a gentleman got the floor and went on a “filibuster” about opening the government.

After a few minutes, Jack Franks asked to please ask your question and he said he was getting there and after another few minutes, I still don’t think he asked the question but he did advocate for nationwide referendum on border security.

As time was running out, a Republican woman stood and pleaded to ask Rep Casten one more question.

Jack Franks shut her down right at 11:00 indicating that Rep. Casten had to get to the airport.

Bottom line was still very much along the line that if the President and the Senate would just do what the Democrats want, there wouldn’t be a partial shutdown and the government would be fully open.

= = = = =

Glen Swanson

Algonquin Township Republican Party Chairman Glen Swanson sent the following information:

Illinois 6th Congressional District Congressman Sean Casten, speaking in Algonquin, Illinois at the Village Hall on January 22nd, 2019 on the Federal Government Shutdown.

Yes, the meeting is influenced with Jack Franks moderating and selecting the questioners.

And Yes, he refused to acknowledge I had a question for Mr. Casten, which I informed prior of the meeting.

Instead he picked his buddy who took 10-15 minutes as whining to make a point.

Here is a copy of the video. I only have sound during the Q&A part.

Posted by Barbara DeRolf Lloyd on Tuesday, January 22, 2019

I tried to get prompted by Jack Franks for a question, but he blew me off probably thinking I would make his new best friend Sean Casten look bad.

But we had an others who he didn’t know hit him until he let a Democrat filibuster the limited Q&A time away.

Same old Jack, he brought friends too!

My question, would have been what are you doing to end the Federal Shutdown?

Jack Franks puts his photo and name on the line in support of Sean Casten for Congress in the Democratic Party Primary Election.

It is easy to show the available food pantries, Credit unions in the area there to help and how certain agencies budgets can only last so long or people working and not getting paid until maybe later or the government worker sobbing telling about her and her husband in a non-priority group is suffering financial hardship, but, sorry, it looks more like he is digging in the trenches oppose to solving the issue.

Seeing the Franks-Casten bro-some love affair shows he is not representing the people of the district, but aligned with the party.

His speech, was to point the finger at Trump play the political power game using the people in District 6 who are suffering g the Federal Shutdown fallout as pawns.

District 155 Postpones Teacher Contract Approval Meeting Until Thursday



January 22, 2019

The January 22, 2019 Board of Education Meeting for Community High School District
155, McHenry and Lake Counties, Illinois, has been CANCELED due to weather
conditions. The Rescheduled Regular Board of Education Meeting will be held on
Thursday, January 24, 2019.

LOCATION: Center for Education
One South Virginia Road
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

TIME: 7:30 P.M.

Please contact Mary Sutfin if you have any questions.
/S/ Adam Guss
President, Board of Education
Community High School District 155
/S/ Mary Sutfin
Secretary, Board of Education
Community High School District 155


State Rep. Asks Townships to Return Surplus Funds, Defined as More than Two and One-Half One Year’s Spending

From the Illinois News Network:

Lawmaker wants townships with big bank accounts to return money to taxpayers

By Greg Bishop | Illinois News Network

A township in central Illinois that overtaxed residents for years is returning more than $735,000 to local property taxpayers, a rare rebate that one lawmaker said he wants to see happen in more of the state’s 1,400 townships.

Shelbyville Township recently returned $735,000 back property taxpayers because its reserve funds exceeded two and a half years of annual operating expenses, said state Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, who helped pass a law that mandated such rebates.

Shelbyville Township’s general assistance fund, used to help low-income residents, typically spent about $16,000 a year, according to media reports. The general assistance fund had a balance of more than $200,000 – enough for 12.5 years.

Halbrook said the law he passed a year and a half ago was based on a 1969 Illinois Supreme Court Case from Adams County.

Brad Hllbrook

“A business owner sued the county because they had funds on interest and ‘they’re overtaxing me’ and the courts ruled in that favor,” Halbrook said.

Halbrooks’ measure requires townships to limit reserves to two and a half years worth of annual operating expenses.

“That’s two and a half years worth of cash,” Halbrook said. “That’s a big number, so there’ll be all kinds of stuff going on. The whole idea was to protect taxpayers. We have to maintain taxpayers in the back of our minds all the time.”

Halbrook wants Shelbyville Township to serve as a model for others.

“Hopefully the townships across the state of Illinois would do the right thing and take a look,” Halbrook said. “I think what’s going to happen in our township is, a year ago before they voted to rebate the funds back they reduced our levy in the town portion 33 percent. This year they held it even and so I think as this thing balances out we’ll see a reduction of the overall tax burden to property owners.”

Halbrook said last month’s rebates to more than 2,000 property owners ranged from a few thousand dollars to $20 to $30, based on the equalized assessed value of the property.

Comparing Illinois Property Taxes with Household Income

Reprinted with permission:

Illinois’ Lethal Combination: Rising Property Taxes & Stagnant Incomes

A lethal combination of rising property taxes and stagnant incomes has forced many Illinoisans to rethink their relationship with their state.

More than 1.5 million net residents have already fled the state since 2000 – and you can’t blame others for thinking about joining them.

Property taxes have become punitive in Illinois.

We’ve written about how these taxes have destroyed the equity in people’s homes across the state.

Many families have done the math, and whether they’re in the struggling south suburbs of Chicago or the affluent North Shore, they’ve decided to leave Illinois behind.

The traditional method for measuring the burden of property taxes is to look at a household’s property tax bill and compare it to a home’s value.
Under this method, Illinoisans pay the highest property taxes in the nation.
[And Cook County brings down the average.]
At 2.7 percent, Illinoisans pay far more than residents in neighboring states – twice more than those in Missouri and three times more than residents in Indiana.

That fact is outrageous on its own.

But to really understand the pain that these taxes inflict on Illinoisans, it’s important to compare property tax bills to household incomes.

After all, those bills are paid straight from people’s earnings.

The unfortunate reality is that Illinois incomes have been stagnant for years – and falling when you consider the impact of inflation.

The net result: Property tax bills per household have grown three times faster than household incomes since 2000.

That means more of Illinoisans’ hard-earned incomes are going toward property taxes and less towards groceries, college tuition, and retirement savings.

In 2017, 6.73 percent of household incomes went toward property taxes, up from 4.3 percent in 2000.

That’s a 55 percent increase in the effective tax rate.

The detailed data is below:

Property taxes, county by county.

Residents of Lake County pay the highest property taxes in Illinois when measured as a percentage of household incomes.

In 2000, Lake County residents paid 6.5 percent of their household incomes toward property taxes.

Today, residents pay 9.1 percent.

That’s a 40 percent increase.

The average Lake County property tax bill is now over $7,500 per household.

Meanwhile the residents of the other collar counties and Cook pay more than 7 percent of their incomes to property taxes, with average bills ranging from $4,500 to $6,200 a year.

Overall, the collar counties pay the highest taxes as a percent of income in the state.

But it’s not just the Chicago suburbs that are taking a hit.

Taxpayers statewide have seen their taxes rise.

In fact, most of the counties that have had the biggest tax growth, in percentage terms, are found downstate.

Hardin County residents, though they pay low rates, have seen them jump 97 percent since 2000.

Residents in Pulaski County, have seen their rates go up by 78 percent.

Cook County comes next at 75 percent, but after that it’s all deep downstate again: Calhoun (70 percent), Greene (66 percent), Jersey (65 percent), and Pope County (62 percent).

Taxes too high

Any way you cut it, Illinoisans are being punished by property taxes.

That’s prompted some, including new Gov. J.B. Pritzker, to propose a reduction in property taxes by increasing income taxes.

But that would do Illinoisans no good.

Illinoisans already pay the nation’s 6th-highest rates when you lump all state and local taxes together.

Shifting them around won’t help when the total tax bill is too high to begin with. What Illinoisans need is tax cut, not a tax shift.

CL High School Board Agenda re Teacher Contract

Way down at the bottom of the Crystal Lake High School Board 155’s agenda for tonight’s meeting is the following:

If you can attend the meeting and want to speak, you need to go early.

What you see from the agenda above and what you see below is all the information about the proposed contract that has been provided to the public.  (And, hat is how big the print is on the original.)

If not, you can watch the Board meeting here.

District 155 Teachers’ Contract Up Tuesday Night at 7:30

From regular Crystal Lake High School Board attender John Pletz:

John Peltz, when a candidate for the Crystal Lake High School Board.

What happens when teachers elect their family members to Community High School District 155’s Board of Directors?

Taxpayers only get 48 hours of notice that these board members are voting on a new contract, with no, zero, zilch, input from the public.

More money for them and their families.

For months, they have negotiated behind closed doors to take more of your money.

Did they ask you if you want them to have more of your money?

What happens when they pass a new contract to give more money to themselves and their families?

They have the legal right to take your money.

What happens if you don’t pay your taxes?

They take your house away from you and your family.

January 22, 2019

CENTER FOR EDUCATION One South Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, IL 60014

7:30 p.m.

Come and share your thoughts and feelings at the board meeting tomorrow night. You will have 3 minutes to speak at the meeting.

Please try and be there, but if you can’t, let them know your thoughts.

Board member’s contact information.

District phone number: 815-455-8500

Congressman Sean Casten in Algonquin Tuesday from 9:30 to 11

Sean Casten

At the Ganek Municipal Center (Algonquin Village Hall), 2200 Harnish Drive, newly-elected Democratic Party Congressman Sean Casten will meet with constituents.

Topics will include the partial government shut-down and its impact on Federal employees, President Trump’s efforts to obtain money for a longer wall along the Mexican border, and other topics.

Racist Ballot Plan Now Being Promoted to Deny Republican Ballot Access

While State Representative, I attended conventions of the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC, for short.

In an informal conversation with a Mississippi State Rep., I was told that the law that allowed only the top two finishers in a primary election to advance to the general election was a scheme to prevent blacks from winning office.

That law was instituted in California to keep Republicans off general election ballots.

The result was no Republican being on the ballot there for U.S. Senate last year.

Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, Democrats are advancing the idea elsewhere:

Harvesting Democratic Votes Liberals want to impose the California voting model on all 50 states. – Editorial

Kane and McHenry County GOP Plan “Getting to Know You” Bowling

With two State Senate Districts, three State Rep. seats and two congressional districts dipping into both McHenry and Kane Counties, the two county Republican Parties have scheduled a chance for party activists to get together next Sunday.

From McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Diane Evertsen:

This is an excellent opportunity for us in McHenry County to show our counterparts in Kane County how skilled and limber we are . . . . as well as show off our championship style! 

This is going to be just a fun occasion for everyone to get together and have a good time, meet other pc’s you may not have met before, maybe share some tips (or learn some) from our friends in Kane County. 

Bring the kids and grand kids. 

Price is certainly very affordable and we all need to get away from the computer monitors and ignore the grey skies!  RSVP to Chris so he’ll have enough food for everyone and – – –

See you next Sunday in Huntley!!

Racism in the 1920’s

Today the country celebrates Martin Luther King’s birthday, but I want to take readers back to the 1920’s on the Eastern Shore of Maryland by re-running a part of my biography of my father:

The Lynching My Father Saw on the Eastern Shore of Maryland

While my mother’s family owned land, my father’s did not.

Roy Skinner was a carpenter and handyman of many skills, if his tools (including a cove molding device) in the basement are any indication, but often a farmer.

One of the family’s tenant farms (in high school) was next to my mother’s.

The closest high school to the family farm was in Sudlersville, where both my mother and father attended high school.

When my father was undergoing lung cancer treatment in Washington, we drove over to the Eastern Shore.

Somewhere on White Marsh Road my father saw a lynching in the late 1020’s.

As we went past one road at a bend in the highway between Centerville and Church Hill with a run down building that appeared to have been a store on the west side of the intersection, Dad told me he used to live down it.  Is is south of Clannihan Shop (I think) Road.  Dad said he knew Mr. Clannihan for whom it was named after.

I see from the map that it is called White Marsh Road.

He told of walking down the dirt road with his father.  I gathered he was over ten but not in high school yet.  That would have put it in the late 1920’s, since he was born in 1916.

“What’s that?” he asked, as he saw a crowd of men up ahead.

“Don’t look at them.  Just keep on walking,” his father said.

It was a lynching.

The road on which my father lived had both whites and blacks.

When I contacted Maryland state officials they said no lynchings had taken place in Maryland since 1900.  I suggested that a lynching in Queen Anne’s County in the late 1920’s would not have made the  Queen Anne’s County Record.

It’s not exactly something the powers-that-be would want recorded.

But my father had died, so I couldn’t produce the eye witness and the lynching trackers in Maryland apparently didn’t believe me.

More tomorrow.


The Lynching My Father Saw on the Eastern Shore of Maryland- Part 3 — 5 Comments

  1. “When I contacted Maryland state officials they said no lynchings had taken place in Maryland since 1900.”

    I think that this person was telling you that non-fact out of perception rather than knowledge. Lynchings were commonplace well past the turn of the century. There is a blog which tracks the NYT from 100 years ago at . In it the author summarizes the headline of the day from 100 years ago. I have read about many lynchings. Also at the blog the author watches every presidential speech and makes hilarious comments, both Dem and before when it was Rep.

  2. I just read your piece on the lynching your father witnessed on the Maryland Eastern Shore. Please contact me if you learn more about that incident, as I’m compiling a listing of lynchings and other racial violence on the Eastern Shore.

    I laughed at the comment by state officials about no lynchings since 1900. There was Matthew Williams in Salisbury (1931) and George Armwood in Princess Anne (1933), to name only two, both covered locally and nationally in the press.

    So far I see that there was a Queen Anne’s County lynching in 1891 of Asbury Green.

    If you can pinpoint a date of this Queen Anne’s County lynching of the late 1920’s, that might be helpful.

    The Afro-American newspaper at that time was very good at identifying local lynching and other violence, so there’s a chance I could find something.

    But of course, many acts of violence went unrecorded.

    That leaves an historical legacy of people believing “things weren’t so bad.”

    Well they were.

    Those black families living on that road must have been traumatized and forever changed. …. Thanks for sharing that story.

  3. Both of my parents are from Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

    In fact, most of my family still lives there.

    My mother, Virginia Benson (nee Pinder) was born and raised in Easton, and I can still remember her mother, my grandmother Mae Bessie Stinnett Pinder’s, house on Dover Street, right across from what is now Dover Brook apartments.

    Anyway, when my parents were married in 1968, they had to leave Maryland because my mother is white and my father is Black, and his mother (Helen Warrick Benson) was afraid that my father would be lynched and murdered like a cousin of his, William Gibson, who was lynched in front of the courthouse on Washington Street because folks thought he was carrying on with a white nurse.

    Evidently, they found his hat in her car and then went to confront William Gibson about it.

    I have tried without much luck to find anything I can on this cousin.

    I don’t know the year it happened and, as you can guess, it’s a very sensitive subject in my family.

    My paternal grandmother still refuses to talk about the lynching to this day.

    But if you come across anything, that would be fantastic.

    William Gibson’s mother’s name was Ann Gibson.

    I do not know the white nurse’s name.

    Let me know if you dig up anything.

  4. I did not notice your posted comment until now, Mr. Benson, I am sorry.

    What year or about would William Gibson have been lynched, as I have not seen a record of it.

    I have found the Easton papers not very helpful, but others are.

    So if I had a time period, perhaps I could help.

    The time period of my research is about 1870 to 1950, but if there was something later, I would like to know about it.

    The Maryland Archives has a webpage specifically about lynchings, but it is incomplete and has errors.

    I do know of a Carroll Gibson who was nearly lynched in 1924 at Easton but escaped that only to be executed legally in early 1925.

    He was apparently from Trappe.

    And the description does not seem to match yours and was likely a much later time period.

    Your parents’ story sounds most interesting.

    And I know Pinder is a common family name on the Eastern Shore.

    Feel free to email me at [email protected] and I do not mind if it is posted.

    As to Cal Skinner’s story, I have never found anything since about your story, but I am not surprised.

    You have to figure that if an accused person was never brought to town and put in jail, the occurrence would never have gotten in the newspapers.

    I am sure this has happened more times than we can imagine.

    Still, if it is alright with you, I would like to quote your blog in my book.

    It will be one of two cases of undocumented lynchings/murders identified on the Delmarva peninsula.

    Unfortunately so often researchers must rely on newspapers, and so much was not reported.

    And I want to use your case as an example of this. ….


  5. I would like to add how very sad (but understandable) that family members will not talk about lynching’s or other racial violence that have occurred.

    Maybe you could try again to ask.

    It is important.


    Because people’s mindsets today and for the future is based on what they know or understand about the past.

    But much history is wrong or missing.

    And when this information is buried, it gives the false impression that “things weren’t so bad.”

    Well it was bad.

Chicago Has Stricter Revolving Door Lobbying Rules than General Assembly

Illinois State Capitol

It’s hard to believe that Chicago has rules that are more stringent than those that affect Illinois State Representatives and Senators, but they do.

Former Alderman Will Burns, from supposedly ethical Hyde Park, agreed to pay a $5,000 fine because he did not wait a year after leaving the Chicago City Council to work for Airbnb.

In Springfield there are no prohibitions.

Algonquin Township Attorney Jim Kelly Hauls in $180,747.85 in Legal Fees

Reprinted with Permission:

Algonquin Township – Attorney James Kelly – $180,747.85 in legal bills and counting

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –While much attention has been devoted by the local media to the legal bills of the Algonquin Township Road District, little has been shared regarding the actual Township legal bills and what is causing James Kelly’s bills to be almost equal to the Road District in 2018.Since May of 2017 through the end of 2018, according to the provided records, James Kelly has billed the Township $180,747.85.Kelly’s 2018 billing totaled $146,007.60, only $3,992.40 shy of the Road District legal budget of $150,000.00 that has been an obsession of the local press. A review of the legal invoices can be found here and here.

Bob Miller

It should be noted that there are additional separate legal bills for the Clerks’ attorney and Bob Miller’s attorney.

Records for the other attorney’s billing that we have obtained do not include all of 2018.

What we do have, at this link, reflect an additional $129,899.66 in legal bills the Township has incurred.

That would bring their total legal bill expenditure, excluding any billing since May 1, 2018, for the other attorneys, to a whopping $310,647.51.

Keep in mind the Road District was involved in a collective bargaining case with Union 150, which was the primary contributor to their legal bills to date.

Considering the Township is not a party to the Union 150 case, is it out of line to ask why the Township Trustees are approving legal bills for James Kelly to review pleadings in a case that has nothing to do with the Township?

Or a better question, why would an attorney bill a client for reviewing pleadings that have nothing to do with his clients?

We have requested the other attorney billings for the balance of 2018 and will update the article when we receive those.

We suspect the Township’s total legal expenditures for 2018 will far exceed that of the Road District, even though they are not a party to the Union 150 case.

Karen Lukasik

Of additional interest is the billing pertaining to the Freedom of Information Act matters the Township is dealing with.

It is pretty clear the elected officials, specifically the Township Clerk Karen Lukasik and the Supervisor, Charles Lutzow, have delegated their FOIA obligations to the attorney, James Kelly.

According to billing, Kelly is charging the Township for receipt of FOIA’s, review of FOIA request, drafting responses to FOIA requests.

According to the Open Meetings Act, the FOIA Officer and the Public Body are the designated people to receive FOIA requests and respond to them.

The law also outlines the FOIA officer is required to be an official or employee designated by the governing board. In the case of Algonquin Township, Lukasik refused to perform the duties of FOIA officer even though she was appointed by the Board.  Currently the Supervisor, Charles Lutzow is the designated FOIA officer.

(5 ILCS 140/3.5) 
    Sec. 3.5. Freedom of Information officers. 
    (a) Each public body shall designate one or more officials or employees to act as its Freedom of Information officer or officers. Except in instances when records are furnished immediately, Freedom of Information officers, or their designees, shall receive requests submitted to the public body under this Act, ensure that the public body responds to requests in a timely fashion, and issue responses under this Act. Freedom of Information officers shall develop a list of documents or categories of records that the public body shall immediately disclose upon request.

If Lutzow and Lukasik were to simply do their job and respond to FOIA requests, a vast majority of their legal bills would be reduced.

We have not found any legal bills from the Road District attorney for receiving, reviewing, and responding to FOIA, which indicates a non-lawyer is fully capable of responding to FOIA’s if properly trained, a requirement by the law.

The only purpose for a lawyer to be involved in an FOIA request is to give legal advice pertaining to that law.

It appears with Kelly’s billing, he is doing a whole lot more than just advising his client.

Chuck Lutzow

Why should the public pay a salary for a Clerk, the keeper of the records, and a Supervisor and then also pay an attorney to perform the very functions they were elected to perform and mandated by law to perform?

While some will point to the requesters as the problem, they should realize there are other Townships that receive FOIA’s as well and they respond to them without spending money on attorneys.

In fact, in Plainfield Township, not only have they managed to take care of their own FOIA’s, they just provided records that were found and not included in requests from November.

Had they not provided those records I would have never known they existed, and rather than hiding or ignoring FOIA, they went the extra mile to comply.

The FOIA revolving door for attorneys

We have a specific record we requested which resulted in the Attorney responding to our FOIA request and claimed the record does not exist.

However, this same attorney, in court filings, confirms he was the one that created the very record we were seeking.

So by improperly denying the existence of the record, it opens up the door for a lawsuit of which the lawyer gets to once again charge the Township.

In this case, he gets to defend the denial of a record he has now told the courts he created and denied its existence.

We confirmed there was no authorization from the Downstate Local Records Commission to destroy the records requested.

So if there is no permission to destroy it, why would the person who created it, the Township Attorney, deny it’s existence?

Stay tuned for future updates as our FOIA case against the Township moves through the courts.
image name