Almost next to Aldi’s are located the Hampton Apartments on Uteg Street.
A press release has come from the Crystal Lake Police Department concerning the morning activity on Uteg Street. It follows:
On October 31, 2012, at 9:01 a.m., the Crystal Lake Police were contacted by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center concerning a troubled individual, who was believed to be calling from within the Crystal Lake City limits.
It was also reported that the caller was armed with a handgun and contemplating suicide.
Working in conjunction with DeKalb County Sheriff’s Dispatch, Crystal Lake Police were able to determine that the subject was visiting the home of a friend in the 200 block of Uteg Street, in Crystal Lake.
Due to the seriousness of this incident, the Crystal Lake Police Department’s Emergency Services Team was activated. A 10-man response team began to assemble at the corner of Union and 2nd Court.
Uniformed officers secured a perimeter surrounding the neighborhood to prevent anyone from entering the area.
Once the area was contained, Crystal Lake Police Negotiators made contact with the individual by cellular telephone.
The subject surrendered himself to Police without incident and he was subsequently transported to Woodstock Hospital for an evaluation.
His initial report of being armed was determined to be false.
No injuries were sustained to anyone involved in this incident.
The subject’s identity is not being released due to HIPPA Privacy Rules, which protect the privacy of individuals and any identifiable health issues or information.
A source tells McHenry County Blog that the Hampton Court Apartments on Uteg Street in Crystal Lake were the subject of a lot of police activity this morning.
There was a police blockade of the street.
A SWAT Team was out.
“There are tons of cops and cop vehicles all over the place,” my source emailed at 10:30.
“They have been congregating on Second Street since early morning.
“Uteg St is blocked off from Second to the end of the block on College.”
Elementary School District 47′s Donn Mendoza sent out this message at 11 AM, which seems related to the police activity on Uteg:
Dear District 47 Families:
Please be advised that District 47 was contacted directly at 10:05am today by the Crystal Lake Police Department and informed that they were dealing with a suspicious incident of significance close to the Burger King on Route 14 in Crystal Lake.
Upon hearing this, all District 47 schools were instructed to keep all students and staff indoors and to ensure that the common practice of securing and locking exterior doors remained in effect until further notice.
At 10:35 am, we were informed by the police department that the incident had been taken care of. All District 47 schools were then given approval to resume school activities as they normally would for the remainder of the day.
At 2 PM Crystal Lake Central High School Principal Steve Olson sent the following email:
I am writing to inform you of a situation near Crystal Lake Central that transpired this morning. Crystal Lake Police informed us of a situation in the neighborhood near CLC. Working with our school resource officer, we went into a “code yellow lockdown” while police worked to resolve the issue. In a “code yellow,” students are allowed to move between classes; however, no one is allowed to enter or exit the building. This morning’s situation was resolved by Crystal Lake Police quickly, and we believe that at no time were students in danger.
Please be aware that in the rare instance when situations like this arise, we normally send out an automated phone message and email. Today, however, the situation was resolved quicker than we could send out the automated call. Still, because we believe it is important to keep you informed of experiences that are out of the ordinary for your child, I am contacting you by email.
To ensure that you receive future automated emails and phone messages, please verify that your phone numbers and email address are correct in Skyward Family Access.
I prefer grade school district Superintendent Donn Mendozza’s approach.
An email from District 47 Superintendent Donn Mendoza:
Subject: Exciting Opportunity for District 47′s Middle School Students and Families
Dear District 47 Middle School Families:
The purpose for this correspondence is to inform you that all three District 47 middle schools will be hosting Rachel’s Challenge assemblies as well as an evening event in early October. Specifically, the dates are as follows:
Bernotas Middle School- Wednesday, October 10th @ 8:00am- Students
Lundahl Middle School- Thursday, October 11th @ 8:00am- Students
Beardsley Middle School- Thursday, October 11th @ 1:00pm- Students
Beardsley Middle School – Thursday, October 11th @ 7:00pm- Community Event for Parents and Community Members
As you are probably aware, bullying issues have received increased national attention in recent years-and rightfully so. The issue has become more prevalent across the country, but it is important to understand that it has been met with increasing local efforts by the schools and community to proactively eliminate bullying among our students and also assist you in your efforts as parents in positively shaping the character of our youth. McHenry County’s new regional superintendent of schools has been working with area districts to identify these programs and bring more light to the issue and our efforts.
To that end, we are writing to inform you of this exciting opportunity for our students, families and community members by way of Rachel’s Challenge which has reached over 17 million people since its inception.
For context, Rachel Scott was one of the unfortunate victims in the 1999 Columbine High School Tragedy. As per the website at www.rachelschallenge.org.
Each day 160,000 students do not go to school because they are bullied, teased and harassed. By turning the story of a tragic death at Columbine High School into a mission for change, Rachel’s Challenge is helping create safer learning environments and making a world-wide impact.
Rachel’s Challenge is a series of student empowering programs and strategies that equip students and adults to combat bullying and ally feelings of isolation and despair by creating a culture of kindness and compassion. The programs are based on the writings and life of 17 year-old Rachel Scott who was the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999. Rachel left a legacy of reaching out to those who were different, who were picked on by others, or who were new at her school. Shortly before her death she wrote,
“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”
One of the mastheads on the Rachel’s Challenge web site.
Rachel’s Challenge was started by Rachel’s dad and stepmom, Darrell and Sandy Scott when they realized that the writings and drawings Rachel left not only had an impact on her friends and classmates, but also resonated with students around the world. Although Rachel was a typical teenager who even wrote about her “ups and downs,” she had a passion and conviction that she would someday change the world. The Scott family knew her story and passion had to be told to inspire others to make their world a better place.
The community event on October 11th at 7:00pm will serve as follow up to the assemblies. Families are invited to the evening presentation and we expect that other community leaders will be in attendance as well.
As not only the Superintendent of District 47 but also and perhaps even more importantly a parent of two District 47 students one of whom is of middle school age, I have always been impressed regarding the manner in which members of this community have consistently worked collaboratively to positively shape our youth.
This event is designed to build upon and support the rich tradition within this community of providing positive learning experiences for our children such that it has a lasting impact on them into adulthood.
In all of my 17 years as an educator, I have never experienced anything as powerful and as moving as the Rachel’s Challenge assembly I attended last year.
I am thrilled that Rachel’s Challenge is coming to District 47 and I certainly hope that you are able to join us in what I know will be a lasting and very impactful experience on the evening of October 11th. Should you have questions, please feel free to contact me at your convenience. You may also visit www.rachelschallenge.org.
Parents may choose to have their child forgo the assembly. If this is of interest to you, please contact the administrators of your middle school. Students of parents who choose this option will be provided an alternate building location in which to work during the assembly.
A email has been sent this morning soliciting parental opposition to State Rep. Jack Franks’ bill to prohibit the collection of more property tax dollars when assessments go down.
Apparently Superintendent Donn Mendoza and School Board President Jeff Mason were not privy to the widespread understanding among state representatives that the legislation was just another “headline” bill to enhance the re-election chances of Democrats who voted to hike state income tax rates by 67%.
As one suburban Republican joined at the hip with the Illinois Municipal League put it, “It’s all for show.”
In any event, below is the use of District 47 tax dollars to try to get you to contact State Senator Pam Althoff and State Reps. Mike Tryon and Mike Gaffney to allow the school district to be able to collect more money (3% next year), even though the value of your home has tanked.
It should be noted that Tryon and Gaffney have already voted for the bill.
Dear District 47 Families:
Crystal Lake School District 47 had been closely following recent legislation (Amendment 6 of Senate Bill 2073) approved in the Illinois House of Representatives on February 21, 2012, which, had it passed in the Senate and been signed by Governor Quinn, would have had a significant impact on our ability to provide high quality educational services for students for whom we are responsible.
This is the third time in the past few weeks that this sort of law has been proposed.
Based on that, there may be additional attempts in the future.
We wanted to make you aware of the potential impacts, as we see them in District 47, were this type of legislation to eventually become law.
Currently, local taxing authorities, such as District 47, are limited to increasing taxes by the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 5%, whichever is less.
Simply stated, the Franks Amendment to Senate Bill 2073 would have capped the ability of local taxing bodies, such as District 47, to raise the tax rate when property values decline unless approved by voters.
Effectively, the legislation would have capped the increase to 0%.
District 47 has lost over $8.6 million in revenue since the 2006-2007 school year with interest income down $2.3 million and State revenue down $6.3 million.
New property, which adds to the district property tax revenue, is down from $54 million in the 2003 tax year to $7 million in the 2011 tax year.
Since the current economic crisis began, our school district has managed its finances by cutting approximately $6.2 million in expenditures.
By the end of the 2012-2013 school year, we will have:
Eliminated 72.5 positions through attrition and layoffs
Eliminated or reduced benefitsRestructured programs and contracts to secure savings
Utilized $6 million in reserves to weather the loss of revenue in order to maintain our current level of programs and services
Should this type of proposed legislation eventually become law, we estimate given the current economic climate, that District 47 would have to initiate a discussion regarding
the possibility of closing a school,
significant staff layoffs thus further
increasing class sizes and would consider a reduction in programs and services which have become part of District 47’s culture. Examples of these programs include but are not limited to Art, Music, Health, Clubs and Activities, Extended Curriculum, Reading Recovery, Band, etc.
As part of the community, we understand the property tax burden being placed upon everyone in a time of declining home values.
However, we cannot pull back from investing in our children’s future.
We believe that legislation such as Amendment 6 to SB 2073 damages the ability of local schools to provide quality education and would potentially be devastating to District 47’s students.
We encourage you to contact your state senator and state representative to discuss this. Local legislators include
I was alerted to look for something by District 47′s Communications Director Lori Parrish’s having robo-called to tell me the same information.
Alert Name: Attempted Child Abduction
Alert Type: High Importance
Complete Message: This afternoon a female high school student who was walking back to school following her lunch period, was approached by a man in a small silver 4 door vehicle in the east parking lot of Husmann Elementary School. [Emphasis added.]
Crystal Lake Central High School on a spring day.
The student was not harmed and returned to school safely where she informed administration about the situation. The Crystal Lake Police Department is investigating the incident and there will be an increased police presence in the neighborhood this afternoon and in the future. As is the case every day, all of District 47 schools have adult supervision before, during, and after school to help ensure student safety.
We urge you to talk to your children about situations such as this and the appropriate response, such as contacting school staff or the police department.
School Name:Crystal Lake Community School District 47
Sent By: DONN MENDOZA
Imagine my surprise when an alert Crystal Lake South Elementary School parent emailed me that District 47 was going to allow President Barack Obama to speak to its students on September 8th.
Sure, I’m just too much of a cynic. This pitch to kids has nothing to do with future political campaigns, right?
Right. The same way that politicians’ handing out Halloween candy collection bags right before a November election has nothing to do with their campaigns.
If schools think it is important enough to allow the President to speak to them, he must be important, I’d figure, if I were a kid.
Just from casually listening to the radio during the 1948 presidential campaign, I came up with a question for my mother, then a registered Democrat in Easton, Maryland:
“Why are you and Daddy against the president?”
I certainly must have heard some negative comments from my parents about electing Harry S Truman president.
That was probably my first political utterance. I was six years old. I even remember I was standing next to the washing machine on the back porch.
(And when, after the election, I saw Truman walking across Pennsylvania Avenue from Blair House–where he was staying while the White House was being renovated–in front of the building where I held my first job after grad school, that was a thrill. I was at the curb when he left the crosswalk.)
In any event, the parent emailed me the reply he got from new School Superintendent Donn Mendoza:
“Relative to your first question, here are the parameters we’ve set forth in enabling the streaming of the Educational Address:
“1. Parents have full discretion in having their children ‘opt out’ of seeing the address at school. All schools will provide an alternate location for these students that will have adult supervision during the address.
“2. Follow-up conversations after the address has been given will center around the importance of education, goal setting, current events, etc.
“3. Building staff will ensure that advocating for or against any political party will not be part of any preliminary or follow-up discussions related to this address.
“Our principals have been made aware of these guidelines and parameters.
“We will not be broadcasting the ‘I pledge’ video” (in answer to the second question).
The “I pledge video” is one in which children are encouraged to pledge “to be a servant of President Barack Obama,” according to one email I received.
Too bizarre. (I didn’t watch it, but if you want to, you can above.)
I emailed Mendoza asking for details and was told,
“Students who will not be participating will remain under teacher supervision in an alternate location within the school.”
I remember my son’s having been one of Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s “campaign managers” at South School, so he might be one who would want to opt out.
“We’ve set up consistent parameters but as you know, all of our schools are different in terms of available space, etc. At the building level, principals are responsible for determining the manner in which students will be supervised during the address.”
I have learned that at my son’s school, the President’s address will be recorded, previewed and “if it does not turn out to be totally focused on student’s educational success and goal setting, we will choose not to show it to our students.”
If you have concerns, “Contact your child’s principal,” is the advice I would give.
Here’s a bit of what came from the Department of Education (I received this September 1st and its content may have been altered by now.):
PreK-6 Menu of Classroom Activities
President Obama’s Address to Students Across America Produced by Teaching Ambassador Fellows, U.S. Department of Education September 8, 2009
Before the Speech:
Teachers can build background knowledge about the President of the United Statesand his speech by reading books about presidents and Barack Obama and motivate students by asking the following questions:
Who is the President of the United States?
What do you think it takes to be President? To whom do you think the President is going to be speaking?
Why do you think he wants to speak to you? What do you think he will say to you?
Teachers can ask students to imagine being the President delivering a speech to all of the students in the United States. What would you tell students? What can students do to help in our schools? Teachers can chart ideas about what they would say.
Why is it important that we listen to the President and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of congress, or the governor? Why is what they say important?
During the Speech:
As the President speaks, teachers can ask students to write down key ideas or phrases that are important or personally meaningful. Students could use a note-taking graphic organizer such as a Cluster Web, or students could record their thoughts on sticky notes. Younger children can draw pictures and write as appropriate.
As students listen to the speech, they could think about the following:
What is the President trying to tell me?
What is the President asking me to do?
What new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?
Students can record important parts of the speech where the President is asking them to do something. Students might think about:
What specific job is he asking me to do?
Is he asking anything of anyone else?
The American people?
Students can record any questions they have while he is speaking and then discuss them after the speech. Younger children may need to dictate their questions.
After the Speech:
Teachers could ask students to share the ideas they recorded, exchange sticky notes or stick notes on a butcher paper poster in the classroom to discuss main ideas from the speech, i.e. citizenship, personal responsibility, civic duty.
Students could discuss their responses to the following questions:
What do you think the President wants us to do?
Does the speech make you want to do anything?
Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?
What would you like to tell the President?
Teachers could encourage students to participate in the Department of Education’s “I Am What I Learn” video contest.
On September 8th the Department will invite K-12 students to submit a video no longer than 2 min, explaining why education is important and how their education will help them achieve their dreams. Teachers are welcome to incorporate the same or a similar video project into an assignment. More details will be released via www.ed.gov .
Extension of the Speech:
Teachers can extend learning by having students
Create posters of their goals. Posters could be formatted in quadrants or puzzle pieces or trails marked with the labels: personal, academic, community, country. Each area could be labeled with three steps for achieving goals in those areas. It might make sense to focus on personal and academic so community and country goals come more readily.
Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals.
Write goals on colored index cards or precut designs to post around the classroom.
Interview and share about their goals with one another to create a supportive community.
Participate in School wide incentive programs or contests for students who achieve their goals.
Write about their goals in a variety of genres, i.e. poems, songs, personal essays.
Create artistic projects based on the themes of their goals.
South School parent Paul Greenlee, whose family lives on Bennington, has forwarded my story about the Crystal Lake Police Department’s ticket writing “fenzy” (his word) to Mayor Aaron Shepley, the city council and District 47 board members.
I thought you might find what he said of interest.
Mayor Shepley, City Council and District 47 Members:
Thank you for your time. I am a parent of two children at South Elementary School. My family and I moved to Crystal Lake at the end of September 2008. For your information and background, I cut and paste below an entry from the McHenry County Blog authored by fellow South parent Cal Skinner. (I have eliminated the original story, which you read at the link above.)
First may I express my concern over this ticket-fest perpetrated by the Crystal Lake Police Department on parents at South. On this particular day as he shows, it was for a special child/parent event at the school. Like Mr. Skinner, I wonder what happened at today’s child/mother event.
However, while taking my daughter to school, I have witnessed such a police action as he reports occurring at South on at least one other occasion. I wish to convey to you the following concerns:
1. Is this REALLY the best use of our police department? Can someone truly answer that question affirmatively and do so with a straight face?
2. What kind of police department do we have in which such glee is expressed in such a feeding frenzy and especially at such an event on its own citizens and neighbors?
3. Is this a tactic to further raise revenue in a community wherein the financial reserve of this city is the equivalent to a full year of its operating budget? Does the Crystal Lake Police Department have a quota system for tickets written?
4. Why is the traffic control in this area such a mess? I don’t refer to parking or stop signs, though Mr. Skinner raises good points about parking. Specifically, I point out that the assigned police traffic guard has been observed present (or not present as the case may be) at erratic and inconsistent times and is frequently off the school premises before 8:50 a.m. So the police department is going to ticket the living daylights out of the school’s parents, yet not provide safe conduct for its students? Just what am I paying for exactly?
5. Why is it that school patrols made up of the responsible students of South 5th graders are limited to walking from the sidewalk across the driveway and that’s it? There are multiple areas where patrols can provide a good service by just walking younger children across Golf and provide other service as well? Why cannot such responsible children be used at other areas as well, presupposing quality and relevant training? Granted it was decades ago, but when I was a patrol at the old Dundee Elementary School, we walked our fellow students across intersections.
6. It is my understanding that at one time, there was a crosswalk painted across Golf and school patrols were utilized to safely conduct children across that street, but the Crystal Lake Police Department demanded this be abandoned. However the police department in turn has failed to provide any additional public safety support on that street, not counting preying upon parked cars of parents.
7. Why is it appropriate to only have a public safety member at the controlled intersection of Golf and Highland, but one not provided at Golf and Nash, which in my experience is busier intersection?
If there is wise and appropriate utilization of police/public safety resources here, I’m not seeing it. I brought this up after a recent PTO/SOS meeting and was advised that decisions regarding crossing guards were controlled by the police department.
I am not privy to any study they may have performed but any such opinion recommending the level of support for South is baseless based upon my own observations.
My feeling and experience is that Mr. Skinner’s characterization of South as an “orphan school” in at least this area has somewhat of a foundation.
Traffic control via a numbering system such as at other schools such as Glacier Ridge and Indian Prairie will not work because of the limited in/out flow in the area. I haven’t seen parents or other vehicles traverse the area in front of the school in a reckless way and believe that such a system would work at South. Personally, I also believe such systems are anti-parent, but that is another topic for another time.
Mr. (Ron) Miller and Dr. (Donn) Mendoza, I have heard excellent things about each of you and D-47’s reputation and results in the district seem to support your respective reputations. I would appreciate it if you would forward this email to members of the School Board, as the D-47 web site did not have an option to send an e-mail to its governing board as did the City’s web site to the Council.
Mr. (Jeff) Thorsen and Ms. (Ellen) Brady Mueller, I would ask the same of you, as you were the only two board members who provided a specific email address for contact. (Others can be emailed, but only to a “comments” email. Presumably, they are forwarded.)
While there are but short weeks left in the current school year, I would hope that by the start of school in August that a more family friendly policy might be adopted for families seeking to support their children at the school and more importantly provide more assurance that children in this school can walk safely to and from South. By copy of this, I am asking the parents for whom I have limited email addresses, to send this to other South parents so they are aware of this issue.
Your kind attention and response will be appreciated.
Paul Greenlee 832 Bennington Dr.
= = = = = Various photos of parked cars at South Elementary School appear above, plus one of two girls waiting to be picked up. I pick my son up quite late, knowing that if I come before 3:40 PM I won’t be able to find a parking place.
You see the easy way to watch what the Crystal Lake City Council is up to near the bottom, where Mr. Greenlee mentions that only Council members Jeff Thorsen and Ellen Brady Mueller have individual emails on the city’s web site. The photos also show the new seating arrangements after the swearing in of Carolyn Schofield, who can be seen between Councilmen Jeff Thorsen (on the right side of the top photo) and Brett Hopkins on her right.
The photo above shows how Cathy Ferguson has moved to the other side of the dias, where she how sits to the left of Ellen Brady Mueller (sitting in the seat Dave Goss used to occupy) and Ralph Dawson.