Catalina Lauf Marengo Huntley School Board Candidate Event

The first two photos are from a Friend of McHenry County Blog.

Catalina spoke by teleconference over four large screen TVs.

About sixty people attended the event for District 158 school board candidates.

Catalina Lauf virtually hosting D158 McHenry County Citizens for Lower Taxes PAC event in Marengo, March 24, 2023, from Michael Thompson campaign Facebook page.
From left, Gina Galligar, Andy Bittman, Laura Murray and Michael Thomopson, D158 candidate slate of McHenry County Citizens for Lower Taxes PAC, Marengo, Mar 24, 2023, from Michael Thompson Facebook page

The Op-Ed Piece on the Democrats’ Gun Control Legislation that the Northwest Herald Refused to Publish

From McHenryt’s Tim Beck:

The Democrats’ Gun Legislation

The Northwest Herald recently publish an Op Ed entitled “McHenry County Board discounts reasonable gun law.” HB5471 was passed by Democrat legislators and signed by Governor JB Pritzker on January 10 th on the last day of the lame duck session of the Illinois legislature.

While the Northwest Herald’s Editorial Board refers to this legislation as a reasonable gun law, Conservatives use a different adjective – it is an unconstitutional law.

Conservatives cite the explicit language of the Second Amendment – our citizens’ right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

This unalienable right has been confirmed by the US Supreme Court several times over the past several decades, most notably in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008.

The debate over HB5471 illustrates the growing divide between “Progressives” and Conservatives in our country.

Progressives oftentimes view the US Constitution as a “living document”, or simply a framework that should be reinterpreted to fit the latest issue of the day.

On the other hand, Conservatives reject that line of thinking and tend to be “originalists” – the Constitution’s words continue to mean exactly what they meant when written.

Although that viewpoint oftentimes frustrates Progressives, the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights were written to protect our citizens’ rights from the possibility of government tyranny.

The NWH Op Ed states that the Democrats’ law sounds like a reasonable approach to Protect Illinois Communities, and asks the question – “What is wrong with that?”

The Conservative response is that abridging the rights of law-abiding citizens does nothing to reduce the criminal use of firearms by violent offenders. Criminals do not care about laws passed by the Illinois legislature.

Many people do not know that the city of Highland Park had an assault weapons ban on the books since 2013.

Unfortunately, many progressives believe HB5471 would somehow achieve what the Highland Park ban could not.

Even if every gun were to be confiscated, the Democrats’ solution does not prevent an evil person from using an SUV to commit murder.

HB5471 bans future sales of certain types of firearms, and it requires the registration of those firearms currently owned.

Unless HB5471 is overturned, a law-abiding citizen who has never committed a crime will become a felon if they refuse to comply.

Although the legislation does not call for the confiscation of existing firearms, a number of prominent progressive politicians have declared that is exactly their goal.

In the eyes of Conservatives, it is fortunate that HB5471 was immediately challenged by a number of groups in various courts, and we are thankful a number of Temporary Restraining Orders are in place as this legislation is litigated.

In addition to the issue of violating the Second Amendment, some of the lawsuits are challenging the manner in which HB5471 was passed during the lame duck session.

The issues cited ask whether the process that was used was in violation of certain provisions in the Illinois Constitution, most notably the single-issue rule and the three readings rule.

In her March 1 st Op Ed, Kelli Wegener bemoans the fact that our county government used our tax dollars and countless hours of staff time to make a political statement to Governor Pritzker and the Democrat legislators.

Many Conservatives wish the Democrat party didn’t waste our tax dollars by passing an unconstitutional law, and we support the message that our County Board has delivered to Springfield.

Reick Reports

From State Rep. Steve Reick:

This Week in Springfield: 

Legislative Update: 

This week, the Illinois House met Tuesday through Friday in Springfield for a full week of committees and votes. Many of the bills that previously passed committee required amendments, so we were busy in committee hearings to consider small amendments and changes. 

The Adoption & Child Welfare Committee met this week to consider amendments to bills and will resume our subject matter hearings next week. We did advance some legislation to the Senate that will help with our child welfare system.

A bill that I’ve co-sponsored passed out of the house (House Bill 439) requiring DCFS to develop a comprehensive plan to improve timely access to quality in-state residential treatment and specialized foster care for youth in care of DCFS who have significant emotional, behavioral, and medical needs. 

As we continue voting on bills on the House floor please let me know if there are bills that concern you or proposals that you would like for me to support as a co-sponsor. 

You can find a list of the current bills I have introduced here.

Hot Topic of the Week: 

JCAR Win for Local Small Business Owners

One committee in Illinois Government that often receives little attention, but has a big impact on policy is the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules. This committee, otherwise known as JCAR, of which I am a member, is a bipartisan commission of lawmakers from the Illinois House and Senate that is tasked with overseeing rules and regulations implemented by state agencies. You may recall hearing of JCAR during the Governor’s pandemic response. From masking rules, to other state mandates, JCAR was the only commission of state government able to bring any kind of accountability or checks and balances to the process. 

This week, we considered a rulemaking by the Office of the State Fire Marshal that would require all gas stations in Illinois to install double-walled pipes running from the underground tank to the pump within the next 15 years.

One of two Casey’s in Crystal Lake.

This proposal would have been an unsustainable burden on many small business owners throughout the state.

Casey’s, which owns a number of stores throughout the state, testified that complying with this new mandate would cost the industry anywhere from $300-$400 million over the next 15 years.

The burden of this cost would fall disproportionately hard on small franchises who are often the only retail establishments in downstate communities.  

Ultimately, we know that these costs would be passed along to consumers who are already suffering from inflation and the cost of living in Illinois. 

We on JCAR were able to get the Fire Marshal to drop the 15-year time period and to agree to work with the General Assembly to craft legislation to resolve the issue and find a way to defray the cost with existing state funds.

We all want better safety standards, but this issue should be addressed through legislation and the cost of a government-imposed mandate should not be borne by small business owners and consumers. 

The Week Ahead: 

Next week, the Illinois House is scheduled for legislative session Tuesday, March 28th through Thursday, March 30th.

Pritzker Quotes a Republican in a Press Release

When the Pritzker Administration sends out a press release, it usually includes quotes from legislators from the Democratic Party.

Here’s one that quores Republican State Senator Don DeWitte:

Pritzker Administration and Flender Corporation Announce Manufacturing Expansion in Elgin

Flender Corporation to expand manufacturing facility for wind and industrial drivetrains – creating 50 new jobs and retaining 140

ELGIN – Governor JB Pritzker, Flender Corporation and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced that Flender will expand its current manufacturing facility in Elgin – creating 50 new full-time jobs and retaining 140 existing full-time jobs.

New investments will enable the company to expand its manufacturing operations – including gear boxes for wind turbines – creating jobs and contributing to the economic development in the community.

“I’m thrilled that the team at Flender has recognized what companies like Google, Ferrero, Rivian, and so many more have—Illinois is an incredible place to do business with one of the strongest workforces in the country,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Not only will these added jobs uplift communities and put individuals on a career path to success, they will also build a better future by powering the growing clean energy economy in Illinois.”

Flender Corporation – which has had a manufacturing presence in Illinois since 1976 – is a leading global manufacturer of mechanical gears for industrial applications, including wind turbines. Flender’s drive components are installed in approximately thirty percent of wind turbines worldwide. The Flender Elgin Facility supplies and repairs gearboxes that are vital to the critical infrastructure needs of North America including renewable energy.

“Flender has a long history of manufacturing and employing people in the greater Elgin area. With the support of Governor Pritzker and DCEO, we are able to continue here in Illinois and also locally support the transition to renewable energy. That makes us the partner of choice for a sustainable future,” said William Galdo, President and CEO of Flender Corporation.

As part of the expansion, the company received an Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credit, which stipulates a goal of making a significant capital investment and creating 50 jobs and retaining 140 jobs. A link to the full agreement can be found here. In calendar year 2022, companies in the EDGE program committed more than $1 billion in investments in Illinois communities across the state.

“Flender’s decision to expand its manufacturing footprint serves as a testament to Illinois’ growing clean energy manufacturing landscape,” said DCEO Director Kristin A. Richards. “Through EDGE, DCEO is proud to work with Flender Corporation as they create and retain nearly 200 jobs and add to the vibrant business landscape in Elgin.”

As Illinois moves toward its goal of achieving zero-emissions by 2045, renewable energy such as wind and solar, as well as clean energy manufacturing play an increasingly critical role in economic development and energy transition efforts. Through EDGE and through expanded tax incentives through Reimagining Energy and Vehicles (REV), Illinois is poised to grow its clean energy manufacturing exponentially in the coming years.

“Flender’s expansion is a win for both Elgin workers and our clean energy economy,” said State Sen. Cristina Castro (D-Elgin)“Illinois has smartly positioned itself to be a hub for innovation and manufacturing in the clean energy sector, and we aren’t stopping now.”

Don DeWitte

“Flender is proving once again that with a world-class workforce, excellent transportation networks, and high quality of life, Illinois is a great place to invest in,” said State Sen. Don DeWitte (R-St. Charles). 

“When we see European companies choose Illinois for expansion, we know we are doing something right.

“I’m proud that creating jobs and giving the Governor the tools to do so has been a bipartisan effort.”

Suzanne Ness

“As a champion for manufacturing, I am thrilled that Flender will be expanding in Illinois,” said State Rep. Suzanne Ness (D-Crystal Lake). 

“Kane and McHenry County has some of the best-trained manufacturing workers in the world, and I look forward to visiting wind farms that have gearboxes made right in my district.”

Flender headquartered in Bocholt, Germany, is a leading global supplier for mechanical and electrical drive systems and has the reputation for highest performance, innovation, quality, and reliability of drive components for more than 120 years.

Flender has around 9,000 employees globally.

Since 1976 the company is serving the Americas from its location in Elgin, Illinois. Flender offers a broad variety of gear units, couplings and generators and associated services, with a focus on key industries such as wind power, cement, mining, oil & gas, power generation, water and wastewater, marine, conveyor and crane technology. Flender products and services combine the latest technology with extremely high quality and have been reliably providing the optimal transmission of power for decades. Further information is available on the Internet at

Uber Driver Makes Case against More State Leigslative Restrictions

From a comment by Rudy Ferrara:

I am an uber drive Uber helps supplement my fixed income. I’ve experienced age discrimination in other jobs and it scares me to think i’d have to compete with others more than half my age should this bill pass. I’d also lose the flexibility of choosing my work hours,etc. It would be devastating to many other rideshare drivers who may or may not also be in their twilight years.

Aside from myself i’d like to address a couple other issues ie drivers and passengers.

uber/lyft Drivers vs taxis:

The sponsor of this bill has no experience as a rideshare driver. She would never drive to a questionable neighborhood as taxis are notorious at never picking up dropping off passengers in these areas of chicago. She doesn’t understand the costs involved for rideshare drivers. I would need to make $30 an hour just to clear $20 due to maintenance especially driving on terrible chicago pothole filled roads. Plus train and traffic holdups. Weather. Plus gas etc. I take home $10-$15 an hour BEFORE TAXES.

If you add in potential TNC restrictions would drive uber (me for sure) out of the market. Uber/lyft are required to have $1million insurance to cover passengers. My passengers feel safe and have told me of the horror stories of taking buses or trains vs my taking them safely to their homes from point A to point B. is worth a few extra dollars to them. The argument of passengers only having safety issues doesn’t hold water when you consider drivers are also at risk. Uber documents riders were the accused party in 43% of the company’s sexual assault claims. Also uber/lyft drivers use their own vehicles. Add that to the above list of costs/risks we uber drivers face and the question is is $10-$15 an hour worth it? Apparently so as we uber drivers love the work hour flexibility.

Uber/lyft passengers:

In my five years of picking up/dropping off hundreds of chicagoland passengers with both uber and lyft i’ve never had one complaint of endangering anyone especially female passengers which is HB 2231’s main focus which TNC will supposedly prevent/minimize. Uber will immediately deactivate me if any woman complained about any misbehavior on my part. I could then appeal this decision and provide evidence of the passenger just venting anger on myself. Is why uber drivers use webcams to support their position. If you look at the statistics uber is safer than taxis for both assault and deaths in hundreds of millions of trips. And also compared nationally. I undergo periodic background checks, and continual screening as well as having to provide vehicle maintenance checks every six months, as well as maintaining adequate insurance.

TNC will eliminate thousands of uber lyft drivers versus much fewer taxis staying on the road will place the poorer less advantaged out of reach of rideshare as costs will go through the roof. Uber is accused of surge pricing in certain areas based on supply and demand. Taxis also have their own form of surge pricing by adjusting base prices. The below link is an excellent overview of uber vs taxi costs. The rich will get richer or at least have their own way with deeper pockets, seems this bill will profit. I suggest the sponsor of HB2231 put herself in an uber drivers shoes (which will never happen). I’m sure she’d have second thoughts.

Please do not pass HB2231

Thank you,

rudy ferrara

= = = = =

State Rep. Suzanne Ness is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Feds Sentence Third Prison Guard Who Killed an Inmate

From Springfield’s U.S. Attorney:

Third Illinois Prison Guard Sentenced to Six Years of Imprisonment Following Guilty Plea to Civil Rights

Deprivation Resulting in Bodily Injury and Death and Obstruction Charges

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Willie Hedden, 43, a former sergeant at the Western Illinois Correctional Center in Mt. Sterling, Illinois, was sentenced on March 22, 2023, to six years’ imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for

  • civil rights deprivation resulting in bodily injury and
  • death and obstruction of justice

offenses in connection with the death of Larry Earvin, an inmate at the facility.

In December 2019, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against

  • Hedden, of Mt. Sterling;
  • Todd Sheffler, 54, of Mendon, Illinois; and
  • Alex Banta, 31, of Quincy, Illinois,

charging each of them with civil rights resulting in bodily injury and death and obstruction offenses.

Hedden accepted responsibility for his crimes by pleading guilty in March 2022 to conspiracy to deprive civil rights and deprivation of civil rights under color of law resulting in bodily injury and death and conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct.

At the sentencing hearing in front of Senior U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough, the government summarized the evidence from those trials.

During the trials, the government presented evidence that Hedden, and co-defendants Sheffler, who was a lieutenant, and Banta, who was a correctional officer, participated in the May 17, 2018, assault of Earvin, 65, during their forcible escort of Earvin from the residential housing unit of the prison to the segregation housing unit while he was restrained and handcuffed behind his back and while he posed no physical threat to the defendants or other correctional officers.

The government presented further evidence, and Hedden admitted in his plea agreement, that Hedden, as a sergeant and therefore a senior officer to co-defendant Banta, had a duty to intervene to prevent the assault in which he also participated.

The assault resulted in serious bodily injury to Earvin, including multiple broken ribs, a punctured mesentery, and other serious internal injuries, and resulted in Earvin’s death in June 2018. After the assault, all three defendants failed to ensure Earvin received medical care and instead sought medical attention for their own minor scratches and thereafter falsified incident reports that they filed with prison officials and lied to the Illinois State Police by denying any knowledge of or participation in the assault.

Also at the sentencing, the government presented evidence that it was part of the culture at the facility to abuse inmates and lie to cover up the abuse.

At Sheffler’s and Banta’s prior sentencings, during which Judge Myerscough sentenced each of them to a total of 20 years’ imprisonment, the government summarized the evidence establishing that Banta had inflicted the most serious blows leading to Earvin’s death, including jumping in the air and landing on Earvin with both knees. In recommending a reduced sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, the government advised the court of Hedden’s acceptance of responsibility and remorse for his crimes.

At the first trial in April 2022, Banta was convicted of all five charges in the indictment. The jury in that joint trial was unable to reach verdicts as to Sheffler, resulting in a retrial in August 2022 at which he was convicted of the same charges.

“At the sentencings, we advised the court that the government’s job is to seek justice and not to win, and that an appropriate sentence in this case should include justice for the victim, Mr. Earvin,”said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris.

“We hope that the convictions of Todd Sheffler, Alex Banta, and Willie Hedden and now their imposed sentences provide a measure of justice for Larry Earvin and his family.

“We also hope it serves as a warning to all those who would abuse governmental power that they will be held accountable under the law.

“Although the vicious and brutal beating of Mr. Earvin cost him his life, and that is a loss that can never be remedied, all of those persons whom the evidence established violated Mr. Earvin’s constitutional rights and caused his death (Sheffler, Hedden, and Banta) have been and are being held accountable.

“Our prosecution of this case demonstrates our continued commitment to equal justice under the law and to protecting society’s vulnerable, including those in our prisons.”

Harris added that his office also wanted to express its appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Springfield Office and highlighted the complete cooperation of the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), for their thorough and professional investigation of this most important civil rights matter.

Harris also especially recognized and thanked the efforts of FBI Special Agents Angela Bray and Price McCarty for their tireless efforts, without which a just outcome in this matter would not have been possible.

In addition, Harris noted the important testimony of IDOC witnesses who initially participated in the cover up of these offenses, but ultimately came forward and told the truth about the events surrounding Mr. Earvin’s death.

Holding the defendants accountable for their murder of Mr. Earvin would not have been possible without their testimony.

Finally, Harris noted that the actions of a few here had unfairly tarnished the reputations of the men and women in law enforcement who honorably serve their communities with professionalism on a daily basis.

“While the conduct of Willie Hedden and his co-defendants is not characteristic of the vast majority of those working in law enforcement, it unfortunately undermines the efforts of officers who serve with integrity and who bear the responsibility to respect and defend the rights of those under their watch,” said FBI Springfield Special Agent in Charge David Nanz.

“Hedden’s actions tarnished the reputation and badge worn proudly by the many hard-working and upstanding officers who abide by their oath. The FBI is unyielding in our commitment to zealously protect the rights of all Americans and to hold accountable anyone charged with safeguarding those rights.”

“ISP thoroughly investigates civil rights violations to hold those who break the law accountable,” said Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly.  “This type of conduct is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”

The statutory penalties for each of the civil rights resulting in death charges are up to life imprisonment. The statutory penalties for each of the obstruction of justice charges are up to 20 years of imprisonment.

The case was the result of a joint investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois, the FBI-Springfield Field Office, and the Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigation, with the cooperation of the Illinois Department of Corrections. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy A. Bass and Eugene L. Miller represent the government in the prosecution.

UPDATE: Police Report on St. Patrick’s Day Enhanced Enforcement – Four Drunk Drivers Arrested

From Huntley Police:

Huntley, IL – The Huntley Police Department announced that it issued

  • 4 seat belt citations and
  • 2 speeding citations

during the St. Patrick’s Day enforcement period.

From Algonquin Police:

Algonquin, IL – The Algonquin Police Department announced during the St. Patrick’s Day enforcement period that it made

  • 1 DUI arrest and issued
  • 1 seat belt citation
  • 3 misdemeanor traffic arrests
  • 2 uninsured motorist citations
  • 7 “Other moving” citations,
  • 5 equipment violations and
  • 1 illegal transportation of alcohol citation

From Lake in the Hills Police:

Lake in the Hills, IL – The Lake in the Hills Police Department joined forces with state and local law enforcement and highway safety partners in the St. Patrick’s Day enforcement campaign.

On 03-21-2023, the Lake in the Hills Police Department announced in the twenty grant hours, officers made twenty-five traffic stops, issuing a total of twenty-one citations;

From Cary Police:

Cary, IL – The Cary Police Department announced that it issued

  • 6 speeding citations
  • 2 unlawful possession of cannabis citations
  • 2 uninsured motorist vehicle citations and
  • 1 disobeyed traffic control signal citation
  • nineteen for speeding violations and
  • two for no valid insurance.

during the St. Patrick’s Day enforcement period.

From the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department:

During the mobilization, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office issued the following citations / making the
following arrests:

  • 3 DUI arrests
  • 14 Seat Belt violation citations
  • 2 Driving While License Suspended / Revoked arrests
  • 2 Illegal Transportation of Cannabis by a Driver citations
  • 53 Speeding citations
  • 12 No Insurance citations

The money comes from the Federal government.

UPDATE: Non-Pursued Stolen Chrysler Fleeing Traffic Stop Crashes on Crystal Lake’s Lincoln Parkway, Occupants Escape, 30-Year Old Loves Park Woman Sought

From the Crystal Lake Police:

UPDATE Crystal Lake Police Conduct Crash Investigation

As a result of the investigation, an arrest warrant has been issued for Kara L Stickles (30) of Loves
Park for the following offenses.

  • Possession of Stolen Motor Vehicle- Class 2 Felony
  • Possession of a Fraudulent Driver’s License – Class 4 Felony
  • Criminal Damage to Property- Class 4 Felony
  • Reckless Driving- Class A Misdemeanor
  • Driving While License Suspended- Class A Misdemeanor
  • Failure to Give Information after Striking Property- Class A Misdemeanor

Bond amount for the warrant is set at $60,000.00 / 10%.

This event remains under investigation by the Crystal Lake Police Department.

Police are currently searching for Stickles.

We encourage anyone who may have information relating to Stickles location or this event to contact the Crystal Lake Police Department at 815-356-3620.

In addition, anyone with a cell phone can send an anonymous tip to the Crystal Lake Police Department by texting the word CLPDTIP along with the tip information to 847411 (tip411). Normal text messaging rates do apply.

Crystal Lake Police Conduct Crash Investigation

Crystal Lake, IL – On Monday, March 20, 2023, at approximately 12:10 AM, Crystal Lake Police attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a black Chrysler 200 sedan traveling westbound on Route 176 near Commerce Drive.

The Chrysler fled from the traffic stop and was not pursued by the officer.

Moments later the Chrysler was discovered to have crashed into a residence in the 0-100 block of Lincoln Parkway.

0-100 block of Lincoln Parkway, Crystal Lake.

The preliminary investigation revealed the Chrysler, that was reported stolen from Beloit, Wisconsin, was traveling southbound on Lincoln Parkway south of Woodstock Street.

The Chrysler left the roadway and caused several collisions that resulted in three vehicles and two residences being damaged.

The occupants of the Chrysler then fled the area on foot and are still being sought.

A portion of Lincoln Parkway was shut down for approximately two hours while emergency crews worked the scene.

No injuries appeared to have occurred during this incident.

The Crystal Lake Police Department wishes to express gratitude to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Algonquin Police Department, and the Cary Police Department for their assistance during the initial response.

This event remains under investigation by the Crystal Lake Police Department.

We encourage anyone who may have information relating to this event to contact the Crystal Lake Police
Department at 815-356-3620. In addition, anyone with a cell phone can send an anonymous tip to the Crystal Lake Police Department by texting the word CLPDTIP along with the tip information to 847411 (tip411). Normal text messaging rates do apply.

Lakemoor Man on Parole Arrested for Unincorporated Woodstock and Crystal Lake Burglaries

From the McHenry County Sheriff:

Residential Burglary Arrest

On March 16, 2023 the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a residential burglary which occurred in unincorporated Woodstock.

During this incident, the offender entered the residence and removed multiple items of valuable jewelry.

On March 20, 2023, three additional burglaries were reported at unincorporated residences in Woodstock and Crystal Lake.

During these incidents, entry was gained through unsecured doors or by physical damage.

Each incident occurring in broad daylight, with the offender targeting high-value jewelry.

As a result of the investigation conducted by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Criminal
Investigations Division, and with the assistance from the Woodstock Police Department, a
suspect was identified as Scott A. Weissert, a current Illinois Department of Corrections Parolee.

On March 21, 2023, members of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force and
Intelligence Unit took Weissert into custody.

This investigation remains ongoing.

Arrested: Scott A. Weissert, Male, 60, Lakemoor, IL


  • 4 Counts-Residential Burglary (Class 1 Felony)
  • Resisting Arrest Causing Injury (class 4)
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance (class 4)

Opioid Deaths Up in McHenry County

From the McHenry County Health Department:

Opioid overdoses, deaths ‘higher than normal’ in McHenry County

McHENRY COUNTY  The McHenry County Department of Health is warning McHenry County residents of a significant increase of overdoses and deaths likely caused by opioids.

On March 13, the McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition (SAC) issued an alert that local law enforcement was reporting overdoses that required high quantities of the life-saving opioid reversal medication naloxone. The alert also reported an increase of probable opioid-related deaths that occurred from March 5 -14.

Since then, fatal and non-fatal overdoses have remained at higher than normal levels in McHenry County.

MCDH is committed to protecting the identity of people, which is why the number of suspected and confirmed fatal and non-fatal overdoses is not being shared.

The suspected deaths have not been confirmed as opioid-related at this time, but most overdose deaths in McHenry County occur because of opioids and are often caused by fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, according to the SAC.

Fentanyl is becoming more common in illicit drugs, even laced with other drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine. It is one of the most lethal forms of opioids.

MCDH and its partners want everyone to remain safe and ensure they have the supplies they need. Fentanyl test strips, which can be used detect fentanyl in all type of drugs, can help prevent an overdose while naloxone can help reverse an overdose.

Fentanyl test strips and Narcan are available for free at the following locations:

  • MCDH’s locations in Crystal Lake, 100 N. Virginia Street, and Woodstock, 2200 N. Seminary Ave. No identifying information is needed, and supplies are available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, please call (815) 334-4500 and ask to speak to someone about Narcan.
  • Live4Lali offers supplies online or by calling or texting them at (224) 297-4393.
  • Warp Corps offers supplies from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Sunday at 114. N. Benton Street, Woodstock, or by calling (815) 575-9358. 
  • The Break [in Crystal Lake near Hobby Lobby] offers supplies by calling (815)575-9358.

For support and navigation to treatment, please contact A Way Out by calling (815) 347-0385 or emailing INFO@NDARS.ORG.

AJ Freund Parental Prosecution Wins Patrick Kenneally and Randi Freese National Center for Missing and Exploited Children “Heroes Award”

From the State’s Attorney’s Office:


The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has recognized Patrick Kenneally and Randi Freese for their outstanding efforts in safeguarding the well-being of children.

The Heroes’ Award is an annual accolade that honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the prevention and resolution of cases involving missing and exploited children.

While collaborating with the Crystal Lake Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Patrick Kenneally, State’s Attorney, and Randi Freese, First Assistant State’s Attorney, along with colleagues worked skillfully to resolve the appalling crime committed against AJ Freund in 2019.

Through their exceptional dedication, they secured lengthy prison sentences for the perpetrators.

Both Patrick and Randi continue to demonstrate their commitment to protecting children and supporting their families of McHenry County.

For more information on the Heroes’ Award and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, please visit here.

Paid Leave for All Illinois Employees Starts in 2024

From the Senate Democrats:

Senate Democrat-led measure guaranteeing paid leave for Illinois workers signed into law

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford joined fellow Senate Democrats in applauding the signing of the Paid Leave for All Workers Act on Monday, making Illinois the third state in the U.S. to guarantee paid leave.

“It’s not uncommon for life to get in the way of work – be it your child unexpectedly gets sick or your car breaks down. You shouldn’t be punished for these everyday obstacles,” said Lightford (D-Maywood), whose decades of work lifting up working families has included championing numerous increases to the state’s minimum wage and expanding worker protections for employees targeted by layoffs. “With the signing of this legislation, we are leading a significant, positive impact on the lives of residents across our state and underscoring our commitment to uplifting working families.”

Under the new law, all employers in Illinois will be required to provide their employees with a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave per year that can be used for any reason. A worker would begin to earn paid leave on their first day of employment at a rate of one hour of leave for every 40 hours worked. Starting on March 31, 2024, or 90 days following commencement of employment, workers can begin using their earned time off for any reason without the requirement of providing documentation to their employer.

“Lower-income families and workers living paycheck-to-paycheck often don’t have the luxury of taking unpaid time off because their daily wages mean the difference between stability and crisis,” said State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “The Paid Leave for All Workers Act will ensure all employees in our state can rely on at least one week of paid leave per year where an emergency or a child’s illness won’t break their family’s wallet and send them into financial ruin. I’m proud of what we’ve done for working families with this historic legislation.”

The law provides that employers who fail to provide these benefits would be subject to penalties, including fines and compensatory damages for affected employees. Employers can still require their employees to provide notice before taking paid time off if the use of leave is foreseeable.

“All workers deserve to take sick time without worrying they will miss a paycheck or lose their job. This legislation prioritizes the needs of working families, ensuring they have the support they need to thrive,” said State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights). “Guaranteed paid leave is not only a matter of fairness but a smart economic policy. By allowing workers to take time off to care for themselves or their loved ones, we are supporting their well-being and reducing the financial burden on families and our health care system.”

“In my People’s Legislative Council initiative, single moms from our district told me that they often struggle to get time away from work to attend their kid’s parent teacher conferences, attend sporting events, or get a sick child to the doctor,” said State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago). “It is important all employees in Illinois, especially working single-parents and those with families, have the time they need to handle what is happening at home without worrying about missing a paycheck. I am proud to see this legislation being signed into law today. The Paid Leave for Workers Act will help everyday people balance family time with work.”

The law applies to all employees working for an employer in Illinois, except for those covered by certain collective bargaining agreements, independent contractors and employees already covered by paid sick leave ordinances in the City of Chicago and Cook County. The law is expected to impact approximately 1.5 million workers across the state.

“People need to be able to take time off when life unexpectedly gets in the way,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago). “The path toward a more equitable workforce starts with ensuring all workers have the deserved safety net of paid time off. We have taken a positive step toward committing to working families that their livelihood is of utmost importance.”

Employers are not required to cash out the balance of an outgoing employee’s paid leave, although the law does provide that up to 40 hours of unused paid leave can be carried over annually.

 “Our most vulnerable communities are comprised of working families who often have trouble finding time outside of work to handle various family crises,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “As the backbone of our state, working families deserve breathing room for life’s setbacks. Paid leave supports families in times of crisis and helps protect hard-earned jobs. This law will undoubtedly help families maintain a sense of financial stability and ultimately keep our communities safe.”

SB 208 was signed into law March 13 and takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.

Bob Anderson on Township General Assistance

Frpm Bob Anderson of Wonder Lake:

Many Townships Have Zero Qualifying Clients.

  • Of McHenry County’s seventeen townships, eight had zero clients.
  • Of Lake County’s eighteen townships, five had zero clients.

Townships are over distributing grants per client.

  • McHenry County…Hartland Township $748 per client. Average $345
  • Lake County…Benton Township $10,264 per client. Average $242.

DeKalb Township performs General Assistance for 18 other townships, one in Putnam County.

Population Range 1,432 Township Governments

  • Below 1,000 residents 700.
  • Between 1,000 to 2,499 325. Estimate 50% Have Zero Clients

Largest population Rockford Township 178,527.

Smallest population Colfax Township 136.

Illinois Comptroller: The Illinois Responsibility Report Card Act (requires) all local
governments to submit a report card called the Annual Financial Reports to the Office of
Comptroller. We provide transparency, efficiency, and accountability to the financial
reporting of local governments.

Research: About 21% of Townships in Violation.

Illinois is the only state that has Township General Assistance.


When the township form of government was established in1850 a township might have less than a hundred settlers; General Assistance was a viable form of public aid.

This is no longer true in the 21st century as the functions and duties of Townships’ General Assistance have been replaced by other government agencies, churches and the private sector.

Most townships do not have any qualified clients that meet General Assistance qualifications, many others less than five.

Many townships are not filing required Annual Financial Reports with the Comptroller Office, risking fines.

ownships are performing General Assistance for other townships.

Administrative costs to distribute aid are extremely high.

Millions of public money is levied when fund balances are bloated, breaking the law.

Bottom Line: Townships’ General Assistance, public aid programs designed for the 1850s, should be eliminated.