Jack Franks’ MCCD Fishing Expedition

The levies for the McHenry County Conservation District have been pretty constant for the last couple of years, as one can see below:

This reply from the Conservation District references the questions McHenry County Board Chairman asked:

  1. All reimbursements to Executive Director Kessler greater than $10 for the last five fiscal years including documentation for each expense reimbursed. There was only 1 reimbursement [$103.78 for a Days Inn in Memphis at a conference] and it is attached labeled #1 Exec. Director Expense Reimbursements.
  2. All payments to or on behalf of Ms. Kessler for her vehicle, including but not limited to fuel, maintenance, vehicle payments and insurance (please refer to the response to Chairman Franks posted on your website for other info). Fuel expenses are on Document 2 Copy of ESK Credit Card 04-01-14 to -3-31-19 expenses. [Most charges are for gas. Largest is for “WIRELESS KEYBD,MOUSE,CHGR” at $308.49.]
  3. All payments to or on behalf of Ms. Kessler for her cell phone, including any payments for a family plan. (Please refer to the response to Chairman Franks posted on your website for other info). Ms. Kessler has a standard issue employee cell phone for her
    business use only. In addition she has a ‘personal hotspot’ activated on that phone for a monthly cost, for remote access.
  4. All payments and/or premiums made to or on behalf of Ms. Kessler for her health insurance plan. See document #3 for these payments – it is for ‘employee only’ HSA high deductible PPO plan. Ms. Kessler pays 10% of the annual premium as cost sharing the same as any other employee on the same plan. She also receives $750 of annual HSA funding as incentive for participating in the high-deductible plan, the same as all other employees in the plan.
  5. All payments to or on behalf of Ms. Kessler for her computer, any computer-related equipment, software and Internet service. See document #2 for some of the credit card expenses and the response to Chairman Franks.
  6. A list of all payments made to IMRF on Ms. Kessler’s behalf since the inception of her employment. An estimate of the payments to IMRF are found on the response to Chairman Franks.
  7. Breakdown of all MCCD-owned lands being leased and rents received and expenses paid regarding these properties. See document #7 for the detail of all agricultural leases including revenue by lease for the last 4 fiscal years and related expenses. See document 7a for the Taxes paid on the farm leases (additional expense) for the last five years.
  8. Inventory of all MCCD land that is not being actively leases, used or managed. All property is being managed in some way, either through actively being farmed, used or restored or even for baseline inventory or public program access. And all are being walked by natural resource staff and other staff and/or volunteers on a regular basis. No
    document was provided for this because all land is being managed.
  9. All reimbursements greater than $10 made to each member of the MCCD Board of Trustees dating back to their appointments. See document #6 attached. [All are under $30.]

Comparing Springfield’s State Journal Register to the Northwest Herald

The State Journal-Register in Springfield made news among the journalism set when its five-year editor offered to resign to save jobs of reporters.

Springfield’s weekly paper, Illinois Times, wrote this story.

The paper is now owned by Gateway, which loves to cut costs.

The S J-R has a circulation of 17,000 on weekdays and 20,000 on weekends, according to Wikipedia.

Capitol Fax reports the Springfield paper is down to five reporters.

According to Wikepedia, the Northwest Herald has a circulation of “about 21,500.” Checking with the footnote, however, does not show a listing for the paper listed among other Chicagoland newspapers.

Where the Journal-Register on Wikipedia lists the circulation figures cited above, the Northwest Herald shows weekday circulation of 32,934 and Sunday distribution of 34,961.

I’ve been told the NWH has five or six reporters.

Farmers Urged to Recycle Chemical Containers

From the JB Preitzker Administration:


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is encouraging farmers and agrichemical facilities to save their empty agrichemical containers as they will once again be hosting free container recycling days throughout the State.

Beginning the middle of August and continuing into September, sites throughout the State will collect the empty containers which will be recycled and made into shipping pallets, plastic lumber, and other useful products.

“This program offers farmers and agrichemical facilities a convenient opportunity to dispose of empty pesticide containers while also helping to protect the environment,” said John Sullivan, Director, IDOA.  “I encourage farmers to gather any containers they may have been planning to throw out and take them to the nearest collection site to be repurposed.”

Metal and household pesticide containers are not eligible for the recycling program.  Collection sites will accept only high-density polyethylene, #2 plastic agrichemical containers that are clean and dry.  Participants are responsible for rinsing them and removing all caps, labels, booklets, and foil seals.

The program is a cooperative venture between the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Container Recycling Council, GROWMARK, Inc., Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, G. Phillips and Sons, L.L.C., Illinois Farm Bureau, and the University of Illinois Extension.

Additional information can be found on the IDOA website at agriculture.illinois.gov, click on the “Environment” tab and then “Agrichemicals”.

The collection sites and dates for the 2019 Pesticide Container Recycling Program are as follows:

  • morning of August 27th at Conserv/FS in Marengo. The contact person is Scott Creek at 815-568-7211.

Where to Find Slot Machines in McHenry County

Commenter Mark researhed where people can find video poker games in McHenry County.

The criteria for a gaming establishment to be categorized in a city / village in the list, is the physical address of the establishment, as opposed to the establishment being within city limits.

Thus some of the 244 establishments on the list may be in unincorporated McHenry County.

Here are the names of the 144 establishments, categorized by City / village.


Algonquin: 14 establishments

Buddyz a Chicago Pizzeria
Chinga Dragon 1
Creekside Tap
Cucina Bella
Donkey Inn
Golf Club of Illinois
Kostas Gyros
La Palma Mexican Cuisine
Port Edward Restaurant
Riverview Restaurant & Tavern
Sushi King II
Tavern at the Bridge
Town Liquors
Twisted Rose


Bull Valley – Boone Creek Golf Club


Cary – 14 establishments

750 Cucina Rustica
Coleman’s in the Park
Cuckoo’s Nes
Cary Country Club
Galati’s Hideaway
Hidden Tap
Lucky Esther’s
Lucky Penny’s
Maple Tree Inn
Orchard Prime Meats
Tobacco Stop
Tony V’s
Tracks, The


Crystal Lake – 22 establishments

Asian Buffet Hibachi Grill & Sushi
Ava’s Place
Breakers, The
Buffalo Wings & Rings of Crystal Lake
Carlos Mexican Grill 3
Coleman’s Crystal Lake
Cottage, The
Crystal Bowl
Crystal Lake Rib House
Finn McCool’s
Fire Bar & Grill
Goal Line Sports Bar & Grill
Kumi Sushi Restaurant
Las Cazuelitas
Matt’s Taverno
Riverside Pub
Village Squire
Whiskey Bungalow
Williams Street Tap
Wings Etc.


Fox Lake – Rock Corner Marathon


Fox River Grove – 8 establishments

Dead End Bar & Grill
King Ping Lanes
New China Restaurant
Sticks Pub & Grub
Tinman’s Sports Pub
Villa Bleu


Harvard – 18 establishments

Big Foot Inn
Bopp’s Grille & Saloon
Bunk’s Place
Cardinal Wine & Spirits
Cool Music Stop Bar & Grill
Front Street Tap
Harvard Moose Lodge 1289
House of Lawrence
Hub Lounge
J’s Lanes
Kozy Nook Restaurant
Lexies Lucky Slots
McGarry’s Bowl
Rosati’s Pizza
South Side


Hebron – 4 establishments

Hart’s Saloon
Hoops Sports Bar & Grill
Lucky 7’s Gaming Cafe
Tobacco Shop


Holiday Hills – All Inn Pub & Grub


Huntley – 11 establishments

American Legion Post 673
BBQ King Smokehouse
Bowl Hi Lanes
Lucky Bernie’s
Offie’s Tap
Parkside Pub
Pub 47
Sal’s Pizza Place
Sammy’s Bar & Grill
Soula’s Village Inn
Tee 2 Green Indoor Golf


Island Lake – 2 establishments

Chi-Town Dogs
Maverick’s Gaming Spirits & Crafts


Johnsburg – 12 establishments

Big Frans Boardwalk Gaming
Cabana’s on the Chain
China Bar & Restaurant
Duffy’s Palace Bowl
Halftime Bar & Grill
Johnsburg Quik Shop
Moose Lodge, McHenry
Oak Park Lounge
Raymond’s Bowl & Entertainment Center
Stucky’s Bar & Grill
Sunnyside Tavern
Waterfront Hotel & Marina


Lake in the Hills – 13 establishments

American Legion Post 1231
Bistro Wasabi
Butcher on the Block
Dino’s Pizza & Pasta
DM Prime Burgers
Grove Mart, The
Lake in the Hills Property Owners Association
Moretti’s Pizza
Stella’s Place
Tacos El Norte
Woods Creek Tavern


Lakemoor – 3 establishments

Long Shots Pub
Red House
Sweet Melissa’s Pizza & Pub


Marengo – 13 establishments

Fire & Ice Smokehouse & Creamery
Glo Bowl Fun Center
House of Bottles
Joe’s Place
La Placita Taqueria #2
La’s Cafe
Maggie O’Neill’s Public House
Marengo Ridge Golf Club
Miss Kitty’s Saloon
Niko’s Pointers Saloon
Northside Tap
Sam’s Tavern
Spot of Marengo, The


McCullom Lake – 2 establishments

Hickory Lodge
Lady Luck Poker


McHenry – 44 establishments

3 Queens
Addison’s Steakhouse
After the Fox
Betty’s Bistro
Big Frans Boardwalk Gaming
Bolt-On Inn
Buddyz Pizza
Bulldog Ale House
Chen Asian Cafe
Corkscrew Pointe
Corner Tap
DC Cobbs McHenry
El Gordo Mexican Restaurant
Fox Hole Pizza
Gambler of McHenry, The
Gin Mill, The
Green Street Cafe
Henny Penny
Hickory Pit, The
Jexal’s Wingzeria
Kief’s Reef
Lacey’s Place, 341 Front St
Lacey’s Place, 3515 Diamond Dr
Liberty Club
Lucky Poker
Mackey’s Hideout
Main Street Station
McHenry Recreation
Meat n Potato Eatery
Moe’s on Main
My Place Bar & Grill
Patroons Mexican Restaurant
Plub Garden McHenry
Salerno’s Pizzeria & R Bar
Snuggery pub
Stella’s Place
Sushi King
Town Club
Village Squire McHenry
VFW Post 4600
Vickie’s Place
Windhill Pancake Parlor


Oakwood Hills – Chalet Hills Golf Club


Port Barrington – 2 establishments

Broken Oak Marina Bar & Grill
Hermann’s Rest a While


Prairie Grove – 2 establishments

Lucky Lulu’s
Prairie Isle Golf Course


Richmond – 13 establishments

American Cafe Restaurant
Doyle’s Pub & Eatery
Gigi’s Place
Hot Slots Getaway
Marathon, 8618 US Route 12
Olive Black Martini Lounge
Paisano’s on Broadway
Panino’s Italian Sandwiches & Crab Shack
Papa Saverio’s
Red’s Steak & BBQ
Richmond Liquor & Tobacco
Tobacco & Dollar Up


Ringwood – 2 establishments

O’Leary’s Pub & Grub
Rusty Nail


Spring Grove – 11 establishments

Billy’s Beef Hot Dogs & More
Bricks & Ivy Sports Tavern
Brit’s Street
Grove, The
KC’s Cabin
Lucky Bernie’s
Tammy’s Pizza & Pasta
Tobacco & LIquor
Whiskey Waters
Wild Crab Boil


Union – 3 establishments

Checker’s II
Station 4 BBQ & Grill
Union Quick Mart


Wonder Lake – 6 establishments

Busy Bee Restaurant
Dusty’s Pizza
Ed’s Wonder inn
Grand Old Mill
Horizontals Saloon
Sunrise Food & Liquor


Woodstock – 21 establishments

3 Brothers Restaurant
Best Western Woodstock Inn
Cabin, The
DC Cobb’s
Kingston Lanes
La Placita Taqueria
Liquid Blues
Lucky Bernie’s
Main Street Pour House
Moose Lodge No 1329
Napoli Pizza
Noko’s Red Mill Tavern
Offsides Sports Bar & Grill
Old Rivers Inn
Ortmann’s Red Iron Taverno
Penny’s Place
Public House of Woodstock
Rosati’s of Woodstock
Town Tap Woodstock
Wayne’s Lanes

More Facts for Thoughts about Pensions and Educational Funding

Here’s information from the Illinois Policy Institute that shows changes in how the state budget was allocated for eudcation from 1996-7 to 2016-7:

Illinois state government actually contributes a larger share of funding toward public schools today than it did 20 years ago, when factoring in pension spending.

The problem is that pensions now take up more than a third of the state’s contribution to education, compared with just over 8% in the 1996 school year.

As I have pointed out previously, when the Governor presented his education budget while in office in the 1990’s, it was in three parts:

  • k-12
  • higher education and
  • pensions

Teacher unions urged legislators to take the money allocated to pensions and put it in state aid to education.

The IEA anf IFT lobbyists were counting on the 1970 State Constitutional guarantee of pension payments.

Their assumption has been proven accurate through decisions from the Illinois Supreme Court.

State’s Attorney’s Office Improves Internet Access for Attorneys


Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, is pleased to
announce that this month we took a leap forward in terms of office efficiency and environmental stewardship by launching eDiscovery.

Our eDiscovery process will allow us to securely send all discovery and motions involved in criminal cases electronically. This new electronic process will save thousands of pages of paper, hundreds of compacts discs, and dozens of man-hours each week.

In addition to the electronic search warrant and I-Justice Programs,
eDiscovery is another example of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s
Office leveraging technology to advance a more efficient, economical and
cleaner court system.

= = = = =

Unmentioned in the press release is that the link is “only for use with defense attorneys and a link is set up for each individual firm.”

McSweeney’s Township Abolition by Referendum Township Bill to Governor

From State Rep. David McSweeney:

IL Senate Approves McSweeney-Link Bipartisan Legislation Allowing ers to Abolish Townships in McHenry County

Springfield, IL – The Illinois Senate has given bipartisan approval to
a measure State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) is
sponsoring to make it easier for voters in McHenry County to reduce
the number of townships.

The legislation, HB 348, allows voters to force a ballot question to
abolish a township in McHenry County.  

Voters must submit a petition with at least 5 percent of the number of voters who voted in a previous comparable election.

If a simple majority of voters vote to abolish a township – the township would be dissolved.

The measure also requires the dissolution of road districts in McHenry and Lake counties with less than 15 miles of maintained roads.

Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) carried the legislation in the Illinois Senate.

David McSweeney

“I thank Leader Link for his hard work in getting this bill passed in the Senate,” McSweeney said.

“This is a bipartisan effort to help lower the property tax burden for residents and I certainly appreciate his leadership in getting the bill passed.”

The bill also includes a 10% property tax cut by requiring that the taxes levied by the county for a dissolved township cannot exceed more than 90 percent of the taxes levied by the former township government.

“Illinois has nearly 7,000 units of local government,” McSweeney said.

“If we want to permanently lower property taxes in Illinois, we have to do something to shrink the number of units of local government we have.

“This bill is not a requirement.

“It is permissive.

“It puts the decision in the hands of the voters and that is the way it should be.

“And again, I appreciate the work Senator Link did in the Senate to pass this commonsense bill.”

HB 348 passed the Senate by a vote of 44-3. The measure now moves to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

= = = = =

Meanwhile, Algonquin Township’s Board voted 4-1 not to put a rferendum on the ballot to put the Highway Commissioner under the Townshjp Board.

Who wants to join me in passing a petition to abolish Algonquin Township? (Send contact information to [email protected])

Legislation Aims at Mandatory School District Consolidation Referendums

I have repeatedly posted the cost-benefit study I did in 2011 concerning what would happen to taxes if Crystal Lake High School District were merged with Cary, Crystal Lake and Prairie Grove Grade School Districts.

You can read that article by clicking on the post’s title below:

School Consolidation Would Cost Taxpayers Plenty

After you read this story from The Center Square, please take another look at it.

Illinois lawmakers close in on school district consolidation plan, but skeptics remain

Illinois lawmakers are close to passing legislation with the goal of reducing the state’s public school administrative costs, but school officials are pushing back against the proposal.

State lawmakers are making a bipartisan push to create a commission whose job would be to examine the state’s 852 districts, find those most likely to benefit from merging administrative duties and then put a question on the next election ballot about combining them into a unit district.

“…if the Commission adopts the report recommendations by an affirmative vote of at least 11 of its members, then the Commission’s recommendations for reorganization of school districts into unit school districts must be placed on the ballots of the designated school districts in the next general election in the same manner as petitions approved by a regional superintendent of schools, except without financial incentives,” the bill reads. [House Bill 3053] 

The goal, supporters said, is to lower the state’s total number of districts by 25 percent.

State Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, told the Senate Government Accountability and Pensions Committee on Wednesday that previous task forces and commissions on consolidation have studied the issue, but said little has been done to reduce property taxes.

“My suburbs … are getting pummeled by property taxes,” he said. “We need to find some way to bring some relief.”

Cullerton said that the measure wouldn’t consolidate schools, rather just school administrations where appropriate.

Lawmakers were largely receptive, having voted unanimously for it, but showed some concern about the scope of the legislation.

“It’s not that it’s a bad idea, I think that there’s just a tremendous amount of work to be done before I’m going to be comfortable moving something like this forward,” said state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake.

Amanda Elliott, with the Illinois State Board of Education, said agency officials are concerned about the cost of that many consolidations, which she estimated at more than 200.

“The cost could be significant,” she said, adding that examining the state’s districts in one year would be a heavy lift.

“It is not possible to that amount of work in that amount of time.”

The bill would also require any new school district formed in the state to manage both high schools and elementary schools.

Should it be enacted, it would represent the most significant effort to lower the state’s nation-leading property tax burden in years. In Illinois, nearly two of every three property tax dollars go to public schools.

“Nearly every state surrounding Illinois has fewer districts, they serve more students per district and they have lower general administrative costs,” said Adam Schuster, research director for Illinois Policy.

There have been nineteen reformations of school districts in Illinois in the last decade.

Bad News Keeps Coming for Rep. Steve Reick

The Center Square, which used to be the Illinois News Network, has obtained about a four-minute video of State Rep. Steve Reick’s getting into a State Police car, then sitting waiting for paperwork to be completed on his DUI stop.

You can view the video here.

The video footage or just still photos taken from it could be fertile fodder for a GOP Primary Election or a Democraitc Party General Election opponent.

The name of no potentijal opponent has surfaced.

The accompanying article is below:

Illinois State Police release video of state Rep. Steve Reick’s DUI arrest

Illinois State Police released audio and video of state Rep. Steve Reick’s arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol shows the lawmaker telling police he had too much to drink.

Steve Reick tries to complete phone call while walking toward the State Police Squad car.

The video also shows that Reick said several times that he was a state representative. At one point, he mentioned that he had spoken to the arresting officer’s “boss,” State Police Lt. John Thompson, earlier in the day regarding Firearm Owner Identification cards, or FOID cards.

Reick asked not to be handcuffed, the video shows

Reick was stopped at the intersection of South Grand Avenue East and Eastdale Avenue in Springfield at 11:46 p.m. May 1, according to an Illinois State Police Report obtained through the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

Steve Reick tells the State Policeman, “Everyone’s in bed.”

After failing field sobriety tests, Reick took a preliminary breath test that showed his breath alcohol concentration was 0.146 percent, nearly twice the legal limit. The legal limit for driving in Illinois is 0.08 percent blood alcohol content. At one point, the lawmaker told the trooper he didn’t know what the legal limit was in the state.

After the breath test, Reick was booked into the Sangamon County Jail where he posted $3,000 bond. He was also charged with speeding and failure to signal when required.

“I made a stupid and regrettable decision last night and accept full responsibility for my actions,” Reick said in a statement released after his arrest. He has not commented further about the arrest.

The video corroborates previous police accounts of the arrest.

The trooper wrote in an arrest report that “Reick stated, ‘I have had too much to drink tonight, I will admit that.’ ”

“Reick stated that he drank a couple of glasses of wine,” according to the report. “I asked Reick where he was coming from and he stated a bar in Springfield. Reick also had bloodshot eyes.”

The trooper also reported that Reick smelled like alcohol.

Asked to get out of his vehicle, “Reick lost his balance when exiting the truck,” the report said.

“Reick stated, ‘I’m not going to say that I haven’t had too much to drink,’ ” according to the report.

Reick told police he had some sort of issue that affected his balance at night.

Bill Changing Qualifications for U of I Student Trustees Really Would Allow Illegal Aliens to Serve

In the press release from State Rep. Allen Skillicorn on Senate Bill 172, he points out the legislation would allow illegal aliens to serve as student trustees for the University of Illinois.

Commenter “Correcter” wrote,

“One already need not be a citizen to be a trustee. Current law only stipulates that they be a resident.

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=108&GA=101&DocTypeId=SB&DocNum=172&GAID=15&LegID=115916&SpecSess=&Session= See new legislation

Compare to old

“The semantics lie in whether one is undocumented/illegal, a resident, or a citizen. Mr. Skillicorn should be more consistent about the language he’s using, the language in the bill he’s talking about, and the language in current law that’s being amended.

“This would avoid confusion.

“Is he saying he is opposed to undocumented people being trustees or any non-citizens being trustees

“If Mr. Skillicorn wants to propose making citizenship a requirement, he should do that.

“Simply not voting for this legislation will not make that the case.

“Resident non-citizens would still be able to be trustees as they already are under current law. Does he support that?

Allen Skillicorn

“We look forward to seeing Mr. Skillicorn’s legislation.

“We are assuming he is interested in action and not merely posting angry press releases.”

Skillicorn replies:

“Currently a student trustee is required to a resident for 6 months, have a driver’s license, and be a registered voter.

“An illegal alien cannot be a registered voter so under current law can’t serve.

“SB 72 let’s an Illegal serve by allowing an non registered voter to serve.

“Rauner vetoed it in the 99th and 100th.”

Huntley High School Bomb Threat Fizzles Out

Frpm the Huntley Police Department:

Bomb Threat

On May 16, 2019 at approximately 12:00 PM, the Huntley Police Department School Resource Officer was made aware that a 15-year-old Huntley High School student had made a comment that he made bombs at home and wanted to bring them to school.

Huntley High School

The student was identified and was met with in the school office, where an interview was conducted.

The student indicated that he had made the comment, but that he did not have any intention on acting on the comment.

The student and his belongings were searched, and no items of a dangerous nature were discovered.

Based upon this search there was determined to be no threat to the school environment.

Immediate notification regarding the bomb threat was provided by Huntley Police Department officials to the Lake in the Hills Police Department due to the student residing in the Village of Lake in the Hills.

An immediate investigation was launched at the 2900 Block of Hillsboro Lane in Lake in the Hills.

As a precautionary safety measure, residents were requested to avoid the area, and nearby homes were evacuated

At approximately 2:50 pm, a Nixle alert message was sent and advised the areas of Albrecht, Hillsboro, Brisbane, Melbourne, Crofton, Muirfield and Briarcliff were inaccessible due to the ongoing investigation.

The Kane County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad responded to the scene, and an ILEAS call out was requested for additional assistance.

The residence was searched with the assistance of the Kane County Sheriff’s Bomb Unit, and no materials of dangerous concern were located.

Upon clearing the scene at approximately 4 pm, all surrounding roadways re-opened.

The Lake in the Hills Police Department appreciates the patience and cooperation of residents during the evacuation period and road closures.

The incident is being reviewed for further action on behalf of the Huntley Community School District 158 and law enforcement agencies.

House Republicans Backing Some Tax Hikes

From The Center Square:

Illinois House GOP on board with measures to generate $2.6 billion

Republicans continue opposition to graduated income tax proposals

Illinois House Republicans are on board with plans to collect more than $2.6 billion from taxpayers from measures proposed by Democrats, but used a news conference Thursday to reiterate opposition to a graduated income tax.

Jim Durkin

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, told the House on Thursday that thanks to April’s surprise $1.5 billion extra captured from taxpayers, there’s more money coming in to Illinois now than ever in history and it is the first time in years the state has had a balanced budget, and then some.

Beyond that windfall, which Durkin said should be used to make required pension payments and help reduce the state’s $6.5 billion bill backlog, Republicans laid out a list of revenue-generating proposal they will support, including

  • an estimated $212 million from sports wagering
  • more than $1 billion from an insurance tax
  • $175 million from capturing delinquent taxes
  • revised revenue projections of around $845 million for the coming year, and
  • $375 million from the refund fund.

The revenue proposals Republicans said they’ll support would bring in more than $2.6 billion.

The GOP’s plan proposes allocating the $2.6 billion in various ways.

For K-12 their plan would increase funding by nearly $1.2 billion, higher education by $251 million, human services by $784 million, general services by $161 million, and public safety by $267 million.

Durkin said the GOP budget plan shows there’s no need to change the Illinois constitution’s flat income tax to a progressive structure with higher rates for higher earners.

“Because we have the money to work out the things we need to do with the budget and to fulfill our obligations to Illinois citizens,” Durkin said.

Durkin also said there’s no need to eliminate a private school scholarship tax credit program Gov. J.B. Pritzker has proposed to phase out.

House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, thanked the Republicans willing to vote in favor of the insurance tax, sports wagering and other ideas, but said that’s not enough.

“I think it’s going to take us more to get to where we need to be, ladies and gentlemen,” he said.

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour, R-Beecher City, said there’s a way to get more revenue without tax increases. He said the national economic expansion is the reason for last month’s windfall and Illinois should follow suit by lowering taxes and regulations.

“A robust economy that puts people to work [and] creates far more revenue than a tax increase ever could,” Wilhour said. “Raising taxes is not the answer for hardworking Illinois families.”

Lawmakers have a May 31 deadline to pass a balanced budget with simple majorities. Harris said Democrats will engage with Republicans in continued budget discussions. Republicans have urged the four legislative leaders to meet with the governor, something they say has only happened twice so far this year with the last meeting being April 11.

Illinois Democrats have veto-proof majorities in both legislative chambers and hold the governor’s mansion.

Spring Grove Murder on Serenity Drive

From the McHenry Couty Sheirff’s Department:

Man Arrested on Murder Charge

John Maki, Jr.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of John Maki Jr., 47, on two counts of First Degree Murder stemming from an incident that occurred in the 11100 block of Serenity Path in Spring Grove.

At approximately 7:15 p.m., on May 15, deputies responded to the 11100 block of Serenity Path for an outside assist to the fire department.

Upon arrival, Deputies discovered Maki Jr. and a deceased male inside the residence.

Spring Grove Police, Illinois State Police, Spring Grove Fire Protection District, and Richmond Fire Protection District also responded to the scene.

An investigation was launched and the McHenry County Major Investigation Assistance Team was activated.

Maki Jr. was subsequently taken into custody and charged with two counts of First Degree Murder.

This investigation is on-going by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, McHenry County Major Investigation Assistance Team, and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office. Anyone with information should contact the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division at 815-334-4750.

Arrested: John Maki Jr.

Bond: No Bond

Next Court Date: May 17th at 8:00 a.m.

The charges against this individual are merely allegations against him. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law

Craig Wilcox Township Consolidation Language in David McSweeney’s Bill 348 Passes State Senate

From State Senator Craig Wilcox:

Local Consolidation Proposal Includes Taxpayer Protections

Springfield, IL. – The Illinois Senate gave final legislative approval May 16 to legislation allowing townships in McHenry County to consider dissolution with voter approval, according to State Sen. Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry).

Most importantly, the proposal contains three taxpayer protection provisions State Senator Craig Wilcox insisted be included.

Craig Wilcox

“I support consolidation as a way to reduce the size of government in our lives, cut costs and deliver better government to the people.

“I appreciate a process that respects taxpayers, giving voters a choice, which this measure does,” said Wilcox.

“I am also especially pleased the legislation addresses concerns I raised months ago about protecting taxpayers and ensuring they are the true beneficiaries of smaller, smarter and more efficient government.”

Taxpayer protections advocated by Sen. Wilcox and included under Amendment #1 to House Bill 348 include:

  • Ensures that counties or municipalities will receive the Motor Fuel Tax dollars dedicated to a dissolving township based on lane miles. It also protects local taxpayer dollars, preventing a dissolved township’s lane mile Motor Fuel Tax account from being redistributed state-wide.
  • The assets of the dissolved township or road district, especially if liquidated, must be used solely for the benefit of residents of the geographic area within the former boundaries of the township. This provision protects taxpayers who previously paid the taxes allowing the township to acquire those assets; and
  • Only the taxpayers within the dissolving township boundaries are responsible for paying any debt transferred to the county, which protects other county taxpayers;

“The overall goal of government consolidation is to save taxpayers’ money,” said Wilcox.

“But, it must be fair and equitable.”

Sen. Wilcox is a former McHenry County Board member who first pressed for voter protection clauses as a member of that Board.

As the State Senator representing the 32nd District, which includes Lake and McHenry counties, Wilcox also introduced legislation this year (Senate Bill 1567) to accomplish the goals now included in House Bill 348 and approved by the Senate on a vote of 44 to 3.

HB 348 now heads to the Governor for consideration.

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The bill was originally introduced by State Rep, David McSweeney and amended in the House with Wilcox’ suggestions.

Here is how its current content is described in the Legislative Digest:

Replaces everything after the enacting clause.

Reinserts the provisions of the introduced bill with the following changes:

Amends the Motor Fuel Tax Law making conforming changes.

Further amends the new Article 24 of the Township Code as follows: removes provisions regarding the scope of the Article;

modifies the petition requirements to dissolve a township, including signature requirements and publication of the petition on the county’s website;

modifies the referendum wording; clarifies that road districts that are to be dissolved must be wholly within the boundaries of the township;

adds examples of duties that are transferred to the county;

limits specified taxes and proceeds of the sale of specified properties to the use and benefit of the geographic area of the dissolved township;

provides that reductions in spending within the boundaries of the former township and specified tax levies may be used to pay down liabilities of the former township;

provides that if a no municipality makes an offer or a municipality doesn’t make a satisfactory offer (rather than only no offers made) to take over part of a dissolved road district, then the county may retain the powers over the road district;

provides that elected and appointed township officers and road commissioners shall cease to hold office on the date of dissolution of the township and road districts, no longer be compensated, and do not have legal recourse relating to the ceasing of their elected or appointed positions upon the ceasing of their offices.

Effective immediately.

The Senate roll call follows:

Senate roll call on Rep. David McSweeney’s bill to allow abolition of McHenry County Township governments by referendum.

Cops on Top of Dunkin Donuts Shops Friday

Here is the press release from the Huntley Police Department:

Huntley Police Department Participates in “Cop on Top” for Special Olympics Illinois

On Friday, May 17, 2018, from 5:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., at both Huntley Dunkin Donuts locations, 12090 Princeton and 9800 Route 47, the Huntley Police Department will take to the sky in support of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Illinois.

Huntley Police with Special Olympians at Huntley’s Dunkin Donuts from a past year.

For the sixtieth year the Police Department will participate in “Cop on Top” in order to raise awareness and money for Special Olympics Illinois.

Officers will take to the rooftop of Dunkin Donuts throughout the day in support of Special Olympics.

On the ground, a variety of Officers and community members will be collecting donations, selling 2019 Law Enforcement Torch Run merchandise and spending time with Special Olympic Athletes.

Huntley Community Radio will be broadcasting live from the Princeton location.

A donut-eating contest will be held at 12:00 p.m., at the Princeton location. Participants in the contest will include representatives from the Police Department, Village of Huntley, Huntley Chamber of Commerce,
Huntley Community Radio, Huntley Park District, Consolidated School District 158, Culver’s of Huntley, Dunkin Donuts, DeFiore Funeral Home, Pet Vet and Southeast Emergency Communications (SEECOM).

Everyone who makes a donation to Special Olympics will receive a coupon for a free donut. The first seventy-five people to donate $10.00 or more will receive a Dunkin Donut coffee mug and everyone who donates will receive a coupon for a free donut.

Special Olympics Illinois supports over 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 20,000 young athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities from communities throughout the state including

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Here’s the press release from the Crystal Lake Police Department:

Cop On Rooftop

On Friday, May 17, 2019, from 5am to 12pm, officers from the Crystal Lake Police Department will need your assistance in getting down from the roof for the annual statewide event, Cop on Rooftop.

Cop on Rooftop is one of many events dedicated to raise funds and awareness for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Illinois.

Funds raised will provide significant support to the mission.

Through Special Olympics Illinois, athletes enhance their physical fitness
and motor skills, self-confidence, self-image, friendship and social skills.

The athletes carry these benefits with them into their daily lives at home, in the classroom, on the job and in the community.

This year’s event will be held at both Crystal Lake Dunkin’ locations.

The primary location where officers will be on the roof is 4817 Northwest Highway, Crystal Lake.

The secondary Dunkin’ location is 450 N. IL Route 31, Crystal Lake. Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics t- shirts and other merchandises will be sold at both locations to help raise funds for Special
Olympics Illinois.

Please stop by to support this worthwhile cause.

List of Those Eligible for Valley Hi Tax Rebates Has Not Been Given to County Treasurer

There are all sorts of questions about winners and losers in Jack Franks’ plan to send checks to potential 2020 re-election voters.

One is who can get a check.

It’s those elilgible for Homestead Exemptions, right?

Sounds simple, but not using the January 1st official asessment date when such determinations are made could be complicating the situation.

In any event, McHenry County Treasurer Glenda Miller does not yet have a list of those who are eligible

Food Stamp Recipients Might Be Able to Eat at Restaurants

From The Center Square:

Illinois lawmakers move to allow elderly SNAP recipients to use benefits at restaurants

Illinois lawmakers want to change state rules for federal food assistance to allow elderly recipients to use the benefits at some restaurants as part of what’s described as the broadest expansion to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allowable under federal law.

The bill would allow for disabled, homeless and people 60 and older, along with an eligible spouse living with them, to redeem SNAP benefits, commonly called food stamps, at restaurants that enroll in a newly-formed Restaurant Meals Program.

Supporters said it would be the widest expansion of benefits allowable under federal laws.

State Rep. Sonya Harper, the Chicago Democrat show sponsored the bill, said it would give people who would not otherwise have access a way to get a warm, prepared meal.

“We know SNAP helps people buy food at the grocery store that is meant to be prepared at home,” she said.

“However, for people who don’t have access to a kitchen or a place to store food or who may have physical barriers to use their kitchen safely, the traditional use of these SNAP funds is not effective.”

Harper said California and Arizona have similar programs. The participating restaurants largely consist of Subway and Jack in the Box locations.

State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, said he understood the need for the homeless and disabled to have prepared food, but raised concerns about further expanding the program.

“I’m not sure we can make that same assumption about an individual that, just because they’re over the age of 60, that they’re unable to prepare their own food,” he said.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, who voted for the bill, said the program wouldn’t expand benefits. Rather, it would diversify how the benefits could be redeemed.

“We’re not talking about some huge amount of money,” she said.

“Folks on SNAP benefits pinch every penny and limp their way to the end of the month. We’re talking about the ability to get hot food when you’re not able to get it.”

Demmer, along with all others on the committee, ultimately supported passage of the bill to the House floor.

There were more than 200,000 Illinois households with at least one elderly resident who was eligible for food stamps at the end of 2018, according to a representative of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. Those people wouldn’t be eligible if living with a non-qualified spouse.

The bill now awaits a House vote before being sent to the Senate for consideration.

If enacted, the state would have until Jan. 1, 2020, to start accepting participating restaurants.

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The Chicago Tribune article on the subject adds,

But Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, chief sponsor of Illinois’ bill, said she expects few fast food chains locally to be interested in participating.

Instead, she is focused on people being able to use their benefits to buy prepared food from the hot bars at grocery stores, where they already are accustomed to shopping.

Harper – who said she herself used SNAP for about two years when she struggled to find a job after dropping out of law school because she was pregnant – said she knows from experience how frustrating it is to not be able to grab a plate of fried chicken and mac and cheese from a store’s prepared food section.

Threats to Abortion Clinics Gets Man

From the U.S. Attorney:

Indiana Man Sentenced to 18 Months in Federal Prison for Posting Online Threats of Violence at Women’s Reproductive Clinics

CHICAGO — An Indiana man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for threatening to commit violence at women’s reproductive health services clinics in Chicago and northwest Indiana.

LUKE DANIEL WIERSMA, 35, of Dyer, Ind., pleaded guilty last year to posting online threats of violence on at least seven occasions in October and November of 2017.  Wiersma submitted the threats through the clinics’ websites. 

The clinic in Chicago provided reproductive health services, while the clinic in Hammond, Ind., provided counseling services related to women’s reproductive health.

U.S. District Judge Manish S. Shah imposed the sentence Tuesday in federal court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The Indianapolis, Ind., Field Office of the FBI and the Dyer, Ind., Police Department provided valuable assistance.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly M. Greening and Georgia N. Alexakis.

“The defendant’s transmission of numerous death threats to the Chicago clinic and the Hammond clinic is an extraordinarily serious offense that threatens public safety and terrorizes both medical communities and the women who utilize reproductive health clinics,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly M. Greening argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. 

“These types of threats have a significant, lasting impact on the lives of many, including the employees and volunteers of the clinics and the patients who visit the clinics for medical care.”

In one of the threats transmitted to the Chicago clinic on Oct. 29, 2017, Wiersma stated,

“I will do anything and everything to stop the unmitigated murders of fetuses.

“I will do anything to stop the atrocities committed by your clinic every minute of every day at your clinic. 

“You are all pieces of [expletive] and I will kill to stop these atrocities.

“I will blow you up if I have to, burn the clinic down.  I will do whatever is necessary I swear to God I will. 

“After that you are in God’s hands and He will do His thing.”