Young Chinese Leaders Come to Crystal Lake and Woodstock – Part 3

Here's a view of the bus ride. The man you see second from the left is the one who breaks out in song. (Click to enlarge any image.)

This is third portion of an overdue story about a Chinese delegation of young political leaders who visited McHenry County three years ago, way back in June of 2007.

The trip was sponsored by the American Council of Young Political Leaders.

I got involved because I went on an ACYPL-sponsored trip to Europe in 1976 when State Senator Mark Rhoads, who had much better Washington connections than I, couldn’t make it.

Come 2007 and I learned a visiting delegation from China was spending the weekend in Chicago and I thought I owed.

They took the train from Chicago to Crystal Lake and we drove to Lakeside Center for lunch.

After leaving the Crystal Lake Gala’s carnival and food tents, we drove past McHenry County College

It was just a drive-by.

We drove east on Lucas Road to Route 14, I pointed to MCC and it was off to the

Better than the "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" song that my Methodist Youth Fellowship busload sang on the way to Lake Geneva in 1956 when I first moved to Crystal Lake was the melodic Mongolian folk lullaby that entertained the Chinese delegation as we drove to Woodstock to tour the McHenry County Jail.

As we entered Woodstock, the man from Mongolia was singing a pleasant folk song.

Woodstock Opera House

We drove around the Square to give a view of what historic buildings look like in our young country.

McHenry County Jail

Sheriff Keith Nygren had arranged for us to the tour the county jail.


The group pose in front of the Algonquin Township Bus, which provided our transportation, thanks for Road Commissioner Bob Miller. at the time Richmond Township Supervisor Tamara Valentine-Garza can be seen on the back row to the right."

Before we went in they posed for a photo in front of the jail.

Correctional Officer Mike Lucas welcomes the Chinese to the McHenry County Jail.

Mike Lucas was the officer who conducted the tour.

This photo of the welcome caught most of the men in the delegation.

Lucas led us down the hall.

We walked down the hall toward the cell blocks.

We were told not to take photos of any of the inmates.  Fortunately for us photographers, it was shift change and the prisoners were locked in their cells.

Some instrutions while visiting.

Then, we walked through a door with the sign you see below saying, “No weapons beyond this point.”


We climbed up to the ICE floor.

We climbed the stairs.

There we saw the exercise room.

Here is the exercise room.

I asked why there was no basketball hoop. Vandalism was the answer.

More of our jail tour tomorrow.

Lots of television screens in the control room.

There we looked at the control room.

We were on an observation floor.

I wasn’t the only one taking pictures.

Mike Lucas explained more about the way prisoners were housed.

Here’s the day room we saw.

This is where prisoners spend their time in the McHenry Jail when they are not in their cells. Steel tables and chairs.

There was a cell isolated from the others we were allowed to examine.

We were given a closer look at a cell. Everything is indestructable.

It was a room with a view…of the parking lot behind the courthouse.

A room with a view at the McHenry County Jail.

A phone was nearby.

One woman pretended to be phoning home.

It was time to leave.

Milling around before leaving the observation floor of the McHenry County Jail.

The photographers had taken their pictures.

The tour guide is to the right wearing the Cubs tee shirt.

It was back to the bus.

Mike Lucas held the door as we left the cell block area.

Although I thought all the photos in the jail had been taken, some more were desired.

More photos were taken of the McHenry County Jail's "tour guide," Mike Lucas.

Then, the delegation wanted a photo of him with their leader.  She agreed.

After the tour of the McHenry County Jail, Mike Lucas poses with the Chinese delegation leader at her delegations' request. She was President of the Hunan Provincial Youth Federation at the time.

For some reason, they even wanted me in a photo.  It embarrassed me, but I complied with their request.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at what was clearly the hit of the visit to McHenry County.


Young Chinese Leaders Come to Crystal Lake and Woodstock – Part 3 — 1 Comment

  1. A three year old story about America’s future owners, but you won’t put up a mention of the Independence Day Tea Party event in the heart of McHenry County? Who’s pulling your strings?

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