UPDATE: Framing the Casey Urlacher Challenge to Dan McConchie for State Senate Seat

Casey Urlacher. 2016.

Don’t think I have ever seen a sitting Republican Senate Leader challenged in a Republican Primary Election before.

But the filing of a committee organization document (called a D-1) with the Illinois State Board of Elections surely appears to be the first step of newly-re-elected Mettawa Village President Casey Urlacher is running against incumbent Dan McConchie.

Urlacher did so in 2016, finishing second in a three-way race.

Casey Urlacher State Senate candidate Board of Election filing.

McConchie defeated Urlacher and now State Rep. Marty McLaughlin in 2016.

Urlacher carried McHenry County.

Dan McConchie’s late evening tallies show him leading with Casey Urlacher in second place.

Since then he was indicted as part of a sports betting ring, was pardoned by President Donald Trump and successfully ran a re-election write-in campaign for Village President.

January 7, 2021, McConchie wrote an op-ed piece for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Included was the following:

Unlike so many citizens of other countries, I have never before had to question whether my president was inciting violence or sedition. It is up to us to defend our country against lawlessness and those who would tear down the core values upon which our democracy has been built.

This riotous activity could understandably cause an instinctual reaction to abandon the party claimed by the president and the people who put him in the position to abuse his power and encourage this chaos. But, to those who want to write the Republicans off forever, I implore you to reconsider.

= = = = =

Newsweek is even interested in the race:

Associated Press Catches Up to Conservative On-Line Sites, But Four Days Later and Still Thinks Armed Raid on Alaska Couple Might Be Justified

May 2nd I found the story about the FB’s raiding the wrong home in Alaska looking for Nancy Pelosi’s laptop.

It wasn’t McHenry County-based, but it shocked me so much I shared it with readers.

Four days later, AP thinks the home invasion worthy of a story.

AP headline suggests the FBI raided the home of the woman who stole Nancy Pelosi’s laptop, even though they not.

But, does it focus on the screw-up by the FBI?

No.

Does it point out that the earlobes of the Alaska woman and the woman for which the FBI was searching were obviously different?

Yes, but way down in the article.

What a sorry piece of writing by Mark Thiessen and Michael Balsamo.

ICE Jail Contract Cancellation Supporters Schedule Rallies Next Two Saturdays

From the Coalition to Cancel the ICE Contract in McHenry County comes this notice:

This Saturday opponents to house ICE detainees in the McHenry County Jail will gather in Downtown Algonquin at the corner of Route 62 and Main Street at noon.

On Saturday, May 15th, they will move to Huntley on Route 47 at Diecke Park.

Except for the print announcing the location information, it’s a good graphic.

As is the Coalition logo, which can be seen below:

Here is the group’s press release:

Cancel the ICE Contract Roadside Rally Planned in Algonquin

Algonquin—The Coalition to Cancel the ICE Contract in McHenry County will hold a Roadside Rally this Saturday, May 8 in downtown Algonquin at Route 62 and Main Street from noon to 1:30 pm.

Coalition to Cancel the ICE Contract in McHenry County members and friends hold a banner at a roadside rally in McHenry on April 24.

Supporters and participants are invited to bring signs demanding that the McHenry County Board finally vote to end the Federal contract to use the County Jail as an immigrant detention center.

Masking is required and social distancing will be observed.

The McHenry event is one of a series of events that have taken the struggle to every corner of McHenry County.

The final roadside rally before an expected vote by the County Board on Wednesday, May 18 when the issue will likely come to a vote will be held in Huntley from noon to 1:30 pm on May 15 along Route 47 at Deicke Park.

The Coalition to Cancel the ICE Contract in McHenry County was formed by concerned organizations committed to immigration justice and ending the ICE contract with McHenry County Jail and includes 30 groups from the County and region.

Over 2000 signatures on a petition to end the contract were recently presented to the Board and 424 individuals now are registered on the Coalition’s Facebook Group.

For more information visit the Facebook Page at
https://www.facebook.com/CancelICEContractMcHenryCounty

Underwood’s McHenry County Pork

From Congresswoman Lauren Underwood’s website come these descriptions of “member initiatives” earmarked in an appropriations bill.

PROJECT SPONSOR: Independence Health & Therapy 
LOCATION: 2028 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, IL 60098 
AMOUNT REQUESTED: $60,000 

PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: Independence Health & Therapy requests funding to purchase an electronic medical record (EMR) database system for their Adult Day program and a separate and distinct EMR for their Behavioral Health program. The Adult Day and Memory Care program is the only such program in McHenry County and seeks to promote independence and improve the quality of life for adults and their family. The intent of the Behavioral Health Program is to provide behavioral health services, within an outpatient community setting, to the greater McHenry County area, including traditional individual counseling, psychiatry services, preventative services, and community supportive services. Appropriate technology improves the delivery of services and agency operations. 

This project is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds because EMRs allow staff to create and maintain individualized treatment plans, record clients’ assessments, and improve communication and access among care providers. The database also permits the creation and recording of daily progress notes, analysis of clinical outcomes, and the ability to bill electronically to multiple funders. Utilizing custom assessments and treatment plans, allows for efficient use of staff time, and improves services through individualized planning with access for all staff involved in client care. Such assessments and treatments plans are also crucial for securing payment for services from insurance companies, managed care organizations, and state Medicaid. Customized electronic medical record systems are critical for appropriate and timely billing, effective and efficient provision of care to the client, and increased amount of direct staff time with the client. The project is supported by the McHenry County Department of Health, AgeGuide Northeastern Illinois, and McHenry County Mental Health Board.  

PROJECT SPONSOR: McHenry County College 
LOCATION: 8900 US Highway 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012 
AMOUNT REQUESTED: $822,690 

PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: This funding would be used to expand McHenry County College’s existing dual credit/dual degree program in partnership with all 15 public high schools in McHenry County. It is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds because it will fund additional graduate education for high school instructors, qualifying more instructors to teach college courses at their high school and making dual credit and dual degree programs available to many more students. The funding would also be used to help underwrite the cost of college tuition, fees, and course materials for students with demonstrated need. 

PROJECT SPONSOR: Village of Richmond 
LOCATION: 5600 Hunter Drive, Richmond IL 60071 
AMOUNT REQUESTED: $560,800 

PURPOSE/JUSTIFICATION: This funding would be used to rehabilitate two aging water towers, which serve as the residents of the Village of Richmond. Recent inspections of the towers revealed blight and decaying conditions that potentially pose a threat to public health and safety; therefore, restoration is critical and an appropriate use of taxpayer funds. Further delay in the water tower restoration could result in water quality violations and service disruptions, which may impact emergency fire department water supply. 

County Board Finance Committee Votes 5-3 to Cancel ICE Contract

At the Thursday meeting of the McHenry County Board’s Finance
Committee, the vote was 5-3 to cancel the Immigration and Customs Enforcement contract to house illegal aliens in the County Jail.

Finance Committee meeting on May 6, 2021.

Voting to cancel the contract were the following:

  • Carlos Acosta (D-5)
  • Steve Doherty (R-4)
  • Lori Parrish (R-3)
  • Larry Smith (R-6)
  • Kelli Wegener (D-3)

Voting to retain the contract were

  • Mike Skala (R-5)
  • Jeff Thorsen (R-2)
  • Tom Wilbeck (R-1)

Revenues from the contract amount to about 2% of the county budget.

Last week, the Law and Government Committee voted 6-2 against cancellation of the contract.

Nevada 18-Year Old Arrested Arrested for Solicitating 12-Year Old Harvard Girl

From the Harvard Police:

AGGRAVATED CRIMINAL SEXUAL ABUSE

On 05-05-21 at 1633 hrs, Police responded to the Baymont Inn, 1701 S
Division St, Harvard regarding a disturbance in the parking lot.

Leonel Rivas-Martinez

Upon arrival it was discovered an adult Nevada Resident identified as Leonel E Rivas-Martinez (m-18 yoa), 1800 McCarran St, North Las Vevas, Nevada, had solicitated a Harvard Youth (f-12 yoa) via social media platforms Omelge and Snapchat.

After a thorough investigation it was discovered Rivas-Martinez travelled from North Las Vegas, Nevada to Harvard, Illinois to meet with the minor youth.

It was further discovered an adult family member (m-30 yoa) of the youth discovered what had happened and the meeting.

The adult family member located and confronted Rivas-Martinez at the hotel and called the police.

Rivas-Martinez was subsequently arrested and charged with

  • two counts Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse
  • one count Unlawful Grooming
  • one count Traveling to Meet a Minor Child and
  • one count Solicitation to Meet a Child.

Rivas-Martinez was transported to the McHenry Count Jail in
lieu of bond.

UPDATED: Outgoing Dundee Township Supervisor Produces a Farce on Change.Org Petition

Trish Glees

Lame duck supervisor plans to address Kane County Board May 11 with disinformation about Kane County Clerk

UPDATE 5/6/21 7:10PM CDT: Dundee Township Cause of Action for declaratory judgement filed against Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham on Wednesday, with payment of filing fees dated 5/6/21.

16th Judicial Circuit Case 21-MR-000801 with next action set for August 20, 9AM CDT with the Honorable Kevin T. Busch for Case Management Conference.

Township attorney from Ancel Glink representing the township.

From the desk of John Lopez: Lame duck Dundee Township Supervisor Trish Glees (D, West Dundee), who lost her reelection bid for a 2nd term last month is not going out quietly.

Glees will officially leave office the week of May 17, but she is going out swinging with false accusations concerning Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham (R, Aurora). Last month, with advice from Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser (D, St. Charles), Cunningham did not extend the property tax levy funding two separate 708 Mental Health Boards approved by voters in Dundee and Elgin townships in March of 2020.

John A. “Jack” Cunningham

McHenry County Blog covered these developments in Kane County last month, and the article with the complete background can be viewed here.

Cause of Action has been filed with Kane County’s 16th Judicial Circuit as authorized by the Dundee Township Board on April 21 as case 21-MR-000801 with Case Management Conference scheduled for August 20.

But the facts of Clerk Cunningham’s decision are easily lost on Glees, as she has initiated an online petition through Ben Rattray‘s San Francisco-based change.org website with disinformation, meaning on-purpose, straying from the truth.

In my honest opinion, Glees knowingly using false information taints the very real need for Mental Health services within the Dundee Township community.

And Glees has decided to champion this initiative through her Facebook page in the waning days of her term as Dundee Township supervisor:

Source: Trish Glees Facebook page

So what’s in the petition which through mid-day Thursday had just under 400 online signatures? Copied and pasted from change.org, the petition from “Advocates for Kane Mental Health” reads as follows:

Advocates for Kane Mental Health started this petition to Kane County Board Members

We, the undersigned voters in Kane County (Illinois), believe that the recent actions of the County Clerk’s Office disenfranchise the 13,533 voters who approved the Elgin and Dundee Townships mental health referenda on March 17, 2020.

Furthermore:

We believe that the Clerk’s Office failed to provide local and county officials in Kane County an essential public service by verifying that referenda language put forth to voters would meet the Clerk’s Office criteria for tax levies. As a result, litigation between the two townships and the Clerk’s Office will occur at the expense of taxpayers.

We believe that the Clerk’s Office has been disingenuous with voters and local government officials by certifying results of a proposition and then nullifying these same results by not executing related tax levies.

We believe that the Clerk’s Office, having experienced a similar lawsuit related to referenda and property tax levies, should have review procedures in place to prevent administrative barriers from enacting the wishes of voters.

We implore the Kane County Board to seek appropriate remedy for the breach of trust that now exists between the Clerk’s Office and Kane County voters.

To begin rebuilding trust with the voters, we ask that the Board request that the Clerk’s Office send letters by June 30, 2021 to all registered voters and taxpayers in Elgin and Dundee Township articulating the specific objections and legal implications in the referenda language used.

Additionally, we request that the letter be posted on the County Clerk’s website through December 31, 2021 as a source of information for all Kane County voters.

Source: “Kane County Votes” petition on change.org website

.

Was it Mark Twain, no, Woody Allen who said, “Why ruin a good story with the truth?”

That’s exactly how the petition contents need to be treated. It’s a story with little basis in fact, particularly with references to “breach of trust” and a misperceived need to “…begin rebuilding trust with the voters…”.

The truth and as published in McHenry County Blog‘s article last month, the case law in my honest opinion is significant and the Clerk did the right thing implementing the advice of the State’s Attorney to not extend the taxes from two improperly worded referenda that did not use the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law.

In my honest opinion, what Clerk Cunningham did wearing his “Election Authority” hat in certifying the March 2020 election results is mutually exclusive to his duties wearing his “Tax Extension Officer” hat a year later.

Finally, as stated above in my honest opinion, Glees’ actions including this purposeful disinformation she’s promoting under her First Amendment rights, taints and undermines the real Mental Health challenges she purports to want to address in the Dundee Township community.

Glees’ successor, Arin Thrower (I, West Dundee) begins her term as Dundee Township supervisor on May 19, and that date can’t get here fast enough!

Pritzker’s Bridge Back to the Future

From Governor JB Pritzker:

Gov. Pritzker Announces Illinois to Enter Bridge Phase of Reopening Plan on May 14th

Vaccine Program Expands to Doctors’ Offices and Small Medical Providers, Now Able to Order and Administer Vaccine on Site

State Managed COVID-19 Vaccination Sites Now Accepting Walk-Ins as Illinois National Guard Reaches Over 1.5 Million Vaccines Administered

CHICAGO – As Illinois continues to outpace national vaccination rates and COVID-19 trends across the state stabilize following recent upticks, Governor Pritzker announced the entire state will move into the Bridge Phase of the Restore Illinois reopening plan beginning Friday, May 14th.

Back to the Future bridge.

The Bridge Phase will allow for expanded capacity limits for businesses and gatherings before the state moves to a full reopening in Phase 5.

Barring any significant reversals in key COVID-19 statewide indicators, Illinois could enter Phase 5 as soon as Friday, June 11th.
 
The Governor and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike also announced an expansion of the COVID-19 vaccine administration plan to include private doctors’ offices and small medical providers, which can now begin to order and administer COVID-19 vaccine directly to patients. Interested providers can register with the Illinois Comprehensive Automated Immunization Registry Exchange (I-CARE). Thus far, 60% of adult residents have received their first dose, including 85% of residents ages 65 and older. To further expand vaccine accessibility, state-run vaccination sites will now accept walk-ins in addition to pre-booked appointments.

“I’m pleased to announce that the concerning upward movement of cases and hospitalizations we were seeing a few weeks ago have stabilized – a testament to the lifesaving, community-protecting power of vaccinations,” said Governor JB Pritzker.

“As a result, on Friday, May 14th, the State of Illinois will move into the Bridge Phase of our mitigation plan – one step closer to removing nearly all of the remaining mitigations, and a very hopeful move toward fully reopening. I want to thank people across Illinois who are getting vaccinated, wearing their masks, and continuing to do their part to make your friends and family safer and your communities healthier.”

“Vaccination is how we can get back to summer camps, swimming lessons, and youth sports; but it is not something the Illinois Department of Public Health can do on its own. 

“We need everyone’s help.  If you’ve been vaccinated, talk with your friends and co-workers about getting vaccinated,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Research shows that health care providers, as well as friends and family, are who most people look to when deciding to get vaccinated. Wear your mask, avoid large crowds, and get your shot.”

Over 9.7 million vaccine doses have been administered to Illinois residents in every corner of the state, with millions of those shots taking place at mass vaccination sites, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, community outreach initiatives, and mobile clinics. With vaccine scarcity no longer the primary barrier to vaccinations, the administration is shifting its program to meet people where they are as much as possible. This effort includes partnering with community organizations to host sites at a location of their choosing, rural and rapid response mobile vaccination teams, and today’s announcements expanding to doctors’ offices and accepting walk-ins at state-supported sites.

Currently, 1,054 doctors’ offices across the state have already registered to administer the COVID-19 vaccine on site, offering their patients a familiar, trusted environment to receive the shot. To begin providing the vaccine, doctors must register with I-CARE to coordinate the ordering of doses.

“Vaccine hesitancy isn’t so much about the science and the logic.  It is about emotion and fear and lack of trust. While agreeing with the science, we need to address the fear and lack of trust quietly, confidently and with empathy for those who are hesitant,” said Dr. Paul Pedersen, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington. “Among those competent to discuss this empathetically are community physicians. We have a unique relationship with our patients and our communities to be able to help dispel the hesitancy.  Arming us with vaccine in our offices will only enhance that capability.”  

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approves certain vaccines for younger Illinois residents, including young people ages 12-15, the administration is encouraging pediatric offices to also register with I-CARE. Providers interested in registering with the application should go to the IDPH website and view the enrollment packet: https://bit.ly/3us02E2.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on families, particularly Black and Brown families. It’s important for family physicians, who have spent years, sometimes over multiple generations, building trust with the families they treat, to encourage and engage with patients and their families to get them vaccinated,” said Dr. Whitney Lyn of Sengstacke Clinic, Provident Hospital.

IDPH is coordinating vaccination clinics with religious groups, community organizations, mutual aid programs, neighborhood associations, and other organizations. To host a clinic in your community, sign-up at www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccinationclinics

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and find information on other vaccine locations, go to https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/vaccination-location.

Six Years for Richmond Man on Weapons & Battery Charge

From the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office:

DAVID STONEBURNER SENTENCED TO SIX YEARS IN THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS FOR THE OFFENSES OF AGGRAVATED BATTERY AND POSSESSION OF WEAPON BY A FELON

David Stoneburner

Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that David Stoneburner, 36, of Richmond, was sentenced to six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections by Honorable Judge Michael Coppedge after pleading guilty to

  • Unlawful Possession of a Weapon by a Felon, a Class 2 Felony, and
  • Aggravated Battery, a Class 3 Felony.

Stoneburner, a convicted felon, was apprehended by members of the Crystal Lake Police Department during a routine traffic stop when they discovered a switchblade knife in Stoneburner’s possession.

Police investigation also revealed that Stoneburner was responsible for a battery which occurred outside the Woodstock Walmart in February of 2019.

This case was investigated by members of the Crystal Lake Police Department.

This case was prosecuted by Tyler Mikan of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Nearly $3,000 for Sponge Bob Popsicle Purchase by 4-Year Old

NPR reporter Derek Cantu wrote a story entitled,

Illinois House Approves Adding Warnings To Video Games That Include ‘Loot Boxes’

The article focuses on House Bill 2943.

On April 21st the bill passed the Illinois House on a Roll Call of 72 to 45, which can be seen below:

Local Republicans voted, “No.” Local Democrat Suzanne Ness voted in favor.

Today, the WIND “Daybreak Insider” featured a story on the type of action the bill is intended to warn against:

The problem with the legislative proposal in the WIND-featured instance is that the four-year-old probably could not have been able to read the warning the bill prescribes and the parents might not notice:

Attention Parents: A Loot Box System exists in this game that permits an unlimited amount of REAL MONEY to be spent without any age restriction. REAL MONEY is exchanged for random digital items. This process has been linked to REAL LIFE GAMBLING ADDICTIONS in both children and adults. Please regulate your own spending as well as your children’s spending.

Former Legislators Testify Before Grand Jury Probing ComEd “Smart Grid,” a.k.a., Rate Hike Bill

From the Chicago Tribune comes these paragraphs:

“At least two former Illinois House Democrats have gone before the federal grand jury within the last week to explain the full scope of Madigan’s power and control of the legislative process while he was speaker, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

“At least one of the lawmakers had changed a vote on the House floor that opposed a key piece of ComEd legislation and then supported Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of the measure, a source said.

This was sent by Charles Thomas about Jack Franks the night before the override vote on Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of the ComEd rate increase bill.

“The ex-lawmakers themselves were not accused of doing anything improper but were asked a series of questions about the basic way the House operated under Madigan, a source said.

“In addition, a third former lawmaker told the Tribune they were recently interviewed by federal authorities, and said questions included ‘Madigan’s role in the process’ about ComEd and other issues.”

= = = = =

Note well that Jack Franks’ name is not mentioned in the Tribune article.

See Jack Franks’ campaign contributions relating to Commonwealth Edison here.

40 Years for 25-Year Old McHenry Man in Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child

From the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office:

MATTHEW REDER PLEADS GUILTY TO PREDATORY CRIMINAL SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD

Mathew Reder

Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that 25-year-old Matthew Reder of McHenry, Illinois, was found guilty of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child, a class X felony, following a negotiated plea before the Honorable Michael Coppedge on May 5, 2021.

Reder was sentenced to a term of 40 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections pursuant to the plea.

Under Truth and Sentencing Guidelines, Reder will have to serve 85% of the sentence.

Upon his release, Reder will have to register as a sex offender for his natural life.

This case was investigated by Detective Dave Eitel of the Crystal Lake Police Department.

This case was prosecuted by Randi Freese of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Ness Voted for Drug Penalty Reduction Bill which Kenneally Opposed

On May 4th, McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally wrote a strong letter to local legislators asking for opposition to a bill that would rollback penalties for breaking drug laws.

Commenter “Correcting” noted that the Illinois House had already passed the bill and that is was now in the Senate.

Here is the House Roll Call from April 21st, where the bill passed with just one vote to spare:

Roll Call on House Bill 3447 shows all local Representatives voting in opposition bvut Suzanne Ness.


Wilcox Focuses on Local Pensions

From State Senator Craig Wilcox:

Senator Wilcox Targets Growing Local Pension Sustainability Problem

SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry) joined colleagues from the Senate and House and an independent financial watchdog group on Wednesday to draw attention to a growing crisis in Illinois-the unsustainability of local government pension systems.

Wirepoints, an independent, nonprofit company that researches Illinois’ economy and government through an examination of fiscal policies, recently concluded a comprehensive project that scored the state’s largest 175 cities on 10 metrics relative to the health of local pension systems between 2003-2019.

“Pension sweeteners offered to state employees over time in exchange for union support is a primary contributor to Illinois’ debt crisis, and while the unsustainability of the state’s publicly funded pension systems gets a lot of media attention, the growing local pension crisis poses the greatest new threat for taxpayers,” said Sen. Wilcox.

“We need look no further than the state’s heavy-handedness, greed over budget dollars, and collective bargaining laws that strongly favor unions to see how problems have rolled downhill and are now impacting our cities and villages.”

Sen. Wilcox went on to explain that an endless stream of unfunded mandates handed down to local units of government and frequent sweeps of Local Government Distributive Funds (LGDF) have left cities and villages with few options for balancing their budgets, none of them good.

“Our municipal leaders have to make very difficult decisions,” added Sen. Wilcox.

“Because pension payments to retirees must be paid, municipal leaders must decide if they would rather decrease staff and the level of services, like police, fire, and public works, or if they want to increase taxes locally on constituents who are already overtaxed.

In McHenry and Lake Counties, residents pay some of the highest taxes in the nation, so our municipalities have, in most cases, chosen to reduce staff.

“This, in turn, creates the current crisis where there are more retirees collecting pension benefits than there are employees currently paying into the system.”

While all municipalities in the 32nd District are struggling, Sen. Wilcox pointed to the City of Crystal Lake, where taxpayers today contribute more than three times the amount of taxes toward local pensions than they did in 2003, while Crystal Lake pension obligation quadrupled during that time.

He also pointed to the City of Woodstock, which saw it’s pension obligation double over the last ten years.

“As local pension costs continue to eat up a greater percentage of local government budgets, essential local services are being crowded out,” Sen. Wilcox said.

“The State of Illinois needs to stop trying to solve its own financial mismanagement problems at the expense of our local communities. They need to get out of the way, stop with the unfunded mandates and fund sweeps, and allow our cities and villages to operate without interference.”

Karen McConnaughay Re-Appointed to Tollway Board

Karen McConnaughay, 2017.

From Governor JB Pritzker comes this news of former State Senator Karen McConnaughay’s reappointment to the Illinois Toll Highway Authority:

Karen McConnaughay will continue to serve on the Toll Highway Authority.

McConnaughay has served as a Director on the Authority since her appointment in 2019.

McConnaughay currently owns and manages her own firm, consulting and advising on public policy, and she is the co-owner of a family business, Geneva Home Works.

Previously, McConnaughay was elected to represent the 33rd District in the Illinois State Senate from 2012-2018, focusing her efforts on a wide variety of issues including transportation, commerce and economic development and education.

She has also served the public as the Kane County Board Chairman from 2004-2012 and as a Kane County Board Commissioner from 1992-2004. 

McConaughey is widely involved in her community having served on the St. Charles, Huntley and Elgin Area Chambers of Commerce.

McConaughey received a bachelor’s degree from the College of DuPage.

Crystal Lake’s Pension Situation Went Downhill from 2003-2019

Wirepoints has analyzed the pension situation in the 150 largest cities in Illinois.

[C]

[C]overage was restricted to the 175 cities, excluding Chicago, that have their own independent police, firefighter, and Illinois Municipal Retirement (IMRF) pension funds.

Crystal Lake made that list.

Here are the top level results:

Crystal Lake did not hold its own during this time when Aaron Shepley served as Mayor.

The results for each of the factors above can be found at this link.

Wirepoints points out

Complicating the situation is the fact that  local officials can do little about the crisis. Local retirement costs are largely a consequence of the state’s top-down, one-size-fits-all mandates which prevent cities from actually solving their pension problems.

Funding ratios in 2019 for Crystal Lake’s pension funds follow:

  • Police – 58.4%
  • Firefighter – 70.5%
  • INRF – 94.8%

City debts per household as a % of income in Crystal Lake is 1.5%.

City contribution per household as a % of income in Crystal Lake is 2/10 of 1%.

City contribution as a % of budget is 4.9%.

City-to-worker contribution ratio is 2.02.

Actual vs. actuarial city contribution (P&F only) is -19.9%.

Asset-to-payout ratio (P&F only) is 27.3%.

Worker-to-beneficiary ratio (P&F only) is 5.4.

Ness Supports Bill to End Student Isolation & Physical Restraints

From State Rep. Suzanne Ness:

Ness Backs Bill to Bring End to Isolated Seclusion Practices in Illinois Schools

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation backed by state Rep. Suzanne Ness, D-Crystal Lake, which would call for ridding the use of isolated seclusion and physical restraints in Illinois public and private schools recently passed unanimously out of the Illinois House of Representatives.

Suzanne Ness

“It is gravely concerning to hear of the stories of students who have experienced isolated seclusion in schools, and the trauma many have endured as a result,” said Ness.

“Reports of many of these incidents showed that isolation and seclusion was prompted after minor infractions, which violated Illinois law. It is our responsibility as an elected body to ensure that our laws are protecting the people we serve, and we must do more for the special needs students who have been heavily impacted by these techniques.”

Ness is highlighting her support for House Bill 219, which makes changes concerning the adoption of rules by the State Board of Education governing time out and physical restraint in public schools.

Further, this bill would require a meeting with school personnel if requested by the parent or guardian about instances when such practices are used, as well as strengthens reporting and documentation requirements for schools.

In November of 2019, the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois released an investigative report that students in Illinois schools were being isolated and secluded, and the students heavily impacted were those with special needs. 

It was reported that parents were often told little about these cases of confinement and restraint, and that the practice has no therapeutic or educational value, but rather can be extremely traumatizing for children.

The goal of House Bill 219 is to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of these interventions in all Illinois schools.

“We know from experts that the use of these potentially traumatizing interventions carries risks to the health and safety of students,” said Ness.

“I am pleased to have supported this critical piece of legislation and am committed to working to ensure that all parents can feel good about their child’s safety in school and will continue to advocate for better treatment options for children with special needs.”