Downstate Appellate Court Affirms Decision Temporarily Stopping Democrats’ Gun Control Law

From the law office of attorney Thomas DeVore:

The 5th District Appellate Court affirmed the Effingham County TRO (Case 1) on the equal protection arguments.

The TRO will remain in effect.For those in Case 2 – White County, we expect the Judge to issue a TRO soon as the 5th District Appellate Court ruling will also bind him.

If you have signed up for Case 3, Tom will adjust his pleadings to align with the Appellate Courts decision, and the case will be filed in the near future.Documents can be found in the folder here.

Fourth Wokeness Day for McHenry County College Faculty – “Modern Day-isms”

On September 20, 2022, McHenry County Blog revealed that top officials of McHenry County College had undergone training for

  • expanding diversity,
  • equity,
  • belongingness, and
  • inclusion

and found it desirable for all faculty and every other employee to be subjected to the same 8-hour indoctrination.

On January 31, 2023, the training by Systemic Education Equity, LLC. will focus on

Modern Day-isms

  • Interpret and distinguish modern day-isms
  • Calibrate the mitigatrion of inequities
  • Connect on the areas of growth and advance equity

Tollway Turmoil Continues

The woman appointed by Governor JB Pritzker as a “reformer” is leaving after only eleven months, according to the this press release:

Dorothy Abreu to Step Down as Tollway Chair

CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker accepted the resignation of Tollway Chair Dorothy Abreu, as she leaves to focus on her health challenges.

“I appreciate Dorothy’s service and dedication to both the Tollway and the people of Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Her work has undoubtedly improved our infrastructure and she is leaving the Tollway in a strong financial and operational position. I wish Dorothy and her family well.”

“The past eleven months leading the Illinois Tollway have been a tremendous journey for me,” Dorothy Abreu, Director, and Chair of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. “As I promised on day one, I have conducted my affairs with integrity and strived to provide transparency with all stakeholders. I am grateful for the opportunity to have helped oversee the Tollway and the more than 1,200 dedicated employees that make it great.”

Vice Chairman Jim Connolly will assume the responsibilities of the board chair until the Governor names a new permanent chair.

= = = = =

The Daily Herald reports her resignation is because of “health issues.”

My memories of the Tollway go back to Governor Jim Thompson’s days.

He appointed one of the State Policemen who had provided security during his 1976 campaign.

The guy was a reformer, a real reformer.

He told me he was eliminating unnecessary employees.

In about a year, he was replaced by Thompson’s campaign finance guy.

One can only assume the Tollway was a good source of campaign contributions.

I have no reason to think Pritzker would use the Tollway for similar purposes, but there was serious conflilct, as a Chicago Tribune editorial pointed on on March 31, 2022:

Part of the editorial:

After taking office in 2019, he [Pritzker] appointed former Peoples Gas President Will Evans as the Tollway’s board chairman and backed former Chicago Housing Authority chief operating officer Jose Alvarez as the agency’s executive director. “It’s a new day for the Illinois Tollway,” Pritzker said after appointing Evans. “I’m proud to usher in a new wave of transparency and accountability at this critical agency.”

New wave of transparency and accountability? Far from it.

Evans embarked on a power grab in which he commandeered authority over the agency’s day-to-day operations as well as billions of dollars in contracts. That left Alvarez’s authority significantly weakened. Evans also voted on a hefty Tollway contract involving an engineering firm where he once worked, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Meanwhile, Alvarez made sure nine of his former CHA colleagues got well-paying jobs at the agency amounting to an overall tab of $1.3 million, the Daily Herald reported Wednesday.

Both men got their jobs after receiving strong endorsements from former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker, according to the Sun-Times. As it turns out, Hooker had his own baggage. In the fall of 2020, he joined the list of people under indictment for their alleged role in the ComEd bribery scheme that ultimately led to charges against former House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Evans stepped down in February, and Alvarez did the same last week.

And, who could forget what Governor Rod Blagojevich did

An April 27, 2008, Tribune story reported,

Among the many first-time $25,000 donors was a Chicago architectural firm that designed the newly revamped oases on the Illinois Tollway.

The sign Governor Rod Blagojeich had erected over Illinois toll booths.

John Clark, a principal with Cordogan, Clark & Associates, said that the lead agency on the project, the California firm Wilton Partners, suggested Cordogan, Clark also donate to Blagojevich. Wilton itself donated $50,000 to the governor’s campaign fund on the same day. He said Wilton’s leaders asked the firm to make the donation as a way to call attention to the oases project, which at the time was moving slowly.

“Giving puts an exclamation point next to your name,” Clark said.

After the donation was made, Clark said, the project started to go more smoothly. But he said he wasn’t sure that was a direct result of the donation or whether “people were finally getting up to speed.”

He said he didn’t see the donation as a favor and believes the state was merely living up to the terms of its original agreement signed under the Ryan administration, in which Wilton has spent more than $80 million to renovate the oases and is paid by vendors renting space there.

Pre-Election Vote on Superintendent’s Contract Scheduled by Crystal Lake High School Board

A special meeting on February 1st at 7 is when the salary and other compensation of District 155’s Superintendent of Schools will be set.

The public will be allowed to address Board members prior to the vote, which obviously is a foregone conclusion.

= = = = =

I asked for the agenda packet and this was the prompt reply:

“There is no board packet for the special meeting, if there are materials/communications to be sent following the meeting, I will be sure to send those to you if there is action.”

I find it hard to comprehend how a new contact can be approved without some paper/text.

Thinking about Stumbling into Nuclear War

Ok, so this is far removed from McHenry County or even Illinois politics, but Breitbart has a thoughtful interview with retired tank commander Lt. Col. Danny Davis.

He warns that the Biden Administration has no plan in the Ukraine.

Just sending tanks for which no Ukrainian soldier is trained to use will not change anything militarily on the ground.

It’s not like “…getting this capacity on your video game and poof, you’ve got the full capacity as though you were fully trained, but it just doesn’t work that way in reality…”

Davis points out that tanks are used offensively, but he can find few instances in which the over 1.000 tanks the Ukrainians already have were used in an offense or in a tank-on-tank fight.

But what is occurring in the Ukraine is nothing like a video game.

“…just having NATO tanks does not equal battlefield success…roughly 90 percent of the success is the people who operate the equipment…”

Davis finds on Bloomberg that the Ukraine already had 1,000 tanks, plus 410 donated Soviet-era tanks.

He asks, ““just what an Abrams or Leopard tank is going to do differently than the T72s, the T80s or the T64s that they have right now?” 

The article continues,

The former Lt. Col. admitted that “if providing all this equipment we have in the last eight days combined with what’s apparently coming from these other dozen European nations, had a legitimate shot at ending the war and winning it for Ukraine without sparking a nuclear retaliation from Russia, then I’d be willing to say it is worthy.”

However, he explained, “there’s none of that.” 

“All you’re doing is making Russia want to go to war,” he warned. “Far from wanting to deter Russia or making them hesitate and count the costs – it’s having the exact opposite effect across the board in Russia.”

“If anything, it makes them want to be more aggressive,” he added. “It makes them absolutely think we cannot lose this and double down on their efforts.” 

He added copncerning the Russian people that “it’s a very valid position to say all of NATO is against them.”

Davis pointed out,

“We’re doing everything except physically pulling the trigger.. 

“We’re providing intelligence. We’re providing ammunition. We’re providing weapons systems [and] repair facilities, literally everything but the pull of the trigger.

He then suggested considering another country doing the same to the United States:

“Imagine during the war with Afghanistan that Russia or China had just completely got behind the Taliban, gave them everything they had, including all their modern gear to kill American soldiers.

“Do you think we would have accepted that?”

Then Davis asked, ““We think that, like Biden said hiding behind a fig leaf today, when he announced this change, that ‘we are not going to war with Russia’ and ‘we’re not a direct participant,’ as though just saying those words means anything to Russia.”

The retired tank man suggested that Russia would look at actions, rather than words.

Davis complains that our country has no plan, no strategy, no way to determine if we are succeeding or not.

“We’re just giving all this stuff, nobody’s talking about, not even ethereal kinds of overarching statements. What is this supposed to accomplish? What is the outcome you see by giving [these tanks]? What are you trying to produce on the ground? How is this going to benefit the United States of America as opposed to not doing it? What are the pros and cons?

Davis asks what is the “American national security interest here we’re trying to protect is?” 

“Not a general statement, but an actual physical, detailed answer: ‘Here’s what we want to accomplish; here’s what we consider success; here’s the objectives we want to accomplish.’ That should be a bare minimum, and it’s not even on the table.”

He explains this is not like fighting in counties like Syria, Yemen or Libya.

They didn’t have nuclear weapons.

And what will the Russian reaction be to providing the tanks?

“I fear that one day, Russia’s going to say, ‘OK, you finally did cross a red line this time and we’re going to take action,’” he said. 

The article continues,

“[Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov recently said that based on all this stuff about the tanks, they reserve the right to attack any provider of NATO gear, NATO tanks, NATO vehicles, their ammunition – no matter where they are, meaning Poland or in some other NATO country.” 

“So they’re now saying that they may attack those things that are directly for war, that are there against their forces wherever they are,” he added.

Davis also warned that Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty, which dictates that member states consent that “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all,” could lead to an explosion: 

There is zero chance – and I mean zero – not point anything, that Russia could ever militarily defeat NATO in a conventional sense. It’s a physical impossibility. They’re just struggling even now to defeat Ukrainians in part of the Donbas, their next-door neighbor, so they certainly couldn’t take on a 30 member NATO military alliance; they know that. 

“So the only way they can defend against NATO, is through nuclear weapons, of course,” he explained.

“So if we try to think we’re going to trigger Article 5 and not trigger nuclear war. I mean, we’re just insane and fooling ourselves.”

And while, he claimed, the information he relayed is “just common sense and logic, if you just played stuff through,” Davis argued that “we don’t like to play with reality.” 

“We like to play with words,” he said. “In fact, we just create our own reality, whatever we prefer.”

57-Year OId Island Lake/Woodstock Man Gets 126 Years for Child Sex Charges, Must Serve 85%

From the State’s Attorney:

ROBERT J GOULD SENTENCED TO 126 YEARS IN THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Robert Gould

Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that Robert J. Gould, 57, formerly of Island Lake and Woodstock, Illinois, was sentenced on January 27, 2023, to 126 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections by the Honorable Judge Michael Coppedge after being found guilty of multiple counts of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child, Criminal Sexual Assault, and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse at a jury trial.

Defendant must serve 122 years of his sentence at 85%.

This case was investigated by Detective Constable Jennifer Lake of the Halifax Regional Police in Canada and Sergeant Michelle Asplund of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

The case was prosecuted by Sharyl Eisenstein and Tyler Mikan of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Chance to Comment on Proposed ComEd Rate Hike

The Illnois Commerce Commission offers citizens the opportunity to weigh in on Commonweath Edison’s request to raise electric rates.

Here is the link.

Commonwealth Edison has a monopoly in Northern Illinois to deliver electricty.

Call me old-fashioned, but isn’t part of the mandate given along with such a monopoly the ability to deliver the product to each customer?

This high power line on Crystal Lake’s Main Street next to Best Buy failed. Electric rates were not raised to pay to fix this part of ComEd’s grid.

Maybe things have changed since I majored in economics, but I don’t think so.

There has to be a workable grid to deliver the product.

If ComEd has neglected to maintain its electric grid and instead used earnings to pay dividends, I don’t see that it is my responsibility to fill in the gap.

Trespasser Arrested in Harvard

From the Harvard Police Department:

TRESPASSING TO REAL PROPERTY / RESISTING A PEACE OFFICER

On 01-22-23 at 1704 hrs, Police responded to the 5 blk N Lincoln St regarding an unwanted subject on the property.

Upon arrival and after a thorough investigation Austin A Gehrke (m-30 yoa), 4221 W Parkway Ave, McHenry was arrested for Trespass to Real Property and was also charged with Resisting Arrest after pulling away from officers when he was being taken into custody.

Gehrke was transported to the McHenry County Jail in lieu of bond.

UPDATE with SPECIFICS: With Chicago Mayoral Candidate Proposing Taxing Suburbanites, Will Next Move Be to Impose Chicago Income Tax?

Illinois Policy reports on Chicago mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson’s proposal to gain more tax revenue from the suburbs.

Chicago Teachers Union lobbyist and mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson unveiled his ‘tax-the-rich’ revenue plan, including $800 million in new taxes on suburbanites and those who come to the city to work or play.

The State Constitution says,

Article VII. Local Government. Sec. 6. Powers of Home Rule Units. (e)

A home rule unit shall have only the power that the
General Assembly may provide by law (1) to punish by
imprisonment for more than six months or (2) to license for
revenue or impose taxes upon or measured by income or
earnings or upon occupations.

Except for the fact that Democrats control many of the legislative districts where Chicago commuters live, the extraordinary majority that party holds might tempt some effort.

= = = = =

From Center for Illinois Politics:

The new taxes include:

  • A surcharge on Metra fares paid by suburbanites that would bring in $40 million a year, because “the suburban tax base utilizes Chicago’s infrastructure to earn their disproportionately higher income, yet their taxes fund already wealthy towns”
  • A $98 million a year tax on jet fuel used at Chicago’s airports, “making the big airlines pay for polluting Chicago’s air”
  • A “mansion tax” that would raise $100 million a year, presumably by increasing the transfer tax on homes and condos that sell for $1 million or more
  • Restoration of the $4 a month employee “head tax” eliminated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on “large companies” that perform at least half their work in Chicago
  • Hiking Chicago’s highest-in-the-nation hotel tax even more to produce $30 million
  • Taxing financial transactions “less than 0.002 percent of a trade’s value” that would generate $100 million

McHenry Garage Fire Saturday Afternoon

From the McHenry Township Fire Protection District:

1600 block of N. Park Street in McHenry.

On Saturday, January 28, 2023, at 1:02 pm, the McHenry Township Fire Protection District (MTFPD) was dispatched to a reported structure fire in the 1600 block of N. Park Street in McHenry. MTFPD crews arrived within four minutes to find a two-story residence with heavy smoke coming from the attached garage.

All occupants had exited the structure prior to our arrival. MTFPD crews performed a fire attack while
simultaneously searching the residence, and the fire was under control within 15 minutes.

A box alarm was activated through the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) for change of quarters companies.

The fire was contained to the garage.

One resident was evaluated for smoke inhalation but was not transported.

There were no firefighter injuries.

The fire is currently under investigation, and a damage estimate is not available at this time.

MTFPD received assistance from Crystal Lake, Nunda, Cary, Round Lake, Lake Villa, and Huntley fire departments. The Red Cross was requested to assist the residents as the house was uninhabitable.

UPDATE: McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio Encourages People to Run Write-In Campaigns

UPDATE: For some reason the office of Mayor of Crystal Lake is not on the list below.

From the McHenry County Clerk:

County Clerk Encourages People to File as Write-In Candidates to Fill Open Seats

WOODSTOCK, Ill. –  If you’ve ever wanted to get involved in local government, there are races on the April 4 election ballot that can be won, in the words of County Clerk and Recorder Joe Tirio, “for the price of a piece of paper and a drive to Woodstock.”

“We have more than 20 offices with fewer candidates than open seats.

“That means you can likely have the seat by just running as a write-in,” Tirio said.

To run as a write-in, a candidate must be qualified for the seat and must file a declaration to run as a write-in at the County Clerk’s office by Thursday, Feb. 2.

The declaration can be found on the “elections” section of the candidate page on the County Clerk’s website at www.McHenryCountyClerkIL.gov.

“Once you’ve filed the declaration, you just need to contact friends, family, and neighbors to write your name in on the ballot on April 4,”, Tirio said.

“If the specter of gathering signatures, knocking on doors and raising funds has kept you from running for office, the bar has been significantly lowered.”

Write-in candidates must meet residency requirements for the seat for which they are running; some races further narrow residency for the vacant seat to a particular part of their jurisdiction. If (when) you win, within five days of the official canvass of votes, you will need to fill out a Statement of Candidacy, provide a receipt for filing your Statement of Economic Interests, and, if you want, sign the optional Loyalty Oath.

Here’s the list of races with fewer candidates than open seats:

  • Village of Fox River Grove, Trustee
  • Village of Greenwood, Trustee
  • Village of Lakewood, Trustee
  • Village of Oakwood Hills, Trustee
  • Village of Prairie Grove, Trustee
  • Village of Union, Trustee
  • Algonquin Public Library District, Trustee
  • Fox Lake Public Library District, Trustee
  • McHenry Public Library, Trustee
  • McHenry Public Library, Trustee (2-year term)
  • Nippersink Public Library District, Trustee
  • River East Public Library District, Trustee
  • Marengo Community High School District #154, Board Member
  • Richmond-Burton High School District #157, Board Member (2-year term)
  • Fox River Grove Grade School District #3, Board Member (2-year term)
  • McHenry County Regional Board of Schools, Trustee
  • McHenry County Regional Board of Schools, Trustee (4-year term)
  • Lake County Regional Board of Schools, Trustee
  • Kane County Regional Board of Schools, Trustee (2-year term)
  • Boone/Winnebago County Regional Board of Schools, Trustee
  • Boone/Winnebago County Regional Board of Schools, Trustee (4-year term)


Nothing in this message should be considered legal advice as neither I, nor my staff can provide legal advice.

Tirio also seeks election judges:

Norge Makes Tribune’s Front Page

What is unique about McHenry County?

That’s the question that entered my mind when I was trying to figure out what to put on the masthead of McHenry County Blog.

We have beautiful lakes, one of which I love driving by on the way home from either direction.

Sunset over Crystal Lake on July 2, 2017.

But lakes are not unique.

We have the Fox River.

A boat running flat out on the Fox River.

But lots of places have rivers.

Preparing for planting.

We have farms, but they are not unique.

This graceful lady is called “Queen of the Prairie.”

Shots of prairies or woods could have been used, but, again, nothing unique there.

Stickney Woods in McHenry. Photo credit Mackenzie Walter.

Then, it occurred to me that McHenry County is the only place in Illinois with a ski jump.

Today, the Chicago Tribune featured the snow-covered Norge ski hill on its front page.

This weekend was supposed to be the annual ski jump tournament, but it was postponed until mid-February because of too warm weather to produce snow.

The Norge Ski Tournament has been postponed until February 11th and 12th.

And, there is one other aspect of the ski jump that might be relevant to McHenry County Blog,

We sometimes leap on stories other local media ignore.