News of the Northwest Suburbs is my focus on Joe and Tina’s Show in the morning on STAR 105.5 FM. I’ll give you a comprehensive look at McHenry County news, Chicagoland’s top stories, Illinois news, top national stories, and sports. I’ll assist Tina in providing traffic in the northwest suburbs. All of this information in a couple of minutes each hour. Just as Joe and Tina keep you entertained with great music and their funny banter, I’ll keep you in touch with what’s going on. Stew’s News on STAR 105.5 Monday through Friday from 6am to 8am. We’ll give you ten traffic reports throughout the morning.
I’ve been finding important issues and events to expand our focus from the shorter newscast length to the longer form public affairs show. The program is called Northwest Spectrum, airing every Sunday 6am for 15-minutes. Northwest Spectrum allows for more time to open up an issue and examine it thoroughly.
I’m in my fifth decade of providing news in the morning, public affairs and public service. Thank you for listening to me.
The McHenry County Coroner and Crystal Lake Police are investigating a fatal crash from Sunday, September 24 at 8:50pm. Coroner Anne Majewski says 63-year-old Peter G. O’Grady of Crystal Lake was riding a motorcycle at the intersection of Virginia Road and Rakow Road in Crystal Lake. His motorcycle and an SUV crashed at the intersection. Crystal Lake Fire and Rescue rushed O’Grady to Centegra Huntley Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 9:59pm. The coroner’s office is expecting to do an autopsy.
The McHenry County Community Foundation has delivered on its mission to improve the quality of life throughout the County by announcing its donation of 77 acres of rare oak savanna and wetlands to the City of Woodstock. Through a partnership that includes the Land Conservancy of McHenry County, the oak savanna – a rare community of plants and trees — will be restored and managed for future generations. The property, located near Route 14 and Lily Pond Road, is considered an environmental treasure. It’s a remnant oak savanna with trees dating back to the 1830s when European-Americans settled McHenry County. Oak savannas, once common northern Illinois landscapes, are now considered endangered. McHenry County Community Foundation Executive Director Robin Doeden says, “The donation of this environmentally significant oak savanna and wetlands is one of many examples of how the foundation works to improve our community.” The area also includes marshland that provides an important migratory habitat for birds such as egrets, herons, cranes and a wide variety of duck species. Doeden says, “By preserving these precious 77 acres for local families, children and their grandchildren, and by partnering with the City of Woodstock and the Land Conservancy, we are strengthening our efforts to promote healthy and active lifestyles and preserve the history and the beautiful, unique landscapes of McHenry County.”
The McHenry County Community Foundation’s donation will add a fifth conservation area within Woodstock and will be the city’s largest conservation area managed by The Land Conservancy of McHenry County. The 77-acre tract, purchased by the Foundation in 2009 for $1.5 million, can be viewed by thousands of Metra commuters riding to and from Woodstock daily, since the savanna is adjacent to Metra’s Burlington Northern Northwest Line train tracks near the intersection Route 14 and Lake Shore. Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager says, ““We are incredibly grateful to the McHenry County Community Foundation for their determined efforts to preserve this land and secure this valuable natural resource for future generations. We want to extend our sincere thanks to the Foundation for shepherding the donation and entrusting it to the City through the partnership we have forged with The Land Conservancy of McHenry County.”
The McHenry County Community Foundation, which connects the generosity of donors with community needs, is also donating $25,000 to The Land Conservancy of McHenry County to serve as steward of the land. The Land Conservancy of McHenry County Executive Director Lisa Haderlein says ” The property is not yet accessible to the public, but work could begin as soon as early winter to begin clearing the brush and overgrowth of the savanna. We will be working with the City of Woodstock and our teams of volunteers to restore the oak woods in this area. Efforts will include clearing out brush to give new trees a chance to grow and thrive. We will work with City Manager Roscoe Stelford to develop a plan to make it accessible in the future, so nature and bird lovers have a place to enjoy the landscape and see it as it was in our not-so-distant past.”
Haderlein anticipates the Foundation’s donated land could offer miles of hiking trails and overlooks for bird enthusiasts to watch migrating species in spring and fall.
In September, Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 kicked off a strategic planning process called Forward 47 to help set clear direction for the District for the next five years. Under the guidance of the Consortium for Educational Change (CEC), a team of nearly 40 stakeholders — parents, staff, community members, board members, administrators and students — will be meeting on a monthly basis through December to develop a new strategic plan for the District.
Recently, the team met for a “data retreat,” where the focus was on painting a picture of the District to clarify what is going well and what can be improved. The team’s charge for the day was to produce a draft SWOT analysis, identifying the district’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. To obtain an accurate snapshot of the district, the strategic plan team was provided an overview of D47 by department, including finance/operations, instruction/curriculum, and personnel/human resources. The team also reviewed data from recent stakeholder surveys.
A draft of the SWOT analysis is now complete and can be viewed on the Forward 47 web page at www.d47.org/forward47 (click on “9/13/17: Data Retreat” link). The Forward 47 strategic planning team invites all stakeholders to weigh in and provide feedback on the SWOT analysis by taking a brief survey on the web page. The survey will be open through October 15, 2017. All feedback gathered will be shared with the strategic plan team for consideration in determining a final SWOT analysis that will inform the strategic plan.
Superintendent Kathy Hinz says , “An effective school district relies on the shared vision and collaborative input from all stakeholders. Through the efforts of the strategic planning team and feedback from the school community, we look forward to developing a viable plan that will guide our efforts in continuing to provide quality educational services for all students.”
District 47 invites the community to follow the progress of the strategic planning team over the next several months by visiting the Forward 47 web page at www.d47.org/forward47.
A rabid bat was found outside a Crystal Lake home on September 11. Test results for the bat, reported to McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) on Friday, September 15, confirmed that the bat was positive for rabies. No human exposure was reported, although potential exposure to a dog who was outside when the bat was found is being taken into consideration. Keeping pets (even those who stay indoors) up to date with vaccinations will not only keep them from getting rabies but also provide a barrier of protection for people if a rabid animal bites a pet.
If a bat is found, whether it is inside or outside your home, do not touch it directly. The home owner in this instance handled the bat with a shovel and plastic bag, ensuring no direct contact. If a bat is found in the home, contain the bat in a room by closing the door. If you find a bat outside the home and think there has been exposure to a person or pet, or if the bat is injured, place an upside down bucket over the bat if it is possible. In both cases, immediately call Animal Control (815-459-6222). In order to test bats for rabies, it is important the bat be in good condition (i.e. head is intact) – either alive or recently deceased. Only in cases of confirmed exposure are bats submitted for testing. Specimens in good condition that test negative for rabies eliminates the need for rabies treatment following human exposure. Statewide, 46 rabid bats have been reported positive for rabies so far in 2017, with approximately 43 of those found in northeastern Illinois.
Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system, only confirmed by laboratory testing. The best way to avoid rabies is to avoid exposure. A bat that is active by day, found in a place where bats are not usually seen (such as in your home or on the lawn) or is unable to fly, is potentially rabid. People should take a “hands off” approach to all wild animals to reduce their risk of exposure. Children should also be educated to avoid handling wild animals. Bats are a protected species and part of the natural habitat.
If you have questions about exposure, call MCDH’s Communicable Disease Program at 815-334-4500. To learn more about rabies prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.