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Stew Cohen

  • Sunday 6:00am-6:15am

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 State’s Attorney’s office announces that 53-year-old David J. Tapley of Crystal Lake was found guilty after a jury trial on Thursday, September 20, 2018, of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse.

Tapley was charged with having sexual contact with a minor over several years. Prosecutors say during trial, the evidence heard from the victim and several witnesses corroborated that Tapley was with her when the acts were committed.

Tapley was found guilty of three counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse and faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in the Department of Corrections. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in front of Judge James Cowlin on November 19, 2018.

This case was investigated by Sgt. Doherty of the Crystal Lake Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorneys Mary Scholl and Sharyl Eisenstein.


The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) has asked the Governor of Illinois to declare September 23rd to 29th as Illinois Rail Safety Week. The Chiefs believe this will help to promote vehicle and pedestrian safety around railroad tracks and trains.  Governor Rauner issued a proclamation and the ILACP is coordinating the fifth, statewide Illinois Rail Safety Week in partnership with Metra, along with support from state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, railroads, schools, and various private sector agencies.

In addition, Operation Lifesaver has declared the same week as national Rail Safety Week, and the ILACP is proud to be part of the national effort.  In Illinois during 2017, there were 86 collisions at public highway-rail crossings involving motor vehicles or pedestrians, which resulted in 24 injuries and 21 fatalities.  There were 41 trespasser incidents that resulted in 26 injuries and 15 fatalities when people trespassed onto railroad property.  During 2017, Illinois ranked 2nd in the nation in collision fatalities and 8th in the nation in trespasser fatalities.

To promote rail safety awareness and education, the Crystal Lake Police Department will be participating in Illinois Rail Safety Week.  Enforcement details are planned throughout the week at various railroad grade crossings and commuter stations within Crystal Lake to cite both drivers and pedestrians who disobey the laws associated with railroad grade crossings and railroad property.  Police officers will distribute literature  that contains information on how to be safe around trains and train tracks.

Please remember, not only is it against the law to stop your vehicle on railroad tracks, it is also against the law to stop your vehicle anywhere within the highway-rail grade crossing. Highway-rail grade crossings are typically marked by white stop lines located on the pavement in advance of the crossing, and if not marked by white stop lines, the highway-rail grade crossing extends from protective gate arm to protective gate arm.

According to Illinois Operation Lifesaver, more than 84 percent of all collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices (flashing lights, gates, and ringing bells).  For more information about Illinois Rail Safety Week, please visit www.illinoisrailsafetyweek.org or contact the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.


A roadside marker bearing the name Nicholas Kilpatrick will remind people of the tragedies caused by impaired drivers. Nicholas was 17-years-old and riding a skateboard when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver on September 9, 2014.

Carrie Kilpatrick, Nicholas’s mother, has waited a long time for this memorial marker. “The pain and grief of losing a child will never go away; this marker gives some comfort knowing that Nicholas’ memory will live on and bring awareness to the pain that comes from this senseless crime.”

Roadside DUI Memorial Markers have appeared on state highways since August 2007, when HB 1900 was signed into law, creating the roadside memorial. This law was the result of legislation championed by the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown’s Tina Ball Memorial DUI Task Force, along with the Legislative Committee of AAIM. The Tina Ball DUI Task Force is a group formed after construction worker Tina Ball was struck and killed in a work zone on Interstate 57 by a drunk driver in September 2003.

For many years, AAIM has been working with local agencies to install signs where a fatality occurred as the result of an impaired driver. Family and friends of crash victims often erect temporary makeshift memorials which are often removed because they can become a distraction to other drivers.

Thanks to the Village of Hampshire and Mike Reid, Village Trustee, this sign will be erected on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, at 4:30 pm. Parking for the memorial will be on State Street right before Allen Road and Veteran’s Park, in Hampshire. AAIM is pleased that the village supported this program and worked hard to make it come to fruition.

This program acknowledges the victims in a dignified manner. The uniform, easily-recognized signs also create awareness of the dangers of alcohol and drug-impaired driving and will help prevent these tragedies.


Current and prospective McHenry County College (MCC) students are invited to attend a Private Illinois Colleges and Universities (PICU) Transfer Fair from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17 and a State University Transfer Day featuring public universities from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, both located in the MCC Commons area, located in Building B.  The PICU Fair on Sept. 17 will feature 28 private colleges in Illinois with representatives available to answer questions from students who are preparing to transfer to a four-year college or university. College representatives will provide information about degree programs, admission criteria, the application process, financial aid and scholarships. Students may bring a copy of their college transcript for review. Many of the colleges participating have transfer agreements in place with MCC. For more information, visit www.mchenry.edu/picu. The State University Transfer Day on Oct. 4 will feature representatives from 12 Illinois public universities to answer questions from students who are preparing to transfer. The annual MCC College Fair for high school students and their parents as well as current college students, take place from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4 with representatives from over 100 colleges and universities.


Norge 2018 Fall Tournament

Sat. September 22/ Sunday September 23 (Gates open at 11 am)

One hundred thirteen years old and the Norge Ski Club continues to pack ‘em in and

around the base of the oldest ski jumping facility in North America to watch in

amazement as ski jumpers from around the world gather to compete in the annual fall

ski jumping competition.

Millions took notice of the unique and somewhat hidden training grounds when it

became apparent that three of the four man US Olympic team in South Korea would be

made up of ski jumpers from the Fox River Grove club.

For those who love watching these world class daredevils take to the sky, floating

upwards of two hundred feet, but don’t like cold weather, September is the perfect time

to grab your lawn chair, sunscreen and sunglasses and head to Norge for a day of great

fun and excitement.

And oh boy, come hungry because this year, along with Norge’s own concession stand

we will have several popular food trucks featuring oven roasted pizza, slow-cooked

barbeque, Mexican food, gourmet grilled cheese and many desserts.

No carry-ins or pets will be allowed inside the gate. Parking is free.

Admission is $10 in advance, purchased at several area merchants or $15 at the gate.

Gates open at 11 am. Competition begins at noon both days


Cary Senior Living, a new senior community that will create 62 affordable apartments for older households, will provide a necessary boost to affordable housing units for seniors in McHenry County. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), Housing Opportunity Development Corporation (HODC) and PIRHL Developers joined Mayor Mark Kownick and local officials to formally kick off construction of the three-story building that will create high quality housing options for households 62 and older. With support from Boston Financial Investment Management, Citibank, McHenry County Planning and Development, the McHenry County Housing Authority and other public and private partners, the new independent living community is expected to open in Fall 2019.

“There is a strong demand for senior housing in communities like Cary, and Cary Senior Living will go a long way to meet the growing need facing McHenry County,” IHDA Executive Director Audra Hamernik said. “We’re glad the Village takes this need seriously and are grateful to have had their support as the development team creates new opportunities for Cary residents to age in place where they raised their families.”

Developed by HODC and PIRHL Developers, the apartments are financed largely with bond proceeds and federal tax credits awarded by IHDA that will generate over $12 million in private equity to offset construction costs. The development will bring high quality rental options to an area with a rapidly growing senior population, where demand for senior housing is projected to grow over the next five years.

HODC’s Executive Director, Richard Koenig, credits IHDA for being an integral part of the Cary Senior Living team. “We are grateful to IHDA and McHenry County for providing innovative funding for this development which will allow seniors in the Cary community to remain close to essential services and loved ones. IHDA’s commitment to provide resources for Cary Senior Living created a framework from which our team could assemble the remaining financing needed to move forward with development. We are proud to partner with PIRHL to help make this important housing development become a reality for our low income seniors”

Cary Senior Living will be constructed on a four-acre site at 880 Feinberg Drive. When complete, the building will be designed to comply with Passive House energy efficiency standards and will feature a community room, fitness room, library and game room, laundry facilities and on-site property management. All 62 apartments will be reserved for households earning less than 60 percent of the Area Median Income, or no more than $40,620 for a two-person household in McHenry County.

Leasing will begin Summer 2019.


The McHenry County Board will vote on three major reforms to further cement its reputation as a state and national leader for good government.
Its Ad Hoc Committee on Governmental Consolidation recommended Tuesday that the full board vote to put two binding referendums on the Nov. 6 midterm ballot to impose term limits on County Board members and the County Board Chairman. They also voted to recommend that the County Board pass a resolution reducing its size by 25 percent, from 24 to 18 members.
“Today’s actions are a huge step forward for empowering voters to choose the way they are governed,” County Board Chairman Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said. “Two years ago, almost 80 percent of county voters said in an advisory referendum that the County Board should be reduced in size. The same year, a poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute put support for term limits in Illinois at 80 percent. The committee’s vote today sends a message that its members heard the people they represent loud and clear, and I’m confident the full County Board will follow suit.”
The proposed referendums would ask voters to limit the County Board Chairman to no more than two terms as of the 2020 election, and to limit County Board members to no more than 12 years as of the 2022 redistricting election, when the size reduction ordinance would take effect.
“The County Board isn’t making the big decisions on term limits – the voters are, which is the way it should be,” Franks said. “I want to thank the Ad-Hoc Committee, as well as the many other County Board members who attended its meetings, for bringing a lot of good ideas to the table and working together to do the people’s will.”
The referendums will be voted on at a special meeting Aug. 16, to meet the state deadline of Aug. 20 to put binding referendums on the Nov. 6 ballot. The ordinance to reduce the County Board’s size, in accordance with board rules, will be put on 30-day review for a likely September vote.


The McHenry County Emergency Management Agency has released a new “McHenry Aware” mobile app to help McHenry County residents become more aware of potential hazards and provide information on how to prepare through all stages of certain disasters.

The app provides users with weather alerts, updates on road conditions throughout the county, and updates during extreme weather situations. It also includes customizable checklists to help make you and your family disaster ready, and the ability to report personal property damage.
EMA Director David Christensen says, “Residents will now have access to the most up-to-date information in times of crisis. Notifications about evacuations, outages, disaster relief and emergency services will be at their fingertips. Self-reporting of damage assessments is now available for the first time ever.”
While not a substitute for your primary means of emergency notification, the new app will serve to provide McHenry County residents with information about the EMA office and the services they provide, as well as the ability to provide users with emergency notifications to their phones. It also will provide more detailed directions to the disaster resources available to them, and enable users to volunteer to help to assist their communities with the push of a button.
McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks of Marengo says, “As last year’s historic Fox River flooding proved to us, disaster can happen anytime, anywhere. It’s important not only to have advance notice of severe weather and other emergencies, but also to have a disaster plan in place for you and your family. The McHenry Aware app is a powerful tool to ensure that you’re prepared when disaster strikes.”
The app is available for free download on both the Google Play Store and the App Store today. For more information on the app or to download it by scanning a QR code, visit www.mchenryaware.com


–  INTREN, one of the nation’s largest certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE) specialty utility contractors,  announces continued growth through its plan to combine with Indiana-based Miller Construction Company, Inc., a third-generation full-service electrical contracting company, and also a leading WBE.  By joining forces, INTREN will broaden its marketplace offerings, including Miller Construction’s deep expertise in transmission.

“With Miller Construction, we have found a culture match and an experienced execution partner, as well as a company that shares our values and our vision of transforming the way business is done,” said INTREN founder and Chairwoman of the Board Loretta Rosenmayer. “Miller Construction is a family-owned business with a long history of exceptional safety and meeting customers’ needs, which makes them a natural fit for the INTREN family.”

Rosenmayer stressed that INTREN’s acquisition furthers her vision of creating a national full-service company. “Our goal is not only to build the best women-owned business and woman-controlled board, but to be the best overall total-solutions provider for our customers. INTREN’s and Miller’s shared values of stewardship, integrity and customer focus will guide us, and firmly support our belief that companies do well in the marketplace by doing good,” Rosenmayer added.

“INTREN is known for anticipating and fulfilling the needs of our customers and we are doing just that by broadening our capabilities through the acquisition of Miller Construction Company,” said Kelly Tomblin, INTREN’s Chief Executive Officer. “By joining forces, we are continuing our evolution to serve customers in every business segment, wherever they need us geographically,” she said.

“This acquisition is in response to requests from our customers and the marketplace. We are expanding our transmission capabilities and expertise, and adding other services such as equipment testing, vegetation management and innovative professional services while providing the same safety, quality, and customer focus. We are now well-positioned to grow further and be even better partners for our customers in the future,” added Tomblin.

Christina Ernst, the CEO of the Miller Construction Company, will join the woman-controlled INTREN Board of Directors, one of the few in America’s utility contractor space.

Miller Construction’s 175 employees will join forces with INTREN’s 1,600-strong team to provide more work to customers through a wider geographic reach. Company President Andy Carmean will continue to oversee Miller activities and will join INTREN as Regional Vice President serving the Indianapolis and St. Louis markets.

“As a family-owned and operated WBE, Miller Construction Company is thrilled to join the INTREN family,” Christina Ernst said. “Not only does INTREN embody the principles and values of Miller Construction Company, but we provide complementary services that will help INTREN achieve continuous growth and become a total utility solutions provider. Together we are well-positioned for industry leadership that will provide creative solutions for our customers.  I look forward to serving on the Board and continuing to help advise the combined companies. ”

INTREN’s acquisition of Miller Construction Company shows the industry that diverse companies can combine to create a different and innovative workplace offering.  INTREN’s latest growth to meet the infrastructure needs of the utility marketplace reflects their 30-year trajectory that was bolstered in 2017, when One Equity Partners became a minority investor, providing significant funding for future growth.

 


The Board of Directors for The Literacy Connection announces David Zimmerman as its new Executive Director.  Zimmerman replaces Karen Oswald, former Executive Director who resigned this past February.

Zimmerman brings experience in non-profit organizations as well as community business collaboration, board governance and organizational change management to The Literacy Connection.

Zimmerman has served previously as the Employment Opportunities Manager for the Center for Enriched Living and was the Employment Coordinator for New Foundation Center (now Thresholds).  Zimmerman is also a Veteran of the United States Navy.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Affairs (Management) from Indiana University, as well as a Master of Arts in Public Administration (Nonprofit Management) from University of Colorado and a Master of Business Administration (Management) from Roosevelt University.

Zimmerman says, “I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to lead this organization. The mission of The Literacy Connection is such a needed resource in the communities we serve as I have encountered several clients at my previous positions that had severe deficits in basic literacy fundamentals, in addition to other barriers in their own lives.  Reading your schedule at work, filling out job applications, or just being able to write about what you enjoy doing in life; literacy in our communities is so essential towards the inclusion and prosperity for our readers.   Providing opportunities for those who need help is a great passion of mine and having a career that aligns with this is truly a blessing. The Literacy Connection is a public nonprofit organization and I plan on continuing to build new bridges with the communities and reaching out to new learners who may have been hesitant or unaware of our services.”

Board President Jay Robinson stated, “We are confident that David’s experience, knowledge, and integrity are a great match for the work, staff, and friends of The Literacy Connection. Together with the staff and the Board of Directors, we will continue to advance our mission by helping adults in the northwest suburbs reach their literacy goals through one-on-one volunteer tutoring and small group instruction.”

The Literacy Connection serves 16 northwest suburban Chicago communities including Algonquin, Bartlett, Carpentersville, Cary, Elgin, South Elgin, East Dundee, West Dundee, Gilberts, Hanover Park, Hampshire, Hoffman Estates, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Streamwood, and Schaumburg. The agency provides customized one-on-one and small group adult tutoring, citizenship conversation groups, English conversation groups, and family literacy programs.


 

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks has invited leaders from nine area school districts to a discussion on what districts can do to lower their property tax levies.

The meeting comes after voters overwhelmingly approved an advisory referendum asking school districts to follow the County Board’s example and reduce their levies by at least 10 percent. The County Board reduced county government’s levy by 11.2 percent for this tax year, and will continue to search for additional efficiencies to save taxpayers money.

“While every local government has an obligation to the taxpayers to tighten their belts like we did, I believe school boards have even more of one because they account for the biggest percentage, by far, of property tax bills. We’re not here to criticize public education or the fine work that our teachers do. But the voters told us in March that schools need to lower their taxes. And unfortunately, people are also voting with their feet and leaving McHenry County. We have to reverse this trend before we reach a demographic and economic point of no return,” Franks, D-Marengo, said.

County Board members Michele Aavang, R-Woodstock, Christopher Spoerl, R-Cary, and John Jung, R-Woodstock, led the effort last year to put the advisory referendum on the March 20 primary ballot. Voters approved it by a three-to-one margin.

Franks invited the superintendents and the school board presidents from nine of the 16 school districts that have their administrative centers in McHenry County: Woodstock Community District 200, Johnsburg District 12, McHenry Community High School District 156, Marengo Union Elementary School District 165, Huntley Community School District 158, Richmond-Burton Community High School District 157, Cary Community School District 26, Community High School District 155 and Crystal Lake Elementary District 47. Other districts will be invited to future meetings.


 

Work is starting on a project to build a roundabout at River and Dowell roads in Island Lake.

The project consists of replacing the current three-way intersection, controlled by a single stop sign, with a roundabout to increase safety, improve traffic flow and correct the extreme skew of Dowell Road’s connection with River Road.

Utility relocation has started, and construction work is expected to begin in mid-May and be finished in November, weather permitting. While River Road will remain open throughout construction, Dowell Road will be closed at the intersection from early June through mid-August, and a posted detour will take drivers along an alternate route of Burnett and Darrell Roads. Local access to all nearby properties will be provided during construction.

The contract was awarded April 17, 2018 to PirTano Construction of Addison, for $3.59 million. Funds for the project will come from the county motor fuel tax and the county’s share of the Regional Transportation Authority sales tax.

Roundabouts make for a safer alternative to traditional intersections. Because there is only one-way movement throughout the roundabout – vehicles travel counterclockwise until they find their turn – they all but eliminate the possibility of head-on and right-angle collisions. Accidents at the River and Dowell intersection have increased 60 percent between the four-year reporting periods of 2008-2011 and 2012-2016.

To learn more about the project, follow the progress of the project and watch live video of construction work, visit www.mchenrycountydot.org and click on “Current and Upcoming Construction” on the left-hand side. You can also connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/mchenrycountydot.

When finished, this will be the third roundabout built in McHenry County. The first was built at Johnsburg and Chapel Hill roads in Johnsburg, followed by the roundabout at the intersections of Charles and Raffel Roads in Woodstock.

 

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The Algonquin, Cary, Harvard, Huntley Johnsburg, Lake in the Hills, McHenry, Spring Grove, and Woodstock Police Departments, in collaboration with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, will institute a new policy whereby a warrant for a blood draw will be obtained for any DUI suspect that refuses breathalyzer testing.

Of the policy, Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb said, “with the overall mission of public safety in mind, it is Woodstock Police Department’s perception that this initiative is certain to deter some who may contemplate driving after consuming too much alcohol or are under the influence of other substances.”

While DUI suspects face severe civil penalties, such as suspension of driving privileges, if they refuse breathalyzer testing, police cannot generally require or physically force a suspect to submit.  As such, many DUI suspects, mostly those who subjectively believe their blood alcohol concentration to be above the legal limit of 0.08 g/dL, often attempt to obstruct a DUI investigation by refusing to submit to breathalyzer testing. This is especially true of repeat DUI offenders.  Refusal is done in an effort to ensure that breathalyzer results cannot be used in a subsequent criminal prosecution.

The new policy will no longer allow DUI suspects to undermine criminal prosecutions in this way.  Rather, should a DUI suspect refuse breathalyzer testing, a warrant will be sought allowing police to draw the suspect’s blood.  Should the warrant be granted, the suspect will be transported to a nearby emergency room where his/her blood will be drawn and tested for blood alcohol concentration.  This policy will ensure that prosecutors are equipped with the strongest possible evidence in court and, thereby, that all DUI offenders are held accountable.

In addition to holding offenders accountable, Cary Police Chief Finlon observed that the initiative “will create strong cases for the prosecution, thereby encouraging a defendant to seek plea negotiations, reducing the need for investigating officers to appear in court, and improving law enforcement patrol staffing.”

The policy will be aided by the electronic warrant system, launched in January of 2017.  The electronic warrant system creates a streamlined process that police can follow to obtain a warrant without ever having to leave the police station.  Specifically, the e-warrant system allows police to create search warrants online, send those warrants for review to a judge electronically, interact with the judge via video-conferencing, and ultimately obtain a warrant through a judge’s electronic signature.

“The days of drunk drivers refusing to blow thinking that they can beat a DUI charge are coming to an end,” said Patrick Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney.  “This new policy means that we’re going to ensure we have all the evidence we need to successfully prosecute drunk drivers every time.”


 

Podcasts

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.
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