Sycamore

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Birds are a common sight throughout Northern Illinois, with many species coming through the area as part of seasonal migration. Some are just stopping by, but others have become more permanent residents. WNIJ’s Chase Cavanaugh takes a look at ways to deal with them.

Last week, the Illinois governor’s budget address outlined several proposals to reduce state spending. One focuses on K-12 schools.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner wants public school districts to begin “cost sharing” their employees’ state pensions over the next few years. Districts would be responsible for 25 percent of their pension cost during the first year, then an additional 25 percent each of the following three years. He said this overhaul is a fiscal necessity.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

DeKalb and Sycamore schools are finishing up necessary repairs on their water fixtures. That’s after some buildings had traces of lead in the water supply.

Six DeKalb elementary schools and two DeKalb middle schools recently had unsafe lead levels detected in the water. That’s according to reports shared by the school district.

Katie Finlon/WNIJ

Sycamore High School students have spoken: The majority are in favor of a flexible schedule during school days.

More than 80 percent of all Sycamore High School students, families and teachers say they would be in favor of a flexible schedule during school days. That’s according to survey data collected by administration recently.

Tim Carlson, principal of Sycamore High School, says he is all for anything that could better prepare students for the modern workforce, especially when it comes to teaching kids how to better manage their free time.

Jenna Dooley

The Northern Illinois Steam Power Club is hosting its 61st annual Sycamore Steam Show and Threshing Bee this weekend.

Standing in front of a compound steam engine used to make ice nearly a century ago,  Rockford resident Dick Caudle says he has had a lifelong love for steam-powered engines.

Sycamore Swears In New Police Chief

Aug 8, 2017

Jim Winters took the oath to serve as Sycamore's new police chief Monday after the city council voted 7-0 in favor of his appointment. 

Winters joined the department last summer upon the retirement of the previous deputy police chief. He has been acting chief since his predecessor, Glenn Theriault, was placed on administrative leave after "un-arresting" an Elgin officer and colleague detained for suspected driving under the influence. 

Flickr user Gerry Lauzon / "Pulling out the stretcher" (CC v. 2.0)

Elevators in new structures built in Sycamore have to be wide enough to fit a two-foot by seven-foot ambulance stretcher in the laying-down position.

The Sycamore city council voted unanimously to pass the new elevator building regulation last week. The ordinance is effective immediately.

Sycamore Mayor Curt Lang says the regulations would only apply to future buildings that are two stories tall or higher. Older buildings are not required to comply.

A recent murder in Sycamore is bringing attention on domestic violence within the community.

37-year-old Lidia Juarez of DeKalb was found dead in her car outside the Illinois Department of Human Services, where she worked. Her estranged husband -- and a suspect in her death -- was killed in a shootout with police Friday afternoon.

DeKalb County records show Antonio Juarez violated an order of protection earlier this year.

City of Sycamore

Sycamore Police Chief Glenn Theriault announced his resignation Monday. 

It comes in the wake of an April 8 incident where an Elgin officer was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence. Theriault was informed of the officer's detention and allegedly "un-arrested" the officer, releasing him without charges.  

DeKalb County

A former mobile home park east of Sycamore will reopen as a forest preserve later this summer.

DeKalb County purchased  Evergreen Village and relocated about 400 residents from 123 trailers in 2014 due to continuous flooding in the area. Since then, the county forest preserve district has been working to restore the site with the help of $7.1 million in state and federal grants. The Daily Chronicle reports the county needs to wait to transfer the land to the forest district until the grants funding is officially closed.

City of Sycamore

Sycamore Police Chief Glenn Theriault is not at work, and city officials aren't saying why. 

The Daily Chronicle reports Sycamore city manager Brian Gregory placed Theriault on administrative leave. Gregory confirmed the move, but would not give any further details. Under Sycamore's council-manager form of government, the city manager is in charge of personnel issues, with employment decisions needing approval from city council.  

Theriault has served as chief of police in Sycamore since January 2015. Before that, he was a police commander in Elgin. 

Sycamore City Council Considers Capital Plan

Feb 21, 2017

Sycamore’s city council examined a $14.3 million capital improvement plan for fiscal year 2018.

The Daily Chronicle reports about $10 million would go toward the third phase of construction for a wastewater treatment plant expansion.  The city slowly raised sewer rates since 2015 to pay for the improvements, but the current plans have dedicated revenue streams.

Facebook: Dekalb County Sheriff's Office, Illinois

Several agencies are involved with the investigation, including the Sandwich Police Department and Illinois State Police.

64-year-old Robert Wilson and his 85-year-old mother Patricia died five months ago from blunt force trauma after a forced entry into their home.

Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital could have a $46 million Wellness Center in the next two years

They want state approval to build a more than 100,000 square foot health and fitness center.  The DeKalb facility would be south of Bethany Road and Greenwood Acres Drive.   

The group's application claims the goal of the center is to increase access to forms of preventative health care, and boost the overall health of DeKalb County.  

The application is on the agenda for the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board's March 14 meeting.  

DeKalb and Sycamore held lotteries this week to determine which candidates would appear first on their local ballots.  

For DeKalb's mayoral race, incumbent John Rey will appear first on the ballot.  Following him are Jerry Smith, Michael Embrey, and Misty Haji-Sheikh.  

DeKalb also determined the order of candidates for its Ward 2 Alderman  race.  First is incumbent Bill Finucane, followed by William Lamb and Barry Federici.   

Cold Weather Prompts Public Service Closures

Dec 13, 2016
Illinois Christmas Tree Association

Temperatures are taking a sharp drop this week, and it’s affecting public services and charities.  

Katie Finlon

A little girl from Sycamore went missing 59 years ago Satuerday. The disappearance is still remembered by many in the community.

Seven-year-old Maria Ridulph was playing outside with a friend before she disappeared on Dec. 3, 1957. Then, a man named “Johnny” appeared and started talking to them and gave them piggy-back rides.

When her friend came back after she left to grab mittens, Ridulph was gone. Police found her body in northwest Illinois months later.

Victim Identified In Sycamore House Fire

Oct 31, 2016
city of Sycamore

The DeKalb County Coroner identified 47-year-old Jeffrey Conery as the victim of a house fire Sunday morning.

The home is located on Somonauk St. in Sycamore. No one else was in the residence at the time of the incident.

According to a news release, the home did have working smoke detectors.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Sycamore Fire, Police and the State Fire Marshall's office.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The Sycamore City Council adopted an ordinance Monday that regulates donation boxes for clothes, shoes and other products.  

The measure addresses recent complaints that boxes have appeared on private property without permission, some becoming dumping grounds for unwanted goods. When property owners tried to contact the owners of the boxes, they received no response.  

Dibble Family LLC’s request to build a propane distribution facility in DeKalb County is facing another public hearing.  

The Morris-based company wants to build the facility at 25330 Five Points Road, a patch of farmland west of Sycamore.  However,  local landowners worry their properties could be affected if the building catches fire.

A former Sycamore resident who abducted and raped an NIU student in 2001 at gunpoint is asking a judge to reconsider a decision that changed his jail sentence.

Todd S. Allgood, 48, forced the student to drive to his Sycamore trailer, where the attack took place.  

The original jury trial resulted in a 55-year prison sentence, but the Illinois Second District Appellate Court ruled last year that part of that sentence  violated state law.  Allgood's prison term was reduced to 31 years earlier this month.  

Facebook: Dekalb County Sheriff's Office, Illinois

Police recovered a missing car in connection with the case of a Sycamore double murder.

 

Chicago police found the Chevy Impala near Lincoln Park Zoo this week.

 

The car was taken from the home of Patricia and Robert Wilson. The mother and son were found dead Aug. 15 in rural Sycamore. The two appeared to have died from blunt force trauma.

 

Police say the car may have been parked near the zoo for several days. It was returned to DeKalb County.

 

Potential evidence has been sent to the State Crime Lab.

 

Detectives Seek Answers In Sycamore Double Murder

Aug 16, 2016
Chase Cavanaugh

Two rural Sycamore residents were found dead in their home Monday night.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office found signs of forced entry at the home of 64-year old Robert Wilson and his 85-year old mother Patricia.  Chief Deputy Andy Sullivan says the victims appear to have died from blunt force trauma, and Ms. Wilson's vehicle appears to have been stolen. 

“The victim’s missing vehicle is a 2010 White 4-door Chevrolet Impala, Illinois License Plate 903-0890.  Locating this vehicle will help investigators in this tragic case," he said.  

Jack McCullough Case: A Timeline

Aug 5, 2016

The Disappearance

December 3, 1957:  The times below reflect the evidence presented in the 2016 court-ordered investigation of the case by DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack.

6:45-7:00 p.m.: Maria Ridulph is last seen by her friend and playmate Kathy Sigman. They were playing with a young man named Johnny and Maria went inside her home five minutes beforehand to get a doll to play with. 

Sycamore Chooses Builder For Rec Center

Jul 29, 2016
city of Sycamore

  Sycamore’s park district selected a construction company to build a new recreation complex.  

The new campus is part of Sycamore’s Action 2020 plan, a citywide beautification project.  It will be built on Airport Road, and contain amenities such as a dog park, splash pond, community center, and sledding hill. 

Coltonville Road Bridge Reopened To Traffic

Jul 1, 2016

    The Coltonville Road Bridge is now open to traffic.  

The Daily Chronicle reports it’s twice as large as the old bridge and crosses the river three feet higher.  

The road was closed for ten months while the bridge was built.  It was delayed by cold weather and an initial shortage of steel.  

DeKalb County Engineer Nathan Schwartz says the final cost is likely to come to around $2.3 million. 

Genoa Man Found Not Guilty In Sexual Assault Case

May 13, 2016
DeKalb County

A 41-year old Genoa man has been found not guilty of sexually assaulting a 4-year old girl.  

Stuart Diaz has been in DeKalb County Jail since 2013 under charges of predatory sexual assault.  The Daily-Chronicle reports Diaz finished a 3-day trial yesterday, maintaining his innocence throughout the proceedings. 

Public Defender Tom McCullouch called the charges against Diaz flimsy, and said the prosecution’s reference to “Uncle Stewie,” was an attempt to make his client seem creepy to jurors. 

Give Local DeKalb County Raises Nearly $374,000

May 5, 2016

  Give Local DeKalb County considers its efforts a success despite technical difficulties. 

The charity campaign puts its unofficial donation totals at $270,000.  This figure does not include an additional $104,000 in matching funds. 

Giving hours were extended to yesterday afternoon after online vendor Kimbia’s servers were overloaded by donation traffic.  In total, more than 60 nonprofits took part in the campaign.  

Danielle Guerra / Shaw Media

The Daily Chronicle recently published a two-part series called “Road to Dismissal” examining letters and emails that take a closer look at how DeKalb County State’s Attorney Richard Schmack became convinced that the wrong man was behind bars for the death of Maria Ridulph of Sycamore. Jack McCullough has since been released from prison, but some in the community still question his innocence. Eric Olson is editor of the Daily Chronicle and talks about writing the story.

DeKalb County

A ledger error by the Illinois Department of Revenue has resulted in thousands of taxing districts, including DeKalb County, to be overpaid for their 2014 Personal Property Replacement Taxes.

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