DeKalb County

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Illinois is only seven years away from its deadline for getting 25% of the state’s energy from renewable sources. Wind power will have to play a big part to reach that ambitious goal. The state ranks 6th in the nation for the number of wind turbines, at more than 2,600. These wind farms are generally located in rural areas, many on active farms where people are raising corn and soybeans. The wind becomes a third crop that can be “harvested” year-round, giving the farmer a steady rental income.

What Is Feeding The Grid?

Sep 17, 2018
Carl Nelson/Spencer Tritt

Wind, solar, and nuclear are some of the energy options available to Illinois consumers. This week on Morning Edition, the WNIJ news team explores how these affect the quality of life in northern Illinois in 2018 and beyond.

Wind: The "Third Crop"

Wind is sometimes called the "third crop" by farmers.

Reporter Susan Stephens has been following the development of wind farms in northern Illinois. She says the term is used because so often the turbines are placed on farms.

Wikimedia

An emerging health care approach factors in the lasting effects of trauma.

In 2016, the Winnebago County Health Department asked the community about top health concerns so it could put together a Community Health Improvement Plan. Several issues made it to the top of the list.

Cynthia Hall is the Department’s Director of Strategic Initiatives. 

“And they told us three things," she explained. "Mental health was one of them. Maternal and child health was another, and violence was the third.”

brucerauner.com

Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti praised DeKalb County Tuesday for its cooperative efforts in handling the opioid crisis. 

Sanguinetti made the comments as part of a roundtable discussion with health, law enforcement, and government officials from around DeKalb County.  They highlighted local efforts such as drug court, health counseling, and expanded access to Narcan, an anti-overdose medication.

Sanguinetti says it can be difficult for some areas to get past the stigma of treating opioid addiction.  

Steven Depolo / Flickr

Hepatitis is a well-known disease of the liver and for which people receive vaccines as children. But the shots only combat the A and B variants. In this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Chase Cavanaugh has more on Hepatitis C and how it’s being managed across northern Illinois.

Hepatitis C attacks the liver just like variants A and B. But the virus is unique enough that no one has developed a vaccine yet. This means much more work needs to be done to screen for cases and get patients into treatment programs.

Flickr user Tony Alter / "Nice Heels" (CC v 2.0)

About 100 people are expected to participate in this year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event Saturday in DeKalb. About a quarter of that number will be men walking that mile in high heels.

Registration is up from last year’s event. That’s according to Kendal Baker – she is a spokeswoman for Safe Passage, which is a domestic violence agency and rape crisis center in DeKalb County.

Baker says the main purpose of the nationwide event is to continue to bring awareness to sexual assault and domestic violence, especially since this month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

DeKalb resident Misty Haji-Sheikh is entitled to some reimbursed attorney’s fees and costs in an Open Meetings Act case against Northern Illinois University. That’s according to a ruling from a DeKalb County judge this week.

Judge Bradley Waller ruled in November that NIU violated the Open Meetings Act. That's also when he ruled that former NIU President Doug Baker’s awarded severance package of more than $600,000 was null and void.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Whether it's Steve Jobs building a computer in his garage or Hector Boyardee cooking pasta at the Plaza Hotel, many American brands and businesses start from humble origins.  Current start-ups seek to replicate that success, but they don't do it alone.

In this Friday Forum, WNIJ's Chase Cavanaugh discusses the groups that help northern Illinois small businesses get started.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

A DeKalb County judge ruled on an e-mail subpoena Wednesday in a libel suit by the DeKalb Police chief against a Crystal Lake man.

DeKalb Police Chief Gene Lowery sued Dr. Thomas Salvi for more than $300,000 last year. Salvi sent e-mails to then-mayor John Rey claiming Lowery was an “aggressive thug” and “fraud” and should be fired.

Lowery’s attorney previously filed the subpoena requesting Salvi’s employer to provide all e-mails sent or received by him since May 2013. Salvi's lawyer filed a motion to block the subpoena due to privacy concerns for his patients.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

The libel case between the DeKalb police chief and a Crystal Lake man will continue Nov. 8.

DeKalb police chief Gene Lowery sued Thomas Salvi for more than $300,000 last year. Salvi sent e-mails to then-mayor John Rey claiming Lowery was an “aggressive thug” and “fraud” and should be fired.

Rey said he didn’t believe Salvi’s claims, according to court records. Salvi's legal team says there isn’t enough evidence that the claims ruined Lowery’s reputation or otherwise harmed him.

DeKalb County

Residents wanting to run for office can start collecting signatures Tuesday for the March primary.

Positions up for nomination include DeKalb County Sheriff, Clerk, Treasurer and Regional Superintendent of Schools.

Doug Johnson is DeKalb County's Clerk and Recorder. He said this election may not draw as much attention as others, but said these offices have the largest impact in everyday life.

“These are the people that are making the laws and the rules, and running our state and county," he said.

Ross Beach / WNIJ

There seems to be a growing taste for homegrown spirits in the DeKalb area. Now a family-run distillery is looking to expand.

Dual Freq

The DeKalb County Planning and Zoning Committee passed to the full board a California company’s request to install wind-testing towers in South Grove Township.

Provided

The man accused of driving under the influence and causing a fatal car crash has been released and is out on his own recognizance. 

Daniel Chavez, 25, was arrested following the car crash Sunday shortly after midnight on Lincoln Highway that killed NIU graduate student Sai Kumar Adluru  and injured three passengers.

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s office says they found traces of marijuana in Chavez’s Jeep, with urine tests confirming the presence of the drug in his system. He also had a blood alcohol level of .076 -- slightly below the legal limit of .08.

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.

New Mayors For DeKalb and Sycamore

Apr 4, 2017
Jenna Dooley

Jerry Smith will be the next DeKalb mayor

He won with 48 percent of votes.

Separated by just four votes, Misty Haji-Sheikh had 19.21 percent while incumbent John Rey finished a close third with 19.13 percent. Michael Embrey had 13 percent of votes.

John Rey has served as mayor since 2013. 

Smith is a former executive director of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. 

The DeKalb County Board unanimously approved a moratorium on new wind and solar farms for 18 months, or until the county releases a sustainable energy plan. 

The Daily Chronicle reports the board plans on using this time to assess the various effects wind towers would have on the community.  These include value of nearby properties, aesthetic considerations, and any consequences for wildlife.  

CREDIT FLICKR USER / KRISTIN_A (MERINGUE BAKE SHOP) "VOTE!" (CC BY 2.0)

Starting today, DeKalb County residents can vote early in the 2017 Consolidated Election.  

It covers municipal offices, such as mayors and aldermen, as well as township and special district positions, like parks, fire, and schools. All candidates are non-partisan in DeKalb County, so there’s no separate primary round. This also means voters have no need to worry about selecting a candidate that risks being eliminated partway through the race. 

Hustvedt/ CC 3.0

A Morris-based propane company is suing DeKalb County over the denial of a special-use permit.  

Dibble Family LLC wants to build a propane distribution facility at 25330 Five Points Road, in Mayfield Township outside Sycamore.

To this end, it requested a special use permit from the County Board to build the facility. However, local residents worried about the project's environmental impact, noise, and safety.

As a result, the Board voted against the proposal 15-9 in November.

Wikimedia

We’re just past one election, but another is right around the corner.

There are fewer candidates than spots up for election in DeKalb County. The April 4 election covers a variety of positions, like city mayors, aldermen, trustees, and school board members.

DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder Doug Johnson says there will be numerous tax referenda, like a one percent increase in Sandwich. He says these proposals help fill in gaps during times of financial need.

DeKalb County

The DeKalb County Board voted 15-9 against a special use permit to build a propane storage facility in Mayfield Township.

The Daily Chronicle reports Dibble Family LLC wanted to build two 30,000 gallon storage tanks at 25330 Five Points Road.  The company intended to have the facility serve existing customers in DeKalb County, about 90% of whom are farmers and agricultural businesses.  

Illinois State Police say they have a new suspect in the 1957 murder of Sycamore schoolgirl Maria Ridulph.  

The case was reopened after police were asked to investigate a suspect named in an anonymous letter.  The letter was received March 24, the same day DeKalb State’s Attorney Richard Schmack disavowed the prosecution of Jack McCullough, who was convicted of the murder in September 2012.

McCullough's conviction  was vacated after new evidence showed he was in Rockford at the time of Ridulph's disappearance, and he is now seeking a certificate of innocence.  

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Northern Illinois community members took to the streets to honor local veterans over the weekend.

It’s the fifth year local police and fire officials escorted a motorcade to several DeKalb County retirement homes. 

Residents of the facilities lined the sidewalk as the veterans’ names and service were read aloud. 

Robert Roe works at Pine Acres in DeKalb. He says it's important to raise spirits of the residents.

“We try and do things to keep our residents involved – involved in the community, and recognizing things that they’ve done in their lives," Roe said.

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.

Flickr User Nadbasher/ CC 2.0

DeKalb County and several surrounding counties are recovering from a 9-1-1 service outage that occurred Tuesday evening. 

As of Thursday morning, DeKalb County is routing 9-1-1 calls through the Sheriff's Office. Officials say the line can only accept one 9-1-1 call at a time, so if callers receive a busy signal, they suggest retrying the number, or calling local law enforcement (numbers are below).  

The system also can't determine caller's addresses at the moment, so officials will be asking for that information upon receipt of calls. 

Scott Schirmer / Illinois Department of Agriculture

Corn may be ubiquitous in DeKalb County, but it isn't immune to external threats.

A sample from a corn field recently tested positive for bacterial leaf streak. DeKalb is the first county in Illinois to have a USDA-verified case of the disease.

It’s similar to symptoms of gray leaf spots – which farmers come across frequently – except bacterial leaf streak cannot be treated with fungicides.

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.

 

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

The Office of the State Fire Marshal recently announced that a DeKalb County Circuit Court issued a Default Judgment Order against an Illinois corporation and its president.

    

 

The order totals over $1.3 million for violations of the Gasoline Storage Act at a closed DeKalb gas station operated by the corporation.  A spokesperson says the address is 1101 N. First Street.

The order says the company failed to remove four abandoned underground petroleum storage tanks, including one that was a 32-year-old condemned tank. 

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.  

What Happens When You Don't Pay Property Tax?

Aug 8, 2016
Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes. In Illinois, property taxes have a few uncertainties as well, particularly when you don't pay.  

Municipalities and state governments have a vested interest in making sure everybody pays their fair share and, while each area may have a unique quirk, the overall process is universal. People pay their property taxes and, if they have trouble, seek out a deferment program.

But if you can’t pay, your debt could be sold off to the lowest bidder. DeKalb County Treasurer Christine Johnson explains her local process.

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