Sunday, May 31, 2015


A week is a long time in politics. Which means it's been about one political week since your LakeCountyEye last posted a Caption Contest!

The H/T for this week's Caption Contest! goes to the News-Sun for this headshot portrait of Robert Dold -- who was at the Great Lakes Naval Station last week for a photo op:
Caption Contest!

Dold touts military spending bills in visit to Naval Station Great Lakes
Contestants are challenged to put on their thinking caps and come up with an uproarious caption for this picture of Congressman Robert Dold. The winning entry will be the best caption that is likely to be over the head of Dold, Lake County's rotating Congressman.

The Caption Contest! is not restricted to black hats and l33ts -- anyone is welcome to participate, even n00bs and propellerheads. Note to Ops: this is your chance to claim the political props you deserve, on top of those you already have.

One lucky winner will receive an army-surplus oversize-propeller drone.

The secret to success, as always, is low overhead. The judge's decision is final.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Video Shoot

Durward Kirby It may not cover the cost of a wedding photographer, but $60,000 is still a lot to spend for some shaky video footage. The Daily Herald says the Village of Round Lake Park ...
authorized Police Chief George Filenko to spend up to $60,000 for a video system for seven front-line squad cars and body cameras for 13 officers. "This wasn't knee jerk and there is no rush to this," Filenko said.
Round Lake Park authorizes body cams for police
With that cue to cut to the chase, your LakeCountyEye contacted Dr. I.M. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, Dual Professor of Criminology and Cinematography at the College of Lake County.

"Ya, 60-grand is a lot of cheddar." snorted Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "The Village of Zion only needed $55,000 to break their contract with the Lake County Fielders."

Your LakeCountyEye was surprised too see any Lake County village with money to spend on police cameras. These small municipalities are expecting to see their budgets slashed -- especially if Governor Rauner makes good on a promise to raid the Local Government Distributive Fund.

"A major metropolitan area can easily absorb that sort of expenditure." observed Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi.

But doesn't the population of Round Lake Park hover around 7500?

"It's not the population but the median income that matters to a municipal taxing body." observed Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi.

But aren't most of the homes in Round Lake Park on 4 wheels and exempt from property taxes?

Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi furrowed his brows. "Hmmm. Is that why they call themselves Round Lake Park?"

You're not really a Professor at the College of Lake County are you?

"Ever since they transferred me from the College of DuPage." continued Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "Maybe the village of Round Lake Park hopes to monetize the expense by streaming their police video to a YouTube Channel. FailBlog, I understand, makes a ton of money."

Your LakeCountyEye heard enough. Did Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi have any parting advice?

"Tell your operatives in Round Lake Park to watch their speedometers. Also don't believe anyone who says the paint on older model cars do not reflect radar beams."

Monday, May 25, 2015

Round Lake Park Appointee Arrested

In March, I reported that law enforcement seized the computer of a Round Lake Park Village appointee, and was under investigation.
Computer Taken for Evidence in Round Lake Area
Since then, the Round Lake Area News has reported that Randall Wagner was arrested for possession of child pornography.
After a lengthy investigation, Randall L. Wagner was taken into custody on April 13. 2015, and charged with three counts of child pornography and possession (CHILD PORN/POSSESS FILM/PHOTOS). Wagner is the spouse of Round Lake Park Trustee Donna Wagner and is listed on the Round Lake Park village website as a Mayoral Appointment to the Plan Commission & Zoning Board of Appeals.
RLP Trustee’s Spouse Arrested on Child Porn Charges
Randall Wagner is no longer listed on the Round Lake Park website of Mayoral Appointments. I do not know if Wagner has resigned from his appointment.

As far as I can tell, this arrest has not been reported anywhere else in the local media.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Every Jack Has His Cal

Avengers: The Prequel Cal Skinner, the tireless tax-fighter who writes the McHenry County Blog, is undoubtedly a Frankophobe. One can tell by the mind-set of his posts. This week he skewered the Capitol Fax Blog for saying nice things about State Rep. Jack Franks:
Rich Miller, the man who writes Capitol Fax is undoubtedly a Democrat. One can tell by the slant on his posts. Today, he pats State Rep. Jack Franks on the back for his anti-tax voting record.
Jack Franks Gets Another Pat on the Back from Capitol Fax
Not to be outdone, your LakeCountyEye has banished the frankfurter from this blog. This staple of the backyard barbecue shall, henceforth, be known here as the Freedomfurter.

Enjoy the holiday & toss one on the grill for your LakeCountyEye.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Leg Up

May is World Foot Health Awareness Month. Perhaps not uncoincidentally, two people recently shot themselves in the foot while at McHenry County gun ranges:
My Foot!
As reported on this blog, it is uncommon (to say the least) when the men and women of McHenry County take up the burden to shoot themselves in the foot -- simply to exercise their freedoms guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment.

Now, it goes without saying that the self-inflicted gunshot wound, even in pursuit of the noblest of goals, is not all guns and roses. Especially so, if one refused to sign up for ObamaCare in protest against big government bureaucratic programs. Be that as it may, every cloud has a silver bullet. Ten to be exact, when that cloud happens to issue from the barrel of a smoking gun:
Shot Yourself in the Foot?
Ten Benefits
  1. It's evident you put your pants on one leg at a time.

  2. Reduce by 50% your sock bill.

  3. Never alone at the three legged races.

  4. You da Man on Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day.

  5. There's no one at the ass-kicking contest busier than you.

  6. People only need a 9-foot pole to touch you.

  7. Half the worries while strolling through a LCFPD Dog Park.

  8. No one will ever accuse you of being a knee-jerk liberal.

  9. An effective remedy for restless leg syndrome.

  10. Costs an arm and a leg? Not a problem.
Look for your LakeCountyEye on foot near you.

Monday, May 18, 2015

My Foot!

an arm and a leg
For those who believe in the rule of threes, you are advised to discharge your weapons in Lake County. The Northwest Herald reports that two people have shot themselves in the foot while at McHenry County gun ranges:
A 56-year-old man was flown to a nearby hospital after he accidentally shot himself at a McHenry gun range, a fire official said.
Man accidentally shoots himself at McHenry gun range, fire official says

A 55-year-old McHenry woman was taken to an area hospital Monday after accidentally shooting her own leg, police said.
McHenry woman accidentally shoots herself at Crystal Lake gun range
With 2555 applications for concealed carry permits, and counting, epidemiologists are closely monitoring this sudden outbreak of unipedality in McHenry County.

The McHenryCountyBlog reports that emergency medical teams are currently on-site and working to contain the epidemic:
McHenry County Right to Carry Presents Course
Anyone who wishes to help can contact the McHenry County Right to Carry Association:
McHenry County Right to Carry Association is sponsoring a training event with our friends at Spartan Tactical Training Group. This course is not just for firearms instructors but for anyone that wishes to add real emergency medical skills to your mental tool kit. This class course is taught to law enforcement agency personnel around the country. Class space is limited so sign up early at the link below. Also military grade IFAK (individual first aid kits) will be available for purchase and information for this is on the link.
Emergency Medical Response for Firearms Instructors
One spokesperson issued a statement: "Under the Second Amendment, my right to shoot myself in the foot -- and at the time and place of my choosing -- shall not be infringed. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't have a leg to stand on!"

That's all your LakeCountyEye has. Hop along, now.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Take a Break!

... or unfunded mandate?"Bulldozer"Aaron Lawlor, the Chair of the Lake County Board, will be in Grant Township later this month. Lawlor, the Daily Herald says, will talk about the Route 53 Extension ...
Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor will be the featured speaker when the Grant Township Republican Club meets Thursday, May 28, to discuss the Route 53 extension.
Lawlor to address Grant Township Republicans
The topic of Lawlor's address will be:
Unregulated Engine Breaking on the Route 53 Extension:
Environmental Catastrophe or Economic Necessity?
It should be noted that the topic of Chairman Lawlor's address will NOT be:
No-Wake Restrictions on the Route 53 Extension:
Gentleman's Agreement or IDNR Mandate?
Your LakeCountyEye regrets the mistake.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Plot Thickens in Grant Twp, Part 2

We received another open letter to the Grant Township Assessor. It is reproduced, unedited, below. The attachment referred to by the doc is the PDF that was posted here yesterday.

May 13 2015 letter to EOLC and GTA Office and States Attorney
Until new information is brought to the attention of this blog, I've said about all I can say, here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Plot Thickens in Grant Township

Yesterday I reported what I interpreted to be a claim made by the Grant Township Assessor: That the Assessor does not take into consideration lake restrictions when valuing lake-front properties.

It now appears that my judgement was wrong. I have received a document, signed by the Assessor, regarding four lakes in Grant Township:

Grant Township Assessor Chart of Lakes
This document appears to evaluate the lakes based on a number of criteria, including "Leads to Chain" and "Restrictions on Lake". By all appearances, this document is used for the purposes of evaluating comparable properties on or near these lakes.

If I was wrong in my conclusion that lake restrictions are not factored in how homes get assessed in Lake County, then my original questions remain: What authority governs and controls how our inland lakes are restricted? What guidelines must our Assessors follow when evaluating our homes -- in particular lake-front properties?

I am getting the feeling that these are things that just get made up as we go along.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Grant Township Assessor Replies

The Grant Township Assessor e-mailed a reply to the property owner's letter that I posted here yesterday:
Mr. Rowden,

Land values have not changed on Wooster Lake and your overall value was reduced in 2014. I noticed on your tax bill mailed last week that your property taxes went DOWN approximately $1,000. By law, properties are valued based on sales in the previous 3 years of similar properties in the same neighborhood and we will continue to value your property in this manner. I hope you and your neighbors on Wooster Lake are able to reach an agreement on how Wooster Lake should be used but my understanding of the current use is that some owners treat the lake as non-motorized while others jet-ski and boat as they please. My office does not determine how lakes are used, only what the property on the lakes are worth.

I've already addressed the Tanneron Bay accusations. You can not compare your 3500 sq.ft. home on over 2 acres built in 2006 to a condo or townhouse.

Jeri Barr, Grant Township Assessor
If not directly, the Grant Assessor seems to have answered some of the questions I asked yesterday. I may understand this incorrectly, but the law requires our homes to be assessed based on how they compare with similar homes in the same area. Of course, the word "similar" is vague and open to interpretation. This I am sure is the basis for most appeals filed against our home assessments.

In the case of Wooster Lake, the question of how the lake is restricted seems to be irrelevant to this Assessor's purposes. What matters is that homes are assessed against similar homes. Of course, "similar" is in the eye of the beholder. There still seems to be a lot of arbitrariness baked into the whole system.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Another Open Letter to the Grant Township Assessor

We received another open letter to the Grant Township Assessor:
Assessor Barr,
Almost 12 years ago in July 2003 I bought 3 Wooster Lake properties in the Village of Fox Lake.

When I bought, I bought into lake restrictions which were since January 2003 recorded in recording 5094179. As you know and can plainly see, the 5094179 recording is an official recording at the Lake County Recorder of Deeds Office, a Declaration that Cambridge at Holiday Park HOA not only says I am legally bound to but one which the HOA relied on in recent law suits they filed against me. The judge unfortunately did not provide a Declaratory Judgment towards 5094179 or its restrictions in either of these cases. To this day the HOA contends I am legally bound to this Declaration, sending me a bill as recently as February 2015.

**** See pages 33-34, 46 of 5094179 recorded at Lake County Recorder of Deeds Office listing and claiming my above PINs are part of the Cambridge development and also as part of the Wooster Lake Conservation & Control Association. See pages 5, 7-9, 35-47 about the lake properties' restrictions.****

After buying my lake properties I had growing concerns about this recording that are still not fixed today and that is the problem. When States Attorney Nerheim was elected, I met with him in Waukegan in 2013. Nerheim said his Office and every other Office were by law not capable of nullifying anything in 5094179 because it is an official recording active with the Lake County Recorder of Deeds Office. Nerheim said "only a judge with a Declaratory Judgment" could nullify the recording. Now 2 years later I see your Office is off acting as if it is nullifying these recorded restrictions and is supposedly changing the lake to not restricted after all these years being restricted, per the recordings and per the Assessor's Office.

I want you to immediately provide me with a copy of the Declaratory Judgment that issues a judge's opinion of the recording 5094179, a Declaratory Judgment that supposedly gives you the power to have changed my lake properties.

Eye On Lake County,
Can you post my response to Assessor Barr?

Don Rowden
As far as I can tell, this owner has properties on Wooster Lake. At issue is whether or not Wooster Lake is bound to boating restrictions. The homeowner is charging the Grant Township Assessor with valuing his properties against comparable homes on unrestricted lakes. Apparently these homes are assessed at higher values, when compared to homes on restricted lakes.

Wooster Lake had for many years been used as a restricted lake. Furthermore, there is a quasi-legal document filed by a Wooster Lake home-owner's-association with the Recorder of Deeds that purports to establish this.

Since, from a legal perspective, Wooster seems to be a restricted lake, the homeowner objects to the Grant Township Assessor valuing his property against other (higher valued) properties on unrestricted lakes. And he wants the Grant Township Assessor to produce a legal authority as a justification.

I'm going to admit that I understand very little about the guidelines that control how our homes get assessed. And I understand even less about how and under whose authority our inland lakes become restricted. But Wooster Lake just seems to demonstrate to me that there is a lot of arbitrariness baked into both processes.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Heater Points

Button it! Note to supporters of the Bruce Rauner Turnaround Agenda: your time has come, please turn around.

Haha, Governor Rauner will get his opportunity to make good on a campaign promise to turn the State of Illinois around. The Illinois Legislature plans to call a vote on the Turnaround Agenda in six days, on May 14.

While six days is the same amount of time needed to turn around an aircraft carrier, one Lake County legislator is not as sanguine as the n00b Republican Governor of Illinois. State Representative Ed Sullivan is opposed to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's efforts to fasttrack the Bruce Rauner Turnaround Agenda through the Illinois House. Sullivan told the Sun-Times ...
"Gov. Rauner is trying to negotiate things in totality," Sullivan said. "Speaker Madigan doesn't want any part of it, so he's trying to bring out the heater points. Cause chaos."
Mike Madigan schedules vote on right-to-work, urges Rauner to give details
Easy for spoilsport Sullivan to say, who occupies a safe legislative district. But any Operative who has read this tough-talk will most certainly have one question for Rep Sullivan:
Heater Points? What is a heater point?
Note to Ops: you have probably been challenged, since back in the day, to bring out all sorts of different things. But if you are like your LakeCountyEye, it's never been to bring out the heater points.

Make no mistake about it, the heater point is positioned to become the State's next hot-button issue. Therefore, your LakeCountyEye has agreed to crowdsource the question over to you. The first Operative to plausibly explain what a heater point is, gets a 60 day free trial subscription to this blog. And the gratitude of a Governor for having rescued his Turnaround Agenda.

This, of course, means you must be able to use heater points in an sentence. Some examples:
  • Whoa, have you ever had anyone look at those heater points?

  • Gabriel Heater points out that when the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income, as it did in the nineteenth century and seems quite likely to do again in the twenty-first, capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based.

  • My heater points due North.
Send your entries, with a SASE, to Do not delay, the Bruce Rauner Turnaround Agenda is riding on your answer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Fast and the Spurious

too steep for my blood Those who commute throughout the Lake County highway system go by a simple motto: Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse.

Haha, will the maximum speed limit of the Route 53 Extension top out at 45mph? One retired public servant thinks not. Former Illinois Tollway board member Bill Morris told the Chicago Tribune that ...
the 45-mph speed limit is "unrealistic" and motorists will ignore it. "Anyone who believes traffic will go 45 mph," Morris said, "is smoking too much medical marijuana."
Rauner faces new challenge with proposal for new Lake County tollway
The Tribune declined to say whether or not the anchor store at the Route 53 Extension Tollway Oasis will be a Medical Marijuana clinic. Ops are advised not to hold their breaths.

But while the Route 53 Extension has seen its share of ups and downs, one Lake County attraction owes its very success to its ups and downs. The Goliath rollercoaster at Great America is, according to the Sun-Times, setting new records ...
On Saturday, the 71.89 mph figure — or 115.7 kilometers per hour — was displayed on one of three certificates issued by Guinness confirming Goliath's status as the fastest, tallest (180 feet) and steepest (85.13 degree) "roller coaster made from wood" in the industry.
Six Flags Great America's Goliath earns 3 Guinness World Record titles
Informed sources say the Route 53 Blue-Ribbon Advisory Council is now studying options to reroute their highway through the Six Flags Great America amusement park in Gurnee -- where the speed limits exceed 70mph.

That's all your LakeCountyEye has. Do you know how fast you were going?