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McCaleb: Ballot confusion changes MCC endorsement

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Elections can be confusing – particularly the Consolidated Municipal Election facing voters on April 9.

Voters will be asked to cast ballots in a number of races for local office.

In some, for city mayor and village president, for example, the candidates likely will be more familiar to most voters.

In others, such as park district board, township board or even school board, you might not know much about some of the candidates, but you’ll be asked to decide these races anyway.

In the race for McHenry County College Board of Trustees, there has been more confusion than usual because two of the nine candidates for three vacant seats – Chris Jenner and Erik Sivertsen – also filed to run for local school board seats, Jennings in Cary District 26 and Sivertsen in McHenry District 15.

On March 15, McHenry County Clerk Katherine Schultz said she could not print Jenner’s and Sivertsen’s names on the ballot because an Illinois Attorney General opinion stated that local school board and community college election positions are “incompatible,” meaning candidates can’t hold or run for both offices at once.

The Northwest Herald’s Editorial Board, which makes endorsements in some of these races, already had decided on its recommendations, one of which included Jenner. We had scheduled that endorsement to publish, in print and online, March 17.

But when we heard Schultz’s announcement, we reconvened and removed Jenner from our endorsements because we didn’t think he was going to be on the ballot.

In retrospect, we should have waited for more clarity. On Monday, Judge Thomas A. Meyer ruled that Jenner and Sivertsen could remain on the ballot for MCC Board of Trustees.

As a result, the Editorial Board has added his name back to those being endorsed in this race. So our endorsements now stand at Jenner, Mike Smith, Molly Walsh and Thomas Wilbeck.

Yes, that’s four names for three available seats. Voters may vote for only three. But our endorsements are just recommendations. Voters need to do their own homework before deciding for whom to vote.

You can find out about each of these candidates and those in other races at

And please make sure you vote. If you’re not going to be able to April 9, you can during the early voting period, which begins Monday and continues through April 6. Visit for times and locations.

• • •

Best of: If you’ve lived in McHenry County for a while, you likely have your preferred spots to get breakfast or lunch, your favorite pizza place or a trusted auto shop to work on your car.

Now you can try to get your favorites recognized in our annual Best of the Fox Readers Choice Awards.

Voting for Best of the Fox has opened at Scroll down the home page a little and find the Best of the Fox link on the righthand side. There, you can vote in more than 150 categories ranging from dining to shopping to services.

Voting remains open until April 30. Last year, we received a record 363,159 votes. Let’s see whether we can set a new record this year.

Winners will be announced in a special section that publishes June 9.

• • •

Busy day: Looking for something to do today? I’ve got a couple of suggestions for you.

Stop by the Crystal Lake Home and Business Chamber Expo at Crystal Lake South High School. More than 100 local businesses will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to show you their wares and let you know what they can do for you.

I’ll be staffing the Northwest Herald booth from 11 a.m. until about noon. Stop by with your comments, criticisms, story ideas or just to say hello.

I can only do an hour or so today because I’m also participating in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at the Woodstock Opera House.

Produced by the nonprofit TownSquare Players, McHenry County’s oldest active community theater group, the musical/comedy centers on a fictional spelling bee at a small-town middle school.

What’s unique about this play is that four audience members are selected before the performance to join the cast on stage as participants in the bee. Paul Lockwood, president of the TownSquare Players, invited me to be one of those audience members.

So if you’re looking for a laugh and for this editor to make a fool of himself, stop by the Woodstock Opera House. The performance starts at 3, but I’d get there a little early. Tickets are $23 for adults, and $20 for students and senior citizens.

• Dan McCaleb of Crystal Lake is senior editor with Shaw Media’s suburban publications, which include the Northwest Herald. He can be reached at 815-526-4603, or by email at Follow him on Twitter at @Dan_McCaleb.

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