Thumbs-up: To news cameras documenting McHenry County court proceedings. This week, news organizations including the Northwest Herald were on hand at the courthouse in Woodstock to document a court appearance by Andrew Freund of Crystal Lake. Freund is facing first-degree murder charges in connection with the death of his son, A.J., in 2019. It was the first time in many decades that news media were permitted to document local court proceedings. We’re pleased that McHenry County’s 22nd Judicial Circuit, under the leadership of Chief Judge James Cowlin, has agreed to allow the public a better look at how its justice system works.
Thumbs-up: To rejecting a ploy to keep voters from having a say. This week, the McHenry County electoral board made a good call. They unanimously denied a challenge from Orville Brettman, who wanted to remove an advisory question about whether the McHenry County Regional Office of Education should be restructured or consolidated from the March ballot. Brettman failed in a bid for a McHenry County Board seat in 2018 after revelations about his past ties with a right-wing extremist group that bombed a church came to light. He says he plans to seek a judicial review of his objection – and we hope that’s rejected as well. Let the people have their say on whether they want to seek cost-effective change to the regional education office. Brettman is free to vote no, just as voters wisely said no to his bid to represent them.
Thumbs-up: (We hope) to Panera Bread finally coming to Huntley in 2020. This week, Village Manager Dave Johnson said during the State of Huntley address this week that this finally would be the year that a Panera franchise opens on a site at Route 47 and Kreutzer Road in the village. Residents of the growing village for years have said Panera is among their top choices for restaurants they would like to see come to town, and discussions have been ongoing since 2013. The sign at the potential restaurant site says “Opening 2020,” and we’ll remain cautiously optimistic that this time, they really mean it.
Thumbs-down: To a spike in flu cases. This week, officials at Northwestern Medicine hospitals in Huntley, Woodstock and McHenry limited visitors to two per patient at a time in response to a spike in influenza cases in the area. A hospital official said the new guidelines are in response to a rise in influenza cases seen in the community, which are higher than at this point last year and have not yet peaked. Protect yourself and others from the flu by getting vaccinated, staying home when you’re sick, practicing good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and regularly cleaning frequently touched surfaces.