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Local Editorials

Our view: McHenry County coroner's future up to voters

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks listens as Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup speaks during a McHenry County Board meeting Tuesday.
McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks listens as Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup speaks during a McHenry County Board meeting Tuesday.

Thumbs-up: To the McHenry County Board, for voting, 15-7-1, to allow the taxpayers to decide whether the McHenry County Coroner’s Office should remain an elected position. Although several fellow elected coroners came to the meeting to voice opposition to the measure, it has become clear in recent years that there are many problems with the way that McHenry County’s office has been allowed to operate. Two reviews this year identified both security and maintenance shortcomings at the office.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office report concluded with a recommendation that the residents decide the overall structure of the coroner’s office, either by passage of a referendum or the election of a new coroner. In November, McHenry County voters will get the opportunity to choose.

Thumbs-down: To the University of Illinois, for failing to release documents detailing any of the disciplinary process that led to the Nov. 19 dismissal of Huntley High School graduate Lere Oladipo from its football team for a “violation of team rules.” Oladipo was accused but never charged with domestic battery. His accuser recently spoke out about her accusations, which were detailed in a Champaign police report at the time. But she also said she chose to pursue the case through the university’s Subcommittee on Sexual Misconduct instead of through the justice system. Now, with Oladipo seeking a transfer, the University of Illinois should be transparent about what it found in its investigation to warrant Oladipo’s dismissal before he heads to another university.

Thumbs-up: To Becki Keltner, the wife of late McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob “Jake” Keltner, who is partnering with the American Red Cross and Concerns of Police Survivors to host a National Blue Blood Drive in her husband’s name.

The blood drive will be from 1 to 6 p.m. Jan. 9 – National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day – at D’Andrea Banquets, 4419 Route 14, Crystal Lake. Becki Keltner said that her husband received several units of blood to try to save his life after he was shot serving a warrant as part of the U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force earlier this year. Becki Keltner is hoping that the community now can show up to donate blood in his name.

Thumbs-up: To registering young people to vote. A partnership between McHenry County Rocks the Vote and four area high schools – McHenry East, McHenry West, Prairie Ridge and Woodstock – helped about 250 local students register to vote in the upcoming primary election March 17. In addition to those 18 and older, 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the general election in November 2020 may vote in the primary.

The organizer of the registration drive, McHenry West High School’s Kaili Wegener, said she hopes to expand the program to more high schools, and we hope she is successful. Voting is a good habit to start early.

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