Saturday, October 25, 2014

The RR Star requires voter to compare two candidates.  To date neither Mrs. Giesecke nor Mr. Larson have completed the survey.  Mrs. Giesecke was selected to be the second candidate only because two candidates are required to retrieve Bill Pysson’s responses.  To see if the two Republican candidates now have submitted their surveys go to:
Boone County Board District 1 Choose 2

Choose two candidates from below to compare.

  • Sherry Giesecke (Rep)
  • Raymond Larson (Rep)
  • Bill Pysson (Dem) retired

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Bill Pysson (Dem) retired

Sherry Giesecke (Rep)

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Biographical Information

Age 65

Occupation Former teacher, bank auditor, veterans claims examiner, Viet-Nam era veteran.

Family Married Margaret Osbakken (1981); Daughter, Mary Anne, living and working in Chicago. Son, Michael, working in Seattle, WA.

Campaign Address 9592 Denver Drive
Belvidere, Illinois

Campaign Phone (815) 544-5115



Education/degrees earned BA in Education, MA in Economics, MBA in Finance

Why are you running for Boone County Board?

Bill Pysson I seek re-election to the Boone County Board because there are many improvements still needed for our county government. The accounting function is criticized each year by our external auditors for not having written procedures. Documentation of vehicle usage, citizen’s complaints and animal kennel occupancy are rudimentary if not, non-existent. Government is a series of checks and balances—the county board controls funding to the elected officials however thorough questioning of their budgets and financial actions does not always occur. The county board makes decisions with too few comparisons regarding costs of our county’s functions versus comparable counties. Revenues have not returned to pre-2008 levels; costs are escalating particularly in the policing and public safety areas. More questions need to be asked for county government to improve.

Friends and neighbors, both Democrats and Republicans, have asked me to run again.

Sherry Giesecke Candidate response is not yet available.

Why should voters vote for you?

Bill Pysson I have a track record of questioning, investigating and taking a stand on issues. I have taken actions to improve county government. The following is a partial list of my accomplishments: Required bidding for county owned farmland. Regular updating of changes in the county code are now available on the county’s website. Staff answering Freedom of Information Requests now have completed the state mandated training. Employees supervised by the County Administrator now have annual written reviews. For the first time in seven years a physical inventory of all county property was taken and a perpetual inventory is being devised. Public disclosure of employee salaries and benefits is made by name rather than position. Voluntary and paid positions in county government are being posted on the county website. I needed help from fellow board members to accomplish these improvements and sometimes there were major obstacles from leadership.There is much more to do. VOTE FOR BILL PYSSON

Sherry Giesecke Candidate response is not yet available.

Do you support larger property setback rules that would allow for wind turbine development in Boone County? Why or why not?

Bill Pysson The wording of the question confuses the issue. The current ordinance only sets the "minimum of minimum" setbacks. Under the ordinance each wind turbine will require a special use permit which will take into account the unique geographic conditions of each turbine and its effect on the health and welfare of our citizens. Each turbine will have individual positioning which under most conditions will greatly exceed the ordinance's minimum setbacks. For more than two years anti-wind forces have attempted to change the stated minimums to much larger setbacks which would effectively outlawed wind turbines in Boone County. I voted "NO" to these larger setbacks. Our current ordinance is designed to use the special use process to insure safe positioning of turbines. Such positioning can occur only when an actual application is received. My position is nearly identical to the recommendation of the professional staff of the Boone County Planning and Zoning Department.

Vacancies in Boone County Government




AS OF OCTOBER 25, 2014


Employment Opportunities

HomeEmployment & Appointments

Boone County government offers a wide and diverse number of direct services to its residents, including law enforcement, correction and detention of law violators, support for the criminal justice system, direct health care, maintenance of essential records, highway maintenance, property assessments, courtroom operations, building and planning services, tax collection for other local governments, and election administration among others. From these many services come many opportunities for employment.

Boone County Government job application can be found here: Job Application

CURRENT OPENINGS:  There are no current openings at this time.

The following are volunteer Boards of the County of Boone that have vacancies:
Three (3) vacancies for a term that will expire the 2nd Monday of December, 2018

Interested parties are asked to send a letter and/or resume expressing your interest and qualifications to Boone County Board Chairman Bob Walberg, 1212 Logan Ave., Suite 102, Belvidere, IL 61008. Please respond by November 14, 2014 to assure being considered.


Interestingly there is no notification of the vacancy of the Clerk of the Circuit Court which will become open with the resignation of  Nora Ohlsen effective  January 1, 2015. The Administrative Committee of the Boone County Board will be have hearing on November 3, 2014.  SEE:



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Raymond "Ray" W. Pendzinski

Obituary for Raymond "Ray" W. Pendzinski

Poplar Grove—Raymond (Ray) W. Pendzinski, 50 of Poplar Grove died Early Wednesday morning at home. Born April 3, 1964 in Chicago to Raymond and Rita Pendzinski Sr. Member of IBEW Local 364 and Moose Lodge # 295. Actively involved in Habitat for Humanity and the Belvidere Food Pantry. Former Belvidere Alderman. Later in life Ray developed a love for nature and birds.

Survived by Children, Brittany Ann and Jordan Ray; Partner and best friend Jennifer Riley; Mother, Rita Pendzinski-Corl; siblings,… Karen Stone, Gail (Rick) Kopacz, Lois (Howard) Prather, Dan Pendzinski, Alan (Heather) Corl Formerly married to Krystal; Nieces and nephews, Kristin, Tony, Michael, Steven, Danielle, Drew, Grace, Ryan and Blake. Adored by, Patrick, Michael and Alexandra. Predeceased by his father Raymond Pendzinski Sr., and Step-father James Corl.

Funeral Service 10:30 am Monday, October 27, 2014 at Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory (Mulford Chapel) 1860 S. Mulford Road, Rockford, Il. Burial in St. James Cemetery Belvidere, Il.. Visitation from 2 to 6 pm Sunday, October 26, 2014 at Fitzgerald Funeral home & Crematory (Mulford Chapel). Visitation will continue Monday morning from 9:30 until the time of service Monday. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Habitat for Humanity or the Belvidere Food Pantry.

Above is taken from:





Craig Schultz (D) District 3 endorses BILL PYSSON


Craig Schultz mentioned you in a comment.

Craig wrote: "Why should you vote for Bill! I will try and tell you! 1) If you voted for me, in the past, and believe in the things that I try to represent, vote for Bill! 2) If you want some one that will protect your rights and privilege's to the same, vote for Bill!! 3) If you want some one that will speak out, for you! Vote for Bill Pysson! I liken, Bill, to Teddy Roosevelt, "speak softly, but carry a big stick"! "


Thanks, Craig—Bill Pysson

PASS Responds to District 100 Referenda

Dear Community Representatives and Community Members:

We, the executive board of PASS (Parents Advocating for Students and Staff), would like to request a few minutes of your time to review the following information. It is our intention to equip community members from all townships with the tools to make well-informed decisions when voting in the Nov. 4, 2014 election. Our main focus is the proposition/referendum which could significantly change the way in which school board members are elected as it directly correlates to fair representation for our students and staff of District #100. 

The proposition will be listed on the ballot as follows: Shall the members of the Board of Education of Belvidere Community Unit School District 100 be elected at large and without restriction by area of residence within the District?

The proposition, if passed, has the potential to eradicate school board representation from smaller, outlying townships and the current guaranteed 3 seats would no longer exist. PASS is significantly concerned with this potential change. We feel the views and concerns of community members living outside the City of Belvidere and Belvidere Township may be quite different as they may relate to other impactful issues such as school start/end times; curricular programming; school closures; and building sites/usage. We do not want to lose your input on issues such as these.

The following information is being provided to increase awareness as it pertains to the proposition/referendum:

1. It must receive the majority of votes in EACH township to pass.

2. It is the last question on the ballot.

3. If the proposition passes, ALL of the following will happen: 

a. ALL 7 school board seats will be up for election in April 2015.

b. 3 of the 7 board members elected in April 2015 will serve a 2-year term.

c. ALL 7 board members COULD live within the same neighborhood and/or township.

d. There will be no unopposed campaigns.

e. There will be NO guaranteed board seats for the smaller, less populated townships.

f. Board composition based on statistical representation of the Belvidere population will NO longer be guaranteed.

g. Guaranteed representation for each of the two high schools will cease to exist.

4. If the proposition does not pass, the following will happen:

a. 3 of the 7 school board seats will be up for election in April 2015.

b. 2 of the 3 seats up for election will be representatives outside of Belvidere Township (those two seats are currently filled by Jason Colson and Dan Wilson).

c. 1 of the 3 seats up for election will be a representative from Belvidere Township (that seat is currently filled by President Mike Rathbun).

d. The 3 members elected in April 2015 will serve a 4-year term.

In the previous 2013 election, 2 of the 5 board seats up for election were guaranteed to townships outside of Belvidere Township. The 2 candidates ran unopposed. Those two seats, currently filled by Kelly Diamond and Jason Colson, are the only two seats currently representing BHS and its feeder schools.

In order to obtain the information regarding the upcoming proposition/referendum, the following individuals have been contacted with their stated purpose and/or involvement:

1. Mary Steurer, Boone County Clerk,for number of registered voters.

2. Michael Houselog, District #100 Superintendent,for district rationale for proposition.

3. Regional Office of Education for Winnebago and Boone Counties for information regarding District #100's process for proposition recommendation to the board.

Please see attachments as we have included the compiled information for your review.

We would encourage you to -

1. Review this email and all attached documents.

2. Contact us through email or Facebook with any questions.

3. Get to know PASS at

4. Share this email with fellow voters and community members.

5. Vote in the Nov. 4th election.

Thank you for your time and attention to this concerning matter. We support the true meaning of Belvidere Community Unit School District and are committed to consistency in township equality for board representation.

Thank you,

Lisa Whitcomb, PASS President

Racheal Morse, PASS Vice-president

Allison Reid-Niemiec, PASS Secretary/Compliance Officer


EMAIL and I will send the attachments.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why Voter ID Laws Aren’t Really about Fraud | Government / Elections / Politics | FRONTLINE | PBS


Why Voter ID Laws Aren’t Really about Fraud

October 20, 2014, 6:14 pm ET by Sarah Childress

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Voters going to the polls in Texas starting this week will have to show one of a few specific forms of photo ID under a controversial new law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court over the weekend.

The Texas law — along with 15 other voter ID laws passed since 2010 — was billed as a way to prevent people from impersonating eligible voters at the polls.

But voter ID laws don’t address what appears to be a more common source of voter fraud: mail-in absentee ballots.

A FRONTLINE analysis of voting laws nationwide found that only six of the 31 states that require ID at the polls apply those standards to absentee voters, who are generally whiter and older than in-person voters. And two states with strict photo ID policies for in-person voters — Rhode Island and Georgia — have recently passed bills that allow anyone to mail in a ballot.

Click to launch Ballot Watch

Click to launch Ballot Watch

Voter fraud generally rarely happens. When it does, election law experts say it happens more often through mail-in ballots than people impersonating eligible voters at the polls. An analysis by News21, a journalism project at Arizona State University, found 28 cases of voter fraud convictions since 2000. Of those, 14 percent involved absentee ballot fraud. Voter impersonation, the form of fraud that voter ID laws are designed to prevent, made up only 3.6 percent of those cases. (Other types included double voting, the most common form, at 25 percent, and felons voting when they were prohibited from doing so. But neither of those would be prevented by voter ID laws, either.)

Mark Obenshain, a Republican Virginia state senator who was the primary sponsor of his state’s voter ID law, said that lawmakers tried to balance improving security with maintaining access to the ballot for elderly and disabled people.

“There are good arguments that there are gaps with absentee ballots,” he said. “But the issue is, how can we close that gap without unduly burdening the right to vote?” Obenshain said that these voters might not have access to a scanner or Xerox machine to make a copy of their ID.

And, because absentee ballots must be sent to a voter’s registered address, they are still relatively secure, Obenshain said. “It doesn’t warrant making the voters jump through unnecessary hoops.”

Who Votes Absentee?

Absentee voters tend to be older and whiter than in-person voters. In 2012, nearly half, or 46 percent, of mail-in voters were aged 60 and older, and more than 75 percent were white, according to an analysis by Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida who tracks demographic trends in voting. Older white Americans generally are more likely to vote Republican.

African-Americans, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, are less likely to use mail-in ballots. Although they make up about 13 percent of the population, only 8 percent voted by mail in 2012.

Either way, most states — nine — of the 16 that have passed stricter voter ID laws since 2010 only allow voters to mail in ballots if they have an excuse, such as an illness, disability or old age.

Who Is Impacted by Voter ID Laws?

Laws that require photo ID at the polls vary, but the strictest laws limit the forms of acceptable documentation to only a handful of cards. For example, in Texas, voters must show one of seven forms of state or federal-issue photo ID, with a valid expiration date: a driver’s license, a personal ID card issued by the state, a concealed handgun license, a military ID, citizenship certificate or a passport. The name on the ID must exactly match the one on the voter rolls.

African-Americans and Latinos are more likely to lack one of these qualifying IDs, according to several estimates. Even when the state offers a free photo ID, these voters, who are disproportionately low-income, may not be able to procure the underlying documents, such as a birth certificate, to obtain one.

In Texas, for example, challengers to the law cited an African-American grandmother who could not afford the $25 to purchase her birth certificate to get an ID, and an elderly African-American veteran and longtime voter who was turned away at the polls in 2013 despite having three types of ID, because none qualified under the new law.

And new research from the Government Accountability Office, an independent agency that prepares reports for members of Congress, suggests that voter ID laws are having an impact at the polls. Turnout dropped among both young people and African-Americans in Kansas and Tennessee after new voter ID requirements took effect in 2012, the study found.

Six of the 16 states that have passed voter ID laws since 2010 have a documented history of discriminating against minority voters. All but one of those states’ laws were put in place after the Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that required them to seek approval from the Justice Department for any voting-law changes.

Courts have so far blocked three ID laws. A state judge struck down Pennsylvania’s law earlier this year, determining that it discriminated against low-income and minority voters. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin’s from taking effect for this election, and last week, a state court declared Arkansas’ voter ID law unconstitutional. Lawsuits are currently pending against similar laws in North Carolina and Alabama, though they won’t be decided before the November elections.

Voter ID laws have all been sponsored by Republicans and passed overwhelmingly by Republican legislatures. A conservative U.S. circuit judge, Richard Posner, in a recent scathing critique of these laws, calling the expressed concern about fraud a “a mere fig leaf” and that they instead “appear to be aimed at limiting voting by minorities, particularly blacks.”

“There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud,” Posner wrote, “…and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.”

Obenshain, the Virginia senator, said his law wasn’t about keeping voters from the polls. “There’s only one class of people who are going to be discouraged from voting, and that’s fraudulent voters.”

Why Voter ID Laws Aren’t Really about Fraud | Government / Elections / Politics | FRONTLINE | PBS

My View: Time to the put the brakes on gaming expansion - Opinion - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL


  • My View: Time to the put the brakes on gaming expansion

    Tom Swoik is executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association.



    • Posted Oct. 18, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

      It has been two years since the first legal video slot machines were installed in Illinois. In just 24 months more than 18,000 slot machines have been installed at more than 4,700 locations. As a result of this growth, Illinois now has double the locations licensed to conduct gaming than Nevada.
      While the video gaming industry wants to proclaim success, we should not gloss over the challenges caused by this explosion of gaming. As with any law, a number of entrepreneurs have taken advantage of loopholes that allow slot machines in “casino cafes” in strip malls, laundromats and gas stations. At these locations, important rules that prevent compulsive gamblers from playing the slots are impossible to enforce.
      Gaming at these large chains of casino cafes as well as some of the other locations was not the intent of video gaming. As officials weigh reasonable regulations to reign in the excesses of the law, they should also rule out further gaming expansion.
      State tax revenues generated by neighborhood slots are going to pay for things already built under the 2009 capital program. While the video gaming industry touts the tax revenue the state is receiving, they want you to overlook that casino taxes, which are earmarked for education, are falling as a result of this expansion of gaming into our neighborhoods. Given the prevalence of video slots, casino admissions are down 1.2 million from last year and total taxes generated have fallen $29 million. Compared to the same point in 2012, before video slots were active, casino admissions are down 2.1 million and total taxes generated have fallen by $57 million.
      The explosion of video gaming is proof that the state can drastically increase gaming positions, yet end up with little or less gaming tax revenue for education. Despite all of this, calls to further expand gaming are coming from Illinois’ horse racing industry. They claim slots at tracks will be the savior of their sport, overlooking the broader national decline in the popularity of the pastime. If tracks were given slots, tax revenue for education from casinos would further decline.
      The calls for assistance from the racing industry are nothing new. Over the years they have asked lawmakers to change laws to help rekindle the sport in Illinois, ranging from intertrack wagering, simulcasting, advanced deposit wagering and a 1999 tax break package. The industry’s most audacious request was for direct cash infusions from state funds to reverse its fortunes. Over the past two years, the racing industry has received $167 million in state tax dollars to revive its sport.
      In 2012, tracks received $144 million from a special tax assessment on some casinos that proponents claimed would propel Illinois’ tracks to second or third in the nation. It’s clear that didn’t happen as track revenue fell, even after that sizable cash infusion.
      Page 2 of 2 - Then last June Illinois’ racing industry received another $23 million from the state treasury. That’s money that wasn’t spent on school construction, teachers or helping offset property tax increases for education.
      After all this money was infused into the sport, the racing industry says they still can’t make it work. So after burning through $167 million in incentives, the industry wants to pass a large gaming expansion bill that uses thousands of slot machines to subsidize the sport that in turn will take money away from local government budgets and classrooms. This is something we simply cannot afford.
      Tom Swoik is executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association.

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