It has not been a quiet four years in the Lake County Coroner's Office. The high-profile investigation into the suicide of Fox Lake Police Lt. Joseph "Joe" Gliniewicz and the Melissa Calusinki case have kept the office in the headlines.
Lake County voters will decide between Howard Cooper and Michael Donnenwirth. Cooper, a dentist from Bannockburn, is a member of the federal government's Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, and helped identify victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Hurricane Katrina.
In addition to his medical background, Cooper is making death prevention for young people a big part of his campaign. He would like to see programs in every high school that talk about heroin, alcohol, texting and driving, suicide, bullying and other dangerous behaviors.
Donnenwirth is a retired Waukegan police officer, who worked as a death investigator in the coroner's office from 2011 to 2015. He says compassionate and timely death notifications would be a main priority in the office if he's elected. He would also like to bring back several preventive death programs he says have been eliminated in the past few years.
Both Cooper and Donnenwirth say they would bring professionalism that they believe is lacking with current coroner Thomas Rudd.
Rudd, who won election four years ago, is running as a write-in candidate after dropping out of the race before the primary and failing to get on the ballot as independent.
We find Cooper's background and experience most compelling, and he is endorsed.