Richard Kirshner wasn't sure what kind of reaction he'd get six months ago when he installed a 5-foot-tall rooster statue just inside the gate to his Old McHenry Road property in Hawthorn Woods.
Turns out "Reggie the Rooster" was a hit with passers-by and neighborhood kids. It's even been popular with the village officials Kirshner says he's feuded with in recent years over plans for his land.
"I wasn't sure if the village would like it or not," Kirshner told us this week. "Turns out they loved it."
Unfortunately, "someone loved it more for themselves than for me," he said.
Kirshner woke up Saturday morning to discover the rooster no longer standing guard at the gate. Someone had swiped Reggie.
He posted an item about the roosternapping on an online forum focused on Hawthorn Woods. And while there have been plenty of well wishes, condolences and humorous comments, Kirshner has received no solid leads as to Reggie's whereabouts.
Kirshner also reported the theft to the Hawthorn Woods Police Department and is offering a $100 reward for its safe return.
But he's not counting on seeing Reggie again. In fact, Kirshner said, his daughter already bought him a replacement rooster, albeit a shorter version that stands only 4½ feet.
He's in no rush to put the new rooster on Reggie's roost.
"Not until I get some security cameras," he said.
The death of Bloomingdale police Officer Raymond Murrell in a single-vehicle crash in January is part of an "alarming" trend when it comes to police killed in the line of duty, according to a report released Thursday by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The organization's 2017 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report shows that of the 65 officers killed in the line of duty between Jan. 1 and June 30, 10 of them died in single-vehicle crashes.
"This represents an alarming 233 percent increase from the first half of last year," the organization said.
Steve Groeninger, the fund's senior director of communications and marketing, said they're delving deeper into the data to determine reasons for the increase. Among the possibilities are distractions from all the technology -- laptops, dash cameras, body cameras, radios -- that surrounds patrol officers these days.
"We do think that this presents a good opportunity to reduce, or even eliminate, one cause of law enforcement deaths," Groeninger said.
Murrell, 27, died Jan. 19 when his police SUV crashed into a pole and utility box as he was responding on wet and slippery streets to a reported retail theft.
Overall, 65 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty during the first six months of 2017, a 30 percent increase over the 50 killed in same period last year. Traffic-related incidents claimed 26 lives, while 23 officers were killed by gunfire and 16 died as a result of other causes, such as job-related illnesses.
After the flood
If you live anywhere north of Lake-Cook Road, there's a decent chance that you're cleaning out a wet basement or worse today.
There's also a chance that scammers are hoping to clean out your bank account.
State Rep. Sam Yingling, whose 62nd District in Lake County was among the hardest hit by this week's storms and floods, is among those warning residents to be on the lookout for fly-by-night contractors trying to take advantage of homeowners.
"Natural disasters are a prime target for 'storm chase' scammers looking to take advantage of people during desperate situations," Yingling said in a news release Thursday. "Beware of aggressive salesmen and take the time to thoroughly research any company before signing a contract or paying any money. No reputable company will require a full upfront payment or cash-only payment."
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says flooding victims also should use licensed local contractors backed by reliable references; not pay more than half the costs of repairs upfront; and be wary of phony FEMA representatives who promise a disaster grant and ask for large cash deposits or advance payments in full. Federal and state workers do not solicit or accept money.
When is good news really bad news?
Maybe when we're talking about the number of lives saved from heroin overdoses this year by members of the Lake County sheriff's office.
In a sobering reminder of how severe the opioid crisis in the suburbs is, sheriff's officials say deputies saved the lives of 16 overdose victims in just the first six months of 2017. That's already more than in 2015 (11 saves) and 2016 (13).
On one hand, the numbers are a testament to the effectiveness of the sheriff's office's work to get the overdose-reversing drug naloxone into the hands of its deputies. Since 2014, deputies have administered nearly 100 doses of the drug to revive overdose victims.
On the other hand, it shows that despite ongoing efforts to educate young people and parents about the dangers of opiates, and more traditional law enforcement work to cut off the supply, they continue to wreak havoc in our communities.
"I recognize we are facing a heroin epidemic and we cannot arrest our way out of it," Sheriff Mark Curran said in announcing the stats. "It's important we as a community continue working together, to ensure those struggling with addiction get needed help, while continuing to hold drug dealers accountable."
What can you do? Curran offers three suggestions: If you know someone addicted to opioids, find help here: http://www.lakecountyil.gov/1919/Get-Help; If you know someone dealing opioids or other drugs, drop a tip here: https://www.lakecountyil.gov/FormCenter/Sheriffs-Office-8/Report-a-Crime-Tip-125; If you have unused or expired prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet, drop them off at any of these locations: http://www.lakecountyil.gov/581/Prescription-Drug-Disposal-Box-Program.
• Got a tip? Send an email to email@example.com or call (847) 427-4483.