At Kaneland High School in far West suburban Maple Park, getting caught with drugs or alcohol means an out-of-school suspension for up to 10 days.
But a student can cut that in half by agreeing to undergo an evaluation and counseling.
Problem was, the counseling took place in St. Charles, a 17-mile drive from some parts of the semirural school district.
And the school had nothing for students "flat-out struggling" with substance abuse who had yet to be caught, Kane County sheriff's Deputy Sarah Conley tells us.
Conley, a resource officer stationed at the school, and fellow Kaneland graduate Nate Lanthrum, who runs St. Charles-based Lighthouse Recovery, figured they could do better.
This year they are, through their work to create four-week counseling programs for as many as five students at a time at the school. It's available for students facing discipline and those who school staffers believe need help.
Conley said she hopes the program helps authorities "catch (students) in time" before drug or alcohol use lands them in trouble with school or the law.
"They are going to meet me on the street (without intervention)," she said. "I'd rather meet them and shake their hand at graduation."
The one-hour, twice-a-week sessions are designed for specific drugs and types of users. They won't put a "one-sip wonder," as Conley put it, in with someone abusing heroin or prescription pills. As room permits, students can participate repeatedly.
The program is funded by the sheriff's office. That helps, because oftentimes kids offered counseling could not afford it.
Central High School in Burlington, which also has a Kane County deputy as a resource officer, is interested in starting a similar program.
"My hope is we can continue this for the long term," Conley said.
Bye bye, razors
If you notice one of your local law enforcement officers looking a little scruffy this month, don't assume he's preparing to go undercover as an outlaw biker.
Chances are he's just taking part in "No Shave November." It's an annual effort to raise money and awareness for a good cause by giving one's razor and clippers a rest for the month.
The Lake County sheriff's office will be using "Movember" ("Mo" being short for mustache) to raise money for their Shop with the Sheriff program. The event gives needy kids a chance to shop for essential winter gear, such as coats and boots, as well as Christmas presents, with a uniformed member of the sheriff's office. Each child will have about $100 to spend.
For a $25 donation to the event, members of the sheriff's office will receive a "pass" on shaving for the month.
Other police departments, like the Lake Zurich's, will be letting their beards grow to support cancer research and education -- the original inspiration for the Movember movement. Officers will be donating the money they would typically spend on shaving and grooming to promote cancer awareness programs.
As seen on TV
A grisly North suburban murder case is getting national exposure next week when it will be featured on the Investigation Discovery channel's television series "Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen."
The show, which airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday, will focus on the 2011 killing of Daavid Campbell, a 27-year-old Waukegan man who was beaten, tortured with a blow torch and then suffocated with plastic bags before his body was dumped in the Penny Road Pond in Barrington Hills.
The program will feature interviews with key players in the investigation, including Cook County sheriff's Detective Sajid Haidari, Campbell's sister Michelle Campbell and his brother Noland Clyde.
Police say Campbell was tortured and murdered in a case of mistaken identity. They say his four killers -- now serving sentences from 29 to 59 years -- mistakenly believed he was responsible for a sex assault and lured him to a Waukegan auto repair shop to exact their revenge.
Killer loses kids
A Geneva man sentenced to three decades in prison for the 2014 slaying of his wife should not have parental rights over the couple's three children, a state appeals court has ruled.
The decision handed down by the Second District Appellate Court affirmed a Kane County judge's ruling that Shadwick King was an unfit parent to the children, who were 9, 7 and 5 years old when their mother was murdered.
King was found guilty of a first-degree murder charge alleging he strangled Kathleen King, 32, in a jealous rage. But he argued that he shouldn't lose his parental rights while he appeals that conviction. He also argued that leaving her body on railroad tracks near their home doesn't mean he's "depraved."
Both the Kane County judge or the appellate court rejected those claims.
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