Algonquin flooding a reminder of tragedy for village's police force
Watching the floodwaters rise in downtown in Algonquin this week got us thinking about one of the most tragic events in the village's history: the drowning of veteran police Officer Larry Holder.
Saturday marks the 35th anniversary of Holder's death during circumstances one could imagine with the record-breaking floods today. Holder was directing traffic from the village's Founders' Days festival, July 22, 1982, near Crystal Creek, a Fox River tributary that was bursting at the seams that day due to flash flooding.
According to witnesses, a report came in that a boy had fallen into the creek, and the 33-year-old officer rushed to the rescue. Holder slipped into the raging waters behind the now-former village hall and, despite another rescuer's efforts to hold him in place, he was swept away and drowned. The person he was trying to rescue made it safely to shore.
Holder's name still figures prominently in the village. Holder Park on the village's east side is named in his honor and features a memorial to him at its main entrance. And a display case dedicated to him in the lobby of the police station holds his badge and other tributes.
Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300 also honors the fallen officer through the Larry Holder "Good Samaritan" Scholarship, given every year to a graduating senior to recognize academic and civic accomplishments.
Carmen Charneco was found dead July 24, 1993, in a car parked alongside the Jane Addams Tollway in Elgin. Her murder remains unsolved.
Cold case anniversary
Another sad anniversary in the suburbs takes place Monday, when family and friends mark the 24th year since the still-unsolved murder of Carpentersville teen Carmen Charneco.
Carmen, 18, was found dead in the early morning hours of July 24, 1993. She'd been strangled and left in her car parked along the Jane Addams Tollway, near the Route 25 exit in Elgin.
Illinois State Police investigators say the case remains open. They're still searching for Carmen's ex-boyfriend, Edwin Acevedo Rodriguez, who's been labeled a "person of interest" in the killing.
A documented gang member, Rodriguez, who would now be 44 years old, fled the area after the murder. In subsequent years, police tracked him to Aurora, Chicago, New York City and Puerto Rico. They almost nabbed him in New York, when investigators acting on a tip visited a homeless shelter in August 1997 only to learn Rodriguez had recently left.
They've even publicized images of what Rodriguez might look like as a woman, after hearing reports he'd been disguising himself as a member of the opposite sex to evade capture.
Anyone with information can call state police at (847) 608-3200.
Another reason not to speed
It's always a good idea, of course, to watch your speed when behind the wheel.
But you might want to be extra cautious about it Wednesday. Because if you're not watching how fast you're going, there's a good chance a police officer will be.
Wednesday is Speed Awareness Day in Illinois, when police departments across the state will pay added attention to how fast drivers are traveling.
Last year, 92 police departments took part in the campaign, including more than 50 from the suburbs. Altogether, they issued nearly 2,200 speeding citations and more than 1,350 warnings.
According to Batavia police, one of the suburban departments taking part this year, speeding was to blame for 34 percent of the state's fatal crashes in 2015, claiming 369 lives in all. For every 1 percent you reduce your speed, your chances of being involved in a deadly crash fall 4 percent, police say.
Hackers exploiting toys?
You know that cute internet-connected stuffed animal you bought one of the kids for Christmas?
It may be just what hackers need to invade your privacy.
That's what the FBI says in a new warning this week about "smart toys" that can contain sensors, microphones, cameras, data storage components and other multimedia capabilities.
According to the warning, toys with microphones could record information such as a child's name, school, location, likes and dislikes, and other information. Combined with their ability to connect to the internet, it raises concerns for privacy and physical safety, as well as child identity fraud.
To protect yourself and your kids, the FBI recommends parents research any known security issues with a toy; connect and use toys only where there's trusted and secured internet access; use authentication when pairing the device with Bluetooth and use encryption when transmitting data from the toy to a server or cloud; closely monitor children's activity with the toys; and make sure the toy is turned off, particularly those with microphones and cameras, when not in use.
No third trial?
The Illinois Supreme Court surprised the Kane County state's attorney's office late last week when justices changed their minds and decided to hear arguments about a new trial for a murder suspect.
The court had refused the request in May. It gave no explanation for the about-face.
County prosecutors want justices to reverse a lower court decision giving a new trial to Arthur Manning, 66. He's accused of murder for the 2008 stabbing death of Naromi Mannery, 28, in St. Charles.
Manning has been convicted twice already, but both were overturned on appeal.
No money, no problem
The overhaul of Cook County's pretrial release system took another big step forward this week when Chief Judge Timothy Evans announced that beginning Sept. 18, bail for felony defendants who pose no danger to the public will be set only at an amount they can afford.
"Defendants should not be sitting in jail awaiting trial simply because they lack the financial resources to secure their release," Evans said in his announcement.
Defendants found to be a danger to a person or the community, after a bail hearing, will be held in jail without bail.
Advocates for bail reform have argued the traditional bail system unfairly punishes poor defendants and costs taxpayers millions of dollars to lock up people in nonviolent cases who haven't been convicted of a crime.
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