Lester: Gurnee says no evidence of reported Klan activity

A number of the hate groups identified in Illinois by the Southern Poverty Law Center are located in the suburbs, including a Ku Klux Klan group in Gurnee labeled the Ku Klos Knights chapter.

But Gurnee police tell me they've gone to great pains and have found no evidence of Klan activity in the area for the past 30 years.

"We were notified that the Southern Poverty (Law) Center had identified a known and established KKK group in the area, and we got the investigations unit involved right away," Commander Brian Smith says.

Smith said the issue piqued his interest because he's been a member of the department for 18 years and never heard of the Klan being in the area.

A police investigation found nothing but a 1987 Chicago Tribune article that reported a canceled Klan rally in the area. Smith says police also enlisted the help of the Illinois State Police Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center, which was also unable to find any activity.

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In this Feb. 3, 1948, file photo, members of the Ku Klux Klan wear white hoods and robes as they march in single file around the town square in Swainsboro, Ga. A report by the Southern Poverty Law Center found Klan activity in Gurnee, but police say it's nonexistent. Associated Press File Photo

Request for removal

The Southern Poverty Law Center's report, released earlier this month, identified 917 hate groups across the country - 32 in Illinois alone.

Smith says Gurnee police contacted the center to find out more about the Klan information and to ask whether Gurnee could be removed from the list, but have heard nothing back yet.

In the meantime, he says, police will continue to monitor for Klan activity.

<h3 class="leadin">Breuder makes motion

Ousted College of DuPage President Robert Breuder late last week submitted a 45-page filing to the U.S. Appellate Court asking it to uphold a lower court's ruling and keep his wrongful termination suit on course.

The College of DuPage wants the higher court to intervene in the case, where Breuder is seeking more than $2 million in damages. College officials argue Breuder technically had no "valid and enforceable employment contract" in place when he was fired, so it's impossible to claim a contract was breached. Breuder says the lower court correctly assessed the situation and the case should proceed.

<h3 class="leadin">Venezuela orchestra cancels

Venezuela's Youth Orchestra has pulled out of a scheduled Sept. 14 Ravinia performance in Highland Park as a result of political unrest in the country following President Donald Trump's recent executive order imposing sanctions. Ravinia organizers say they're committed to bringing the "extraordinary young orchestra" back in the future to "share their enthusiasm and prowess" and wished "our friends in Venezuela courage and hope in this challenging time."

The Venezuelan government last week held military exercises and taught civilians how to use rifles and engage in combat after Trump said he was considering a "military option" in the troubled country.

The Ravinia performance was one stop in a four-city tour for the orchestra.

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Cryptologic warfare officer Andrew Micula is an Elk Grove native. Photo Courtesy U.S. Navy

Cryptologic warfare

A note in my inbox from the U.S. Navy this week caught my eye. It touted the work Elk Grove Village native Andrew Micula, a cryptologic warfare officer tasked with providing decision-makers an assessment of dangerous cyber threats. Micula is a 2002 graduate of Elk Grove High School and a 2006 graduate of Lewis University in Romeoville. Officials say as the information age presents the world with new technological challenges, the Navy relies on cyber experts such as Micula to shape its presence in cyber space. Micula says he watched a lot of James Bond movies growing up and decided to join the military after 9/11.

<h3 class="leadin">Changes at Raue

Resident musical director Mike Potts is stepping down from his position with Williams Street Repertory after six years at Raue Center For The Arts in Crystal Lake. Potts' resignation follows his decision to take his dueling pianos company, Felix and Fingers, nationwide. Over the last three months, Potts has worked to prepare resident musical director Evan Swanson to take on the position. If you're curious about Potts' new gig, the dueling pianos company will bring its high-energy, all-request, singalong show to the theater throughout the 2017-2018 season beginning at 8 p.m. on Sept. 14. See

<h3 class="leadin">A big thanks

To the League of Women Voters in Glen Ellyn for having me kick off election season with a discussion Tuesday evening about journalists' role in keeping government officials accountable. The Blackberry Market event was lovely, with many attendees, wine and appetizers.

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