Special delivery: How Barrington Hills cops helped with roadside birth
Two Barrington Hills police officers are credited with a huge assist for their help at the scene of the roadside delivery of a baby boy last week.
Besides his parents, Grace and Tyler Schwartzlow of Wonder Lake, officers William Walsh and Brian Baird were the first to welcome baby Jaxtyn into the world when he arrived sooner than expected last Tuesday morning.
"Mom and Dad did most of the heavy lifting," Walsh told us this week. "Our first concern was the baby's well-being. Find his vital signs, make sure he had clear and unobstructed airway. Make sure he's breathing, has a heartbeat, his fingers were moving."
It all went down just before 7 a.m. March 2, as the Schwartzlows were on their way to Amita St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates for the birth of their third child. Grace's water had broken about 5:40 a.m.
As they drove down Algonquin Road in the family minivan, it became clear to Grace that Jaxtyn wasn't going to hold off until they reached the hospital.
"I knew he wasn't going to wait, so I told my husband to pull off on a side road and call 911," she said.
Tyler pulled over at Old Sutton Road and phoned for help, while Grace reclined her seat as far back as she could to prepare for what seemed inevitable. "Obviously, you knew it was a possibility, but until 30 seconds before we pulled over on the side of the road, I didn't think there was a possibility that we wouldn't make it to the hospital in time," Tyler said. "(Grace) was really keeping her cool, but for a couple of minutes, there was a little bit of panic for me."
Following his wife's instructions, Tyler was able to deliver Jaxtyn just as Walsh and Baird arrived.
Their presence was a big help, Tyler said.
"The police arrived, and it was a lot more manageable, but those first couple of minutes were some of the more terrifying of my life," he said. "Thankfully, it was just a run-of-the-mill, side-of-the-road minivan delivery, but I liked having somebody else around and not being sort of on the side of the road totally on our own."
While it was as much a new experience for the officers as it was for the Schwartzlows, Walsh said keeping everyone calm was a big part of their focus that morning.
"We had our game faces on," he said. "We've never been involved with anything like a baby being born almost before our very eyes. Both of us are parents, so we were happy for them."
Later in the day, Baird and Walsh stopped by St. Alexius to deliver flowers to Grace, drop off some toys and stickers, and declare Jaxtyn a junior Barrington Hills police officer.
"We weren't even sure the hospital would let us in since we're not family," Walsh said. "But we joked that we practically are family. We were there the moment he was born."
Sharone Mitchell Jr. has been nominated to be the next Cook County public defender.
Reform advocate picked
After about five years leading the criminal justice reform group Illinois Justice Project, Sharone Mitchell Jr. has been tabbed as Cook County's next public defender.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Mitchell's nomination Wednesday. The full county board will vote on the appointment today.
"Mr. Mitchell is a nationally recognized thought leader and policy advocate who has demonstrated the ability to lead regional reform efforts working with myriad diverse stakeholders including the private bar, legislators, practitioners as well as community organizations both large and small," Preckwinkle said in her announcement.
A Chicago native and graduate of the DePaul University College of Law, Mitchell has experience as a trial attorney in the public defender's criminal division.
He was one of two candidates recommended to Preckwinkle by the Cook County Public Defender Selection Committee. The other was Emmanuel Andre, a lawyer at the North Side Transformative Law Center.
Not a finalist was the current public defender, Amy Campanelli, whose 6-year term ends next month. Campanelli publicly announced in December that she wanted another term.
Preckwinkle has not made any public statements about why she made the change.
Customs officers on Tuesday seized more than 77,000 counterfeit "Rick and Morty" vape pens at O'Hare International Airport's Mail Branch. Valued at more than $1.5 million, the pens were headed from China to a distribution facility in Georgia.
- Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protections
Vape pens not licensed
Cartoon grandfather-grandson duo "Rick and Morty" are a big hit with the teen and young adult crowd. So it's no surprise that makers of vaping products would try to capitalize on their popularity to win over young customers.
But those manufacturers ought to at least get the show creators' permission. That wasn't the case for more the 77,400 vape pens -- valued at an estimated $1.55 million -- seized Tuesday by federal customs officers at O'Hare International Airport.
The 258-box shipment originated from Shenzhen, China, and was heading to a distribution company in Georgia, customs officials said. Customs reached out to Warner Bros. Entertainment and confirmed it had not licensed the "Rick and Morty" copyright for vape pens.
"Often (Customs and Border Protection) seizes vape pens because they violate FDA guidelines, but these parcels violate copyright laws, which adds to the charges and complexity of the case," said Shane Campbell, area director for the federal agency. "Counterfeit products are unsafe for consumers, harm the economy, damage the revenue and image of the companies, and could cost American jobs."
Officials say counterfeit products like these are sold in underground outlets and third-party e-commerce websites, and fund smugglers and organized crime.
DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick presents the 2020 Employee of the Year award to Deputy Griselda Wester.
- Courtesy of the DuPage County Sheriff's Office
DuPage County Sheriff's Deputy Griselda Wester has been named the office's 2020 Employee of the Year.
Wester, who works in the corrections bureau, was nominated for showing compassion, patience and tact while helping a chronically mentally ill detainee who had become stuck in an area in her cell in March 2020.
Wester freed the woman, then ensured she received medical and psychological attention before she was moved to a new cell.
"All personnel on scene noted Deputy Wester's professional demeanor and compassion that day and it set the tone for a positive interaction with a severely mentally ill inmate who was clearly in crisis," Sgt. Kevin Keenan wrote when he nominated her.
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