A whole decade condensed into one column
By Barry Schrader, senior columnist, Daily Chronicle Jan. 6, 2018
A sampling of highlights from 2009 and 2011 from back issues of the Daily
Yours truly completed another lap around this tired old globe last week
(meaning I turned 77 on Dec. 27). I now face 2018 with some trepidation
but a renewed hope for Kay and my health.
As one gets older, you tend to look back more than forward. Keeping
that thought, here are some flashbacks from the past 10 years in DeKalb
County. They mostly come from the archives of the Daily Chronicle.
The year 2008 saw the worst tragedy ever to befall Northern Illinois
University when five students were gunned down by a deranged former
student on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. On a brighter note, the DeKalb
schools’ $110 million referendum to build a new high school was approved
It was 2009 when the “wind farm” of about 145 wind turbines, standing
400 feet tall from the tip of the blades to the ground, was approved by the
county. The Potawatomi Tribe began restoring the 128 acres of farmland it
bought (back in 2006) into native prairie grass, waiting for federal approval
to build a gaming facility near Shabbona. Cavel, the horse-slaughtering
plant outside DeKalb, was converted for the slaughter of sheep and goats
for Muslim dietary purposes.
Come 2010, and another tragedy involving NIU happened when a
student, Toni Keller, was brutally murdered in Prairie Park. Later, her killer,
Billy Curl, was tried and convicted of the heinous crime. Also that year, the
County Board approved the “mega-dump” expansion south of Cortland,
which would allow 2,000 tons of trash a day to be brought here from 17
surrounding counties. Genoa lost, then thought it had gotten back the
planned Amtrak train route, but eventually lost it again.
Then in 2011, more drama was in the news. Jack McCullough was
charged in the 1957 kidnapping and slaying of Maria Ridulph in Sycamore.
His conviction was later reversed. February saw the county get a foot of
snow. Beloved band leader Dee Palmer died. The new DeKalb High School
Next it was 2012, when the NIU Huskies secured a berth in the Orange
Bowl. “Mister Pumpkin” Wally Thurow died from a bike accident. Incumbent
Clay Campbell was defeated by Democrat Richard Schmack for state’s
The year 2013 saw John Rey elected DeKalb mayor, NIU police chief
Don Grady fired, then a new NIU president, Doug Baker, named. Corn Fest
returned to downtown DeKalb after being at the airport for a few years.
In 2014, we saw the purchase and demolition of the Evergreen Village
Park trailers in Sycamore, plus the closing of Barnes & Noble. Also, an
odor from the Waste Management mega-dump caused the evacuation of
Cortland Elementary students.
The next year, 2015, hit hard, with a tornado ripping through Fairdale
and surrounding environs April 9, resulting in the death of two women, and
about $8 million in losses. KishHealth System was acquired by
Northwestern Memorial Healthcare. The County Board voted to expand the
county jail with a $35 million bond sale. Laurie Borowicz was named
president of Kishwaukee College.
The last of my 10 years tripping down memory lane, 2016, brought the
downfall of DeKalb School District 428 Superintendent Doug Moeller for
alleged misconduct with high school Principal Michele Albano. In election
news, Republican Rick Amato won the race for state’s attorney over
I can’t remember much from 2017, but that’s how it goes as one ages.
However, you can read all about last year in the Daily Chronicle’s Dec. 30
• Barry Schrader can be reached through P.O. Box 851, DeKalb, IL
60115, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His archive of past
columns can be found on his website at www.dekalbcountylife.com.