DeKalb County Life for December 21, 2015: Top Story of the Year Dissected; Local UFO Sightings, or just Santa?; Sheriff’s History Part 2; Steve Bigolin’s Downtown History

Top local story of 2015 – Tip of the Iceberg

By Barry Schrader, editor
(First in a series)

The media—newspapers, television, radio, wire services and even website operators—always rush to tell readers, viewers and listeners the top stories of the past year, the biggest newsmakers, and the most terrible tragedies.
So this journalist feels obligated to jump into the year-end fray and offer his prognostication, even though there are still 10 days left in the old year. But I am strictly a local yokel, not wise in the ways of the world outside the confines of this little county and its 102,391 inhabitants.
So here goes: THE WINNER IS! The sale/merger/affiliation of the KishHealth System into/with/by Northwestern Medicine/Memorial of Chicago. But I can almost guarantee that this gargantuan deal is only the tip of the iceberg; we haven’t heard the last of it yet, and may never know the “rest of the story,” as the late Paul Harvey used to say on his radio broadcasts.
One DeKalb County official remarked to me recently when I was delivering a dreaded Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request letter to his office about the dealings of Kishwaukee Hospital Not-for-Profit Corporation and its related entities, “I have been asked by others, why is Barry doing this?” Then he answered his own question, saying to me, “I told them it must be because he is a reporter from the Old School.”
I then interjected that I was trained by some hard-nosed journalism professors (at NIU no less) to hunt for the real reason things happen, and the reporter in me looks behind the facade of the puffery of the news release, the carefully orchestrated responses to press questions, and the lack of transparency in an organization that should have nothing to hide if they aren’t hoodwinking the public, even keeping their own people in the dark like mushrooms, feeding them you know what.
So it is with KishHealth, Kish Hospital and its umpteen related appendages that make up the vast majority of the health care business for all of DeKalb County That includes Valley West Hospital in Sandwich. In the past year, KishHealth has gobbled up the DeKalb Clinic and then Ben Gordon Center, just prior to its “sale” to Northwestern, the second largest health care chain in Illinois, second only to Advocate Health Care which has 12 hospitals to date.
So you ask, what is so bad about a larger, research-connected and well-funded hospital system taking over a little operation like Kish?  And I tell you: It is the unanswered questions nobody dares ask, like why would Kish turn over to Northwestern its $340 million in assets for zero dollars; you heard that right the price was ZERO. Then you look at a similar sale which happened almost simultaneously between Northwestern and Marionjoy in the suburbs. As reported in the Chicago Tribune, Marionjoy was bought for $28 million, BUT THEN in a separate but related transaction Northwestern will also buy the “bricks and mortar, the property for an undisclosed amount.
Somehow, no one in DeKalb County has thought to ask why, in their 177-page “exemption” application to the State, the KishHealth corporate board reveals that it is only selling the business (and its 1,600-plus employees) to  Northwestern, NOT the “bricks and mortar” and the real estate under those buildings around the county. Could it be that in 2016, after the dust is settled, the other shoe will be dropped and the physical facilities and real estate will be quietly sold without needing any state approval or publicity? It is legal to do that, I have been told. Or maybe the hospital “owners” will just lease the property and buildings for a few hundred thousand to Northwestern for awhile to avoid any big capital gains?
I suppose it might enrage their past donors, corporate sponsors and the general public if they thought someone would allow our “community-owned” hospitals to be sold off after all the millions people have given in the past 45 years since this community entirety was formed
Of course all this is just speculation because the Kish CEO Kevin Pootern and his hand-picked board of directors hide behind the protection allowed Not-for Profit corporations, which have no obligation to report anything about their deliberations, actions and sale plans to the public, the press or even the oversight agencies like the Illinois State Health Facilities and Services Review Board.
The little bits of information about KishHealth and its operation can only be found in an obscure but required annual filing of Form 990 with the IRS. By gleaning through all the pages of boilerplate, one can discover the salaries of top operators of the hospital, not the medical staff, nurses or CNAs, but just the top dozen or so. And this will blow your mind!
Starting at the very top, CEO and President Kevin Poorten takes home $1.2 MILLION each year (These figures are from the 2013-2014 fiscal year). Some would say that is probably normal for an operation that includes more than 1,600 employees, but then you look across town at Northern Illinois University with  3,671 employees and its top man Dr. Douglas Baker gets only $450,000 plus a house and a few other perks. And looking further up the food chain, the President of these United States Barack Obama, who has how many million employees, gets a paltry $569,000 plus a “White House” and a few other perks.
But I digress. Lets get back to the top echelon of the local hospital system and how much they make: (remember now these figures are two years old so they could have had a bump in pay or year-end bonuses to celebrate the sale to Northwestern):
—Kevin Poorten, CEO/President: $1.2 million
—Loren Foelske. Finance VP: $409,122
—Brad Copple, President of Kish & Valley West: $353,143
—Joseph Dant, Business Dev. VP: $323,199
—Michael Kokott, Asst. Marketing VP: $232,440
—Roger Heath Bell, CIO & VP: $316,455
—Pam Duffy, VP, Patient Care: $294,408
—Mark Thate, HR VP, retired now: $285,961
—Dr. Michael Kulisz, CMO: $490,394
—David Proulx, VP of Ops: $241,115
—Cheryl Fisher, Risk Mgt. Director: $180,994
—Craig Villacorta, Info Systems Director: $154,695
—Todd Barrowclift, Sr. Dir. of Physician Ops: $201,320

Maybe it’s because they have to pay these humungous salaries since they are “Not for Profit” so if they didn’t eat up the profits by distributing millions in salaries, they would  lose their tax-exempt status.
The IRS doesn’t seem to stipulate how you may spend your treasury to remain a Not-for-Profit. Just look at the scandals reported in recent years when it was learned how much the head of United Way is paid, for example.
But I expect, and am holding my breath, to hear that Northwestern, the new owners and overseers of Mr. Poorten and his team at the top, will hold a public press conference after the first of the new year to explain all these details to the waiting throngs of patients, donors, taxpayers, and trembling employees. I say trembling because until they are told whether they lose all their seniority like many did at DeKalb Clinic, and thus their accrued vacation days, sick leave, or whatever other benefits they had under the old system, they don’s dare ask any serious questions.
I just heard from DeKalb County Board chair Mark Pietrowski they are already scheduling a dog and pony show before the county board meeting early in the new year, so that will be interesting to see them out in the public light.
FIRST QUESTION FOR Mr. Poorten and Northwestern CEO James Harrison (unless they only send in the B-team and we get their second string): Now that you have dissolved the KishHealth corporation board of directors, who are the five nominees you are adding to the Northwestern Western Region board. Since the Kish Hospital corporation has been dissolved (or has it really?) who hires and fires the top people at KishHealth and who reviews the performance of Mr. Poorten? Has he been given an employment contract or an agreement to keep him on for a specified period of time?
Backing up a couple months, Mr. Poorten, how much did Kish pay for acquiring the Ben Gordon Center and did its CEO Michael Flora get a “golden parachute” in addition to his $330,000 annual salary, or did he just get two weeks notice?
Since the Kishwakee Hospital NFP corporate board has been dissolved what entity now owns the “bricks and mortar and real estate” in all the vast network of medical facilities around DeKalb County that Kish has amassed? Is there a holding company, a venture capital firm or parallel NFP corporation hidden somewhere in your board meeting minutes that we don’t know about?
What specific individuals will now own the buildings and real estate? The KishHealth webpage has proudly listed the hospital as “community-owned” and how has that changed and who will get the money if and when the property and buildings are sold to Northwestern, Mr. Harrison (or his surrogate at the meeting) do you plan to, or have you already bought) the buildings and property which were not included in the original acquisition as stated in your 177-page application to the state?
How much will (or did you) pay and who exactly would (or was) the check be made out to? Will individuals benefit financially from the sale or will all of the sale proceeds be pored back into the operation and Foundation bank account of the hospital?
Was the sale of the hospital which was hurried up before the end of 2015, forced or driven by some new provision of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) or what part did the ACA play in Kish’s decision to sell at this particular time.
It was reported in the press that Advocate Health Care also showed an interest or entered into negotiations with Kish to make an offer. If so, why weren’t they chosen over Northwestern since they are a larger health care network and could offer even more resources and specialists to the smaller Kish system’s patients? (Seems Northwestern is now interested in acquiring Centegra Hospital in McHenry County next)
Did Advocate also guarantee to keep Mr. Poorten in his CEO position or did only Northwestern include that in its offer?
How will the five nominees from the old KishHealth board be chosen or appointed in the future since there is no more Kish Hospital NFP? Will they be named by the Kish CEO; how about some nominations by the DeKalb County Health Department or even citizens-at-large allowed to apply?
Wouldn’t it be more inclusive, fair and transparent, if the County Board was allowed to appoint one member to this Northwestern board to represent the people of DeKalb County and keep the board apprised of actions and decisions that will affect the entire health care system that used to be KishHealth covering all of DeKalb County and its patients?
Why is it necessary to keep all your deliberations, actions, and meetings secret from the public and press when many other Not-for-Profits share their business with their employees, the public and  press?
If Northwestern is sold or merged with another health provider in the near future, how will that affect the local medical facilities and the employees? Will all local control and oversight be eliminated or will the five local board nominees be included in the acquisition agreement, guaranteed a seat on the new board, or just relegated to an advisory board?
Since these five board members from Kish will constitute a minority on the 15-member Northwestern Western Region board, how can the people, governments and affected groups in DeKalb County be assured of the same level or better health care facilities and staffing? For example, if it is determined by the corporate office of Northwestern that Valley West is unprofitable or inefficient, can it be closed down by just going to the State Health Facilities and Services Review Board, with a majority vote of that 15-member board, or will the five DeKalb County KishHealth appointees be given more weight in the decision affecting their local health care facility? By the way, do these five appointees have to reside in DeKalb County, or can they be from anywhere in the state? What are the cities of residence of the new appointees from KishHealth?
This is for County board members: Did you know that the original articles of incorporation for the KishHealth NFP corporation drafted back in 1970 included the provision that if the corporation was dissolved the county board would be offered the ownership of the facilities back? States Attorney Richard Schmack has looked into this and you might ask him to explain how that has changed and what the provisions are in the wording of the current bylaws of the Kishwaukee Hospital NFP Corporation? If he has done his homework as we have requested in writing, he should be able to provide the details.
So, Northwestern, when is the big coming-out party and when does your Marketing machine kick into gear and unveil its publicity campaign to convince the 102,391 people now under your care that all will be well, their medical costs will not escalate, the insurance companies will not exclude Kish and Northwestern from coverage, and you will return inpatient mental health care to Kish Hospital as requested by numerous law enforcement officials, city leaders, and health care professionals. (Sorry to say this does not included the DeKalb County 708 Mental Health Board, due to the machinations of its leader Charles Rose. But the manipulations and conduct of that board and Mr. Rose are now under review by the States Attorney’s office regarding certain claims of misconduct, which will be covered in future articles here or in the local media.

The above 15 questions will be enough for the county board to begin a serious dialogue with Northwestern-Kishwaukee officials, unless of course they send only their second string to the county board meeting who will respond: “We are not authorized to speak for the corporation” or tell the county board this is not the appropriate venue for such questioning.
I forgot to mention, when we tried to access the IRS Form 990 for Northwestern, mysteriously all the salaries of the top 10 administrators of that health care system are missing from the online forms and nowhere else can they be found. I wonder if the IRS has bothered to check on its required information and how they are able to avoid disclosures. Transparency is the greatest fear of those trying to hide something from the public and other regulatory agencies. Of course, if caught they simply say “clerical error” or “someone or our staff didn’t check all the boxes and it was just an oversight…”

I have another piece of news about legislation related to the hospitals “Exemption” application and this is chilling as well.
First I need to bring up the actions of Tom Matya, KishHealth board president and vice president of Zea Mays Holding LLC (a non-bank holding company with reported income of $2.5 million to $5 million annually) in Sycamore. Mr. Matya panicked the county board with two phone calls before its meeting to act on a letter calling on Northwestern to return inpatient mental health care to Kish Hospital. His carefully-calculated calls threw members into a tizzy (during which time we were not allowed to speak) and they voted 14 to 9 to take the item off their agenda.
He claimed it could negatively impact Northwestern’s desire to come here, but neglected to inform the board about Illinois House Bill 3504 passed and signed by the Governor which REQUIRES the State Health Facilities and Service Review Board to APPROVE all applications for exemptions to buy or sell hospitals as long as the necessary paperwork passes muster with the Attorney General. So the deal was already guaranteed when Matya frightened the county board into killing the letter, even though he knew it would not be a problem.
(Editor’s Note: For this reason I would not support him for Mayor of DeKalb as I hear on the street his friends are discussing. The fact he heads(ed) the hospital board, is former head of the DeKalb School Board, and now might want to take over the reins of city government is just too much power concentrated in one person. If Mike Verbic decides to run, or if they are successful in drafting Ging Smith (she may not know this yet) for the elected position, I would have a brighter hope for the City’s future.)


Due to the length and breadth of this investigative series it is necessary to break it into parts. Next time we will take a close look at the 15-20 properties and buildings owned or controlled by the Kish/Northwestern conglomerate around DeKalb County. They include a shopping center, residential houses, an apartment complex, office buildings, empty commercial buildings and empty lots, among other things. This was even expanded further recently with the takeover of the Ben Gordon Center and its appendages around the county. But as of this date the BCG building and real estate are owned by the 708 Mental Health Board; for now that is.
The DeKalb County Recorder of Deeds was most cooperative in helping me ferret out all this information which resulted in a half-inch-high stack of paperwork and legal documents which will take many more hours to examine and report on accurately next month. By then, some of these holdings may already have been transferred to other hidden corporations or sold to Northwestern or some holding company or venture capital firm. Only time and continued digging will tell.
Until next time, have a happy holidays, away from all this!


UFO sightings add up over time

Photo of Altgeld Hall by Tracy Coyle. Photo illustration by Curtis Clegg.

Photo of Altgeld Hall by Tracy Coyle. Saucer illustration by Curtis Clegg.

By Curtis Clegg, special to online

Fans of the television serial “Fargo” may have been surprised when a flying  saucer made a prominent appearance in the season’s penultimate episode, set during a police shootout in 1979, on Monday, Dec. 7.
The plot twist likely upset many of the show’s fans who had flocked to the Cohen Brothers-inspired serial because of its dedication to realism,  going so far as to (falsely) assure viewers at the beginning of every episode that the story was based on true events in Minnesota and North Dakota. However, as the show’s writer-producer Noah Hawley told Entertainment Weekly about the decision to include the UFO incident, “… it plays very well into the conspiracy-minded 1979 era where it’s post-Watergate, you had (movies) Close Encounters and Star Wars. There was a Minnesota UFO encounter involving a state trooper.”
The UFO encounter with Minnesota state trooper Val Johnson happened on August 26, 1979. “I noticed a very bright, brilliant light, 8 to 12 inches in diameter, 3 to 4 feet off the ground,” Johnson said in a taped police interview. “The edges were very defined.”
Johnson reported that after that, the light appeared inside the car with him and after that he has no memory of the event. He told Minnesota Public Radio that when he awoke in a ditch 30 minutes later the windshield and a headlight on his patrol car were smashed, he had burns around his eyes, and both antennas on his car were bent sharply back. Both the watch on his wrist and the clock on his car’s dashboard were  running 14 minutes behind.
Six years earlier, on Nov. 3, 1973, three local sheriff’s deputies had their own close encounters. After two janitors at Northern Illinois University reported strange lights in the skies to NIU police, the DeKalb County sheriff’s department was notified. Deputy Harold Eckhardt spotted an amber-colored light that appeared to be a flame flying west toward Esmond at 4:20 a.m. He watched the object with binoculars and reported there were no flashing green or red lights normally seen on airplanes.
At 4:56 a.m. an Ogle County sheriff’s deputy spotted the object over Davis Junction. Shortly thereafter, another deputy and a Mt. Morris police officer spotted the object over Mt. Morris, and a sheriff’s deputy in Carroll County also reported the object.
UFO mania swept the country and much of the world in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. The archives of local newspapers have numerous accounts flying saucers (later called UFOs) across the United States and around the world over the decades, with occasional local stories.  Other local events culled from newspaper reports include:
April 29, 1949 – Pilot Leon Faber of Sandwich was flying a plane over Indiana when he saw a flying saucer at about 8 a.m. “in the sky far above me. It was amazing, just amazing. What it was, goodness knows, but I’ve never seen anything like it.” He described the object as “very bright, like sun shining on steel or aluminum” and that it was moving parallel to the ground at an altitude of about 16,000 feet. He said that “it didn’t become smaller and smaller as it went out of sight. It just seemed that very suddenly it wasn’t there any longer. I can’t explain it, but it’s the most amazing thing that ever happened to me. When it disappeared there was no flash or smoke or trail that it left.”
August 3, 1950 – two DeKalb women reported seeing “three large silver discs which appeared to be spinning and very high” at about noon while they were outside hanging laundry. They watched as “the saucers seemed to rise higher and higher and then disappear from sight.”
August 4, 1952 – Mrs. Harry Dietz of Sycamore reported that she and her 5 year-old daughter Carol were driving from DeKalb to Sycamore when she was “startled by a bright shining object going at great speed north.” The object appeared to be circular but that it changed shape, from being “like the moon in its first quarter and then changed to full round.”
August 26, 1952 – Gerald Brown of DeKalb reported seeing an object hovering in the sky at a very high altitude. After a short time it “shot to the south like only a dragon fly can dart. Then it hovered momentarily, then it zig-zagged. As compared to the saucer the  B-36 (nearby, identified earlier) was standing still.” He added that “I did not hear any noise from its direction and I noticed no vapor trail.”
November 7, 1957 – At least three DeKalb police officers and two other witnesses reported seeing a “bright, color-changing light in the sky.”
May 23, 1958 – Mrs. Warren Eastman of Sycamore saw a bright object that wasn’t a falling star flash across the sky at about 10:30 p.m. Later that night, at 12:45 a.m., she saw a glowing object “brighter than any star” about the size of a platter slowly move across the heavens.
March 29, 1966 – At least 15 NIU students spotted a flying object flying near the Neptune west dormitory for about an hour starting at about 12:45 a.m. It alternated between red and blue colors, had no particular shape but it appeared to be rotating. Police were unable to find the object.
July 14, 1967 – Three DeKalb policemen and at least five other witnesses reported seeing a mysterious glowing flying object about 10 inches in diameter that resembled a basketball. The object remained visible for 3-5 minutes.
October 18, 1973  – DeKalb High School janitor Bill Rollins reported a mysterious flying object in the sky. The next day’s Daily Chronicle reported that “…in just about every conceivable community in the nation, including many spots in DeKalb County, there has been a bombardment of UFO sightings in the past few days. Thursday night the persons who spotted UFOs included a county sheriff’s police officer. DeKalb police received several UFO reports, including one from a man who said an object hovered over his car while driving from Cortland to DeKalb.” The newspaper also reported that DeKalb Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Shaw “reported seeing a single blob of yellow light which he said was heading south by southwest. Shaw reported that he was unable to get close enough to positively identify it.”
January 31, 1978 – Astronomer, physicist and leading UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek from Northwestern University spoke to an overflow crowd at NIU, urging people to report their UFO sightings. He often left cards at his lectures for people to use to report their experiences. “Last time I received about twenty cards back,” he said. “That’s twenty UFO sightings that otherwise may have gone unreported.” He told the audience that worldwide there are 100 UFO sightings every day and that 15 million Americans from all walks of life have seen UFOs, adding that there are 1,300 reports of “close encounters of the third kind” (the term he coined for a person’s direct contact with a UFO’s occupant) on file at his Center for UFO Studies in Evanston.
October 30, 1978 – NIU professor Clinton Jesser of DeKalb reported seeing two “saucer-type objects, white or milky colored” fly over DeKalb “at tremendous speeds” while he was jogging at about 10 p.m.  The objects flew from the southern horizon to the north, then sped to the northwest where they disappeared.
December 2, 1978 – Daily Chronicle managing editor David Hass said that nationwide, “UFO sightings, which numbered six per day in 1977, increased to 18 per day in January 1978 with the release of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind.'”
December 1, 1981 – DeKalb UFOlogist and UFO witness Robert Hastings spoke at NIU about what he believed to be a massive government coverup of the UFO phenomena. “There’s an abundance of evidence at this time of an ongoing coverup,” he said as he showed slides of purported government documents and other evidence. “My presentations may seem like science fiction, a paranoid delusion or elaborate practical joke. But I assure you, this is the truth.” He reported being harassed by government officials and he predicted that an official admission from the White House regarding the existence of extraterrestrials was imminent.
December 13, 1981 – in a Daily Chronicle article, Hastings elaborated on his theories and mentioned that the UFOs he has investigated “perform maneuvers and travel at speeds untouched by anything we can send after them. And believe me, the Air Force has tried.”
For reasons unknown, stories about UFOs virtually disappeared from the newspapers after about 1980. In a February 29, 1996 Associated Press story, George Eberhard, director of publications for the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, said that 95 percent of the world’s UFO sightings are “garbage” and can be explained as either airplanes, satellites or planets. After peaking in the 1970s, he said that UFO sightings declined.
“Aliens were here, now they’re not,” Eberhard said. “Sometime around 1980 or ’81 everything fell off.”
(Editor’s Note: In the next issue we will offer an article from the Skeptical Inquirer debunking some UFO encounters.)


Sheriff’s History: Then and Now – Part 2


By DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott
In the previous article the Sheriff’s origin was traced back to early England.  The duties of the modern day sheriff are directly linked to the duties granted to “shire-reeves” in England.  The earliest recorded duties were recorded in the “Book of Dooms” which was commissioned by King Alfred, in 890, it identified Tax Collection, Mediating Disputes, Posse Commitatus as primary duties for the sheriff.
A more detailed list of duties was set forth in the Assize of Claredon written at the direction of King Henry II in 1166.

Sheriff Duties
Assize of Claredon 1166

  • Representing the King
  • Tax Collection
  • Apprehending criminals
  • Assist other Sheriffs
  • Maintaining list of wanted persons


Upon examining Assize of Claredon list it is important to note the wide variety of responsibilities of the early English Sheriff, but to how most of those duties identified in
1166 AD, form the form the foundation for the duties of the America Sheriff in 2015. Beginning at the top of the list the Sheriffs of today in the United Stated do not represent the King, but they do represent, but by oath and mandate, the Constitution of the United States, and their individual states, as well the laws of the state, and ordinances of their county.
As it was in England tax collection was a duty of Sheriff’s in much of this nation through the early 1900’s but now it is not predominate in most of the country, though does still remain for many of the Sheriff’s in the south-west part of the nation.  I am amazed at these sheriffs ability to be re-elected since they have the unpopular task of both arresting people and collecting taxes.
Apprehending criminals clearly applies to sheriffs in America today as it did in England.  Catching the “bad guys” is the predominate image and duty of the sheriff in order to “serve and protect” the community.  In today’s world the apprehending part is just the beginning of the process. The sheriff and his deputies must follow through with the incarceration of the offender, and working with the States Attorney‘s Office must follow through the prosecution process.
Next on the list is Assisting other sheriffs—A duty  sheriffs take quite seriously.  There is a common bond that exists between sheriffs in all jurisdictions, perhaps because there are so few compared to the number of other law enforcement entities in the nation and state,  In Illinois there only 102 sheriffs, and across the nation just over 3,000.   Sheriffs work with all law enforcement agencies every day but when the call for assistance comes from another sheriff there is great satisfaction with fulfilling that request, whether it is manpower, information, or advice.
Maintaining warrants are strong components of sheriff duties throughout the nation as they were in England. In Illinois the Office of Sheriff has the duty of maintaining all the original warrants issued by the courts, as well as entering them in the statewide and national law enforcement computer network
Operating jails is next on the list of duties for the English sheriff in 1166 and clearly a major responsibility of the sheriff in the vast majority of jurisdictions in this country today  Maintaining and operation of jails is expensive, complex, dangerous and consists of significant liability for the sheriffs  and counties of this nation.
Entertaining royalty was a primary responsibility for sheriffs in England.  They were required to prepare food and lodging for the king and his entourage anytime they came into the “shire.”  Fortunately for the sheriffs in our nation that is not a responsibility they have.
The final item in  the Assize of Claredon that links directly to the sheriffs in America is sheriffs are Officers of the Court.  The Sheriff and his deputies are mandated to carry out all court orders, and directions of the court.  In addition in Illinois and numerous other states the county sheriff is charged with the security of the court house.  The security of the court house is key to an active and healthy criminal justice system.
The Sheriff’s Office in this country clearly stands on a foundation of history linked to the beginning days in early England.
Next time we will look at the spread of the Office of Sheriff  from England throughout the world’s nations.
(Reprinted from the Illinois Sheriff newsletter with permission of DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott)


More local history from Steve Bigolin

McCabes pic

This building is located at 323 East Lincoln Highway in DeKalb.

By Steve Bigolin, History columnist

Every block in downtown Dekalb between First and Seventh, Locust and Grove streets, has undergone physical changes over the years. Once upon a time, for example, there had been as many as 11 three-story buildings downtown, only three of which exist today. The second oldest of these is located at 323 East Lincoln Highway, and is commonly known as McCabe’s Tevern.
Built in 1902, the structure’s historic name was the Commercial Trust & Savings Bank/Oddfellows Building. E.F. Shellaberger of the DeKalb Fence Company had it erected and was the bank’s president. It is a striking example of Italian Renaissance Revival architecture, the only one of its kind in DeKalb.  At the top of the stone archway on the second floor is an Egyptian-style cartouche containing the letters “CYSB”. You can see it from across the street.
The CT&SB building was a multi-use structure. The bank was on the west side of the first floor, while Sheets & Knodle Hardware occupied the east half.
Professional offices took up the second floor space, and the third floor contained the lodge hall of the Independent Order of Oddfellows. The building has never had an elevator, so the climb to the top floor must be physically demanding.
The 1905 Standard Atlas of DeKalb County Illinois includes a small, early picture if 323 East Lincoln. The bank was entered from beneath the archway and the hardware store through a door at the front.



History Mystery Photos for Dec. 21

flags DinnerBell

These two mystery photos are located across the road from each other. Find the answers at the bottom of this blog posting.


Fav Foto for Dec. 21

Terry sunset

DeKalb County Forest Preserve District Supt. Terry Hannan shot this photo on Plank Road near Lukens Road north of Sycamore at sunset one December day.

To submit a photo of the week entry, please e-mail to


History Mystery Photo Answers

The first photo of team flags is taken inside Barshinger’s barn on Waterman Road, across the street from the Waterman Winery where the dinner bell (second photo) is located.

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