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Stew Cohen

    News of the Fox Valley is my focus in the morning on 103.9 The Fox. I’ll give you a comprehensive look at Chicagoland’s top stories, Illinois news, top national stories, sports, traffic, and weather. All of this information in a couple of minutes each hour on the morning show. Just as The Fox keeps you entertained with great rock music and his funny comments, I’ll keep you in touch with what’s going on. Stew’s News on 103.9 The Fox Monday through Friday from 6:50am to 9am.

    I’ve been finding important issues and events to expand our focus from the shorter newscast length to the longer form public affairs show. The program is called Northwest Spectrum, airing every Sunday 6am for 15-minutes. Northwest Spectrum allows for more time to open up an issue and examine it thoroughly.

    I’m in my fifth decade of providing news in the morning, public affairs and public service. Thank you for listening to me.


    – Gov. Bruce Rauner, HARTING, and the City of Elgin today announced a $6 million facility expansion at the German company’s world-class North American Headquarters in Elgin. The new investment will include the addition of a lab and showroom to the on-site warehouse and distribution center as well as increasing capabilities for injection molding and die-casting processes. The project is slated to create at least 50 new jobs.

    “The state has been working with members of the HARTING team on this project since early this year. I am thrilled the company ultimately decided to expand in the great state of Illinois,” Rauner said. “It is essential that Illinois continues to foster a competitive business environment that not only keeps great companies like HARTING here but attracts new ones from across the globe.”

    HARTING is a family-owned company founded in 1945. The company manufactures products for the connector industry for use in mechanical and plant engineering, broadcast and entertainment, factory automation, power generation and distribution as well as industrial electronics and telecommunications. The company already employs 112 Illinoisans.

    “Illinois was the right fit for this new expansion due to the unrivaled workforce and strategic location,” said HARTING North America President and CEO Jon DeSouza. “We are proud of our contributions to Illinois’ manufacturing legacy, and this next phase in our journey will only build upon our current successes within the North American market.”

    The Governor met with leaders of HARTING at their world headquarters in Espelkamp, Germany during his trade mission to Germany and Poland. Intersect Illinois coordinated the April trade mission to enhance the state’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) strategy. Members of the delegation included Intersect Illinois CEO Mark Peterson, former Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy, Illinois Manufacturing Association President Greg Baise and Vice President Mark Denzler, Harper College President Kenneth Ender, and President & CEO of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest Mark Tomkins.

    “The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest appreciates the support and dedication, which the State of Illinois has displayed in working with and for German business. The strong ties between Germany and Illinois were strengthened this year with Governor Rauner’s visit to Germany and investment commitments from several German companies in the state,” said Tomkins. “We look forward to ongoing successful cooperation with our member company HARTING North America and the State of Illinois through our ICATT Apprenticeship Program and other initiatives.”

    “The City of Elgin, Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce and Elgin Development Group are so pleased that HARTING has decided to expand in Elgin,” said Elgin Mayor David Kaptain. “Their long-term investment and growth in our community is a result of everyone working together to make Elgin a better place.”

    The company is targeting January of 2019 to have the new portion of their manufacturing facility up and running.

    Only a day earlier….two bank robberies in Hanover Park and Carpentersville, and the latest in Cary.

    On October 11, 2018 at 2:11 hours, the Cary Police Department responded to 25 W. Main Street (US Bank) for the report of a Robbery. The suspect was described as a male, white, approximately 35 years old, wearing a black hat, gray jacket, black pants and a light tan backpack. The suspect was last seen walking south from the scene. It was also indicated that the suspect may be driving a Black Ford Edge toward the area of Barrington. Information gathered at the scene indicated that the suspect presented a note to the teller who provided an undisclosed amount of currency. There was no gun displayed or implied and there were no injuries. Potential video footage is being processed and the case remains under investigation by the Cary Police Department in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the Cary Police Department at 847-639-2341 or the McHenry County Crime Stoppers at 800-762-7867 for individuals wishing to remain anonymous.

    Village leaders in Huntley are continuing to address issues caused by the storm that moved through northern Illinois. At this time, it appears that there were straightline winds with gusts up to 70 mph. The most significant issues appear to be in the downtown and adjacent area, but damage is seem village wide.  McHenry County Emergency Management will be out today to further assess the situation.

    Village personnel worked through the night and continue these efforts today. After a preliminary inspection last night, we have  a record of eight homes with significant damage and one home that has been deemed uninhabitable. Building department staff will continue assessments today, and it is possible those numbers will rise. The Village will issue building permits for documented storm-related damage at no charge.

    Storm debris is currently being moved to the parkway to clear roads and sidewalks, with the help of Rolling Meadows and McHenry public works crews. Residents are asked to move any debris from their property to the parkway by Tuesday, October 2nd, for collection. If citizens have questions on this, please contact the Public Works department at 847-515-5222.

    ComEd worked diligently in our area through the night to restore power. At this time, approximately 700 customers are still without power. ComEd estimates restoration by 6:15 p.m. ComEd has set up a mobile command unit in the Walmart parking lot and have called in additional contractors to resolve this issue as soon as possible.

    We have an amazing community and many residents have expressed interest in helping with the clean up efforts. For everyone’s safety, we ask our citizens to refrain from clean up work in the public right-of-way. Crews from the Village of Huntley, other municipalities, and contractors will address these issues. Residents’ efforts are best focused on helping their neighbors with clean up on private property. We also ask that they remain cognizant of street closures and not enter a barricaded street unless they live there.

    The Village extends thanks and appreciation to the Village of Algonquin and the Cities of McHenry and Rolling Meadows for their response and assistance to the residents of Huntley.

    The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) has asked the Governor of Illinois to declare September 23rd to 29th as Illinois Rail Safety Week. The Chiefs believe this will help to promote vehicle and pedestrian safety around railroad tracks and trains.  Governor Rauner issued a proclamation and the ILACP is coordinating the fifth, statewide Illinois Rail Safety Week in partnership with Metra, along with support from state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, railroads, schools, and various private sector agencies.

    In addition, Operation Lifesaver has declared the same week as national Rail Safety Week, and the ILACP is proud to be part of the national effort.  In Illinois during 2017, there were 86 collisions at public highway-rail crossings involving motor vehicles or pedestrians, which resulted in 24 injuries and 21 fatalities.  There were 41 trespasser incidents that resulted in 26 injuries and 15 fatalities when people trespassed onto railroad property.  During 2017, Illinois ranked 2nd in the nation in collision fatalities and 8th in the nation in trespasser fatalities.

    To promote rail safety awareness and education, the Crystal Lake Police Department will be participating in Illinois Rail Safety Week.  Enforcement details are planned throughout the week at various railroad grade crossings and commuter stations within Crystal Lake to cite both drivers and pedestrians who disobey the laws associated with railroad grade crossings and railroad property.  Police officers will distribute literature  that contains information on how to be safe around trains and train tracks.

    Please remember, not only is it against the law to stop your vehicle on railroad tracks, it is also against the law to stop your vehicle anywhere within the highway-rail grade crossing. Highway-rail grade crossings are typically marked by white stop lines located on the pavement in advance of the crossing, and if not marked by white stop lines, the highway-rail grade crossing extends from protective gate arm to protective gate arm.

    According to Illinois Operation Lifesaver, more than 84 percent of all collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices (flashing lights, gates, and ringing bells).  For more information about Illinois Rail Safety Week, please visit or contact the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

    A roadside marker bearing the name Nicholas Kilpatrick will remind people of the tragedies caused by impaired drivers. Nicholas was 17-years-old and riding a skateboard when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver on September 9, 2014.

    Carrie Kilpatrick, Nicholas’s mother, has waited a long time for this memorial marker. “The pain and grief of losing a child will never go away; this marker gives some comfort knowing that Nicholas’ memory will live on and bring awareness to the pain that comes from this senseless crime.”

    Roadside DUI Memorial Markers have appeared on state highways since August 2007, when HB 1900 was signed into law, creating the roadside memorial. This law was the result of legislation championed by the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown’s Tina Ball Memorial DUI Task Force, along with the Legislative Committee of AAIM. The Tina Ball DUI Task Force is a group formed after construction worker Tina Ball was struck and killed in a work zone on Interstate 57 by a drunk driver in September 2003.

    For many years, AAIM has been working with local agencies to install signs where a fatality occurred as the result of an impaired driver. Family and friends of crash victims often erect temporary makeshift memorials which are often removed because they can become a distraction to other drivers.

    Thanks to the Village of Hampshire and Mike Reid, Village Trustee, this sign will be erected on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, at 4:30 pm. Parking for the memorial will be on State Street right before Allen Road and Veteran’s Park, in Hampshire. AAIM is pleased that the village supported this program and worked hard to make it come to fruition.

    This program acknowledges the victims in a dignified manner. The uniform, easily-recognized signs also create awareness of the dangers of alcohol and drug-impaired driving and will help prevent these tragedies.

    Governor Bruce Rauner and Faber-Castell Cosmetics announced the company’s first North American manufacturing facility in Illinois. The German company has leased a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Elgin that will be dedicated to producing cosmetic pencils for the North American market. The $9 million project will create 50 full-time jobs. The announcement comes after the Governor visited with the company in Stein, Germany in late spring.

    “It is an honor to welcome Faber-Castell to the Illinois manufacturing family,” said Governor Bruce Rauner. “Faber-Castell has a remarkable legacy in Germany, and I am proud that they have chosen Illinois to be the next phase in their journey. We look forward to working with them and helping them thrive in Elgin.”

    “I am proud to announce this project during the 40th year of Faber-Castell Cosmetics,” said company President Countess Mary von Faber-Castell. “The US facility will become Faber-Castell Cosmetics’ beta factory with exceptional, industry-standard processes and systems, in addition to offering US customers the same speed-to-market and convenience now enjoyed by Europe and Brazil.”

    During his April 2018 trade mission to Poland and Germany, the Governor met with leaders of Faber-Castell at their world headquarters in Stein, Germany. The company, best known for their pens, pencils and art supplies, dates back to 1761 and does business with more than 100 countries. The cosmetic division, Faber-Castell Cosmetics, is currently celebrating its 40th year anniversary as a world-recognized private label cosmetic manufacturer, focusing on color cosmetics and nail care.

    “Economic development is a collaborative effort – it takes time, effort and strong relationships to make projects like this a reality,” said Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce Sean McCarthy. “We have worked closely with Faber-Castell, both in Illinois and in Germany, as well as partners like former Illinois Senator Karen McConnaughay, the Illinois Manufacturers Association, the City of Elgin, and Harper College, to solidify this deal for Illinois.”

    The company chose to announce their expansion at the MakeUp conference in New York, an industry-wide event that has more than 110 formula, accessories and packaging industry exhibitors.

    “Adding a North American facility is a remarkable milestone for our company,” said Dr. Christina Zech, Managing Director of Faber-Castell Cosmetics. “Illinois now joins Brazil and Germany on our list of production sites. The strategic location in between the coasts along with the exceptional workforce Illinois boasts made it a natural choice for our next facility.”

    “Faber-Castell is a phenomenal global company with roots going back three centuries,” added Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Vice President & COO Mark Denzler. “It was fascinating to learn about their history and vision for the future during the Governor’s trade mission and we’re excited that Illinois will host their first American facility.”

    Intersect Illinois coordinated the April trade mission to enhance the state’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) strategy. During the mission, the 22-member delegation visited with 16 companies and attended one of the world’s largest trade fairs, Hannover Messe.

    “Growing our foreign direct investment is essential to improving our economy and maximizing our potential,” said Mark Peterson, President and CEO of Intersect Illinois. “Germany remains one of our greatest FDI partners, and the Faber-Castell facility is the next chapter in our rich and shared economic history with German manufacturing here in Illinois.”

    The Board of Directors for The Literacy Connection announces David Zimmerman as its new Executive Director.  Zimmerman replaces Karen Oswald, former Executive Director who resigned this past February.

    Zimmerman brings experience in non-profit organizations as well as community business collaboration, board governance and organizational change management to The Literacy Connection.

    Zimmerman has served previously as the Employment Opportunities Manager for the Center for Enriched Living and was the Employment Coordinator for New Foundation Center (now Thresholds).  Zimmerman is also a Veteran of the United States Navy.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Affairs (Management) from Indiana University, as well as a Master of Arts in Public Administration (Nonprofit Management) from University of Colorado and a Master of Business Administration (Management) from Roosevelt University.

    Zimmerman says, “I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to lead this organization. The mission of The Literacy Connection is such a needed resource in the communities we serve as I have encountered several clients at my previous positions that had severe deficits in basic literacy fundamentals, in addition to other barriers in their own lives.  Reading your schedule at work, filling out job applications, or just being able to write about what you enjoy doing in life; literacy in our communities is so essential towards the inclusion and prosperity for our readers.   Providing opportunities for those who need help is a great passion of mine and having a career that aligns with this is truly a blessing. The Literacy Connection is a public nonprofit organization and I plan on continuing to build new bridges with the communities and reaching out to new learners who may have been hesitant or unaware of our services.”

    Board President Jay Robinson stated, “We are confident that David’s experience, knowledge, and integrity are a great match for the work, staff, and friends of The Literacy Connection. Together with the staff and the Board of Directors, we will continue to advance our mission by helping adults in the northwest suburbs reach their literacy goals through one-on-one volunteer tutoring and small group instruction.”

    The Literacy Connection serves 16 northwest suburban Chicago communities including Algonquin, Bartlett, Carpentersville, Cary, Elgin, South Elgin, East Dundee, West Dundee, Gilberts, Hanover Park, Hampshire, Hoffman Estates, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Streamwood, and Schaumburg. The agency provides customized one-on-one and small group adult tutoring, citizenship conversation groups, English conversation groups, and family literacy programs.

    Carl Buddig & Co. will be expanding their operations within Illinois with the purchase of the former Butterball facility in Montgomery. The facility has been vacant since prior operations ended in July 2017. Buddig will use the 280,000 sq ft facility to grow its manufacturing footprint for lunch meats and specialty meats production. Governor Bruce Rauner said, “Since the old operation ceased, my administration has been working tirelessly to get this facility up and running again for the great folks of Montgomery. I am thrilled to have a homegrown Illinois company like Buddig expanding within our state and bringing this facility back to life.”
    “With our customers’ demand for great-tasting Buddig products, it was vital that we increase our manufacturing facilities,” said Bob Buddig, CEO of Carl Buddig and Company. “The Montgomery facility is our fourth manufacturing facility in Illinois, and we look forward to starting production there this Spring.”
    Due to the similarity of the two companies’ operations, Buddig is an ideal new tenant for the facility and will benefit greatly from the availability of trained workers in the area. The project will create 250 jobs within the first two years of operations and then ramp up to 350 jobs by year five. Buddig has more than 1,200 people working within Illinois. Their most recent purchase of Rupari Food Services kept 200 jobs in Illinois.
    Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy says, “It is victories like this that happen when all parties come together and work towards a common goal. Illinois is slowly but surely coming back. We’re beginning to see real results from investing and marketing our assets, like our world-class workforce, while fostering an environment that is supportive to businesses at all levels.”
    The Governor, the Department of Commerce and Intersect Illinois worked with State Senator Jim Oberweis, State Representative Keith Wheeler, local government officials, local economic development organizations and other key stakeholders to ensure this project’s success.
    Dan Wynn, Buddig’s Chief Operating Officer commented: “It was an easy decision to expand in Montgomery after learning about the assistance and support we would receive from the State of Illinois, the Village of Montgomery, Montgomery’s Economic Development Corporation, and Kane County’s Workforce Development Division. We look forward to working with all of these agencies and bringing 250 to 300 new jobs to Montgomery over the next year.”
    “Manufacturing, especially food processing, remains a staple of the Illinois economy,” said Senator Oberweis. “It was essential to get this facility back in operation for the people of Montgomery, and I look forward to supporting Buddig’s success.”
    Representative Wheeler says, “This is a great day for the Village of Montgomery. An investment of this magnitude will offer not only relief for this resilient community, but tremendous opportunity in the years to come. I am thrilled to welcome Buddig into the 50th District and look forward to seeing this facility filled once again.”
    “We have a very solid manufacturing core as well as a strong workforce here in the Village of Montgomery,” said Village President Matt Brolley. “The plant has always been used for meat processing, which makes it an ideal facility for Buddig’s operations. On behalf of the Village Board and community, I want to thank Carl Buddig & Co for expanding their business into Montgomery. We are thrilled to welcome them into our community.”
    Illinois was in tight competition with Indiana to win this project. Indiana had previously won Buddig’s 2013 project in a similar face off, citing the proximity to their existing South Holland, IL plant but with lower property taxes and affordable cost of doing business within Indiana.
    Intersect Illinois President & CEO Mark Peterson says, “Buddig’s decision to invest and expand within Illinois is a testament to the hard work that is being done by all of us, as a team, to attract investment and create a business environment that is competitive with our neighbors. We will continue to build upon this success and bring more opportunity to every corner of the state.”
    “Any time an Illinois manufacturer is able to expand, especially within our borders, is a case for celebration,” said Mark Denzler, Vice President and COO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “Buddig is a manufacturing success story and we look forward to supporting their newest venture in Montgomery.”
    Karen Noble, Executive Vice President of Human Resources added, “We have already posted open job positions for the new Montgomery location on the Careers page of our website. We encourage anyone interested in working at the new Montgomery location to apply.”

    The Literacy Connection Board of Directors says Karen Oswald has resigned from her 20 year post as the Executive Director of The Literacy Connection, effective February 15, 2018.  Oswald has accepted a position as the Adult Education and Family Literacy Manager of the Township

    During Oswald’s tenure, The Literacy Connection has provided an average of 8,750 hours of instruction to 312 adult learners each year. The agency has averaged 175 active volunteer tutors, and operated with grant and fundraising revenues of $282,500. The organization has offered Adult Volunteer Literacy Programs for adults in need of English as a second language and basic literacy skills, drop-in English conversation groups, citizenship conversation groups, Family Literacy Programs at local elementary schools, and Workplace Literacy Programs at local businesses.

    The agency has had partnerships with Gail Borden Public Library, Fox River Valley Public Library, School District U-46, School District 300, YWCA Elgin, Elgin Community College, Community Crisis Center, Centro de Información, Literacy Volunteers Fox Valley, Literacy DuPage, and Literacy Volunteers of Western Cook County.

    Oswald served as the coordinator of the Elgin Human Service Council last year and received the YWCA Elgin’s Leader Luncheon Marie Grolich Award for social services in 2016.  The Business Ledger honored the Literacy Connection with the Annual  Award for Business Excellence: Notable Non-Profit in 2009.

    Oswald said, “I am honored to have had the opportunity to lead this agency and provide life-changing educational opportunities to thousands of adults in the communities we serve. I am grateful to all those who have shared my journey and supported the organization. I know our great work will continue under new leadership with the dedication of so many who are devoted to the causes of literacy, English proficiency and citizenship.”

    The Board of Directors of The Literacy Connection will be interviewing candidates to fill Oswald’s position in the near future. Make inquiries to Jay Robinson, Board President, through the Literacy Connection office 847-742-6565. Visit to learn more about the organization.  Jay Robinson stated, “It is the Board’s priority to find the best individual to lead and maintain a stable and effective organization. We will share the job announcement soon and work to identify candidates who will guide the organization to continued success in the future.”

    “We deeply appreciate the dedication, passion and enthusiasm Karen has brought to the organization over the past twenty years. She will be greatly missed by the staff, Board, volunteers and community partners. We look forward to the next phase of The Literacy Connection’s development,” said Jay Robinson.

    The Literacy Connection serves 16 northwest suburban Chicago communities including Algonquin, Bartlett, Carpentersville, Cary, Elgin, South Elgin, East Dundee, West Dundee, Gilberts, Hanover Park, Hampshire, Hoffman Estates, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Streamwood, and Schaumburg. The agency provides customized one-on-one and small group adult tutoring, citizenship conversation groups, English conversation groups, and family literacy programs.


    Lake in the Hills Sanitary District officials agreed to cease their attempt to annex land across the Kane County line in an effort to halt discussion of potentially consolidating the taxing body into village government, County Board Chairman Jack D. Franks and State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally announced Thursday.

    Sanitary district officials dropped their claim that the annexation makes the district a multi-county entity, and therefore takes away the County Board’s authority under state law to appoint its trustees. This means the County Board’s appointments in June of new trustees Eric Hansen and Kyle Kane stand, as does their July vote to undo the annexation. Former sanitary district president Shelby Key has stepped down, and is no longer in office. The sanitary district’s effort to buy 13 acres of Kane County farmland for $950,000 was halted last week in a ruling by McHenry County Judge Thomas Meyer.

    “This entire frivolous legal sideshow, instigated by a handful of insiders who resorted to dirty tricks to protect their special interests by squashing even the discussion of consolidation, is Exhibit A for why I, as a state lawmaker, got this consolidation law passed. Having said that, I am happy that the sanitary district officials who brought this challenge forward have decided, in the best interests of the taxpayers, to end it,” Franks, D-Marengo, said. Franks thanked Kenneally and his office for their invaluable help. The trial had been set for Sept. 19. “We were forced to take action after the sanitary district’s former majority took extraordinary steps with the goal of stopping a discussion on reducing taxpayer costs and increasing efficiencies from moving forward. I pledged when I ran for this office to help protect McHenry County’s taxpayers from wasteful government spending, and I am happy to announce this victory on their behalf,” Kenneally said. A law Franks wrote as a state representative gives the County Board the power to eliminate certain unnecessary or duplicative units of government, provided their boundaries lie entirely within McHenry County, and the County Board appoints a majority of its trustees. However, legal discovery in this case revealed that the sanitary district began a mad dash in recent months to buy any land it could in Kane County, once talk of consolidation began in earnest, for the sole purpose of eliminating the County Board’s consolidation authority. Sanitary district officials pondered offering Kane County homeowners between $25,000 and $30,000 apiece to annex into the district, and seriously considered spending up to $1.9 million for land they had no need for and no intention of using. In one outrageous instance, the sanitary district told one prospective seller that it only needed one acre – officials proposed buying five acres to avoid local subdivision ordinances and selling back four. What’s more, the sanitary district assured the seller that any plans for the land were at least a decade away.

    “Consolidating the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District is far from a done deal, and it’s an issue that the county and the village have to agree is in taxpayers’ best interests. Fortunately, that discussion can now begin, honestly and earnestly, without distraction,” Franks said. In its misguided quest to become a multi-county entity, sanitary district counsel reached out to influence local state lawmakers, who under state law appoint the trustees of sanitary districts with boundaries that cross county lines. Franks thanked those Republican lawmakers – Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, and Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods – for siding with taxpayers and not entertaining the sanitary district’s request.




    News of the Fox Valley is my focus in the morning on 103.9 The Fox. I’ll give you a comprehensive look at Chicagoland’s top stories, Illinois news, top national stories, sports, traffic, and weather. All of this information in a couple of minutes each hour on the morning show. Just as The Fox keeps you entertained with great rock music and his funny comments, I’ll keep you in touch with what’s going on. Stew’s News on 103.9 The Fox Monday through Friday from 6:50am to 9am. I’ve been finding important issues and events to expand our focus from the shorter newscast length to the longer form public affairs show. The program is called Northwest Spectrum, airing every Sunday 6am for 15-minutes. Northwest Spectrum allows for more time to open up an issue and examine it thoroughly. I’m in my fifth decade of providing news in the morning, public affairs and public service. Thank you for listening to me.