Marengo Area News Briefs


Brett Herold, 26, of Marengo, was charged with failure to reduce speed (Misdemeanor) and fleeing the scene of an accident (Class 4 Felony) in a Sept. 22 vehicle crash that took the life of an Elgin woman on River Road. The woman, whose name has been withheld, was taken to Woodstock Northwestern Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Tim Creighton, of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department, said, “The investigation is ongoing, and as of now, no other charges have been filed against the defendant in the incident.”

The accident occurred at approximately 10:00 p.m., when Herold and the woman were both traveling westbound in the area of 22200-block of River Road. Preliminary reports indicate the woman was driving a Manco go-cart, when Herold struck her vehicle from behind. The McHenry and Boone county sheriff’s departments responded to the scene, as did the Marengo conservation Police and the Marengo Fire Protection District.

“We arrived to find the gokart off to the side of the road, with the victim pulled out of it, and CPR had already been initiated,” said John Kimmel, the district’s Assistant Fire Chief. “We continued CPR, and then, transported the victim to the hospital.”

The investigation is being conducted by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Major Crash Investigation Unit, and the McHenry County Coroners’ Office.


Approval for a petition seeking to build a solar farm on a 41-acre parcel near the intersection of Pleasant Grove and Meyer roads in Riley Township was continued until Oct. 10, following the Sept. 19 Riley School District 18 Board meeting. Seattle-based OneEnergy Renewables, Inc. filed the document. Board members delayed their action to review taxing procedures for the operation as a general commercial business concern or on an energy-produced income basis.

The company had received approval Sept. 19 from the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals to construct a solar farm on a 48-acre parcel near Charles and Raffel roads in Greenwood Township. The 36-year term limit conditional use permit was approved by a unanimous 7-0 vote, and now moves to the full Mc Henry County Board for disposition. The agricultural zoning designation will remain for the parcel for future use.


The civil suit filed by the Fraternite Notre Dame in Mar. 2015 against the Mc Henry County Board over the denial of a special use permit remains on hold, as settlement discussions were halted with the filing of a separate petition to intervene by Coral Township, and its supervisor, Roger Naylor. The initial litigation was based on the county board’s abridgement and denial of constitutional rights, throughout the zoning process and final determination. The new petition seeks to intervene in the civil process.

James C. Geoly, of the Chicago-based law firm of Burke, Warren, Mac Kay, & Serritella, P.C., is representing the Order, and stated, “The settlement talks were very productive and appeared to be arriving at a conclusion, when the intervention petition was filed. They are seeking to intervene in the negotiations. In this filing, the defendants are the county and the Fraternite, with an Oct. 22 deadline to file the replies with the court.”

The Coral Township petitioners will then have until Nov. 19 to file their response, and a tentative Dec. 20 date has been set for a status hearing, before Magistrate Judge Ian Johnston.

The Order had sought a conditional use permit to expand its operations and initiate new construction at its rural site on Harmony Hills Road, outside of Marengo. It petitioned the McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals in Apr. 2015, with several contentious meetings that were attended by neighboring residents opposed to the potential construction. ZBA members forwarded the matter to the county board that July, on a 4-3 vote with no recommendation.

The county board denied the request by a 21-2 vote, two months later, sparking the lawsuit as available recourse. The special use permit would have allowed the construction of a barn with a commercial kitchen, a winery, and a brewery. The permit also sought to allow the construction and operation of a school with a dormitory for kindergarten through twelfth grades, a nursing home with hospice services, a gift shop, as well as an on-site winery and tasting area.


Attorneys for Arnold Magnetic Engineering, Inc., and its parent property owner, 300 West LLC, filed a motion Aug. 15 requesting deadline extensions for hook-ups to the new water main on Railroad Street, citing ongoing negotiations with third-party entities and easement access grants. The filing was subsequent to a June 27 Chancery Division court order with an Aug. 14 date for hook-up completion between impacted residents and the city of Marengo water main. The companies have stated “all easement plats/subordination agreements have been forwarded to the applicable property owners.”

“The motion to extend deadlines, that was submitted by the defense…explains the outstanding issues and third parties involved,” said Annie Thompson, press secretary of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. “We are trying to work with the third parties involved to reach a resolution that will enable the remainder of the hook-up project to move forward.”

The third parties have been identified as the city of Marengo, five property owners represented by counsel, and five property owners not represented by counsel. Attorneys for the 300 West LLC and their engineers also met with city officials Aug. 2 to “review all easements and ensure that everything was in order.” City Manager Josh Blakemore said, “Basically, it’s now down to easement access for the property owners, and negotiating for the hook-ups with them. The water main connects to the city works for the water supply. The property owners that do connect, it still goes that they will be charged the ‘in-town’ rate, and will not be required to annex into the municipal boundaries.”

 In May 2010, Arnold retained a consultant group with monitoring wells to produce on-site samples, and the findings confirmed the presence of toxic chemicals. A subsequent 2013 civil lawsuit was filed by the state attorney general’s office against Arnold and 300 West LLC, on behalf of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, seeking to enforce testing regimens, and punitive damages.

An estimated seventeen private and commercial water wells located within a onemile proximity of the 300 West site showed concentrations of substances including vinyl chloride, PCE, TCE, and other carcinogens. The factory manufactured magnets and the substances were used in their production. They subsequently entered the water table.