DeKalb man tries to flee police, gets arrested

Drew B. Dazzo, 21, of DeKalb
Drew B. Dazzo, 21, of DeKalb

SYCAMORE – A 21-year-old DeKalb man with a litany of criminal convictions is in DeKalb County jail on $200,000 bond after police say he tried to ditch a gun as he fled arrest.

DeKalb police say Drew B. Dazzo, of the 800 block of Edgebrook Drive, tried to throw a pistol behind his couch Friday after police confronted him in the hallway outside his apartment about unrelated investigations, prompting Dazzo to dash back into his apartment and slam the door.

Dazzo is charged with unlawful possession of a defaced firearm, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, armed habitual criminal, and resisting a police officer. If convicted of being an armed habitual criminal, Dazzo would face six to 30 years in prison, and would be ineligible for probation.

Police say in court records they planned to arrest Dazzo in connection with two unrelated matters Friday, but that he ignored their orders to stop. Police recovered the gun Dazzo threw behind the couch and discovered the serial number was scraped off, records show.

Dazzo has been sentenced several times to probation, DeKalb County court records show: He received 2½ years of probation after a 2015 robbery conviction, two years probation for beating a pregnant woman that same year, and three years on an unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon charge in 2017. He also twice has been found to have violated terms of his bail, resulting in two years or probation apiece.

Dazzo is due back in court at 9 a.m. Dec. 4.

Man freed, other on $50K bond in connection with shots-fired incident

SYCAMORE – An Aurora man is being held on $50,000 bond in DeKalb County jail while his apparent partner in a shots-fired crime, a Bartlett man, has been released on his signature.

Police say they found a loaded, uncased pistol early Saturday in the trunk of a vehicle belonging to Devonta Owens, 20, of the 1600 block of Colombia Drive in Bartlett. He and Montrell D. Brannon, 23, of the 200 block of Gregory Street in Aurora, are charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and unlawful possession of a defaced firearm.

A DeKalb officer was in an parking lot adjacent to the 900 block of Ridge Drive when he heard a gunshot, DeKalb Deputy Police Chief John Petragallo said.

The officer saw two groups of people who appeared to have been in a dispute run away. One group got into a vehicle and sped off, Petragallo said.

DeKalb County Judge Bradley Waller set bond Sunday morning at $50,000 for Brannon, who has a previous conviction for armed robbery with a firearm in Kane County, court records show.

Owens was released, but ordered to have no contact with Brannon or the scene of the crime, and that he surrender any guns he has, as well as his Firearm Owners Identification card, if he has one. Owens was convicted in 2017 of beating a pregnant woman in DuPage County, records show.

Assistant State’s Attorney Brooks Locke is prosecuting the case, and said he was not made aware of Owens’ criminal history before the bond hearing Sunday morning.

The DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office has been appointed to represent Owens and Brannon. A motion to reduce Brannon’s bond will be heard by Judge Philip Montgomery at 9 a.m. Nov. 20, court records show. Owens is due back in court at 9 a.m. Jan. 3.

Shaken baby trial begins

SYCAMORE – Ryker Newhouse, then
6 months old, wriggled and giggled, as his mother tickled him, and DeKalb County Judge Philip Montgomery looked on.

The video shown in a DeKalb County courtroom was recorded Dec. 13, 2015, about 36 hours before police say Katie Petrie, 35, of the 900 block of 14th Street in DeKalb, inflicted injuries on the infant that resulted in permanent brain damage.

Petrie, who was statuesque and never so much as turned her head Tuesday afternoon, is on trial for two forms of aggravated battery to a child, the most serious of which is punishable by six to 30 years in prison.

Ryker’s mom, Jennifer Newhouse, 37, a special education teacher with DeKalb School District 428, said Ryker’s life will never be the same.

“Ryker has significant brain damage, which has affected his development,” she said. “He’s about a year behind in speech development.”

She added that his vision will likely always be impaired, and that he has limited use of his right arm.

“He also has some behavioral issues we’re working through, as well,” Newhouse said.

Petrie’s lawyer, Peter Buh, is pushing that Ryker was sick before he landed in Petrie’s care. He declined to comment after the first day of the trial.

Jennifer Newhouse vividly recalled the day she got the call from Petrie, while she was at work at Clinton Rosette Middle School.

“Se told me I needed to hurry up, come over, and that something was seriously wrong with Ryker – that she thought he was having a seizure,” Newhouse testified.

She told Petrie to call 911, called her husband, and sped off to the day care residence at 130 W. Amber Ave.

Newhouse said Ryker was in the ambulance by the time she arrived, and she was barred from seeing him, and that Petrie was in the house, along with officers.

Newhouse said she was allowed into the house, where she found her son’s clothes.

“They had vomit on them,” she testified, as Petrie used a tissue to dry a tear, still refusing to even subtly turn her head.

Despite what’s unfolded, Ryker’s father, Eric Newhouse, had only one word to describe his son.

“Perfect,” he said, as he broke down on the witness stand.

The Newhouses have had to resort to day care because while mom works for the school district, dad drives a bus for the Kaneland school district and works a full-time job at Nestle, State’s Attorney Rick Amato said.

Police said in court records they responded to a 911 report of a 6-month-old having a seizure, after which Ryker was taken to Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital and later flown to Rockford Memorial Hospital.

Jennifer Newhouse testified that Ryker was later transferred to a Chicago hospital for therapy.

Petrie, orginally jailed on $500,000 bond was allowed to post $5,000 bail to be releaed from jail after Montgomery agreed in February 2016 to reduce her bond to $50,000.

Amato said the prosecution will most likely rest Thursday, after which he’s not sure whether the defense will call any witnesses, including a long-debated expert witness.

DeKalb County Board Chairman to oppose DeKalb TIF agreement

Mark Pietrowski Jr., DeKalb County board chairman, waits to make a point during a Oct. 24 DeKalb County Planning and Zoning Committee meeting. Mark Busch – mbusch@shawmedia.com

Mark Pietrowski Jr., DeKalb County board chairman, waits to make a point during a Oct. 24 DeKalb County Planning and Zoning Committee meeting. Mark Busch – mbusch@shawmedia.com

DeKALB – The DeKalb County Board chairman said he will recommend the county does not recommend county approval for the proposed City of DeKalb tax increment financing district.

The DeKalb County Executive Committee will discuss whether it would recommend approval for an intergovernmental agreement about the TIF district during its meeting Wednesday night.

DeKalb County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski Jr. said he also shared his anticipated recommendation regarding the proposed DeKalb TIF district agreement with DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith as a courtesy.

“We believe that there’s more that needs to be talked about,” Pietrowski said.

The announcement came after DeKalb County officials abstained from voting on the agreement with the city during a meeting between city officials and taxing bodies, or the Joint Review Board, on Friday, citing a Nov. 21 County Board meeting that will give further direction on how to vote. Other taxing body representatives from DeKalb School District 428 and Kishwaukee College also abstained from voting during the joint review board meeting.

Pietrowski said he will bring up reasons why at the Wednesday meeting and said more information on his rationale for the recommendation will be further discussed then. He said more related information also will be coming from the State’s Attorney’s office before the meeting Wednesday night.

The Daily Chronicle has not received any related materials as of 4:10 p.m. Tuesday.

DeKalb School District 428 officials previously raised concerns about administrative fees being incorrectly charged on various TIF projects. The amount ranges anywhere from $500,000 to $800,000 a year over at least the past decade, District 428 Superindendent Jamie Craven had said.

Craven had said the district’s lawyer came across the information after reviewing annual TIF reports from the city over the past few months. He had said administrative costs fit within the acceptable uses of TIF funds according to Illinois law, but school district officials had brought the information before the review board because they thought $800,000 was excessive for the city to transfer to its general fund for only administrative costs.

The committee also is set to discuss intergovernmental agreements regarding the DeKalb Sycamore Area Transportation Study and the DeKalb County sheriff’s new radio communications system, according to the agenda. The recommendations for the three agreements would go before the county board next week.

The Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Five Season’s room at the DeKalb County Community Outreach Building, 2500 N. Annie Glidden Road.

County nursing home project may be delayed

DeKalb County Administrator Gary Hanson talks about the fiscal 2019 budget during the county's finance committee meeting Oct. 3 in Sycamore. Katie Finlon – kfinlon@shawmedia.com

DeKalb County Administrator Gary Hanson talks about the fiscal 2019 budget during the county's finance committee meeting Oct. 3 in Sycamore. Katie Finlon – kfinlon@shawmedia.com

SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County administrator said the Nursing and Rehab Center expansion project may be delayed due to zoning issues with the City of DeKalb.

The update comes after the county Public Building Commission met Tuesday morning at the DeKalb County Administration Building’s Conference Room East, 110 E. Sycamore St.

DeKalb County Administrator and commissioner Gary Hanson said the county was under a planned unit development when the facility was first built about 20 years ago. He said the county now has to amend zoning for the property in order to add on to the existing building.

Hanson said the county will submit the application for the zoning amendment to the city this week. At the moment, he said, he’s not sure what the timeline will look like regarding city approval.

“But it could impact the schedule for construction,” Hanson said.

Hanson said construction for the project can’t get started until the zoning is approved, but the commission also approved construction bids during the Tuesday meeting. He said the master contract will go to construction manager Ringland-Johnson out of Cherry Valley with a $12,587,000 bid.

“That needs to be in place anyway” so that the county will be geared up to start construction once zoning through the city is approved, Hanson said.

Hanson said that was the only action item that came out of the Tuesday meeting. Other discussion matters covered in the meeting included a contractor asking for more money for exceeding the amount of hours worked for the DeKalb County Jail expansion and the county just waiting for an HVAC unit for the public safety building after approving a $118,840 bid from One Source about a month ago.

Mayor, officials: Future bright under new consultant

GENOA – Joseph Misurelli cast a long shadow at the first Genoa State of the City meeting, since he died two days before last Chritsmas.

“Joe made time for everyone. He listened. He cared,” Mayor Mark Vicary said of the city's long-serving late administrative consultant.

During the annual public luncheon at the Genoa City Hall on Tuesday, Vicary announced a new program that will honor Misurelli and his long commitment to Genoa, and provide an opportunity for Genoa residents to pay tribute to their own loved ones. The City of Genoa Tree of Honor Program will allow participants to purchase engraved golden leaves which will be displayed in the shape of a tree at Genoa City Hall.

A portion of the proceeds from the leaves purchased will be placed in the city’s tree fund to pay for the city to plant trees throughout the community.

Vicary described the time after Misurelli’s passing as a dark time for Genoa.

“The storm we weathered could easily have brought us down,” he said.

But, Vicary said, he was proud that, within two weeks of Misurelli’s death, the city had found a replacement in administrative consultant, Bill Nanek, who was hired at the beginning of 2018. Nanek provided an overview of the city’s finances Tuesday afternoon, detailing the ways the annual $7 million budget is divvied up between 17 separate funds.

Police receive 51 percent of the budget, with 17 percent going to streets and forestry, 13 percent devoted to garbage services, and 12 percent reserved for administration and finance.

“The city is dong a good job,” Nanek said. “I’m not finding there’s much, if anything, to trim.”

Next, Management Assistant Alyssa Seguss, presented the building projects that have come to Genoa in the past year or will be arriving in the next year. Most noteworthy, the Riverbend subdivision— which was abandoned, unfinished, roughly a decade ago, during the Great Recession—will be getting a new lease on life.

Seguss said the city has been approached by a developer about finishing the so-called “zombie subdivision.”

“If completed,” Seguss said, "this development would increase the city’s population by 10 percent.”

For reference, the city’s population, as of 2017, was 5,220.

Public Works Director Rich Gentile and Police Chief Robert Smith gave brief updates before the meeting’s close. Gentile outlined the department’s recent spending, noting that the Public Works department had spent $100,000 to build an equipment storage building where large equipment will be kept during the winter months. Smith outlined the Police Department’s recent hires, stating that one part-time officer had been bumped up to full-time, one auxiliary officer had been promoted to part-time and three new auxiliary officers had been hired.

The meeting closed with remarks from Vicary, who said the city was very pleased with the current state of things, especially considering how 2018 began.

“We’re simply beaming from ear-to-ear with the success we’ve had this year,” Vicary said, throwing a smiley face emoji up on the projector, “despite a rough start.”

The Right to Hunt Is Now Constitutionally Protected in North Carolina

For results of the most important ballot measures, click here.

North Carolina voters on Tuesday approved an amendment to codify the right to hunt and fish in the state’s constitution.

This type of amendment is not new, though it has rapidly gained steam in the last two decades. More than 20 states have cemented a constitutional right to hunt and fish -- most through the ballot box.

The effort was backed by outdoor sporting groups and the National Rifle Association (NRA) but faced concerns from animal rights groups.

Approved by 57 percent of the vote, this change will limit the state's ability to regulate hunting and establish hunting as the "preferred" means of managing wildlife.

Some opponents view this policy through the lens of gun rights. After all, the NRA testified in support of the amendment in June. But supporters say it's about protecting a rural pastime that in some cases becomes a necessary source of food.

The hunting community believes hunting is in danger "as there is more and more awareness of animal welfare in society," said Stacey Gordon, a law professor with the University of Montana who has written about hunting amendments.

For instance, a federal judge recently blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to remove protections for grizzly bears. The court decision prevented hunts that were set to take place in Idaho and Wyoming. In New Jersey, hunting groups are suing the state after Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy banned bear hunting on state lands.

"Throughout the country, organizations lobby every day to restrict or even prohibit hunting and fishing," said Republican state Sen. Tom McInnis, a cosponsor of North Carolina’s right-to-hunt amendment. This measure, he said, is "about protecting the rights of our children and grandchildren to hunt and fish in North Carolina."

The NRA, which would neither confirm nor deny any financial involvement in the right-to-hunt campaign, echoed that sentiment.

"This is an important piece of legislation designed to safeguard North Carolina’s hunting heritage," said NRA spokesman Lars Dalseide.

But opponents of the amendment, like Democratic North Carolina state Sen. Floyd McKissick, say it is unnecessary and will "clutter" the constitution. He also believes Republicans used fear over hunting to drive the GOP base to the polls.

"You can’t divorce this issue from the other five constitutional amendments [on the November ballot]," said McKissick, pointing to two measures defeated by voters Tuesday that would have transferred power from the Democratic governor’s office to the GOP-controlled General Assembly.

For some animal rights activists, their issue with hunting amendments is the broad language, said Jill Fritz, director of Wildlife Protection for the Humane Society of the United States. Groups like hers oppose what they view as "inhumane" methods, such as "body-gripping" traps, bear baiting and the use of hunting dogs. As it stands, the added section to North Carolina’s constitution will protect the “the right to use traditional methods” of hunting, fishing and wildlife harvest but does not specify what those methods include.

Earlier this year, Democratic state Rep. Pricey Harrison unsuccessfully proposed a change to the amendment that would have restricted Sunday hunting and banned the use of steel jaw traps and poison.

In a 2017 survey, 87 percent of U.S. respondents said that it is acceptable to hunt for food; only 37 percent approve of trophy hunting. Fritz said it is this evolving view that right-to-hunt laws need to reflect.

Ultimately, Harrison said, "the devil will be in the details."

For results of the most important ballot measures, click here.

Ohio: House to Consider Pro-Gun Legislation Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the Ohio House of Representatives is scheduled to consider House Bill 228.  Please immediately contact your state Representative and strongly urge them to SUPPORT House Bill 228.


Current Ohio law requires those who have used deadly force in a self-defense situation to prove that they did so in a lawful manner.  House Bill 228 places the burden of disproving a self-defense claim on the prosecution, similar to how it is in almost every other state.  Further, House Bill 228 would remove the duty to retreat before using force to defend yourself under both civil and criminal law. 

Again, please contact your state Representative and strongly urge them to SUPPORT House Bill 228.

One man freed, other held on $50K bond in connection with shots fired incident

SYCAMORE – An Aurora man is being held on $50,000 bond in DeKalb County jail while his apparent partner in a shots-fired crime, a Bartlett man, has been released on his signature.

Police say they found a loaded, uncased pistol early Saturday in the trunk of a vehicle belonging to Devonta Owens, 20, of the 1600 block of Colombia Drive in Bartlett. He and Montrell D. Brannon, 23, of the 200 block of Gregory Street in Aurora, are charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and unlawful possession of a defaced firearm.

A DeKalb officer was in an parking lot adjacent to the 900 block of Ridge Drive when he heard a gunshot, DeKalb Deputy Police Chief John Petragallo has said.

The officer saw a two groups of people who appeared to have been in a dispute run away from each other. One group got into a vehicle and sped off, Petragallo said.

DeKalb County Judge Bradley Waller set bond at $200,000 for Brannon, who has a previous conviction for armed robbery with a firearm in Kane County, court records show.

Owens was released, but ordered to have no contact with Brannon or the scene of the crime, and that he surrender any guns he has, as well as his Firearm Owners Identification card, if he has one. Owens was convicted in 2017 of beating a pregnant woman in DuPage County records show.

Assistant State’s Attorney Brooks Locke is prosecuting the case, and could not be reached to provide more information. The DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office has been appointed to represent Owens and Brannon . A motion to reduce Brannon’s bond will be heard by Judge Philip Montgomery at 9 a.m. Nov. 20, court records show. Owens is due back in court at 9 a.m. Jan. 3.

DeKalb man's attempt to flee police ends in arrest

Drew B. Dazzo, 21, of DeKalb
Drew B. Dazzo, 21, of DeKalb

SYCAMORE – A 21-year-old DeKalb man with a litany of criminal convictions is in DeKalb County jail on $200,000 bond after police say he tried to ditch a gun as he fled arrest.

DeKalb police say Drew B. Dazzo, of the 800 block of Edgebrook Drive, tried to throw a pistol behind his couch Friday after police confronted him in the hallway outside his apartment about unrelated investigations, prompting Dazzo to dash back into his apartment and slam the door.

Dazzo is charged with unlawful possession of a defaced firearm, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, armed habitual criminal, and resisting a police officer. If convicted of being an armed habitual criminal, Dazzo would face six to 30 years in prison, and would be ineligible for probation.

Police say in court records they planned to arrest Dazzo in connection with two unrelated matters Friday, but that he ignored their orders to stop. According to the records, police recovered the gun Dazzo threw behind the couch and discovered the serial number was scraped off.

Dazzo has been sentenced several times to probation, DeKalb County court records show: He received 2 1/2 years of probation after a 2015 robbery conviction, two years probation for beating a pregnant woman that same year, and three years on an unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon charge in 2017. He also twice has been found to have violated terms of his bail, resulting in two years or probation apiece.

Dazzo is due back in court at 9 a.m. Dec. 4.

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