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Barry Schrader


I have been writing a column for the Chronicle most of the time since December 2007, with two breaks, one in 2016 and the other in 2017 when my wife Kay suffered a stroke. They are all archived here.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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A whole decade condensed into one column

By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist.............................January 6, 2018

Yours truly completed another lap around this tired old globe last week (meaning I turned 77 on Dec. 27). I now face 2018 with some trepidation but a renewed hope for Kay and my health.

As one gets older, you tend to look back more than forward. Keeping that thought, here are some flashbacks from the past 10 years in DeKalb County. They mostly come from the archives of the Daily Chronicle.

The year 2008 saw the worst tragedy ever to befall Northern Illinois University when five students were gunned down by a deranged former student on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. On a brighter note, the DeKalb schools’ $110 million referendum to build a new high school was approved by voters.

It was 2009 when the “wind farm” of about 145 wind turbines, standing 400 feet tall from the tip of the blades to the ground, was approved by the county. The Potawatomi Tribe began restoring the 128 acres of farmland it bought (back in 2006) into native prairie grass, waiting for federal approval to build a

A sampling of highlights from 2009 and 2011 from back issues of the Daily Chronicle

gaming facility near Shabbona. Cavel, the horse-slaughtering plant outside DeKalb, was converted for the slaughter of sheep and goats for Muslim dietary purposes.

Come 2010, and another tragedy involving NIU happened when a student, Toni Keller, was brutally murdered in Prairie Park. Later, her killer, Billy Curl, was tried and convicted of the heinous crime. Also that year, the County Board approved the “mega-dump” expansion south of Cortland, which would allow 2,000 tons of trash a day to be brought here from 17 surrounding counties. Genoa lost, then thought it had gotten back the planned Amtrak train route, but eventually lost it again.

Then in 2011, more drama was in the news. Jack McCullough was charged in the 1957 kidnapping and slaying of Maria Ridulph in Sycamore. His conviction was later reversed. February saw the county get a foot of snow. Beloved band leader Dee Palmer died. The new DeKalb High School opened.

Next it was 2012, when the NIU Huskies secured a berth in the Orange Bowl. “Mister Pumpkin” Wally Thurow died from a bike accident. Incumbent Clay Campbell was defeated by Democrat Richard Schmack for state’s attorney.

The year 2013 saw John Rey elected DeKalb mayor, NIU police chief Don Grady fired, then a new NIU president, Doug Baker, named. Corn Fest returned to downtown DeKalb after being at the airport for a few years.

In 2014, we saw the purchase and demolition of the Evergreen Village Park trailers in Sycamore, plus the closing of Barnes & Noble. Also, an odor from the Waste Management mega-dump caused the evacuation of Cortland Elementary students.

The next year, 2015, hit hard, with a tornado ripping through Fairdale and surrounding environs April 9, resulting in the death of two women, and about $8 million in losses. KishHealth System was acquired by Northwestern Memorial Healthcare. The County Board voted to expand the county jail with a $35 million bond sale. Laurie Borowicz was named president of Kishwaukee College.

The last of my 10 years tripping down memory lane, 2016, brought the downfall of DeKalb School District 428 Superintendent Doug Moeller for alleged misconduct with high school Principal Michele Albano. In election news, Republican Rick Amato won the race for state’s attorney over incumbent Schmack.

I can’t remember much from 2017, but that’s how it goes as one ages. However, you can read all about last year in the Daily Chronicle’s Dec. 30 edition.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115