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On a Church Fire and an Aldermanic Race

Playing reporter every now and then keeps me on my toes!

Considering the confluence of and the fact that Rick can’t seem to come up with a cheap way of cloning himself, I thought I’d take some journalistic heat off him by delving into a couple of stories and playing reporter for a day.

Not to worry! We’ll get back to hard-hitting opinion pieces, like whether any festival goer should even be allowed to utter the words much less eat one.

So, our first topic is the status of the ongoing arson investigation involving the at the west campus of the First Baptist Church at Peck and Keslinger roads.

Thankfully, the fire was limited to the dumpsters and caused just $5,000 in damage overall, mostly to the wooden garbage area enclosure and the scorched wall on the back of the church building.

Having indicators that the fire was purposely set and because it involved a house of worship, the Geneva police turned the investigation over to the , more colloquially known as the ATF.

What I have managed to learn is that area is under 24/7 video surveillance, and investigators do have a videotape of the individual setting the fire. The problem is, it was dark and the perp was pretty well covered, so the ID process isn’t a slam dunk.

Considering the First Baptist Church isn’t the kind of congregation that creates enemies, the motive for this criminal act remains a mystery.

While he could not discuss an ongoing investigation, ATF Special Agent Tom Ahern told me evidence is still being analyzed and interviews are being conducted. I pressed him a little bit on the tape, but neither confirming nor denying its existence, he said, “There may come a time when we solicit the public’s assistance in identifying this individual down the road.”

As always, if you have any information about this arson, please call the at 630-232-4736.

Page two! As Paul Harvey would spryly say.

Former two-term Geneva Alderman William Barclay gave me the go-ahead to pre-announce he will, once again, throw his hat in the ring for the 1st Ward aldermanic seat presently held by Sam Hill, who’s held it since 2001.

The fact that Barclay is running again should come as a surprise to no one because, when he stepped down in 2009 to consider a mayoral run, he told Daily Herald reporters, “My years of public service are not over, I'm just taking a break for a short while.”

Hill hasn’t formally announced his City Council retirement and may, in fact, seek re-election. However, multiple sources who asked to be unnamed told me he will not run.

Though we haven’t always agreed on everything, considering his years of service to the city of Geneva and his many causes, Alderman Hill embodies the term “public servant.” If you see him on the street, please offer him a hearty pat on the back and a healthy thank you.

So, assuming Hill isn't going to run, the 1st Ward aldermanic race will come down to 21-year-old former candidate and Barclay—although there's plenty of time for others to get into the act.

I don’t make the political rules folks, I just report ‘em, so if you can refrain from shooting the messenger just this time it would be greatly appreciated.

That’s it! Back to our regularly scheduled programming on Wednesday.

Rick Nagel June 25, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I'll fix that in the column. My fault.
Jeff Ward June 25, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Jake, I live within visual distance of that church and it certainly rained here! It didn't last long, but it did rain. Jeff
Jeff Ward June 25, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Kurt, Don't say anything, but sometimes it's actually your editor! Jeff
JAKE June 25, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I can believe that but the lot was dry and not rainy when we rolled up! But on scene? We believe. Maybe why there were "lightning" thoughts?
Jeff Ward June 25, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Jake, Yep! There was only .06 inches of rain (I have an electronic rain gauge), but there was plenty of of lightning so that was everyone's first though. Jeff

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