Ray Brolley and Illinois Valley Roots

Don Sorchych: I read with interest your article on Ray Brolley. I knew you had Illinois Valley Roots from some previous articles, but never got around to writing you about it. This seems like a good time.

I was born in Peru in 1946, graduated from L-P in 1964, L-P-O in 1966, and University of Illinois in 1968. I left town for Chicago, and later, East Lansing, Mich. I retired in 2005 and we now spend most of our time in Carefree, though we still have our house in Michigan. My brother and my mom (she's 90) still live in Peru.

Ray never was my teacher, but I had a number of connections with him. My parents were good friends with his brother Roger (and Carolyn) as well as his sister, Rita (and Sy) Bacidore. (Sy and Rita are still alive, and I ran into them a couple of years ago.) My wife lived around the corner from Ray and Therese in LaSalle, in the early 60’s, and she frequently babysat their kids. I remember taking a couple of them to Starved Rock with us once.

Ray was an icon at L-P, known for his temper and mood swings, but always loved for his passion for teaching and learning. He was certainly one of a kind. An old HS (and GS) buddy of mine, Tom Gierat, wrote a story about Ray for our Class web site (

I also wanted to tell you I like your stories about characters you’ve known. I especially liked your column about Blaine Keith. I attend a Bible Study with Blaine (also Skip Swearingen and Steele Coddington). He would never talk about his service, so it was great to hear some of it from you.

I remember Sorchych’s store on Fourth Street in Peru. Were they part of your family? I also have DePue connections, but before your time. My paternal grandmother, Kathryn Miller, was raised in DePue. They lived in “The Hollow” on the way from Spring Valley, from about 1883-1920.

Thanks for the opportunity to reminisce. Blessings to you and your family.

Bill Billard | Carefree

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Guns and Judicial (In)activism

When judges make up rights or strike down laws for no good reason, they are properly accused of judicial activism. But a far more serious problem today is judicial inactivism – the failure to enforce constitutional limits on government power. A glaring example is the Supreme Court’s failure to meaningfully enforce the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was designed to protect the right to keep and bears arms along with economic liberty and other important freedoms against the Southern tyranny following the Civil War.

As Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Clark Neily explains in his article “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms in the States: Ambiguity, False Modesty, and (Maybe) Another Win for Originalism,” the failure to enforce constitutional limits on government power represents judicial abdication, not restraint. Due to the Supreme Court’s “inactivism” in the aptly named Slaughter-House cases, one of the Constitution’s most important provisions, the Privileges or Immunities Clause, has gone virtually unenforced for nearly 150 years. The Court has never had a better opportunity to undo that error than City of Chicago v. McDonald, the challenge to Chicago’s handgun ban, set for argument on March 2, 2010.

Read Clark’s article to understand what is at stake in McDonald and why the Justices should take a fresh look at the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It’s available online at: (scroll down to Essays on Heller).

Help the Human Action Network grow! Please encourage your freinds to join: We have a lot of legislative battles ahead, and we will need their help!
Thank you for your continued dedication to the fight for liberty.

Christina Walsh | Director of Activism and Coalitions, Institute for Justice | Arlington, Virginia

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I remember …

I remember as if it was yesterday the moment that as I was walking towards Mr. Brolley’s classroom during our change of class time when I heard the loud speaker announce the horrific news that Mr. John F. Kennedy, “The President of the United States,” had been fatally shot and I remember my thought at that moment was “it would be OK because these types of things just did not happen in America.”

I’m not sure how many students remember the total breakdown Mr. Brolley had in front of our class – I do. He immediately exited the room to try and compose himself and upon his return he stared into a bunch of junior class students eyes and once again lost it and left once again and did not return for the remainder of that days class. I now understand much more, which has come with age, just how devastating this incident must have been to an extraordinarily great teacher. He will be missed by many of us.

America is different today and we must make sure that we do not let democracy be pulled from us at this point of time, maybe not so much for us at our young age but for all of our older children, also and most importantly our grandchildren that are growing up and seeing the many disappointing changes in how our government is being run today. The world is not afraid of us any longer. I am a republican by nature but do not blame any one group, democrats, republicans or any other group.

Mr. Brolley will be missed and I am sorry for his family’s emptiness.

Tom Gierat | Via e-mail

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The Iran threat

History has shown that standing by and doing nothing has dire consequences. Action has to be taken when rogue nations pose a threat to stability.

This is the case in Iran who for years has funded terrorism – arming, funding, and training Hamas and Hezbollah. It is supporting terrorists who are killing innocents in Iraq and in other nations. Now they pose an even bigger danger – nuclear danger.

Iran has again rejected generous diplomatic offers and instead is expanding their nuclear program. The peaceful world does not have much time to get where we need to go – preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Serious sanctions must be put in place to convince Iran to change their minds. The UN Security Council and key groups such as the EU can peacefully stop Iran.

Iran is undermining peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians that could lead to a two-state solution and peace.

It is time to persuade Iran to be a peaceful nation. If they are emboldened by possession of nuclear capability, Iran could increase its sponsorship of terrorism, and put nuclear materials into the hands of terrorists who could strike anywhere.

Nations must be made to understand that sanctions are one tool that can be used to get Iran to stop its nuclear program.

Please, support serious sanctions to peacefully stop Iran today because if we do not the cost to all nations could be very high.

Dennis Woodbury | Phoenix

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Ray Brolley

Thanks for your sentimental thoughts about “Mr.” Brolley, Tom. I can’t think of him in any other way but Mister. Isn’t it funny how only a handful of teachers impress us so much that by simply hearing their names we are instantly transported back to their classrooms and that so-long-ago period of our lives? I should add that by impressing us, I mean in a positive way (for instance, Donald Weichman – homeroom 4 years – told Craig Koch to “drop down and give me 20” almost every other day. What a way to start the day – for Craig AND the rest of us. That was impressive, too!)

Although I’m certain my love of books didn’t begin with Mr. Brolley, he opened up a whole world of literature to his students in a very unique way. I loved the way he read to his classes, his drama and flair. He was at times a comedian as well (he used to call me Zsa-Zsa).

My husband Mike (2 years older) also had Mr. Brolley, so we share these memories.

Remember how he used to struggle with, I guess it was sinus problems, and was constantly trying to clear phlegm from his throat as he was reading to us? To this day whenever my husband or I have colds or similar problems it’s not uncommon for one of us to say, “Everything OK, Ray?”

Mr. Brolley also introduced us to the Brooks Brothers label. Remember how he used to go on and on about shirts from Brooks Brothers? Hey, that was valuable information to arm us with before we left the Hallowed Halls!

What would the world be without special teachers. God bless them one and all. Regards to everyone.

Diane Koehler Kastello | Via e-mail

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Carefree 800 – Thank you!

As many of you will remember, last year’s election was a rather nasty and contentious affair. One of the political action committees (Caring About Carefree) sent out a flyer accusing me of misappropriation of recycling funds. Eight hundred citizens saw through these lies and deceptions. I truly appreciated your support and vote of confidence.

In one of his last official acts, ex-Mayor Fulcher wrote to the County Attorney accusing me of these same allegations. As a result, MCSO and the County Attorney implemented an investigation into these charges. While it took some time, I have received notification that these irresponsible charges were found completely without merit, and there will be no further action taken by either office.

Unfortunately, these frivolous allegations resulted in thousands of dollars of town funds in my defense. It is a sad commentary that elections in Carefree have stooped to such a low. These allegations were used for no other purpose than to discredit me as a candidate during the past election. Carefree deserves better.

Once again, I thank you for your support and I will continue to support you with honesty and integrity as I have done for the past eleven years.

Councilman Bob Coady | Carefree

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Sonoran News – and Happy Birthday

Love it or hate it – but I cannot imagine Cave Creek without Sonoran News. Oh, I’ve heard all of the negative comments over the years and I have made some of them myself – it is so biased; I never read it; it is all Don Sorchych’s opinion; etc., etc., etc. Nonetheless, it is the single most important public service around and it makes you think.

It is a little tough sometimes, even unfair, but it was founded as a community watchdog and that is the nature of things. It has brought transparency to our local government (and beyond), provided free support and endorsements to deserving aspirants to elected office, hammered those in it for themselves, watched how your tax dollars are being spent and exposed issues that otherwise would have been swept under the rug. Since all of us have opinions on various candidates or issues, it’s this function that raises our emotions, and that is not altogether unhealthy. At one time or another, I have threatened to cancel every newspaper subscription I have ever had over editorial positions I disagreed with. This is no different.

Equally important, perhaps, is the paper’s community support. It is a relentless supporter of Cave Creek. It is a forum for all manner of public expression. It provides the most comprehensive advertising platform available, supports and promotes local business, the art community, youth activities, Fiesta Days, open space and conservation and on and on. I am convinced that we would not have been successful with Spur Cross or Walmart without it. It is an enormous community resource.

I hope the new direction is successful.

A belated Happy Birthday to you, Don and Happy Birthday #17 to Sonoran News. May both of you have many more and I hope the watchdog continues to growl …

Bob Williams | Cave Creek

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Carefree voters: Process vs Substance

I've met David Schwan, who seems a nice man. A supporter of the Caring Corps, as am I, he's got his heart in the right place. It's just a shame his campaign seems to be based on the recall process rather than addressing substantive issues. His PAC supporters demonize the process and his opponent. I felt the recall was undeserved and inappropriate and refused to sign the petition. John Traynor did likewise. That said, the recall was in fact legal. It's history. Get over it. Time to address substance and deal in facts.

John Traynor's career record is relevant. He's led teams of up to sixty people, responsible and accountable for budgets up to $40 million (Six times that of Carefree). What do we know about David Schwan's career prior to going into politics?

Carefree voters overwhelmingly voted to keep Council terms at 2 years rather than extend them to 4 years, clearly an accountability issue. John Traynor voted with the people – David Schwan did not.

Carefree voters overwhelmingly voted to allow citizens to elect their Mayor, rather than an "appointment" by a few people behind closed doors. John Traynor voted with and for the people – David Schwan did not.

Mayor Schwan is on record desiring to make civil violations of the law in Carefree eligible for criminal penalties – John Traynor believes citizens committing a civil violation should be treated civilly.

John Traynor believes tough economic conditions demand a comprehensive action plan, including thorough review of Carefree's three major expense elements, with an eye to making prudent reductions. Mayor Schwan's approach seems to be offering not to spend dollars which are not even a part of the budget.

Finally, an observation and a judgement: I've followed Carefree politics more closely the last five years, during which I've gotten to know and respect John. There is no question whatsoever in my mind that Carefree's leadership style has been characterized by cronyism, a "we know better" attitude, and less rather than more transparency. John Traynor will NOT follow in those kind of footsteps.

Vance Howe | Carefree

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Friends of Geoffrey

Hi everybody. Mark, the FOG Treasurer here. We're trying to get an accurate list of those who are still interested in receiving an occasional e-mail about the Friends of Geoffrey. As an semi-official entity, FOG may be winding down; but there are many of us who will want to stay in contact and still get together a couple of times a year.

For example, those who indicate they wish to remain on the e-mail list will be receiving an e-mail about the next bench gathering in April. If you are one of those wanting to stay on the list, I ask that in addition to replying to this e-mail, you let me know the name that goes with the e-mail address (not always apparent), plus your current location. I don't need a complete address, just city and state or city and country so we'll know how far-flung the remaining FOGgers are.

Thank you. I wish everyone a most pleasant spring of 2010!!

Mark | GEo

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It has often been said that, "Babies' diapers and politicians should be changed often, and for the same reason." Let's pay attention to that ancient aphorism, and take action to throw every incumbent out of office in November. To you, John McCain: "ALPHA, MIKE-FOXTROT!"

J-P. A. Maldonado | Phoenix

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Hello Ms. Burdick

I am writing you this letter to document my frustration and anger, for an incident that was generated by one of your staff members, Mr. Kent Frison.  Mr. Frison represented CCUSD93 with a mean spirited and VERY unprofessional manner in dealing with my situation.  It is my opinion that Mr. Frison lacks “People Skills”…  Please allow time to read my comments below (Sorry for the rambling/long letter, but there is a lot to say).

My name is Jerry Vicena, and I operate a (Very) Small Business in the Cave Creek area called “the Hot Dog Guy” (OK … It’s ONLY a Hot Dog Cart!).  Mr. Frison may think that dealing with a “street vendor” is beneath him, but I have my business passion and dignity to defend!  His actions may or may not have been done with your knowledge or methods, but either way, I would like to tell my side of the story …

After doing what I thought was complete due-diligence, to include:  AZ/Maricopa License, Health Dept License, Cave Creek License, and “Owner’s permission” (I will discuss this in a moment), I opened my Hot Dog Cart Business at Schoolhouse Rd. and Cave Creek Rd. in Cave Creek. (A 12x12’ space on the far southwest corner of the Career Success High School parking lot).  Cave Creek’s license allows for a business to operate as long as the vendor has the “Property Owners” permission … I realize now that this is where I may have gone astray.  You see, I went to the school, asked for, and got written permission from the Principal, Maureen Racz, to use the property.  Since I perceived the school to be more of a private/charter type (and not part of the Cave Creek system), I accepted the letter at face value …  Knowing what I know now, “Shame on me”… I would certainly have pursued this up to the CCUSD93 level.

I now understand that my due diligence should have included your office … Please accept my apology for this lack of understanding the CCUSD93 role.

I’m not sure if we could have originally worked out an agreement (approved paperwork, insurance, rental, licensing, disclaimers, etc.) BUT I DO NOT APPRECIATE Mr. Frison’s approach to this situation, contacting the Town Marshall, or his lack of willingness to at least chat with me like a man … I am reasonable and willing to consider a mutually acceptable business agreement.

I have a “Whatever it takes” attitude toward life and business. If this was never meant to be, then I would NOT have made the up-front Business Investment of $6,500.
Please peruse my website to see how my approach to business was professional, passionate, and FUN!  Check out the pictures! ...

Who knows? I may be chatting with the Cave Creek Museum about donating my business equipment!  This way, 25 years from now when your future students visit the museum, they can see that Cave Creek … “Used to have a Hot Dog Guy”

Jerry Vicena … the Hot Dog Guy | Carefree

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