Ninth annual Men Who Cook draws largest, hungriest crowd in its history, shatters fundraising record for Will County Children’s Advocacy Center

March 30

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that the 9th annual Men Who Cook culinary competition to benefit the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center was the biggest and best ever, with a huge crowd sampling the finest cuisine offered by our amateur chefs.

More than 1,000 guests, by all counts a record-smashing Men Who Cook turnout, tasted the widest variety of entrees, side dishes, appetizers, and desserts offered by a roster of new chefs and returning favorites on March 25 at the Pipefitters Training Center.

State’s Attorney James Glasgow with the 2017 Men Who Cook Best Display First Place Winners, the Channahon Police Department’s Craig Gunty, Channahon Mayor Missey Schumacher, Andrew McClellan, Paul Potts, and Brian Wellner. The Ninth annual Men Who Cook culinary competition to benefit the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center drew the largest and hungriest crowd in its history and shattered a fundraising record.

In addition, the 2017 Men Who Cook shattered a record by raising $100,000 that will fund the not-for-profit Will County Children’s Advocacy Center, which provides hope, healing and justice for children who are the victims of sexual abuse.

“Our amateur chefs outdid themselves this year with amazing dishes that enthralled the largest and hungriest crowd in the history of Men Who Cook,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “I have never tasted so much great food in one location. Each year I find it more difficult to decide which dishes I enjoyed the best.”

The hungry crowd voted online to determine who would take home ribbons as this year’s award-winning chefs:First Place:

  • Entrée – Joseph Angelo Garbin, Mediterranean Pork Tenderloin with Homemade Pita and Tzatziki Sauce;
  • Side Dish – Channahon Police Department, Craig Gunty, Andrew McClellan, Paul Potts, and Brian Wellner, Voodoo Mac & Cheese;
  • Appetizer – Tie; Duffy Blackburn, Bacon-Wrapped Dates; and Tom Grotovsky, Beef Tenderloin Bits Au Poivre;
  • Dessert – Chris Dieter, Red Velvet Churros;
  • Best Display – Channahon Police Department, Craig Gunty, Andrew McClellan, Paul Potts, and Brian Wellner.

Entrée First Place Winner Joseph Angelo Garbin (second from right), with serving helpers Karen Rende Shinners, Debbie Garbin and Scott Shinners.Second and Third Places:

  • Entrée – Second, Frankfort Police Department, Smoked Beef Brisket; Third, Patrick Magee and Marty Swart, Ecolab, Applewood Barbecue Chicken and Baked Beans;
  • Appetizer – Second, John Dieter, Sausage Cups; Third, Michael DiTola, D’Arcy Motors, Mike’s Fabulous Swine (Candied Bacon);
  • Side Dish – Second, The Marcums, Mac and Cheese; Third, Kris A Cheranichit, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Asian Sausage and Papaya Salad;
  • Dessert – Second, Will County Executive Larry Walsh, Irene’s Famous Caramels; Third, Crest Hill Mayor Ray Soliman, Potica;
  • Best Display – Second, Will County F.O.O.L.S; Third, Raymond Boutté, Citgo Lemont Refinery.

This year, State’s Attorney Glasgow also presented Ann Dralle with the first annual Glen Marcum Selfless Dedication to Community Service Award. Glen devoted countless hours of time each year to the Joliet community in roles that touched many lives. He was particularly dedicated to serving the community’s children, ensuring they had first-rate educational and recreational opportunities.

A former Will County Board member and a member of the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center’s Board of Directors, Dralle embodies the spirit of community service that was a hallmark of the late Glen’s life. In addition, the State’s Attorney presented the Marcum family with a statuette commemorating the first award given in Glen’s honor.

The State’s Attorney also presented statuettes to Men Who Cook’s presenting sponsors: “D” Construction; Ed Czerkies; Midland States Bank; and Laborers International Local #2.

State’s Attorney Glasgow established the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center in 1995 to improve the investigation of child sexual abuse cases. The center’s professionally trained and compassionate staff performs child-sensitive interviews when there are allegations of sexual or severe physical abuse. Children’s recorded statements have been used in the successful prosecution of thousands of predators. The caring team also has provided counseling, advocacy services, and medical referrals for nearly 10,000 sexually and severely abused children and their family members.

The State’s Attorney founded the center as a 501-c-3 not-for-profit organization so it will not impact taxpayers. As a result, the center relies on grants, foundations and fundraisers like “Men Who Cook” to fulfill its important mission.

Dwight man gets eight years for Drug Induced Homicide for supplying heroin to 19-year-old victim

March 17

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that a Dwight man was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison for selling heroin to a 19-year-old girl who died from an overdose in Wilmington in 2013.

Joseph P. Alksnis, 26, pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of Drug Induced Homicide. He also pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance to an undercover police officer and received a 10-year sentence that will be served concurrently with the Drug Induced Homicide sentence. He was sentenced by Judge David Carlson.

The victim, Heather Watson, 19, of Braidwood, was found dead inside her mother’s vehicle outside an apartment complex on East Kahler Road in Wilmington on March 28, 2013. An autopsy revealed she died of a heroin overdose.

Wilmington police analyzed the victim’s cell phone and discovered she had been in contact with an individual who lived inside the apartment complex. The police investigation would reveal that the victim and this individual had purchased the heroin from Alksnis for $40. They injected the heroin together, after which Watson drove this individual back to the apartment complex where she was later found dead. 

“My office has charged 17 Drug Induced Homicide cases since 2009 as the heroin epidemic was starting to explode. Joseph Alksnis is the 10th defendant to receive a prison sentence for dealing this deadly poison, while the remaining cases are pending in court,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “These cases are often extremely difficult to investigate, but our police departments and my office are committed to taking heroin dealers off our streets and ending this public health crisis.”

The 10 defendants who have gone to prison are serving sentences that total 73.5 years for Drug Induced Homicide or related drug dealing charges. One case was dismissed when a key witness died before trial. Six cases are pending in court.

The State’s Attorney credited the Wilmington Police Department for pursuing an aggressive investigation and Assistant State’s Attorneys Peter Wilkes and Erin Krone for securing a prison sentence in this case.

New cooks, returning chefs whet appetites, throw down challenges in Ninth Annual ‘Men Who Cook’ culinary competition

February 22

JOLIET – The pressure is on for 50 local amateur chefs who are planning menus and plotting strategies for the Ninth Annual “Men Who Cook” culinary competition to benefit the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center.

New cooks and returning favorite chefs will whet the crowd’s appetites with bite-sized morsels of their favorite dishes. Come hungry and be prepared to sample the widest variety of entrees, appetizers, side dishes, and desserts in the most anticipated cooking contest in Will County.

“Men Who Cook” is from 6-9 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at the Pipefitters Training Center off I-80 at 10850 187th Street in Mokena.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, who established the Children’s Advocacy Center in 1995, invites the public to taste the home-cooked dishes offered by our local amateur chefs. After sampling the fine cuisine, guests will be asked to vote for their favorite dishes in each of four categories: appetizers; side dishes; entrées; and desserts. 

Returning Chef Bob Fox of Omega Plumbing is fine-tuning his recipe for this year’s contest in the hopes of winning his category. Last year, Fox served guests Cuban Arroz Con Pollo, or Cuban Chicken and Rice. This year, he said he’s upping his game by preparing Beef Medallions in a Beer Reduction Demi-Glace.

“It’s a phenomenal experience,” Fox said. “Obviously it’s for a very good cause, but it’s also a great time. It’s fast-paced on both the cooking and serving sides. And it’s a lot of fun to see so many happy faces.”

Frankfort Police Chief John Burica and his “Men Who Cook” team of Frankfort detectives and officers welcome all challenges. They are bringing back to the table their award-winning Smoked Beef Brisket, which has taken first place in the entrée category twice in past years. 

“It’s the detectives’ recipe, and they do a great job with it,” Chief Burica said. “Cooking starts the day before the event. It takes eight to 10 hours of smoking the beef overnight. They put a lot of work into getting ready.”

While the chief and his team enjoy the competition, they know the money raised helps the Children’s Advocacy Center protect and heal sexually abused children and hold their abusers accountable. Frankfort police have worked with the Children’s Advocacy Center on more than 30 investigations of child sexual abuse since 2009.

Last year’s “Men Who Cook” drew 750 attendees and raised more than $76,000 for the Children’s Advocacy Center.

The cost for “Men Who Cook” is $40 per person; $75 per couple. The price is $10 for children between 6 and 12; kids 5 and under can attend for free. And of course, there’s no need to dress up for this casual, fun and affordable event.

“Our talented chefs are raising the stakes in what’s going to be the toughest competition in ‘Men Who Cook’ history,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “We can never guess who will go home with the winning ribbons. But we know for certain our guests won’t leave hungry after sampling the many fine dishes that will be offered that evening.”

Choosing your favorite chefs and bidding on silent auction items this year will be faster and easier than ever before as all votes will be submitted and tabulated on mobile phones or other electronic devices. 

WJOL’s Lynne, Mary and Natalie will return to the “Men Who Cook” Red Carpet to welcome guests. Therapy dogs Jackson and Kiwi, both of whom comfort the victims of abuse at the Children’s Advocacy Center’s through the Paws 4 Kids program, will have their own table. And as always, there will be fun for youngsters at the “Men Who Cook” Kids Corner.

State’s Attorney Glasgow established the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center in 1995 to improve the investigation of child sexual abuse cases. The center’s professionally trained and compassionate staff performs child-sensitive interviews when there are allegations of sexual or severe physical abuse. Children’s recorded statements have been used in the successful prosecution of thousands of predators.

The State’s Attorney founded the center as a 501-c-3 not-for-profit organization so it will not impact taxpayers. As a result, the center relies on grants, foundations and fundraisers like “Men Who Cook” to fulfill its important mission.

Tickets for “Men Who Cook” are available online at or they can be purchased at the door. For additional information, call the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center at (815) 774-4565. Or visit on the Web at or on Facebook at

Major sponsors for this year’s “Men Who Cook” are: D Construction, Harrah’s Joliet, Waste Management and CITGO Lemont Refinery. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center is a United Way partner agency.

Mother of Chicago Bulls’ Dwyane Wade to drive home deadly dangers of using heroin during Wilmington forum scheduled for March 2

February 22

Pastor Jolinda Wade, the mother of Dwyane Wade of the Chicago Bulls, will visit Wilmington next week to discuss her past struggles with drug addiction during a forum focusing on the heroin epidemic that is exploding across the nation.

The public is invited to attend this important forum scheduled from 6-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 2 at Wilmington Middle School, 715 S. Joliet Street. The event is sponsored by the Wilmington Coalition for a Healthy Community, and the offices of Will County Executive Larry Walsh and Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.

Pastor Wade, who preaches on Chicago’s South Side, will discuss her past addictions to heroin and cocaine and her hard road to recovery. Her presentation will be an inspiration to those who struggle with heroin addiction or those whose loved ones use this dangerous and highly addictive drug.

Other featured speakers will include County Executive Walsh and State’s Attorney Glasgow, who have partnered on efforts to end the heroin epidemic through the work of a county grassroots organization called HELPS (Heroin Education Leads to Preventative Solutions).

County Executive Walsh will discuss the formation of HELPS, the county’s partnership to develop educational programs on heroin with the Robert Crown Center, and a new SAMSHA grant through the state of Illinois to reduce opiate overdose deaths. State’s Attorney Glasgow will discuss the heroin crisis and how the Will County Drug Court is helping defendants kick their addictions. A Drug Court graduate also will discuss her struggles with addiction and recovery.

Other speakers include Will County Judge Ray Nash, local law enforcement officials and physicians from Riverside Healthcare who will discuss the dangerous link between the abuse of prescription pain medications and heroin use.

Seventy-six people from all walks of life died as the result of a heroin overdose in 2016 in Will County. Public officials from across the county are working together to address this growing epidemic.

For more information on the forum, call (815) 476-1660 or email the Wilmington Coalition for a Healthy Community at You can also visit the Wilmington Coalition for a Healthy Community on Facebook for details.

Seven defendants will be the first to graduate from Will County Adult Redeploy Illinois program next week

February 16

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that seven defendants who have committed non-violent crimes over the years will be the first graduates from Will County Adult Redeploy Illinois, an innovative court diversion program that seeks to keep non-violent offenders out of state prisons by providing community-based services.

The graduation is scheduled for 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 22 in the Will County Board Room, 302 N. Chicago Street in Joliet. The event is open to the public.

Defendants from Joliet, Romeoville and Wilmington will graduate from the program. They pleaded guilty upfront to charges that include theft, narcotics possession or burglary in order to participate in the intensive 18-month program that helps them avoid a prison sentence.

Adult Redeploy Illinois strives to change offenders’ criminal behavior through counseling, substance abuse treatment, mental health therapy and job location services. The ultimate goal is to rehabilitate defendants rather than allow them to cycle in and out of the criminal justice system and state prisons at the expense of taxpayers.

Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI), established by the Crime Reduction Act (Public Act 96-0761), is based on the premise that crime can be reduced and costs of the criminal justice system can be controlled by understanding and addressing the reasons people commit crimes. Another key premise is that local jurisdictions know best what resources are necessary to reduce crime. Currently 39 Illinois counties have functioning ARI programs.

“We are always looking for ways to avoid cycling non-violent defendants through the prison system and billing taxpayers $25,000 annually per inmate,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “It is far more cost-effective to invest a few thousand dollars in services for these defendants upfront to put them on a straight-and-narrow path that returns them to their communities as productive, law-abiding citizens. We don’t just save money with this program; we help people reclaim their lives. That’s why ARI is a no-brainer, regardless of what side of the political aisle you’re standing.”

Will County Adult Redeploy Illinois was established in early 2015. There are currently 36 participants in the program. Circuit Judge Carla Policandriotes presides over the court.

ARI is one of several Specialty Courts supervised by Will County State’s Attorney Glasgow’s office, including Drug Court, Veterans Court and Mental Health Court.

Indiana trucker sentenced to 10 years for wreck that claimed five lives

February 16

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that a truck driver who caused a wreck that killed five people in 2014 has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Francisco Espinal-Quiroz, 53, of Leesburg, Ind., pleaded guilty in November to five counts of reckless homicide and one count of falsifying the record of his driving status. Judge David Carlson handed down the sentence on Thursday afternoon after a lengthy hearing during which family members of the deceased read poignant statements about their loved ones into the record.

The defendant was driving a red Freightliner Semi Tractor northbound on Interstate 55 near Channahon at about 2:15 p.m. on July 21, 2014 when he entered a construction zone in which traffic had slowed to between 3-5 mph.

Espinal-Quiroz, however, had set his cruise control and was traveling at 65 mph when he entered the construction zone, eventually striking a 2012 Kia Soul occupied by Kimberly Britton, 43, Piper Britton, 11, and Timothy Osburn, 64. Kimberly and Piper were killed on impact, while Mr. Osburn was airlifted to a Chicago hospital where he died 16 days later.

Also killed in the crash were Ulrike Blopleh, 48, who was a passenger in a 2000 Chevrolet Astrovan, and Vicky Palacios, 54, who was in a 2008 Dodge Avenger. Both vehicles were struck by the defendant’s truck.

“This terrible crash claimed the lives of five innocent people, including a young girl, and injured several others,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “The victim impact statements presented in court at sentencing conveyed the heartbreaking loss family members experienced when this wreck tore their loved ones from their lives. Our hearts go out to all of the victims and families who are struggling with their profound grief.”

State’s Attorney Glasgow thanked the Illinois State Police and Assistant State’s Attorneys Derek Ewanic and Adam Capelli for their work to bring justice to family members during the investigation and prosecution of this case. 

The investigation revealed the defendant had started his work day at 2:30 a.m. picking up steel at a warehouse in South Bend, Ind. His log book, however, falsely stated he started his work day later, at 6:15 a.m. Espinal-Quiroz also is blind in his right eye, but he had a waiver to drive a truck through the state of Indiana.

Tommy Crockwell gets 50 years for University Park murder of teenager

February 1

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that a Country Club Hills man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison after being found guilty of first-degree murder for the slaying of a teenager five years ago in University Park.

Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak found Tommy Crockwell, 47, guilty of murdering 19-year-old Johnny Rouse at the conclusion of a bench trial in November. Judge Bertani-Tomczak sentenced him on Wednesday.

Crockwell hid in bushes and crept up behind Rouse as walked down a path in a park on the evening of Oct. 26, 2011. The defendant, who was 41 at the time, shot the young man once in the back of the neck. Rouse, who died before his body hit the ground, was discovered by a passerby later that evening. Crockwell gunned down Rouse because he believed he had robbed his younger brother, according to testimony and evidence presented at trial.

Asked by the informant why he didn’t confront his victim face-to-face, Crockwell responded that he didn’t want to be identified if something went wrong and Rouse did not die.

“Tommy Crockwell committed the most cowardly of murders by sneaking up in the night on a youth half his age and then shooting him in the back of the neck,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “Credit goes to the University Park Police, the Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force, and my prosecutors, Peter Wilkes, Dan Egan, and Sondra Denmark, for taking this dangerous killer off our streets.”

Several months after the murder, police received word from an informant that Crockwell had told him he killed Rouse. The informant, who had known Crockwell for years, wore a wire for investigators and visited Crockwell at his home in January of 2012.

During a 33-minute recorded conversation, which was played at trial, Crockwell shared details of the shooting only the murderer would know, including the manner in which the victim fell, that he was still wearing headphones connected to his MP3 player, and the type of weapon he used: a .40-caliber handgun.