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Weekend update: Drugs and kids, PTSD and firefighters, animal shelters and animosity

Senior Kelly McCutchejunior Jack Kapswrap up their filming NeuquValley High School Wednesday May 23 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

Senior Kelly McCutcheon, and junior Jack Kapson wrap up their filming at Neuqua Valley High School on Wednesday, May 23, 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 9, 2012 6:14AM

For the many readers who wanted to know how to get copies of “Neuqua on Drugs,” the DVD is available. Sort of.

By going to, which is the largest fundraising platform for creative projects, you can donate to the project — as little as a dollar, or as much as you want — so the two Neuqua Valley High School students responsible for this compelling documentary can raise the funds needed to make the film about the prevalence and accessibility of drugs in the suburbs available to a larger audience.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: The video, produced by Kelly McCutcheon and Jack Kapson, is worth the effort; and it’s certainly worth a buck or two out of your pocketbook.

If you want to find out more, go to; and type in “Neuqua on Drugs.”

Funds will be used initially to mass produce DVDs, design packaging and offset shipping costs. Additionally, your contribution will be used to develop a website to enable individuals and institutions to purchase copies of the film.

PTSD feedback

After the Storyteller ran a few weeks ago about the continuing battles of her husband — a retired Aurora firefighter — who struggles with PTSD after almost dying in a house blaze, Liz Bartholomew says she’s been contacted by many people interested in knowing more about this issue. Inquiries have come from a Chicago fire station, other local departments and a fire chiefs’ organization. She also got calls from groups as far away as Canada and Australia who had read the story online.

She told me that after speaking recently to a Kane County group, a captain called to tell her it was her presentation about this topic at a Fox Valley fire station that made him realize one of his first responders was in trouble after responding to a fatal accident and discovering one of his friends was in the vehicle.

“I am really happy about the responses,” she said.

A firefighter who worked for a DuPage department told me in an e-mail that the story of Liz and Joe Bartholomew only “touched the tip of the iceberg.

“We have had a few guys experience the same thing,” he wrote. “Most are back to work however, but it is quite gut-wrenching when you hear that we are supposed to be tough, man-up, and don’t show any emotion or else you are considered weak. This is the culture we are working in.”

Storm over shelter

And finally, here’s an update on what’s going on at the ADOPT Pet Shelter, where past members have been waging a war against board President Sandy Boston that has gotten so bitter, even police have been dragged into the controversy.

According to Boston, after meeting with Naperville Mayor George Pradel and the group’s attorney, she and the few remaining board members are working on changes to the by-laws that will put more of the governing power in the hands of the board, as opposed to members. Once that’s accomplished, they want to recruit fresh faces to the board, preferably from the Naperville community where the shelter is located. Boston predicts there will be some pushback. But ADOPT attorney, Kathryn Van den Beck, who specializes in not-for-profits, insists this is how most models are run.

Boston says she’s not planning on stepping down, but once her term expires in 18 months, she will turn over the reins to what she hopes is a newly invigorated and much more local board. Meanwhile, dog adoptions are up, cat adoptions are staying steady, she says, and fundraising has gone exceptionally well.

What has not gotten any better is the nasty blog that continues to spew venom. I don’t know who is to blame in this ugly dog and cat fight. Both sides, of course, say the other group is the problem. But there’s one thing I can say with certainty: The blog is doing nothing but fueling a fire that is childish and unhealthy. And it’s only making the side opposing Boston look downright evil.

Even long-time ADOPT member Bob Mickolayck, who has been banned from the shelter along with four other former members, agrees.

“That blog is not doing anyone any good,” he said. “It’s got to stop.”

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