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Columnist
Batavia woman sues over husband's unusual death
By Josh Stockinger | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 2/22/2010 12:02 AM

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People slip and fall at grocery stores all the time. But slipping, falling - and dying?

That's what Shirley Nelson of Batavia says happened to her late husband, 77-year-old Arthur, who took an allegedly fatal tumble outside a Trader Joe's on Valentine's Day two years ago.

According to a lawsuit Nelson filed in Kane County last week, Mr. Nelson was trying to remove a shopping cart from a storage corral near the front door of the Trader Joe's on Fabyan Parkway in Batavia when he slipped and fell on an "unnatural accumulation of ice" built up in and around the corral.

Twenty-one months later, he died.

Aurora attorney Patrick Flaherty, who represents the plaintiff, didn't go into detail in the complaint about Mr. Nelson's actual death, other than to say it was "a direct and proximate result of the negligence of the defendants and the ensuing fall." A Daily Herald obituary published last year also indicates Mr. Nelson, an inorganic chemist, fought a "courageous battle with cancer" before he died at his home on Nov. 6, 2009.

According to Mr. Nelson's obituary, he was married for 48 years and is remembered as a "humble, compassionate and insightful gentleman" who loved classical music and gardening.

Neither Flaherty nor Shirley Nelson returned calls seeking comment. Heather Hisserich, a claims manager at Trader Joe's, said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit, which seeks more than $50,000 in damages, goes before a judge May 17.

Fear not: Those people at your door probably aren't there to sell you magazines or steal your identity.

Census workers, rather, are soon expected to begin canvassing St. Charles for new recruits to go to work for the 2010 count, according to police.

Field representatives will be going door-to-door in St. Charles in coming days, handing out brochures to those interested in temporary work, and then returning for the actual census from April to July.

Police say census workers are identifiable by their watermarked Department of Commerce ID badges and probably will be carrying bags with the Census Bureau logo. They also should possess a letter from the Census Bureau director on official letterhead, and be able to put you in touch with a supervisor if you have any doubts about them being legit.

Police say anyone with concerns should call 911.

Fight terrorism: St. Charles folks can brush up on their counterterrorism efforts with a new video available through the police.

The police department has several DVD and VHS copies of a 10-minute movie called "Homeland Security Begins at Home - You Can Help." The video, prepared by the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, the Office of Homeland Security and the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, aims to help citizens "become active participants in protecting our homeland" and includes examples of the "seven signs of terrorism."

Individuals or community groups can request to borrow the movie temporarily by calling Officer Tim Beam at (630) 443-3730.