Gov. J.B. Pritzker addresses the proletariat during a video news conference from his well stocked bunker in Chicago

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is responding to a report that another Illinois county will not enforce the latest COVID-19 restrictions.

The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office says that it will not enforce an executive order by Pritzker shutting down indoor dining amid rising coronavirus numbers, citing questions about the legitimacy of the governor’s actions.

In a news release, the office said it “cannot in good conscience” enforce the rules on indoor dining, which Pritzker implemented as part of a statewide set of mitigations he said is aimed at curbing the rising numbers of coronavirus infections.

“Surprising that a state’s attorney doesn’t want to follow the law,” Pritzker said. “These are the laws of the state of Illinois and other jurisdictions are following the law and prosecuting.”

Illinois courts have largely sided with the governor in lawsuits filed over various restrictions, with courts in McHenry, Cook and DuPage counties denying requests for temporary restraining orders when establishments files suit over the governor’s plan to prohibit indoor dining in October.

Pritzker has warned of the potential consequences for businesses that choose to stay open in defiance of state mandates, saying that licenses could be pulled in those cases.

Read more here.

Related:McHenry County state’s attorney’s office won’t enforce governor’s indoor dining ban

The McHenry County state’s attorney’s office will not enforce the governor’s ban on indoor dining, State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally announced Wednesday.

The office will, however, enforce related orders requiring employees and customers to wear masks, maintain social distancing and adhere to capacity limitations.

Kenneally’s decision not to enforce the indoor dining ban rested on two main considerations.

First, no provision in the executive orders or the Illinois Emergency Management Act requires or authorizes the state’s attorney’s office to enforce Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive orders, Kenneally said.

“Second, there is the legitimate question, currently being litigated, as to whether the executive orders, which require the Governor to exercise ’emergency powers,’ are authorized under Illinois law or otherwise constitutional,” Kenneally said in the release.

As restaurants throughout the county continue to defy the governor’s indoor dining ban in an effort to stay afloat, enforcement of masks and social distancing remains paramount, McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said.

“We have to deal in the real world and be practical,” Franks said in an interview Tuesday, ahead of Kenneally’s announcement. “So we understand that there’s not going to be enforcement of the indoor dining, OK … but knowing that, we need to try to reduce the harm and how do you do that? By enforcing the other things — the social distancing and the masking. That’s how you handle this.”

Read more here.

Infusion of party resources fails to bring big blue wave as Republicans relish results

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Illinois Democrats and their financial backers spent big – much more than Republicans – on races for statehouse districts that include portions of McHenry County in this month’s election, but ultimately failed to flip more than one area seat.

“I think this election showed a lot of the electorate agreed with Republican values and policies, and we don’t necessarily have to spend as much if we’re strong on the policy,” McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Tyler Wilke said.

Despite Republican campaigns being at a huge fundraising disadvantage to Democrats in the three races for the statehouse seats representing the southeast corner of McHenry County, the GOP still put in more effort to hang onto those three local state offices than it has in the past, McHenry County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristina Zahorik said.

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Republican Martin McLaughlin, who handily won election to the District 52 seat over Democratic challenger Marci Suelzer and Green Party candidate Alia Sarfraz, said he thinks the varied geography of his supporters shows there is a conservative tilt among voters in the region visible across jurisdictional boundaries.

McLaughlin earned more votes than Suelzer in each of the four counties – McHenry, Lake, Cook and Kane – that make up his district.

“That’s a good sign that our message cut across the main street communities in the 52nd (House District) and the bedroom communities, and all different kinds of economic and social metrics,” McLaughlin said.

Read more here.

Donlea Road runs from Old Sutton to County Line Roads in Cook County (Please click on image to enlarge)

The Cook County Board has approved funding for projects led by the Department of Transportation and Highways for the final design and right of way land acquisition for the Northfield Happ Road Corridor Improvement and for a Barrington Hills drainage investigation.

The Village of Northfield is planning a traffic circle on Happ Road between Willow and Winnetka roads to promote a safe, walkable environment around the downtown area.

In Barrington Hills, record rainfall three years in a row and drainage challenges forced the closure of Donlea Road from Butternut Road to County Line Road to close for more than a month. The village and the county will work with homeowners to address the water displacement issue.


The recordings have been released from last week’s Board of Trustee’s meeting (11.17.20), and the Village Attorney’s report contained the following update:

“The only thing I can report is that the ongoing litigation relative to the horse boarding text amendment we’re zeroing in on the close of discovery. We’ve been taking depositions almost every day, and discovery closes next week and thereafter I’m sure you’ll start seeing a flurry of motions. As a matter of fact, Miss Paul becomes a deponent tomorrow.”

To listen to the recording of the November 17th BOT meeting, click here.

Barrington School District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris told school board members Tuesday that with continuing increases in positive COVID-19 cases, the district will continue with most students in remote learning mode.

“We will continue to follow our five metrics,” Harris said, “which means most students will continue to learn at home. I recommend we continue to follow our distance learning mode.”

Board Secretary Angela Wilcox said she understood parents who are upset that their children aren’t in school. According to Wilcox, data shows that schools and elementary school children are not major sources of virus spread. She said she would continue to push for a return to in-person learning.

Board member Barry Altshuler also acknowledged the concerns of parents.

“Our community is split,” he said, but insisted, “our decisions are not financial, not political, not union-based.”

Wilcox concluded the discussion by urging all in the district to focus on making distance learning the best possible and continue to focus on the social emotional learning of students.

Read the Barrington Courier-Review side of Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting here.

Illinois Facebook users have until Monday to claim their share of a $650 million class-action settlement over alleged violations of the state’s biometric privacy law.

Nearly 1.4 million people had filed a claim as of Wednesday, which would make the expected payout about $400 each, Chicago attorney Jay Edelson said.

Illinois Facebook users can file a claim through Monday at a website created for the biometric privacy class-action settlement.

Read on here.

Related:Facebook may pay Illinois users a couple of hundred dollars each in $550 million privacy settlement– January 29, 2020

People who gave input in the search for a new Barrington Area Unit District 220 superintendent want someone who can tackle the aftermath of COVID-19 as well as equity, diversity and inclusion.

Those were major themes from 14 focus groups attended by 89 stakeholders — school board members, staff members, students, parents, and community and business leaders — and an online questionnaire answered by 838 people, consultants from School Exec Connect told the school board Tuesday night.

School Exec Connect was hired to search for a replacement for Superintendent Brian Harris, who’s “retiring” June 30. The board will have a first round of interviews with candidates in closed session Dec. 1, followed by second-round interviews later in December.

The next superintendent will have to deal with how to move forward from COVID-19, Shimp said. “Every focus group talked about it. What does post-COVID look like in Barrington? What is the learning loss? What’s the morale? What’s the climate?”

The district this year hired Nate Rouse as its first director of equity, race and cultural diversity initiatives. The school board on Tuesday approved an equity statement that will support its plans to create a more equitable and inclusive school system.

According to the feedback, the district’s top educational challenge is understanding and support of diversity, followed by having instructional methods that engage all students and closing the achievement gap among subgroups of students.

Read more here.

Editorial note: We’d have thought “the district’s top educational challenge” would be getting all 220 students back to the educational levels they would have been at were it not for current circumstances, but that’s just us.


Barrington Area Unit District 220 is proposing a 4.4% increase to its property tax levy for 2020, including a 2.3% cost-of-living hike plus new property growth.

That would amount to a property tax levy of $132 million, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services David Bein told the school board Tuesday night.

However, the actual anticipated levy increase is 2.55%, because the district projects an estimated $7.5 million in new construction, or a 0.25% increase in the equalized assessed value of the district, plus the cost-of-living increase, Bein said. It’s difficult to precisely estimate new construction figures, particularly in Cook County, so levying a higher amount ensures all new growth is accounted for under the state’s tax cap law, he said.

The district’s proposed levy increase is just below the 5% threshold that requires a public hearing under the state’s Truth-in-Taxation law. The district will have a public hearing nonetheless, as it has done for the last decade or so, school officials said.

The board will meet via Zoom Dec. 1 due to COVID-19 guidelines. Anyone who wishes to make public comment can send an email to jstark@barrington220.org with the subject line “public comment,” or leave a voicemail at (847) 842-3576 by 4 p.m. Dec. 1.

Read more here.

Related: “Voters approve $147 million Barrington District 220 borrowing request for building projects” – April 18, 2020 Daily Herald

The following was issued by District 220 this afternoon:

“November 18, 2020

In his superintendent report at the Nov. 17 Board meeting, Dr. Harris and district leaders shared several updates regarding the 2020-21 school year. First, Dr. Harris reiterated that the district will continue following its established metrics. This means the district will remain in Distance Learning (Step 2) until the data shows it is safe to return to the Hybrid mode. Barrington 220 will continue sending out weekly updates on Monday afternoons to indicate when a return to Hybrid will be possible.  

Dr. Harris also shared that on Friday, November 20 Illinois will enter Tier 3 COVID-19 Resurgence MitigationsDue to new restrictions that limit gatherings to 10 people, the next regularly scheduled Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1 will be held virtually. It will be live streamed on the Board’s YouTube channel. If you wish to make public comment it can be made in one of two ways:

  • Submit your comments via email by sending them to Recording Secretary Jeanine Stark at jstark@barrington220.org. Please use the subject line “Public Comment.” 
  • Between now and 4:00pm on Tuesday, Dec. 1 you can leave a voicemail at 847-842-3576. This will be played during the public comment portion of the Dec. 1 Board meeting.  

Tier 3 mitigation efforts also place additional restrictions on recreational activity. Upon receiving guidance from Governor Pritzker, the Illinois High School Association, and Illinois State Board of Education, Barrington High School will be pausing all winter sports practices starting on Friday, November 20. Scheduled practices for Wednesday, November 18 and Thursday, November 19 will take place as scheduled.”

Editorial note: After receiving criticism during public comment in their November 4th meeting (seeDistrict 220 board, superintendent certainly got an earful last night), it seams the 220 Board of Educations response last night was to turn off the public comment microphone. Click here to see how the speaker’s comments can barely be heard (if at all from our perspective).

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