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Long Grove Fest

A scaled-down version of Long Grove’s annual chocolate festival returns to the village’s historic downtown May 14-16 featuring sweet treats, vendors, performers and more. To control crowd sizes, advance ticket purchase is required.

Organizers of For the Love of Chocolate — Long Grove’s Bite-Size Celebration have announced new details on several key attractions at the festival, which takes place May 14-16.

While historic downtown Long Grove may be hosting a smaller-scale chocolate event this year in compliance with COVID health and safety guidelines, in no way is it skimping on the chocolate treats, activities, and entertainment.

Advance registration and tickets, which are mandatory, are available now through longgrove.org/festivals/for-the-love-of-chocolate.

CN 2008

The Canadian National Railway’s proposed takeover of the EJ & E Railroad prompted protests by community members in Barrington in 2008.

A replay of a 2008 battle to stop the Canadian National Railway from acquiring another railroad is emerging in the suburbs with similar concerns about spiraling freight train traffic.

There’s a twist this time, however, as both CN and its rival the Canadian Pacific Railroad are vying to merge with the Kansas City Southern Railway, a major freight carrier whose reach extends to Mexico.

Any merger, regardless of whether it’s CN or CP, would require approval from federal regulators, but the prospect of Canadian National joining with the Kansas railroad is already raising hackles in suburbs from Barrington to Bartlett.

A number of communities are asking the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to carefully scrutinize CN’s proposal before taking any action.

There is potential that “CN’s freight trains will further burden the Chicago area with increased road network congestion by adding a significant increase in freight rail volumes,” Bartlett Mayor Kevin Wallace wrote the STB on behalf of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Executive Board, of which he is chairman.

In 2008, CN received STB approval to purchase the smaller EJ & E, which passed through the northwest and southwest suburbs.

Attorney Richard Streeter, who is representing Barrington, characterized the new proposal as a “traffic congestion nightmare” in a letter to the STB.

“EJ & E communities have now been left coping with longer and slower trains, which would only increase yet again with the proposed merger,” Streeter wrote.

Read more here.

220 Sign

Interest in continuing some form of remote learning for students in Barrington Community Unit School District 220 took a nose dive after officials asked families to commit to the program for the entire 2021-22 school year.

In a March survey, about 25% of families in Barrington Community Unit School District 220 expressed interest in continuing virtual or blended learning for the 2021-22 school year, even if schools are fully reopened.

But when the district followed up last month asking those families to commit to an online program for the entire year, only 4.8% were willing to do so.

“It was not 25%. It actually went down considerably,” Assistant Superintendent for Technology and Innovation Matt Fuller said during a school board meeting last week.

The questionnaire, which was returned by nearly 60% of district families, showed that 53.4% said they would not participate in an online learning program and 41.8% did not reply to the question at all.

Broken down by school, the greatest interest is at Barrington High School, with 195 students saying they would participate. The interest waned as the students got younger, with 81 middle school families committed, but only two families of elementary students, both from the same school.

School officials say each grade level would need a minimum number of students in a virtual/blended program to justify the staffing needed. The only levels that meet that threshold, based on the survey, are grades 4, 5, 10 and 12.

Read more here.

Buick

This 1976 Buick Riviera belongs to Kevin Kauppi, director of the Chiwaukee Border chapter of Buick Club of America, who will showcase it at the Classic Collectors Car Show taking place June 26 in Barrington. (Courtesy of Kevin Kauppi)

Barrington has had “cruise nights” with cars on display in summertime for years, but the car show next month will be a much more formal affair, with a requirement that car owners be approved in advance.

Suzanne Corr, president of the (Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce), said there’s a “high concentration” of classic car collectors in the greater Barrington area. The goal is to bring them out for a community event that also will boost small businesses and Main Street retailers, she said.

“Collecting classic cars is more than a hobby; it is about preserving a story and a piece of history,” she said. “Owning classic cars can be irresistible and emotionally compelling for the stories they represent. They capture the art and history of engineering and design.”

Another car show participant will be Kevin Kauppi, director of the Chiwaukee Border chapter of Buick Club of America, which includes northeastern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin. Kauppi, 60, of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, will display his red 1976 Buick Riviera, a family heirloom.

“My parents purchased it in fall 1975, and it’s been in the family ever since. I received my driver’s license driving this car. I went to prom dates in the car. And now, here, years later, I’m showcasing it and displaying in my parent’s memory,” he said.

Kauppi spends at least an hour per week detailing the car so he can take it to car shows, including national meets where he’s earned awards, he said.

Read more here, or visit the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce website here.

The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening via Zoom at 7:00 PM. Some of the topics for discussion include:

  • Swearing in New Commissioner Drew McMahon
  • Planting new trees for outdoor arena area
  • Review of outdoor arena options and next steps
  • Review Draft of FRVH Cooperative Agreement insurance requirements
  • Hanover Park Youth Tennis Club use of tennis courts at Countryside School

Some may recall the April 14th agenda included, “Swearing in New Commissioners,” which we found odd since the Cook County Clerk had not yet certified the April 6th Consolidated General Election results yet. The Clerk’s April 27th certification of the election results can be viewed here.

Knowing what absolute sticklers our Park Board is when it comes to policies, procedures and the law, we have every confidence this was just (another) oversight or typo on their part.  We’ll see tonight.

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here. Instructions for accessing the meeting can be found here.

SOUL

Handler and SOUL Harbour Ranch volunteer Carrie Podgorski is pictured May 1, 2021 with Cupcake the miniature therapy horse during the Kentucky Derby-inspired celebration the ranch held in downtown Barrington. (Karie Angell Luc / Pioneer Press)

Children experienced the tradition of the Kentucky Derby recently by celebrating the festivities socially distanced style in downtown Barrington. 

SOUL Harbour Ranch held its annual Kentucky Derby celebration at Barrington’s White House May 1, giving families an opportunity to actually touch and pet Cupcake and Creampuff, two miniature comfort horses, with the supervision and guidance of trained handlers.

They could also hug Marshall, a male therapy dog.

“Whenever we take the animals out, especially during COVID, I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to connect and enjoy this beautiful weather,” said Jodie Diegel, owner and founder of SOUL Harbour Ranch.

The event honored the 147th “Run for the Roses” Kentucky Derby.

Approximately 20 children were registered for the fundraiser event. They were treated to games and indoor activities, and there was a natural attraction to the therapy animals.

Read more here.

BCR Cecola

Newly elected Village President Brian Cecola pictured with State Representative Martin McLaughlin

Newly elected village presidents and trustees are taking their seats this month in Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington or South Barrington and they have a vision for their respective village’s future.

The race for village president in Barrington Hills, Trustee Brian D. Cecola got over 60% of the vote versus Dennis Kelly who picked up just over 39%, according to official April 6 election results from the clerk’s offices in Cook, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.

“I ran a clean, honest campaign, one with transparency and one that was factually substantiated and proven by my performance as village trustee over the past six years,” Cecola said in an email to Pioneer Press. “I believe all the candidates had goals for what they thought was best for our village. My platform seemed to resonate with our voters and I am excited to serve our residents as village president.

He said he and fellow One Barrington Hills slate of candidates ran on a platform that included preserving the village’s open spaces, reducing expenses, and “protecting our borders and preserving our village’s heritage.”

Two incumbents on the Barrington Hills Village Board lost reelection to newcomers Laura Ekstrom, who got 19.25% of the vote, David Riff with 18.34% and Thomas W. Strauss, who picked up 17.5% of the vote, according to election results from the clerk’s offices in Cook, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.

They ran with Cecola on the slate, promoting “lower tax levies, land conservation and equestrian values.”  The new trustees, along with Cecola, were sworn in at the May 3 board meeting.

The incumbents unsuccessful in their election bids include Paula Jacobsen, Robert Zubak and Brent Joseph Burral.

“It is important that our platform priorities are kept front and center, as this is why the residents elected us,” Cecola said.

Read the full Barrington Courier-Review article here.

BHS

Traditional summer school, academic boot camps, enrichment programs, traveling sports and park district activities — suburban parents are exploring a plethora of options to help their children make up for a stressful pandemic year of schooling.

While demand for such summer programs is high, there also is tremendous fatigue. Constant switching between remote and in-person learning has taken its toll on students, who also are dealing with pandemic restrictions and social isolation from peers.

To make up for learning loss, many suburban schools are offering expanded summer opportunities.

Barrington mom Doreen Colletti Muhs wishes the school year could have been extended to give students the educational boost they need to fill learning gaps.

“The teachers are going to have to figure that out for next year,” said Muhs, who was among the parents calling for schools to reopen sooner than they did in late January.

But Muhs feels summer is a time to decompress. Her 15-year-old son, Quentin, who’ll be a sophomore this fall at Barrington High, will spend it learning to drive and playing football at a school camp and baseball with a traveling team.

“I didn’t want to overwhelm him with a class,” she said. “There is always that summer slide that the students naturally have. I want him to just grow socially and emotionally.”

Read other opinions here.

DD

32W939 Algonquin Road

The Zoning Board of Appeals will be meeting remotely this evening at 6:30 PM to hold a public hearing followed by a public meeting regarding a text amendment petition for a, “Canine Daycare and/or Doggy Daycare with Grooming, Training and Boarding,” facility at 32W939 Algonquin Road.

A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

UI

Big changes could be coming to admissions at public universities in Illinois after two expansive bills cleared the state Senate Higher Education Committee in recent days.

The two pieces of legislation aim to make a degree more accessible: The first would allow residents to apply to any of the state’s 12 public universities without submitting SAT or ACT scores, while the other would guarantee well-performing community college students a spot at the University of Illinois.

Both bills, which already passed in the House, were elevated out of committee and could next proceed to a full Senate floor vote. The governor must also sign the bills before they become law, which is far from certain.

State Sen. Christopher Belt, D-Centreville, presented the test-optional admissions bill, known as the Higher Education Fair Admissions Act, and said it was based on research showing that high school GPAs are a better predictor of college graduation than ACT or SAT scores. The bill calls for all four-year public universities to implement test-optional admissions by January.

“We know children have test anxieties and they don’t do well on these standardized tests, and so to take a snapshot of a person’s high school years and reduce it down to a test … and to put that kind of weight on that test, we just don’t think it’s fair,” Belt said.

Under the bill, students would still be able to submit test scores if they want. Admissions offices also consider GPA, difficulty of high school courses, personal essays and outside activities.

Read more here.

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