In just a few days, we have witnessed some very troubling communications decisions made by the District 220 Board of Education and their Superintendent. Some call it censorship, but it’s up to readers to decide that after considering some facts.

Tuesday night, upwards of 1,500 people tuned in to a live stream YouTube broadcast of a special meeting of the District 220 Board that began at 6:30 PM and lasted nearly three hours. For the first half hour of the meeting, a few participants checked off under on-line comments whether they liked or disliked what was being discussed (as seen in the graphic below).

Sometime after 7:00 the ratings were deleted and viewers could no longer register their opinion.

From the start of the meeting, participants were feverishly texting comments on what Superintendent Brian Harris was saying, and more often than not, the texts were much more insightful and interesting than Harris’ canned presentation.

Many of the texts were critical of the District, and around 7:00 PM, the texts were also silenced. The trail of comments were deleted as seen below.

It is also worth noting that the standard YouTube feature of free-form comments was also turned off. To view what we’ve described thus far, click here to view the recording of Tuesday’s meeting.

Yesterday afternoon, District 220 sent out a mass email with a link to a two hour Vimeo recording of the Tuesday meeting (seen here). However, the emailed recording failed to include over forty-five minutes of public comment from community members who waited patiently for two hours for their turn to speak their minds.

There is no question in our minds that the 220 Board of Education, but much more so Superintendent Brian Harris, failed to manage the expectations of parents, students and teachers in the months leading up to the unexpected announcement that fall classes would be all-remote learning last week.

As a result, the parties involved are upset and deserve to have their voices heard. For them to be silenced in the ways we’ve documented is tantamount to censorship.

Note: Those wishing to view the email sent by Dr. Harris yesterday can click here.

The following is from Brian Harris:

“The district leadership team is also holding a virtual town hall on Thursday, August 6 from 6:30pm-8:30pm to answer questions.

During the first half hour of the zoom meeting, I will share details in a presentation. During the remainder of the meeting community members will be able to ask questions and receive answers in real time from myself, principals and several other district administrators.”

Town hall link: https://barrington220.zoom.us/j/86115363666

If you would prefer to phone in to the meeting, dial 312-626-6799, and use Town Hall ID 861 1536 3666 when prompted.

Rudy Valentino, owner of Valentino Vineyards & Winery in Long Grove, shows off some of the Sangiovese grapes he grows. (Courtesy of Valentino Vineyards & Winery)

If the pandemic dashed your dreams of winery tours in Tuscany, or even a long weekend in Napa, you don’t have to give up on picturesque patios or romantic vineyard views: There are wineries right here in the suburbs.

Some feature tours of the vineyard, while other wineries offer outdoor tastings or wines by the glass.

“It’s like touring wine country right in your own backyard,” says Christina Anderson-Heller of Lynfred Winery in Roselle.

While Lynfred has no vines to tour, its Roselle location offers wines by the glass with the glass to take home as a keepsake. And at Lynfred’s Wheeling location, tastings on the patio are offered by reservation to control the number of guests.

Read more here.

Winery locations featured in the Daily Herald article include (click on location for more information):

Barrington Area Unit District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris went into great detail about why distance learning will be used to start the 2020-21 school year, but parents and students voiced their concerns at a meeting Tuesday night.

Like a growing number of suburban school systems, District 220 last week reversed course on its plan to let parents choose between in-person and online classes. Harris said the remote learning will go to at least Oct. 16.

A maximum 50 people were allowed to attend Tuesday night’s meeting in the Barrington Middle School-Station Campus cafeteria. Some parents held signs outside the school entrance showing their displeasure with the decision to start 2020-21 with the distance learning.

District 220 officials said two significant problems emerged as they planned to bring back students last month: the inability to maintain social distancing and meeting staffing needs.

Harris said that while a survey showed 70% of parents wanted their children in school, about 50% of the district’s staff had concerns about returning to work. He said a longtime contract clause states teachers cannot be forced to work in unsafe conditions.

Read more here.

Editorial notes: As many as 1,500 people tuned in to the meeting at times. “Like” verses “Dislike” ratings by audience members were even until 220 turned the feature off.

Finally, text chat comments posted by audience members were frequent and often very critical of 220 until they turned the feature off to silence their critics at around 7:00 as seen below:

Barrington Village President Karen Darch

Barrington Village President Karen Darch announced Tuesday she’s running for re-election in 2021, citing a desire to continue leading the town through financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Darch has been Barrington’s top elected official since 2005. In a statement, Darch said she decided to run again for village president in April after careful thought and discussions with many in the community.

Reversing her announcement in 2017 that she would be in her final four-year term, Darch said she wants to continue providing “strong, steady and proven leadership during this challenging moment for our community and our nation.” She began her Barrington political career as a village board trustee.

Read more here.

The District 220 Board of Education will holding a very special meeting this evening at 6:30 PM at the Barrington Middle School Station Campus. A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

Due to public health guidelines, capacity will be limited to 50 people in the cafeteria at a time. Another 50 people will be able to watch the live stream of the meeting from the Station library. Any additional people will be asked to wait outside the building and will be called in if they signed up for public comment.

Masks are required if you choose to attend the meeting in person.

You can watch the live stream of the meeting on your device by visiting our YouTube channel (link below). If you are not able to watch the meeting live, the video will remain on our YouTube channel to watch at any time. 

Related: “District 220 announces school year to start “primarily” via distance learning; some say board caved to teacher’s union

Barrington police have issued an alert after several reports of vehicle thefts or burglaries since at least late last month in the village and surrounding communities.

Police say burglars are targeting areas where it’s known residents leave vehicle doors unlocked. Authorities are reminding residents to always lock their vehicles and never leave valuables or keys inside them. Any suspicious activity should be reported to police via 911. Communities that surround Barrington include Inverness, Palatine, Lake Barrington and Barrington Hills.

Editorial note: The Barrington Hills Police Department issued a similar alert on July 18th regarding motor vehicles thefts (see here).

With a playing area equal to nine football fields, polo is a socially distanced sport. But in a pandemic, the normally very social spectators are an area of concern.

The Oak Brook Polo Club took control of that matter at Sunday’s event at The Prince of Wales Field. The Drake Challenge Club Championship and Women’s Polo Challenge Championship was the fifth event of the season in Oak Brook, and the crowd didn’t seem to mind their limitations, even staying through more than one drastic change in weather.

The venue normally has grandstands where several hundred spectators can watch the eight horses and riders compete for the ball. Due to social distancing orders, only 20% of the full capacity is allowed in this year. The grandstands and the concessions were removed. Instead, fans were asked to park their vehicles along the length of the field on each side. Each space is marked by neat, white picket fencing and separated from its neighbor by 12 to 15 feet.

Read more here.

Meghen Leckey’s daughter, Vivienne, takes a nap on the family’s private jet. The Leckey family purchased the plane four weeks ago to avoid flying on commercial planes during the pandemic.

With two young children, Meghan Leckey couldn’t fathom boarding a commercial airplane for her regular trips between homes in Chicago and South Florida during the coronavirus pandemic. Waiting in lines, wearing a mask, and constantly wiping down surfaces so her family can stay safe just didn’t seem feasible for the 37-year-old restaurant owner.

So four weeks ago, Leckey and her family, who ordinarily would fly first class, bought a private jet.

“The idea that everyone was sort of dreading it was really the motivation,” she said of flying on a commercial airplane. “In April, when we were in the epicenter of the pandemic, no one wanted to make the trek and do all the restrictions that were now imposed on us.”

Leckey, a frequent traveler who routinely spends $800-$1,200 per first class seat, had been chartering planes on and off for the past 10 years. Before that, her father owned a private jet for business, but he sold it when he sold his company. After spending a few months grounded with no end in sight for the coronavirus pandemic, Leckey said everyone in the family agreed: “It was time to get back to the private plane lifestyle.”

“We’re going to be in a pandemic for at least the foreseeable future,” she said. “This isn’t going to go away.”

Read more here.

Though not on their agenda, our Board of Trustees had a general discussion and provided updates on the “InZone” topic at their July meeting. We found the information enlightening, and we encourage residents to take less than ten minutes to listen in on some history and where things stood last week in the matter.

The link to the recording of their discussion can be accessed here.

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