1.24.22 Agenda

Our Village Board of Trustees meets tomorrow evening at 6:30 PM.  Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • [Vote] An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to an Existing Special Use Permit to Allow an Addition to Countryside Elementary School, 205 W. County Line Road Ordinance 22 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Adopting an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Cook County Assessor’s Office to Facilitate Access to GIS Data Resolution 22 –
  • [Vote] Plan Commission Appointment: Maggie Topping, term expires 2024

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

Mask Shot

Parents, students and schools across the state are waiting for a ruling from a circuit court judge on a petition to block masks from being required on children in some Illinois schools.

Illinois is one of 13 states that still require masks on school children. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has had the mandate in place since August.

A case heard in Sangamon County Circuit Court Thursday has more than 700 parents suing 145 school districts, the governor and state education officials over the mandates that include excluding students from in-person learning for possibly being exposed to COVID-19.

Pritzker Thursday criticized the parents’ case, saying they are fighting against “freedom from” COVID-19.

“That’s what we’re looking to do, to give people their freedom from the virus,” Pritzker said. “These people are holding us back and they’re going to close schools as a result if they were to win.”

Some schools have said their operations could be hindered without the mandate. Other schools have had masks optional all school year with minimal disruptions. Schools that don’t mandate masks face nonrecognition status from the Illinois State Board of Education, something that could mean loss of state funds and participation with recognized schools in extracurricular activities.

Attorney Thomas DeVore, who represents the parents, argued in court the issue is about individual due process rights laid out in state law.

“These children have rights when it comes to these masks, which are a device intended to limit the spread, when it comes to exclusion from school,” DeVore said. “They all have rights and their rights need to be protected and we’re asking you to protect their rights.”

More here.


An investigation found $4 billion in funds to be doled out by politicians at their discretion, with Gov. J.B. Pritzker controlling half of it. The extra pork was packed into Illinois’ $45 billion infrastructure plan, including $144 million for Madigan friends – some who never asked for it.

An investigation into Illinois’ largest-ever capital projects bill found nearly $4 billion in discretionary funds set aside for politicians’ pork projects, including $2 billion for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to spend as he saw fit – including on needs he saw driving around during his campaign.

There was also $144 million for constituents with close ties to former House Speaker Michael Madigan, according to the Better Government Association analysis. Some of the recipients never asked for the money, with one who did ask getting over $29 million more than they sought.

The earmarks included $2 billion for the governor’s office, $368 million for House Democrats and $326 million for Senate Democrats. The remaining $1.2 billion was identified only as “leadership additions.”

These funds came in addition to the $600 million set aside for projects in state senators’ and representatives’ districts, dubbed “member initiatives.” Finding out which official sponsored which earmark is made intentionally difficult as sponsors’ names were not cited in the bill.

Asked how the specific projects were selected for the additions, the Pritzker administration said the governor picked his projects largely based on personal contacts, public input and general observations.

“Project ideas came from every corner of Illinois. The governor gathered ideas as he witnessed the need with his own eyes and from listening to residents as he traveled the state, even before he was elected the state’s chief executive,” Governor’s Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Carol Knowles said.

Before his ousting last year amid a sweeping federal corruption probe centering on the ComEd bribery scandal, Madigan played a principal role in deciding which state projects received “leadership addition” funds.

Read more here.

Wasted Contributions

Brian Cecola, David Riff, Laura Ekstrom and Tom Strauss

For the second quarter in a row, the One Barrington Hills (OBH) Committee comprised of Brian Cecola, David Riff, Laura Ekstrom and Tom Strauss, failed to meet the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) deadline for filing quarterly financial reports due this week. The committee’s 4th quarterly report was due on Tuesday, January 18th, but instead was filed just yesterday afternoon.

Their 3rd quarter report was filed a week late on October 22nd, 2021, and that was likely due only to The Observer bumping them with our friendly reminder post that day.

In their latest filing, OBH reported it had $4,432.86 in donor cash available.  A copy of that report can be viewed here, however this is before the ISBE assesses any civil penalties as they no doubt will now.

We spoke with a representative of the ISBE earlier this week, and they indicated sometimes first committee violations are stayed.  However, if a second violation occurs, they will assess the fees for both violations. Noteworthy is the ISBE has increasing penalties for multiple committee violations, which will now be in play. A copy of, “Section 125.425 Civil Penalty Assessments,” may be viewed and downloaded here.

Current Village President, Brian D. Cecola, is listed as chair of the OBH committee, and David Riff is listed as treasurer according to the ISBE website. It’s likely both will have some penalty paperwork to fill out, some checks to write, and they’ll likely have to appear at a ISBE hearing to account for their negligence.

However, we submit all four members of the OBH committee bear some responsibility, and we believe their missteps go deeper than that we’ve just reported.  Starting next week, we’ll begin revealing why based on FOIA files we’ve obtained in the last year and audio recordings.

Meantime, any concerned donors to the OBH 2021 campaign can always seek refunds by contacting them at Team@barrington-hills.com. While it may seem premature to some now, perhaps what’s reported next week may change that thinking.

Related:(Most) Village candidate committees report Q-3 financials


Lipofsky’s Department Store

From the Daily Herald:

“A year ago, the Daily Herald published a special magazine, “Remember When,” that highlighted suburban institutions that no longer exist. Among them were Hans Bavarian Lodge, Kiddieland, Crawford’s department store, Randhurst, Poplar Creek Music Theater and Bell’s Apple Orchard.

This year we’re doing Remember When … Revisited, and we’re hoping to share memories of even more places — such as the Forge Club, which was just razed in Vernon Hills. We are asking readers to send us a personal memory of any suburban icon that no longer exists, and to include a photo of yours we can use. We’re looking for your detailed memory — a couple of paragraphs or more about a specific place, not a list of places.

Please limit your remembrance to 300 words and make sure you email your photo to us in the largest file possible. Include the name of the photographer and some info about who is doing what in the photo. Don’t have a picture? Don’t worry. We might have one or know where to find one. Be sure to mention your name and town of residence. We’ll consider all submissions before Feb. 4. Just email it to rememberwhen@dailyherald.com.”

Editorial note: The Daily Herald got us thinking of all the memorable stores we frequented in Barrington over the years that are gone today, and here’s a very short list:

A&P Grocery Store, The Barn of Barrington, Barrington Saddlery, Baskin Robins 31 Flavors, The Bob and Betty Shop, Bockwinkel’s, Boloney’s Sandwich Shop, The Bread Basket, Chuck Hines, Darken’s Sporting Goods, Dog ‘N Suds, ESH Pharmacy, First National Bank of Barrington, Fresh Flower Market, The Jean Store, Jim Saine’s Tralee Farms, Hollywood Video, Last National Bank, Lipofsky’s, Norton’s USA, Pasquesi Home and Garden, Peter Daniel, Pohlman Pharmacy, Rexall Drugs, Richard Honquest, Seigel’s’  Lumber, Sydney Johnson Bookseller, Ten Pin Bowling Alley, Tuxedo Junction, The Village Cobbler, Village Liquors, Wenzel Jewelers and West End Video.


“After being crowned Mrs. Illinois America in 2021, local resident, Darby Hills, is moving into local government after being sworn in as a new Village of Barrington Hills – Government Trustee on January 13th.

Hills will fill the unexpired term of Trustee Debra Buettner, whose death created a vacancy, with a term expiring April 2023. Hills was appointed by President Brian D. Cecola at a special Board Meeting in early January.

Hills brings her legal knowledge to the Village Board from her experiences as an arbitrator, mediator, and a Cook County State’s attorney concentrating on child welfare, and from her days as a labor and employment attorney with Jackson Lewis, LLP, working on behalf of corporations. ‘I am humbled and honored to accept this responsibility and excited to represent such an exceptional group of people, our residents, in the governance of the Village of Barrington Hills,’ said Hills.”

View the full Barrington Scoop Facebook post here.

Suburban poverty

A change to the Illinois Constitution on the 2022 ballot would effectively transfer power over tax dollars from the people and their elected representatives to special interests. It would thwart any efforts to curb the nation’s second-highest property taxes.

Illinois’ property taxes are already the second-highest in the nation and a major reason taxpayers are fleeing to lower-tax states, but the problems could be made worse on Nov. 8.

That is when voters will be asked to decide on a constitutional amendment that could cause property taxes to rise even faster. The change would also prevent many of the significant reforms that could lessen homeowners’ tax burdens.

Amendment 1 would grant unprecedented powers to government unions – already Illinois’ most powerful special interest group – including the power to override voters and state lawmakers. Proponents are selling it as a constitutional ban on passing right-to-work laws – laws that protect employees’ rights to keep their jobs without having to pay fees to a union. Illinois is not one of the 28 states that currently have right-to-work laws, so that aspect has little meaning.

The amendment does include three other provisions which together would severely weaken taxpayers’ voices in state government and make it easier for government union bosses to make unaffordable demands in collective bargaining contracts. Even without these provisions, powerful government unions helped public sector wages grow 60% faster than the private sector in Illinois from 1998 to 2019.

Peer-reviewed research shows stronger public sector unions cause the cost of government to increase, with powerful unions putting even more upward pressure on benefits than on wages. Public retirement benefits, which flow mostly to union workers, have left Illinois’ local governments with $75 billion in pension debt and are already the primary cause of rising property taxes. Government unions helped Illinois politicians build the state and local pension crisis by supporting both unaffordable benefits as well as irresponsible funding games that pushed costs into the future.

Nationwide data from 2010 to 2019 shows a significant statistical association between the percentage of government workers who are union members and each state’s average effective property tax rate.

Read much more here.


NEW YORK — AT&T and Verizon will delay launching new wireless service near key airports after the nation’s largest airlines said the service would interfere with aircraft technology and cause massive flight disruptions.

The decision from the telecommunication companies arrived Tuesday as the Biden administration tried to broker a settlement between the telecom companies and the airlines over a rollout of new 5G service, scheduled for Wednesday.

Airlines want the new service to be banned within two miles of airport runways.

AT&T said it would delay turning on new cell towers around runways at some airports – it did not say how many or for how long – and work with federal regulators to settle the dispute.

A short time later, Verizon said it will launch its 5G network but added, “we have voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports.” It blamed airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration, saying they “have not been able to fully resolve navigating 5G around airports” although it is working in more than 40 countries.

The announcements came after the airline industry issued a dire warning about the impact a new type of 5G service would have on flights. CEOs of the nation’s largest airlines said interference with aircraft systems would be worse than they originally thought, making many flights impossible.

“To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt” unless the service is blocked near major airports, the CEOs said in a letter Monday to federal officials including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has previously taken the airlines’ side in the matter.

More here.


“Join us on Saturday, February 5, 2022, at Barrington’s White House for the 5th Annual Barrington Town-Warming with Keynote Speaker Robert Gates – a re-creation of the robust discussions held in Barrington during the Depression era.

This year’s event features:

  • Keynote speaker Robert Gates, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, with Motorola Solutions Chairman & CEO Greg Brown
  • The theme “Security in a Post-Pandemic World”
  • In-person panelists from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the Illinois Commerce Commission, and Northern Trust
  • Journalist Corey McPherrin moderating a panel on the “Security of Our Well-Being” with Dr. Allison Arwady from the Chicago Department of Public Health, Karen Lambert from Advocate Aurora Healthcare, and Mark Pfister from the Lake County Health Department
  • Ron Keaton as Sir Winston Churchill, who will be followed by our keynote speaker
  • Both in-person tickets at Barrington’s White House and virtual tickets are available

This event is presented by the Barrington Cultural Commission.

Presenting Sponsor: Northern Trust

Keynote Speaker Sponsor: Greg and Anna Brown

Live-Streaming Sponsor: Kim Duchossois

Learn more and purchase tickets here.”

Winter Farmers Market

The Lake County indoor winter farmers market operated Jan. 16, 2022 at Paulus Park in Lake Zurich. (Karie Angell Luc / Pioneer Press)

The Lake County indoor farmers market has opened for the season, running at Paulus Park in Lake Zurich on the first and third Sundays of each month through May.

On Jan. 16, vendors set up tables near or in the chalet in Lake Zurich at Henry J. Paulus Park.

The four-hour market is run by Nick Janovski, of Spring Grove, who is also a vendor and owner of Farmer Nick’s LLC in Spring Grove and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Janovski, who also operates winter farmers markets on certain days in Buffalo Grove, Deerfield and Mount Prospect, said the COVID-19 spike has increased customer traffic.

“If anything, it’s been a little bit busier,” Janovski said. “More people are interested in purchasing in an environment like this than they are in a packed store.”

Items offered at the market Sunday included peppered beef jerky and specialty bread.

“Everything’s locally produced, so you’re supporting local businesses,” Janovski said. “A lot of our customers purchase products from us during the summer and still want to purchase their products from us all year round. So this gives a lot of our vendors the opportunity to continue to get income on a 12-month basis, rather than just four months during the summer.”

Read more here.

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