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Sean Casten, left, and Jeanne Ives, right, are candidates for the 6th Congressional District race in the 2020 November general election.

With mud being slung on both sides by the candidates and their supporters, the race for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District seat is one of the messier battles in the suburbs.

Ads from incumbent Democrat Sean Casten of Downers Grove and Republican challenger Jeanne Ives of Wheaton have targeted each other, and some Ives campaign signs have been defaced with vulgarities.

Fortunately, you’ll have the opportunity to see Casten and Ives address the issues that have divided them at several virtual debates and forums between now and the Nov. 3 election.

First up is a forum to be held Monday by a coalition of area League of Women Voters groups. It’s scheduled for 7 PM and also will feature Libertarian candidate Bill Redpath of West Dundee.

Registration is limited. To learn more or to register, visit lwvnaperville.org/?event=us-6th-district-congressional-candidate-forum.

Read more here.

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We wanted to post a special reminder to attend “The Hills are Alive Fall Festival” tomorrow between noon and 4 PM.

After holding this event for seven years at the Barrington Hills Park District, it appears some creative and hard working folks have managed to make the 8th year of the festival work very well at Village Hall (as can be seen above).

A full list of frolic and food events for young and old can be viewed here, and make sure to thank those working at the fest tomorrow for doing their best to make our Village a special place again this year!

When we present arguments against a graduated income tax — a referendum will be at the top of the November ballot for voters to decide — we hope to convince those of you on the fence. Regular readers of the Tribune editorial page already are familiar with our fiscal policy recommendations and frustration with politicians who have failed for decades to straighten out this state’s spiraling financial mess.

In our view, switching from a constitutionally protected flat tax to a graduated income tax would allow Illinois politicians to tinker with rates — to extract more money from hardworking taxpayers — without forcing them, the politicians, to do the hard work of streamlining government, cutting spending and eliminating the structural deficit that has made this state a deadbeat for more than a decade. It is beyond irresponsible that the state can’t pay for services for its most vulnerable, can’t pay its bills on time and has a credit rating near junk status.

Other states with graduated income tax rates that are running smoothly are running smoothly because they are well-run states — not because of the “magic” of a graduated tax structure.

That’s our take. But to readers undecided, and even for those of you who plan to vote in favor of the graduated tax amendment, give us a shot at trying to change your minds. Unlocking the Illinois Constitution’s flat rate is the wrong path toward a healthy Illinois, which is the outcome we all, regardless of party or politics, want to see. We all strive for the revival of the great state of Illinois. But this is not the way to do it.

Illinois elected officials need to be responsible stewards of the people’s money: Pay the state’s bills on time. Respect taxpayers by spending frugally. Reduce the size and scope of government by focusing on essential services. Offer voters a chance to vote on term limits, redistricting reform and a pension amendment.

Read the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board’s opinions here.

Related:Editorial: Closing arguments, Part One: Why voters should reject Pritzker Tax

Goebbert’s Fall Festival starts tomorrow through Halloween

“Goebbert’s Fall Festival starts September 19th, 2020 and runs through Halloween. We are a great place for families to come and have a great fall day. Come enjoy the animals, watch a pig race, see our famous Pumpkin Eating Dinosaur, have some lunch and pick out a pumpkin. We have plenty of fun attractions for the whole family! Also make sure to stop by the Red Barn Cafe & Bakery for some tasty treats, including our famous Apple Cider Donuts and Pumpkin cookies. Don’t delay; our festival is only 6 weeks long!”

For more information, visit Goebbert’s Farm & Garden Center here.

The 8th annual The Hills Are Alive Festival starts at noon Sunday

“Welcome and thank you for visiting the 8th Annual The Hills Are Alive Fall Festival Webpage.  This is a no-charge event featuring family-friendly activities for all ages! We’re looking forward to sharing a fun-filled event with YOU–our friends and neighbors!”

Visit the Village website here for more information.

A great way to see the fall colors is to ride your bike, which allows you to be outside and travel a good distance to catch a lot of scenery. So where should you go? Options abound in the suburbs.

Poplar Creek Trail link to Elgin: The Poplar Creek Trail between Hoffman Estates and Streamwood, and between Barrington Road and the west side of Route 59, will show some fall colors in spots, and now the trail links to Elgin via a new connection down forested Shoe Factory Road. That extends from Route 59 to the CN railroad tracks, at which point you could ride west through Elgin to the Fox River Trail (below).

Moraine Hills State Park: In this forested state park along River Road just east of the Fox River in McHenry and west of Island Lake, you’ll find a collection of trails, and the paved bike trail seen just off River Road is being extended to connect to Lily Lake Road. Ride this trail or the roads within the park surrounded by trees and their fall colors.

Raceway Woods: The Chicago Area Mountain Bikers organization has developed mountain biking trails in Kane County’s portion of this forest preserve by the old Meadowsdale Speedway in Carpentersville. In 2019, the group reached an agreement with Dundee Township to expand the trails. Now there are about 5 miles in this pretty preserve between the Fox River and Route 31. More at cambr.org.

Barrington Hills: A tree and biking-road paradise. Check out Spring Creek Road. Getting there is wonderful, too, but residents ask that you stay single file, please.

Read more here.

Following is an email message sent yesterday afternoon from District 220:

“At the Sept. 15 Board of Education meeting, Dr. Harris shared a presentation on the metrics which will be used to determine when large groups of students can return to in-person learning. Based on recommendations from a district committee which consulted with medical and public health professionals, Barrington 220 will use five metrics. Each metric will help determine which of the above four steps the district is currently in. The five metrics include the following:

In order to determine the district’s current step, all metrics must be met for a minimum of 10 days, following the trends over that period of time.

  • Example 1: All metrics are in Step 3 for 10 days: the district is in Step 3
  • Example 2: Most metrics are in Step 3 for 10 days, except for one metric in Step 2: the district is in Step 2

The metrics status will be updated every week on Monday afternoon. You will be able to view the updated metrics by visiting this dedicated webpage. Keep in mind, all families will receive notice well in advance of any shift in steps.

Please watch the video seen here as Dr. Harris explain the metrics in depth at the Board meeting.

Timeline:

  • Next two weeks: Finalize Hybrid plan for each level.
  • Oct. 6 Board meeting: share district’s metric status and Hybrid plans
  • Oct. 7-Oct. 20: Conduct family survey (Distance Learning or Hybrid)
  • Resolve operational and staffing issues
  • Oct. 20 Board meeting: verify metrics
  • Oct. 26: “Target” Hybrid start date for all levels

*Please note, this timeline may be accelerated if possible.”

Editorial note: It would be wise to have the teacher’s union sign off on this timeline before any student or parent expectations are mismanaged (again).

 

Martin McLaughlin, left, and Marci Suelzer

The voters in the 52nd Illinois House District have been spoiled by the representation of David McSweeney.

To all those who say individual state representatives are powerless in a General Assembly controlled by legislative leaders, we say look at the performance of the Barrington Hills Republican.

For eight years, McSweeney has served with unmatched energy and tireless efforts at building relationships on both sides of the aisle. and by keenly picking his spots, he’s been uniquely successful at getting things done.

McSweeney will be a tough act to follow, but the voters have two good options to do so — Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin and Democrat Marci Suelzer of Island Lake, who brings a well-rounded background in legal affairs and mental health.

We recommend McLaughlin, the Republican.

Read the full Daily Herald Editorial Board endorsement here.

Picture yourself on the Metra train heading south from Barrington into the city. There’s a lady reading the new James Patterson novel. A guy flipping through the Chicago Tribune. Another guy reading, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan.

The train pulls into Ogilvie and the three people grab their bags, head to the station. They make their way to three different office buildings downtown.

For all three of them, this morning is about to be jam-packed with emails and meetings. Conference calls and deadlines. A month from now, the James Patterson lady has a two-week vacation. The newspaper guy is about to become a granddad.

The guy reading Michael Pollan’s book? He’s about to purchase four Angus beef calves, 25 laying hens, and 25 broiler chickens to raise in his backyard. 

“The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” was a Christmas present Cliff received from his left-wing sister out in California. Cliff devoured the book in a week and especially connected with the middle section of the book where Pollan spends a week at Joel Salatin’s grass-based livestock farm in Virginia.

“I started doing some research on Salatin and discovered that he had written a number of books on livestock farming, including a book titled You Can Farm,'” Cliff writes in his origin story blog. “At that time we were doing pretty well and had purchased a large house on almost 9 acres of open land in suburban Barrington Hills. However, in spring 2011, I started a new insurance job from my home office, which saved me 3 hours per day of time commuting. With a head full of ideas picked up from the You Can Farm book, I decided to use that time to start raising food for my family and friends on our acreage.”

You know when a neighbor comes by asks for a cup of sugar? Cliff’s version: Neighbors were placing orders for beef, eggs, and chicken – all from his backyard.

Read more in Chicago Now here.

Ellie Luciano adjusts her backpack while keeping a physical distance form her peers at Wiesbrook Elementary in Wheaton

A bellwether for school reopening efforts in the pandemic, elementary classrooms in Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 welcomed back students two weeks ago for the first time in more than 170 days.

As of Tuesday, the district has reported at least four students and one employee have tested positive for the coronavirus. But the district hasn’t identified any close contacts with those cases across the 13 elementary schools. Administrators credit physical distancing measures for helping to thwart the spread of the virus.

After months of enormous challenges preparing for an in-person start, the district still faces the complicated task of keeping the doors open in elementary schools. It’s also one of the major suburban districts pushing for at least a mix of face-to-face and virtual learning for middle and high school students.

Elmhurst Unit District 205 is providing another template, gradually sending students back to schools. On Monday, elementary students moved to a hybrid schedule. Sixth and ninth grades will follow suit Sept. 21. Populations of students with special needs also are now receiving on-campus instruction.

Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300’s school board will vote next Tuesday on the district’s learning plan for the second quarter.

District 300 originally had planned on starting the year in-person but switched to remote learning. Now the administration recommends moving elementary, middle and high schools to a hybrid schedule for the second quarter beginning Oct. 13.

Read more here.

Editorial notes: During last night’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Brian Harris gave no date for reopening 220 schools even at a hybrid level much to the frustration of parents and students who spoke during the meeting.  

One could sense the frustration on the part of board members, but all Harris seemed to want to do was talk about metrics, doing more surveys and fumble with his PowerPoint slides. Meanwhile, only 80% of teachers and staff are willing to work on 220 property while the rest work elsewhere.

Authorities estimate that about 500 people turned out for the “Barrington Back-to-School Rally” Sept. 14, 2020 at Citizens Park in Barrington.. (Karie Angell Luc / Pioneer Press)

Hundreds of people packed the lawn at Citizens Park in Barrington Monday, protesting against continuation of remote learning and calling for officials to allow students to play fall sports.

Barrington police estimated that 500 people attended the “Barrington Back-to-School Rally” and officers were out on foot and directed traffic ahead of the anticipated audience turnout.

The rally was to advocate to get children back to school in person.

“I want my kids to be in school,” said parent Erin Matta, of Barrington.

Amid ongoing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, some school districts – including nationwide – opted to start the 2020-2021 academic year with students doing remote learning.

E-learning was a hot topic at the rally in Barrington Monday and the subject of adverse signage.

Read the Chicago Tribune/Barrington Courier-Review coverage of the rally here.

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