A ribbon-cutting and community walk will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, to celebrate the newly refurbished “Joe Kelsch Sr. Dreamway Trail,” a bike and pedestrian path that runs alongside the restored Flint Creek from Langendorf Park to Barrington High School.

The project recently was chosen to receive the prestigious Governor’s Hometown Award as well as an American Public Works Association Award due to the collaborative and partnership efforts of the Village of Barrington, the Barrington Park District, the Barrington Community Unit School School District 220, and area conservation-oriented nonprofits and volunteers.

The gathering will begin at 10 a.m. near the Langendorf Park Splash Pad, where representatives from the involved governments and organizations as well as volunteers will honor the family of the late Joe Kelsch Sr., for whom the trail is named.

Following the ribbon-cutting, the community is invited to walk the 1.5-mile trail.

The trail is named in Kelsch’s honor to memorialize his persistent vision within the Flint Creek Watershed. More than 25 volunteers gave 1,250 hours of their time to support the project. It also was supported by a $516,000 Illinois Environmental Protection Agency grant.

“This project truly highlights what can be accomplished through the hard work and passion of dedicated volunteers and also illustrates the tremendous value of intergovernmental partnerships, Village President Karen Darch said. “We are very grateful and honored to have been chosen for this award, and we thank all those volunteers who have worked so hard to see this project come to fruition.”


Barrington FM

The Barrington farmers market opened for the season June 17, 2021 in downtown Barrington. (Karie Angell Luc / Pioneer Press)

The Barrington farmers market opened for the season last Thursday, with to a steady patron turnout at Park Avenue and Cook Street.

The market, which started in 2000 by the Barrington Village Association, a homeowner’s group of residents residing in the village’s downtown area, opened this year with 20 vendors.

Margaret Myren, a farmers market manager, said she believes that, historically, 250 to 500 people come through the market each week.

“We’ll have people coming with families. We’ll have elderly couples coming through, groups of friends, people coming out from their lunch in town, and they’ll walk over here to see what’s here,” Myren said.

At the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic last year, most businesses were ordered closed by the governor or were able to operate under limited circumstances. But farmers markets in Illinois were classified as essential businesses and allowed to operate.

“We found out in the last year how important our local food sources are,” Myren said. “You want your children to learn that carrots don’t come from the grocery store, they come from the ground.”

Read more here.

The Barrington Farmers Market website can be found here.

220 Phone

A growing number people no longer need to wear a mask when venturing out in Illinois.

But as students return to school this fall, many may still be required to wear masks. Parents are rallying to change that, protesting and creating Facebook groups to get rid of the mask mandate.

The Illinois State Board of Education still is working on guidance for the next school year and is working to address the concerns of educators and parents as quickly as they can, Illinois Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala said during a meeting Wednesday.

Currently, Illinois is following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommended in May that “schools continue to use the current COVID-19 prevention strategies,” which includes masks for the unvaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines are available only to those 12 and older under emergency-use authorization from the federal Food and Drug Administration. The vaccines continue to undergo large scale trials before receiving full approval from the FDA.

“The state of Illinois has put undo harm and pressure on our children,” Marsha McClary, a parent in Barrington Unit District 220, told the ISBE during its meeting Wednesday.

McClary and other parents told the board students should not be forced to wear masks in school this fall as COVID-19 rates plummet as more Illinoisans become fully vaccinated.

McClary said she is a member of an Illinois parents union, with more than 7,000 members on Facebook, that talks about how the state has pressured students during the past school year.

Read more here.

Property Tax Inflation

Residents of Cook County don’t need to be told that they shoulder a heavy property tax burden. Illinois has the second-highest real estate property taxes in the country, and property taxes in Cook County rose at three times the rate of inflation from 2000 to 2019.

But here’s a revelation: The taxes people pay every year understate the extent of the ultimate obligation. Last year, Moody’s Analytics concluded that Illinois has a bigger public pension debt than any other state, amounting to a crushing $25,000 for every man, woman and child living here. Cook County, too, has huge unfunded pension liabilities — and between 2009 and 2018, they more than doubled.

Want to guess who is on the hook for covering most of those obligations? That’s right: Property owners.

A new report by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas looks at the tax burden in a new way. Her office calculated the total government debt and allocated a share of it to each property on the tax rolls. This is illuminating because not all properties bear the same burden, even if their value is comparable.

As the report says, “Local governments set the levies, or the overall amount of taxes to be collected, in each of their districts. How much of that overall levy is paid by any one individual property owner is determined by the value of their property, relative to the value of all the property within the taxing district.”

The lowest level of debt to property value is in Inverness, an affluent village in the northwestern part of the county. Pappas puts its debt load at less than 7% of its total property value. The heaviest weight, meanwhile, falls mostly on “less thriving areas with predominantly minority populations and less broad tax bases,” the report says. Homeowners in Riverdale, which is 94% African American and has a median annual household income of less than $34,000, pay taxes that are 2½ times higher than those in Inverness, where the typical family’s income exceeds $180,000.

Read the full Chicago Tribune editorial here.

Editorial note: The Inverness Police Department started patrolling the streets of the Village on May 1, 2009 with a non-union force made up of veterans from other regional departments.

Related:Pappas unveils new online tool to weigh government debt burden on individual property owners


Barrington School District 220 board members, most not wearing masks as they met in person June 15, heard calls from four parents and a student to drop requirement for students to wear masks when school resumes for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Monika Casey was the first of nine speakers during the public comment portion of the meeting. The speakers, including four parents and one student, called on board members to lift what most called the “mask mandate,” which is the requirement that has been in place for all students, vaccinated or not, to wear masks in school, including during the present summer school term.

The use of face coverings – or masks – became a public health requirement as part of addressing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“It’s a critical topic among several with respect to the negative and permanent impacts on our children,” according to Casey, who said she has been district parent for 15 years. “I urge lifting the mask mandate…at today’s meeting.”

Board members didn’t take any action on the mask question at this week’s meeting but did agree to take it up at the July 13 one, although there was no clear agreement on whether the issue would be on the agenda then for discussion or as an action item.

Board members are hopeful that by then the district will have received updated guidance on mask usage from the Illinois State Board of Education. Outgoing Superintendent Brian Harris has said that, as school chief, he is bound to follow ISBE guidance on the matter, as well as guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Lake County Health Department – unless a majority of school board members direct him otherwise.

Read more here.


Dear Equestrian Patron,

Your current annual equestrian rider’s license (membership card) and equestrian tag are scheduled to expire on June 30, 2021. Membership cards must be with the rider and tags must be worn on the horse at all times
while riding on FPCC trails.

2021-2022 Equestrian License and tag will be available for purchase starting May 24, 2021. Upon completion of the purchase, both the membership card(s) and horse tag(s) will be mailed to the address provided. Please allow 1-2 weeks’ processing time for FPCC staff to mail your membership card and/or tag(s).

You may apply:

  • Online: fpdcc.com/equestrian
  • Email: permits@cookcountyil.gov
  • USPS Mail: General Headquarters at 536 N Harlem Avenue in River Forest, IL 60305
  • Office: The permits counter at the Forest Preserves General Headquarters is open on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 9 am – 3 pm. An appointment is required and can be booked online.

As COVID-19 regulations change, please refer to our website for the most up to date FPCC regulations.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Permits, Rentals and Concessions Department (PRC) at 800-870-3666 option 1. Thank you for your continued support of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.


Permits, Rentals and Concessions


Trees and other plants may struggle to survive if they are planted during the hot months of a drought year like this one, unless they are very carefully watered all summer.

If you have been planning to plant or transplant a tree or shrub this year and haven’t gotten around to it, consider waiting until fall.

“Even in a normal year, summer is not the best time to plant or transplant,” said Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist at in the Plant Clinic of The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. “And this year we’re in a drought.”

Planting in summer has extra risks, because the heat makes soil and plants dry out faster. As the temperature rises, water evaporates more quickly. In this drought year — one of the driest on record — rainfall is not likely to provide enough water for plants.

“At this point, homeowners might be better off waiting until late summer or early fall to purchase or transplant trees or shrubs,” she said.

Plants are mostly water, and they need a steady, reliable water supply to survive. Between 80% and 90% of the weight of any green plant consists of the water that fills its cells. Even a mature tree, with its woody trunk and branches, is about 50% water.

In summer, plants cool themselves by allowing water to escape through tiny holes in their leaves, taking heat with it. The water that evaporates needs to be replaced in order for the plant to keep functioning.

Read more here.

For tree and plant advice, contact the Plant Clinic at The Morton Arboretum (630-719-2424, mortonarb.org/plant-clinic, or plantclinic@mortonarb.org).

blue-green algae

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is warning residents keen on recreating in the water to look out for cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, in Illinois’ waters, which can be toxic to humans and pets.

IEPA Public Information Officer Kim Biggs says Children and the elderly are most susceptible to ill effects from the algal bloom.

“Symptoms from exposure can be as mild as just a rash or hives to gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea,” she said. “Individuals who may be recreating on the water, for instance like tubing or something like that, could potentially inhale droplets could also experience some coughing and wheezing.”

There are multiple ways the algae can enter a person’s system, including skin contact, ingestion or inhalation, according to Biggs.

“That’s why we do suggest that you wash off with soap and water after you get out of the water, especially don’t eat without washing hands with soap and water after being in lake or stream water because you could ingest that way, but it could also be accidental ingestion just from taking in water from being underwater or other activities that you’re doing on the water,” she said.

After swimming in a lake or river, pets should also be washed, as they can ingest it through licking their fur, Biggs pointed out.

Read more here.

Related:Illinois health officials warning of toxic algae’s effect on pets after dog deaths reported in other states” – 2019

This year for Father’s Day, consider giving Dad the gift of time spent with you over brunch, lunch or dinner. And whether you want to take him out to eat or prefer celebrating at home, many suburban restaurants are offering dine-in and meal kit options. Also included this year are some unique foodie tours. Whatever you decide, make reservations soon so you don’t miss out.


For Father’s Day, treat Dad to filet and lobster tail and a Smoked Old Fashioned at Bonefish Grill.

Bonefish Grill

1604 Randall Road, Algonquin, (847) 658-9268; 180 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg, (847) 534-0679; 9310 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, (847) 674-4634, bonefishgrill.com/. Treat Dad to filet and lobster tail ($35.90) and a Smoked Old Fashioned made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, Angostura bitters and garnished with a Bordeaux cherry over a colossal ice cube for Father’s Day. Or he might enjoy specials such as shrimp rangoon salmon ($23.90), Key West tuna ($24.90), pineapple-glazed shrimp ($17.90), watermelon martini ($9.60), Coral Reef Punch ($9.30) or key lime cake ($8.50). Reservations requested. Available for dine-in, carryout or delivery.

The Hampton Social

100 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, (224) 633-5414, thehamptonsocial.com/events/dads-drink-rose-too. All dads will receive a complimentary sparkling rose when dining at The Hampton Social on Father’s Day.


Locations in Barrington, Bartlett, Chicago, Crystal Lake, Fox Lake, Hoffman Estates, Lake in the Hills, Mount Prospect, Rosemont, Schaumburg; morettisrestaurants.com/. Give Dad the day off from grilling by taking him to Moretti’s for barbecue favorites including steaks, ribs, chicken and burgers. Plus, now until Father’s Day, buy $100 in gift cards and receive a $25 bonus card. Or buy $50 in gift cards and get a $10 bonus card. Reservations are requested.


7 Oakbrook Center Mall, Oak Brook, (630) 575-8700; 1150 Willow Road, Northbrook, (847) 480-2323; 100 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, (847) 844-9300; pinstripes.com. Pinstripes is hosting a Father’s Day feast from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 20. Dine on all-you-can-eat barbecue, pesto chicken, balsamic barbecue ribs, grilled corn on the cob, housemade mac and cheese, Parmesan potato chips and watermelon. It’s $29 per person. Don’t miss the bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys specials. Reservations required.

Shaw’s Schaumburg

1900 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg, (847) 517-2722, shawscrabhouse.com/schaumburg/. Spend time with Dad at the Father’s Day four-course brunch featuring French toast flambéed tableside, oysters on the half shell, premium Bairdi crab, candied bacon, mac and cheese and more for $55 per person. Brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the a la carte menu and Surf & Turf specials will be available from noon to 8 p.m. Reservations required.

More suggestions can be found here.

CCCook County – Property owners for the first time can find out what portion of local government debt falls on them, thanks to a new, groundbreaking online tool created by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.

“Most reports identify government debt as an amount per person,” Pappas said. “My latest study takes a more targeted approach by showing debt in relation to each property in Cook County.”

The new, unique tool reveals that Willis Tower carries local government debt of nearly $289 million, equal to 41.5% of the iconic skyscraper’s $697 million value. A Riverdale house carries $31,800 in local debt, equal to 48% of its $67,000 value. And the debt on a house on Hodgkins has $127,400 in debt, equal to 25.7% of its $496,000 value.

By contrast, the debt on properties in more affluent, lower-tax areas, like Barrington Hills and Winnetka, falls below 10% of the value of the properties in those locations.

These new calculations are available at cookcountytreasurer.com, where property owners can click the purple box on the homepage and search their address to see their local debt burden compared to the value of their home in both dollar and percentage amounts.

The new methodology also allowed Pappas to better compare the overall debt burdens borne by residents of any Cook County city or village. That exercise revealed the burden of local government debt varies greatly throughout the county, with generally heavier burdens in less-affluent suburbs where the populations are more than 50% Black or Latino. The taxes tend to be much higher in many of those minority areas, an indication that more debt leads to higher property taxes.

“Property purchases in Cook County come with a hidden credit card balance, in the form of local government debt,” Pappas said. “Property owners end up paying down that debt, on top of also covering their mortgage, utility and maintenance costs.”

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