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The Village of Barrington issued the following Special Traffic Alert today.

“Beginning June 4, Route 14 will be completely closed at the Canadian National tracks near Lake Zurich Road for up to 10 days.

Canadian National Railway has scheduled its Route 14 crossing for maintenance repairs beginning Monday, June 4 and extending for as long as 10 days, depending on weather conditions that might impact their ability to finish the work, which they hope to have completed in less than a week.

This project will be a complete closure of Route 14 (Northwest Highway) and will necessitate a detour through downtown Barrington, beginning at Lake-Cook Road (Main Street), and turning north on Route 59 (Hough Street) back to Route 14 (see below).

Route 14 will remain open east of IL Route 59 until the rail crossing and North from Main Street to the crossing, but for local traffic only. Similarly, Route 14 will remain open west/north of Lake-Cook Road (Main Street) until the rail crossing but for local traffic only.

The repairs to the CN tracks are designed to carry the crossing from current day until its eventual replacement with a rail bridge as a part of the underpass project.

When approaching IDOT about this repair, CN was asked to expedite this work to the first week of June in order to have it done in advance of IDOT’s U.S. Route 14 scheduled maintenance work, which will occur later this summer. IDOT plans to resurface U.S. Route 14 from Cumnor Avenue on the west to Main Street on the east/south. This project will not require a full closure of Route 14 but will involve temporary lane closures and shifts. This is also temporary measure to keep the road in acceptable condition until a larger reconstruction project can be implemented.

We urge everyone, both local and through traffic, to plan accordingly for these projects and allow extra travel time.”

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Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 5.03.49 AM Barrington Hills police have narrowed down the model of the vehicle that struck and killed a bicyclist late Friday on Route 59. The offending vehicle is believed to be either a black 2010 Toyota Sequoia SUV or a black 2007 or later model Toyota Tundra pickup, according to information released by Barrington Hills police Tuesday afternoon. Police said the vehicle likely sustained extensive damage to the passenger side. The victim, identified by the Cook County medical examiner’s office as 28-year-old Rafal Ryndak of Schiller Park, was thrown several feet from his bicycle and was unresponsive when first responders found him. Police have yet to release a description of the driver of the vehicle.

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 5.29.53 AMPolice are searching for the driver of a truck who struck and killed a bicyclist late Friday in Barrington Hills, authorities said Saturday.

The victim, identified by the Cook County medical examiner’s office as 28-year-old Rafal Ryndak of Schiller Park, was thrown several feet from his bicycle and was unresponsive when first responders arrived to the crash scene after 10 p.m. on Route 59 south of Route 68, according to Barrington Hills police.

When police arrived, they observed the bicycle, badly damaged, on the shoulder of the roadway. Paramedics from the Barrington Countryside and Lake Zurich fire departments provided emergency medical assistance to the victim at the scene, according to a news release.

The man was officially pronounced dead at the scene at 10:22 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Cause of death was listed as multiple injuries after an autopsy on Saturday.

Police said the vehicle that hit the bicyclist and fled is a dark-colored Toyota Tundra pickup truck. A description of the driver was not available.

You can read the full Daily Herald article here.

Police arrested five men they say worked together to distract and rob an 87-year-old Barrington Hills woman.

On April 30, the five-person group police referred to as a “ruse burglary crew” rang the woman’s doorbell and tried to lure her outside using ploys such as seal-coating the driveway, working on construction on an adjacent property and landscaping her backyard, according to a news release from Illinois State Police.

When the woman went to the back of the home to look at the landscaping, the remaining men broke into the house and stole about $60,000, the release stated.

The woman became suspicious and asked the crew to leave when the men began to question if anyone else was home. As she called 911, she saw two men running from her bedroom and out the front door, according to the release.

As officers approached the home, they saw the offenders fleeing the front door running from the backyard, the release stated.

The full article in the Northwest Herald can be found here.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, local fire departments were called to a home located in the vicinity of Paganica & Oak Knoll Road to respond to a fire call. Trucks from the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District (BCFPD) arrived on scene to find flames already through the roof and, within minutes,  it appeared that a potential collapse was eminent. Fortunately, the homeowners and pets were not injured and escaped the residence safely.

At this early hour, it appears that there is substantial loss to the home. Several area fire departments responded with water tender and tanker trucks to assist BCFPD. With last night’s storm and significant amount of lightning associated with it, early speculation is that a lightning strike may have been the cause.

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Residents and commuters have been advised to avoid the Hart Road/Oak Knoll and Paganica area this morning as fire crews are completing their work.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 2.49.11 PMOver the past year, local media coverage has touched on the topic of backyard poultry in the Barrington area.  From complaints about plans for a large chicken farm in unincorporated Lake County to Tower Lakes’s recent enforcement actions to eliminate backyard poultry, nearby communities are struggling to regulate this newly popular trend.

As was recently reported in the Daily Herald , owners of a property in unincorporated Lake County (zoned agricultural) had applied for a permit to construct several buildings to house a large chicken egg production operation.  Residents living in neighboring lots in North Barrington (which surround the parcel) complained about odor and noise from the existing chickens, and worried about the increased nuisance that would be created if hundreds or thousands of chickens would be permitted.  Eventually, North Barrington forcibly annexed the land, with the goal of not eliminating the chicken farm, but to allow the village to exert more stringent controls on the operation.  In terms of backyard chickens for personal enjoyment, North Barrington allows 6 hens on residential lots of 40,000 sq. ft. or greater.

Meanwhile in Tower Lakes, cease and desist orders have been issued to residents owning backyard chickens and ducks.  Tower Lakes has taken the position that backyard poultry is not a permitted use according to their village code, and their Board of Trustees has taken the position that they do not wish to allow poultry ownership, even for personal use.

In marked contrast to these fellow BACOG neighbors, Barrington Hills has a long practice of not just allowing the ownership of poultry and other livestock for non-commercial purposes on residential properties, but actively promoting the tradition of the gentleman (or gentlewoman) farmer.  Both the Village Code and the Comprehensive Plan recognize the history of agricultural pursuits within our borders, and residential properties throughout the village are populated not just with poultry, but horses, alpacas, honeybees, donkeys, and goats. On those properties which zoned for agricultural use, ownership of most types of livestock is allowed.

These property freedoms certainly differentiate Barrington Hills from nearly all other suburban Chicago communities, but they also allow residents to pursue their interests and hobbies in a way that is least impactful to their neighbors due to our large 5-acre parcels.  In the case of backyard poultry in particular, residents don’t just benefit from fresh eggs daily, but these birds also provide ample fertilizer for gardens and natural pest control.  Reading the daily headlines, you can’t help but note the increasing problems with E. coli and Salmonella contamination in commercially produced eggs, fruits and vegetables.

And, in a time when even the City of Chicago allows backyard chickens, it is disappointing that some of our fellow BACOG neighbors do not share our village’s enthusiasm for the farm-to-table movement.  As always, the Observer hopes that hobby farming pursuits will be undertaken in a manner that is fully respectful and least disruptive to adjacent properties.

We are heartened that our current administration is supportive and encouraging of local agriculture. This type of property freedom is what makes Barrington Hills distinctive in the region and gives our children a unique opportunity to witnesses the wonders of nature first-hand.

 

While things have been calm at the Barrington Hills Village Hall these days, it seems as though there is trouble brewing over at the Barrington Hills Park District. It has been reported to the Observer that at last Wednesday night’s meeting of the Park District Board, board members voted unanimously to impose a facility rental fee for this year’s Barrington Honor Ride & Run (BHRR) – the annual community event that raises funds for the national organization Project Hero/Ride to Recovery Charity.  Project Hero is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization which benefits Veterans and First Responders impacted by bodily injuries, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).  Project Hero’s events help these heroes rehabilitate and regain physical and mental health through cycling, and they raise funds to provide participants with customized equipment and specially modified bicycles needed due to injuries, as well as medical and psychiatric care.

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Trustee Colleen Konicek, the event organizer for the BHRR, was out of town on business, but Village President McLaughlin, Trustee Brian Cecola and Equestrian Commission member Stephanie Cecola and Veteran and former South Barrington trustee Bob Crowther appeared on Konicek’s behalf before the Barrington Hills Park District (BHParkDist)Board to inquire whether the members would consider waiving the rental fee for the 2018 event which has applied for rental of a portion of the Park District facility on August 12.  BHParkDist had previously explained that because the BHRR is not “in-district” and it charges event participants a fee, they would be charged a rental fee of $550, but they could request a waiver of the fee from the Park Board.

BHParkDist Vice President Steve Allen stated that the group was out of District, thereby necessitating a rental fee, and that the national organization had reported raising over 3 million dollars in recent filings and that they “weren’t hurting for money”.

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Dennis Kelly

BHParkDist President Dennis Kelly mentioned that the participation fee charged by BHRR as one of the many reasons he was against waiving the fee for the group.

Village President McLaughlin reminded both board members that every dollar raised and saved goes to the Vets.  Further, he stated that the total amount raised per year locally by the BHRR was around $40,000. Stephanie Cecola said it was unfathomable that a group of individuals who have given so much to protect us would NOT be given consideration to have the fee waived.  Dennis Kelly stated that every 501(c) (3) would be treated the same and that he was “watching out for the taxpayers”.

McLaughlin (who rarely appears to speak at meetings of other public bodies) requested special consideration on behalf of our veterans.  He mentioned that this event is an example of how our community can put its best foot forward by hosting and supporting our military.  He also mentioned how much positive press and feedback the village receives from hosting this event.  He further asked that if the board was so compelled to charge a fee that perhaps park district board members might consider a personal donation to offset the fee.  Only board member Jessica Underwood was open to consider that idea, but Dennis Kelly quickly shut down her inquiry and called for a vote. The Park District Board, consisting of Dennis Kelly, Steve Allen, Jessica Underwood, John Rosene and Gigi Iacovelli voted unanimously to impose the rental fee for this public facility.

Brian Cecola along with McLaughlin and Crowther have donated hundreds of volunteer hours to this event over the years, and all three were equally disgusted by the intransigent position of the board.

McLaughlin said it was just disappointing to see a group of individuals misrepresent the generous nature of the vast majority of residents in Barrington Hills for some personal undisclosed agenda. He, along with Cecola, Crowther and Konicek were considering personally covering the rental fees so that the event could continue in Barrington Hills without cost to the charity.

The Barrington Honor Ride is a great event for a great cause. Quite frankly, we don’t understand how the Park District could ever consider imposing a fee on these heroes. If you have attended the event, you will never forget the sight of these warriors who have lost limbs and suffered life-altering injuries, saluting the flag as the National Anthem is performed before the event commences.

We question the motivation of these members of the Park District Board to deny a waiver of the fee after being informed that every dollar saved goes to our vets.

This Park District receives roughly $210,000 of our tax dollars each year, and these board members are elected to represent our community. They may try to rationalize the imposition of the $550 fee as a fiscally responsible act, but keep in mind that this is the Park District that only charges private horse trainers $100 annually to use our Riding Center for conduct their personal for-profit lessons at our taxpayer funded Riding Center.  And one of those trainers happens to be Park District Board Member Jessica Underwood.

And, is it only coincidence that one of the Park District’s two paid administrative employees is Kim Keper, who happens to be the wife of BHParkDist VP Steve Allen?

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 3.59.16 PM Or consider board member John Rosene, who is notorious for playing fast and loose with facts when it comes to village politics. Rosene has been reprimanded by the Polo association for his inappropriate sending of political emails to the private email addresses of minors, and is no longer allowed to hold a leadership position in the polo club.

And, this same BHParkDist Board recently did away with the $70 rebate program that minimally reimbursed BH residents for a portion of out-of-district rates charged when they participated in other neighboring park districts’ programs — programs which our district doesn’t offer because of their single-minded obsession with equestrian sports.

And, this is the same Park District Board that is considering the feasibility of installing an outdoor polo arena at the Riding Center (see Minutes January 2018).  More polo!  Well, if that isn’t “watching out for the taxpayers”, we don’t know what is.

Now, with this shameful vote, this Park District has failed our vets and they have failed the taxpayers of this village. Be assured, the Observer will remind the community of this selfish action in 2019 when the next election for Park District Board is held.