The League of Women Voters of the Palatine Area and the Barrington Area Library are hosting two virtual forums for Village of Barrington Hills candidates seeking office in the April 6 election tomorrow.

Barrington Hills Village President candidates Brian D. Cecola and Dennis Kelly, are scheduled for 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Cate Williams will moderate. To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/6s4f1dkh.

From 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Kim Inman will moderate a discussion with Barrington Hills Village Trustee candidates Laura S. Ekstrom, David Riff, Thomas W. Strauss, Brent Joseph Burval, Paula Jacobsen and Robert M. Zubak. To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/12bj0f4g.

Brian Cecola

Two experienced, knowledgeable candidates are vying for the opportunity to serve Barrington Hills as village president in the April 6 election, and voters face a difficult time choosing between them.

Brian Cecola, a self-employed business owner, is a village trustee with a long record of service in the area, including leadership of the Barrington Lions Club and serving as a firefighter and board member for the Barrington Fire Department, On the Barrington Hills village board, he heads the Bridges and Public Safety Department, which accounts for a large portion of the town’s budget.

He emphasizes goals of fiscal restraint — citing the village’s record of six-straight years of levy reduction — and sees himself as a relationship builder who can work constructively with other leaders.

Our preference leans toward Cecola, whose direct experience with the village board gives him more direct insight into the workings of village government and would seem to give him a head start in working with village board members to address issues facing the community. He gets our endorsement.

Read more here.

Illinois again ranked second for highest property tax rates in the nation in 2021, behind only New Jersey.

Illinois homeowners average $4,942 in property taxes on the U.S. median valued home of $217,500 – exactly double the national average. That’s a tax each year of 2.27% of the house value, according to the 2021 state rankings by WalletHub.

“The first property tax bill I opened was sticker shock,” said retiree Jerry R. McDonald, who moved to Springfield in 2012 when he married his wife, Nancy, a lifelong Illinois resident. “The difference was about two and a half times what I had been paying in central Kentucky. It was very disconcerting.”

This is the fourth year Illinois has ranked second-highest in the WalletHub survey. The new survey found Illinois property taxes $237 higher than in the 2020 survey.

Illinois is surrounded by states with lower property taxes, a driving factor behind Illinois’ continued population loss. The state just saw its worst year of population loss since World War II. A move to Indiana would save an Illinoisan $3,089 in property taxes on that $217,500 house, based on WalletHub’s data. The savings would be $915 in Wisconsin, $2,831 in Missouri, $1,535 in Iowa, $3,076 in Kentucky and $1,599 in Michigan.

McDonald said since 2012 he’s seen his taxes rise too quickly in the Springfield area.

“Our property taxes have increased, at a rough guess, by about 15%. The state’s finances are a mess … The backlog of the pension fund is draining the state and the solution … is long term and complicated.”

Read more here and view state-by-state comparison data.

The following is from the, “ACTION PAC,” website:

“Action PAC is an acronym for Advancing Change Together In Our Neighborhood. The “PAC” is a registered committee with the Illinois State Board of Elections. The PAC was created to provide support for candidates who are interested in running for local offices such as School District Boards, Library Boards, Park District Boards, Community College Boards, and many more local offices.

These offices have been traditionally low-key positions and part of the prolific list of taxing bodies that exist throughout the State of Illinois. Illinois has more taxing bodies than California and many of these taxing bodies have minimal attention focused on them but they are all listed on your tax bill and they have significant budgets and assets. Harper College’s 2019 budget was $106 Million.

The year 2020 has proven to be a catalyst for political engagement on every level and locally the actions and policies of schools, libraries, and park districts are getting much more attention. This newfound attention has resulted in record numbers of candidates for these local offices.

Action PAC exists to support like-minded people who support positive change in local government that focuses on the concerns of taxpayers, citizens, and parents.


To support and elect people to local elective offices that have been traditionally underserved.”

To learn more about these candidates, visit their website here.

The District 220 PTO Presidents’ Council Board of Education candidate forum held March 3rd is available for viewing here.

At last night’s Board of Education meeting, members heard preliminary design plans for the referendum construction projects at Barrington High School. Of the $147 million which the community approved for the March 2020 referendum, about $62 million is dedicated to the high school. One major outcome of the work at BHS will be improved safety features and enhanced security equipment. This will be accomplished through several projects, some of which include: improved traffic circulation and additional security vestibules at entrances to the building. 

Another major outcome of the work at BHS will be improved educational spaces that will positively impact learning. This will be accomplished through several projects, some of which include: a renovated student services area where students can access services such as deans, counselors and nurses in one location, a culinary arts lab, and new spaces for fitness and wellness. 

BHS is currently in the design phase until approximately October 2021, with construction anticipated to begin in March 2022 and last through February 2025. The Board will continue to discuss the BHS design phase at its next meeting on March 16.

The video can be viewed here.

The District 220 PTO Presidents’ Council is hosting a virtual candidate forum today beginning at 9 AM for candidates running for a seat on the Barrington 220 Board of Education.

There will be four Board seats (a majority) up for election on the April 6, 2021 consolidated election ballot. Board members serve a four-year term.

Incumbents Sandra Ficke-Bradford and Barrington Hills resident Michael Shackleton are running as are candidates William Betz, Erin Chan Ding, Katie Karam, Lauren Berkowitz Klauer, Jonathan Matta, Malgorzata McGonigal, Thomas Mitoraj, Steve Wang, Robert Windon.

The forum is from 9-11 AM. Click here for instructions on participating.

BARRINGTON HILLS, Ill. – Two Barrington Hills police officers helped bring a sense of calm moments after a baby was delivered on a side of the road Tuesday morning.

Officers Bill Walsh and Brian Baird pulled up to Old Sutton Rd and Algonquin just before 7 a.m.

Grace and Tyler Schwartzlow, of Wonder Lake, were in the car on the side of the road.

“All of a sudden within five minutes I knew we weren’t going to make it. I made him pull over. He called 911 and he was here before the police even arrived on scene,” Grace said.

Tyler helped Grace deliver their son Jaxton Michael. Within minutes, Officers Walsh and Baird were there.

“They really provided a calming presence to everybody involved, I know when they first arrived on site, it went from we’re in this on our own if something bad happens, I don’t know what to do or what to possibly could be done, to ok now we have the support here and it made a world of difference from the mindset of least where I was at,” Tyler said.

Later in the day, the officers made another surprise appearance by honoring baby Jaxton as a junior Barrington Hills police officer.

The full WGN report can be seen here.

The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting is Tuesday, March 2 at 7 PM. Click here to view the agenda. The meeting will be held in person at Station Middle School.

The number of people in the room will be limited to 50, as suburban Cook County and Lake County are in Phase 4 under the State’s Restore Illinois Plan. The livestream of all meetings are viewable via the Board’s YouTube channel here.

Chairman Dick Duchossois pounds the ceremonial golden spike to commemorate the new guardrail in May 1989 at what was then named The Arlington International Racecourse. The new grandstand opened that June after a devastating fire four years earlier. (Daily Herald file photo)

His heart and soul are a part of Arlington Park, but Dick Duchossois says he’s fine with the new owners selling the horse-racing palace he made that is an institution in Arlington Heights.

“We built it,” Duchossois, 99, said during a telephone interview Monday from the Barrington Hills equestrian estate where he lives with his wife, Judi. The man synonymous with Arlington Park poured millions into the track he bought in 1983, and millions more into a glorious rebuild after a devastating fire in 1985, before merging his creation with Churchill Downs in 2000. But he has no regrets that the 326 acres, including the 94-year-old track, are for sale and destined to be developed into something else.

“I think Churchill has two of the finest managers in the country,” said Duchossois, who says he got briefed on the reasons for the sale and details. “It’s been explained to me, and I don’t understand it, but I agree with it.”

He recognizes the role his Arlington Park plays in the village, which incorporated a horse’s head in the shape of the letter A on the official village seal.

“It’s almost like a statue in the village,” Duchossois said of Arlington Park. “But on the other hand, statues get knocked down, too.”

The colorful and charismatic billionaire, who founded The Duchossois Group investment company and Duchossois Capital Management, gives much of the credit for the racetrack’s success to his son, Craig Duchossois, who is chairman and CEO of The Duchossois Group. But the elder Duchossois never stops working, except when his health limits him.

Read more here.

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