Workers remove unwanted items during the separation process at Groot Industries material recovery facility in Elk Grove Village. (Paul Valade | Staff Photographer)

Despite the contributions you make to the health of the environment every time you slip your plastic milk cartons and food containers into the recycling bin, there’s something you should know: More than 90% of the plastics used in Illinois ends up in landfills.

The causes are varied and complex, but the solution, environmental advocates and government authorities say, requires a blend of changing personal habits and revising public policies.

Plastic can take anywhere from hundreds to thousands of years to decompose, and it is slowly adding up in natural areas around the world. Rather than decomposing, studies show, plastic breaks down into microplastics — pieces smaller than 5 millimeters — and infiltrates our food, water and air.

As of 2015, Illinois’ plastic recycling rate is 8.1%, according to a state-commissioned waste report.

Below are specific guidelines by county.

Read the entire Daily Herald story here.


Major improvements to the infrastructure and visitor amenities at Crabtree Nature Center are underway! Planned updates include increasing energy efficiency by replacing the existing HVAC with all-electric systems and energy efficient lighting. New amenities include a redesigned interior, educational exhibits, and informational signs inside and out. This work is funded in part by a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Though the nature center building will be closed from July 1 until spring 2023, the grounds will remain open throughout construction, and naturalists will remain available to answer questions and lead programming. Public bathrooms will remain open as long as possible and will only be closed intermittently as needed.

RCBH PostSource

Wauconda Fest

Wauconda Fest

Swedish Days: 11 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday, June 22-26, on South Third and State streets, Geneva. Family-friendly activities, live music, carnival, craft beer tent, Sweden Vast, Kids’ Day fun and more. Music from Second Hand Soul Band at 5 p.m. and The Boy Band Night at 7 p.m. Friday; and Jaerv at 5 p.m. and Necessary Diversion at 7 p.m. Saturday. Parade at 1 p.m. Sunday. Free. genevachamber.com/festivals-events/swedish-days.

Long Grove Strawberry Fest: Noon to 11 p.m. Friday, June 24; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 25; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 26, near 308 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove. Strawberry treats, food, music, carnival, kids’ zone, games and more. Music from Kashmir at 9 p.m. Friday; 7th heaven at 5 p.m., Who’s Who at 7 p.m. and Hairbangers Ball at 9 p.m. Saturday; and ARRA at 5 p.m. Sunday. $5 a day; $10 three-day pass; free for kids younger than 12. longgrove.org.

Wauconda Fest: 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, June 24; noon to midnight Saturday, June 25; and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, June 26, at Cook Park, 600 N. Main St., Wauconda. Crafts, car show, carnival rides, food, bags tournament and more. Music from 7th heaven at 7:30 p.m. Thursday; Hi Infidelity at 9:30 p.m. Friday; Hello Weekend at 9:30 p.m. Saturday; and Modern Day Romeos at 7 p.m. Sunday. $4 admission. waucondaparks.com/wauconda-fest.

Wild Onion Brewery 25th Anniversary Festival: 5-9 p.m. Friday, June 24, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at Wild Onion Brewery, 22221 N Pepper Road, Lake Barrington. The brewery is celebrating its 25th anniversary with live music by Pat McKillen on Friday and Bourbon Aristocracy on Saturday. $20 daily or $35 for a two-day pass. onionbrewery.com/ or toasttab.com/the-onion-pub-and-brewery.

Deer Park Art Show: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26, at Deer Park Town Center, 20530 N. Rand Road, Deer Park. Shop original art from 70 artists, plus live music, local food and kids’ art activities. (847) 926-4300 or amdurproductions.com.

BACC Classic Collectors Car Show: Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at 201 S. Grove Ave., Barrington. Classic cars, music, food and refreshments for purchase from local vendors. Free. barringtonchamber.com.

Morton Arboretum’s Craft Beer Festival: Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 25, Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle. Tasting booths will be spread out along Meadow Lake, Frost Hill, and the Conifer Trail. Each ticket purchase includes 20, 3oz beer samples, with more than 60 different varieties to choose from. Must be 21 or older. Tickets are available every 15 minutes between noon and 1:30 p.m. Last call is at 3:45 p.m. and the last pour is at 4 p.m. Ticket sales end at 9:59 a.m. Saturday, June 25. No tickets will be available for purchase after that time. mortonarb.org.

Dundee Township Concert and Fireworks: 7:30-10 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at Meadowdale Park, Besinger and Maple Avenue, Carpentersville. Good Clean Fun performs at 7:30 p.m., with fireworks about 9:30 p.m. Rain date: 9 p.m. Sunday, June 26. Free. dtpd.org.

Crystal Lake Concerts in the Park: 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, at Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Drive, Crystal Lake. Voices in Harmony will perform. Check the website for weekly food truck schedule. Free. crystallakeparks.org.

More entertainment opportunities can be found here.

ProftYesterday’s commentaries on recent District 220 news on the, “Chicago’s Morning Answer,” program can be found here.

Related:District 220 goes too far (again)


A controversial book’s inclusion on a middle school summer reading list has fueled outrage among some parents in Barrington Community Unit School District 220.

The graphic novel “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe has sparked similar debates at schools across the country, including Downers Grove High School District 99 and Antioch Community High School District 117. Earlier this year, the American Library Association named “Gender Queer” the most challenged book of 2021.

The book has been in the library collection at Barrington High School but is now undergoing a school-level review. That could result in a district-level review by a committee consisting of a parent, an administrator, a teacher and a school library information specialist, officials said Thursday.

Any district-level review and recommendation by the committee to the school board could lead to the book’s being left on the shelf, reclassified, restricted or removed from the collection.

In a letter to the school district community Thursday, Superintendent Robert Hunt said the controversy stems from an email to middle school parents encouraging students to read over the summer. The email included links to two book award lists created by the American Association of Illinois School Library Educators: the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award 2023 and the 2023 Illinois Lincoln Award List.

“Gender Queer,” a memoir about struggling with self-identity and coming out as asexual and nonbinary to family and friends, appears on the Lincoln list.

Hunt’s letter follows a contentious school board meeting Tuesday night at which many parents railed against the book’s inclusion on the summer reading list and in the high school library. One held up a sign with the crossed-out word “PORN” over the phrase “in our schools.”

“This is exactly (how) I would expect a pedophile to behave when approaching a child to normalize sexual behavior, to abuse them,” Nelda Munoz, who has children in fourth and sixth grades, said after reading a passage from the novel. “Stop sexualizing our kids. Stop abusing them.”

Read more here.

5 Star

Venus, from lower left to upper right, the moon, Mars, and Jupiter form a diagonal line in the eastern sky above Lake Michigan before sunrise on June 23, 2022. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

For the first time since December 2004, five planets — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — have moved into alignment, a rare sight visible to the naked eye throughout the month of June, but expected to reach peak visibility Friday morning.

While it is fairly common for the five planets to become visible in the sky at the same time, this month’s alignment is unique for the planets’ alignment in their order from the sun, according to Michelle Nichols, director of public observing at the Adler Planetarium. While the five planets are expected to become visible at the same time again in December, they won’t be in their current order from the sun again until 2040. Nichols said that finding a good location to view the alignment could be a “roll of the dice,” especially for people in the city.

“(Seeing all five planets) is pretty difficult in Chicago because Mercury and Venus are going to be very low in the sky, so you need a clear view pretty much downtown the eastern horizon,” she said. “So unless you’re in an area that is completely flat or you’re up on a little bit of a hill, the only place where you could see that in Chicago proper is down by the lakefront.”

Friday morning will be an extra special sight to stargazers, as not only will the five planets be visible just before sunrise, but the moon will also join the alignment, and Mercury will hit peak visibility. Though all of the planets should be visible to the naked eye, Nichols recommends stargazers bring binoculars to get a better look at Mercury.

Read more here.


Most of the public comments voiced during Tuesday evening’s District 220 Board of Education meeting centered around inappropriate content contained in district libraries, and in Summer reading recommendations by staff.  Here is one example:

“Good evening, I’m (name), and I have a fourteen and a sixteen year old here in the District, and I recently became aware of books available in my school to my kids, which you have discussed.

They’re titled, ‘This Book Is Gay,’ and ‘Gender Queer.’ My opposition to these books has nothing to do with their LGBTQ content, but of their pornographic nature.  They discuss in detail how two men can pleasure each other, how to give a proper hand job, and a comic book cartoon demonstrating masturbation and oral sex between men.

These books have mature content that is considered R-rated and I consider X-rated, and I would be just as upset if these books with these pornographic images had heterosexual content as well. Perhaps that’s in the school library, I don’t know.

So, children’s brains gave not developed enough psychologically or emotionally to fully interpret this mature or only for adult content. Research has shown that exposure to pornography can impair a child’s developing brain, social interactions, emotional skills as well as impulse control issues up until their mid-twenties.

Our school libraries are not public libraries. Schools are supposed to be safe environments for our kids (exasperated sigh).

This pornographic content has no place in our schools. Our younger than seventeen age kids can’t go see an R-rated movie on their own, nor should they be allowed to check out these books without parental consent.

Why are these books even in our school libraries, because they’re award winning? Well, they’re not age appropriate, and that’s what we need in our schools. And who’s responsible for putting these books into our schools so our kids have access to them?

Speaking at the High School level I would like to see a system in place where parental consent is required to check out books that would be considered R-rated. And this needs to be a simple process for our kids.

We moved to Barrington in 2008 because of its conservative family values and D-220’s reputation of academic excellence. (Recording briefly cuts out) No parent would willingly send their children to school knowing it was not a safe place for them physically, socially or emotionally. Yet, my kids have access to pornography in school.

The sexualization of our children needs to stop. We need to preserve their childhood innocence. Please, (more static).  I’m losing trust in you.”

This person’s comments can be heard here.  All public comments begin here.

The entire meeting can be heard here.

Bloodhound Wins

Trumpet has become the first bloodhound to win the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show (Facebook @WKCDogShow)

bloodhound named Trumpet won the top prize at the Westminster Kennel ClubDog Show on Wednesday (22 June).

Trumpet is the first bloodhound to ever win the American “Super Bowl of dog shows”. He comes from a storied bloodline, reportedly having descended from the 2014 winner of the National Thanksgiving Dog Show – another celebrated US contest.

Trumpet loves the crowds and energy of the big show, according to his proud handlers.

Along with Trumpet, six other finalists were vying for the top dog title on Wednesday. These included Winston the French bulldog, River the German shepherd, Hollywood the Maltese, Belle the English setter, Striker the Samoyed, and MM the Lakeland Terrier.

More here.


The annual Strawberry Festival, a decades-old tradition in downtown Long Grove, is returning in all its glory following a couple of years hampered by the pandemic.

The full-scale event, which draws thousands of visitors, will take place Friday to Sunday, June 24-26. Attendees can expect three days of strawberry-infused foods and drinks, family games, and live music.

Admission is $5 per person; free for children younger than 12.

Like always, the strawberry is the star attraction. Area restaurants, cooks, and vendors will offer pop-up shops to serve strawberry-centric cuisine. Featured items usually include strawberry barbecue sauces, deep fried strawberries on a stick, chocolate strawberry popcorn, strawberry kebabs, strawberry jams, strawberry fudge, funnel cakes with strawberries, strawberry smoothies, strawberry blintz, strawberry banana Nutella crepes, chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry doughnuts, strawberry shakes, strawberry ice cream, chocolate strawberry sundaes, and more.

A variety of non-strawberry-centric vendors will offer other summertime delights.

For those who like to mix it up, Strawberry Fest 2022 also features live music and family entertainment. Headliners include Kashmir, the Led Zeppelin tribute, on Friday; Hairbangers Ball, an ’80s cover band, on Saturday; and ARRA, a classic rock tribute band, Sunday. Bands will play on multiple stages; visit longgrove.org/festivals/strawberry-fest for the full lineup.

Meanwhile, complimentary children’s games and activities will capture the kids’ attention. As in years past, there will be a classic carnival with popular rides.

Strawberry Fest is hosted by the Historic Downtown Long Grove Business Association, a not-for-profit organization led by a team of elected volunteers. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

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