Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘County’ Category

Plastic

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.

Read Full Post »

220

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.

Read Full Post »

Fireworks Ban

Illinoisans celebrate Independence Day by taking their fireworks business to other states, despite bans and threats at home, causing the state to lose out on jobs and revenue.

Red, white and blue flags, the smell of grilled burgers and hot dogs, and most of all, the familiar boom and sparkle in the sky are sure signs of Independence Day, but in Illinois freedom is quieter thanks to one of the nation’s most-restrictive laws for fireworks.

Fireworks are a long-standing Independence Day tradition dating back to the Founding Fathers. As John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife, Independence Day “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” Across the United States, Adams’ vision remains alive and well: Americans in 47 states spent $2.2 billion dollars on consumer fireworks in 2021.

However, despite the Founding Father’s wish, Illinoisans do not get to partake in the patriotic practice. It is one of three states that ban all or most consumer fireworks.

In 1942 Illinois passed the Illinois’ Pyrotechnic Use Act, making it illegal to purchase and use fireworks other than novelty items such as sparklers, small noise makers and smoke bombs. Under this act the possession, transportation and use of any consumer fireworks such as firecrackers, Roman candles or bottle rockets is deemed a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by fines up to $2,500 or a year in prison.

Despite the legal consequences, Illinois license plates flood the parking lots of fireworks retailers just across the state lines on and around Independence Day each year. The fireworks ban prompts Illinoisans to take their business to neighboring states, costing Illinois both tax revenue and jobs.

Pennsylvania, which has roughly the same population as Illinois, brings in $10 million in tax revenue annually from fireworks sales. Illinois state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, who wants to repeal the fireworks ban, argues Illinois is missing out on that $10 million in sales tax revenue each year for no good reason.

Read more here.

Related:Fireworks ban a boon for neighboring states, restricts Illinoisans

Read Full Post »

JBNH

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker addressees the New Hampshire Democratic Convention on Saturday, June 18, 2022

MANCHESTER, N.H. — New Hampshire Democrats zeroed in on abortion rights during their annual convention here Saturday, bringing in Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker to prop up the campaigns of Sen. Maggie Hassan and governor candidate Tom Sherman, who will likely ease through September’s primary but face tough races heading into November’s general election.

“The Republican Party is so afraid of the power and influence women have achieved in our society that they are seeking to shame and criminalize your very autonomy,” said Pritzker, who leads a state that has a law that codifies Roe v. Wade.

It’s a subject that generated the most applause throughout the day, including during a speech by Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor and the former mayor of Boston (Massachusetts also has codified Roe). For the record, Walsh told the crowd, he’s not running for president.

Pritzker’s name, on the other hand, has popped up repeatedly as a potential future presidential candidate, most recently when it was announced he’d be speaking Saturday in New Hampshire. But the Democratic governor’s political team says Pritzker is only focused on his reelection and on helping elect Democrats across the country who support abortion rights.

Pritzker, a self-described “Ukrainian-American, Jewish, Democratic, billionaire, businessman,” was scheduled to travel to Maine after leaving New Hampshire to campaign for Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

By the end of his speech, Pritzker had won over a cadre of Belknap County delegates who enthusiastically told a POLITICO reporter that they’d like to see him run for higher office.

“I think he should be our next president,” Johnna Davis, co-chair of the Belknap County Democrats, said as a couple other delegates seated in her row nodded along. “He’s got great energy. He’s perfect.”

Oy. Read more of the story here.

Read Full Post »

Baron

Amy Baron, a recent Cary-Grove High School graduate, works in the shipping department of Jessup Manufacturing Company as an intern on Friday, June 10, 2022. The Manufacturing Pathways Consortium in McHenry County launched a new paid internship this summer that is looking to train current and recent high school students in various manufacturing skills in effort to help expand the pipeline of quality manufacturing workers in the county. (Gregory Shaver/Gregory Shaver Shaw Media )

The first week began with orientation and safety, but by the end of it, some McHenry County teenagers were already working with laser cutters.

Nearly 100 high school students and recent graduates across McHenry County are getting a taste of what it’s like to work in manufacturing as part of a new 10-week internship hosted by the area’s Manufacturing Pathways Consortium.

The vision of the program is to get students experience in the field, as well as change the perception for those entering the workforce that manufacturing isn’t seeing growth, said Jessup Manufacturing President and CEO Robert Jessup, whose McHenry-based business is hosting interns this summer.

“In a lot of ways historically, manufacturing has gotten a bad reputation,” he said. “But manufacturing in McHenry County is thriving.”

Seven of the top 20 employers in McHenry County are manufacturers, according data from the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation. These companies employ over 3,500 people.

In the last 10 years, manufacturing in McHenry County has grown between 15 and 18%, said James Sitko, a regional project manager with the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation. Of the 8,500 or so businesses in the county, between 2,400 and 2,500 do some type of manufacturing.

Recent Cary-Grove High School graduate Amy Baron, 18, said she joined the internship program to have something to get her out of the house during the summer.

“I figured this was a good opportunity to get experience in an industry I have some interest in,” she said. “I want to get a better idea of how things actually work.”

Read more here.

Read Full Post »

IDES

A state audit found the Illinois Department of Employment Security lost to fraud more than half of the $3.6 billion in federal COVID-19 dollars earmarked for out-of-work Illinoisans. The full scope of the unemployment fraud remains unknown.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security sent nearly $2 billion in unemployment benefits to crooks during the pandemic, losing more than half the federal dollars earmarked for out-of-work Illinoisans, according to a new audit.

The partial state report uncovered “unprecedented” levels of theft, showing the agency failed to “maintain accurate and complete” data on residents filing claims through the program. IDES previously admitted there were 212,000 false claims, but had refused to disclose the cost.

Auditors said this resulted in the vast majority of fraudsters being successful at stealing real Illinoisans’ identities and swiping their unemployment payments. In total, the department lost more than half of the $3.6 billion in pandemic funds promised to residents between July 2020 and June 2021.

Republican state lawmakers have decried the rampant fraud and blamed Gov. J.B. Pritzker for mismanaging the program rollout, which ranked seventh worst in the nation. IDES has attempted to downplay the losses.

IDES failures during the pandemic were widespread. It was months late in implementing a system to get federal dollars to the self-employed, allowed a data breach that exposed the private data of 32,483 unemployment applicants, made applicants wait months for benefits and at one point had a call backlog of 156,000 people awaiting help with their claims.

IDES administrators said they “stopped roughly $40 billion in fraudulent payments across state and federal programs” through the end of last year and have introduced new technologies to mitigate theft moving forward.

More here.

Read Full Post »

Property Taxation

A proposed change to the Illinois Constitution would effectively transfer power over taxpayer money to government worker unions. The trend of property tax hikes would likely grow even worse during the next four years.

It’s election season in Illinois, and politicians are running on the promise of property tax relief as usual, including every major candidate for governor.

Illinois’ property taxes are already the second-highest in the nation and a major reason taxpayers are fleeing to lower-tax states. That problem could be made worse on Nov. 8 when voters will be asked to decide the fate of Amendment 1, a tax hike disguised as a “workers rights amendment.”

The change would prevent commonsense reforms to reduce homeowners’ tax burdens while giving government union leaders virtually limitless new ways to demand higher costs from taxpayers. If it passes, Illinois’ trend of large annual property tax increases will likely grow faster than ever. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has failed to deliver on property tax relief during his term – the average family paid $1,913 more during his administration.

Amendment 1 would guarantee that family pays at least $2,149 in higher property tax bills over the next four years, no matter which politicians win this November or how well they try to follow through on their promises.

This is a conservative estimate, assuming the rapid growth of Illinois’ property tax burden holds steady. It’s likely property taxes would grow at an even faster rate, because Amendment 1 would give Illinois government unions unprecedented bargaining powers that don’t exist in any other state. Exactly how much faster is an open question.

Read on here.

Read Full Post »

CAT

One of the state’s biggest employers is relocating their headquarters to Irving, Texas. A decade ago Caterpillar’s CEO warned state leaders of business losses unless they balanced the budget, controlled workers’ comp costs and cut taxes. He was ignored.

After nearly a century, Caterpillar is moving its corporate headquarters out of Illinois. Their office in Irving, Texas, will transition into the new base camp.

Illinois state leaders were warned a decade ago by Caterpillar’s CEO about what they needed to do to keep businesses from leaving. His warning in 2012 about balanced budgets, workers’ compensation costs and taxes were not only ignored, but the problems have grown worse.

The construction and mining equipment giant is the second major company to leave Illinois in five weeks. Boeing aerospace also announced its headquarters was moving to Virginia.

“We believe it’s in the best strategic interest of the company to make this move, which supports Caterpillar’s strategy for profitable growth as we help our customers build a better, more sustainable world,” Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby said in a statement.

Most of Caterpillar’s 230 corporate employees will gradually transition to the new headquarters. Caterpillar will still employ more than 17,000 Illinoisans after the move, but there’s no guarantee those jobs will stay in Illinois.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce President Todd Maisch said even with employees remaining in the state, Caterpillar moving their headquarters is a bad sign.

Read more here.

Read Full Post »

FutureThe following was posted to the Village website today:

“The Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) hosted an open house on Tuesday, June 14th regarding Horizon Farm, the area’s newest forest preserve.  The evening began with a presentation by the Preserves reviewing the planning efforts underway that have included input from community stakeholders.

FPDCC is working hard to preserve and restore vital natural areas that are especially important to native grassland birds. The short-term plan presented involves opening several trails on the property in the fall of this year.  There will be some gravel trails and mowed grass trails, in line with the Forest Preserves’ mission of all trails being open to everyone (dog walkers, equestrians, bikes, etc).

A Barrington Hills resident commented on how happy she was with the work done to remove the derelict buildings on the property, restoring it to natural space.

The Forest Preserves District of Cook County is seeking input from residents on how they would like to see the property used as they continue to plan for the opening of the trails and future uses of the property. Please see the current draft maps below and send any feedback to Planning@cookcountyil.gov.”

The Horizon Farm 2022 opening plan can be viewed and downloaded here.  The future plan ideas can be found here.

Read Full Post »

Seigles

A developer appeared before the Barrington village board Monday to pitch a proposal for a mixed-use project downtown featuring 125 apartments, restaurants and 42 “commercial condos” for high-end car owners.

Restaurants, luxury apartments and storage spaces for high-end and classic cars are envisioned for a proposed mixed-use development at Hough and Liberty streets in downtown Barrington.

Barrington resident Joe Taylor, CEO of Compasspoint Development, approached the village board Monday with plans to redevelop a 6.2-acre parcel that would combine the Goltra property, part of which was once a foundry, and the former McGrath Volvo dealership site.

His plans include a four-story building fronting Hough Street, with three levels of apartments above first-floor retail and restaurant space, all topped by a Mansard roof.

The 125 apartments would include one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Market research indicates they would attract empty nesters, people who are downsizing and those who wish to rent while a house is being built, Taylor said.

Taylor plans to own one restaurant there and have a third party operate it.

“We will tailor that restaurant for what is missing or lacking in the downtown Barrington market,” he said.

More here.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: