Archive for the ‘County’ Category

1.24.22 Agenda

Our Village Board of Trustees meets tomorrow evening at 6:30 PM.  Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • [Vote] An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to an Existing Special Use Permit to Allow an Addition to Countryside Elementary School, 205 W. County Line Road Ordinance 22 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Adopting an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Cook County Assessor’s Office to Facilitate Access to GIS Data Resolution 22 –
  • [Vote] Plan Commission Appointment: Maggie Topping, term expires 2024

A copy of their agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

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An investigation found $4 billion in funds to be doled out by politicians at their discretion, with Gov. J.B. Pritzker controlling half of it. The extra pork was packed into Illinois’ $45 billion infrastructure plan, including $144 million for Madigan friends – some who never asked for it.

An investigation into Illinois’ largest-ever capital projects bill found nearly $4 billion in discretionary funds set aside for politicians’ pork projects, including $2 billion for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to spend as he saw fit – including on needs he saw driving around during his campaign.

There was also $144 million for constituents with close ties to former House Speaker Michael Madigan, according to the Better Government Association analysis. Some of the recipients never asked for the money, with one who did ask getting over $29 million more than they sought.

The earmarks included $2 billion for the governor’s office, $368 million for House Democrats and $326 million for Senate Democrats. The remaining $1.2 billion was identified only as “leadership additions.”

These funds came in addition to the $600 million set aside for projects in state senators’ and representatives’ districts, dubbed “member initiatives.” Finding out which official sponsored which earmark is made intentionally difficult as sponsors’ names were not cited in the bill.

Asked how the specific projects were selected for the additions, the Pritzker administration said the governor picked his projects largely based on personal contacts, public input and general observations.

“Project ideas came from every corner of Illinois. The governor gathered ideas as he witnessed the need with his own eyes and from listening to residents as he traveled the state, even before he was elected the state’s chief executive,” Governor’s Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Carol Knowles said.

Before his ousting last year amid a sweeping federal corruption probe centering on the ComEd bribery scandal, Madigan played a principal role in deciding which state projects received “leadership addition” funds.

Read more here.

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Drivers Services

Don’t expect to get to the Secretary of State’s office to conduct business in person until Jan. 24.

The agency said it is continuing to stay closed over concerns of COVID-19, while some services are available online.

Secretary of State Jesse White announced before the new year that Illinois driver services facilities would be closed for two weeks because of increased COVID-19 cases. Offices were set to reopen to the public on Jan. 17.

“After careful consideration and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to extend the closures of offices and Driver Services facilities an additional week, with a reopening date set for Monday, Jan. 24,” White said Thursday. “The health and safety of employees and the public remains my top priority, and face-to-face transactions potentially increase the further spread of the virus.”

Read on here.

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Darch curious-questions-logo


Despite increasing pressure from residents who want him to take a stand against Cook County’s proof-of-vaccination mandate for restaurants, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes said he and village officials are leaving enforcement up to the county and decisions about compliance to individual businesses.

“What we’re doing, like many other communities are doing, is leaving it up to our businesses, because they are the ones who are going to be cited and fined and perhaps shut down if they don’t comply,” Hayes said. “But I believe in freedom of choice and freedom of businesses operating their businesses as they see fit. They should be the ones to decide whether or not they comply or how they comply and take the risk if they don’t comply.

“We’re taking a very measured and balanced approach that is consistent with what most other communities are doing in the Chicagoland area.”

Hayes made the comments during an at-times testy village board committee meeting Monday night, when about 50 people, some holding signs, encouraged the mayor and trustees to defy the county health department order. It requires people 5 and older to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter restaurants, bars, movie theaters, fitness clubs, concert halls and other entertainment venues serving food.

Casey Deja, one of eight speakers during the board’s public comment period, expressed frustration with not being able to visit local businesses or participate in athletic and recreational activities. Deja said she is not comfortable getting vaccinated because she has a history of blood clots.

“We can’t take our kids to eat. We can’t take them to the movies. We can’t take them bowling. I had to quit my volleyball league. I can’t go to the gym. I can’t take my kids to open gym that the coaches are telling them to go do. How do you explain that to a 9- and 10-year-old?” Deja said. “To think this is a minor inconvenience for us is fine. I’m more worried about what we’re teaching our children — that the vaccinated are entitled to freedoms but the unvaccinated are not?”

Read on here.

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“The winter heating season is now in full swing. As temperatures drop, our level of commitment to provide superior service continues.

As a nation, our daily lives have been affected due to a global pandemic that also has increased the demand for natural gas, which affects supply and ultimately cost. As a regulated utility, Nicor Gas does not profit from the sale of natural gas; the price we pay for gas is passed on to our customers without markup.

We understand that the increasing market price for natural gas is higher than those historically, which is why we continue to offer multiple ways to support our customers now and into the future.

This year, we will remain extremely focused on customer education to ensure awareness of available resources. Energy saving tips, programs and services are just a few ways we can help.

Visit nicorgas.com/residential/ways-to-save for more information.

Thank you for being a valued customer.”

Related:Check your natural gas bill lately? Why they’re soaring this winter

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MM State House

State Rep. Martin McLaughlin (R-Barrington Hills) argues Gov. J.B. Pritzker still has much to learn when it comes to getting a handle on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and it starts with seeking other perspectives.

“At a time of crisis, I believe true leaders ask for more input from their Council, their commissioners and legislators and not less,” McLaughlin, who served as Barrington Hills’ village president up until assuming his seat in Springfield last year, said at a recent news conference on the issue. “We stayed open throughout the COVID crisis without incident using common-sense safety measures. As a mayor, I had a unique perspective of witnessing firsthand exactly how the viruses and the mandates were affecting local businesses.”

McLaughlin argues Pritzker’s new COVID-19 proof-of-vaccine requirements for businesses and park districts across state demonstrate his ignorance.

“I have been fervently advocating for common sense and local control since May of 2020,” he said. “As mayor in my town I was offered the same emergency, unilateral control opportunity from legal counsel, but I rejected it.”

Across Cook County, the proof-of-vaccine rule will apply to everyone age 5 and older and include such establishments as restaurants, bars, gyms and other venues like sports and entertainment arenas, NBC5 reported.

McLaughlin argues it only serves to increase suffering for many Illinois residents.

“The executive mandate from the county forced our citizens to stay within their homes, out of our schools, out of our places of worship and closed an assortment of businesses,” he said. However, big box stores were allowed to remain open with record profits while devastating our main-street businesses in our community. As we enter 2022, the mayor of Chicago, the Board President of Cook County and Gov. Pritzker continue unconstitutional use of these mandates on private citizens.”

Read more here.

Related:Citing vaccine mandate, Bob Chinn’s Crab House to pause operations for a month in Wheeling

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NicorIf you’re a natural gas consumer who hasn’t checked your latest bill, prepare for a shock: It may be considerably higher than you expect.

This month, Nicor Gas customers will pay more than twice as much as in the same month last year. People’s Gas bills will be up by 92%, while North Shore Gas customers will see a 41% hike.

In other parts of the state, bills will jump as much as 206%, according to the Citizens Utility Board.

Consumer advocates warn customers may pay hundreds of additional dollars to heat their homes this winter. Citizens Utility Board spokesman Jim Chilsen said he worries the natural gas price spike could force some families to decide between paying rent or paying utility bills.

“Based on today’s rates and assuming the current monthly gas supply costs remain the same in February and March,” a typical residential customer who uses approximately 825 therms from November through March will pay about $770, said Nicor Gas spokeswoman Jennifer Golz.

Several factors contributed to higher bills, according to Chilsen and Golz. Among them are a surge in demand that accompanied the pandemic recovery, the impact of Hurricane Ida on gas production in the Gulf Coast, and severe storms last February that froze natural gas pipelines in Texas, thereby reducing the supply.

Chilsen also blames Nicor for “unreasonably aggressive spending.”

Read more here.

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BOT 1.7.22

The Board of Trustees will be holding a special meeting this afternoon at 3:00 PM.  Topics for discussion and vote include:

  • [Vote] Remote Participation Rules
  • [Vote] Resolution Opposing Cook County’s Newly Enacted Covid-19 Mandate
    Resolution 22 –
  • [Vote] Provide Advice and Consent, and to Approve the President’s Appointment of Darby Hills to Fill the Unexpired Term of Trustee Debra Buettner, Whose Death Created a Vacancy in the Office of Village Trustee

A copy of the agenda can be viewed and saved here.

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Barrington Village President Karen Darch is pictured here at the intersection of Main and Hough Streets in the center of downtown Barrington. Restaurants behind her, such as Egg Harbor, Shakou, Neoteca, etc., are now required to ask patrons for written proof of vaccination since they are in Cook County. In Lake County, where she is pictured standing, eateries such as Chessie’s, Ciao Baby, PL8, etc., have no such requirement.

Waukegan, North Chicago, Buffalo Grove and Barrington have no plans to join Highland Park as Lake County’s only municipality so far to require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to dine in restaurants, while Deerfield takes a wait-and-see attitude.

The five municipalities reached their conclusions by Monday after their legislative governing bodies achieved a consensus on a course of action, either through formal or informal means, in the wake of Highland Park’s decision Wednesday to implement a mandate effective this Friday.

Highland Park acted after the city of Chicago and Cook County required restaurants, bars and fitness centers in late December to limit service to patrons who are fully vaccinated. The Chicago and Cook County mandates were effective Monday.

Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor and North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham, Jr., talked to their cities’ aldermen before scheduled meetings Monday and received a consensus there was little or no interest in a mandate requiring diners to show proof of vaccination.

Taylor said after Waukegan’s City Council meeting Monday she talked to the city’s aldermen and heard little interest in imposing a mandate on bars and restaurants. The feeling was it would be too much of a burden on those who have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Barrington Village Manager Scott Anderson said in an email, throughout the pandemic the village has assumed the role of lead communicator sharing information with its residents about ways to remain safe during the pandemic and assure a continuity of services. That will not change.

“The village will not be shifting its primary objectives to the community nor will it seek additional authority to intervene in the operation of local businesses,” he said in the email.

Read more here.

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Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Commissioner Ken Meyer Tuesday talks about the vaccine mandate. Separately, state Reps Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, Chris Bos, R-Lake Zurich, and Marty McLaughlin, R-Barrington Hills, criticize the mandate.

Republican state lawmakers are demanding an end to Cook County requiring businesses to deny indoor accommodations to anyone over 5 years old who doesn’t reveal their vaccine status.

Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Commissioner Ken Meyer on Tuesday said they’ll enforce the mandate that went into effect this week.

“BACP will investigate complaints received through Chicago’s 3-1-1 system,” Meyer said at a news conference.

The mandate requires businesses with indoor dining, gym service or indoor entertainment to deny service to anyone 5 years old or older who does not show they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

The mandate is expected to mean large swaths of the population won’t be allowed to dine indoors, go to a gym or take in indoor entertainment.

Republicans demanded to see the science and data supporting the mandate. A spokesperson for Cook County didn’t immediately respond with such information.

State Rep. Marty McLaughlin, R-Barrington Hills, has businesses in suburban Cook County that want to speak out, but fear retaliation.

“I find it reprehensible that you need less information to vote or enter the country, it seems, than to go to a local pancake restaurant in Cook County,” McLaughlin said. “I’ve had enough frankly of elected officials acting as part-time epidemiologist telling us ‘it’s either vaccine or ventilator.’”

McLaughlin said he’s not anti-vaccine, but wants there to be attention on therapeutics too. He also said the mandate makes no sense.

“We need to live with this virus and any future virus in a better way,” McLaughlin said. “A person can have vaccination status, be COVID positive, and go into any of those establishments. How does that make any sense at all?”

Read more and watch the video here.

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