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bhpd-logo-2-2021The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening via Zoom at 7 PM. Some of the topics for discussion include:

  • Swearing in New Commissioners
  • Pickleball Court at Countryside School
  • Hanover Park Tennis Club use of tennis courts at Countryside School
  • Review of outdoor arena options and next steps

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here. Instructions for accessing the meeting can be found here.

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Darch

Barrington officials are ready to weigh in on the idea of Lake County allowing the sale of recreational cannabis in unincorporated parts of the county.

The Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to hold virtual public hearings April 19 and April 21 to provide information and gather feedback about the possibility of allowing recreational cannabis dispensaries in unincorporated areas, Barrington officials discussed during the April 5 Village Board Committee of the Whole meeting.

The county issued a one-year moratorium in February 2020 prohibiting all cannabis-related businesses in the county’s unincorporated areas. The temporary ban expired Feb. 10. – around the time discussions on the subject began again.

County board members approved a resolution at their Feb. 9 meeting to begin the public hearing process to get input on potential regulations to allow recreation use cannabis businesses, including growers, distributors and retail establishments in unincorporated Lake County – with certain restrictions, according to a recent news release.

Barrington Village President Karen Darch is not sure the county currently can allow cannabis dispensaries. However, “I know they say they want to talk about,” she said. There is a state bill pending that could allow it, she said.

She said the reason she brought up the issue at the Committee of the Whole meeting was to get trustees’ feedback on issuing a statement about the idea. Barrington’s zoning ordinances don’t allow recreational cannabis dispensaries, but the village is adjacent to unincorporated Lake County areas where the county could end up allowing those uses, Darch said.

Read more here.

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220 Board 2019

Members of the Barrington School District 220 Board of Education Barry Altshuler, from left, Mike Shackleton, Sandra Ficke-Bradford, President Penny Kazmier, Superintendent Brian Harris, Angela Wilcox, Gavin Newman and Leah Collister-Lazzari are pictured July 30, 2019. Shackleton, Ficke-Bradford, Kazmier and Newman were up for reelection in 2021. Kazmier and Newman did not run. Ficke-Braford unofficially retained her seat in the April 6, 2021 election while Shackleton did not. (Steve Sadin / Pioneer Press)

One incumbent and three others who would be new to the Barrington School District 220 Board of Education are emerging as top vote-getters in Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial results from the Cook, Lake and Kane county clerks’ offices.

The district, with its headquarters in Barrington, serves surrounding towns that are in part or all of each county. Also, a small portion of the district is in McHenry County but unofficial results do not include any totals from McHenry because of what the clerk’s office there called “some anomalies in [Tuesday’s] unofficial election results.”

The top four vote-getters include incumbent Sandra Ficke-Bradford, the current board vice president, with about 12% of the combined Lake and Cook county vote, and newcomers Erin Chan Ding, with about 13%, and Katie Karam and Steve Wang, both with about 12% of the vote, according to unofficial results from each county clerk’s office.

The race had been rancorous, with charges by the League of Women Voters and others of strong partisan involvement in what some expected to be a non-partisan race, and complaints by some parents and candidates over what they saw as unseemly endorsements from the Barrington Education Association teachers union. The union endorsed Ficke-Bradford, Chan Ding, Klauer, and Thomas Mitoraj.

Ficke-Bradford said she wasn’t sure if the BEA endorsement hurt or helped. Chan Ding said she thought the endorsement had little effect overall, but she found it personally affirming that the teachers group saw her as someone with whom they could work.

Read more of the Barrington Courier-Review report on the 220 election here.

Editorial note:  So far, the Daily Herald, Barrington Courier-Review/Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times or the Northwest Herald have not commented on what Alex Strobl shared with this and other publications last weekend.

Additionally, forty-five minutes of Tuesday evening’s Board of Education meeting were devoted to the topic (See “District 220 Board discusses Strobl documents”), so we’re really looking forward to their reports (though we’re not holding our breath).

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Helm

Christopher Castillo

A Carpentersville man is facing an animal cruelty charge after his family’s dog was found fatally stabbed in a forest preserve near Barrington Hills.

Christopher Castillo, 23, was charged last month with one count of aggravated animal cruelty, authorities said.

Kane County Forest Preserve Police Chief Mike Gilloffo said the charge stems from a March 25 incident.

Castillo told his parents he was taking the dog for a walk around 4:30 a.m., authorities said. When he did not return by 8 a.m., they reported him missing.

Gilloffo said the family found Castillo’s car, a piece of clothing and the wounded dog in the parking lot of Helm Woods Forest Preserve. One of the family members, assuming the dog was dead, took the animal home.

Police ended up taking the dog to a veterinary hospital, but it ultimately died, Gilloffo said.

Read more here.

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OBH Capture

As previously reported, Brian Cecola has likely won the race for Village President (See “Cecola headed for victory in Barrington Hills president race”).

Here are the unofficial results for Village Board of Trustees:

  • David Riff  445
  • Thomas W. Strauss 428
  • Laura S. Ekstrom 467
  • Robert M Zubak 366
  • Brent Joseph Burval 349
  • Paula Jacobsen 389

County totals are seen below:

Cook

Cook County

Kane

Kane County

Lake Results

Lake County

McHenry Resilts

McHenry County

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OBH 1

Spring just sprung, and many find ourselves in the biennial rite of Village elections season. It is recognizable from campaign signs dotting the countryside to complete strangers ringing the door or gate bell of our five-acre sanctuaries from masked humanity saying, “Howdy Neighbor,” causing you to wonder what unannounced circumstances you’re in for.

For the uninitiated, it will be an opportunity to meet a neighbor.  For others it represents something akin to an unsolicited sales pitch trying to convince you to vote a certain way.  If it’s the latter, you’re likely encountering a “special interest club” member.

Some of these club members can be the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  Others, however, might say anything to sway your vote, and we’ve heard a lot of the classics.  Either way, these club members manage to get eighty to ninety percent of their membership roster to the polls; thus, the reason for our request for all residents to take the time to vote. Here are our reasons:

  • Four years ago, at the height of the special interest club’s campaign frenzy, current Village President Marty McLaughlin tied for McHenry County votes against his competitor. His winning margin was only 65 votes.
  • In this same election, two special interest club members won by just three and four votes, and they’re both running again as a ticket, despite the fact one has missed a quarter of Board of Trustees meetings (a years’ worth).

Currently, the special interest club is fronting four of their Cook County members as candidates who would represent a majority of seats on our Village Board of Trustees.  We believe it important the county be mentioned since most of their interests in running is county centric, such as the revival of commercial horse boarding conflict and wanting to have more control of the Forest Preserve of Cook County’s Horizon Farms on top of the extensive trail system.

Leading this group is the current president of the Barrington Hills Park District who is running for Village President.  Transparency is not in his vocabulary, nor is fiscal responsibility or expense reduction.  In fact, our Park District has seen a 17% increase in levies under his watch, and three month ago he asked what the legal limit was for raising the 2021 levy prior to the required formal hearing – and he then approved that maximum raise.

Contrast that with the repeated seven levy decreases we’ve experienced along with many other financial benefits our village has experienced in eight years.  Benefits such as lower taxes, vastly improved roads, legal expenses that are a small fraction of what they were under the prior village president, just to name a few.

The way to continue the positive progress Barrington Hills has benefited from is to elect candidates with the values instilled by Martin McLaughlin and Colleen KonicekHannigan when they first took office eight years ago.

To accomplish that, all residents reading this need to make every effort possible to vote. We’re confident Brian Cecola is up for the challenge to serve as President as are David Riff, Tom Strauss and Laura Ekstrom to serve as Trustees. They not only have our endorsement, but also the endorsements of those with the highest regard of most residents; Marty McLaughlin and Colleen Konicek Hannigan.

So yes, if you want to continue the positive momentum we’ve enjoyed for eight years, please take the time to vote!

Early voting times and locations can be found here.

Related: We’ve Been Clubbed by Commercial Horse Boarding

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SB Land plan to build homes on 34 acres of vacant land in South Barrington got a cool reception from the village board Thursday.

The property being eyed for development is on the southeast corner of Route 59 and Bartlett Road and is owned by the South Barrington Park District. The land once was home to a tree nursery.

The park district bought the land years ago. But because of its topography and other factors, officials determined the land isn’t ideal for recreational activities and would require “significant funds” to develop, park district Executive Director Jay Morgan said.

Voters last year authorized the park district to put the property up for sale.

Burr Ridge-based McNaughton Development secured the land for more than $1.6 million in an auction last month, Morgan said. The company and the park district haven’t yet closed on the deal, however.

Trustees raised several concerns about the plan, however, particularly the proposed density of the neighborhood. The land now is zoned in such a way that 14 houses could be built there — far fewer than the developers proposed, Mayor Paula McCombie said afterward.

Read more here.

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SB AuctionThe South Barrington village board will hold a special meeting Thursday morning to hear a presentation about a possible new residential development in town.

The meeting is set for 10 AM at Village Hall, 30 S. Barrington Road.

McNaughton Development will lead the presentation, which concerns a roughly 34-acre, vacant piece of land at Route 59 and Bartlett Road that recently was recently put up for auction by the South Barrington Park District.

The company wants to build single-family homes there, a village representative said.

Related: “South Barrington auctioning 33.9816 acres near VBH Village Hall

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Increasing the estate tax would hurt family farms and businesses, drive wealth and investment out of Illinois. Most states are ending their ‘death taxes.’

Many states have moved away from taxing assets after people die because of the harm to family businesses and farms, but a new proposal before state lawmakers would double Illinois’ estate tax.

House Bill 3920 would hike the existing state tax on estates of over $4 million to 9.95% from 4.95%. Unlike neighboring Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Missouri, Illinois is one of just a dozen states that still have an estate or inheritance tax. Tax Foundation analyst Katherine Loughead noted, “The top marginal estate tax rate under this proposal would become the highest in the country at 21%.”

While the bill’s sponsors intend the extra revenues to be used to support Illinoisans with disabilities, hiking the estate tax would squeeze family farmers, reduce the accumulation of productive assets, encourage spendthrift behavior, fuel tax avoidance and evasion, and drive wealth to other states.

When someone dies, the federal government taxes the estate by up to 40%. Then Illinois piles onto that with more taxes of up to 16%.

The Tax Foundation notes the harm of estate taxes: “They disincentivize business investment and can drive high-net-worth individuals out of state. They also yield estate planning and tax avoidance strategies that are inefficient, not only for affected taxpayers, but for the economy at large. The handful of states that still impose them should consider eliminating them or at least conforming to federal exemption levels.”

Research shows higher estate tax rates increase efforts to avoid those taxes and reduce wealth accumulation. People employ more complex estate planning techniques that carry economic costs.

Read more from Illinois Policy here.

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OBH 1

The Barrington Hills Observer wholeheartedly endorses Brian Cecola for Village of Barrington Hills President, as well as David Riff, Tom Strauss and Laura Ekstrom for Village Trustees in the April 6th Consolidated Election.

Early voting starts this morning for the April 6, 2021 Consolidated Elections.  For information on where to cast your ballot between now and Election Day, click on your county below:

We’ll be publishing our official endorsements soon. In the meantime, feel free to use and share the sample ballot below noting our recommendations:

Sample Better

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