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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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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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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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Donlea Road Cook

Donlea Road runs from Old Sutton to County Line Roads in Cook County (Please click on image to enlarge)

The Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways has awarded Barrington Hills a $12,514 grant for a drainage study along Donlea Road between Butternut and County Line roads.

The funding will be used to conduct a study in partnership between the village and department of transportation to address the flooding challenges that previously have required the closure of Donlea Road, officials said.

The grant was one of four approved Thursday by the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Related:Cook County to investigate Donlea Road flooding problems

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The city of Chicago will begin issuing tickets to motorists who are speeding six to 10 mph over the speed limit in Automated Speed Enforcement zones starting Monday.

Fines will start at $35 for going 6 mph over the speed limit.

According to data released by the city, fatal crashes involving people in motor vehicles increased from 52 to 92 in 2020, which is a 77% increase.

The city says these deaths “reflect a national trend and have occurred at a time when, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer cars are on the road and traffic data shows cars are driving 9% faster on average.”

City officials say the goal is not to issue tickets (Really?), but rather to encourage safer driving behavior. Officials also hope to discourage speeding that is correlated with more severe injuries and deaths in traffic crashes.

Below is a compiled list of frequently asked questions about Chicago’s Automated Speed Enforcement zones:

  • How does the automated safety camera system work?
  • What are the Safety Zone times and speed limits?
  • Is there a warning period?
  • Where are cameras located?
  • How much is a ticket?
  • Can you contest an Automated Speed Enforcement violation?
  • What defenses are allowed for most speeding tickets?

For answers to these questions, click here.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s team announced last week it will enlist federal Disaster Survivor Assistance teams to help at COVID-19 vaccination sites in Cook and St. Clair counties. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency will give Cook County $49 million to help with vaccine distribution.

That’s entirely appropriate because so far, Illinois’ rollout of vaccinations has been flat-out disastrous.

It’s as if seniors across the region have had to come out of retirement to take on a new full-time job — tracking down the ever-elusive vaccine injection. They’re spending hours — and days — cold-calling potential vaccination sites and scrolling through the internet for injection appointments. Refresh. Refresh.

And how about these optics? At the same time elderly Illinoisans maddeningly scour their communities for a shot at a shot, Pritzker put state lawmakers at the front of the line. On Wednesday, members of the General Assembly were offered their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a state police facility in Springfield. One Tribune reader, Phillip Tutor of Schaumburg, wrote to us, “How about we have a law that no Illinois politician gets his or her COVID-19 vaccination until all Illinois residents get theirs? I then would bet that this vaccine rollout fiasco gets fixed in record time.”

The vaccine rollout in Illinois has been, well, as Tutor says, a “fiasco.” As of late last week, Illinois ranked 37th among states and D.C. in terms of rate of shots injected and that was actually an improvement. Of the vaccines it has received from the federal government, Illinois has injected 66.2% of those doses, which puts the state under the national average of 68%. As of late, distribution has been improving in Illinois, but the question remains: Why has Pritzker’s vaccine distribution management been so subpar, compared to other states? And why does he keep pretending it hasn’t been?

Read the full Chicago Tribune editorial here.

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Cook County property owners have two additional months — until May 3 — to pay the first installment of their property tax bills without a late fee, county Treasurer Maria Pappas said Monday.

The county board in November waived for two months the 1.5% per month late fee on all 2020 property taxes. Taxpayers can pay the first installment, due March 2, without a late fee through May 3. Late fees also will be waived for two months for the second installment, due later this year.

Tax bills should soon start arriving in the mailboxes of the owners of about 1.8 million homes, businesses and land, Pappas said.

Taxpayers should look at the front of the bill, where a section called “Taxing District Debt and Financial Data,” for information about each taxing district, including: money owed by your taxing districts; pension and health care amounts promised by your taxing districts; amount of pension and health care shortage; and percentage of pension and health care costs taxing districts are able to pay.

Read on here.

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The Spring Creek Stewards are back to doing what they do best – protecting and preserving our favorite forest preserve!

Nature Photography with Ken DeMuth

Many volunteers know Ken as a knowledgeable, dedicated naturalist with the Spring Creek Stewards. What you may not know, is that when Ken isn’t lopping buckthorn or pulling sweet clover, he’s busy honing his photography skills while hiking through Spring Creek Forest Preserve.

OK, his photos are regularly featured in this newsletter, so if you read the fine print this may not be news to you. As a recently certified IL Master Naturalist, Ken will be joined by his peers in leading a nature photography webinar next month. Get some insight on how to capture photos like the one below, featuring Healy Savanna on a Winter’s day. Spots are limited, so reserve yours today!

Nature’s Pixels, February 8th 6-7 PM on Zoom

Photography is both an art and an important tool for connecting with the natural world. Learn a few tricks of the trade from Illinois Extension Master Naturalists Marnie Baker, Kathy Branigan, and Ken DeMuth as they discuss mastering picture taking in Cook County’s nature. Register here.

Read more from This Week in Spring Creek here.

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