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Infusion of party resources fails to bring big blue wave as Republicans relish results

(Click on image to enlarge)

Illinois Democrats and their financial backers spent big – much more than Republicans – on races for statehouse districts that include portions of McHenry County in this month’s election, but ultimately failed to flip more than one area seat.

“I think this election showed a lot of the electorate agreed with Republican values and policies, and we don’t necessarily have to spend as much if we’re strong on the policy,” McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Tyler Wilke said.

Despite Republican campaigns being at a huge fundraising disadvantage to Democrats in the three races for the statehouse seats representing the southeast corner of McHenry County, the GOP still put in more effort to hang onto those three local state offices than it has in the past, McHenry County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristina Zahorik said.

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Republican Martin McLaughlin, who handily won election to the District 52 seat over Democratic challenger Marci Suelzer and Green Party candidate Alia Sarfraz, said he thinks the varied geography of his supporters shows there is a conservative tilt among voters in the region visible across jurisdictional boundaries.

McLaughlin earned more votes than Suelzer in each of the four counties – McHenry, Lake, Cook and Kane – that make up his district.

“That’s a good sign that our message cut across the main street communities in the 52nd (House District) and the bedroom communities, and all different kinds of economic and social metrics,” McLaughlin said.

Read more here.

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Suburban voters already have reportedly cast more than 266,000 early or mail-in ballots ahead of the Nov. 3rd presidential election, with early voting slated to expand across the region starting today.

County clerks are ramping up early voting today, with 17 sites available in Lake County, 11 in McHenry and more than 50 in suburban Cook. Kane County offers seven permanent early voting sites, eight alternative sites and various mobile locations starting today through Oct. 28th.

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This week, all driveways throughout the project were completed, all traffic signals and traffic signal electrical work was completed and sections of curb and gutter and sidewalk were placed on Hart Road and US Route 14.  

On Monday, August 17, 2020, the traffic signals at US Route 14 and Hart Road will be activated at 10:00 am. Please be prepared for traffic delays between 9:00 am and noon, as the traffic signals are being tested and activated. Also on Monday August 17, 2020, the detour for South Hart Road will be removed.  It should be noted that the existing detour for North Hart Road will remain in place. 

Next week work will begin on the retaining wall at the NE corner of Hart and US Route 14, landscaping will be occurring throughout the project and relocation of the sanitary force main on the North side of US Route 14 will begin.

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Lake Zurich Unit School District 95 borders Barrington CUSD 220 as seen on the map above (click to enlarge).

About two-thirds of students in Lake Zurich Unit School District 95 will spend at least part of their time in classrooms this fall, according to district officials working to develop safety precautions before school begins.

The school board last week unanimously approved plans that give parents the option to choose either at-home learning or a hybrid of in-person and at-home learning.

Jean Malek, the district’s director of communications, said about 32% of students overall selected full e-learning. Malek said 35% of elementary school students, 32% of middle school students and 28% of high school students will attend all classes electronically.

To allow time for school officials to create schedules, assign staffing and determine transportation routes, parents had until the end of July to decide.

Regardless of choice, e-learning classes are scheduled to begin for every student in the district on Aug. 24, with the beginning of in-person classes staggered by grade level. In-person start dates are: special education on Aug. 24, kindergarten through second grade on Sept. 8, third through sixth on Sept. 14, seventh through ninth on Sept. 28, and high school sophomores through seniors on Oct. 5.

In the time since the school board decided to offer a hybrid model, some of the biggest school districts in the state — including Chicago Public Schools and U-46 — have elected to conduct classes remotely. Nearby districts such as Barrington Area Unit District 220 and Round Lake Area Unit District 116 both will start the year with remote learning only.

Read more from the Daily Herald here.

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Though not on their agenda, our Board of Trustees had a general discussion and provided updates on the “InZone” topic at their July meeting. We found the information enlightening, and we encourage residents to take less than ten minutes to listen in on some history and where things stood last week in the matter.

The link to the recording of their discussion can be accessed here.

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After complaints from some suburban and downstate officials seeking greater local control in fighting the coronavirus, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday said he would divide Illinois into smaller regions under his reopening plan, separating Chicago and suburban Cook County from other areas not hit as hard by the pandemic.

The governor’s move comes as the state reported another 1,187 coronavirus cases and eight additional deaths from COVID-19. It’s the fourth time this month that the daily caseload has topped the 1,000 mark. The rolling seven-day positivity rate – the percent of positive cases among those newly tested – also crept up to 3.1%, from 2.6% less than a week ago.

The newly reshuffled reopening plan is based on the 11 regions in the state’s Emergency Medical Service regions that are used by state public health officials. Chicago’s collar counties will also be divided into three separate regions under the governor’s updated plan.

The Chicago Democrat cast the retooling as part of a “a more granular approach in this phase of the response to COVID-19.”

Pritzker said the new, smaller regions will give the state more flexibility to combat coronavirus if a locality experiences an outbreak, “to carefully, but deliberately — depending on the severity of the situation — control the spread of the virus while continuing to allow a region to be open to the greatest extent possible.”

Read more here.

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On Monday night, CBS Chicago reported a story that included audio and text stating the following:

“Over 20 acres of tree-lined property nestled in affluent Barrington Hills feature tennis courts and a sprawling home purchased by Terrance Wallace, the InZone Project founder.” (InZone Project Founder Says He’s Been Hit With Red Tape In Efforts To Bring Black And Brown Boys From Chicago To Live In Barrington Hills Mansion.)

There is no recorded public record of a recent sale of the property on 541 Merri Oaks Road. Public records do indicate that the property is currently owned by a Trust and has been under the ownership of the Trust or related parties since 2002.

Public records indicate that 2019 Real Estate Taxes were approximately $32,000, down from approximately $50,000 for 2018, and in both years, a homeowner’s exemption of $6,000 was taken. (Note: To take a general homestead exemption in Lake County, IL, the Property must be the principal residence of the owner as of the first of the year in which the exemption is claimed and this exemption can only be received on one property.)

If Mr. Wallace has other financial arrangements with the owner, it is not available in public records we can find.

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Restoration efforts known as the Barrington Greenway Initiative in a 14,000-acre area covering portions of Cook, Lake and McHenry counties could get a boost through a pending agreement between seven agencies, including the Cook and Lake county forest preserve districts. The Cuba Marsh is among the preserves that would be expected to benefit from a new agreement meant to speed restoration and preservation efforts in areas covered by the Barrington Greenway Initiative. (Daily Herald File Photo, 2018)

You may have visited forest preserves in southwestern Lake County, northwestern Cook County or a conservation area in southeast McHenry County for a calming respite from the din of daily life.

Cuba Marsh, Spring Lake and Silver Creek in those respective geographic areas, for example, provide different experiences and getaway opportunities.

What you may not know is those and other protected areas in the region all are pieces of a much larger whole known as the Barrington Greenway Initiative.

Now seven agencies, including the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Lake County Forest Preserve District and McHenry County Conservation District, are working on an agreement to speed up restoration of more than 14,000 acres of prairies, oak savannas, wetlands and woodlands that comprise the Greenway.

Read more here.

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One of four Lake County coyote pups who survived last week’s storms is recovering and in the care of Barrington’s Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation. (Courtesy of Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation)

Four coyote pups caught in a deluge that nearly drowned them in their own den owe their lives to compassionate wildlife lovers with sharp ears and ties to Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in Barrington.

In the wake of last week’s thunderstorms, a Waukegan Township employee heard animal cries near a building on township property and went to investigate, said Flint Creek founder and director Dawn Keller. Discovering two coyote pups, he recalled another employee mentioning that an adult coyote had been struck and killed by a car several days earlier, Keller said.

The employee rescued two pups and called Illinois’ Department of Natural Resources, which referred him to Flint Creek, an all-volunteer rehabilitation center. A Flint Creek volunteer then rescued a third pup from the collapsed den. He returned with the pup to the center, but Keller says they both had lingering concerns.

“I called (him) and said, ‘do you think there were more?'” she said to which he responded, “‘I know there were more.'”

Read more here.

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Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights and Hoffman Estates passed resolutions Monday calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to alter facets of the Restore Illinois plan in an effort to help businesses. “As I said, nobody’s looking to go rogue here,” Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz said. (Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, Feburary 2020)

Palatine, Arlington Heights and Hoffman Estates passed resolutions Monday calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to alter the Restore Illinois plan in an effort to help businesses.

“As I said, nobody’s looking to go rogue here,” Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz said. “This is not something we’re looking to do. … There is not one bit of interest in turning this into a political deal. We’re abiding by the governor’s orders. We’ve abided from the very beginning. That’s not going to change.”

However, in Wheeling, where the village board discussed the Restore Illinois plan but did not put a resolution up for a vote Monday night, Trustee Joseph Vito accused Pritzker of overstepping his authority and suggested suing the state — a move his colleagues did not support.

Vito also questioned Pritzker’s plan for not allowing for gatherings of more than 50 people until Phase 5, assuming a vaccine or viable treatment for COVID-19.

Read more here, but also ask yourself where has Karen Darch been recently?

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