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Archive for the ‘McHenry’ Category

Tom Wilbeck

District 1

Voters in the McHenry County Board’s District 1, which includes parts of Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake, Barrington Hills, Cary and Fox River Grove, have the choice between three candidates to fill two board seats at stake in the Nov. 3 election.

Incumbent Republicans Tom Wilbeck and Yvonne M. Barnes face a challenge from Democrat Theresa Meshes.

We endorse Wilbeck of Barrington Hills and Barnes of Cary. Both candidates have proved knowledgeable on the county’s issues. Wilbeck and Barnes also have residents’ best interests in mind and support reducing property taxes. Wilbeck is adamant about balancing revenues and expenditures, while Barnes offers a solid plan moving forward with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more here.

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Tom Wilbeck

Some candidates for the McHenry County Board pushed for body cameras for the sheriff’s office, arguing they would help protect officers as well as residents, but others appeared hesitant because of the capital cost of such an endeavor.

This discussion was part of an endorsement interview last week facilitated by the editorial boards of the Northwest Herald and the Daily Herald. The Northwest Herald will be publishing additional stories in the days to come, laying out the background and positions of candidates across county, state and federal races.

The McHenry County Board is made up of 24 members representing six districts. Voters this fall will be tasked with picking two candidates for the district where they live. Half of the county board’s seats are open this election year.

District 1 — in the southeastern corner of McHenry County and includes all or parts of Huntley, Algonquin, Barrington Hills, Trout Valley, Fox River Grove and Cary — is represented by Tom Wilbeck, a Republican from Barrington Hills, and Yvonne Barnes, a Republican from Cary. Democrat Theresa Meshes also is running in the district.

Wilbeck told the editorial boards Thursday he believes in small government and saving taxpayers money. Barnes and Meshes did not participate in the interview.

Read more here.

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The Barrington Hills portion of the District 300 attendance boundary is outlined above.

Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300 leaders have reversed an earlier plan to reopen schools for in-person instruction and instead will start the school year Aug. 17 with fully remote learning due a rise in COVID-19 cases in Kane County.

Originally, officials had hoped to bring back elementary and middle school students to a normal five-day schedule with some modifications while high schools followed a hybrid model.

Evolving guidance from state education and health officials and an increase in COVID-19 cases across the region forced the district to reevaluate in-person instruction.

For now, the district plans to be in remote learning mode for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade through the first quarter, which ends Oct. 9.

Read more here.

Editorial note: Make no mistake, District 220 and now District 300’s decisions in less than 24 hours to scrap their plans for some classroom education this fall are primarily union driven.

 

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(Click on image to enlarge)

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks sent a letter to Algonquin Township officials on Thursday calling for a referendum on the elimination of the township to be added to the Nov. 3 ballot.

According to the letter, the next meeting of the township’s board of trustees falls just five days before the Aug. 17 deadline for local governmental entities to add referenda to the November ballot.

“I firmly believe that taxpayers should have the ultimate say to choose how they are governed – or in the case of township government, whether it is still needed in the 21st century,” Franks said in a news release sent out Thursday.

In response, Algonquin Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow said Franks could have taken it upon himself to petition to get a referendum on the November ballot if he felt strongly about it.

“He had months to get this on the ballot, all you have to do is get some signatures,” Lutzow said Thursday, remarking that the request seemed a bit last-minute.

Read more 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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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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Illinois has been divided into four different regions that can progress through the phases of reopening the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders in DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties argue their communities should not be on the same timeline as suburban Cook County and the city of Chicago.

A push intensified Tuesday to let the collar counties progress separately from Cook and Chicago toward Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 bench marks for reopening the economy.

Leaders representing DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties called on Pritzker to remove their areas from the Northeast region under the Restore Illinois plan, which also includes Cook, Grundy, Lake, Kankakee, Kendall and Will counties.

County leaders, mayors and at least one state representative say the coronavirus situation in their communities is much different from what it is in Cook County and Chicago, where the high concentrations of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have occurred.

Read more here.

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New report shows potential impact of reduced property, sales and income tax revenue on county

McHenry County is projected to see upwards of $22 million in lost revenue for fiscal 2020 because of COVID-19-related shutdowns, according to a May 5 report from the county’s Director of Finance Kevin Bueso.

The report gives projections based on four different COVID-19 recovery scenarios which range from $6.9 million in revenue losses up to $22.1 million.

These projections are based off of the impact that COVID-19 shutdowns have had – and will continue to have – on property taxes, motor fuel taxes, sales taxes, income taxes and other economically sensitive revenue items that the county depends on.

Currently, 66% of the county’s revenue comes from 20 sources, which are sensitive to disruptions in economic activity, such as a global pandemic, according to the report.

Read more here.

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McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks sent a news release Friday requesting the state of Illinois move McHenry County into another “health region” in the governor’s Restore Illinois plan to allow its business and commerce to open sooner.

The Restore Illinois plan, a road map with five phases designed to gradually bring the state out of quarantine, was announced by Gov. JB Pritzker during a news conference Tuesday.

It divides Illinois into four regions where commerce, schools and other functions can slowly be allowed to reopen as the COVID-19 pandemic threat subsides.

McHenry County is in the northeast region, according to these guidelines, which includes Cook and the collar counties.

Franks said McHenry County’s “much lower number of infections and deaths” makes it a better fit for the neighboring region, which encompasses 27 counties in northwestern and central Illinois.

Read more here.

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JB Pritzker’s ten-page plan of, “A Public Health Approach To Safely Reopen Our State,” can be viewed and downloaded here.

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