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Archive for the ‘McHenry’ Category

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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McHenry County Board Chair Jack Franks

In an emergency meeting on Tuesday evening, McHenry County Board Members voted unanimously to approve an ordinance waiving late fees and interest accruement for the first installment of this year’s property taxes for a period of 90 days.

The ordinance was proposed by County Board Chairman Jack Franks as a way to provide economic relief to local businesses and homeowners amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Franks said in a statement at the beginning of the meeting.

With the passing of this bill, county residents may now pay property taxes anytime before Sept. 15, 90 days after the original deadline of June 15, without penalty.

However, the ordinance only applies to businesses and homeowners who pay their property taxes directly to the county, the resolution stated.

About 67 percent of county residents use an escrow account to pay property taxes monthly along with their mortgage payment, according to McHenry County Treasurer Glenda Miller. These residents will not be effected by the new ordinance.

Read more from the Northwest Herald here.

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Editorial note: According to the most recent data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, 28 people in all of zip code 60010 (population 46,350 in 2017) have tested positive.

Zip code 60010

Slightly more than 4% of the residents of suburban Cook County and the five collar counties who tested positive for the coronavirus have died.

Of the 11,745 people who contracted the disease in suburban Cook County and in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties, 473 have died as of Tuesday. That’s more than half the deaths statewide, according to the most recent data from health departments in each of those counties and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The suburban death rate from the virus is slightly higher than the state rate of 3.7%. However, less than 1% of the state’s population has been tested, and only about 20% of those tested are confirmed cases, according to IDPH figures.

Read the full Daily Herald story here.

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As social distancing concerns grow with the rising temperatures this spring, suburban forest preserve officials say they continue to monitor the size of crowds at their facilities but intend to keep most open to the public.

That could change quickly depending on public behavior.

Despite social media initiatives, ample signage and rangers walking the grounds, there have been cases where crowds needed to be dispersed at preserves. In some instances — such as with Rocky Glen Waterfall near Lemont and the Swallow Cliff Stairs near Palos Hills — sites were closed because of overcrowding.

“We may close more sites,” said Carl Vogel, director of communications for the Cook County Forest Preserve. “That’s absolutely a possibility. But we want people to follow the guidelines and help us keep the forest preserves open.”

Read more here.

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“Dear Barrington 220 Community,

First and foremost, I want to say thank you. On Tuesday, March 17 registered voters in the Barrington 220 community overwhelmingly passed a $147 million bond referendum, which will greatly impact the future of our schools.

According to preliminary results, the question was approved by voters with 63% yes votes and 37% no votes.

Especially at a time like this, when our nation and our community are facing unprecedented challenges, it is amazing to see the Barrington area stand behind our schools. Together we will get through this pandemic challenge and our community will be stronger than ever before.

This vote is the culmination of a three year community engagement process, which involved collaboration and feedback from parents, students, teachers, administrators, Board of Education members, community members, and architects, about the future of our schools. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, along with your community support at the polls, Barrington 220 will be able to:

  • Significantly enhance safety and security at every school
  • Better prepare our students for a successful future
  • Protect the community’s investment in our school buildings by repairing things like roofs, windows, electrical systems, plumbing systems, heating and air conditioning

We will soon begin working with our architects and engineers to develop detailed project plans and drawings. Construction will likely begin in Spring 2021 and will happen in phases over several years.

Thank you again for your support in making sure Barrington 220 remains a destination school district in the years to come.”

The 220 email can be viewed here.

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 received approval for its request to borrow $147 million for building projects, including safety and security upgrades at all its schools.

Unofficial results with nearly all votes counted from Tuesday’s election show 6,045 were in favor and 3,781 were opposed in Cook, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.

Officials said the $147 million will pay for basic projects, including upgrades to school safety and security, plumbing, electrical, roofing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris said the next move will be to hire a construction manager, architect and bond counsel to assisting in financing the work.

Read more here.

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