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Biden MCC

President Joe Biden promised jobs and better access to education in an appeal that may resonate with suburban swing voters during a historic trip to McHenry County College.

“America is back,” Biden said Wednesday, promising to fund transportation through an infrastructure package that faces opposition in Congress.

“Think how life will be when it’s quicker to drive on Randall Road,” Biden quipped, singling out a local traffic hot spot.

It’s the president’s first visit to Illinois since his inauguration and he picked a county where a majority backed former President Donald Trump in 2020.

And, outside the college, along Route 14 in Crystal Lake, a large crowd of Trump supporters gathered with flags and banners to rail against Biden.

“I think everything they’re (Biden administration) doing is harmful to our nation right now,” Crystal Lake resident Fred Bock told the Northwest Herald.

McHenry Board Chairman Michael Buehler, a Republican, said it was “exciting” that Biden picked the county. “It makes sense. McHenry County really exemplifies the best of the best Illinois has to offer.”

Other local Republicans weren’t impressed.

State Rep. Martin McLaughlin of Barrington Hills, who was not at Wednesday’s event, said that “over and over, more empty promises are coming from political elites passing more unrestricted spending programs that barely if ever accomplish what they promise.”

Read more here.

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Biden

President Joe Biden will visit the northwestern suburb of Crystal Lake next week, a White House official told NBC 5.

Seth Schuster, a regional communications director at the White House, confirmed the visit, but didn’t provide details, including a reason for the trip or where exactly the president would stop.

The president has made two other recent visits in the Midwest.

Biden traveled to Traverse City, Michigan Saturday as part of an effort to highlight the nation’s progress against COVID-19 and promote the infrastructure plan he negotiated with a group of senators. Last week, the president toured a La Crosse, Wisconsin transit facility and delivered remarks on the infrastructure deal.

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DL

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced Monday that expiration dates for driver’s licenses and ID cards have been extended an additional five months, from Aug. 1, 2021, to Jan. 1, 2022.

The new Jan. 1, 2022 extension also includes expiration dates that will occur between July and December of this year. As a result, expired driver’s licenses and ID cards will remain valid until Jan. 1, 2022, so customers do not need to rush into Driver Services facilities, especially during hot weather. This extension does not apply to commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and CDL learner’s permits.

“Extending expiration dates until January 1, 2022, means people with an expired driver’s license or ID card do not need to rush into a Driver Services facility immediately,” White said in a statement. “During hot weather, I would suggest residents consider delaying visits to Driver Services facilities. But if you must visit a facility, please come prepared to wait outside due to continued social distancing efforts, which limits the number of people inside a facility at one time. We are allowing more people in the facilities at one time due to relaxed protocols.”

White noted that Senate Bill 2232, which Governor Pritzker signed into law Friday and had passed the House and Senate by overwhelming margins, authorizes the Secretary of State’s office to extend driver’s license and ID card expiration dates to Jan. 1, 2022. Senate Bill 2232 was sponsored by state Sen. Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) and state Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg).

White continues to urge the public to consider using online services when possible instead of visiting a facility due to heavy customer volume. White has greatly expanded online services and encourages the public to visit his office’s website at www.cyberdriveillinois.com. Many transactions can be conducted online, including the purchase of license plate stickers, obtaining a duplicate driver’s license or ID card, and renewing driver’s licenses and ID cards, including Real IDs, for those who are eligible.

Read more here.

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53 Greenway

First came the Illinois Prairie Path, one of the first rail-to-trail conversions in the United States. Later, The 606 trail in Chicago attracted crowds of bikers and runners and led to skyrocketing nearby property values. Now, a group of conservationists and elected officials in Lake County are pushing to turn a former proposed tollway corridor into a greenway — a trail through a long, narrow nature preserve.

Illinois lawmakers recently approved a resolution calling for a task force to study alternate uses for the proposed extension of Illinois Route 53 in the northwest suburbs. The effort picks up where Illinois tollway officials left off in 2019 when they dropped plans for the road.

Believers in the project cite it as an example of a popular trend away from highways and greenhouse gas emissions, and toward preservation of natural areas. Critics see it as a boondoggle for a relatively small number of people, rather than a project that could have served 100,000 drivers a day and spurred economic development.

While Republicans traditionally have supported road projects, the resolution passed unanimously in both chambers, suggesting growing bipartisan support for nature paths.

“These become beloved spaces where diverse residents, young and old, flock to get fresh air, walk, bike, and share a moment with each other,” said Gerald Adelmann, president and CEO of the nonprofit Openlands conservation group. “This is our moment to create that kind of legacy for our communities.”

Road builders see it differently. Mike Sturino, president of the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, cited widespread past support for the expressway.

“The majority of working people suffer when you pull the plug on needed infrastructure,” Sturino said. “I like bike lanes, but we have to be realistic. It’s shocking when respectable officials are browbeaten by a radical fringe to go along with this reckless move.”

Read more here.

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Masks JBP

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced June 10 that Illinois will move to a full reopening on June 11, but mask mandates and social distancing will remain a mainstay in Illinois schools.

Pritzker said it is critical that schools and day cares use and layer prevention strategies. The two most important ones are universal and correct use of masks, and physical distancing, which he said should be maximized to the greatest extent possible.

Pritzker has enforced COVID-19 mandates by issuing 18 disaster proclamations, a practice that is now under fire from some state lawmakers.

“We are operating and moving down a dangerous path if we allow governors either today or in the future to declare emergency declarations as long as they want without input from the General Assembly,” state Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-St. Charles, said.

Ugaste has House Bill 843 that would amend the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act to require the governor to get legislative approval of consecutive disaster proclamations.

State lawmakers are also examining other COVID-19 fallout, including failings by the Illinois Department of Employment Security and their offices remaining closed, millions spent on hospital leases that were rarely or never used, and the severe backlog of Firearm Owners’ Identifications that doubled in the past 18 months.

Read more here.

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BCFD

Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District broke ground on a $5 million fire station at 1004 S. Hough St.

Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District broke ground in late May for a new Fire Station 39 — the district’s third fire station — at 1004 S. Hough St. in an unincorporated area near the village.

Fire Station 39, at a cost of $5 million, will be the district’s third fire station. Officials said it will allow the district to respond to more than 90% of all emergency calls in six minutes or less.

“Today is a very exciting and important day; one that is seven years in the making,” Fire Chief Jim Kreher said.

The station is slated to be funded by reserves, though there has been some discussion about possibly financing a portion of the project — all without a tax rate increase, officials said. The station also will help reduce insurance premiums for some property owners, particularly in the eastern section of the district, officials said.

The project includes the work of Chicago-based Studio 222 Architects and Pepper Construction (of course) of Lake Zurich.

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JB GerrymanderingThis decade’s redistricting process in Illinois has been marked by stumbles and self-serving partisanship.

The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the Census Bureau from providing the detailed count of populations needed to accurately apportion districts of equal population, as required by the state and federal constitutions. But the Illinois General Assembly went ahead anyway, drawing predictably partisan maps.

Despite his repeated promises to veto any partisan maps, on June 4 Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed both the gerrymandered legislative and judicial maps lawmakers sent to his desk.

Legislative map

The Illinois Constitution establishes deadlines for the General Assembly to pass a plan for redistricting their own districts. Members must pass a plan by June 30, or the responsibility is delegated to a bipartisan commission made of four Democrats and four Republicans.

If that commission cannot approve a map with five votes by Aug. 10, a tie-breaking ninth member is chosen at random from the names of one Democrat and one Republican by Sept. 5. The expanded commission then has until Oct. 5 to file a redistricting plan approved by five members.

With the complete census numbers delayed until mid-to-late August and the tabulated numbers not available until the end of September, Illinois Democrats are left with a choice: draw the maps in the General Assembly without the complete census data, or let constitutional deadlines pass and send the redistricting responsibility to a bipartisan backup commission, and ultimately to a 50-50 chance of a Republican tiebreaker. The Democrats chose to use incomplete data.

Democrats in the General Assembly revealed their proposed maps after working behind closed doors. According to public hearings held on those maps, in lieu of complete census data Democrats used data from the 2019 American Community Survey. Those estimates are based on surveys of communities over the course of five years.

Read much more here.

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SAPS

After nearly 17,000 Illinois parents opposed a bill to impose state health mandates on private schools, and state lawmakers let the effort sit, it seemed the fight was over. Not quite. A teachers union lead lobbyist pledged to keep pursuing it. (Photo courtesy St. Anne Parish School)

Nearly 17,000 Illinoisans made it clear they did not want over-reaching state health rules governing their private and public schools, and state lawmakers appeared to listen as they left the union-backed House Bill 2789 on hold as they adjourned.

Now a top teacher union lobbyist is promising the bill created by the Illinois Education Association will return as a priority.

“Unfortunately, due to a very, very well coordinated misinformation campaign, House Bill 2789 did in fact stall,” Sean Denny, IEA director of government relations, said in a video. “However, I want to assure everyone that we are going to continue pushing that issue. We’re going to continue pushing it during veto session in November and December.”

The bill would require the Illinois Department of Public Health to set rules for in-person instruction at public as well as at private schools. State rules would govern masks, cleaning, occupancy, social distancing and handling of positive cases. It would give the state the power to shut down private as well as public schools, taking away the local health department control used during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Private schools were able to safely keep students in classrooms during the pandemic while many teachers unions fought to keep public schools closed. Opponents saw HB 2789 as a power play by public unions and as punishment for schools that had served parents and students well through a global pandemic. Plus, the proposed rules defied direct guidance from federal health officials who said young students rarely transmitted the virus when proper protocols were in place.

“The end result of this language is that private schools could have any of their facilities shut down by state authorities,” said state Sen. Donald DeWitte, R-West Dundee. “My private schools had a stellar record, many even stayed open. I’d hate to compare that record with the public schools – many of whom told me they had no guidance at all.”

Read more from Illinois Policy here.

Related:St. Anne Parish School in Barrington welcomes students back to their classrooms,” “Temperature scans, symptom checks welcome Saint Viator students back to school

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Village HallThe Village Finance Committee meets today at 1 PM.  Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • Discussion & Recommendation to Board of 2020 Audit Report
  • Required Communication Letters
  • Elected Officials’ Guides
  • Four moth review – Treasurer’s report

A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

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FAA

A rendering of the new Global Terminal at O’Hare International Airport, expected to be completed by 2028. It will replace Terminal 2.

The Federal Aviation Administration is scrutinizing Chicago’s monumental plan to build a new global terminal at O’Hare International Airport, punch a hole in its west side and add two new concourses.

The review will assess whether the proposal is likely to significantly affect the environment — and you have an opportunity to chime in. Comments from the public are being accepted now through July 9.

The result could trigger a more detailed environmental impact statement or the FAA could conclude there’s no significant issues.

Known as the Airport Terminal Project, its blockbuster feature is a $2.2 billion Global Terminal that will accommodate domestic and international airlines with customs and immigration services. The billowy, Y-shaped design, created by a team led by Chicago architect Jeanne Gang, incorporates glass, wood and steel and will be twice the size of Terminal 2, which it’s replacing.

A tunnel will connect the Global Terminal to two concourses on the west side of the airport, intended to be double the size of existing ones and able to fit wide- bodied planes. Overall, the construction should add 22 gates to O’Hare with the airport’s capacity expected to increase by 25% to 100 million passengers by 2026.

Also included are two new hotels, one at Terminal 5 and a second to be built as a multiuse complex off Mannheim Road.

Read more here.

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