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The Village Equestrian Commission will meet for the first time this year at 6:30 PM at Village Hall. A copy of their agenda and minutes from their last meeting on August 13, 2019 can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Raccoons frolic at Jarvis Bird Sanctuary. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

Say you were to visit the lakefront.

You can’t, of course; the mayor closed the Chicago lakefront on March 26 to recreation, to promote social distancing and slow the spread of coronavirus. But say you could go, right now. What would you see there? What are you missing? Well, I can tell you, and Tribune photographer Jason Wambsgans, he can show you. He got an OK from the city to shoot our beloved stretch of recently-abandoned Chicago. And here’s what’s there:

Nothing. No one.

Just animals, a lot of birds, flora in bloom. Just nature, unimpeded. A steady stillness, a compelling absence of pace. Robins are not playing cards, coyotes have not formed book clubs. Yet raccoons, some waddle up to you in the afternoon. I watched a fish leap high out of a canal, twice, as if delirious with freedom, then splash back, hard and loud.

Read reporter Christopher Borrelli’s accounts of what some of us take for granted 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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The April 8th Barrington Hills Park Board Meeting will be held via video conferencing at 7:00 PM. A phone number and access code will be made available to the public 48 hours before the meeting for anyone wanting to observe or comment during the meeting.

The Park District will also take public comments by email or written submission and will read those comments at the public meeting.

Submit by email to: office@bhillsparkd.org

Mail to: BHPD, 364 Bateman Road, Barrington, IL 60010

 

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Cook County intends to keep most of its forest preserves open during the state’s stay-at-home order, but that could change quickly if visitors don’t abide by safe distancing and other public health guidelines, County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Sunday.

The majority of the county’s 70,000 acres of preserves remain accessible, though all public buildings, restrooms, visitor centers and campgrounds are closed. All programming and permitted events have been canceled through May 11, and the forest preserve district’s five nature centers have been temporarily shuttered, officials said.

Preckwinkle said forest preserve staff and police are keeping a close eye on the preserves to make sure people aren’t gathering in groups.

Read more here.

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The Forest Preserve District of Cook County has added the following to their website:

“Buildings, grounds, trails and bathrooms at Nature Centers are closed to the public until May 11.

All public Forest Preserves events are also cancelled until May 11.

This message can be found on the Crabtree Nature Center website here.

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Park districts and forest preserves are facing a coronavirus quandary: They’ve touted the outdoors as a mental boost and antidote to cabin fever, but crowds are still failing to heed public health warnings to practice social distancing.

Those failures have brought more restrictions to outdoor gathering spaces, a crackdown gaining traction after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot closed the city’s lakefront, 606 trail and Riverwalk.

The Lake County Forest Preserve District is installing more signs with a plea to adhere to social distancing so its properties can stay open.

“Right now, it seems to be OK, but we’re watching it very closely,” Executive Director Ty Kovach said.

Read more here.

Related: Cook County closes Crabtree Nature Center, Horizon Farms

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A Barrington Hills police vehicle outside remained parked outside a home on Old Sutton Road on Sunday morning as investigators continued to search for clues in a deadly shooting there during a house party early Saturday morning. (Steve Zalusky | Staff Photographer )

Authorities continue to investigate the fatal shooting of a man killed early Saturday morning during a house party at a rented Barrington Hills home, but they offered no new details about the slaying or the victim’s identity Sunday.

A Barrington Hills police vehicle and a truck from the Cook County Major Case Assistance Team stood guard behind yellow caution tape Sunday morning outside the residence in the 300 block of Old Sutton Road, a secluded area of large homes and sprawling fields.

Officers called to the home at 3:22 a.m. Saturday on a report of shots fired arrived to find the dead man, police said. The Cook County medical examiner’s office on Sunday said the man died from multiple gunshot wounds and ruled his death a homicide,

A preliminary investigation revealed that a large party was being held at the home by people who live outside Barrington Hills and had rented the property on a short-term basis, reportedly through Airbnb.

Read more here.

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Sneak away from the big city for a peaceful stay at ‘Solitude Ranch,’ a vacation rental in Barrington! This ranch is one-of-a-kind, offering 3,567 square feet of space complete with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, an upscale kitchen, sunken den, wall-to-wall windows, and even an indoor pool! When you’re not on the 6.5 acres that overlook a forest preserve and lake, horseback ride at Barrington Hills stables, explore the many local parks, tee off at Makray Course, or take a tour in Place de la Musique!

For more information, click here.

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More than 500 people attended Citizens for Conservation’s harvest fundraiser, Ignite the Night, Sept. 14 in Barrington Hills.

The event at the Barrington Hills Park District featured live music by Beamish, food and beverages, stargazing with professional-grade telescopes, flashlight walks, close-up encounters with raptors, a raffle and horse-drawn wagon rides, all capped by a spectacular bonfire.

Citizens for Conservation hoped to divert as much material from the landfill as possible. Thanks to the assistance of the group Mindful Waste, all packaging used at the event was compostable, recyclable or reusable.

Mindful Waste volunteers were on hand to educate and help with the sorting process, and after recycling 154 pounds of bottles, cans and cardboard; upcycling 11 pounds of plastic film; composting 315 pounds of food waste, paper plates, cups and napkins; and donating 60 pounds of extra corn, only a six-pound bag of landfill waste remained.

All proceeds from the event will support Citizens for Conservation’s preservation and restoration work in the Barrington area. Supporters of the event included the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Barrington Hills Park District.

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