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Barrington Township Trustee Fritz Gohl

There’s new hope in Springfield for putting power into the hands of voters when it comes to controlling and trimming their governments.

At nearly 6,963 units, Illinois has more governmental bodies and bureaucracies than any other state in the nation. Texas and Pennsylvania are next, according to the website Governing and they have only 5,147 and 4,897, respectively.

And while there’s been some momentum in recent years around merging governments, streamlining and setting up processes for dissolving bodies like sanitary and mosquito abatement districts in Illinois, the processes largely have been complicated or left in the control of public officials — some of whom, obviously, have a self-interest in keeping governments operating and themselves employed.

Read more from the Chicago Sun-Times here.

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Season’s Greetings

This time of year, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the annual frenzy of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, door buster sales, and expedited shipping.  There are end-of-year work deadlines to meet, airline flights to schedule, Christmas cookies to bake, and school concerts and office parties to attend.  Mix in sore throats, sniffling noses, traffic snarls, winter storm warnings and black ice, and it might seem as though you have the perfect recipe for a holiday headache.

That’s why it is so important to stop and feel the wonder of the season.  Look all around and drink it in with all of your senses. There is the special soft glow of lights on the tree, the cat pawing at a low hanging ornament, the whistling winds outside and the sight of crisscrossing deer tracks in the snow.  The kids making a mess of the kitchen as they build a gingerbread house.  The family dog dozing by the fire. The crimson bows, the smell of evergreen boughs.  The warmth of family, the laughter of friends.  Remembering those who are gone.  Missing those who couldn’t be here.  The soaring voices of the church choir. The wide smiles on Christmas morning.

These are the simple joys. This is what makes memories.

Merry Christmas from the Observer!

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CHICAGO – A state appeals court will allow residents and government officials in suburban Barrington Hills to resume their court fight over a now-repealed village ordinance governing horse-boarding challengers assert was enacted to benefit one particular property owner.

On Dec. 12, a three-justice panel of the Illinois First District Appellate Court State reversed part of a Cook County judge’s ruling in the long-running litigation involving the village, plaintiff James Drury III and a group of residents.

The judge had rejected a settlement agreement between Barrington Hills and Drury and also granted a motion to dismiss filed by a group of residents who intervened in the case. Drury challenged these findings.

The appellate court agreed with the rejection of the settlement agreement, but reversed the dismissal ruling.

Read more here.

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The Village of Barrington Hills has issued the following announcement:

“DUNDEE LANE WILL BE CLOSED beginning Monday, December 17th to replace a culvert under the road. If all goes as planned, the road is anticipated to open Thursday, December 20th.

No through traffic will be allowed. Residents may access their drives via the Dundee Lane entrance closest to their homes. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your cooperation.”

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Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 2.37.10 PMFrom the Village of Barrington:

ROUTE 14 CONSTRUCTION UPDATE –  November 20, 2018

“As you begin your Thanksgiving travels, keep in mind that construction and paving still continues on Route 14 through Barrington.

We just received an update from IDOT, which still has two full days of paving left to do. Cold temperatures stopped work for today, but they are anticipating working tomorrow and then early next week in order to complete the paving portion of the project. Final striping of the road will follow.

The Village thanks you for your patience; as this is an IDOT project we have not had control over the timing and completion.

Safe travels and Happy Thanksgiving!”

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vote McHenry County officials failed to include tens of thousands of ballots in Election Day results that were posted Tuesday, officials have disclosed.

The discovery has affected the outcome in one County Board race, where a Democratic challenger has now pulled ahead of a Republican incumbent.

The revised totals also mean that Democratic U.S. Rep.-elect Lauren Underwoodwon McHenry County after all, by a tiny margin of 169 votes, in still-unofficial results. On election night it appeared that McHenry was the only county in the 14th Congressional District that went to Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren.

The updated totals extend the margin of Underwood’s stunning defeat of Hultgren, a four-term incumbent, in an area that has traditionally gone Republican.

And a state representative from the area is asking the Illinois State Board of Elections to look into what happened.

A news release from McHenry County officials Thursday said it took until Wednesday evening for officials to notice what the release called an “anomaly” in the posted results in which a number of races had a “significant undervote.”

On Thursday afternoon, County Clerk Mary McClellan discovered that the website where the vote totals were displayed “had not updated with early voting numbers,” the release said.

County Board Chairman Jack Franks aid it appeared that about 24,000 votes were affected by the undercount.

…State Rep. David McSweeney, a Republican from Barrington Hills, said he called the Illinois State Board of Elections on Thursday to request an investigation into how the error occurred.

McSweeney referenced widespread problems that occurred in McHenry County in the 2016 primary election, when a court ordered polling places to remain open an extra 90 minutes because of issues with a new computerized registration system and other problems. Those led McClellan to issue an apology at the time.

“The state of play right now, at least it (the updated count) looks statistically reasonable, but I have no idea whether these are correct based on the history here,” McSweeney said.

The lawmaker noted that with McClellan not seeking re-election this year, “she’s no longer going to be the clerk after this election, which I think is good news.”

The full Chicago Tribune article can be found here.

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ar-181109055 South Barrington would become home to an extension of Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for military veterans under a federal agency’s proposal that’s drawn concern from the village’s mayor about periodic rifle volleys expected at the site.

Under what’s called an urban initiative, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wants to acquire 15 acres near Mundhank and Freeman roads for the columbarium cemetery. Documents show federal officials are developing a master plan to start with 5,000 niches for cremated remains to be placed in a series of walls, growing to 50,000 over 100 years.

Officials from the VA’s National Cemetery Administration will host a public presentation on the plan from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Hilton Garden Inn, 2425 Barrington Road in Hoffman Estates. Those who attend may provide feedback to the federal representatives.

If built, the South Barrington cemetery would provide a more convenient Chicago-area military burial option for eligible veterans and their families as part of the push to have such facilities closer to a city core, according to the VA. Lincoln National in Elwood is 57 miles from downtown Chicago.

Ceremonies would occur at the proposed South Barrington cemetery, including rifle volleys honoring the veterans before they are laid to rest. The rifle fire is expected three to five times per weekday when there are burials.

“Our veterans earned VA burial benefits and are recognized with a memorial honor guard,” agency spokesman Rick Fox said. “Rifle volleys that are part of this recognition would occur between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. The site would be designed in a manner to direct the associated rifle volley noise away from the existing residences.

But South Barrington Mayor Paula McCombie, who stressed she supports veterans, said the “misguided” proposal would not fit in an area that includes the Barrington Homestead Estates and The Preserve of South Barrington residential subdivisions. Cook County’s Paul Douglas Forest Preserve is just west of the VA’s proposed project.

“We would love to have them in South Barrington, but at that location, considering they’re going to be firing guns off three to five times a day in a residential district and disturbing the peace of the residents that back up to the facility, we have to wait to hear from our residents to see what their opinion is of this,” McCombie said.

Under the VA’s tentative proposal, a main entrance wall and gate would be built with U.S. flags leading into the cemetery. There also would be natural and ornamental landscaping, a funeral cortège parking area, 30-foot-by-30-foot committal service shelter, a memorial marker wall and a roughly 1,300-square-foot public information and restroom building where visitors could use an electronic gravesite locator.

The full Daily Herald article can be read here.

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