Archive for the ‘Guest Essay’ Category

The Signal Hill, NSDAR chapter of Barrington, sponsored the event at Evergreen Cemetery, where nearly 700 wreaths were placed.

“There is a saying: ‘Many hands make light work.’ On December 19th, 2020, at a few minutes before noon, people from various walks of life started to gather along the sidewalk adjacent to Evergreen Cemetery in Barrington, IL. Veterans groups, scout troops, work colleagues, family and friends, and individuals queued at one of two entrances, awaiting their turns to have registrations verified, and to be directed to a specific area of the cemetery, to participate in a wreath placement on identified veterans graves, honoring their service.

In 2020, Saturday, December 19th was National Wreaths Across America Day, where individuals from all over the country planned to gather in local cemeteries to honor those veterans who have been interred over the years. The Signal Hill, NSDAR chapter of Barrington, sponsored the event at Evergreen Cemetery, where nearly 700 wreaths were placed throughout the expanse of the cemetery grounds. All of the graves were honored with a live balsam wreath in under an hour. Sincere thanks to all who placed wreaths, volunteered to work the event, sponsored the purchase of wreaths, and special thanks to the Barrington PD for traffic control.

Response to the event was so enthusiastic that pre-registration had to be closed at the beginning of December. Throughout the summer, the project logisitics, spearheaded by Signal Hill member Deborah Edlund, underwent many reviews and changes, as the group tried to anticipate likely Covid-19 restrictions, recruit civic groups and individuals for the role of wreath placement, and raise funds to sponsor the purchase of the wreaths being placed. Throughout the year, Ms. Edlund and her team walked the cemetery grounds, adding names to a list to be verified as veterans eligible for the honor, using public records and genealogy sites to complete the task.

The Signal Hill Chapter began this partnership with Wreaths Across America in December of 2019, when about 350 graves had been identified. Having verified additional names and grave locations, it is the group’s hope to continue partnering with WAA for years to come, with the assistance of local Barrington citizens. For more information about Wreaths Across America, please visit www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org/ILEGCA.

The Signal Hill, NSDAR Chapter, was founded in 1972, and is a volunteer women’s service organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Since its founding in 1890 over one million women have joined both nationally and around the world. The local Barrington Chapter raises funds throughout the year and distributes them to 501 (c) (3) organizations whose missions support that of NSDAR: historic preservation, education, patriotism, and conservation. Membership in NSDAR is open to any woman age 18 and over who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution. For more information: https://signalhilldar.com.”

Photos courtesy Signal Hill, NSDAR

Related: Signal Hill, NSDAR to honor Evergreen Cemetery veterans

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Ralph Martire’s Dec. 6 op-ed got it all wrong, as did Pritzker and the Illinois Democratic legislature (Republicans are irrelevant in Illinois).

Mr. Martire claims the money spent by a few billionaires sold Illinoisans a bill of goods, and thus the “fair tax” amendment failed.

He doesn’t mention Pritzker and others spent as much pushing the graduated income tax.

The reason it didn’t pass is simple: Illinoisans have been bamboozled by our Democrat-controlled government many times before (bond issues placed to shore up the huge state pension deficit with the money raised being spent elsewhere, etc.)

Illinoisans rightfully don’t trust their state legislature.

The amount that would have been raised wouldn’t even cover the current year’s deficit.

Illinoisans knew in future years taxes of every kind, on everyone, would be raised.

We want to see fiscal responsibility in government and we want control of our state’s budget to be taken back from the public employee unions.

As long as Democrats buckle to those unions, a graduated income tax in Illinois should never pass.

Over several decades, Texas passed amendments to its constitution that include a debt limit, a welfare spending limit, a pay-as-you-go limit and a limit on the growth of certain appropriations.

I will continue to vote against it until it is presented in a fiscally responsible package of amendments to the Illinois Constitution.

W. Andrew Wright, Barrington Hills


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The Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals has posted their July 8th meeting agenda, including the following:


SU-20-01 Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District has petitioned the Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals for a Special Use in the R-3 Single Family Residential District. The Special Use is requested to construct a Fire/EMS Station. The subject property is located within the 15th District, with the common address 1004 S. Hough Street, Lake Barrington, Illinois 60010.

The public hearing will be at 10:00 AM, and will be conducted remotely. A copy of the complete agenda can be accessed here.

Written public comments on this item will be accepted until 3:00 PM on July 6, 2020, at ZBA.Emails@cookcountyil.gov All comments will be read aloud at the meeting with three minutes allotted for each commenter, though every effort will be made to read statements in their entirety.

Related: Village posts unofficial notice of Cook County Zoning Board public hearing regarding proposed Hough Street fire station,” “Here we go again!, “New Fire Station to Help Save Lives, Protect Property

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The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District’s plan to build a fire station at 1004 S. Hough Street in unincorporated Barrington marks the next step in a multi-year effort to provide more effective fire and emergency medical services throughout our 48-square mile jurisdiction.

In fact, the property is ideal for achieving the following goals:

Improve Service & Response Times

Currently, we operate from two fire stations located in Lake Barrington and Barrington Hills. We’ve long sought to build a third station that would greatly improve our ability to provide rapid emergency response to the north- and southeastern sections of our District – Inverness, South Barrington, and unincorporated Barrington.

Despite more than a dozen automatic aid agreements with surrounding fire departments, we still have concerns about consistently achieving optimal response times of under six minutes to residents and businesses – nursing homes, fitness centers, automotive dealerships, and more – in these particular areas.

In 2019, the BCFPD responded to 653 emergency calls to these sections – nearly one-third of our total call volume. Our third fire station will allow us to respond to these calls far more effectively.

Moreover, in situations where we are responding to multiple calls inside our district, it sometimes takes up to 20 minutes for neighboring departments to respond. From a public safety perspective, that is unacceptable.

Lower Homeowners’ Insurance Rates

Beyond public safety, a third station at this location will also help maintain affordable insurance rates for BCFPD homeowners. Our Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating – which helps determine what homeowners pay for insurance – is currently a 3/4. A third station in this location will prevent our ISO rating – and your insurance rates – from increasing.

Avoid Tax Increases

The BCFPD’s commitment to fiscal discipline, combined with long-term planning initiatives, will allow us to build and staff this new fire station without raising taxes on the residents who fund our operations.

Focus on Public Safety

The need for a third fire station is driven by data and facts:

  • Rapid response to fire and emergency medical situations is critical for saving lives and protecting property. In our profession, the difference between success and failure, or between life and death, can come down to mere minutes.
  • Patients suffering from cardiac arrest symptoms usually have less than 4 minutes before brain death begins. Rapid intervention and treatment by trained EMS professionals greatly improve the odds of survival.
  • A small flame can turn into a major fire in less than 30 seconds. And it takes only minutes for thick black smoke or flames to engulf a home or business.

The BCFPD is a public safety entity dedicated to the well-being of our entire community. Our ability to respond most effectively to medical emergencies and dangerous structure fires depends on our proximity to their locations.

Our new fire station at 1004 S. Hough Street will vastly improve our ability to protect our constituents.


Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District Trustees

Related: Here we go again!

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The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District is planning to build a third fire station at 1004 South Hough Street

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District (BCFPD) is once again trying to acquire a property to build a third Fire/EMS station in a location that makes no sense whatsoever.

A little over a year ago, BCFPD tried to locate a Fire/EMS Station between the Barrington Middle School, Prairie Campus and the Barrington Early Learning Center on Dundee Road (Rt. 68) just east of Barrington Road. Thankfully that location was rejected after Barrington School District 220 and many residential neighbors spent considerable time and expense convincing Cook County Zoning that the location was completely inappropriate.

Now having been rejected at the Dundee Road location, the BCFPD is trying yet again to locate a Fire/EMS Station in an inappropriate location – 1004 South Hough Street (a map of the location can be viewed here). The property they have under contract is in unincorporated Cook County, zoned R-3, single family residential. The property is completely surrounded by single family homes. What BCFPD is attempting to do is not permitted under the property’s current zoning; in order to build in this residential neighborhood, the BCFPD must obtain a zoning variation from Cook County.

Zoning laws exist to protect all of us from changes like these. Like you, I live in this community because of its respect for peace and quiet, through our zoning laws and our shared respect for those laws.

Along with ALL of my neighbors, I am opposed to locating a fire station directly next to our homes. The 24 hour operations with increased noise, emergency vehicle traffic and 24 hour lighting is absolutely out of place for a residential area.

As taxpayers, we should question the need for adding a third station. Spending taxpayer funds does not seem to be an issue for the BCFPD Trustees. BCFPD says they respond to approximately five calls per day which they currently handle from two locations. That’s between two and three calls a day per station. And they need a third station?

I respect and honor our dedicated first responders, so if they truly need another station, let’s take them at their word. However, in their application to the Cook County Zoning Board, they reference the need for this third station location primarily to enable them to provide coverage for Inverness, South Barrington and Willow Creek Church, plus certain unincorporated areas of Cook County within their coverage area. There are eight Fire Stations within a five mile radius of this proposed location.

There are acres upon acres of vacant land without homes immediately adjacent much closer to BCFPD’s stated primary coverage areas along Barrington Road between Dundee Road and the I-94 tollway. Why would BCFPD choose yet another inappropriate location when there are many, many possible locations south along Barrington road, if needed? Locations that could easily work and would not be disruptive to families who purchased their homes in a residentially zoned area with the expectation they would be able to enjoy a peaceful, residential setting to live and raise their families.


Tom McGrath

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Illinois’ troubles are hard to ignore. A mass population exodus, perpetually increasing tax rates, a crippling pension crisis and faltering credit rating, climbing poverty and homelessness and an overall deficit of our indomitable spirit. Regardless, I submit to you that this spirit still resides in the heart of every loyal Illinoisan. However, we need a leader to reawaken our appetite for success. Barrington Hills Village President Martin J. McLaughlin is the man to save our state. He understands that the can cannot be kicked down the road any further and the price of inaction will cost us the solvency and very dignity of our state. During McLaughlin’s six years, in elected office, he has lowered spending and the overall property tax rates every year. McLaughlin has invested millions in infrastructure improvements, environmental preservation efforts and improved the accessibility of our public safety and school systems. Fiscal prudence, social inclusion and investments in the future. McLaughlin has raised a family in our state. He knows how to attract new citizens and businesses, consolidate pension funds and get to the heart of our most vexing human issues. So, yes, our troubles are hard to ignore; however, the answers, which we seek, are right before us. He understands that the People of Illinois, and the glory of the Land of Lincoln, are worth fighting for; moreover, the 52nd House District must elect Martin J. McLaughlin on March 17, 2020.

Henry J.H. Wilson, Barrington

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Dear Barrington 220 Community,

On Tuesday, April 2 registered voters in the Barrington 220 community narrowly opposed a $185 million bond referendum, which would have provided significant improvements to our schools, identified in our master facility plan. According to preliminary results, the question was voted down with 4,077 (51.05%) NO votes and 3,909 (48.95%) YES votes.

Thank you to the parents, students, teachers, district administrators, Board members and community members who participated in the two year community engagement process leading up to this vote.

Congratulations to Angela Wilcox on her re-election to the Board of Education. I also want to welcome newly-elected Board members Leah Collister-Lazzari and Barry Altshuler. They will replace longtime Board members Brian Battle and Joe Ruffolo. The new Board will take their seats at a special meeting planned for Tuesday, April 30 at 7PM.

It will now be up to the new Board of Education to decide how to proceed, in order to address our facility needs. 

Dr. Brian Harris

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Barrington Hills Neighbors and Library Supporters –

I have been a Library Trustee for the Barrington Public Library District was nearly 20 years. During that timeframe, I have been proud of the quality library services that we have delivered to the Barrington community in our 72-square mile library district.

Last April, I had to make a difficult decision regarding a request from the Village of Barrington to purchase a substantial portion of our library property to re-direct Lake Zurich Road through the library parking lot to our traffic light. While I have the utmost respect for our Village and understand the dilemma the train traffic on Northwest Highway has created, I could not in good conscience make a decision at that time to irreversibly sell the property and sacrifice the future financial integrity of the library.

A full explanation of my decision can be reviewed in the attached PowerPoint presentation (seen here) I made at the Board meeting in April, where three of my fellow Library Trustees agreed to cease negotiations to sell the land. Now, two challengers are running for three of the open Library Trustee seats, seeking to unseat the three incumbents – including me – with an effort to swing the vote to sell the library property.

I am asking you to vote on April 2nd for Carrie Carr, Barbara Pintozzi and me – the three incumbents, all of whom voted to not sell the library property – to Protect Our Library. The attached flyer gives more background on our candidacy. Note that Daily Herald – after a group interview of all five candidates – endorsed all three incumbents for re-election. You can read the Daily Herald’s endorsement here.

You can read more about our campaign at our website seen here.

Thank you for your consideration of our re-election, and please feel free to contact me with any thoughts you have on the library or the decision on last year’s property issue.

Carolyn Welch Clifford



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Following is a copy of the remarks made by David Stieper at the September 23rd special Village Board meeting published with the permission of the author at the request of some of our readers:

David-Stieper-Pictures003When you get right down to brass tacks, the seven of you are called upon to decide whether 5-acre residential zoning standards will be the “only consideration” concerning “development” and “use” on parcels of land in Barrington Hills zoned R-1 (5 acres) or will these residential zoning standards take a “back seat” to commercial enterprise when this enterprise takes the form of “horse boarding for a fee”; on any scale; large or small?

Barrington hills has always been zoned “residential R1-R4” and not commercial; with some minor exception none relevant here. Just take a look at our zoning map. To allow a business endeavor like horse boarding to trump residential zoning standards which have been in place in Barrington Hills for 42 years, amends our zoning code from “residential use” to mixed use “residential/commercial”.

Village government changed the paradigm of our code to commercial use in R1 zoning by legislative fiat rather than the statutory requirement of referendum; the latter action taken when our single purpose residential zoning code was adopted in 1977. If this board is inclined to allow the Anderson II Horse Boarding Ordinance to remain in our code, this should be done by vote of the people of Barrington Hills through referendum and not through the vote of a few volunteer elected officials; three of which who were materially conflicted and should have never participated in the process.

Like you, the previous village board took an “oath of office” to uphold and enforce our residential zoning code not change the substance of it from “residential use” to “residential use and something else.” From 1977, when the village code was adopted through the year 2006, boarding for a fee in Barrington Hills was not a permitted use. From 2006 to adoption of Anderson II, boarding for a fee was legal to a limited extent under the former home occupation ordinance, which provided boarding for a fee was legal so long as this business practice was sublime, not open and obvious to neighbors or the public at large.

Anderson II, not only allows boarding for a fee to be open and obvious, but provides when this business activity is in conflict with residential zoning standards – – boarding for a fee will prevail. Anderson II allows the business of horse boarding for a fee to the exclusion of residential zoning standards; the same residential standards which were granted to each and every one of us when we purchased our homes; whether we owned horses or not.

Anderson II is not an ordinance to be read in a vacuum standing alone simply creating a “new single use”; but is a rewrite of our entire zoning code changing us from zoning category “5-acre residential” to mixed use “residential and business” with the latter given priority when these two zoning uses converge.

When I moved here in 2000, the village zoning code treated equestrian activities as a hobby for those who enjoyed it and could afford it. 15 years later through adoption of Anderson II, we are told equestrian activities are no longer just a hobby but a business endeavor where residents are called upon to subsidize neighboring profiteers engaged in boarding through sacrifice of their individual residential zoning rights. Tell me, how does sacrificing “residential zoning standards” in a residential community like Barrington Hills for the sake of commercial enterprise help residential property values?

I am on the record in two elections for trustee supporting the business of boarding for a fee on larger properties; but under the guidelines of “special use” criterion where objective residential zoning standards remain paramount. For smaller boarding operations, we should reinstate the former home occupation ordinance which worked so well for so many over the years which Anderson II inexplicably took away from us.

“Special use” and “home occupation” is the only reasonable way to permit this or any business use in our residential community. All you have to do is see how other municipalities deal with desired “business activities” in “residentially zoned areas”. There is no municipality or county in any state in the united states (save Louisiana) which allows commercial endeavors like horse boarding to possess the designation “permitted use” in a residential zoned district; that is to say, until misguided Barrington Hills’ adoption of Anderson II.

I mean what I said before and is why I am here saying it again, if Anderson II is allowed to stand in present form as a “permitted use”, in time, Anderson II will lead to the destruction of 5 acre residential zoning in Barrington Hills.

Do not let supporters of Anderson II fool you!

You might in some municipalities or counties find horse boarding as a permitted use under the definition of “agriculture” when the municipality or county contains an “agriculture district” on its zoning map. Barrington Hills has no such district on its map. You will never find (except for Barrington Hills through adoption of Anderson II) horse boarding as a permitted use in geographical areas zoned exclusively residential.

For if you did, this would be an act of government malfeasance!

The board should do what former ZBA Chairman Judith Freeman recommended you to do in 2011, as the only approach for Barrington Hills; and that is zone larger scale horse boarding operations as a “special use”. Illinois courts support this approach; our village code supports this approach; in 2011, elected and appointed Barrington Hills political office holders supported this approach; And most importantly, the results of the last election demonstrate an overwhelming majority of Barrington Hills residents support this approach.

I close by saying: “Let’s be through with Anderson II!”

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I am your neighbor. You may have seen me and my little black truck picking up garbage on our Village roads.  I started last April at the Village Cleanup day and from then until the end of 2014, I picked up 101 bags of garbage off of Old Hart, Oak Knoll, Buckley, Merri Oaks, and Ridge between Oak Knoll and Merri Oaks.

This spring, since March, I have re-cleaned Old Hart, Oak Knoll, Buckley and Merri Oaks, all of Ridge Road, and the far east end of Lake Cook from Old Hart towards the high school.  Currently, I am working on Brinker by Countryside School.  I have collected 53 bags of road side litter/trash so far this year.  Our Village has become a garbage dump.  There is trash on roads everywhere; more than you can imagine.  It is a horrible Village-wide problem.

On Saturday, April 25, 2015, the Village is having its annual trash cleanup day.  I got started picking up trash at this event and I’ve come to realize that we will never clean up our Village if we only take three hours a couple days a year to focus on the problem.  The cleanup seasons are short; spring before the trees leaf out and weeds grow too tall over the trash, and in the fall after the leaves drop and before snow covers it.

This year I have volunteered as a Team Captain for the April 25 Village cleanup day.  I would love to have you come out and be a member of my team, starting at 8:30 a.m. at Village Hall.  If you cannot join the cleanup effort on April 25th, there are other simple steps I would like you to consider.  A lot of the trash I have been picking up is coming from our own garbage cans and recycling bins.  If you could use covered garbage cans and put a rock on the lid it will keep the rodents, raccoons, and others from dragging your garbage out of your garbage can for a late night feast in the nearby trees and bushes.  Cover your garbage cans and recycling bins, and do not put garbage out in plastic bags. These steps alone will go a long way to curbing our litter problems.

Also, if you could walk your road frontage once a week or twice a month and pick up what has been thrown or blown onto your frontage, it will make that much less for others to have to cleanup.  If you cannot do it yourself, ask your lawn maintenance service will do it for you.  It only takes a few minutes if you keep after it consistently.  Also, I have picked up a lot of lunch bags, wrappers, and refreshment containers left behind by the lawn service crews.  Please remind your service providers to pick up after themselves.

This is a Village wide effort.  I hope that you and your family will take the extra steps to assist the cleanup, of our roads.  I think we can all agree, our Village looks so much prettier without the trash.

Thank you in advance for whatever efforts you take to help!  With Gratitude,

Michael Hannigan

For more information on Saturday’s Village cleanup day, visit the Village news web page by clicking here.

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