Archive for the ‘News Media’ Category

The Daily Herald reports Barrington plans to start a “Curious Questions with Karen Darch” podcast.

Darch, who is Barrington’s top elected official as village president, and others are expected to answer residents’ questions in the podcast segments that should run 20 to 30 minutes.

Patty Dowd Schmitz, the village’s director of communications and community engagement, said work continues on logistics and determining a platform for the podcast.

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Earlier this month, The Barrington Hills Observer celebrated our 10th anniversary. That’s right, we officially marked our launch on December 9, 2009.

Back then we had no idea what to expect, since there were no other independent websites in Barrington Hills. As time went on, some sites did crop up, but for the most part they were (or are now) Facebook variants with little original content.

Since our launch ten years ago, as of today there have been 2,576 postings to The Observer, and there have been 2,957 reader comments logged. Hundreds of residents subscribe to our postings, and the number continues to grow.

None of us imagined the reception we would get from our residents and visitors, and we’re sincerely grateful.

So today we recognize our readers, commentators and hundreds of loyal subscribers as the Shining Stars of the Decade.

We cannot thank you enough!


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December 2019, Barrington, IL –– Barrington Dance Ensemble (BDE) performed its 25th annual production of The Nutcracker at the Richard C. Johnson Auditorium in the Barrington High School. Staged by Gregory Merriman and directed by BDE’s Founder and Artistic Director Mary Brennan, over 2,000 ballet enthusiasts viewed the beloved holiday tradition during the four-show run from Friday, November 22 through Sunday, November 24.

The hallmark of BDE’s Nutcracker each year is the stunning dancing by young performers, BDE company members, and world-class professional guest artists. The production’s iconic score and festive holiday scenes captivated audience members young and old. Audience members were welcomed by a visit from the North Pole as Santa Claus was present on opening night. Adding to the festive atmosphere, guests had the opportunity to shop for the holidays at the festive Nutcracker Shop filled with handcrafted gifts and unique treats.

Set to the Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s score, the audience was lost in the story of Clara’s magical gift, an exciting battle between soldiers and mice and the dreamy Land of Sweets. Acclaimed guest artists from National and Chicago regional dance companies performed lead soloist roles. Meghan Loman and Martin Justo, principal company members with Carolina Ballet Theater, returned to the BDE stage as the Sugar Plum Fairy & Cavalier, and wowed the crowd with their spectacular performances. Also taking the stage were 90 student dancers from BDE, the Barrington Dance Academy and other local dance studios in the Northwest Chicago suburbs.

Emma Richmond & Corinne Garrels (of Barrington and Barrington Hills, respectively) shared the role of Clara, the story’s heroine. Other featured BDE company members included Meghan Doran (Barrington) & BDE graduating senior Sasha Rice (Lake Barrington) who shared the role of the Columbine Doll. Elizabeth Yen (Deer Park) performed as the sparkling Snow Queen, partnered by professional guest artist Arionel Vargas (freelance artist, formerly with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and English National Ballet).

BDE graduating senior Maggie Pechan (Barrington) performed the role of the elegant Fairy Angel who welcomes Clara to the Land of Sweets. Graduating seniors Emma Landenberger (Barrington Hills) & Jessica Eggers (Kildeer) performed as Arabian Coffee along with professional artist Devin Buchanan. Ava Thome (Barrington) danced the spunky lead Chinese role, joined by Rose Abrahamson (Lake Barrington) and Hannah White (Deer Park). The Reed Flute variation was exquisitely performed by Mikayla Patten (North Barrington), Sasha Rice, Lucy Shannon (Barrington), and Elizabeth Yen. Kate Howell (Barrington) elegantly portrayed the role of the graceful Dew Drop fairy.

“The professional, company and student dancers outdid themselves this year rising to a praiseworthy level with their artistry and aptitude. Our dedicated staff, talented designers and wonderful volunteers played a significant role in making the shows seamless. It’s awe inspiring to witness the enthusiasm from our audience every holiday and is especially memorable for me this 25th anniversary year,” stated Mary Brennan, Founder and Artistic Director of BDE.

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The state of Illinois’ pension crisis is out of control.

Democratic politicians suggest that we hand over the reigns of local control to unelected bureaucrats.

However, the working people of Illinois know that less personal freedom over our money and pension plans is not the answer.

Barrington Hills Village President Martin J. McLaughlin supports the logic of the people of Illinois.

McLaughlin is running to represent Illinois’ 52nd House District in Springfield. Not only has he been a success in the private sector, but he wants to implement his understanding to bring prosperity back to Illinois.

Read the full letter to the editors of the Northwest Herald here.

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For the better part of two years now, members of our Zoning Board of Appeals have been attempting to craft new language for our Sign Ordinance. While appearing easy on the surface, the more daunting it became as ZBA members discussed nearly every purpose, size, height, setback, etc. that people might employ to gain the attention of a passersby.

Last month, the Board of Trustees had an opportunity to review the ZBA’s latest Sign Ordinance draft, and as readers of the Daily Herald now know, some former village trustees chose to use the public comment portion of the meeting to voice their (non)issues. (As it turns out later, they only used this time to grandstand and proved to most why they are “former’ trustees)

In his article,In Barrington Hills, properties have names, and residents want to keep them,” Daily Herald writer Bob Susnjara wrote the following highlights in his article on the October 28th BoT meeting:

“To lose a sense of history would be tragic for our village,” (45-year resident Patty Meroni, a former village trustee) said. “We have signs all around our village that develop our history. It’s part of what our village is all about, part of our uniqueness.”

“Former Village President Robert Abboud, whose property is High Wire Farm, shared his concern about the proposed sign ordinance changes with Barrington Hills officials.

‘I’ve had a sign marking my property for the last 32 years, my parents’ property 52 years,’ Abboud said.”

Perhaps if these two former trustees and former trustee and current Barrington Township Trustee Fritz Gohl had bothered to read the current Sign Ordinance (seen below and linked here) in place before, during and after their time in office, maybe they would recognize how moronic most of their comments were:

5-5-11 Signs

In residence districts signs shall be classified and permitted in accordance with the regulations set forth hereinafter.

(A) R1 District:

1. In an R1 district, the following nonflashing, nonilluminated signs are permitted under the conditions specified: (Ord. 09-05, 5-18-2009)

a. Nameplates and identification signs, subject to the following:

(1) Area and Content, Residential: There shall be not more than one nameplate, not exceeding one square foot in area, for each dwelling unit or driveway entrance, indicating the name or address of the occupant or a permitted occupation.

Clearly, based on his lengthy diatribe made during public comments, the 4.6 square foot vanity sign the one former trustee has displayed on his property, “… for the last 32 years,” has been illegal under current codes.

In fact, Susnjara’s article goes on to read:

“Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan said the village is trying to achieve a finely crafted sign ordinance that updates one that dates to 1963 and was last revised in 1977.

‘For those who apparently are not aware, our current ordinance means that probably 90-some-odd percent of the signs that are currently existing are out of compliance,’ Hannigan said.”

When we reviewed the audio recordings from the October 28th meeting (the link can be accessed here and written comments can be viewed here), there were clearly criticism of the ZBA draft, yet for all their hot air and rants on Facebook, was there any constructive ideas shared that would benefit the efforts of those volunteering their time on boards?

As you might imagine, not a one, and that by one definition is whining!

-The Observer

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The Union Pacific Railroad has announced it will need to close Route 59 through downtown Barrington at the Metra tracks from Monday, November 18 at 9:00 AM through Wednesday, November 20 at 5:00 PM in order to conduct emergency railroad repairs on the tracks. 

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Is the Illinois Racing Board taking business lessons from the film “Goodfellas?”

In that world of organized crime chronicled so brilliantly by director Martin Scorsese, actor Ray Liotta portrays mobster Henry Hill. He explains the business mantra succinctly as follows: (I have condensed the idea to remove some choice terms.) “Business bad? … pay me. Oh, you had a fire? … pay me. Place got hit by lightning, huh? … pay me.”

You get the idea. They don’t care about your problems, they just want their money.

That’s an approach the Racing Board tried using with Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights, leaning on them so the track would add casino gambling. The pressure from the racing board, or incentive for the track, depending on which side you’re onwas to potentially deny them any of the 68 dates for racing sought for Arlington. The board ultimately gave approval for the dates.

Read more of Randy Blaser’s column here.

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