Archive for the ‘BACT’ Category

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Looking to do their own part to address a nationwide issue, Barrington Hillsofficials are considering an environmental project that would help restore habitats for monarch butterflies, which recently have been declining in numbers.

Village officials are exploring whether to create a five-acre way station on the east side of Route 25 in Kane County that would feature milkweed plants and different nectar sources – two areas that monarch butterflies rely on to live and thrive, according to Barrington Hills Village Administrator Robert Kosin and officials with the Barrington Area Conservation Trust.

The project would require Barrington Hills to designate public land as a way station for monarch butterflies, as well as conserve habitats already suited for monarch butterflies and other plant pollinators, Kosin said.

Village officials recently started planning for the project after turning a smaller garden at Barrington Hills Village Hall into a way station for the migrating butterflies, he said.

To read the entire Chicago Tribune story, click here.

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Recently the Observer published links to some of the websites for candidates in the upcoming April 4th village election. In reviewing those sites, we noticed some glaring omissions and dare we say it – “lack of transparency” about their community involvement and their positions on some of the most important village issues.

Let’s begin with a look at Elaine Ramesh, who is seeking “re-election” as Village Trustee, although she has not been on the Board since 2013. Her choice of words already comes across as a bit deceptive.560_brookdaleopen2

  • EXPERIENCED LEADERSHIP/EXCELLENT RESULTS?  Ramesh’s Facebook page displays her credentials and governmental involvement, obviously focusing on her time as trustee four years ago. Despite the list of “excellent results” and “eye on the bottom line” that she includes, readers will recall that she routinely disregarded input from residents and tended to view issues only from her personal point of view. She rarely spoke up in discussions during Board of Trustees meetings, and members of the Board and audience were routinely surprised by many of her votes, given that she seldom gave any rationale for her decisions. Ramesh’s lack of explanations did a disservice to both her constituents who deserve accountability from their public servants, and to her fellow board members, whose opinions on various topics might have been swayed if she had offered her personal insights publically. It is because of this reticence that some have labeled her “the Silent One”.
  • “I’M NOT RUNNING ON ANY PLATFORM”  “Basically, I’m not running on any platform, but just offering myself as a volunteer to serve my community,” Ramesh said of her current campaign. (Barrington Courier Review March 8, 2017)  As we have previously stated in our article Ramesh repeat? We hope not, Elaine seems to have intentionally omitted mention of her extensive involvement in the equestrian community, instead focusing on her membership and support of conservation groups. It’s hard to understand why someone who clearly loves horses and the equestrian way of life would omit ANY mention of horses in her campaign. On her campaign site, she shows off her adorable cat and dog, and is pictured jogging in the village or volunteering with the Girl Scouts. But there are no horses, ANYWHERE? Strange. We would call that a lack of transparency.elaine  But Elaine is not just a competitor in hunter/jumper events with her own horses, and isn’t just a member of numerous equestrian organizations (Riding Club of Barrington Hills, American Horse Council, Equine Land Conservation Resource and the United States Equestrian Federation). To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with owning horses and enjoying them – it is a wonderful part of the fabric of our Village. But Elaine Ramesh has held, and currently holds, significant leadership roles in several high profile equestrian groups with very narrow agendas which she is not being forthcoming about. Here’s just a partial list:
    • President of the Riding Club of Barrington Hills, 2015
    • Founder & Chair of the Equestrian Coalition of McHenry County, a regional organization to unite various local equestrian groups to pursue common goals regarding equestrian land use.
    • Past Board Member Illinois Equine Research and Promotion Board, whose mission statement is is to enhance the Illinois equine industry through self-funded programs, projects and activities. http://www.iepb.org/index.html
    • Second Vice President of the Horseman’s Council of Illinois http://www.horsemenscouncil.org/leadership  HorsesFirst_HCIHere’s a graphic from the Spring 2016 issue of the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois Courier newsletter that should give you an idea of their mission statement.
  • COMMUNITY ACTIVISM  We’d also like to remind readers of Elaine’s talk presented to the McHenry County Horse Club in March 2012, entitled “Community Activism — Equestrian Style.”
  • “DEFENDED ESTATE CATEGORY OF ZONING IN McHENRY COUNTY ” We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge Ramesh’s participation in advocating for the inclusion of the Estate Category of Zoning in the McHenry County Unified Development Ordinance and for opposing “conservation design” as the county’s only model for future subdivision development. Those are important elements to help preserve the natural ecology of the county and to help safeguard against dense small-lot housing as being the norm for the county.  But Elaine herself is remiss when she does not also mention her strong defense of the equestrian heritage of McHenry County and her desire for promotion of the equine industry in the county in the same document.

 The Village’s 2010 press release on the topic included Ramesh’s entire submission to McHenry  County, which can be seen here.  We would like readers to pay particular attention to how she signed her remarks.



Readers will have to judge for themselves if Ramesh is, in her own words “not running on any platform”, only seeking “to help protect our healthy outdoor lifestyle, pastoral viewscapes and heritage”.  Or is she an equestrian activist with a hidden agenda that she doesn’t want voters to know about? We think the facts speak for themselves.

(In case you’re curious to see Elaine’s campaign platform from 2009 when she first ran for trustee, click here to see the PDF.  At that time she said that “she works to help preserve the residents [sic] rights to participate in all equestrian activities”.


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BACTThe Barrington Area Conservation Trust will hold its annual Concert for Conservation on Saturday, August 27, 2016 from 3:00 – 7:00 PM at Rolling Oaks Farm in Barrington Hills.  The annual outdoor concert is a major fundraising event to support the Trust’s mission to preserve our community’s rare and exceptional open spaces for current and future generations.

This year’s entertainment will be provided by Anne and Mark Burnell with the Brill Building singers, that include Glenn De Michele, Bob Ojeda, and Ernie Adams, and local singer-songwriter Pat McKillen.   Pack a picnic, blanket, lawn chairs and enjoy live music while you support local efforts to preserve the environment.

Tickets are $75 per person and are tax deductible.  Admission is free for children under high school age.

To purchase tickets, or for more information on this event, including group pricing and sponsorship opportunities, click here.

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Campaign Piggy BankAlthough 2016 is not an election year in Barrington Hills for seats on our Board of Trustees, at least four prior political committees are still reporting available campaign funds to the Illinois State Board of Elections in their latest quarterly reports due Friday, January 15th.  Three of those committees reporting date back to the 2013 election.

Here is the information from the four committees we found from elections board records, in descending order of financial balances (presumably available for the 2017 Village election campaigns):

Save Open Space – Barrington Hills Trustees NFP:  We never quite understood what the “NFP” stood for, but clearly this didn’t bother donors.  The SOS Party amassed enough campaign funds in 2014 and 2015 that they now have about $22,000 remaining in their coffers. 

A copy of their latest financial report can be viewed here.

Country Oaks Committee to Elect Robert G Abboud:  The former Village President also has excess funds from his 2013 Save 5 Acres campaign for office, totaling roughly $4,800.  A copy of that committee’s latest filing can be viewed here.  

Unite Barrington Hills: Also formed before the 2013 election, this committee which supported current board members Colleen Konicek and Martin McLaughlin shows a balance of about $3,000.  Their latest report can be viewed here.

Friends of Kelly Mazeski:  This committee was also one of four operating independently to support a candidate running under the Save 5 Acres moniker in 2013, and it has a balance of around $700.  A copy of the report can be viewed here.

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Friday FlashbackFollowing are some of the articles published by The Observer for the month of September in recent years. These articles, gathered from various publications and editorials, are noteworthy for residents in that they remind us of where we’ve been as a community

Barrington Area Conservation Trust Completes Conservation on Rare Land – 2012

The Barrington Area Conservation Trust announced that it has completed a conservation easement on a rare native gravel hill prairie in Barrington Hills, which will ensure that both the prairie ecosystem and equestrian trails on the property will be preserved in perpetuity.

This Barrington Patch story can be read here.

Why Public Safety Mergers Are Inevitable – 2013

More than ever, the local cop, firefighter or emergency responder may not be from the neighborhood.

A Better Government Association investigation finds municipal budget shortfalls are forcing a growing segment of Northern Illinois suburbs to consider what was once unthinkable: Merging basic hometown public safety operations with neighboring or regional governments, such as the county sheriff’s departments.

Read more of the Better Government Association’s recent article here.

Couple battle forest preserve over Barrington Hills estate – 2013

The owners of Horizon Farms — a 400-acre Barrington Hills estate and horse farm — have filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Forest Preserve District of Cook County of conspiring to pay $14 million for their Barrington Hills horse farm while they were fighting foreclosure.

Read more of the Daily Herald story here.

13-year lawsuit of Sears vs. Barrington Hills, South Barrington settled – 2014

A lawsuit filed in 2001 by Sears Holding Corp. against Barrington Hills and South Barrington has been settled with no money changing hands.

Sears claimed the two villages cost the company $15 million by interfering with its development plans. It filed the suit to remove land-use restrictions the villages placed on a portion of Sears’ 780-acre business park, located entirely in Hoffman Estates.

Barrington Hills and South Barrington had authority over use of the land as the result of a 1980s legal battle stemming from noise complaints at Poplar Creek Music Theater, which closed in 1994. The restrictions added height and setback limitations to the existing Hoffman Estates zoning code.

Read more from the Business Ledger here.

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834E69F5-7703-4DEC-A713-02C45C879509A Cook County judge has ordered the Forest Preserves of Cook County to close Horizon Farms in Barrington Hills until a dispute between the preserves and the site’s previous owners is resolved.

Forest preserve spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis labeled the issue a “landlord-tenant” dispute that the county is committed to resolving quickly so it can reopen the 397-acre equestrian estate at 311 Algonquin Road.

Read more here.

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Horizon SignA former owner of the Horizon Farms property in Barrington Hills is suing the Forest Preserve of Cook County, claiming her civil rights were violated last year when she was arrested on a charge of trespassing on the 400-acre horse farm.

According to the suit, Meryl Squires Cannon was seized and handcuffed by forest preserve police when she arrived at the farm to tend to horses at 6 a.m. Aug. 13, 2014, a little more than three months after the forest preserve acquired the property through a legally disputed foreclosure sale.

Read more here.

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