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Archive for the ‘BH Polo Club’ Category

Released by the polo club today:

“We are sorry to report that this year’s LeCompte/Kalaway Cup has been canceled due to very heavy rain and unsafe field conditions for spectators and participants (equine and human). For the first time in fourteen years, the weather has caused us to run for cover. The Kalaway committee met at the field today. After seeing the flooded conditions, we determined that we cannot have the field and parking ready for this Saturday. There is no other choice but to cancel the event.

You are such a valuable part of the Kalaway, and many of you have been on-board for many years. We thank you for your continued support and hope you will participate on September 7, 2019!

If you have any questions about your ticket/tailgate reservation or sponsorship (all will be valid for 2019, consider it our rain date!), please email barringtonhillskalawaycup@gmail.com.”

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Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 11.43.09 AM If you think the sport of polo is a game played among royalty and privileged blue bloods, think again.

The 14th annual LeCompte Kalaway Trail Owners Cup Polo Event returns Sept. 8 to Barrington Hills, and it features a host of family activities as well as two exciting polo matches.

“It’s Chicagoland’s largest and best-attended polo event,” says Karen Selman of Barrington Hills, who chairs the event this year.

For starters, the popular “Parade of Hounds” opens the event, with a pack of baying foxhounds flooding onto the polo field, only to have riders from the Fox River Valley Hunt Club, wearing their traditional red hunting coats, control them.

Equestrian fans also will get to see a demonstration of precision riding by Timmerman’s Mounted Drill Team, based in Island Lake, before they serve as color guard during the playing of the national anthem.

There’s even a ladies’ hat competition, as well as a prize for best tailgate. Children will enjoy riding in hay wagons provided by Patch 22 in Wadsworth, and seeing young riders from the Fox River Valley Pony Club demonstrate their skills.

For ticket and detailed event information, visit the Daily Herald’s full article  here.

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While things have been calm at the Barrington Hills Village Hall these days, it seems as though there is trouble brewing over at the Barrington Hills Park District. It has been reported to the Observer that at last Wednesday night’s meeting of the Park District Board, board members voted unanimously to impose a facility rental fee for this year’s Barrington Honor Ride & Run (BHRR) – the annual community event that raises funds for the national organization Project Hero/Ride to Recovery Charity.  Project Hero is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization which benefits Veterans and First Responders impacted by bodily injuries, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).  Project Hero’s events help these heroes rehabilitate and regain physical and mental health through cycling, and they raise funds to provide participants with customized equipment and specially modified bicycles needed due to injuries, as well as medical and psychiatric care.

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Trustee Colleen Konicek, the event organizer for the BHRR, was out of town on business, but Village President McLaughlin, Trustee Brian Cecola and Equestrian Commission member Stephanie Cecola and Veteran and former South Barrington trustee Bob Crowther appeared on Konicek’s behalf before the Barrington Hills Park District (BHParkDist)Board to inquire whether the members would consider waiving the rental fee for the 2018 event which has applied for rental of a portion of the Park District facility on August 12.  BHParkDist had previously explained that because the BHRR is not “in-district” and it charges event participants a fee, they would be charged a rental fee of $550, but they could request a waiver of the fee from the Park Board.

BHParkDist Vice President Steve Allen stated that the group was out of District, thereby necessitating a rental fee, and that the national organization had reported raising over 3 million dollars in recent filings and that they “weren’t hurting for money”.

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Dennis Kelly

BHParkDist President Dennis Kelly mentioned that the participation fee charged by BHRR as one of the many reasons he was against waiving the fee for the group.

Village President McLaughlin reminded both board members that every dollar raised and saved goes to the Vets.  Further, he stated that the total amount raised per year locally by the BHRR was around $40,000. Stephanie Cecola said it was unfathomable that a group of individuals who have given so much to protect us would NOT be given consideration to have the fee waived.  Dennis Kelly stated that every 501(c) (3) would be treated the same and that he was “watching out for the taxpayers”.

McLaughlin (who rarely appears to speak at meetings of other public bodies) requested special consideration on behalf of our veterans.  He mentioned that this event is an example of how our community can put its best foot forward by hosting and supporting our military.  He also mentioned how much positive press and feedback the village receives from hosting this event.  He further asked that if the board was so compelled to charge a fee that perhaps park district board members might consider a personal donation to offset the fee.  Only board member Jessica Underwood was open to consider that idea, but Dennis Kelly quickly shut down her inquiry and called for a vote. The Park District Board, consisting of Dennis Kelly, Steve Allen, Jessica Underwood, John Rosene and Gigi Iacovelli voted unanimously to impose the rental fee for this public facility.

Brian Cecola along with McLaughlin and Crowther have donated hundreds of volunteer hours to this event over the years, and all three were equally disgusted by the intransigent position of the board.

McLaughlin said it was just disappointing to see a group of individuals misrepresent the generous nature of the vast majority of residents in Barrington Hills for some personal undisclosed agenda. He, along with Cecola, Crowther and Konicek were considering personally covering the rental fees so that the event could continue in Barrington Hills without cost to the charity.

The Barrington Honor Ride is a great event for a great cause. Quite frankly, we don’t understand how the Park District could ever consider imposing a fee on these heroes. If you have attended the event, you will never forget the sight of these warriors who have lost limbs and suffered life-altering injuries, saluting the flag as the National Anthem is performed before the event commences.

We question the motivation of these members of the Park District Board to deny a waiver of the fee after being informed that every dollar saved goes to our vets.

This Park District receives roughly $210,000 of our tax dollars each year, and these board members are elected to represent our community. They may try to rationalize the imposition of the $550 fee as a fiscally responsible act, but keep in mind that this is the Park District that only charges private horse trainers $100 annually to use our Riding Center for conduct their personal for-profit lessons at our taxpayer funded Riding Center.  And one of those trainers happens to be Park District Board Member Jessica Underwood.

And, is it only coincidence that one of the Park District’s two paid administrative employees is Kim Keper, who happens to be the wife of BHParkDist VP Steve Allen?

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 3.59.16 PM Or consider board member John Rosene, who is notorious for playing fast and loose with facts when it comes to village politics. Rosene has been reprimanded by the Polo association for his inappropriate sending of political emails to the private email addresses of minors, and is no longer allowed to hold a leadership position in the polo club.

And, this same BHParkDist Board recently did away with the $70 rebate program that minimally reimbursed BH residents for a portion of out-of-district rates charged when they participated in other neighboring park districts’ programs — programs which our district doesn’t offer because of their single-minded obsession with equestrian sports.

And, this is the same Park District Board that is considering the feasibility of installing an outdoor polo arena at the Riding Center (see Minutes January 2018).  More polo!  Well, if that isn’t “watching out for the taxpayers”, we don’t know what is.

Now, with this shameful vote, this Park District has failed our vets and they have failed the taxpayers of this village. Be assured, the Observer will remind the community of this selfish action in 2019 when the next election for Park District Board is held.

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Less than a week remains until the election, and predictably, a flurry of 11th hour campaign mailings are landing in mailboxes, proclaiming breaking news and urgent bulletins, all carefully timed to prevent rebuttal by their targets, Martin McLaughlin and Colleen Konicek Hannigan.

This time, the mailings, which are highly critical of Marty and Colleen, are coming from a private citizen, rather than a candidate’s campaign committee, so we will not name the person in question.  But the individual is well known as a key member of the polo club,  as one of the most extreme equestrians in the village and as a bosom buddy of the former village president. Readers should be familiar with his notorious 2005 White Paper.

In his first mailing, he basically repeated many of the fabricated claims that have been raised by the Your Barrington Hills candidates Iacovelli, Jacobsen and Zubak, whom he supports, along with Equestrienne Ramesh.  Our feature Meet the Candidates Part Two: YBH — the Trojan Horsemen, published yesterday, set the record straight on many of those issues.

The second letter received today alleges a lawsuit recently filed against the village concerning commercial horse boarding is being hidden from residents.  The writer attempts rile up the electorate with false outrage and cries of lack of transparency.  Funny thing is, he fails to mention that one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is the very same owner/operator of the commercial boarding operation on Bateman Road that has already cost our village taxpayers hundreds of thousands in legal fees in numerous lawsuits over the last decade.  Oh, and the letter writer’s polo club has an arrangement with that plaintiff to use the polo field at that very boarding facility.

So what about the assertion that the trustees and the public have not been made aware of the lawsuit?  Untrue. We direct you to the recently released recording of the Village Board meeting held on March 21st, 2017 when the lawsuit was IN FACT discussed in open session in the first board meeting held after the case was filed.  Click here to hear Village Attorney Patrick Bond’s statement that the Board was emailed a litigation update regarding the amended complaint in connection with that case.  It is apparent that both the Board and the public have been made aware of the filings.

[We wonder where the letter writer’s outrage was when the Sears litigation went on for 13 YEARS without mention to the public until President McLaughlin took it upon himself to work with South Barrington to settle that suit, which could have meant a $20 million dollar judgment against the two villages if Sears had prevailed.]

The March 21st recordings also include the Chief of Police Rich Semelsberger describing the village’s continuing use of the CTY Community Alert System.  His discussion not only makes it clear that the alert system has not been abandoned, but actually has been used, in his words, ” very liberally” for announcements of road closures, chemical spills, missing persons, etc.  He further clarified that the Police Department makes the decision to issue an alert, not the president or the board, and that the Department balances the public’s need to know with the timeliness of the message.  Semelsberger’s comments about the CTY alerts, including a mention of a FOIA request having been filed and fulfilled on the topic, can be heard here.

The Chief also responded to a Board question about police staffing here, and explained that in the 28 years that he has been with the department, there have always been a minimum of two officers on patrol at any given time.  Currently there are two officers out on extended injury, and as a result, other personnel have been reassigned to ensure adequate coverage.  Additionally, there are two new officers scheduled to begin training at the Illinois State Police Academy on April 9th, as a result of a screening process that began last year.

So, the claims about the “hidden lawsuit” are false. Claims about the abandonment of the CTY Alert System are false. Claims about insufficient police staffing are false. Claims about FOIA expenses are false. Claims about rebranding are false. Claims about 911 dispatch outsourcing are false. And on, and on, and on.

Four days remain until the election, and we see the same pitiful pattern of deception that we’ve seen in previous campaigns. Outrageous claims are made, lawsuits and FOIA requests filed, and last minute grenades are launched — all by the same bad actors.  It’s the same small vocal group, inextricably tied to the former president, that spews misinformation and attempts to bully and intimidate the regular folks in the village.  In 2013, voters said “Enough!” In 2015, they shouted “ENOUGH!”  In 2017, let’s get the big hook out and finally drag those bad actors off of the village stage once and for all.

We encourage our readers to stay informed and to share our posts with their friends and neighbors as this critical campaign draws to a conclusion on Tuesday.

[NOTE: The Observer itself is mentioned in both of the aforementioned mailings, and we have to say that free advertising is always appreciated, although not needed, as our readership is booming.]

 

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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.

RameshEquestrienne

…Equestrienne…

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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 BHPD Logo The Barrington Hills Park District issued the following notice via email today: 

Weather permitting, the outdoor arena will be closed next week, beginning Monday, March 20, for installation of new sand and repairs.

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RameshScout On her new Facebook page , Elaine Ramesh asks residents to re-elect her as Trustee of the Village of Barrington Hills. When one seeks re-election to a position previously held, we think it appropriate to ask “is past behavior a predictor of future performance”?

Dr. Ramesh (PhD Organic Chemistry) certainly possesses impressive academic credentials, including a law degree. It is surprising however, given her background, that her approach to government has been less than cerebral. In fact, it is just the opposite:

  • Longmeadow Parkway (LMP): In the Winter 2013 issue of the Village Newsletter, Ramesh wrote “Over the past few years, I have represented the Village in Kane County for planning-related events such as the Kane County 2040 Plan and the Longmeadow Parkway project.”  Former Village President Bob Abboud vigorously supported the LMP without input from Village residents and with disregard for the impact on Autumn Trail property owners. It seems that Ramesh agreed, being the only person from Barrington Hills directly involved in the process, and not once voicing her opposition to the ill-conceived Toll Bridge project which is now moving along at breakneck speed.
  • Barrington Honor Ride & Run: At the June 2012 Board of Trustees meeting, Trustee Ramesh voiced her non-support of Barrington Honor Ride and Run, an annual  charity bike ride that raises money for veterans who suffered grievous injuries in service to our country. Part of the 30-mile course for the ride runs through Barrington Hills for about ninety minutes on a Sunday morning, and thus needed approval by the Village Board.  The majority of the Board reluctantly approved the event, but limited the registration to 150 to 200 participants. One of Ramesh’s reasons for non-support was that the ride would inconvenience residents and would be dangerous for the participants. She also cited potential “rudeness” by participants, which then-President Abboud promptly confirmed. The “rudeness” was anecdotal and unconfirmed by other residents.  Ironically, Elaine pushed for unlimited use of the polo field at Oakwood Farm for weekday practices and for the LeCompte Kalaway Cup Polo Matches, an annual event that brings over 2,000 attendees to the Village, the vast majority of them who are non-residents. It seems that horses are more important to her than honoring and helping our men and women who have bravely served our country.
  • Riding Club of Barrington Hills:  For some reason, Dr. Ramesh is not promoting her association with the Riding Club, having been a member for well over a decade and despite having served as its President in 2015. Judging from her Facebook page, Ramesh’s only recreational interests would seen to be jogging, spending time with her dog and cat and volunteering with the Girl Scouts.

RameshAbboudPlaque We believe Dr. Ramesh has a hidden agenda to serve only the equestrian community rather than the best interests of all residents and is inextricably tied to the failed policies and disastrous agenda of former Village President Bob Abboud.

So, is her past behavior indicative of future performance? We’ll leave that for the voters to decide.

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