Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Friends of Forest Preserves’ Category

Screen Shot 2018-10-03 at 10.25.25 AM

When Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin volunteered to participate in a dunk tank during the recent “The Hills are Alive Fall Festival,” he did so with a village police officer in mind.

Shortly after he situated himself in the dunk tank on Sept. 30., youngster Susie Bongiorno hit the target and dunked McLaughlin into the water below.

Proceeds this year from the dunk tank, as well as food and beverage sales during the village’s annual fall community festival, went to an ongoing effort to raise funds for Jeremy Hensler, a police officer in Barrington Hills who recently was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“(Bongiorno) threw a strike. I coached her on our softball team,” McLaughlin said of the dunk tank experience, adding how an estimated crowd of 600 attended the festival. “We think that’s pretty good attendance for a village with 1,100 homes.”

But the featured element of Barrington Hills’ sixth annual fall festival was supporting Hensler, who also is a member of the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System — a group of suburban police departments in the Chicago area, officials said.

“He was one of our highest-trained, well-qualified officers,” McLaughlin said of Hensler.

Screen Shot 2018-10-03 at 10.25.38 AM

McLaughlin said the Dunk Tank ended up generating about $500 in proceeds. Organizers also collected donations through vendors’ food and beverage sales at the event, he said. Timmerman’s Equestrian Drill Team, of Island Lake, also performed for the festivalgoers.

Other activities included a climbing rock wall, an interactive animal show and a make-your-own ice cream area, organizers said.

The entire Barrington Courier-Review article can be seen here.

Read Full Post »

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”.

 

Read Full Post »

BHPDThe Barrington Hills Park District Board of Commissioners meets this evening at 7:00 PM at the district Riding Center located at 361 Bateman Road.  A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

Read Full Post »

The Village has released the audio recordings from the December 7th quarterly meeting of the Equestrian Commission.

There were no formal comments made during public comment, however attendees were allowed to comment or ask questions when recognized by the chair throughout the meeting.  This more informal format is used for most Barrington Hills meetings, excluding the Village and Zoning Board meetings.

The first item covered in the meeting was the status of Horizon Farms.  Trustee Maison, liaison to the commission, provided the update, which can be heard here.

Village attorney Patrick Bond then spoke about the status of horse boarding in Barrington Hills as it stands currently in our Village Codes.  His presentation can be heard here.

It was surprising that none of the estimated 20 residents in attendance, or any of the commission members had questions or comments after Bond’s comments.  Considering the misinformation circulating throughout the Village on this topic in the last few years, one might have expected some interaction, but there was only silence.

When the topic of equestrian trail maps was discussed, there was interaction.

The Riding Club of Barrington Hills has expressed a desire to convert some of the private trails on homeowners’ properties to legal easements deeded to the club.  Two cases in which a swimming pool and a garden had been constructed which disrupted the trails were cited as factors for their desire to have better control of their trails.

It was suggested that if the trails were deeded to the Riding Club, this might be avoided, and a club representative in the audience stated that Riding Club would bear the cost of the filing fee.  Interested residents can contact the Riding Club, and the recording of that discussion can be heard here.

The agenda subject of “Equestrian Information on Website & in newsletter” also proved to be quite interesting.  The chair began the discussion by stating, “We have a number of equestrian clubs in Barrington Hills, and our events overlap.  For example, the Riding Club had a sector ride on the same day as the Village held ‘Hills Are Alive’, and so we couldn’t participate.”

Citing this recent scheduling “conflict,” she went on to express the desire to have one central calendar that all equestrian clubs may use for planning purposes, and to provide the public an opportunity to see all Village equestrian events, hunts or shows.

The chair then requested that the Village invite the Riding Club, Polo Club, Fox River Hounds, the Pony Club and the Barrington Hills Park District to utilize the Village government’s calendar for scheduling and information purposes, as well as add links to those organizations’ websites.

This seems like a reasonable concept, however the Barrington Area Library already provides a community calendar for this purpose, as seen here.

Furthermore, if the Village were to extend such an invitation, other organizations within the Village should be allowed to participate as well.  Garden clubs, youth scouting organizations, public and private schools, conservation groups and houses of worship, among others, would likely wish to have their notices posted to the calendar as well.

There’s also the matter of resources to be considered.  If the Village were to take on this responsibility, the time required to maintain such a calendar might become too great, thus detracting from other duties performed by Village Hall staff.

If the Village does decide to proceed with this initiative, the one suggestion we have is to create separate calendars for government business and community events.  Otherwise, the current calendar would likely become very muddled, thus making it more difficult for residents only interested in government meeting information to find what they’re looking for.

The link to the full Village website utilization discussion recording can be accessed here.  The menu of edited recordings by agenda topic for the entire meeting can be accessed here.

Read Full Post »

CCFP Horizon - CopyHorizon Farms, the nearly 400-acre former equestrian estate in Barrington Hills, was opened to the public by the Forest Preserves of Cook County this month, although some of the property’s features remain off-limits.

Dave Kircher, a chief landscape architect for the forest preserve, said about 4 miles of multi-use trails are open to hikers, bicyclists and horse riders, while plans continue for the rest of property’s unique features.

Read more here.

Read Full Post »

The Village has released the fall 2014 Village newsletter.  Some of the topics covered in this issue include:

  • Closure of the longstanding Sears lawsuit against the Village
  • Rationales for improving Village legal representation
  • Commercial horse boarding text amendment updates
  • Police Chief Murphy’s retirement later this month, and
  • Plans for the 2014 Fall Heritage Fest on October 25

A copy of the newsletter can be downloaded here.

Read Full Post »

Cook%20CountyThe Forest Preserve District of Cook County has recently released their “Trail Master Plan & Policy.”  The plan addresses current and planned changes for paved, unpaved and mowed trails as well as equestrian and mountain bike friendly trails.

The report also provides results of their 2013 survey of trail usage and satisfaction throughout the greater Cook County forest preserves areas.

A copy of the plan can be downloaded here.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »