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Archive for the ‘Riding Club of BH’ Category

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The 48th Annual Horse Trials will be held at the Barrington Hills Park District’s
Riding Center.

This nationally recognized event is the ultimate test of horse and rider.  One event, three disciplines: Dressage, Cross Country and Stadium Jumping. Novice through intermediate preliminary.

Admission is free to spectators!  Food truck and vendors on site.

The weekend begins with Dressage on Friday, June 22nd starting at 9:00am.  Horses and riders perform a prescribed set of exercises at the Barrington Hills Park District Riding Center located at 361 Bateman Road, Barrington Hills, IL.

Saturday, June 23th, is the exciting Cross Country phase where horses will gallop through the Forest Preserve over fixed obstacles, down banks and through water.  Cross Country rides will begin at 8:00 a.m. and continue until about 6 p.m. You will need to plan one half hour upon arrival at the Riding Center to get to the Cross Country course.

On Sunday, June 24th – Show Jumping competition and awards ceremonies will conclude the weekend.  Our fabulous Sponsor’s Brunch, starting at 9:00 will be served in a tent with views of both the grass jump field and the sand jumping arena. The many special trophies will be awarded at the conclusion of their divisions.  This final phase will be held at the Riding Center starting at approximately 9:00 a.m. continuing until mid-afternoon.

For more information please click the link.

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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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As the Observer looks back at another year gone by, we thought we’d take the opportunity to point out some people and issues that made an impact in Barrington Hills news, whether it was good, bad or just plain phony.

ThumbsUpPresident Martin McLaughlin and Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan were re-elected for their second terms in April 2017. We applaud their excellent service to our village and appreciate the personal sacrifices that they have made to keep Barrington Hills the special place that it is . conicek-300x200@2x

ThumbsUpMcLaughlin continued his astounding record of financial stewardship. Having analyzed every aspect of village spending for the last five years, Marty has surgically excised waste and improved efficiencies in the village budget. Since 2013, the tax levy has been reduced by 20%, 20% more road miles have been paved per year, and cash reserves have increased by 40%.McLaughlin-300x200@2x

ThumbsUpSince McLaughlin took office, every administrative employee at Village Hall has changed. In prior years, Barrington Hills hired a new Village Attorney and Treasurer, and, due to the retirement of Chief Michael Murphy, Rich Semelsberger became Police Chief. In 2017 alone, a new Building Permit Coordinator, new Engineering Firm, Clerk and a new acting Director of Administration were hired.

ThumbsDownTwo candidates from the “Your Barrington Hills” slate narrowly won election to the Board of Trustees. Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak ran on a platform of unfounded and disproven complaints about village governance, and promised to do more to: 1) protect open spaces and property rights, 2)produce better results for our tax dollars, 3) restore public safety and security which they alleged had been sacrificed, and 4) improve transparency and information distribution. More than eight months have passed since the duo were sworn into office, and nary a mention has been made of any of these so-called initiatives. And, not surprisingly, neither trustee has presented their new ideas for those better results for our tax dollars.  This confirms our belief that their sole reason for running for office was to attempt to change the current commercial horse boarding protections.

Paula Jacobsen Robert ZubakJacobsen and Zubak also made campaign promises to vigorously challenge the Plum Farm land development in Hoffman Estates, falsely accusing McLaughlin and Konicek of doing nothing to oppose the project. Yet Jacobsen and Zubak have not even aired the Plum Farm issue during a board meeting.

ThumbsUp For the first time in many years, the Riding Club of Barrington Hills did not officially involve itself in the village election. Despite pressure from some of the Club’s most strident and vocal members, club president Jane Clement declined to make an political endorsement to the RCBH membership. We commend her for that. Politics and non-profit social clubs shouldn’t mix.

ThumbsUpThe 2017 hiring of Nikki Panos as part-time Building Department permit coordinator was a breath of fresh air. Panos brought competence and professionalism to the office whose previous occupant was frequently brusque and unkempt. We congratulate Panos’ promotion to Village Clerk and are confident that residents will be well served by her.

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Nikki Panos, Village Clerk

ThumbsUpThe wave of change at Village Hall continued with the engagement of a new engineering firm – Trotter & Associates – replacing Gewalt Hamilton. Gewalt Hamilton had served the Village for decades, but without review or evaluation. We look forward to the fresh perspective that Trotter will provide and hope that residents will receive better service at a lower cost.

ThumbsDownIn the spring of 2017, the owners of Barrington Hills Farm (whose 600+acres is now located almost entirely OUTSIDE the borders of Barrington Hills) flouted village laws when they demolished a home, engaged in major earth-moving, cut down numerous trees without adhering to the Tree Preservation Ordinance, and failed to obtain proper permits prior to engaging in the project. When the activity on this property (formerly owned by the recently deceased Barbara MacArthur) was finally discovered by the Village, two stop work order signs were posted by the village inspector, and both signs mysteriously disappeared. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done, and all the village could do was collect the permit fees and penalties months after the fact.

ThumbsDownApparently feeling slighted by having to follow the Village Code as all other residents and property owners have to do, the Barrington Hills Farm L.L.C. ownership demanded disconnection of the property in question into unincorporated McHenry County, a request that was granted by the Board of Trustees.

jokerSpeaking of Barrington Hills Farm, whatever happened to the HARPS facility they had planned near the intersection of Church and Chapel Roads, immediately adjacent to Barrington Hills homes on Alderberry Lane? It’s been over two years since representatives of the L.L.C. presented plans to both the village and McHenry County, and after all the hullabaloo they created over necessary curb cuts for the proposed driveway entrances and the nonsense over granting easements and rights-of-way, the corner remains undeveloped. There is no new information about the facility on the HARPS website either. Strange, isn’t it?

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Trustee Brian Cecola continued his excellent management of the Village’s Roads and Bridges.  He is completely engaged in his position, interfacing well with residents, village engineering firm and his fellow board members.  Miles of road paving per year are up, and Cecola is looking to increase that benchmark in the coming years.  Congratulations for a job well done!

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Trustee Brian Cecola

ThumbsUp 2017 brought the long-overdue retirement of Village Administrator Bob Kosin. His 35 years of service to Barrington Hills is much appreciated, but Kosin had long since ceased serving the residents efficiently, and was increasingly difficult to work with. His convoluted explanations and arcane knowledge of village history may have been interesting in the past, but residents and commission members no longer found his digressions amusing or beneficial.

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We are hopeful about the appointment of Anna Paul (previously Village Clerk) as acting Administrator. While the search for a permanent administrator may continue, the Observer has been pleased to watch Paul’s progression through the ranks of village administration. She offers a familiarity with VBH operations that no outside candidate with years of lead experience can match. Her organization and communication skills are outstanding, and despite her relative youth, she is steady, impartial and poised in any situation. We wish Anna Paul well in her new assignment.

jokerThe Observer usually doesn’t comment on state or federal races, but we feel compelled to comment on the unlikely candidacy of resident Kelly Mazeski in the Democratic Congressional primary in IL-06. Mazeski, whose recent civic resume consists of only of membership on the village’s Plan Commission, previously ran unsuccessfully for Village Board in 2013, and unsuccessfully for State Senate in 2016. Her campaign’s PR machine has been busy at work, trying to repackage her from the “financial expert” she called herself in 2016, now calling herself “mom/scientist/cancer survivor”. What’s next – butcher/baker/candlestick maker?

jokerSpeaking of Kelly Mazeski, it seems as though she’s been grasping for endorsements, trotting out support from “environmentalists” Karen Rosene and Karen Selman, as well as a big thumbs up from former trustee Mikey Harrington. Now that’s a lot to be proud of, isn’t it?

jokerAlthough he opted not to run for re-election as trustee, the specter of Fritz Gohl continues to loom over the village. Gohl, now receiving financial compensation as a Barrington Township trustee, still can claim his title of village buffoon. His frequent public comments during Board of Trustees meetings are no more logical or coherent now than they were during his tenure on the board.

ThumbsDownChuck Stewart, Village Arborist, is the last of the Kosin-era hold-overs. In appearances in front of village commissions and the BOT, Stewart communicates poorly and comes across as disorganized. The Observer is also concerned about the questionable judgment he demonstrated in enforcing the Tree Preservation Ordinance both in the Hasan case and in the aforementioned Barrington Hills Farm matter. Those faults, combined with an undisclosed potential conflict of interest (Stewart rents office space in a building owned by one of the members of the board of Barrington Hills Farm), makes him a poor choice to continue in the role of Village Arborist. The Village needs a tree expert who can communicate clearly with residents and builders, as well as with Village administration.

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IDOT IL 62 Study“BARRINGTON, IL – A public meeting will be held on Thursday, Nov. 9 to discuss road improvements proposed on Illinois Route 62 in Barrington Hills. The Illinois Department of Transportation will accept public comments at the meeting and written comments that are mailed or submitted online until Dec. 1.

IDOT didn’t specify what improvements are planned on the main Barrington Hills thoroughfare except that they are planned between Illinois 25 and Illinois 68, a stretch that covers most of the village. Preliminary engineering and environmental studies have already begun.

The hearing, planned from 4-7 p.m. on Nov. 9 at the Barrington Park District, 235 Lions Drive in Barrington, will introduce the project, obtain public input and inform those in attendance about additional public involvement opportunities.

Exhibits will be on display and an audio-visual presentation will be shown during the open-house format meeting.

The official public meeting record will include comments heard in person, mailed and ones that will be submitted online here.”

The original press release in the Barrington Patch can be seen here.

In addition, IDOT has set up a website for the project which does not include any further details, but we will continue to monitor it for any updates.  We did note that the logo (above) for the project contains a horse, trees and a bicycle.

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2017HillsAreAlive

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audio_tape_revox_pr99-203Audio recordings from the July 24th, 2017 meeting of the Board of Trustees have been posted. To access the menu of recordings edited by agenda item, click here.

Most of the brief meeting consisted of routine business, but, again, property owned by Barrington Hills Farm LLC (BHFarm) provided the most interesting fodder for discussion.  As we mentioned previously, the owner(s) of the unoccupied property at 2400 Spring Creek Road had been cited for demolition of a residence without a building permit and for removal of two posted Stop Work Order signs. Additionally, many trees and much vegetation had been removed without a permit required under the village’s Heritage Tree Ordinance.

Trustee Colleen Konicek asked Administrator Bob Kosin for an update on the situation.  The issue of the removal of the Stop Work Order signs is currently in the hands of the village prosecutor, and the courts will be left to determine if the violation did take place, and what fines, if any, should be imposed.  Kosin went on to state that the necessary demolition permit had now been obtained, albeit AFTER the fact, and that according to the demolition contractor, none of the work to remove the debris from the demolition of the 2900 sq. ft. home had required an overweight permit.  Trustee Brian Cecola strongly questioned the notion that a residence of that size could be taken down without the need for an overweight permit.  Konicek pressed the issue further, asking Kosin what evidence had been provided that an overweight permit had not been required? Kosin was forced to admit there was no evidence, just the word of the contractor. We wonder how many other residents would be afforded this same benefit of the doubt.

On the issue of the trees that had been removed, Kosin stated that the Village’s tree contractor had been sent out, and he determined that no heritage trees had been lost or jeopardized on the site, again AFTER the fact, and that the property owner had been appropriately billed (and paid ) for the arborist’s inspection fee. Kosin expressed supreme confidence in the arborist’s psychic abilities to determine the species of trees which had been removed, without ever having seen them.  We don’t quite understand how this was possible — perhaps he conducted a DNA analysis of the sawdust residue?

President Martin McLaughlin expressed concern about the objectivity of the arborist, Chuck Stewart, who had performed the study of the property, because Stewart rents office space in a building owned by one of the members of the board of Barrington Hills Farm. Trustee Michelle Maison was also troubled by this perceived conflict of interest and inquired if another independent tree analysis should be conducted.

McLaughlin then brought up the issue of the deannexation request (dated July 17, 2017) for 2400 Spring Creek Road. Back in the fall, the trust controlling BHFarm had expressed interest in annexing ALL of the former Duda property back into the Village during a friendly 2 1/2 hour staff meeting during which the village outlined two timelines to complete the annexation petition process. He found it odd that first they wanted to annex into the village, and now they want to annex out of the village. He also reminded the new Board members about the trust’s previous request for an easement for its proposed HARPS facility (which still has not broken ground).  The trust had wanted an easement, requested it, constructed the legal documents for it, and when the Board agreed to it, the trust wanted the easement out.

McLaughlin described how the Village has gone out of its way to say “yes” numerous times to requests by BHFarm, and explained how the Village has tried to work with the individuals representing BHFarm, only to have the trust change their minds about things that they themselves had asked for.  He likened dealing with the BHFarm trust as doing the Hokey Pokey — they want the easement in, they want the easement out, they want to annex in, they want to annex out. All of it, he said, amounted to much silliness, and in our opinion, wasting of board and staff time, not to mention taxpayer dollars.

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Doing the annexation hokey pokey

Trustee Paula Jacobsen wondered why the village couldn’t have employed a warmer and fuzzier process to inform the property owner of their violation of the cease and desist order, perhaps by placing a personal phone call. Jacobsen was either playing dumb in thinking that property owners’ phone numbers are listed on property deeds, or perhaps she was pandering to BHFarm’s board which is headed by a prominent donor to her recent trustee campaign. Her point seemed to be that the property owner was not being treated in a neighborly manner, despite the fact that the only publicly available contact information is an street address in Chicago. Never did she place any onus on the property owner who apparently assumed that it was okay to knock down a house without consulting the municipal authorities in advance. Maybe she has never heard of the expression “ignorance of the law is no excuse”?

And, if the village had gone to extreme lengths to track down a telephone number in this particular instance, wouldn’t that create a dangerous precedent for the village’s future contacts with other property owners?  AND, does Jacobsen really believe that the contractor(s) who removed the trees and demolished the residence didn’t inform their employer of the Stop Work Order?

Those conversations can be heard here.

Later in the meeting, during discussion of the disconnection petition itself, Village Attorney Mary Dickson described the legal requirements for disconnection and confirmed that the subject property meets all of them. However, the village cannot act on such a petition sooner than 30 days after receiving it, and, as a result, the attorney will prepare an ordinance for possible action at the next Board meeting in August.

Dickson cautioned that any penalties regarding the cease and desist order violation pending in court should be resolved and that any other monies due to the Village should be paid PRIOR to the Board of Trustees taking final action on BHFarm’s petition.

Jacobsen continued to puzzle over the reason for the disconnection request into unincorporated McHenry County, and asked if the petitioner would be making a presentation to the Board explaining the reasons for the disconnection.  Dickson explained that no such presentation is legally necessary.  (We suggest that Jacobsen pick up the telephone a place a neighborly phone call if she wants to quench her curiosity.) Attorney Dickson opined that maybe developmental rights are the reason, and perhaps the best prospects for the owner’s desired development of the property may lie with the county rather than the village. We’d say that Ms. Dickson hit the nail on the head with that assessment.

The disconnection discussion can be heard here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Barrington Hills Park District recently issued two recent press releases, one concerning renovation of the tennis courts at Countryside School, and the other announcing a survey being conducted by the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois.

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Tennis Courts Temporarily Closed for Renovation

The Barrington Hills Park District tennis courts located at Countryside School are closed for major renovation.
The courts will be resurfaced and a new 30-foot seating area for viewing will be constructed. The project is scheduled for completion in late August.
We will provide updates on construction and official reopening.
The BATA summer tennis program will be relocated to Barrington High School during construction.

Horsemen’s Council of Illinois Survey
If you own a horse, ride a horse, provide services to the horse community, sell horse related products, or teach equine science, let your voice be heard.
Take the online Horsemen’s Council of Illinois Survey: http://bit.ly/2rYi6Fg
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Note: The Observer finds it interesting the Park District to whom the majority of Barrington Hills residents pay property taxes is promoting a survey by a private special interest group using their own advertising messages and slogans.

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