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crabtree-nature-center-photography-may13-1050x600

Major improvements to the infrastructure and visitor amenities at Crabtree Nature Center are underway! Planned updates include increasing energy efficiency by replacing the existing HVAC with all-electric systems and energy efficient lighting. New amenities include a redesigned interior, educational exhibits, and informational signs inside and out. This work is funded in part by a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Though the nature center building will be closed from July 1 until spring 2023, the grounds will remain open throughout construction, and naturalists will remain available to answer questions and lead programming. Public bathrooms will remain open as long as possible and will only be closed intermittently as needed.

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220

A controversial book’s inclusion on a middle school summer reading list has fueled outrage among some parents in Barrington Community Unit School District 220.

The graphic novel “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe has sparked similar debates at schools across the country, including Downers Grove High School District 99 and Antioch Community High School District 117. Earlier this year, the American Library Association named “Gender Queer” the most challenged book of 2021.

The book has been in the library collection at Barrington High School but is now undergoing a school-level review. That could result in a district-level review by a committee consisting of a parent, an administrator, a teacher and a school library information specialist, officials said Thursday.

Any district-level review and recommendation by the committee to the school board could lead to the book’s being left on the shelf, reclassified, restricted or removed from the collection.

In a letter to the school district community Thursday, Superintendent Robert Hunt said the controversy stems from an email to middle school parents encouraging students to read over the summer. The email included links to two book award lists created by the American Association of Illinois School Library Educators: the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award 2023 and the 2023 Illinois Lincoln Award List.

“Gender Queer,” a memoir about struggling with self-identity and coming out as asexual and nonbinary to family and friends, appears on the Lincoln list.

Hunt’s letter follows a contentious school board meeting Tuesday night at which many parents railed against the book’s inclusion on the summer reading list and in the high school library. One held up a sign with the crossed-out word “PORN” over the phrase “in our schools.”

“This is exactly (how) I would expect a pedophile to behave when approaching a child to normalize sexual behavior, to abuse them,” Nelda Munoz, who has children in fourth and sixth grades, said after reading a passage from the novel. “Stop sexualizing our kids. Stop abusing them.”

Read more here.

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220

Most of the public comments voiced during Tuesday evening’s District 220 Board of Education meeting centered around inappropriate content contained in district libraries, and in Summer reading recommendations by staff.  Here is one example:

“Good evening, I’m (name), and I have a fourteen and a sixteen year old here in the District, and I recently became aware of books available in my school to my kids, which you have discussed.

They’re titled, ‘This Book Is Gay,’ and ‘Gender Queer.’ My opposition to these books has nothing to do with their LGBTQ content, but of their pornographic nature.  They discuss in detail how two men can pleasure each other, how to give a proper hand job, and a comic book cartoon demonstrating masturbation and oral sex between men.

These books have mature content that is considered R-rated and I consider X-rated, and I would be just as upset if these books with these pornographic images had heterosexual content as well. Perhaps that’s in the school library, I don’t know.

So, children’s brains gave not developed enough psychologically or emotionally to fully interpret this mature or only for adult content. Research has shown that exposure to pornography can impair a child’s developing brain, social interactions, emotional skills as well as impulse control issues up until their mid-twenties.

Our school libraries are not public libraries. Schools are supposed to be safe environments for our kids (exasperated sigh).

This pornographic content has no place in our schools. Our younger than seventeen age kids can’t go see an R-rated movie on their own, nor should they be allowed to check out these books without parental consent.

Why are these books even in our school libraries, because they’re award winning? Well, they’re not age appropriate, and that’s what we need in our schools. And who’s responsible for putting these books into our schools so our kids have access to them?

Speaking at the High School level I would like to see a system in place where parental consent is required to check out books that would be considered R-rated. And this needs to be a simple process for our kids.

We moved to Barrington in 2008 because of its conservative family values and D-220’s reputation of academic excellence. (Recording briefly cuts out) No parent would willingly send their children to school knowing it was not a safe place for them physically, socially or emotionally. Yet, my kids have access to pornography in school.

The sexualization of our children needs to stop. We need to preserve their childhood innocence. Please, (more static).  I’m losing trust in you.”

This person’s comments can be heard here.  All public comments begin here.

The entire meeting can be heard here.

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220 Board 2021

The District 220 Board of Education meets this evening at 7:00 PM at the District Administration Center, 515 W. Main Street. A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

The meeting will be livestreamed on the district YouTube channel.

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BCFPD Hummer

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District Board meets at  6:30 PM at 22222 N. Pepper Road in Lake Barrington.  A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

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BCFPD Photo

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District (BCFPD) Board of Trustees usually meets on the third Monday of the month. However, no agenda is posted on the District’s website, nor is a notice of cancellation of the meeting.

If the meeting goes forward this evening, the Board should note:

“Public bodies that have a website must post the agenda of any regular meetings of the governing body (i.e. County Board, Board of Trustees, Board of Commissioners, School Board, etc) at least 48 hours prior to said meeting. Any agenda of a regular meeting that is posted on a public body’s website shall remain posted until the regular meeting is concluded.”

For the recorded, this is not the first time we’ve noticed the BCFPD has neglected to post required notifications.  If an agenda appears later today, we’ll notify readers.

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VBH Water

Stacker compiled a list of cities with the fastest growing home prices in Illinois using data from Zillow. Cities are ranked by the dollar change in Zillow Home Values Index for all homes from May 2021 to May 2022. The charts in this story were created automatically using Matplotlib. Data was available for 995 cities and towns in IL. Home values in the top city on the list grew by $185,097 over the last 12 months.

VBH and nearby communities include:

#49. Port Barrington

– Typical home value: $368,608
– 1-year price change: +$60,487 (+19.6%)
– 5-year price change: +$102,585 (+38.6%)

#34. Inverness

– Typical home value: $673,417
– 1-year price change: +$67,670 (+11.2%)
– 5-year price change: +$55,460 (+9.0%)

#23. Tower Lakes

– Typical home value: $536,235
– 1-year price change: +$82,176 (+18.1%)
– 5-year price change: +$118,320 (+28.3%)

#22. Deer Park

– Typical home value: $631,086
– 1-year price change: +$83,084 (+15.2%)
– 5-year price change: +$105,940 (+20.2%)

#15. Barrington Hills

– Typical home value: $860,355
– 1-year price change: +$92,977 (+12.1%)
– 5-year price change: +$90,164 (+11.7%)

#13. North Barrington

– Typical home value: $718,411
– 1-year price change: +$95,650 (+15.4%)
– 5-year price change: +$95,742 (+15.4%)

#12. Kildeer

– Typical home value: $713,083
– 1-year price change: +$103,887 (+17.1%)
– 5-year price change: +$94,652 (+15.3%)

#11. South Barrington

– Typical home value: $929,598
– 1-year price change: +$104,107 (+12.6%)
– 5-year price change: +$118,251 (+14.6%)

#8. Long Grove

– Typical home value: $747,961
– 1-year price change: +$113,032 (+17.8%)
– 5-year price change: +$109,026 (+17.1%)

#7. Wayne

– Typical home value: $669,681
– 1-year price change: +$115,445 (+20.8%)
– 5-year price change: +$143,423 (+27.3%)

Read the WGN article here.

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Property Taxation

A proposed change to the Illinois Constitution would effectively transfer power over taxpayer money to government worker unions. The trend of property tax hikes would likely grow even worse during the next four years.

It’s election season in Illinois, and politicians are running on the promise of property tax relief as usual, including every major candidate for governor.

Illinois’ property taxes are already the second-highest in the nation and a major reason taxpayers are fleeing to lower-tax states. That problem could be made worse on Nov. 8 when voters will be asked to decide the fate of Amendment 1, a tax hike disguised as a “workers rights amendment.”

The change would prevent commonsense reforms to reduce homeowners’ tax burdens while giving government union leaders virtually limitless new ways to demand higher costs from taxpayers. If it passes, Illinois’ trend of large annual property tax increases will likely grow faster than ever. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has failed to deliver on property tax relief during his term – the average family paid $1,913 more during his administration.

Amendment 1 would guarantee that family pays at least $2,149 in higher property tax bills over the next four years, no matter which politicians win this November or how well they try to follow through on their promises.

This is a conservative estimate, assuming the rapid growth of Illinois’ property tax burden holds steady. It’s likely property taxes would grow at an even faster rate, because Amendment 1 would give Illinois government unions unprecedented bargaining powers that don’t exist in any other state. Exactly how much faster is an open question.

Read on here.

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Barrington Village Hall

Barrington’s village manager presented a case Monday night for seeking home-rule status. The village board has until Aug. 22 to decide whether to put the question to voters Nov. 8.

Barrington village board members listened Monday as Village Manager Scott Anderson outlined the advantages of home rule. Whether trustees will take up the banner remains to be seen.

The village board would have to decide by Aug. 22 to put the question to voters on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Such surrounding communities as Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington and South Barrington have voted to become home rule.

Anderson’s presentation was intended to highlight the differences between communities with home rule and those without, the additional tools it would provide the village, and the process for attaining home-rule status.

“Simply stated, home rule gives municipalities greater authority to govern themselves,” said Anderson, adding that the village would have greater flexibility in day-to-day operations.

Anderson pointed out that Barrington is providing a full complement of services, including police and fire protection, water delivery, waste treatment, snow plowing and street maintenance.

“We have the responsibility for covering not only the operating day-to-day costs, but the long term capital costs and employer costs related to pensions,” he said. “And while we have the benefit of tailoring our services to what our customers need, we have the expenses related to that.”

He said home rule would allow the village to diversify its sources of revenue and rely less on property taxes.

Read more here.

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RCBH

The Riding Club of Barrington Hills (RCBH) recently released their April newsletter.  Topics covered this month include:

  • State of the trails
  • Saturday morning trail rides
  • 4th of July parade
  • What’s happening at the Park District, and
  • Forest Preserve

A copy of the RCBH newsletter can be viewed and downloaded here.

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