Archive for the ‘Resident Spotlights’ Category

For Immediate Release

SPRINGFIELD… State Representative Martin McLaughlin (R-Barrington Hills) enters his first term today as State Representative for the 52nd House District commencing the 102nd Illinois General Assembly. Rep. McLaughlin released the following statement:

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be sworn in today as your State Representative. Thank you for the opportunity to serve our great community in Springfield.

Today marks a new era with long time Speaker, Mike Madigan, out of the picture. I decided to run for this position because Illinois is broken and a complete fiscal disaster. I have dedicated my career to solving pension and fiscal problems, and I hope to represent all of you in the 52nd District with honesty, integrity, and transparency.

We have so much work to do in the 102nd General Assembly and I truly hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are actually ready for positive change in Springfield. Americans have suffered immensely this past year, business owners need relief, and Illinoisans need government responsibility now more than ever. I am ready to get to work! Thank you for the opportunity to be the fiscal watchdog we need.”

Jack Ivansek
House Republican Staff

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The Jackson School on Bateman Road was build around 1856. This photo is from the 1890s when Gertrude Meter was the teacher. (Tales of Old Barrington)

Founded in Conservation– Fostered in Open Space Stewardship

The First Act is devoted to those rugged settlers who journeyed out by horse and wagon in the early 1830s to seek an auspicious place to set down their few possessions in largely uncharted territory. In spite of the struggles facing them, they looked with faith and hope to building a new life.

The Second Act brings a new breed of pioneers. The land had been largely settled, the prairie broken, and the farms were now two or three generations on from those first explorers. These new pioneers of the early 20th century were mostly well-established in industry and business, but they, too, were seeking to create a new life with roots in the land.

This is a story of diverse and interesting people. Of upright New Englanders, versed in civil laws, and immigrants who bravely crossed the Atlantic, to trek westward and own a plot of land, denied to them in the stratified and exclusionary societies from which they came. It is a story of men already successful, who valued open space, both for practical and recreational uses. Their foresight ensured those vistas would survive for future generations.

On November 18, 1834, the Samuel Gillilan family stopped overnight at the cabin of Ruth and Jesse F. Miller along the Spring Creek in Section 16 of the territory then recorded as Town 42 North, Range 9 east, 3rd Principal Meridian. The Gillilans moved on the next morning and crossed the Fox River to settle in the later named Algonquin Township. The entire territory to the Wisconsin border was still included in Cook County. McHenry County was formed out of Cook County in 1836 and Lake County out of McHenry in 1839, meeting the conditions of the Public Land Survey System.

On May 20, 1785, the Continental Congress had adopted the Land Ordinance that allowed the Federal Government to raise money through the sale of land in the territory west of the original states. The Land Ordinance established the basis for the Public Land

Survey System in which the country’s unexplored territory was surveyed into townships of six miles square. Townships were then sub-divided into 36 sections of one square mile or 640 acres. To provide a means for funding public education, the Ordinance designated that Section 16 in each township, which was centrally located, was to be reserved for the earliest funding of public schools.

Miller and Van Orsdal, who came from Steuben County, New York, had no civic structure to guide them when they settled on Section 16, and when in 1840, the law required township incorporation, they vacated Section 16, designated as the school section, and removed to Section 17. Others soon followed, notably Phillip Hawley, Sr. from Amherst, Massachusetts, William H. Otis from Ellisburgh, New York, Homer Willmarth from North Adams, Massachusetts, A.C. Bucklin from South Adams, Hezekiah Kingsley and his sons Jerome and Shubuel, from Berkshire County, and Thomas Perkins.

Read the full Quintessential Barrington profile of our Village here.

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We said goodbye to several notable suburban residents in 2020. They left indelible marks on their communities through impressive accomplishments and dedicated public service. The list includes local officials and community, religious and business leaders.

Jasper Sanfilippo

Jasper Sanfilippo built his family’s nut business into a publicly traded company that last year had $876 million in sales. However, it is his passion for musical instruments, and helping nonprofits raise millions of dollars that helped shape his legacy. – Courtesy of Sanfilippo family

Jan. 28: He built his family’s nut business into a publicly traded company that last year had $876 million in sales, but it was his passion for musical instruments, particularly mechanical music machines, that helped shape his legacy. He was 88.

Sanfilippo’s Barrington Hills house grew to include additions to showcase his vast collection. He and his wife, Marian, helped nonprofit groups raise millions of dollars through welcoming them to host their fundraisers at the estate.

His son, Jeffrey Sanfilippo, who succeeded him as CEO of John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc. in 2006, dates his father’s interest in vintage music machines to a family vacation to Knott’s Berry Farm in California in the mid-1970s.

Jasper Sanfilippo built an addition to display his collection of automated musical instruments, including music boxes, phonographs, coin-operated pianos and violin machines. It grew to include dance organs and calliopes, and a world class theater organ.

He built an organ room and later a carousel building and helped local charities host banquets to raise money.

The couple established a family foundation in 2007 to help preserve the collection and manage the charity events.

Read the expanded list from the Daily Herald here.

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Tom Roeser

Closing of businesses in Illinois is controversial.

I operate a manufacturing business with 500 employees. We are designated as an “essential” business and have never been required to close.

Our experience with the virus is illustrative of how a business can remain safely open. We have had only one case where an employee contracted the virus at our workplace. Our procedures have kept our employees safe and kept their families solvent.

We have a strict policy for systematic employees to call in rather than come in. Those that can work from home (about 25) are equipped to.

Doors are propped open to reduce contact opportunities and extra cleaning is in place. Hand washing, masks and social distancing work.

If employees feel ill while at work, we send them to get tested. If positive, we send the entire production line home for 14-day quarantine.

There are many other “essential” businesses with a similar safety record. It is irresponsible for our government to discriminate against some businesses, churches or other public spaces, requiring them to close.

Governments could have gone to those open businesses to experience which easily-implemented safety measures have kept them safely open.

Fear of the virus has allowed our government to hide from making decisions. Does the science tell us that schools should close? Is there data that shows that restaurants are mass spreaders? Does one really think that a 5,000-square-foot church can only accommodate 50 parishioners?

The vaccines will put this virus behind us, but the judgment of our elected leaders will remain and the carnage of businesses and family finances will be their legacy.

• Tom Roeser, of Barrington Hills, is president of OTTO Engineering in Carpentersville.


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Barrington’s Town-Warming event will have its most prominent keynote speaker to date, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a Zoom event with more affordable ticket prices than usual.

The theme of the Jan. 23 event will be “What Now? Looking Ahead to the Post-Pandemic World.” Another keynote speaker will be William M. Daley, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

The event typically sells out quickly and is held at Barrington’s White House, where capacity is limited to about 200 people including the upstairs ballroom and a livestream on the first floor, village spokeswoman Patty Dowd Schmitz said.

Tickets normally are $150 per person, but they will be $75 per household this year because multiple people can watch on one screen, she said.

The event is presented by Barrington’s cultural commission and is made possible by Motorola CEO Greg Brown and his wife, Anna, who sponsor the keynote speakers, and Northern Trust, the presenting sponsor.

The Browns are Barrington Hills residents. Greg Brown was a panel speaker in 2018, then became actively involved in securing and sponsoring keynote speakers by leveraging his personal relationships, Dowd Schmitz said.

Read more here. To purchase tickets to the January 23rd event, click here.

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Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus Lane. Santa Claus leaves the fire station on Northwest Highway shortly after 10 a.m. Images from the Take Santa to the People” Parade in Barrington on Dec. 19, 2020. (Karie Angell Luc / Pioneer Press)

With the pandemic limiting traditional visits where families would come out to visit with Santa, Barrington decided to take St. Nick around town Saturday to greet residents.

Santa Claus was in town riding around on a red antique fire engine as part of the village’s “Take Santa to the People” holiday parade.

Santa Claus and accompanying Barrington first responders traveled around the village following the same parade route as the Fourth of July celebration this past summer.

Fatmeh Syed, of Barrington Hills, drove her children Nadia, 3, and Aidan, 17 months, to see Santa. She hoped her children would take away from the holidays a message of “helping other people as much as you can and just taking care of your neighbors.”

Read more here.

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Margaret Rajic, Portrait photography by Alisha Tova

A recent sunny Tuesday afternoon found Rajic trotting through the fields of Barrington Hills aboard a chestnut gelding from Oakwood Farms. “I had always wanted to ride. Last September I decided to start lessons,” says Rajic.

Growing up in Barrington, most days in the early 2000s one could find Rajic in Barrington High School’s dark room—giving her the foundation from which she eventually launched her successful interior design photography business. After college, Rajic was unfulfilled by the work she was doing. So, she picked up her camera again and began taking photos of friends, mainly engagement shoots and portraits.

The opportunity soon presented itself for her to photograph real estate listings, but shooting interiors is not for everyone. “The work is tedious, with a hyper focused attention to detail that lends itself to a very specific way of shooting. It takes a lot of patience, and I love it,” effuses Rajic. Recognizing within herself a passion for photographing interiors, Rajic reached out to Barrington interior designer, Kate Marker, whose children Rajic used to babysit. Meeting at Cook Street Coffee on East Station Street in town, Marker and Rajic chatted all things interiors with Marker agreeing to hire Rajic for smaller photography jobs as she got her photography business off the ground and honed her craft.

An entrepreneur at heart, Rajic began connecting with businesses she identified as—like herself—just starting out. Their limited start-up budgets allowed them to hire Rajic, which in turn served to build her portfolio. One weekend, “my Mom spent at a New Buffalo cottage whose VRBO pictures did not match the way she described it,” states Rajic. “I took a chance and reached out to the cottage owner to see if I could trade a weekend trip for new photographs.” Through business- savvy moves like this, Rajic identified opportunities through which to build her now robust portfolio. Social media also played a key role in business growth. Using Instagram as a research tool, Rajic thought “who could I work with that I could benefit from and I can add value to them?” Smart steps like this, along with the ever-present photo credit tagging on Instagram sped along the growth of her business. “The average work week for me in the beginning,” says Rajic, “was typically 70 to 80 hours a week.”

Read on here.

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Infusion of party resources fails to bring big blue wave as Republicans relish results

(Click on image to enlarge)

Illinois Democrats and their financial backers spent big – much more than Republicans – on races for statehouse districts that include portions of McHenry County in this month’s election, but ultimately failed to flip more than one area seat.

“I think this election showed a lot of the electorate agreed with Republican values and policies, and we don’t necessarily have to spend as much if we’re strong on the policy,” McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Tyler Wilke said.

Despite Republican campaigns being at a huge fundraising disadvantage to Democrats in the three races for the statehouse seats representing the southeast corner of McHenry County, the GOP still put in more effort to hang onto those three local state offices than it has in the past, McHenry County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristina Zahorik said.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Republican Martin McLaughlin, who handily won election to the District 52 seat over Democratic challenger Marci Suelzer and Green Party candidate Alia Sarfraz, said he thinks the varied geography of his supporters shows there is a conservative tilt among voters in the region visible across jurisdictional boundaries.

McLaughlin earned more votes than Suelzer in each of the four counties – McHenry, Lake, Cook and Kane – that make up his district.

“That’s a good sign that our message cut across the main street communities in the 52nd (House District) and the bedroom communities, and all different kinds of economic and social metrics,” McLaughlin said.

Read more here.

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Relocation drives Illinois tractor enthusiast to sell off tractor collection at No Reserve

Byron Johnson’s 1959 FARMALL 460

Moving is a big undertaking, especially for those who tend to lay roots wherever they reside. As the packing begins and one starts to tuck away belongings for the big day, it often becomes clear just how much has actually accumulated over the years. While one could, in theory, jam it all into boxes, just to sort it out when settling into the new dwelling, the truth is that sometimes it’s better to just let some things go. Facing a big move, Byron Johnson of Barrington Hills, Illinois, is taking on the task of picking and choosing what will stay and what will go with him as he moves on to the next stage of his life. And after years spent enjoying his four fine vintage and collectible tractors, he has ultimately decided to pass them on to the next eager enthusiast by offering them at no reserve this November 19-21 at Gone Farmin’s Fall Premier auction in Davenport, Iowa.

Raised an Iowa farm boy, Johnson grew up, went to college and eventually moved to Chicago in 1962, where he would work in public accounting for the next 38 years of his life. In 1987, he and his wife decided to deepen their roots in the region by purchasing 10 acres of land in nearby Barrington Hills, Illinois. With the previous owner of the property being a horse owner that used five of those acres for pasture, it gave Johnson the perfect reason to return to his own farming heritage. “I said, you know, I really need something big to do that pasture,” he said. “Mowing 10 acres with a riding mower, it would take a while. So, that was a really, really good excuse for the first one.”

Johnson said he “would have killed for an M Farmall” as a kid, and as such, he reached out to his brother-in-law, who was a farmer in Iowa at the time, to begin the search. The pair unfortunately couldn’t locate a Farmall M, though they eventually did come across a pair of Farmall 460s, and Johnson opted to purchase the 1959 model that came with a bush hog and an 8-foot blade. “My driveway is about a quarter of a mile … you can plow a lot of snow with an 8-foot blade and a 460 Farmall with chains on,” he said. “So, for the next year or so, I used the 460 to bush hog the second five acres, and I used the blade to do the driveways, that kind of stuff.”

While he now had a functioning tractor to tend to his new property, Johnson’s search for a Farmall M continued, and though he would never come across a true Farmall M, he did find something that would help to fill the void. “We came across a Super M-TA in Iowa, so I had it redone and brought it in,” he said. “It was just sort of a toy, because I couldn’t put a bush hog on it. It’s like people have a favorite car; you always liked a certain item, and that’d be the M Farmall. That’s how it started.”

Read more here.

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The Barrington Giving Day winter donation drive takes place through December 9th.

People are asked to donate new, or clean and like new, winter outerwear, boots and toys. No other clothing items are accepted.

Collection bins are available at many locations, including village halls in Barrington, South Barrington and Tower Lakes.

Barrington Giving Day is a nonprofit group that has served the local community for more than 80 years and holds two events per year: a back-to-school drive in August and a winter drive in December.

Visit barringtongivingday.org to find a drop-off location near you, make a monetary donation and to learn how to get involved.

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