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Tolls along the Longmeadow Parkway will become a reality after a Tuesday morning vote by the full Kane County Board. The vote ensures completion of the newest bridge to span the Fox River in the far northern portion of the county. The bridge will open in 2022.

Kane County has its first toll bridge, though a last-minute amendment could have added tolls to two other county bridge crossings.

Tolls along the Longmeadow Parkway will become a reality after a Tuesday morning vote by the full Kane County Board. The vote ensures completion of the newest bridge to span the Fox River in the far northern portion of the county. The bridge will open in 2022.

That last-minute amendment came from county board member Chris Kious, who said the Longmeadow Parkway tolls represent an unfair cost to his constituents. He pointed to the Stearns Road and Fabyan Parkway bridges as two county projects that allow toll-free crossings.

“By passing this (toll), you are subjecting the residents of the northernmost part of this county to pay an extra tax/user fee for the use of this Kane County bridge, which they have to use to access each side of their own villages,” Kious said. “No other roadway in the county has such a toll.”

Read more here.

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The Louis Fredrick House, in Barrington Hills, has recently been restored and is called “in excellent condition,” according to its nomination for a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. – Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Louis Fredrick House, Barrington Hills

Built in 1957, the former residence of interior designer Louis Fredrick was one of about 60 “Usonian” homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The famed architect created the homes, usually one-story structures, for “the typical American family,” according to the nominating application for the Frederick House.

The original owner actually rejected Wright’s concepts for his “dream home” until finally approving a modified version of a house designed for an unbuilt project in Michigan.

The privately owned home recently underwent a meticulous restoration. Sitting on 10 acres, nestled into a hillside, the house features Wright’s distinctive use of natural materials and glass panels to provide a connection to the natural world.

Read about the 4 other notable locations here.

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As suburban police tout the crime-fighting benefits of striking deals for access to video from Amazon’s Ring doorbell cameras, several critics, including a prominent civil-rights organization, are raising concerns about privacy and about law enforcement helping a private company build a surveillance network.

In nearly 1½ years, Ring, with its associated Neighbors app, has gained relationships with at least 90 police departments in Illinois — many clustered in the suburbs, according to a company map. Aurora was the first Illinois department to link with Ring in September 2018, and Palatine, Schaumburg, Barrington and Libertyville are among this year’s newcomers.

But those deals could be troubling to residents who don’t support police teaming with Amazon’s subsidiary, said Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. Elected officials should place the Ring contracts on an agenda for debate and public approval, he said, even though no money is involved.

Read more in the Daily Herald here.

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(Please click on image to enlarge)

Hickory Hill Park in Carpentersville will be undergoing a major overhaul thanks to a $363,800 park improvement grant.

Dundee Township Park District is one of 85 recipients statewide to receive funding from the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant program administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, district officials said.

The 13.36-acre Hickory Hill Park, located at 770 Navajo Drive, has a baseball diamond but little else as far as amenities, district Executive Director Dave Peterson said.

Planned improvements include a bike repair station, basketball court, playground, picnic shelter and a nine-hole disc golf course. The baseball field will be replaced with free-play soccer areas.

Read more here.

Editorial note: 770 Navajo Drive is the address of District 220’s former Woodland Early Learning Center.

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This equestrian couple’s bond is destined to grow stronger as they canter into a new chapter

Photography by Chris Joriann | Styling by Joriann Maye-Keegan

Taylor McMurtry and Nick Granat’s careers pull them in many directions and lead them to many locations—but their love is rooted in Palm Beach County. Their affinity for horses and individual professional pursuits brought McMurtry, an award-winning rider and trainer, and Granat, an international competition course designer, together. The part-time Wellington residents were married in early January at the Flagler Museum, an event planned around the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Following the elegant nuptials, it was back to the saddle.

The newlyweds are currently involved in this year’s WEF, with McMurtry riding and Granat setting the courses for 10 of the festival’s 12 weeks. The date for their union was an optimal opportunity to gather colleagues and family in town while working around the intense schedule. They chose to hold it on a Sunday because, in the horse world, busy weekends mean that riders generally take Monday off. “It’s what our life is centered around,” says Granat, whose mother and stepfather are long-time Palm Beach residents. “All of our friends—everyone’s in the horse business. It’s a little bit like being in the circus: Once you’re in, you’re in.”

Both McMurtry and Granat began riding horses around age 8. A family trip to a dude ranch inspired her mother, Jennifer McMurtry, to return to her childhood pastime. “She got back into it, and I fell in love with it right away,” McMurtry, 27, recalls. In no time, McMurtry was in the ring with her own pony. “They’re just beautiful animals. They trust you and are dependent on you. They give us what we give them.”

The McMurtry family home in the rolling countryside of Barrington Hills, Illinois—a bucolic village northwest of Chicago with a deep equestrian heritage—was ideal for the mother and daughter.

Read more from Palm Beach Illustrated hereOur thanks to one of our longtime readers who shared this article.

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Facebook will pay $550 million to Illinois users to settle allegations that its facial tagging feature violated their privacy rights.

The settlement — which could amount to a couple of hundred dollars for each user that is part of the class action settlement — stems from a federal lawsuit filed in Illinois nearly five years ago that alleges the social media giant violated a state law protecting residents’ biometric information. Biometric information can include data from facial, fingerprint and iris scans.

Illinois has one of the strictest biometric privacy laws in the nation. The 2008 law mandates that companies collecting such information obtain prior consent from consumers, detailing how they’ll use it and how long it will be kept. The law also allows private citizens to sue.

Read more here.

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We will take the Federal Railroad Administration at its word that it wants to hear from us regarding how long we get stuck, repeatedly, at rail crossings in the suburbs.

And so, it is our civic duty to tell them.

We’re not being facetious. Being continuously hung up at crossings is a quality-of-life issue. At best, it can be inconvenient. At its absolute worst, it can be deadly, if police, fire and paramedics are prevented from getting to a scene — or a hospital — quickly.

The FRA has recently started a website asking people to report lengthy delays they experience at rail crossings, where a milelong freight is crawling past at the speed of … snails. 

Read the complete Daily Herald editorial here.

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