Archive for the ‘Topics Of Interest’ Category


The Longmeadow Parkway Bridge over the Fox River is built and being partially used but completion has been delayed by the pandemic and soil issues found at the site, officials said. The parkway starts in Huntley, crosses through Algonquin, Carpentersville and Barrington Hills, and ends at Route 62. (Gloria Casas / The Courier-News)

Longmeadow Parkway Bridge over the Fox River is partially open to motorists but its completion has been delayed by steel shortages and the removal of lead-contaminated soil found at the site, Kane County officials said.

The $115 million, four-lane toll bridge links the two sides of a four-lane roadway corridor built to alleviate traffic congestion in northern Kane County. It begins at Huntley Road in Huntley, crosses through Algonquin, Carpentersville and Barrington Hills, and ends at Route 62.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a steel shortage, which delayed some signal improvements needed at Route 25, said Tom Rickert, deputy director of transportation for the Kane County Division of Transportation.

Shortages of other items, including semiconductor chips, and increased prices in materials have also played a role in the project not being completed earlier this year, Rickert said.

It’s projected the traffic signal improvements at Route 25 should be finished in late November, he said.

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LG Pet

Long Grove’s annual pet costume parade steps off at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24.

Pier Pumpkin Lights: 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily through Oct. 31 at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Explore a variety of pumpkin pop-up installations, enjoy Pier-wide deals, see jack-o’-lantern towers and glowing light displays with names like “Juggernaut of Jack-O-Lanterns,” “Garden of Totems,” “An Audacity of Gargoyles” and more. A Scavenger Hunt app will be available. Free. navypier.org.

Little Park of Horrors: 6-9 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, Oct. 21-24 and 28-31, at Wing Park, 1010 Wing St., Elgin. Drive-through event features horror props with lighting and audio effects. Enter on McClure Avenue only. $10 per vehicle. Tickets only available in advance at www.cityofelgin.org.

Six Flags Great America Fright Fest: 6-11 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21; 5-11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, at Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee. Family-friendly shows and attractions during the daytime hours; haunted houses, scary shows and roaming monsters at night. Tickets start at $39.99. sixflags.com/greatamerica.

Military Miniature Society of Illinois Show: 3-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg, 50 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg. Show features the work of hundreds of modelers from around the world: painted stock figures, original sculpts, historical, fantasy, armor, aircraft, categories and dioramas. A large vendor area offers kits, tools, and books. Admission includes an auction of finished work and seminars and presentations. $10, free for kids younger than 12. www.military-miniature-society-of-illinois.com.

Halloween Trick-or-Treat Trail and Spooky Movie: 5-6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, on Main Street in downtown Algonquin. Paint pumpkins, trick-or-treat at local businesses, and watch a showing of “The Addams Family” at dusk in Towne Park (bring a blanket or lawn chair). www.algonquin.org.

Terror in the Timbers: 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22-23 and 29-30, and Thursday, Oct. 28, at Camp Big Timber, 37W955 Big Timber Road, Elgin. Take a haunted ride through the woods to see scenes of gore and horror. New this year will be an add-on pumpkin haunt walk through the wild woods of Camp Big Timber. Timed tickets at www.terrorinthetimbers.com.

Halloween Haunted Trails: 7-8:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, at Deicke Park, 11419 Route 47, Huntley. Kids 8-17 can trick-or-treat through the haunted woods. Bring your own bucket to collect candy. Not recommended for young kids. Adults may walk through with children at no additional cost. $5-$7. Register at huntleyparks.org.

A Country Christmas Arts & Craft Show: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, at Crystal Lake South High School, 1200 S. McHenry Ave. Crystal Lake South’s Booster Club’s annual show featuring crafts for the home and holidays. $2 admission. clsboosters.org/craft-show.html.

Haunted Hoffman Family Fest: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at Fabbrini Park, 1704 Glen Lake Road, Hoffman Estates. Music, dancing, pumpkin-carving contest, zombie zumba, kids’ costume contest, doggie costume contest, hayrides, mini golf, crafts, games and more. Free; trick-or-treat path from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is $5 per child and requires registration. heparks.org/event/haunted-hoffman-family-fest.

Pet Costume Parade: 11:15 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, in downtown Long Grove. Begins with a complimentary dog agility training session. The parade steps off at 12:30 p.m. and winds through historic downtown Long Grove. A pet costume contest will cap things off at 1:15 p.m. Free to enter or watch. All dogs must remain leashed. longgrove.org.

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Empty Chambers Springfield

Illinois lawmakers plan to take up a measure allowing municipalities to hold remote meetings at any time – pandemic or not – during the fall veto session this week.

Currently, the governor or the state health department must issue an emergency proclamation before a city can conduct any business remotely.

The Illinois Municipal League (IML) wants to change that through Senate Bill 482 and allow cities and towns to conduct business remotely whenever they choose.

“We would like to have the elected officials locally to be able to have that authority going forward if the disaster proclamations end at some point which I’m sure they will,” said IML Executive Director Brad Cole.

Cole said the remote meetings allow more people to become involved with local government.

“A lot of communities are seeing more public engagement,” Cole said. “More people are on the Zoom calls than were attending in person.”

The bill includes a provision that a city’s presiding officer must state why an in-person meeting is not practical.

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Author and storyteller Lynn Rymarz is pictured in costume as Mary Cassatt, an American artist. Rymarz will be the guest speaker at “A Virtual Afternoon Tea and Drama” taking place via Zoom at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, hosted by The Signal Hill Chapter, NSDAR.

Members of the Barrington-based Signal Hill Chapter, NSDAR, are pleased to announce “A Virtual Afternoon Tea and Drama” taking place via Zoom at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24.

For this event, preregistered attendees are invited to dress up in their finest attire, don a fancy hat, brew a cup of tea and enjoy a unique online experience.

This year’s program will feature author and storyteller Lynn Rymarz in a dramatic presentation titled “Meet Mary Cassatt: An American Artist.”

Rymarz will share details of the life of Mary Cassatt, a child growing up in Pennsylvania with dreams of becoming a professional artist. Mary Cassatt resists the conventions of her day and moves to Paris, where her artistic talent is influenced by the Impressionists.

Following the drama, the chapter will hold a live Tea Basket Drawing.

“All funds raised will enable the chapter to continue its support of education, historic preservation, patriotism, and conservation,” said Joyce Wright, Signal Hill Chapter regent.

For more information on how to register for this event, visit signalhilldar.com.

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Dog Shrooms

Mushrooms are popping up all over and some can prove toxic to dogs.

For health-conscious humans, fat- and cholesterol-free, high-fiber mushrooms are a popular option. For dogs sampling fungi in the yard, however, some varieties can be toxic.

That’s why Dr. Tina Wismer’s husband patrols their Champaign yard every morning, picking up and disposing of errant edible fungi before curious canines sink their teeth into them.

Senior director of toxicology at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Wismer recommends fellow pet lovers make sure their yard is safe before they let out their pets. While she recommends mushroom inspections through the first hard freeze, Dr. Jenica Haraschak, emergency and critical care specialist with the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, advises remaining vigilant year-round.

“It’s something to be on the lookout for,” she said, even though most pets ignore wild mushrooms like those springing up in yards this fall.

Still, she says it’s best to get rid of the fungi. While most dogs avoid even cooked mushrooms, Dr. Anita Kuhnle, a veterinarian with the Arlington Heights Animal Hospital, says pets are unpredictable.

“Some will eat anything, even Brillo pads,” said Kuhnle, who once removed 12 such pads from one dog.

Most mushrooms are harmless, said Kuhnle, who nevertheless cautions owners that all “should be considered toxic as most people do not have enough knowledge of wild mushrooms to be certain.”

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MA Glass

See more than 6,000 handblown glass pumpkins at the Morton Arboretum’s Glass Pumpkin Patch Oct. 13-17.

Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns: Gates open to ticketholders at 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, Oct. 13-17 and 20-24, at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake-Cook Road, Glencoe. More than 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins will light up a “boo-tanical” trail during the annual Halloween event. Parking is free for garden members; nonmembers must pay a $20 fee in advance. chicagobotanic.org/halloween.

Glass Pumpkin Patch: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, Oct. 13-17, at Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle. See more than 6,000 handblown glass pumpkins and other autumnal-themed designs and check out daily demonstrations by featured artists. The Glass Pumpkin sale begins at 1 p.m. Friday and runs through Sunday. New in 2021, a Halloween tent features works of art to decorate the home and garden. Pumpkins and other art will only be sold these three days. The Glass Pumpkin Patch is included with timed-entry admission; tickets are not available at the gate. mortonarb.org.

Jack O’Lantern World: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14 and 21; 6:30-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15-16; and 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, at Paulus Park, 200 S. Rand Road, Lake Zurich. Journey through 15 themed worlds of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns designed by local artists, including Unicorn Universe, Dinosaur Den, Dragon of Fire and more. $20 for adults, $14 for kids 3-12 Thursday; $22 for adults, $15 for kids 3-12 Friday through Sunday. thejackolanternworld.com.

Scarecrow Festival: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, at Memorial Park, Barrington. Pumpkin decorating, scarecrow-building, pony rides, face painting and more. Free admission. barrington-il.gov.

Deer Park Food Truck Series: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, at Deer Park Town Center, 20530 N. Rand Road, Deer Park. Food trucks will be located in front of Pottery Barn and Kendra Scott. Free admission and parking. shopdeerparktowncenter.com.

Goebbert’s Fall Festival: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Sunday, Oct. 31, at 42W813 Reinking Road, Pingree Grove, and 40 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington. Both locations have animals, mazes, wagon rides, pig races and more. See websites for activity hours. Tickets are $17 on weekdays; $20 on weekends; and free for kids 2 and younger. goebbertspumpkinpatch.com for Pingree Grove and goebbertspumpkinfarm.com for South Barrington.

Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Fest: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays through Oct. 31 at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago. Autumn-themed animal enrichment, music, pop-up bar, food, pumpkins for purchase and more. Free; tickets ($3 each, 10 for $27 or 20 for $51) are required for some events. lpzoo.org.

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Village and city officials in McHenry County are evaluating their options after being notified that the Union Pacific Railroad is looking to sell the land surrounding a number of its northern Illinois commuter stations.

In a letter to municipal officials, Metra said Union Pacific sent the commuter railway a notice that it had entered into a master agreement with an unnamed developer to sell some or all of the 41 train station properties for about $50.9 million.

“While it reflects a master contract for 41 stations, the notice is clear that the developer may elect to not purchase individual stations,” Metra said in the letter.

McHenry County stations that could be affected are in Crystal Lake, Cary, Woodstock, Harvard and McHenry and Fox River Grove.

Metra is willing to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with municipalities to purchase the station and transfer ownership back to the town, Anthony Ognibene, director of real estate and contract management for Metra, said in the letter. The municipality would have to finance the cost of the acquisition.

“Please be aware that time is critical,” Ognibene wrote, noting that municipalities would need to enter into the intergovernmental agreement before Nov. 12.

Right now, Crystal Lake is evaluating the information it received from Metra and weighing the city’s options, Crystal Lake Assistant City Manager Eric Helm said.

“We recently received the information,” Helm said.

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Related:Mount Prospect train station, dozens more could be sold

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Metra’s proposing a $900 million budget for 2022 that would bring train service back to 2019 levels.

Metra’s $900 million proposed budget for 2022 is a balancing act as leaders lean on federal aid to bring service back to pre-COVID-19 levels on all lines in hopes of reclaiming the absent passengers who have decimated revenues.

The tentative budget, approved for release by Metra directors Wednesday, increases spending by 12.5% from the $800 million 2021 fiscal plan. In comparison, Metra’s original budget for 2020 was $827.4 million, although projections changed because of the pandemic, and the 2019 budget was $822 million.

There will be no fare increases, officials said.

The $100 million extra will be used to fill vacant jobs, offset inflation, and run more trains, which are at about 80% of 2019 numbers. The railroad had cut multiple trains as the pandemic surged in spring 2020.

The agency intends to reduce the time a 10-ride pass is valid from one year after date of purchase to 90 days, effective Feb. 1, 2022. Similarly, one-way tickets will expire in 14 days instead of 90 days.

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Kids can paint pumpkins and decorate scarecrows at Barrington’s 20th annual Scarecrow Festival.

Those old clothes you’ve been meaning to donate can get new life at Barrington’s 20th annual Scarecrow Festival.

The free, family-friendly festival will take place from 11 AM to 2 PM Saturday, Oct. 16th, at Memorial Park, Hough and Lincoln avenues in Barrington.

The popular event is emceed by Bob the DJ and features free pumpkin and scarecrow decorating. Pumpkins and painting supplies are provided, but bring your own old clothes to outfit your scarecrow.

Also on tap are pony rides, face painting, and other family activities.

Barrington Youth & Family Services has invited many local organizations and businesses to provide fun crafts and games including BStrong Together, The Barrington Area Library, Barrington Area Conservation Trust, CrossFit Barrington, and Kaleidoscope School of Fine Art.

The event is sponsored by Village of Barrington, Barrington Youth & Family Services, Heinen’s and Bob the DJ.

For information, visit www.barrington-il.gov.

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The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening in person and via Zoom at 7:00 PM.  A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

Instructions for accessing the meeting remotely can be found here.

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