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Archive for the ‘Topics Of Interest’ Category

BARRINGTON HILLS, Ill. – Two Barrington Hills police officers helped bring a sense of calm moments after a baby was delivered on a side of the road Tuesday morning.

Officers Bill Walsh and Brian Baird pulled up to Old Sutton Rd and Algonquin just before 7 a.m.

Grace and Tyler Schwartzlow, of Wonder Lake, were in the car on the side of the road.

“All of a sudden within five minutes I knew we weren’t going to make it. I made him pull over. He called 911 and he was here before the police even arrived on scene,” Grace said.

Tyler helped Grace deliver their son Jaxton Michael. Within minutes, Officers Walsh and Baird were there.

“They really provided a calming presence to everybody involved, I know when they first arrived on site, it went from we’re in this on our own if something bad happens, I don’t know what to do or what to possibly could be done, to ok now we have the support here and it made a world of difference from the mindset of least where I was at,” Tyler said.

Later in the day, the officers made another surprise appearance by honoring baby Jaxton as a junior Barrington Hills police officer.

The full WGN report can be seen here.

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The city of Chicago will begin issuing tickets to motorists who are speeding six to 10 mph over the speed limit in Automated Speed Enforcement zones starting Monday.

Fines will start at $35 for going 6 mph over the speed limit.

According to data released by the city, fatal crashes involving people in motor vehicles increased from 52 to 92 in 2020, which is a 77% increase.

The city says these deaths “reflect a national trend and have occurred at a time when, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer cars are on the road and traffic data shows cars are driving 9% faster on average.”

City officials say the goal is not to issue tickets (Really?), but rather to encourage safer driving behavior. Officials also hope to discourage speeding that is correlated with more severe injuries and deaths in traffic crashes.

Below is a compiled list of frequently asked questions about Chicago’s Automated Speed Enforcement zones:

  • How does the automated safety camera system work?
  • What are the Safety Zone times and speed limits?
  • Is there a warning period?
  • Where are cameras located?
  • How much is a ticket?
  • Can you contest an Automated Speed Enforcement violation?
  • What defenses are allowed for most speeding tickets?

For answers to these questions, click here.

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No matter the season, the outdoors are calling. Some of the best Chicago-area hiking spots are a perfect way for outdoor enthusiasts to escape. Here’s what to expect from some of the top and most beautiful hiking trails for kids in the area.

Crabtree Nature Center

Photo Credit: Cheryl Eugenio

  • Address: 3 Stover Road, Barrington Hills
  • COVID-19 updates: Nature Center exhibit buildings within Forest Preserve of Cook County are closed Parking limited. Grounds, trails and bathrooms are open. Guests are expected to maintain social distancing protocol and wear masks.

This Barrington Hills gem has 3 miles of trails through woodlands, wetlands and prairies for the family to explore. Looking for something short and sweet? Take the Giant’s Hollow Trail and you may spot some frogs in the frog ponds. Kids will adore the nature play area and the animals in the enclosure. Take the time to explore the nature play area, too. Want to try snowshoeing during the winter months? You can try it for free here!

Read about 12 others here.

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Illinois state lawmakers recently approved a rule requiring Illinois teacher training programs to adopt ‘culturally responsive teaching and leading’ standards. Critics say a political litmus test is the wrong focus when students are underachieving on the basics.

new rule that requires “culturally responsive teaching and leading” standards to be incorporated in all Illinois teacher preparation programs will take effect in 2025, because the Illinois General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted to approve the proposed rule on Feb. 17. Eight of the committee’s 12 members would have needed to vote to suspend the rule to prevent its implementation, and only the six Republican members voted to do so.

The Illinois State Board of Education adopted the new standards to “prepare future educators to teach diverse students [and] to foster classroom and school environments in which every student feels that they belong.”

Critics of the new standards, however, have said they require educators to embrace left-leaning ideology and prioritize political and social activism in classrooms at a time when Illinois students are underperforming on basic skills tests. Others, such as the Chicago Tribune, have praised the goal of preparing teachers to engage with students from diverse backgrounds, while also warning that there is reason to worry the new rule “embeds politics into teacher training” and that it is unwise to impose controversial new standards in “today’s highly charged political environment.”

Read more from Illinois Policy here.

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Arlington Park executive chairman Richard L. “Dick” Duchossois congratulates jockey Joel Rosario after he won the Arlington Million riding Beach Patrol. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)

The owners of Arlington Park, the state’s flagship racetrack, announced Tuesday they were putting the Arlington Heights landmark up for sale.

The decision is not a surprise. Churchill Downs Inc., the Louisville-based company that owns the track, drew harsh criticism from the Illinois Racing Board in September 2019 when they declined to guarantee that they would hold racing dates beyond 2021.

In its statement Tuesday, company officials indicated the 326-acre site likely was headed toward redevelopment for some other use.

“Arlington’s ideal location in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, together with direct access to downtown Chicago via an on-site Metra rail station, presents a unique redevelopment opportunity. We expect to see robust interest in the site and look forward to working with potential buyers,” CEO Bill Carstanjen said in a statement.

Arlington Heights officials have been anticipating the news as well, said Mayor Tom Hayes. The end of the track brings sadness, but also opportunity, he said.

“It’s a sad day when you lose a business that’s been our primary attraction for more than 100 years,” he said. “We already have our planning department working on what we could do to encourage something that could put this unique property to its highest and best use.”

Read more here.

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has abandoned plans to build a columbarium cemetery – to house cremated remains of veterans – in South Barrington and is seeking a location elsewhere, according to village and VA officials.

“The VA columbarium never came to fruition here and we tried to find the VA another spot in town, but we have no evidence that they were interested in exploring our suggestions,” said South Barrington mayor Paula McCombie. “We received an email from them on Sept. 10 stating that the property was no longer available and that they were concluding any further evaluation and actions for the Freeman Road site.”

Les’ A. Melnyk, a spokesman for the National Cemetery Association for the Department of Veterans Affairs, confirmed the VA will not be developing the site at 10 Freeman Road, in the northwest suburban town, since someone else purchased the property the VA had been eyeing.

In Nov. 2019, more than 100 people crowded into the South Barrington Village Hall for a town hall meeting to discuss the proposed columbarium that would have housed the cremated remains of about 5,000 veterans on a 15-acre parcel in South Barrington.

Read more here.

Related:National veterans cemetery in South Barrington: How about a different spot in town, leaders say

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A statue named Young Lincoln at Senn Park in Chicago in Winter. It is on the list of monuments to be reviewed by an advisory committee.

Abraham Lincoln and Chicago go way back, from his visits here as a traveling lawyer to his nomination for president at the 1860 Republican National Convention. His connection is one of the proudest claims of our state — official slogan, “Land of Lincoln.” Every child grows up learning his incomparable place in the history of Illinois and of the nation.

But some people think Abe’s sins cancel out his achievements. On one hand, he was elected vowing to stop the spread of slavery, waged a successful war to preserve the Union and worked to achieve constitutional equality for Black Americans. On the other, he represented a slave owner trying to recover escaped slaves, sometimes expressed bigoted sentiments and allowed the execution of 38 Dakota men during the U.S. war with their tribe.

Facts like those account for the scattered calls that he be relegated to the dungeon of America’s villains. Even Mayor Lori Lightfoot thinks he may be problematic, judging from the list of monuments to be reviewed by an advisory committee. It includes several statues of Lincoln. Also in the dock: George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley and Leif Ericson, among others.

We have no objection to periodically reassessing public monuments as new information emerges and old information gains new pertinence. Chicagoans are not obligated to defer to the judgment of previous generations. But let’s not revel in proclaiming our superiority to yesterday’s heroes.

Apparently, some critics think every person we memorialize must be perfectly blameless by the standards of modern America. In that case, we’d have to raze just about every statue. If purity is the threshold — purity based on today’s standards against the cultural and political dynamics of our ancestors — there will be no monuments. A better approach is to weigh the good done by those who have been honored against their shortcomings, and in the context of their generation, not ours.

Read the full Chicago Tribune editorial here.

Related:Column: Crime, taxes, closed schools or clogged side streets. But Lightfoot focuses on statues.

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Citizens for Conservation is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and CFC’s 25th Annual Native Plant, Tree, and Shrub Sale.

Order online March 1 – April 18

Order pickup appointments May 6 – 8 – Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place  

Full details and links HERE.

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ILLUSTRATION BY ROBERT RISKO

With a combination of grit and determination, a little bit of luck and a lot of love, Jodie Diegel, founder of Soul Harbour Ranch Therapy Program, is literally living her dream life. She has created an organization that uses therapy dogs, miniature therapy horses and miniature therapy donkeys to share a lot of SOUL (Sharing Of Unconditional Love) throughout Barrington and nearby communities.

“I’m a very positive person. I know that my mission, my purpose in life, as a nurse and as a giver, is to help others through animals,” Diegel says.

In addition to being the founder and president of Soul Harbour Ranch, Diegel is also a registered nurse and legal nurse consultant with Kaveny + Kroll in Chicago. Diegel says that a difference is made when there is a soul-to-soul connection between humans and animals. She laughs while noting that her husband Jerry “is not really a horse person.” She credits him for the wok that he does at SOUL Harbour Ranch and his advocacy for her passion. “He sees the magic our animals bring to those we visit.”

“People often ask, ‘What is a visit and what do therapy animals do?’” Diegel’s reply: “At every visit, when others meet our special animals, there is joy, laughter, smiles, and sharing of unconditional love…that is true healing.”

Read more in Country Magazine here.

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170 Old Sutton Road

The Zoning Board of Appeals meets this evening at 6:30 PM. Items on their agenda include,

  • Setback Variation Application: 170 Old Sutton Road
  • Text Amendment to Section 5-5-3 Special Uses to include, in the list of Special Uses, “Non-Commercial Event Facility.
  • Zoning Map – 2021

A copy of the agenda, including instructions on remotely accessing the meeting, can be viewed and downloaded here.

Related: “ZBA Application for Variance public hearing February 16th

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