Archive for the ‘Going green’ Category

CC Solar

Under Cook County’s Sun and Save program, solar panel installation is free for eligible homeowners. | Associated Press file photo

Cook County announced $3 million in funding Monday for its no-cost residential Sun and Save program, which installs free solar systems for income-qualified homeowners.

“The largest barrier residents face when choosing whether or not they can afford to install solar is the upfront costs,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a news release. “By making solar installation completely free for eligible residents, we are lowering the barriers to entry and allowing more residents to take advantage of the benefits solar energy has to offer.”

The Cook County Sun and Save program is available to households that meet the following requirements:

  • Single-family and small multi-family residences of four units or less within Cook County.
  • The homeowner must live inside the home. For small multifamily homes of four units or less, the property owner must live in one of the units and is required to be the primary applicant for the program.
  • The household income must be 80% to 120% of the area median income. That income range differs based on household size. For instance, the range for a house of four is $88,250 to $132,360. An area median income chart — as well as information on how to apply — can be found at tinyurl.com/SunAndSave.
  • If a household income is less than 80% of the area median, it does not qualify for Sun and Save. Rather, it would potentially qualify for Illinois Solar For All, which is a similar statewide program that offers free residential solar installations.

Read more here.

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Kildear Solar

Mike Zanillo has been spearheading efforts to overturn Kildeer’s ban on rooftop-mounted solar panels. He poses in front of his Heron’s Crossing neighborhood home. (John Starks | Staff Photographer)

In an attempt to stay true to its motto — “A Unique Village in a Natural Setting” — Kildeer is one of the few Illinois municipalities that bans roof-mounted solar panels from residential buildings.

The reason? Village leaders think they’re ugly.

And they don’t think much more of free-standing or ground-mounted solar energy systems, solar farms or solar gardens, all of which are also prohibited in the village.

Residents may install only the generally pricier version of solar energy collection: integrated solar roofs, which are made of solar shingles that blend into a home’s appearance.

Not everyone in the town of 4,000 shares the village’s aversion, however, and several residents are banding together to try to get the regulations changed.

Mike Zanillo, a 29-year Kildeer resident, is leading the charge.

“Because I am active in climate, I know how valuable all the federal and state incentives are now. It’s more beneficial than ever, purely from a cost standpoint. I mean, forget the environment,” Zanillo said. “When I heard we’re maybe chasing away developers and impacting our tax base, I just got the idea that this doesn’t really represent the views of the community. Whether or not you’re pro- or anti-climate, does it just financially make sense nowadays to still have this ban?”

Read more here.

Related:Lake Barrington considering ban on ground-mounted solar panels

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Hansen 1

Barbara Ann Hansen was first female Village President of Barrington Hills.

Barbara Ann Hansen (née Park), 95, passed away in her home in Sarasota, Florida, on Saturday, September 2, 2023, after a brief illness. She was surrounded by those who loved and cared for her.

Barbara was born on February 26, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Thomas E. Park Sr. and Mildred Andrea Park (née Danielson). As a sophomore in high school, she transferred to the University of Chicago Laboratory School, graduating in 1945. She attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, graduating in 1949 with a degree in Economics.

In September 1949, Barbara married Julian Rial Hansen; they met during their senior year at the Lab School.  For the next 74 years, they created a lifelong partnership that encompassed raising a family, civic endeavors, sports, and world travel.

After their marriage, Barbara and Julian moved to Chicago where Julian attended the University of Chicago Law School.  Daughter Jane arrived in 1951. After graduation, the family moved to Milwaukee for Julian’s first job but their stay was cut short when Julian, a Navy pilot, was recalled to serve in the Korean War. After his tour of duty, they returned to Chicago where Julian helmed the family law practice. Daughter Dicie arrived in 1956.

In 1964, Barbara and her family made the move to a gorgeous but rundown 39-acre property in Barrington Hills, IL. For the next 30 years, preserving the native oaks, hickories and wildflowers while incorporating a series of perennial gardens would be a labor of love for Barbara.

Barbara had long been interested in good governance and she was elected to the village’s Board of Trustees in 1977.  She concluded 12 years of service with an eight-year term as their first female Village President. Her tenure was marked by significant advances in land use planning and development. Her other civic endeavors included Chair of the Barrington Area Council of Governments from 1976-1978 and work for the League of Women Voters.

Barbara was passionate about flower arranging. After an early misstep using tulips in her first Garden Club of America (“GCA”) flower show, she vowed never to receive an Honorable Mention award ever again. So, she pursued her art with determination, many classes, and hours of practice. In the process she became a GCA Flower Arranging judge in 1983 and earned all of the GCA’s highest awards including two Fenwick medals, the Cramer Award and the Dorothea Wallace award. In her ongoing pursuit of excellence, Barbara became a GCA Photography judge in 2006. She was a member of the Garden Club of Barrington and Founders Garden Club of Sarasota. At the national level, Barbara served as the GCA Treasurer and was a member of the GCA Executive Board.

Her interest in all things horticultural led Barbara to join the Board of Marie Selby Gardens from 2001 until 2007. In 2002, she assumed the Board Chairmanship until 2004. She steered the gardens during a difficult time and the search for a new CEO.

Sports played an important part in Barbara’s life. Tennis, golf, and snow skiing were lifelong pursuits. With diligence and perseverance, she made the A Team for ladies’ golf at Barrington Hills Country Club.  For many years, Barbara and Julian held the “Summer Olympics” in August at their Barrington Hills home, inviting their friends to compete in sailing, canoeing, badminton, and horseshoes with ping pong after dinner to settle any ties.

Barbara and Julian loved to travel and visited almost 50 countries and all fifty states over the years. While many of the trips were with family, many others were in the company of intrepid friends. Trips to China, South Africa and Botswana, Tanzania, the Galapagos and Ecuador, Costa Rica, Belize, Argentina, New Zealand and almost every country in Europe were thoroughly planned and joyfully experienced.

In 1979, Barbara and Julian purchased a condo in Longboat Key, FL where they spent many relaxing winters and escaped Chicago’s blizzards.  For over 20 years, Barbara was Landscape Chair at Sands Point Condominium where she was responsible for designing and maintaining the 7.8-acre property. In 2017, Barbara and Julian moved to Sarasota full-time. They treasured the beauty and birdlife in Sarasota.

Barbara was often called “a force of nature.” She was a friend to many, a mentor to most and a woman on a mission who made a difference in so many lives. She will be missed by all her family and friends.

Barbara is survived by her husband Julian, her daughters Dicie and Jane Hansen, Jane’s husband Robert G. Stanton, and her two grandsons, Christopher Hansen Miller and Andrew Hansen Miller.

A celebration of life is tentatively planned for November in Sarasota and a small gathering in Barrington later this year. In lieu of flowers, a donation to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens may be made at  https://selby.org/support/

To add a guest book entry, visit Your Traditions Funeral Home.

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Drug Drop

2022 prescription drug drop off event

This is a FREE drive-up event. Constituents are encouraged to join us in safely disposing of unused, unwanted and expired prescription drugs.

Please place the medications in a sealed plastic bag. Brochures on State programs will be available

We are also accepting up to two bankers boxes of paper per household for secured off-site document shredding.

Drop off is from 9:30 – 11:30 AM at Rep Martin McLaughlin’s District Office located at 28662 W Northwest Highway, Suite A, Lake Barrington, IL 60010.

Accepted medications include

  • Tablets, capsules and other solid forms of prescription drugs
  • Patches
  • Vaping devices and cartridges (lithium batteries removed)

Restricted items include

  • Liquids (including intravenous solutions)
  • Syringes
  • Needles

Further information can be found by contacting Rep Martin McLaughlin’s district office at 224.634.8300.

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Smart Farm

Tomatoes are almost ready for the picking at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital’s Smart Farm near Lake Barrington. (Brian Hill | Staff Photographer)

Most of the healing and wellness at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital take place in its treatment rooms and patient beds.

But just outside the hospital’s Lake Barrington-area campus, the seeds for another form of healing and wellness are growing.

The hospital’s 2-acre Smart Farm grows corn, lettuce and other produce practically throughout the year to help combat hunger.

Produce from the farm goes to pantries in Barrington and Carpentersville, and regular shipments of food are delivered to Advocate Trinity Hospital, located in an area on Chicago’s South Side troubled by food insecurity.

The farm’s goods also are sold at a weekly farmers market held Fridays on the property, 490 W. Route 22, and at the hospital every other Thursday. Proceeds from those sales help fund farm operations.

“Our goal right now is to really provide food for those that are in need and who are food insecure,” said Jasmine Everett, director of hospital services. At Trinity Hospital, the produce is part of a “Food Farmacy” that provides items to patients in need.

More here.

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Sarah Glees of West Dundee

Sarah Glees of West Dundee wins a $500 scholarship from the One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest for her film “The Long-Lived Effects of the Long Meadow Parkway.” Funds for the scholarship were provided by the Environmental Law and Policy Center. (Courtesy of One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest)

By Lisa Files
One Earth Film Festival

West Dundee resident Sarah Glees will be awarded an Environmental Action Award in the One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest for her film “The Long-Lived Effects of the Long Meadow Parkway.”

The award consists of a $500 scholarship from the Environmental Law and Policy Center. Glees plans to use the funds to help pay for Elmhurst University, where she is a senior.

The Long Meadow Parkway (under construction) has a four-lane Fox River bridge crossing, which is meant to alleviate traffic in Kane County, Illinois.

Glees begins her 7-minute film “The Long-Lived Effects of the Long Meadow Parkway” with an interview with Parkway opponent Sue Harney, a Dundee Township Trustee and former Dundee Township Supervisor from 2000-17.

Harney explains that trucking companies wanted the Parkway to serve logistics hubs where items are stored or manufactured and then trucked out. Her main concern is contamination of the Fox River from heavy metals such as arsenic and chromium released from tires, hydraulic fluid, gas leaks, and the fine particulate matter from exhaust.

“It’s so long-lived and so very fine that when it gets into the water and the river, the fish have the same problem we do,” Harney said “It gets into their bodies and their gills. It’s like a slow poison.”

Glees suggests possible solutions such as electric trucks, which have no emissions, and permeable pavement, which reduces runoff and the cost of water treatment. She writes in her contest submission: “It means so much to share this story and hopefully evoke change.”

Since its inception in 2013, the One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest has grown from a local, Oak Park, Illinois, project to a highly competitive international competition garnering 403 submissions.

Countries such as Brazil, Australia and Mexico and states such as California, Georgia and Indiana will be represented among this year’s winners at the Global Awards Celebration at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, in person at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., in Chicago, or online virtually anywhere in the world.

“The Long-Lived Effects of the Long Meadow Parkway” will premiere at this special event. Free tickets are available at tinyurl.com/yfc23awards.

“The secret ingredient to our success is youth. They have opinions, ideas and viewpoints about the climate emergency,” said contest Founding Director Sue Crothers. “It’s hard for people to deny what’s happening when they’re living through extreme floods, fires, and tornadoes. And the younger generations have something to say about the mess our generation has made.”

The Young Filmmakers Contest asks students from age 8 to 25 to create a 3- to 8-minute environmental film that inspires change or action. Animated or stop-motion films can be a minimum of 45 seconds long.

The deadline each year is June 25, which gives individuals and school groups the entire academic year to submit their film projects.

The call for entries for 2024 will open soon on Film Freeway at filmfreeway.com/OneEarthYoungFilmmakersContest.

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Visit beehives and meet the beekeepers to learn about bees, pollination and honey Sunday.

Imagine you’re a bee: the sun is shining, and the air is filled with the sweet aroma of wildflowers, waiting patiently for pollinators—like you!—to complete their task. You and the other bees are on a mission to collect nectar and pollen, while unknowingly transferring pollen from one flower to another.

Believe it or not, a creature as tiny as a bee plays a vital role in a large supply of the natural food chain. Bees support a vast majority of human food systems, as well. Many crops, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and oilseeds, rely on bee pollination for optimal yields and quality. Without these critters, we would have a decline in food resources and the world would drastically change with disruptions to food webs and the altering of ecosystems.

The process of pollination involves the collection of nectar and pollen from the male parts (anthers) of flowers, which is then transferred to the female parts (stigma) of flowers. Pollination allows for the fertilization of plants that in return, produce seeds, fruit and new plants–more food that new generations of pollinators can rely on. Bee pollination promotes genetic diversity of plant populations, which is crucial for the food supply of wildlife.

For bee species native to Cook County, their existence depends on continuing to protect and preserve their habitats. Their behaviors, adaptations and pollination efforts weave together a like a delicate web to ensure the smooth functioning of our ecosystems. Here are some fun facts about some of our native bees:

  • Bumblebees are known for their large size, fuzzy appearance and ability to perform buzz pollination. Buzz pollination is the ability of a bee to release pollen from a plant’s anthers alone. High frequency vibrations from their flight muscles helps them release pollen from flowers that are especially reliant on this type of pollination.
  • Mining bees—a group of bees with hundreds of different species—are ground-nesting solitary bees. They are focused on foraging rather than defending their nests. Each female creates her own nest chamber in the ground, where she lays her eggs and provides pollen and nectar for the developing larvae.
  • Mason bees are solitary bees that nest in pre-existing cavities—including hollow stems, snail shells or small holes in wood—or create nests using mud or plant materials. They also use mud or plant materials to partition their nests and create individual chambers for each egg, earning them their name. Unlike honeybees or bumblebees, these bees do not produce honey or live in large colonies. Each female mason bee is responsible for sealing her own nest chambers.

Want to learn more about bees? Visit our River Trail Nature Center on August 27 @ 1:30 PM for a Buzz on Bees program or head to any of our nature centers to talk to a naturalist.

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Field Butterfly

A monarch butterfly rests in the Rice Garden just outside the Field Museum, Aug. 9, 2023. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

On a suburban street with smooth lawns and trimmed bushes, Martha Chiplis’ yard stands out. It’s not just the wildflowers: purple wild petunia, golden lanceleaf coreopsis, hot-pink Bush’s poppy mallow. It’s the lemon-yellow goldfinches that snack on the seeds, the fluffy bees that feed on the blooms.

And then there’s the star of the show: a monarch butterfly that descends within minutes.

The orange and black showstopper flies low and circles twice, so close that you can almost reach out and touch it.

“Oh! Yea!” says Chiplis, 58, of Berwyn. “They’ve been flying around all morning.”

At a time when monarch butterflies are struggling for survival, Chiplis is one of over 400 home gardeners throughout the Chicago area who have participated in a four-year Field Museum research project aimed at understanding how urban areas can provide much-needed habitat for the iconic insects.

The gardeners, who range from beginners with one milkweed plant to veterans with hundreds, have collected detailed data on monarchs, eggs and caterpillars in their yards, decks, community gardens and balconies — contributing up to 1,800 records each summer.

“We hope when we publish that it will show that these gardens can support (monarchs),” said Karen Klinger, a geographic information systems analyst at the Field Museum. ”It depends on the year, but one year people saw 7,000 eggs. So there are butterflies that are coming out of these native gardens.”

With experts calling for an “all hands on deck” approach to saving the monarch that includes planting milkweed in parks, agricultural areas and rights of way, Field Museum researchers, who concluded the garden-monitoring phase of their work in 2022, are now analyzing data that they hope will contribute to our understanding of how much private citizens’ backyard milkweed plantings can do for monarchs.

Read more here.

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Front to back: Robert McGinley, Dan Lobbes, Renae Frigo and David Holman head back after checking the status of a former dam on Goose Lake in Horizon Farm preserve on Aug. 18, 2023, in Barrington Hills. Members of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust and The Conservation Foundation were out surveying Horizon Farm as part of an annual effort to track changes on the property. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

On a group tour of Horizon Farm Forest Preserve and its rolling pastures, a visitor joked that it would make a great par 3 golf course. Nature lovers shuddered at the thought, though such a use is prohibited on the site.

But the comment illustrates the tension the Forest Preserve District of Cook County faces balancing preservation and recreation. The district’s main mission is to preserve open space, and provide “nature-compatible” recreation.

In the case of Horizon Farm in northwest suburban Barrington Hills, the issue boils down to whether to save a half-mile horse racing track. The nearly 400-acre preserve used to be a horse breeding and training ground. The track was used to train thoroughbreds for racing at the now-closed Arlington International Racecourse.

When the forest preserve district bought Horizon Farm out of foreclosure for $14.5 million in 2013, officials expressed openness to keeping equestrian uses of the site. But 10 years later, the racetrack sits filled with wild plants, unused, its railing falling apart. A big chunk of the preserve remains closed, and some trails are overgrown. Horse lovers and other preserve users are wondering whether the district will save the track.

“It’s really a prize,” Barrington Hills Park District President Dennis Kelly said. “There’s been a lot of interest in the equestrian community, but we have not gotten a response.”

Not everyone is married to the idea of a horse track. Friends of the Forest Preserves, an independent nonprofit, takes the general position that recreation in the forest preserves — from boating to fishing to camping — should facilitate enjoyment of nature.

“As soon as recreation becomes about the activity, that is not in line with what should be done with the forest preserves,” Friends President Benjamin Cox said.

The group supports horse trails since anyone can use them, but has not taken a position specifically on the horse track. Exclusive sites such as a golf course or baseball diamond are only for those uses, so Friends would prefer not to build those in the preserves.

Read more here.

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Barrington School District 220 is moving forward with plans to spend $7.7 million to install solar panels on the roofs of three school buildings.

At a school board meeting last month, seven board members gave a thumbs up to David Bein, district assistant superintendent of business services, to move forward with legal review of a potential contract to install solar panels at Barrington High School, Barrington Middle School- Prairie campus and Barrington Middle School- Station campus.

After a lengthy board presentation at the July 11 board meeting on various leasing or ownership models, Bein recommended the board make a $7.7 million initial investment for ownership which would result in $5.5 million in rebates and incentives, with a return of $3.7 million to the district in the first year.

The investment would be covered by the district’s current capital funds budget, he said.

Board members agreed it would be a “win-win” for the district due to the long-term energy cost savings and would be in line with the district’s stewardship strategic plan.

“We feel this is an important consideration as we look to the future,” Bein told the board, adding that his team looked at sustainable energy options across the district and various providers throughout the last seven months. “Solar is a viable option.”

More here.

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