Archive for the ‘Topics Of Interest’ Category

The number of flights scheduled to pass through O’Hare International Airport this month has plunged to less than half last year’s level as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate air travel.

Sunday, there will nonetheless be a new carrier at the airport: Southwest Airlines, seizing an opportunity to move in as other airlines scaled back.

“We want to bring the ‘Southwest effect’ to O’Hare,” said Dave Harvey, vice president of Southwest Business.

Southwest has been credited with spurring a drop in fares when it enters a market, and early data suggest fares are down on the handful of routes where Southwest will compete with O’Hare’s biggest carriers. But that effect may be more muted than usual — O’Hare already has a handful of budget carriers, and Southwest isn’t new to the city. It has a strong presence at Midway Airport, which will remain its primary hub.

The Dallas-based airline will operate 16 flights per day to Dallas, Baltimore, Denver, Phoenix and Nashville out of three gates at Terminal 5, which typically handles international flights.

Read more here, or visit Southwest Airlines here.

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Valentine’s Day 2021

At a loss for last minute ideas for Valentine’s Day?  Here’s some local inspiration:

Baskin-Robbins recently debuted the Box of Chocolates Cake for Valentine’s Day.


Locations across the suburbs; baskinrobbins.com/en. Treat your love to Baskin-Robbins’ new flavor of the month: Love Potion #31. It’s a combo of white chocolate and raspberry ice creams, a raspberry swirl, and raspberry-filled chocolate-flavored hearts and chocolate-flavored chips. Or order the new Box of Chocolates Cake, which looks like a classic heart-shaped candy box made with ice cream, topped with fudge and decorated with milk chocolate candies. Order now for pickup on or before Feb. 14.

Einstein Bros. Bagels

Locations in Barrington, Glen Ellyn, Glenview, Hinsdale, Lake in the Hills, Lincolnshire, Naperville, Palatine, Park Ridge, Schaumburg, Wheaton and more; einsteinbros.com/. Feed your sweet or the fam with Einstein’s $5 Family Pizza Bagel Box, which includes four cheese and four pepperoni pizza bagels. Order the half-price special on Einstein’s mobile app now through Sunday, Feb. 14.

Francesca’s Restaurants

Locations in Arlington Heights, Barrington, Bolingbrook, Elmhurst, Lake Forest, Naperville, Northbrook, St. Charles and more. miafrancesca.com/holiday-pre-orders/. Indulge in the That’s Amore dinner for two for $119.95. It includes a salad, a pair of 8-ounce filet mignons over lobster risotto, and a dark chocolate tart with chocolate cream and strawberries. Order by noon Thursday, Feb. 11, for pickup from 4-8 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Feb. 12-14.

The Hampton Social

100 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, (224) 633-5414, thehamptonsocial.com/hssbi. Celebrate your love with half off rose bottles from 4-10 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14. Reservations requested.

Moretti’s Ristorante & Pizzeria

Locations in Barrington, Bartlett, Crystal Lake, Fox Lake, Hoffman Estates, Lake in the Hills, Mount Prospect, Rosemont and Schaumburg; morettisrestaurants.com/. Moretti’s celebrates Valentine’s Day from Monday through Sunday, Feb. 8-14. The special dinner for two for $59 includes spinach and artichoke dip, a garden or Caesar salad, a choice of two entrees (rib-eye, pan-seared salmon, brick chicken), heart-shaped chocolate cherry cake, and a bottle of red or white wine. Order 24 hours in advance of pickup or delivery. Dine in is also an option.


7 Oakbrook Center Mall, Oak Brook, (630) 575-8700; 1150 Willow Road, Northbrook, (847) 480-2323; 100 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, (847) 844-9300; pinstripes.com/. Now through Sunday, Feb. 14, all pizzas and flatbreads are 50% off when ordered for curbside pickup.

Shaw’s Crab House

1900 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg, (847) 517-2722, shawscrabhouse.com/schaumburg/. Treat your love to Shaw’s Valentine’s Day meals for two, which can be enjoyed in the restaurant, on the heated patio and to go Feb. 12-14. The $155 Surf & Turf Dinner includes an iceberg wedge salad, shrimp cocktail, two 4-ounce petite filets, two 4-ounce Maine lobster tails, 10-ounce King crab, au gratin potatoes and triple layer chocolate cake. The $160 Alaskan King Crab Dinner features 2 pounds of Alaskan red king crab legs, sides and dessert, while the $165 Surf & Surf Dinner for Two includes two 4-ounce Maine lobster tails, 1.25 pounds of Alaskan red king crab legs, sides and dessert. Reservations required for dine in. To-go orders must be placed on Tock one hour prior to pickup.

Find more ideas in the Daily Herald here.

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Indian Lakes Hotel, Bloomingdale

Village leaders in Bloomingdale may well be wondering what they could have or should have done to avoid the weekend mayhem that resulted in multiple shootings and one death at the Indian Lakes Hotel.

And they’re wise to examine their practices and polices — and for reacting decisively regarding what Public Safety Director Frank Giammarese described as the scene of a “drastic spike in crime” in recent years.

But they certainly cannot be faulted as having done nothing. They’ve pressed for years, by the hotel’s owners’ own description, to try to “ensure the safety and security of all guests and associates of the hotel.” And as recently as last December, they imposed fees and restrictions on short-term rental properties — including a minimum 30-day stay — following a shooting in neighboring Roselle over the summer in which one person died and six were hurt.

A short-term home rental is no hotel, of course, and the very nature of a hotel or motel complicates the actions a community can take to fend off problems from large parties. Indeed, for weddings, birthday celebrations, conventions and all manner of public events, hotels and banquet halls are important community centers.

The point is that, even so, Bloomingdale has not been blind to the potential for trouble when large gatherings occur. Nor have many other suburbs. In 2016, Lake Barrington passed an ordinance prohibiting rentals of less than three months following a shooting at a rental property in the village. Barrington Hills already had a zoning law in place outlawing parties like the one that led to a fatal shooting there last April. Naperville imposed a short-term rental ban last August, and Roselle imposed strict regulations governing short-term rentals following the fatal shooting at a short-term rental. Even Airbnb itself has announced a global ban restricting rentals to occupancy of no more than 16 people.

Continue reading the Daily Herald editorial here.

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The pandemic has led to 20 million new gardeners and an increased demand for seeds and plants produced by the Ball Horticultural Co. in West Chicago. Grown from a tiny seed, this SteakHouse tomato is ready to eat. – Courtesy of Ball Horticultural Co.

Still in the throes of the deadly coronavirus and the pain of pandemic restrictions, we gaze across the bleak, snow-covered tundra of suburbia and imagine what spring might feel like if it mustered the courage to arrive.

That hope of spring has been in the air for months at Ball Horticultural Co in West Chicago.

“The seed we harvested around the world gets processed here and then packaged, and shipped to commercial greenhouses in early December,” says Katie Rotella, spokeswoman for Ball’s collection of breeders, research and development teams, seed and vegetative producers, and distribution companies in 20 countries across six continents.

“An estimated 20 million new gardeners were cultivated in the climate of pandemic restrictions,” Rotella says. “We had a scary time in March when many garden centers shut down. Once they were deemed essential businesses and reopened, sales took off. It was a very good year.”

A desire to eat fresh, healthy foods, avoid trips to the grocery store, save money, reconnect with nature, add some color to your surroundings, and develop a hobby you can do while stuck at home all played into the growth in gardening.

For many folks adhering to the pandemic warnings, there were no trips to restaurants and bars, no vacations, no nights at the theater, no ballgames to attend, no amateur sports teams, no music concerts, and not even trips to the office.

Read more here.

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The worst-governed state — Illinois had triple the population loss of the state with the second-highest out-migration between 2010 and 2020 — is contemplating another incentive for flight. On Feb. 16, a joint committee of the state legislature will decide whether to turn into a legal requirement the State Board of Education’s recommendation that — until a slight rewording — would mandate that all public-school teachers “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives.” If the board’s policy is ratified, Illinois will become a place congenial only for parents who are comfortable consigning their children to “education” that is political indoctrination, audaciously announced and comprehensively enforced.

Imposing uniformity of thought is the board of education’s agenda for “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading” (CRTL). This builds upon Illinois’ 2015 law requiring teachers to implement “action civics,” which means leading their pupils in activism on behalf of various causes. CRTL would make explicit that only woke causes are worthy causes.

Fortunately, a member of the state legislature’s joint committee, Rep. Steve Reick (R), is resisting CRTL. He notes that it will further burden teachers with mandates, and diminish teachers’ autonomy and hence job satisfaction, during the state’s teacher shortage: At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, Illinois schools were short 2,000 teachers. Already mandated teaching subjects include Black history, women’s history, the “history, roles, and contributions of the LGBT community,” anti-bias and anti-bullying, “disability history and awareness,” “social and emotional learning,” “violence prevention and conflict resolution,” and “contributions of a number of defined ethnic groups made to Illinois and the U.S.” Literature, science, writing, arithmetic? Presumably, if there is any spare time.

Chicago’s public schools are already implementing the curriculum of the 1619 Project, the malevolently conceived and incompetently executed New York Times lens for seeing U.S. history as all about racism. After the project won a Pulitzer Prize with the splashy contention that the nation’s true founding was the arrival of enslaved people in Virginia 402 years ago, the Times revised its demonstrably absurd contention that protecting slavery was a “primary reason” for the American Revolution. Instead, the Times said “some” colonists rebelled to defend slavery, and termed this a “small” revision.

Read more of The Washington Post’s op-ed here.

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Posted previously to the VBH website:

“President Martin McLaughlin was an invited panelist at the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce’s Virtual Economic Summit on Wednesday, February 3, 2021.

Below are some points he shared:

  • The Village of Barrington Hills (the Village) has seen an uptick in interest and purchases in our real estate. Buyers are looking for safety and stability which our Village has historically and steadfastly provided. The sight of deer, cranes and wildlife is now preferential and desirable to city living. 
  •  Village offices have remained open through this pandemic without incident. Many thanks to our Village and Police Department staff who provided, and continue to provide, uninterrupted services while observing the CDC’s guidelines.
  • The Village has instituted administrative hearings which are a venue for timely adjudication for activity that arises from properties operating in violation of the Village’s home occupation or business zoning, or other issues that ignore Village code. The expedited legal review process has provided for reduced legal expenses for both violators and the Village.
  • The Village and residents who visited throughout the day safely enjoyed The Hills Are Alive Fall Festival—again, without incident and having instituted the CDC’s guidelines. 
  • The Village of Barrington Hills’ Board of Trustees has, once again, lowered the levy and President McLaughlin asked neighboring municipalities and local taxing bodies to follow the Village’s lead in this regard.
  • The Consolidated General Election is Tuesday, April 6, 2021. This is an important election. Various local governing bodies have more than one seat up for election, and residents are reminded their vote can have a substantial change.”

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Historian Leslie Goddard explores the history of Route 66, the iconic road that linked Chicago to Los Angeles from 1926 until its closing in the mid-1980s, on Tuesday, Feb. 9. (Courtesy of Village of Barrington)

Route 66 evokes images of gas stations, mom-and-pop motels, quirky attractions, and adventure on the open road.

In this nostalgia-packed lecture, historian Leslie Goddard explores the history of Route 66, the iconic road that linked Chicago to Los Angeles from 1926 until its closing in the mid-1980s.

Join for an afternoon or evening show at 1 or 7 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 9. A live Q&A will follow the afternoon presentation and a link will be provided post-event that allows ticket purchasers to view the event for up to 30 days.

Learn why Route 66 remains so indelibly associated with the lore of the American road trip. What was Route 66 like at its pinnacle — and what it is today.

Goddard is an award-winning actress and scholar who has been presenting history programs for more than 10 years. She holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University specializing in American studies and U.S. history, as well as a master’s degree in theater.

For more information or tickets, visit www.barringtonswhitehouse.com/events. Barrington’s White House is at 145 W. Main St. in downtown Barrington.

Cultural programming at the White House is underwritten in part by generous sponsors, including the Wayne and Nan Kocourek, Kay Reich, Mr. and Mrs. Earle Combs, Kim Duchossois, McClintock Family Foundation, Sue and Rich Padula, Stephen and Mary Smith, Barrington Area Community Foundation, Barrington Bank and Trust, Mary B. Galvin, Northern Trust and Quintessential Barrington.

Submitted by Village of Barrington

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BARRINGTON HILLS, Ill. (CBS) — Airline customers are navigating mazes trying to get refunds on flights after COVID-19 derailed their travel plans.

Getting your refund can be tricky as it is, and even trickier if you used reward points for the purchase. A Barrington Hills family told CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas the payment snafus are causing headaches.

“We used to live in the city. We would bike to the games,” said Holly Husby.

As is displayed in their basement decorative choices, the Husbys are a Cubs family. They had both their first date and their engagement at Wrigley Field.

“It was Cubs-Giants,” said Holly Husby.

“The Cubs have always been a family affair,” said Marvin Husby.

The family booked a trip in early March to see the Cubs play the Cardinals in a historic series in London. They bought the plane tickets using about $12,700 worth of credit card reward points.

But then COVID-19 hit and international travel came to a halt, so they tried to get a refund.

Read the full CBS Chicago report here.

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The top of a box truck slammed into Long Grove’s covered bridge on Monday, leaving the truck more damaged than the bridge. (Courtesy of Jeffery Taylor)

LONG GROVE, Ill. — Long Grove’s historic covered bridge had another run in with a truck this week.

John Kopecky and his friend Jeffery Taylor were out building a snow fort in front of their respective businesses Monday for the town’s upcoming Cocoa Crawl when they noticed the Prism Health Care Services boxcar.

“I start waving my hands, saying ‘stop,’” Kopecky said.

WGN was sent video of the collision that proves the boxcar was no match for the bridge, which has seen its fair share of crashes in recent years.

“It’s a shame he hit the bridge,” Kopecky said. “His truck was ruined. It came open and stuff came out.”

Back in 2018, the bridge was severely damaged and remained closed until last year. The bridge was then hit twice a week after it reopened.

Read more and watch the video from WGN News here.

Related:Think you’ve had a bad day? Think again.,” “Think you’ve had a bad day? Think again (Part 2).

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A large crowd gathers around the gazebo in the Woodstock Square to witness the annual Woodstock Groundhog Days Prognostication on Tuesday, in Woodstock. Despite an initial struggle to be waked up and greet a crowd of over 200, Woodstock Willie, handled by Mark Szaran of Chicago, whispered in Mayor Brian Sager’s ear that he saw his shadow and there will be an early spring. – Matthew Apgar/Shaw Media

Woodstock Willie did not see his shadow when brought out of his shelter, reluctantly staying put in front of a crowd of hundreds on the Historic Woodstock Square at 7:07 a.m. Tuesday, prognosticating an early spring, Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager announced to attendees.

The prediction was the culmination of Woodstock’s Groundhog Days festivities in a year they were modified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The groundhog’s forecast was celebrated by those gathered, including Madison and Josh Henderson, a couple who drove four hours from their home in Indiana to watch Woodstock Willie’s prognostication.

After a year of pandemic and social unrest, “we deserve an early spring,” Madison Henderson said.

The couple are Groundhog Day enthusiasts, having previously traveled to Pennsylvania to see Punxsutawney Phil’s prognostication in person. That groundhog saw his shadow Tuesday, predicting six more weeks of winter.

The couple arrived in the city Monday, enjoying a night out at several local bars downtown.

Read more here.

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