Archive for the ‘Topics Of Interest’ Category


“We’ve Come a Long Way, Ladies!” is an interactive, multisensory experience that takes the audience back in time to the American Women’s Suffrage Movement and the passage of the 19th Amendment. Mezzo soprano Audrey Johnson has combined her vocal talents and experiences from her operatic performing career with her patriotic passions to create the series Of Thee I Sing: American Heritage Through Song. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of American women’s right to vote, this program is a combination of historical songs, engaging narratives, corresponding historical images, captivating on-stage costume transformations, and lively audience participation, creating a performance experience that is truly one of a kind. She is joined by collaborative pianist James J. Morehead.

The program showcases historical songs that take the audience on a journey back in time into the lives of these brave American patriots. Historical images, authentic costuming, an engaging spoken narrative, and audience participation make this a performance experience unlike any other. ​Program highlights include the foreshadowing warning of Abigail Adams to the founding fathers that they should “Remember the Ladies”; the role of ladies’ fashions within the movement and the strategies – and scandals – that ensued; and Frederick Douglass’s vital role and contribution to Women’s Suffrage at the official beginning of the movement.

3 PM Sunday, March 19, at Barrington’s White House, 145 W. Main St., Barrington. Click here for more information or purchase tickets.

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The city of Chicago easily outpaced the rest of the country as the fastest growing city for auto thefts in 2022 with larcenies rising by 55%.

With such acts of vandalism on the rise across the country as part of an ongoing pandemic-fueled outbreak, a new National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) annual study found Illinois had the largest percentage increase among larger states at 35%.

“Over one million vehicles were stolen nationwide in 2022,” NCIB president and CEO David Glawe told The Center Square. “States that saw the largest increase in vehicle thefts were Illinois, Washington and New York. There is little deterrence with vehicle thefts treated as property crimes. Organized gangs and juveniles steal vehicles and use them to facilitate other crimes. To stop this lawless behavior, we must re-invest in our law enforcement partners, support community engagement and policing programs and implement successful early intervention programs for at-risk youth.”

Across the country, thefts were up 7%, pushing the number of stolen vehicles over 1 million for the first time in more than 15 years. Overall, including carjackings, Chicago had 21,516 reported auto thefts over the year, up by nearly 8,000 from 13,856 the previous year.

As part of its campaign to stem the tide, the Chicago Police Department over the past several months has instituted an expanded vehicular hijacking task force. Through February, there were 232 reported carjackings across the city this year, a 23% decline over the same period in 2022.

At the same time, overall motor vehicle thefts are sharply up over the first two-plus months of this year, with 5,375 reports of stolen vehicles through March 5, a 138% increase, according to Chicago Police Department crime statistics.

Read more here.

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Lake Greenway

Proposed Lake County greenway.

The Lake County Board formally endorsed a proposal Tuesday to transform 1,100 acres of land — originally set aside for a now abandoned highway expansion project — into a “greenway” that would connect trails, forest preserve land and open green space in the central part of the county.

Though the vote is mostly symbolic, its passage signals to state legislators and Gov. J.B. Pritzker that there is intragovernmental support for the greenway idea backed by the 20-member Route 53 Land Expansion Alternative Use Task Force, which reached that decision in December after meeting throughout 2022 in accordance with a directive from the General Assembly.

It’s also an emphatic victory for environmental activists long opposed to the expansion of Route 53, for which the land was originally acquired.

Speaking on behalf of a coalition of environmental organizations supporting the greenway, Midwest Sustainability Group executive director Barbara Klipp mused that government entities originally started buying up parcels of land for eventual Route 53 expansion about 60 years ago, when she was born.

“This corridor represents one of the most scenic landscapes remaining in Lake County,” Klipp said. “And we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fully unleash its value as an iconic nature trail and conservation area where residents of our communities can treasure the atmosphere that makes central Lake County such an amazing place to live.”

More here.

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Cliff McConville of All Grass Farms located within the Brunner Family Forest Preserve Wednesday March 8, 2023 in Dundee Township. (Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.com)

Before his farming days, Cliff McConville worked in the Loop downtown for years, commuting to an array of jobs in the insurance industry from his home in Barrington Hills.

In 2011, McConville transferred to a remote job, and with an extra two and a half hours or so on his hands, he turned to raising chickens and a handful of beef cows on his property’s eight acres.

McConville, who spent his childhood in Mount Prospect before heading to Austin, Texas, for high school and college, had always wanted a farm and had become interested in the idea of regenerative agriculture through books and documentaries.

The farming and grazing practice of regenerative agriculture, heralded by environmentalists as a major solution to climate change and water issues, is a conservation alternative to conventional farming that focuses on rebuilding soil health and biodiversity.

With high demand for sustainably raised, grass-fed cows, McConville’s business took off. Today, alongside a 400-acre operation in Wisconsin, he runs 150 acres of pastureland within the Brunner Family Forest Preserve through a long-term lease with the Kane County Forest Preserve District.

Though county forest preserve and conservation districts are charged with restoring land to the natural prairie and woodland of Illinois, it’s a slow and costly process. As a result, large swaths of district land are often leased out to farmers like McConville while awaiting restoration.

Read more here.

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All alone

State lawmakers across the country have given their residents permanent tax relief over the last two years. In all, 22 states have cut individual tax rates since 2021 as a result of booming state-government revenues. Michigan is the latest state to cut its income tax, triggered by overflowing coffers. That means every single one of Illinois’ neighbors have cut taxes within the last few years.

Instead of tax cuts for Illinoisans, Sen. Robert Martwick, an ally and surrogate for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, recently filed new legislation calling for a progressive tax scheme – never mind most of the country is moving away from progressive taxes and toward flat structures, and that Illinoisans rejected a similar proposal in a 2020 referendum.

A renewed call for a progressive tax hike is bad news for Illinois in the nationwide competition for people and businesses. We’ve documented in detail how Illinois continues to lose population and businesses to other states. Illinois’ lack of competitiveness is made all the worse as other states make themselves even more attractive through permanent tax cuts.

All of Illinois’ neighbors have made and are making significant moves to lower taxes:

  • Iowa passed laws in 2021 and 2022 to accelerate the state’s already-planned move from a progressive tax to a flat tax. The state’s top income tax rate was dropped from 8.53 percent to 6.0 percent in 2023 and Iowa will fully transition to a flat tax rate of just 3.9 percent by 2026.
  • Missouri passed a law in 2022 to accelerate the state’s already-planned drop in its income tax rates. The state’s top income tax rate decreased from 5.3 percent to 4.95 percent in 2023. Missouri’s top tax rate is on income above just $8,968 a year, so it’s effectively a flat tax state.
  • Indiana passed a law in 2022 that dropped the state’s flat rate from 3.23 percent to 3.15 percent in 2023. The law also requires the rate to fall to 2.9 percent by 2029 if specified financial conditions are met.
  • Kentucky passed a law in 2022 that dropped the state’s flat 5.0 percent rate to 4.5 percent in 2023. The law also requires the rate to fall to 4.0 percent in 2024 if specific financial conditions are met.
  • Wisconsin passed a law in 2022 that dropped the rate of the state’s 2nd-highest income bracket (income between $24,250 and $266,930) from 6.27 to 5.3 percent.
  • Lastly, Michigan’s flat rate of 4.25% is set to fall to 4.05% next month, the result of a 2015 law that requires tax cuts when specific financial conditions are met.

Read more here.

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lap dog

Legislation advancing at the Illinois statehouse would get motorists in hot water for letting their pet ride on the driver’s lap.

House Bill 2910 provides that a person who holds an animal in the person’s lap while operating a motor vehicle is guilty of a petty offense. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Jawaharial Williams, D-Chicago, said pets aren’t covered under distracted driving laws.

“The new law would allow police officers to pull you over if they see that you are driving with an animal in your lap, whatever the animal may be,” Williams said.

Offenders would be subject to a $50 fine. The measure moved out of the transportation committee and is headed to the House floor.

More here.

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The South Barrington Park District again is seeking voters’ permission to sell 34 acres off Bartlett Road and Route 59. Voters approved the sale in 2020, but the district was unable to close on a deal within a one-year window.

It’s not déjà vu — South Barrington Park District officials again are asking voters to approve selling 34 acres off Bartlett Road and Route 59.

It’s the fourth time the district has brought the proposal to voters. It was rejected in 2018 and 2019, and then approved in 2020 — but officials couldn’t finalize a deal with either of two interested developers before a one-year window expired, Park District Executive Director Jay Morgan said.

Still hoping to unload the property, park district leaders have put the question on the April 4 ballot.

“We are once again required to go to referendum to ask for approval to sell the property,” Morgan said.

If approved by voters, the district will hold an auction to sell the property, he added.

The park district bought the land, once home to a tree nursery, about 20 years ago as part of a lawsuit settlement. But because of its topography and other factors, officials determined the land isn’t ideal for recreational activities and would be too costly to develop.

More here.

Related:South Barrington auctioning 33.9816 acres near VBH Village Hall

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Personal Finance

State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood

State Sen. Kimberly Lightford is pushing a bill that would require all high school students to take a semester-long personal finance course before graduating.

Senate Bill 1266 strives to make sure students learn about managing money before earning a high school diploma, with the course covering everything from banking, to bill payment, to investing, to managing credit and paying for college.

The bill would affect the freshman class of the 2024 to 2025 school year, with those students required to take the course as a junior or senior before receiving their diploma.

The proposed bill comes on the heels of a new Wirepoints report that outlines how Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) data shows not a single student at no less than 53 schools across the state can do math at grade level. The numbers are nearly just as bleak in reading, where the report looked at 30 schools with at least 22 of them being part of the Chicago Public Schools system.

Overall, researchers found that only 1 out of 10 kids or fewer can do math at grade level in 930 schools.

Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski, who co-authored the website’s schools report, isn’t sure how much difference Lightford’s proposal will make, even if it becomes law.

“Every kid should learn about finances and how to manage their financial future, but the first priority for Illinois leaders should be to assure that kids can read and do math and today that’s not happening,” he told The Center Square. “Instead of adding another mandate for this they should mandate that schools massively elevate the percentage of kids who can read and do math in Illinois schools.”

Read more here.

Editorial note: We’re all for requiring practical educational topics. Heck, we’ve got an incumbent Board of Education member with an advanced college degree seeking reelection who can’t (or won’t) even complete a simple election qualification form even when we pointed out his omission a month ago (see, “Who’s minding Leah and Barry’s campaign finances”)!

However, apparently, he can tell you the ins and outs of pornography etiquette if you let him.

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Anderson Humane

Anderson Humane in South Elgin has a new program called Doggie Day Out that enables people to sign up as temporary fosters and take a shelter dog out for a day. Erin Linton, who works at the shelter, picked up Willie for the day just to get him out of the chaos of the kennel and was rewarded with a sloppy kiss at her Naperville home. (Rick West | Staff Photographer)

Hey, check it out. A new program at Anderson Humane allows you to borrow a dog for the day.

It’s sort of like a library, only the books have fur and like to lick you.

The South Elgin shelter started its Doggie Day Out program on March 1. While the program isn’t unique, it is the only one in the area, according to Dean Daubert, Anderson’s chief operations officer.

“It’s a way to get our animals out for some extra enrichment and time with people and socialization,” he said, “but also a great way to, hopefully, get them adopted.”

Daubert said it’s a pretty simple program. People only need to go through a one-time process similar to what they use for those interested in fostering a dog.

After watching a 15- to 20-minute video and filling out an online form, you let the shelter know you’re coming. They’ll have a dog, a leash and poop bags ready to go. The leash has a QR code that links to Anderson’s adoption page.

Read more here, or visit Anderson Humane here.

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Dundee St. Patrick’s Day Parade Your Pet

9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 11, at the Depot, 319 N. River St., East Dundee. First- through third-place winners will receive prizes and be invited to march in the parade. Register at dundeestpats.org/pet-parade.

Thom McNamee Memorial St. Patrick’s Day Parade

11 a.m. Saturday, March 11, in East Dundee. Annual parade steps off at Rosie O’Hare’s Public House and travels down Barrington Road to River Street, ending at Bandito Barney’s Beach Club. Family-friendly activities and entertainment at the grandstand at The Depot starting at 9:30 a.m. dundeestpats.org.

Palatine St. Patrick’s Day Parade

11 a.m. Saturday, March 11, at Durty Nellie’s, 180 N. Smith St., Palatine. Durty Nellie’s, in partnership with Vicarious Multimedia, is hosting the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The day will begin with an Irish Breakfast at 8:30 a.m., followed by the parade kicking off at the corner of Wood and Oak streets at 11 a.m. Following the parade, there will be an After Party starting at noon. (224) 633-3120 or durtystpats.com.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 11, starting at Balbo and Columbus, then north on Columbus Drive, with a viewing stand in front of Buckingham Fountain in Chicago. It will also be live streamed at abc7chicago.com. Entry to the parade route begins at 11 a.m. at Jackson Avenue and Ida B. Wells (formerly Congress) Boulevard. Security staff will search purses and bags; coolers, alcohol, open beverages, camelbacks and personal water bottles will not be allowed. Theme is “Recognizing Workers Rights.” Grand Marshal will be Timothy Drea, president of AFL-CIO, and guest of honor will be Councillor Danny Collins, mayor of Cork County, Ireland. Free. chicagostpatricksdayparade.org.

More celebrations found here.

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