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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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Recordings have been released from last month’s Board of Trustee’s meeting (12.17.2020), and the Village Attorney’s report contained the following update:

“Just really quickly, the Drury litigation versus the Village discovery is now closed. It’s moving in to motion practice, so we’ll hopefully get some kind of ruling in February, March-ish.”

To listen to the recording of the December 17th BOT meeting, click here.

Related:Things may get very interesting after Thanksgiving…

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The Village Board of Trustees will be holding their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM. Some of the topics for discussion and/or vote include:

  • [Vote] A Resolution Approving the Execution of an Intergovernmental Agreement with Cook County for the Donlea Road Drainage Investigation Resolution 20 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of ALPR Equipment and Related Services and Software for use by the Village Police Department Resolution 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to the Existing Special Use Permit for an Expansion of the Parking Lot at 160 Hawthorne Road Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Adopting by Reference of the Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Consenting to an Amendment of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions and Easements for Hurstbourne Subdivision Resolution 20 –
  • [Vote] Resolution of Proclamation Congratulating Janet Agnoletti Upon Her Retirement From the Barrington Area Council of Governments Res 20 –

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. Those wishing to try to listing in on the meeting can phone 508-924-1464.

Related: Mosque replica planned for 160 Hawthorne Road?,” “Cook County to investigate Donlea Road flooding problems

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“In keeping with the Illinois Governor’s latest directives, as of Friday, November 20, 2020, the Riding Center will be operated under the following new mitigation requirements:

  • Face coverings required for all activities at all times.
  • No more than four (4) riders allowed in the modified indoor arena at one time.
  • Every other window in this arena will be open to facilitate ventilation and the end doors will be locked open.
  • Every other stall will remain open and the window in those stalls will be open.
  • The bleachers/warming area can seat a maximum of three (3) people.
  • The outdoor arena can have no more than six (6) riders at one time.”

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The Illinois High School Association’s decision Wednesday to defy Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order to put high school basketball on hold set off a whirlwind of discussions, and frustration, from school administrators Thursday.

The IHSA opened the door for schools to play basketball beginning in November, putting school district administrators in the position of having to decide on the issue as the COVID-19 numbers across the state continue to spike.

“It’s disappointing that the IHSA and the (Illinois Department of Public Health) are not able to get on the same page,” Barrington Area Unit School District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris said. “It’s frustrating from a superintendent’s perspective that that is now pushed onto our plates. It makes it extremely difficult and puts us in a very difficult position as a district.”

“Unfortunately, I don’t think the IHSA is seeing the whole picture,” Harris continued. “Yes, the social part and the emotional part of sports are all valid. But there’s more to it, there’s the whole educational component and we’re in the middle of a pandemic.”

The Illinois State Board of Education issued a statement late Wednesday imploring school districts to follow IDPH guidance. The statement said defying the guidance opens schools up to liability and other ramifications that may hurt school communities. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is saying the basketball season should be postponed until the spring and suggested schools defying the public health guidance could have public funding withheld.

Harris said the liability issue is paramount.

I have a responsibility to the taxpayers in my district to manage the liability of this situation and (playing basketball when it is considered high-risk by the IDPH) is going against my best judgment there,” he said. “I want our kids to participate in sports. Absolutely. But I want it to be in a way that keeps our kids safe.”

Read more here.

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An outbound Metra train travels past a memorial at Algonquin Road and Northwest Highway in Fox River Grove. At the same location on Oct. 25, 1995, inbound Metra train No. 624 crashed into a school bus, killing seven teenagers on their way to class at Cary-Grove High School and injuring the bus driver and 24 passengers. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times)

The dream that has visited Ford Dotson Jr. thousands of times always starts the same way.

It’s a crisp October morning. Beneath clear skies, leaves shimmer copper, gold and red.

It’s long before sunrise, and Dotson sets off from home. He’s happy anyway because there are no weekend shifts, no one bugging him to work holidays. He climbs into the cab of Metra’s Union Pacific Northwest Line train No. 624 heading to Chicago from Crystal Lake. At the end of the run, he’ll curl up on a cot for a few hours before making the return trip.

The 200-ton locomotive at the rear of the train pushes six passenger cars and the cab control car. It’s an express, and ahead the signals are green. So Dotson “jumps it up” to the maximum speed — 70 mph. He crosses the Fox River, which sparkles in the sunlight.

In the distance, he sees a school bus. It’s moving slowly across the tracks, but there’s no reason to panic. Dotson nudges the brake handle — just in case — and blows the train whistle: two long blasts, a short, another long.

But something is wrong. The rear of the bus remains on the tracks. Dotson pumps several short blasts on the airhorn. He keeps at it because the bus isn’t moving. As the train hurtles forward, he slams the brake handle all the way.

That’s the point in the dream when he always wakes up, shaking, just before the impact.

Twenty-five years ago Sunday, Ford Dotson Jr.’s train smashed into a school bus in Fox River Grove. It wasn’t any dream. Seven teenagers, all of them students at Cary-Grove High School, were killed: Jeffrey Clark, Stephanie Fulham, Susanna Guzman, Michael Hoffman, Joe Kalte, Shawn Robinson and Tiffany Schneider. The bus driver and 24 other passengers were injured.

Read more about a sad anniversary this Sunday in the Chicago Sun*Times here.

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Without consensus on safety, liquefied natural gas needs another look

The Daily Herald and leaders of several of our suburbs were among those arguing years ago that crude oil shipments by train should be restricted to newer, stronger tank cars that are more likely to withstand a derailment or crash without rupturing, exploding and burning.

That viewpoint largely prevailed, with new requirements unveiled in 2015 that mitigate the risk.

But now the federal government is upping the ante, exposing towns along freight rail lines to potential new danger with the judgment that now that tank cars are safer, they can be used to move material that is more volatile.

The U.S. Department of Transportation over the summer authorized railroads to haul liquefied natural gas around the country, even in the face of the National Transportation Safety Board questioning whether doing so would be safe.

Natural gas is a chameleon, turning liquid at -260 degrees and taking up 1/600th of the space it requires as a gas, making it cheaper to transport. If the gas gets overheated and the tank ruptures, such as following a derailment or crash, it can explode violently into a fireball that will keep burning until the fuel is gone.

Read on here.

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Students returned for the new school year at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights on Aug. 24, but new positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend led officials Monday to temporarily switch to remote learning.

Six weeks after starting the school year in person, St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights closed its doors Monday and switched to remote learning because of a “higher than acceptable” COVID-19 incidence rate within the school community, officials said.

New positive COVID-19 test cases among those in the school were reported over the weekend and during the overnight hours Monday, reaching “our threshold for keeping our students and faculty safe,” school President Brian Liedlich and Principal Karen Love wrote in a letter to parents.

School spokesman Jim Mitchell did not say whether the positive COVID-19 tests came from students or faculty members.

Officials plan to resume classes in two weeks, on Oct. 19, but said conditions will dictate that decision.

For now, all classes are remote, and students will be expected to follow their block schedule via Zoom video conferencing. All extracurricular activities, including athletic practices and games, are suspended.

Most of St. Viator’s 837 students chose the school’s in-person learning option, with a few choosing remote, when the academic year began Aug. 24.

Read more here.

Editorial note: They made a good go of it for six (6) weeks, and if all goes well they’ll be back in classrooms in two weeks.

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A new federal rule allows liquefied natural gas to be transported by train across the U.S., sparking concerns from Barrington and other suburbs.

A new player, liquefied natural gas, has joined the list of hazardous materials cruising through Illinois by train — a move the federal government says is safe but raises fears of out-of-control fires and explosions for some suburbs.

This summer, the U.S. Department of Transportation authorized railroads to haul liquefied natural gas (LNG) across the country.

Prior to approval, more than 460 entities commented — mostly critically — on the plan, including Barrington, which is crisscrossed by the Union Pacific and Canadian National railroads.

The potential for a catastrophe “is quite acute,” village officials stated. “An uncontrolled LNG release involving fire stemming from a derailment scenario must burn itself out as there is no practical way to extinguish it.”

Federal officials are confident that upgraded DOT-113 tank cars with double shells and thick carbon steel can safely contain any spills.

New requirements, such as remote monitoring of tank car pressure, will “provide for the safe transportation of LNG by rail to more parts of the country where this energy source is needed,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao stated.

Read on here.

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“Village ordinances regarding solicitation and trespass to land both require notice from the owner or occupant that such activity is prohibited.  Accordingly, the Police Department strongly recommends that all residents conspicuously post written notice (i.e. a sign) at the main entrance to their property, such as, but certainly not limited to, on a mailbox post or fire grid address sign post. To encourage and assist residents in this effort, the Department has purchased a supply of reflective aluminum signs which are available for sale at the Department’s cost: $9.30 per sign.

Signs may be purchased during normal business hours (Monday – Friday  8:00 AM to 4:00 PM) via check or credit card (no cash).  For the fastest and most convenient service, consider pre-paying via the Village’s Illinois ePay webpage and then pick up your sign.”

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