Archive for the ‘The Greatest Generation’ Category


The Chicago Bears took another step toward a potential new stadium at the Arlington International Racecourse site when the village of Arlington Heights on Friday issued for interior demolition of the grandstand, office and jockey building at the racetrack.

Arlington Heights spokesperson Avis Meade confirmed that the village had approved plans for the first phase of demolition at the old racetrack, marking another move toward a $5 billion NFL stadium and accompanying mixed-use residential, commercial and entertainment district the team has proposed to build on the 326-acre racetrack in Arlington Heights.

“Increased truck traffic due to the interior demolition is possible in the area and the property will continue to be monitored by security 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Meade wrote in an email to Pioneer Press.

A Bears representative confirmed the team had been permitted to begin work and said they expected to start the process Tuesday. The team will not use explosives or implosion to execute the job, they said.

Meade said the village and Cook County would review and approve applications for demolition of the exterior buildings on the site. Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes said earlier this month that the village had fielded a number of questions and comments from residents about the team’s request to do demolition work. He said the village board did not have the authority to approve or deny the team’s request.

More here.

Related:Chicago Bears seek to start demolition work on Arlington International Racecourse

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Memorial Day

Friday, May 26

Boomers Post Game Fireworks: Friday and Sunday, May 26 and 28, at Schaumburg Boomers Park, 1999 Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg. Firework shows after the Schaumburg Boomers games. boomersbaseball.com.

Saturday, May 27

Barrington Art Festival: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 27-28, at Cook and Station streets in downtown Barrington. The 14th annual festival features 120 artists showing and selling art in all media, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry, wearables, photography, ceramics and more. Plus, kids’ activities, live music festival, food and more. Free admission. amdurproductions.com/event/2023-barrington-art-festival.

Prairie Arts Festival: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 27-28, at the Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center, 101 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg. The 34th annual festival features approximately 100 painters, sculptors, photographers, jewelers, potters and more. Entertainment on three stages, food truck court, kids’ art activities and more. Free admission. prairiecenter.org/programs/prairie-arts-festival.

St. Charles Fine Art Show: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 27, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 28, on Riverside Drive, Main Street and Illinois Avenue, St. Charles. The 25th annual fine arts show features over 100 artists exhibiting and showcasing original, juried art in a variety of mediums, including ceramics, painting, sculpture, photography, jewelry, mixed media, glass and more. Free. stcharlesfineartshow.com.

James McCulla Jr. Memorial Fireworks: Dusk Saturday, May 27, near the Fox River footbridge in East Dundee. dundeestpats.org/fireworks.

Sunday, May 28

Veterans of Lake Barrington Shores Memorial 5K: 8-10 a.m. Sunday, May 28, at the Market Place Shopping Center, 5035-5075 Market Place Road, Lake Barrington. Proceeds benefit Gold Star Survivors Network and Paths to Hope. (847) 638-1638 or veteransoflbs.com.

Monday, May 29

Barrington Memorial Day Parade & Ceremony Monday, May 29 from 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM. The parade will begin at Veterans Memorial on Park Ave., proceed west on Main Street, left on Dundee Avenue, and right into Evergreen Cemetery. The service at Evergreen Cemetery will begin following the parade.

Cary Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony: 10-11:15 a.m. Monday, May 29, on First Street and Veteran’s Park in Cary. The Cary-Grove AMVETS Post 245 are hosting the parade, running south on First Street from Three Oaks Road to Park Avenue followed by a ceremony. CaryIllinois.com.

Dundee Memorial Day ceremony: 11:30 a.m. Monday, May 29, at River Valley Memorial Gardens, 14N689 Route 31, West Dundee. rivervalleymemorialgardens.com.

For more, click here.

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Marking a significant step in the Chicago Bears’ proposal to move to Arlington Heights, the team Wednesday filed paperwork to begin demolition of Arlington International Racecourse.

The team said the first phase would begin with gutting the interior of the grandstand, and that any exterior demolition would come later.

Team officials emphasized that this does not mean they’re going ahead with the $5 billion plan to build a new enclosed stadium with housing, bars and restaurants on the site. The team has asked to first determine what taxes it would be paying and has said it needs a public subsidy to help pay to build infrastructure like roads and utilities, before it could go forward.

The Bears bought the 326-acre former horse track this year for $197 million.

The demolition announcement comes a day after Crain’s Chicago Business reported that the Cook County assessor raised the assessed value of the property to roughly equal the purchase price.

If approved by taxing authorities, the increase would likely raise the annual property tax to about $16 million, though it was only about $3 million when the near-century-old track was operating, before Churchill Downs Inc. closed it in 2021.

While the demolition is underway, the Bears will be making their case to the county’s Board of Review that the former Arlington Park’s assessed land value is too high. But fearing a whopping property tax bill, the Bears are asking the Board of Review to knock that assessment down to $37.2 million, which the team argues was the land’s appraised value. A hearing is tentatively scheduled for early June.

Read more here.

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13 1/2″ Iron Horse Head Sculpture

Arlington Park, Part XIV

“Since October 13, 1927, Arlington Park has been the home of “the most beautiful track in America” and thoroughbred racing. Now, the track has closed. As part of the closure, all the equipment, nostalgia, artwork, and more will be offered to the public in a series of auctions over the remainder of 2022. This event is the fourteenth of many and features: bronze and brass horse sculptures, jockey saddle, silk and boots, (2) Arlington Racing full-size video games, framed artwork, Winner’s Circle photos, logo apparel, miscellaneous items, plus lots of signage, games, themed holiday & event decor, and more. Don’t miss this opportunity, as these quality items will be sold to the public. Browse and bid your price now.

The public may preview and inspect the items in this event only from 12p to 5p on November 14 (view the PREVIEW AND REMOVAL MAP), and direct questions to Shawn Smith, call/text (937) 597-3602 or Judd Grafe, call/text (507) 254-1184.”

Click here to view auction items.

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Friday, Nov. 11th, is Veterans Day. It’s an opportunity to thank veterans for their service, and to learn more about and honor those who have served our country.

Local ceremonies include:

November 11th

Barrington Veterans Day ceremony: 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at Cook Street and Park Avenue, Barrington.

Lake Barrington Veterans Day ceremony: 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at The Lodge at The Shores of Lake Barrington, 64 Old Barn Rod, Lake Barrington Shores. The veterans of Lake Barrington Shores invite area active-duty military, veterans and their families to the annual Veterans Days ceremony. Air Force Brig. Gen. James G. Silvasy is the keynote speaker. Cake and coffee served. For information, (847) 638-1638.

Hoffman Estates Veterans Day ceremony: 10:45 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at the Hoffman Estates Veterans Memorial, Hoffman Estates Police Department, 411 W. Higgins Road, Hoffman Estates. Join to honor all who served. www.hoffmanestates.org.

November 12th

Helping Hearts Toy & Food Drive: 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Nov. 12, Tri-City Evergreen VFW Post, 117 S. First St., West Dundee. Hosted by VFW Post 2298, featuring live music by Instigator, 50/50 raffle, and more. Bring a new unwrapped toy or nonperishable food item. Also, ongoing through Nov. 19, VFW Coat Drive. Find West Dundee VFW Post 2298 on Facebook.

November 13th

East Dundee: The fifth annual Dinner for Veterans will be held 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 310 E. Main St. It will be catered by Aliano’s in East Dundee and served by church and community volunteers. Military memorabilia will be on display. Menu includes pasta options, chicken, salad, garlic bread, and dessert. A carryout option is available. The deadline for orders is 3 p.m. Friday by calling Alison Lyon at 630-709-6546 or going to ImmanuelVeteransDinner2022.eventbrite.com.

For more locations and dates, click here.

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Find your way to serve with Signal Hill, NSDAR at the Wreaths Across America Day event on December 17, 2022.

The members of Signal Hill, NSDAR of Barrington, are undertaking their fourth year of sponsorship of Wreaths Across America Day to honor Veterans buried in Evergreen Cemetery on Saturday, December 17, 2022. National Wreaths Across America Day was begun to Remember the fallen, Honor their Service, and Teach children the cost of Freedom.

Signal Hill Chapter, NSDAR has been able to provide the wreaths through solicitation of group and individual sponsors. Unfortunately, several local area Veterans’ groups are no longer able to support this mission due to dwindling memberships.

Sadly, there are never fewer Veterans to honor. More than 750 Veterans’ graves have now been identified at Evergreen, and, while we are well on our way to providing wreaths for each grave that has been identified, we are reaching out to the general community to help reach this goal. You may contribute to this remembrance by visiting www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org/ILEGCA for donation guidance.

Should you have a family member who is interred at Evergreen, you may make a designated grave contribution, and may personally place your grave-specific wreath prior to the general distribution by citizen volunteers. If you are unable to attend, a Signal Hill chapter member would be honored to place the wreath in your stead.

With your generosity, any donations exceeding this year’s goal will carry over to 2023, so your gift will always benefit this annual remembrance at Evergreen Cemetery.

Donations are not required to participate in the laying of wreaths; if you wish to participate in the event, please register at www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org/ILEGCA.

A brief memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 17, 2022, at Evergreen Cemetery, 610 South Dundee Avenue in Barrington, beginning at noon. Afterward, attendee volunteers will be guided to place wreaths on those graves identified as Veterans, ranging from the Civil War to present day service. The event will be held rain, snow, or shine, until all Veterans have been honored. State and local COVID19 protocols will be observed on that date, if necessary.

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Protecting open space has always been a quality-of-life issue in the suburbs and the collar counties, a goal under constant pressure from the relentless spread of commercial and residential development.

So, when an opportunity appears to ensure that a large tract is preserved and managed, it is something to be seized and once seized, appreciated. This time, the gratitude goes to the Barrington-based volunteer group Citizens for Conservation.

The group and the Richard Duchossois family announced last week the purchase of the family’s 246.5-acre Hill ‘N Dale Farm South, making it the 14th preserve in Lake, Cook and McHenry counties under Citizens for Conservation’s care.

“We’re going to build a beautiful, complex web of Illinois’ native life here at this preserve,” Jim Vanderpoel, a member of the Citizens for Conservation board, says in a video the group produced on the project.

In reflecting on the family’s goals in selling the site to the conservation group, Kim Duchossois, daughter of the late Arlington Park Chairman Richard Duchossois, discussed how “important this land is to the community,” but it’s worth adding that the preservation’s impact will extend well beyond the Barrington area.

Situated just across Lake-Cook Road from the 4,000-acre Spring Creek Valley Forest Preserve, the addition will expand an important wildlife corridor, providing habitat for native plant and aquatic life, grassland birds and endangered species, such as monarch butterflies and rusty-patched bumblebees.

It will protect the equivalent of three-quarters of a mile along Spring Creek, which feeds into the Fox River, and strengthen initiatives for greenways, watersheds and green infrastructure in three counties. It will be open to public access through programs to be managed by the conservation group. It will have an impact on the environment for all of northern Illinois.

Read the full Daily Herald editorial here.

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[BARRINGTON, IL – August 29, 2022]  – Barrington-based Citizens for Conservation and The Duchossois Group are pleased to announce today that long-term conservation protection has been provided for the 246.5-acre Hill ‘N Dale Farm South property. CFC has acquired the parcel from The Duchossois Group; it is located in unincorporated McHenry County and surrounded by Barrington Hills, bounded on the north by Spring Creek Road, on the east by Ridge Road, on the South by Lake-Cook/County Line Road, and on the west by residents along Meadow Hill Road.

This previously privately owned land in the Spring Creek watershed corridor is considered one of the most desirable conservation-worthy properties not only in the Barrington area, but in the entire Northern Illinois region. The purchase increases CFC’s owned and protected land to 777 acres in Lake, Cook, and McHenry Counties and will be the organization’s 14th and largest preserve.

The 246.5-acre site will be named Hill ‘N Dale Preserve and encompasses 4,060 linear feet of the high-quality Spring Creek, a tributary to the Fox River. The preserve honors the current name of the Duchossois property and reflects the protection of the surrounding upland bluffs (Hill) and the Spring Creek valley (Dale). The land is identified as a priority for protection and restoration in multiple local and regional plans, including the Barrington Greenway Initiative, the Spring Creek Watershed-Based Plan, and McHenry and Lake County Green Infrastructure Plans. It will provide green space connectivity to numerous other protected lands in our area, including the 4,000-acre Spring Lake (Spring Creek) Forest Preserve and the 550-acre state dedicated Spring Lake Nature Preserve.

The purchase will permanently protect the land as open space and improve and protect this sensitive watershed area, which is highly significant to area aquifer recharge. In addition, this acquisition will provide for a critical wildlife corridor connecting to the 4,000-acre Spring Creek Forest Preserve. Restoration of the landscape’s natural ecosystem will provide important habitat for native plant and aquatic communities, grassland birds (such as Bobolink, Bittern, and Henslow’s sparrows), and wildlife that originally occupied this land, including endangered species such as monarch butterflies and rusty-patched bumblebees.

Citizens for Conservation (CFC), a volunteer-based organization with a 50-year history in the Barrington area, stepped forward to save this land as part of their strategic focus on protection and restoration of impactful watershed and greenway areas. CFC has been a leader on these initiatives, which are vital for the ecological health of the region. Nationally, this acquisition also aligns with the federal “America the Beautiful 30 by 30 Plan,” which is the federal government’s goal to conserve at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and freshwater and 30 percent of U.S. ocean areas by 2030. This initiative seeks to reverse the negative impacts of biodiversity decline and climate change by protecting more natural areas, and to increase access to nature for communities that lack it. The Hill ‘N Dale Preserve will locally contribute significantly to this national effort, as well as to the recently announced Land Trust Alliance Gaining Ground initiative. Both these efforts were envisioned when Citizens for Conservation rolled out the Barrington Greenway Initiative.

“This property’s high conservation value, coupled with CFC’s strong history of delivering quality restoration results, will have far-reaching impacts for the entire Barrington-area community, as well as the entire Northern Illinois region,” said Kathleen Leitner, CFC’s Board President. “We could not be more pleased to have partnered with The Duchossois Group and Kim Duchossois to facilitate this acquisition of the south part of their family’s iconic farm near Barrington Hills. We believe that our local communities and regional partners will be ecstatic to hear that CFC has been able to permanently protect this vital open space.”

Kim Duchossois agreed. “My family and I could not be more thrilled to have worked so closely with Citizens for Conservation over the past year to facilitate their purchase of the south part of Hill ‘N Dale Farm. We know how important this land is to the community, and it was absolutely critical for our entire family to make certain that the property would be protected and maintained as open space. The key to our decision to sell to CFC was the organization’s long history in the area and its promise not only to preserve the property, but also to restore it over time and return it to its natural splendor. I’m also very pleased that the Barrington-area members of our family will be contributing a significant portion of their proceeds of the sale back to the CFC campaign to protect this land in perpetuity.”

Initial funding for the purchase came in the form of a $4.9 million grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, the largest such grant awarded for a single parcel purchase. This substantial award demonstrates the significant conservation value of this important property. CFC is seeking an additional $5 million in funding to supplement the purchase of the land, conduct ecological restoration, and manage the site for public enjoyment in the future.

Initial site evaluation (partially funded by an ICECF Advancing Wetland Conservation grant) is now being conducted to create multi-year ecological management plans for the property. The open space restoration will bring back native communities and species; provide new opportunities for school children and volunteers to engage with nature; provide increased surface water infiltration; enhance the quality of local groundwater; and increase wetlands, all while protecting one of the most pristine streams in Northern Illinois (Spring Creek).

Future public access to the preserve will be provided through CFC-sponsored activities. No horses remain on the property, but the possibility of horse trails will be evaluated during the preserve planning process. CFC has pledged to maintain the iconic white exterior fences that currently exist on the land.

Kathleen Leitner said, “This incredibly important acquisition is fulfilling CFC’s mission of ‘Saving Living Space for Living Things’ through protection, restoration and stewardship of land, conservation of natural resources, and education. Our organization’s history of dedicated supporters, volunteers, and community support has made this acquisition possible, and we intend to steward this land in perpetuity for the future of our entire community. We thank all who have been involved for their efforts.”

Video Highlights of New Preserve

Restoration Concept Map

Q&A Information

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Richard Duchossois, the chairman emeritus of Arlington Park who died in January, was honored recently by state legislators with a resolution that recognized his contributions as a businessman, philanthropist and veteran.

State legislators formally commended Richard Duchossois for his service to the nation, state and sport of horse racing in a resolution that mourns his recent passing.

House Resolution 712, approved last week during the spring session in Springfield, was filed by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. Chief co-sponsors included state Rep. Martin McLaughlin, a Barrington Hills Republican who represents the area where Duchossois lived, and state Rep. Jonathan Carroll, a Northbrook Democrat whose district includes a portion of Arlington Heights.

The resolution remembers Duchossois, who died Jan. 28 at age 100, for his “leadership, humility, generosity, tenacity, patriotism, philanthropy and kindness to others.”

Recalling the role of “Mr. D” in leadership and management of Arlington Park, the resolution highlights the businessman’s fearlessness in rallying the track to host its signature event, the Arlington Million, just days after a devastating fire that destroyed the grandstand and clubhouse.

The resolution also recognizes Duchossois’ decorated military service, including his command of a Tank Destroyer Company during five European campaigns in World War II, and award of two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.

More here.

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Crossing guard and U.S. Air Force veteran Fred Welstead, 89, works in the middle of Lake Cook Road and helps students heading school on March 7, 2022, in Barrington. Since retiring as a commercial photographer, Welstead has helped kids in District 220 cross the street safely. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

For 26 years, school crossing guard Fred Welstead has stood sentry on busy suburban streets, safely shepherding children who are walking and biking to and from school with a watchful eye, a gentle smile and a hand-held stop sign.

“The kids are essentially well-behaved, very courteous, and they always say ‘thank you,’” said Welstead, a Korean War veteran and retired commercial photographer, who recently celebrated his 89th birthday at his crossing guard post on Lake Cook Road in Barrington.

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and shuttering of Illinois schools in March 2020 found Welstead sidelined from his crossing guard gig. He is delighted to now be back to business as usual, which begins at 4:45 a.m., when he awakens at the Mundelein ranch home he once shared with his wife and two sons.

Welstead, whose wife, Phyliss, died in 2010 after nearly 50 years of marriage, lives alone these days since the passing of his 17-year-old poodle, Remy, a dear friend who was never far from his side.

Although Welstead enjoys his church community and dropping by the local senior center, where he picked up a fish dinner on a recent afternoon, he said his school crossing guard job brings meaning and purpose to his weekdays, which are punctuated by two shifts — before school and after school — at his post adjacent to Arnett C. Lines Elementary School and the Barrington Middle School Station Campus.

Welstead typically is at the scene well before students begin arriving, and during cold weather can be seen waiting in either his green SUV or his red Cadillac, before emerging in his parka and neon yellow vest ready to begin his shift.

Read more here.

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