Archive for the ‘Transparency’ Category

VBH Roads 2023

This Summer the entire length of Oak Knoll Road was resurfaced due to Trustee Laura Eckstrom’s objection to the appearance of a perfectly sound patching job (which ironically was performed to EXTEND the life of the roadway). It is worth reminding taxpayers Eckstrom happens to LIVE on Oak Knoll Road.

The Village Roads & Bridges Committee meets this afternoon for the first time in five months at 4 PM. The topics on the agenda are:

  • Road Program: 2023 Recap, and
  • Road Program: 2024 Planning

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

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The Barrington Hills Park District Advisory Committee meets tomorrow evening at 7 PM.  Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • Grounds / Landscaping Committee
  • Motorized vehicles in Forest Preserve
  • Additional clear-view windows to be added to the indoor arena for winter
  • Dust-free driveway and parking lot solution

A copy of their agenda can be viewed 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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The city of Chicago faces a pension crisis, heightened crime and a failing public school system. New Mayor Brandon Johnson has taken no concrete steps to deal with any of it.

When Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson took office on May 15, he inherited numerous challenges plaguing the city.

According to a survey conducted by Echelon Insights on behalf of the Illinois Policy Institute in February, 75% of Chicagoans were dissatisfied with public safety, with 60% dissatisfied with affordability in the city. Just 33% of Chicagoans were satisfied with public education in the city.

Johnson has had 100 days to begin addressing these issues. To date, he hasn’t started seriously tackling any of it.


  • Overall crime is up 39% this year.
  • Violence against, and committed by, school-age youth has seen historic increases since COVID-19. The University of Chicago’s Crime Lab just reported a 50% increase in murders of youth 17 years and younger since 2019.


  • Chicago is facing a projected budget shortfall of between $306 million and $951 million for 2024.
  • Debt service and pension contributions now make up 42% of the city budget, crowding out services.

Read the full 100-day review here.

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New 220 Teachers

District 220 welcomed new educators for the 2023-2024 school year this week. We suggest they take a few minutes to read and share what follows.

When a union executive board member told long-time Rockford-area teacher Brian Harty how his union dues were being spent, he had questions.

“That is when I began to see just how little the union had to do with the students and how much it had to do with politics,” said Harty.

“During my time on the [union’s negotiating] committee, I learned that nearly 70% of my union dues were going to political activists – told to me directly by a member of the executive board – and had nothing to do with education in the classroom or anything at all to do with teaching.”

Harty isn’t the only public school employee in Illinois to question his union – and take action. Nearly 23,000 public school employees have chosen not to affiliate with their unions since 2017.

This August, more teachers and other public school employees can choose to opt-out of their unions and stop paying dues. Alternative associations like the Association of American Educators make that choice easier.

Common questions about opting out of the union:

  • Do I have to be a member of the union to keep my job or benefits?
  • What about liability insurance and job protection coverage?
  • What if I still want to support my local affiliate?

Learn the answers to these questions and more here.

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The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening in person and remotely via Zoom at 7:00 PM. A copy of their agenda can be viewed here. Instructions for accessing the meeting remotely can be found  here.

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The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District (BCFPD) Board of Trustees meets tonight at 6:30 PM at 22222 N. Pepper Road in Lake Barrington. Topics on their agenda include:

  • Public Hearing on 2023-2024 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance.
  • Consideration and Possible Approval of 2023-2024 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinances and Certification of Estimated Revenue.
  • BCFPD strategic plan two-year summative update.
  • Concurrence request for new staff vehicle as part of the capital plan

The 2023-2024 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance is not available on the District website for review or comment.  A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

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Motions continue back and forth between former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s attorneys and federal prosecutors alleging Madigan ran a criminal enterprise from through the Illinois Statehouse.

In the summer of 2020, federal prosecutors revealed a deferred prosecution agreement between utility ComEd and the government that had the utility agree to pay $200 million for bribing “Public Official A.” It was later revealed through indictments the official was Madigan.

Since then, Madigan has been charged with 22 counts of corruption in the ComEd case and an additional count in a case involving AT&T’s former president. Earlier this year, four individuals, including Michael McClain, a close Madigan confidant and codefendant, were found guilty in the scheme.

Madigan’s former Chief of Staff Tim Mapes faces a trial next month. Madigan and McClain face charges next spring. All have pleaded not guilty.

Last month, Madigan made a motion to dismiss some of the counts. Monday, his attorneys asked for an amended bill of particulars.

“Madigan respectfully requests that the Court grant this Motion for Leave to permit him to amend his previously filed Motion for Bill of Particulars … to seek a bill of particulars that also requires the government to set forth the theory of liability―bribe or gratuity―it plans to advance at trial as to each alleged ‘thing of value’ he illegally received,” the motion said.

On Tuesday, prosecutors urged the court to ignore that motion.

Read more here. Read the federal prosecutors’ 152-page filing here.

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The Barrington Hills Park District Board will be meeting this evening in person and via webcast at 7:00 PM when the Board has two agendas to cover.

The first agenda is for the regular monthly District meeting, and a copy can be viewed and downloaded here.

The second is for the, “Decennial Committee Meeting,” and topics include:

  • Review of the Efficiencies and Increased Accountability of the Barrington Hills Park District to Prepare the Report for the County Board of Cook, Lake, and McHenry Counties, and
  • Survey of Residents in attendance for input on matters discussed in the meeting of the Barrington Hills Park District Decennial Committee on Government Efficiency

A copy of that agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

Instructions for accessing the meeting remotely can be found here.

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The Summer 2023 Village has been posted to the Village website. Included in this issue are:

  • The President’s letter
  • New BHPD officer introduction
  • Illinois “Speed Enforcement” Program application
  • The upcoming “Land We Love Run
  • Introduction of new Village Trustees
  • Ways to save energy
  • 2023 Village Road program
  • Private road maintenance and more

The newsletter can be viewed and downloaded here.

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