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McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks sent a news release Friday requesting the state of Illinois move McHenry County into another “health region” in the governor’s Restore Illinois plan to allow its business and commerce to open sooner.

The Restore Illinois plan, a road map with five phases designed to gradually bring the state out of quarantine, was announced by Gov. JB Pritzker during a news conference Tuesday.

It divides Illinois into four regions where commerce, schools and other functions can slowly be allowed to reopen as the COVID-19 pandemic threat subsides.

McHenry County is in the northeast region, according to these guidelines, which includes Cook and the collar counties.

Franks said McHenry County’s “much lower number of infections and deaths” makes it a better fit for the neighboring region, which encompasses 27 counties in northwestern and central Illinois.

Read more here.

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Our Village Board of Trustees meets this evening, and one of the topics on their agenda is the,Open Burning Ordinance.” We have the sneaking suspicion this might me the first of many occasions this subject will appear in their and other’s agendas.

Many residents have shared their thoughts and frustrations on this ordinance since it was first passed around the turn of the century. It rarely comes up in public discussion even though open burning of “bonfires” is a daily occurrence somewhere in Barrington Hills.

Since it will be discussed tonight, here are some of our collective thoughts on what we see as the two primary components of contention of the ordinance:

Bonfire size:

The code states, “A bonfire shall not be more than 5 ft X 5 ft X 5 ft in dimension.”

Our experience is that few residents gather a bonfire for the purposes of roasting weenies and s’mores. When tree limbs and other debris are stacked on their five-acre property, can it be assumed that residents are following code or is it more likely that their bonfires are “illegal” due to the size?

Clearly there needs to be limits to the limits of the burn pile (our technical term), but the current limits are too low and unrealistic in most cases.

Hours and duration burning is allowed:

No bonfire shall be started or maintained other than between the hours of 10:00 AM. to 10:00 PM and for a maximum duration of 3 hours per day:

Experience shows winds are almost always calmest in the early morning and late evening hours. On any given day, by 7:00 – 8:00 AM, if you cannot see some neighborhoods with smoke rising, you will likely smell it some days.

Then, depending on the season, by 6:00 PM people are outdoors enjoying their property from barbecues to bocce, and they likely do not appreciate the smell of smoke other than that from their own grills. Also, in the spring and fall, who does not want to open their windows for fresh, cool air?

Summarizing, when it comes to size and time/duration of bonfires, although in most cases inadvertently, residents are breaking the law. If the codes are deemed acceptable, they should be enforced. If not, the need to be amended.

The Board of Trustees meeting is at 6:30, and a link to the remote proceedings can be accessed here.

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Governor J.B. Pritzker is allowing golf to begin in Illinois starting May 1, but under his rules, a few of which are:

  • Players shall be grouped in twosomes only.
  • Tee times will be spaced in 15-minute intervals.
  •  All bookings must be done online or over the phone.
  • Practice ranges, chipping greens and putting greens will remain closed.
  • No golf carts allowed except by those with physical limitations that prevent them from walking.
  • Only privately owned pull carts may be used.
  • The bottom of the cup must be elevated. This can be done by turning the cup upside down so that the new bottom is roughly an inch below the lip of the hole, or by placing Styrofoam in the bottom of the cup.
  • Flags may not be removed.
  • No beverage or snack carts.
  • No caddies will be allowed.
  • There will be no rakes in the bunker. The release suggests sorting the sand with a club.

Even novice golfers will recognize the absurdity of some these rules. The question is, who will enforce his wishes with so few players at a time allowed on the course?

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Members of Barrington High School Class of 2019

While still holding out hope for in-person graduation ceremonies this summer, Northwest suburban high schools have begun making preparations for virtual commencement exercises.

On Monday, Barrington High School Principal Steve McWilliams said a virtual graduation is an option, in lieu of what was a planned commencement Friday, May 29, at Willow Creek Community Church. But McWilliams said the school is awaiting further guidance from the state about social distancing and crowd-size limitations.

The Saturday, May 16 senior prom is canceled, he said, but a committee of administrators and parents has formed to see if the event can be rescheduled in July or August. If not, he suggested it could be part of next fall’s Homecoming, or even winter break.

“I can’t emphasize this enough: once we know what the expectations are, what the standards are, we are going to do our very best to celebrate you, the senior class,” McWilliams told students in a YouTube video Monday afternoon.

Read more here.

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Here are some of the specials local restaurants are offering for curbside pickup or delivery on Easter, but note that many restaurants require preorders by Friday, April 10.

To-go Easter dinner features a whole rack of bone-in filet from The Capital Grille. – Courtesy of The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille

Order the Exclusive Easter Dinner that feeds four to six diners ($185) or two ($95) and includes a field greens salad and rolls, a whole rack of bone-in filet, grilled asparagus, Sam’s Mashed Potatoes and freshly baked apple crostata. The restaurant also is offering butcher shoppe steaks and roasts that you can cook at home. Reserve curbside pickup starting from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, April 10. To order, call Lombard: (630) 627-9800; Rosemont: (847) 671-8125; or Schaumburg: (847) 969-0290; or see thecapitalgrille.com/home.

Fox & Turtle

The Itasca restaurant will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Easter Sunday for carry out and delivery for all preorders placed by 5 p.m. Friday, April 10. The menu includes Easter ham with mashed potatoes and green beans for $18. The family-style Easter meals, which include Caesar salad, ham, buttermilk mashed potatoes, green beans and sweet treats, are $76 for four and $149 for eight. A whole Key lime pie is $20. Call (630) 773-1801 from 3 to 9 p.m. to place an order. For details, see foxandturtle.com/.


Go all out with Francesca’s Easter Sunday Prime Rib Dinner. The meal includes a choice of salad, prime rib, two sides and tiramisu. It’s $89.99 for two and $179.99 for four to six. A mix-and-match wine four-pack is $79.99. Order the special dinner by noon Thursday; pickup is from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The full curbside pickup menu will be available from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. Francesca’s has locations in Arlington Heights, Barrington, Bolingbrook, Elmhurst, Lake Forest, Naperville, St. Charles and more. See miafrancesca.com/.


Orders will be taken until noon Friday, April 10, for the Italian restaurant’s family-style Easter Meal Package for four that includes a choice of entree. The $79.95 dinner will be available for pickup from the Wheeling restaurant on Sunday, April 12. Add a Make-At-Home Mimosa Kit to the order for $15.95. (847) 777-6878 or saranellos.com/.

For more restaurants Easter specials, click here.

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Barrington Village President Karen Darch is stressing the need for residents to practice appropriate social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, even when outside.

“We continue to receive reports of inappropriate gatherings,” Darch said in a statement Wednesday, “and while our police department is vigilant about issuing warnings, they cannot be in all places at all times. It’s going to take all of us working together to ‘self-police’ and gently remind our family, friends and neighbors that it is best if we all simply stay home.”

She added that everyone has had “to take a pause and reconnect to what is important to us, and that will give us a wonderful opportunity to build a ‘new normal’ that, I hope, will be reflective of the best we can be as Barringtonians and as Americans.”

“Barringtonians?”  The Daily Herald report can be seen here


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The Village Sign Regulations are on tonight’s agenda

The Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their regular monthly meeting remotely this evening beginning at 6:30 PM. To access the Meeting Packets page, please click here and follow the instructions in green near the middle of the page:

“At 6:30 pm on Tuesday March 24th, the public can enter their name in the box above and click ‘Join’ to attend the Board of Trustees meeting remotely. This will be an audio call. You will be able to offer public comment during that section of the agenda and will be able to listen to the rest of the meeting. You may join at any time after 6:30 pm until the meeting concludes.”

Unfortunately, this meeting won’t lend itself to video recording, which will frustrate at least two of our local Facebook bloggers. However we have every expectation they will provide their own spin on what happens tonight on their pages (usually a hoot-and-a-half that doesn’t disappoint!).

Hopefully, next month the meetings will take place at Village Hall in the usual format.

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Detective Lana LeMons, of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, leads a rescue team down a hallway during a mass-shooting drill at Barrington High School on March 20, 2015. (Brian OMahoney / Pioneer Press)

Here’s a memory from my school days that I just can’t seem to forget.

From first grade on we were taught so-called air raid drills. We were told to duck under our desks, sit cross-legged on the floor, bend our heads down and cover our knees with our hands.

Sometimes we were told we could be in the hallway, and the older students — eighth-graders — would cover us.

This was the Atomic Age when the threat of nuclear war was a real possibility. My mother often recalled watching President Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crisis speech, claiming when he finished she said, “We’re with you.”

Some adults had their own bomb shelters back then. But most were like my mom, willing to go up in a flash for the idea of America.

Read the rest of Randy Blaser’s column here.

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This is an artist’s rendering of one of the seven apartment buildings planned for the Plum Farms development at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72. A Cook County judge last month dismissed a lawsuit Barrington Unit District 220 filed over the proposal.

Barrington Unit District 220 won’t challenge a Cook County circuit court judge’s decision last month to dismiss a lawsuit the school system filed against Hoffman Estates and developers of the stalled Plum Farms proposal at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72. Hoffman Estates’ development agreement limits Plum Farms to 1,250 homes of various types. The most recent plan submitted by a development partnership calls for 1,035.

But the last indication of progress on Plum Farms was interrupted by the filing of a lawsuit in July 2017 by residents of the nearby Regency at the Woods of South Barrington retirement community.

District 220 intervened in the complaint on the side of the residents, with the developer and village named as defendants. The density of the proposed development and the potential for additional students’ costs to exceed the increase in tax revenue were at the heart of the school district’s concerns.

While the residents’ original lawsuit was settled last summer, District 220 kept its part of the case active until it was dismissed in December. School board President Penny Kazmier announced at a meeting Tuesday night that the district will not pursue any further legal action in the case.

Read more here.

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The Daily Herald reports Barrington plans to start a “Curious Questions with Karen Darch” podcast.

Darch, who is Barrington’s top elected official as village president, and others are expected to answer residents’ questions in the podcast segments that should run 20 to 30 minutes.

Patty Dowd Schmitz, the village’s director of communications and community engagement, said work continues on logistics and determining a platform for the podcast.

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