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Barrington officials are ready to weigh in on the idea of Lake County allowing the sale of recreational cannabis in unincorporated parts of the county.

The Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to hold virtual public hearings April 19 and April 21 to provide information and gather feedback about the possibility of allowing recreational cannabis dispensaries in unincorporated areas, Barrington officials discussed during the April 5 Village Board Committee of the Whole meeting.

The county issued a one-year moratorium in February 2020 prohibiting all cannabis-related businesses in the county’s unincorporated areas. The temporary ban expired Feb. 10. – around the time discussions on the subject began again.

County board members approved a resolution at their Feb. 9 meeting to begin the public hearing process to get input on potential regulations to allow recreation use cannabis businesses, including growers, distributors and retail establishments in unincorporated Lake County – with certain restrictions, according to a recent news release.

Barrington Village President Karen Darch is not sure the county currently can allow cannabis dispensaries. However, “I know they say they want to talk about,” she said. There is a state bill pending that could allow it, she said.

She said the reason she brought up the issue at the Committee of the Whole meeting was to get trustees’ feedback on issuing a statement about the idea. Barrington’s zoning ordinances don’t allow recreational cannabis dispensaries, but the village is adjacent to unincorporated Lake County areas where the county could end up allowing those uses, Darch said.

Read more here.

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OBH Capture

As previously reported, Brian Cecola has likely won the race for Village President (See “Cecola headed for victory in Barrington Hills president race”).

Here are the unofficial results for Village Board of Trustees:

  • David Riff  445
  • Thomas W. Strauss 428
  • Laura S. Ekstrom 467
  • Robert M Zubak 366
  • Brent Joseph Burval 349
  • Paula Jacobsen 389

County totals are seen below:


Cook County


Kane County

Lake Results

Lake County

McHenry Resilts

McHenry County

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220 r

Upper from left, William Betz, Sandra Ficke-Bradford, Erin Chan Ding, Katie Karam, Lauren Berkowitz Klauer, and lower from left, Jonathan “Juan” Matta, Malgorzata McGonigal, Michael Shackleton, Steve Wang, Robert Windon are candidates for the Barrington Unit District 220 school board in the 2021 election. Not pictured is candidate Thomas J. Mitoraj

Early returns in the crowded race for Barrington Area Unit District 220 school board show several candidates backed by the Action PAC and Barrington Township Republicans taking an early lead.

The results from Lake and Kane counties show newcomer Katie Karam leading the 11-candidate field with 946 votes. She’s followed by Steve Wang with 913 votes. The other candidate endorsed by Action PAC and the Barrington Township Republicans, Malgorzata McGonigal, has 793 votes. All three candidates criticized the board for maintaining remote learning last fall.

Cook and McHenry counties have yet to post results. Lake County did not indicate what percentage of precincts were reporting.

Current board vice-president Sandra Ficke-Bradford, who is backed by the Barrington teachers union has 790 votes. Her fellow incumbent Michael Shackleton has 660 votes, early results show.

Read more here.

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Saddle Room

The Saddle Room at the Anvil Club

In December — after 65 years as a private club — the Anvil Club opened its doors to the general public. And, with COVID-19 pandemic dining restrictions easing, more and more people soon will be able to enjoy the historic surroundings while feasting on the many menu items headlined by the steaks and seafood.

Owner Tom Roeser, a local developer who owns several buildings in East Dundee and runs OTTO Engineering in Carpentersville, and Anvil Club General Manager Joe Robinson made the decision to open to the public as they navigated the tricky COVID-19 dining landscape.

“We’re a club for everyone now,” Robinson said. “The reaction has been wonderful. The members understand why we made the decision. I’ve heard from many of them that they’d rather have an Anvil Club open to the public than no Anvil Club at all.”

Read more here

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The following is from the, “ACTION PAC,” website:

“Action PAC is an acronym for Advancing Change Together In Our Neighborhood. The “PAC” is a registered committee with the Illinois State Board of Elections. The PAC was created to provide support for candidates who are interested in running for local offices such as School District Boards, Library Boards, Park District Boards, Community College Boards, and many more local offices.

These offices have been traditionally low-key positions and part of the prolific list of taxing bodies that exist throughout the State of Illinois. Illinois has more taxing bodies than California and many of these taxing bodies have minimal attention focused on them but they are all listed on your tax bill and they have significant budgets and assets. Harper College’s 2019 budget was $106 Million.

The year 2020 has proven to be a catalyst for political engagement on every level and locally the actions and policies of schools, libraries, and park districts are getting much more attention. This newfound attention has resulted in record numbers of candidates for these local offices.

Action PAC exists to support like-minded people who support positive change in local government that focuses on the concerns of taxpayers, citizens, and parents.


To support and elect people to local elective offices that have been traditionally underserved.”

To learn more about these candidates, visit their website here.

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Richard S. Pepper, from left, Sister Catherine M. Ryan, Roxelyn Pepper and Richard Devine are shown in this 2017 photo after the Peppers were honored by Maryville’s Center for Children with a Guardian Medallion Award. (COURTESY OF Maryville’s Center for Children)

Richard S. Pepper, the Barrington construction executive known for his love for the industry and many civic contributions, died Thursday.

Pepper, 90, was executive of The Pepper Companies. He died peacefully surrounded by his family at the Pepper Family Hospice Center in Barrington, the company stated.

Pepper and his wife Roxelyn, known as Roxy, are a Barrington institution.

They were major financial backers of the Barrington Historical Society and helped launch the Pepper Family Tree House at Citizens Park, among many other things.

They were honored in 2017 for supporting Maryville’s Center for Children. They were recognized in 2006 by the Illinois Humanities Council with a Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award. They both graduated from Northwestern University and were the first couple to be awarded the university’s Medal of Honor in 2001.

The Pepper Companies owns Pepper Construction Group, headquartered in Chicago and with offices in Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. The company was formed in 1927 by Richard Pepper’s father, Stanley Pepper.

Read on here, or read the tribute published by Davenport Family Funeral Home here.

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District 220 statement: 

Due to severe weather Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 will be a Distance Learning day in Barrington 220 and all buildings are closed. All teachers and students will follow their current schedule via zoom. All PreK-12 teachers will conduct their classes from home following the daily schedule. As a result, Barrington 220 will not have to make up this emergency closure day at the end of the school year.

Although the district plans to follow as close to the daily schedule as possible, instructions and expectations may look different throughout the day. Please keep in mind that teachers are working at home and may have unforeseen circumstances that arise. We ask that you be flexible and patient during this emergency day.

We acknowledge the inconvenience closing school may cause and we appreciate your understanding of our need to put the safety of students and staff first. For recorded information on athletic and co-curricular activities, please call 847-842-3292. Thank you.

District 300 statement:

In keeping with our commitment to student and staff safety, District 300 schools will not hold in-person instruction on Tuesday, January 26. All classes will resume remotely and all students in grades pre-K through 12 will receive remote synchronous instruction. 

For complete details, please click here.

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Restaurant owners aren’t giving up. They’ve struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic, retrenching to stay in business, investing in safety protocols, re-imagining their menus to offer takeout and delivery fare. They’ve shown indomitable spirit. Most have played by the state’s strict rules. Now it’s time for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to give them a reasonable break.

Governor, reopen the dining rooms.

Pritzker shut down indoor dining in October when the coronavirus outbreak spiked, renewing hardships on a crucial jobs sector. That spike has now tapered. Takeout food is an option for customers, but it’s not the same draw for cooped-up residents, many of whom would be eager to go out to eat, assuming all proper social distancing and hygiene rules are in place.

This is a matter of being fair, reasonable and protective of the economy. “The rules are lopsided against restaurants,” chef Brian Jupiter of Frontier and Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods told the Tribune. In December, we saw shopping malls bursting at the seams and that wasn’t an issue. We are sanitizing the living s— out of everything. Wearing masks. But we still can’t operate.

Read more of the Chicago Tribune editorial here.

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Sounds Like Christmas


In Barrington Hills this Christmas Eve, you’d be able to find outside—rain or snow—Pastor Todd Berge at the barbeque grilling steaks for his family’s dinner. Pastor Berge comes from a family of six children and his wife, Jeanne, is one of four siblings; together they have continued the Christmas traditions started by their own families and created more as the years have gone by.

With four children of their own now, and one grandchild, the days leading up to the holiday are full of treasured traditions. Despite busy schedules all around, after Thanksgiving Jeanne finds a time for family to join in the Christmas tree decorating while singing Christmas carols. And just like many families, their ornaments are full of memories of holidays past. The Berge’s have a tradition of bringing home an ornament from each of their travels, “We have ornaments from Israel, Africa, Disney World— it’s a retelling of our marriage as we put them on the tree,” says Berge. Berge’s mother would always “put an orange in the tree of our stocking,” says Berge, a tradition that he and Jeanne continue.

On Christmas Eve the family join together to attend Church, celebrate the holiday over dinner, and open large presents, with Jeanne gifting pajamas to any family opting to stay overnight. At times, the family gathering can reach 50 people with everyone singing and playing games, like trivia, as a jovial, festive atmosphere pervades throughout the house.

Read more of the Quintessential Barrington article here.

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Officials at New Trier High School are planning to double the number of students attending classes on campus by the start of the new semester in late January of 2021.

The timeline for the expanded COVID-19 reopening plan, that will increase from the current model of one “track” of students attending classes in-person each day, to two tracks, was approved by the board of education at a special meeting Tuesday night, New Trier spokeswoman Niki Dizon said.

In addition, officials hope to offer an enhanced additional track for the next several weeks that will be available to some students who are struggling, and who have been identified as needing additional in-person support for social emotional needs, Dizon said.

The high school is also aiming to increase the numbers of students participating in a new $1.3 million saliva screening program in the coming weeks, which is currently at a rate of about 88%, officials said.

Read more here.

Editorial note: Yesterday, District 220 announced, “Board not considering COVID-19 testing at this time.” We’ll have more on this topic tomorrow.

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