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The Daily Herald is reporting, “Monday, some parents in Barrington Area Unit District 220 are planning a ‘Get Our Kids Back to School and Let Them Play!’ rally at 6 p.m. at Citizens Park.”

We’ll provide further information when it becomes available.

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In this last month of live horse racing for the year at Arlington International, the racecourse got approval to allow spectators inside starting Thursday and tickets are now on sale.

Officials from the Arlington Heights Department of Health and Human Services, Cook County Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Public Health approved a plan Aug. 27 that had been submitted by Arlington International Racecourse, located in Arlington Heights, to allow a limited number of spectators into the outdoor areas of the facility on race days, according to a news release from the racecourse.

The plan will be in full operation Thursday, just in time for watching the Kentucky Derby Saturday, officials said in the release.

There are some special provisions in light of the pandemic: All tickets must be purchased online at least 24 hours in advance and access is limited to adults age 18 and older only. Children 17 and younger will not be allowed in the facility.

Tickets will be sold in sets of four. The release explains that a full set of health and safety guidelines and facility restrictions can be viewed on Arlington’s website at arlingtonpark.com/tickets/policies-restrictions/.

Read more here.

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James Schlesselman, only 2½, is a riding veteran of one year already atop his trusty steed, Tye Dye, at Journey Hill Farm in Barrington. – Courtesy of Lauren Schlesselman

June Pedersen usually sees two or three new riders a month seeking beginner lessons at Castle Ridge Keep Horse Facility for an activity whose popularity has faded in recent years — horseback riding.

In the past five months, since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, that trend is reversing. A lot.

Pedersen is welcoming three or four new people each week now, making her one of the few business owners these days who can say their new clients have quadrupled.

“People are tired of being inside,” the Crystal Lake stable owner said. “They’re tired of being sequestered and socially distanced and they want to get out and do something.”

It’s adults. It’s children. It’s adults and children together.

I can’t even get an adult in a lesson right now,” said Pat Doyle, who owns Fitzjoy Farm in Palos Park. “We’re adding more (kids) camps — they keep coming back for more.”

Suburban residents are rediscovering the surprisingly large number of stables throughout the area, many of which offer lessons for beginners.

Read more here.

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U.S. Census Bureau workers have begun going door-to-door in the Chicago area to count people who didn’t respond to earlier communication attempts

The work is part of the census bureau’s constitutionally mandated, once-a-decade mission to count everyone living in the country.

Census workers hit the streets here and in parts of some other states and Puerto Rico starting last month, according to the bureau. Attempts will begin in the rest of the country next week.

Field data collection is scheduled to conclude by Sept. 30.

The data will be used to draw county, state and federal legislative districts, among other purposes. It’s based on people living in households as of April 1.

All census takers will have government ID badges with their photographs, U.S. Department of Commerce watermarks, and expiration dates. Census workers may also carry census bureau bags and other equipment with the bureau’s logo.

To confirm a census taker’s identity, you can call the regional census center in Chicago at (312) 579-1500.

Read more here.

Editorial note: Do yourself a favor and fill out the form. It takes less than ten minutes to complete and it’s one less person knocking on your door.

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After initially announcing plans to welcome students back to campus when school opens next month, Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials reversed course Wednesday and announced they would offer only remote learning when classes resume.

Reversing course on its plan to let parents choose between in-person and online classes, Barrington Area Unit School District 220 announced Wednesday that it would offer only remote learning when school opens next month.

In a message to the school community announcing the change, Superintendent Brian Harris said officials concluded that the original plan to welcome some students back on campus is not attainable.

“This is an extremely difficult decision and while I know many families and staff will welcome the change, I realize many others will not,” Harris wrote.

The remote learning plan is necessary to meet current public health guidelines and keep all students and staff healthy, he added.

Read more from the Daily Herald here.

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(Click on image to enlarge)

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks sent a letter to Algonquin Township officials on Thursday calling for a referendum on the elimination of the township to be added to the Nov. 3 ballot.

According to the letter, the next meeting of the township’s board of trustees falls just five days before the Aug. 17 deadline for local governmental entities to add referenda to the November ballot.

“I firmly believe that taxpayers should have the ultimate say to choose how they are governed – or in the case of township government, whether it is still needed in the 21st century,” Franks said in a news release sent out Thursday.

In response, Algonquin Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow said Franks could have taken it upon himself to petition to get a referendum on the November ballot if he felt strongly about it.

“He had months to get this on the ballot, all you have to do is get some signatures,” Lutzow said Thursday, remarking that the request seemed a bit last-minute.

Read more here.

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IDOT plans to replace the bridge on Algonquin Road at Spring Creek in Barrington Hills sometime between 2022 and 2026

IDOT has budgeted $805,000 for Phase I “Initial Construction – Pavements” for Algonquin Road from IL 25 (Kennedy Dr) to IL 68 (Dundee Rd) in 2021.

Additionally, they have earmarked $5,630,00 for bridge replacement on IL 62 at Spring Creek 1.4 miles west of Rt. 59 in 2022-2026.

A copy of IDOT’s plans for IL District 52 can be viewed and downloaded here.

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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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