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Brian Cecola

Two experienced, knowledgeable candidates are vying for the opportunity to serve Barrington Hills as village president in the April 6 election, and voters face a difficult time choosing between them.

Brian Cecola, a self-employed business owner, is a village trustee with a long record of service in the area, including leadership of the Barrington Lions Club and serving as a firefighter and board member for the Barrington Fire Department, On the Barrington Hills village board, he heads the Bridges and Public Safety Department, which accounts for a large portion of the town’s budget.

He emphasizes goals of fiscal restraint — citing the village’s record of six-straight years of levy reduction — and sees himself as a relationship builder who can work constructively with other leaders.

Our preference leans toward Cecola, whose direct experience with the village board gives him more direct insight into the workings of village government and would seem to give him a head start in working with village board members to address issues facing the community. He gets our endorsement.

Read more here.

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BARRINGTON HILLS, Ill. – Two Barrington Hills police officers helped bring a sense of calm moments after a baby was delivered on a side of the road Tuesday morning.

Officers Bill Walsh and Brian Baird pulled up to Old Sutton Rd and Algonquin just before 7 a.m.

Grace and Tyler Schwartzlow, of Wonder Lake, were in the car on the side of the road.

“All of a sudden within five minutes I knew we weren’t going to make it. I made him pull over. He called 911 and he was here before the police even arrived on scene,” Grace said.

Tyler helped Grace deliver their son Jaxton Michael. Within minutes, Officers Walsh and Baird were there.

“They really provided a calming presence to everybody involved, I know when they first arrived on site, it went from we’re in this on our own if something bad happens, I don’t know what to do or what to possibly could be done, to ok now we have the support here and it made a world of difference from the mindset of least where I was at,” Tyler said.

Later in the day, the officers made another surprise appearance by honoring baby Jaxton as a junior Barrington Hills police officer.

The full WGN report can be seen here.

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The Village Board of Trustees will be holding their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM.  Some of the topics for discussion and/or vote include:

  • Vote] Village of Barrington Hills Annual Appropriation Ordinance for the FiscalYear Beginning January 1, 2021 and Ending December 31, 2021 Ordinance 21
  • [Vote] A Resolution Adopting the 2021 Edition of the Official Zoning Map of theVillage of Barrington Hills Resolution 21-

A copy of the agenda can be viewed hereThose wishing to try to listing in on the meeting can phone 508-924-1464.

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Police are outside a residence in the 300 block of Old Sutton Road in Barrington Hills on March 9, 2020, where 28-year-old Chicago man Sean Patton was shot and killed days before. (Kaitlin Edquist / Pioneer Press)

As the one-year anniversary approaches for a deadly shooting at a Barrington Hills party where a Chicago man was killed and others were struck by gunfire, police say their investigation has been impeded and there have been no arrests.

According to authorities, Barrington Hills police responded to a call of shots fired in the 300 block of Old Sutton Road just after 3 a.m. March 7, 2020. The shooting took place at a party being held in a 6,000-square-foot house on the block that had been listed on the Airbnb website. Upon arriving, police found several people wounded from gunfire and discovered the body of a 28-year-old man identified as Sean Patton Jr.

Since that time, police have made no arrests in connection with the incident.

Barrington Hills police spokesman William Walsh told Pioneer Press earlier this month that the investigation has been stymied due to a lack of cooperation among potential witnesses.

“We’ve spoken to a lot of people who were there, and everyone says they didn’t see anything or they can’t remember anything,” said Walsh.

At this point, Walsh said, police have pursued apparent available leads, and have been left in the position of having to wait for a break that could lead to new avenues to investigate or an arrest.

Read more here.

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Indian Lakes Hotel, Bloomingdale

Village leaders in Bloomingdale may well be wondering what they could have or should have done to avoid the weekend mayhem that resulted in multiple shootings and one death at the Indian Lakes Hotel.

And they’re wise to examine their practices and polices — and for reacting decisively regarding what Public Safety Director Frank Giammarese described as the scene of a “drastic spike in crime” in recent years.

But they certainly cannot be faulted as having done nothing. They’ve pressed for years, by the hotel’s owners’ own description, to try to “ensure the safety and security of all guests and associates of the hotel.” And as recently as last December, they imposed fees and restrictions on short-term rental properties — including a minimum 30-day stay — following a shooting in neighboring Roselle over the summer in which one person died and six were hurt.

A short-term home rental is no hotel, of course, and the very nature of a hotel or motel complicates the actions a community can take to fend off problems from large parties. Indeed, for weddings, birthday celebrations, conventions and all manner of public events, hotels and banquet halls are important community centers.

The point is that, even so, Bloomingdale has not been blind to the potential for trouble when large gatherings occur. Nor have many other suburbs. In 2016, Lake Barrington passed an ordinance prohibiting rentals of less than three months following a shooting at a rental property in the village. Barrington Hills already had a zoning law in place outlawing parties like the one that led to a fatal shooting there last April. Naperville imposed a short-term rental ban last August, and Roselle imposed strict regulations governing short-term rentals following the fatal shooting at a short-term rental. Even Airbnb itself has announced a global ban restricting rentals to occupancy of no more than 16 people.

Continue reading the Daily Herald editorial here.

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Posted previously to the VBH website:

“President Martin McLaughlin was an invited panelist at the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce’s Virtual Economic Summit on Wednesday, February 3, 2021.

Below are some points he shared:

  • The Village of Barrington Hills (the Village) has seen an uptick in interest and purchases in our real estate. Buyers are looking for safety and stability which our Village has historically and steadfastly provided. The sight of deer, cranes and wildlife is now preferential and desirable to city living. 
  •  Village offices have remained open through this pandemic without incident. Many thanks to our Village and Police Department staff who provided, and continue to provide, uninterrupted services while observing the CDC’s guidelines.
  • The Village has instituted administrative hearings which are a venue for timely adjudication for activity that arises from properties operating in violation of the Village’s home occupation or business zoning, or other issues that ignore Village code. The expedited legal review process has provided for reduced legal expenses for both violators and the Village.
  • The Village and residents who visited throughout the day safely enjoyed The Hills Are Alive Fall Festival—again, without incident and having instituted the CDC’s guidelines. 
  • The Village of Barrington Hills’ Board of Trustees has, once again, lowered the levy and President McLaughlin asked neighboring municipalities and local taxing bodies to follow the Village’s lead in this regard.
  • The Consolidated General Election is Tuesday, April 6, 2021. This is an important election. Various local governing bodies have more than one seat up for election, and residents are reminded their vote can have a substantial change.”

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The Village Board of Trustees will be holding their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM.  Some of the topics for discussion and/or vote include:

  • An Ordinance Granting A Special Use Permit to Christ the Rock Churchfor Operation of a Religious Institution at 195 S. Sutton Road Ordinance 21-
  • A Resolution Renewing a Boundary Agreement with the Village of AlgonquinResolution 21 –

A copy of the agenda can be viewed hereThose wishing to try to listing in on the meeting can phone 508-924-1464.

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State officials have said the rise in unemployment fraud is likely due to large corporate data breaches, such as one in 2017 involving Equifax that exposed the personal data of millions of people.”

State and federal officials are encouraging Illinoisans to stay vigilant as reports of unemployment insurance fraud swell.

From the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, fraudulent claims have been an issue as a record number of Illinois residents file for benefits and Congress provides additional jobless aid. Illinois has stopped more than 350,000 fraudulent claims since March 1, according to the state’s Department of Employment Security.

Reports of fraud have been so widespread — often inundating local police departments — that the FBI, IRS and several state agencies launched a task force to tackle the problem.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office has received more than 1,400 complaints since June from people who allege someone else filed an unemployment insurance claim in their name, spokeswoman Tori Joseph said.

Here’s what to be on the lookout for and what steps to take.

  • How do I know if I’m a victim of fraud?
  • Why did I receive a debit card?
  • What steps should I take to protect myself?
  • How do I avoid becoming a victim of fraud?
  • Am I responsible for funds paid to fraudsters?
  • What if I need to file for benefits?

Read the answers to these question in the Chicago Tribune here.

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“The Winnetka Police Department received 214 reports from residents during the past six months whose personal information was used for fraudulent unemployment claims, Winnetka Police Chief Marc Hornstein said.”

River Forest resident Joe Marrazzo phoned his local police department this week to file a report, but even before he had a chance to explain his problem, the dispatcher swiftly interjected: “Is this about a fraudulent unemployment benefits claim?”

“I was already on the lookout when this happened to me, because it had already happened to my mother and brother,” said Marrazzo, 49, a video editor who is among the more than 350,000 individuals across Illinois whose personal identities have been used for fraudulent unemployment claims in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What’s really crazy is, this is happening to everyone, so why have we not heard more about this?” Marrazzo added.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, suburban Chicago law enforcement officials say their departments have been bombarded with surging numbers of fraudulent unemployment benefit reports. At times, they are fielding dozens of nearly identical calls from frustrated residents in a single day. In some suburbs, the number of reports taken since March now stands in the hundreds.

In most cases, the target discovers the scam when their employer alerts them that a claim has been filed in their name despite still being employed. A letter then arrives from the state detailing the unemployment benefits, and often times, a debit card is included in the mailing.

The investigation into the spiraling number of fraudulent claims is being handled by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, a state agency already overwhelmed by a record number of legitimate unemployment compensation claims filed by workers who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.

If this has happened to you, read on hereTo report unemployment insurance identity theft fraud, click.

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Recordings have been released from last month’s Board of Trustee’s meeting (12.17.2020), and the Village Attorney’s report contained the following update:

“Just really quickly, the Drury litigation versus the Village discovery is now closed. It’s moving in to motion practice, so we’ll hopefully get some kind of ruling in February, March-ish.”

To listen to the recording of the December 17th BOT meeting, click here.

Related:Things may get very interesting after Thanksgiving…

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