Enjoy Barrington

A Message from Karen Darch

July 17, 2020


Happy Friday to all of you!
 
I hope you have all been staying cool amid the many hot days we have been having here in Barrington. It's hard to believe we are already in the middle of July! Summer always goes too fast, even when we're in the midst of a pandemic and things seem far from normal.
 
I feel that this is a good time to remind our entire community that staying vigilant with social distancing and wearing masks is becoming even more critically important now that we are seeing COVID cases rising around the country. Fortunately, Illinois seems to have escaped the steep, sudden rise in cases that many other states have seen recently, and this is likely due to the vigilance our citizens have displayed in following the CDC guidelines and the Restore Illinois plan over these past several months. It has not been easy, but our efforts are paying off.
 
And yet, now is not the time to let our foot off the gas. Our school district is working through the best plan for our students this fall, and as the weather cools and we head into flu season, we will need to be more diligent than ever in order to keep the coronavirus at bay. We certainly do not want to see another full-scale shut down of our businesses and daily activities, so I do hope that all of you will continue to do your part by following the CDC guidelines.
 
On a positive note, I wanted to remind our community that Barrington's White House continues to offer wonderful cultural programming to our community virtually this summer. This weekend is our "Rising Stars" vocal competition, which is not open to the public but is a grand showcase for our young singing talent. These high school students perform pieces for esteemed vocal judges, including Barrington's own Joanne McDade and Bill Powers, and receive feedback that will help them in their future singing careers.
 
Also on August 13, Barrington's White House will debut its Jazz Cabaret series with an online performance of local jazz talent playing alongside the Marianne Kim jazz duo. This series is generously sponsored by the Barrington Area Community Foundation and will continue into the fall. For more information, go to www.barringtonswhitehouse.com/events.
 
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
 
Karen Darch
Village President




A Message from Karen Darch

July 10, 2020

Hats Off to Public Works!
 
Once again it's been quite a week in the Village of Barrington. Wednesday's water main break in the heart of the Village and the subsequent boil order made for an eventful couple of days here in town.
 
We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our stellar Public Works Department and staff, led by Director Jeremie Lukowicz. Public Works jumped into action when it became apparent that a massive water main break at Monument and Lill Streets would necessitate a boil order for the entire Village at first, which was later downgraded to a specific section of town. Hats off to Jeremie and his entire crew for quickly making the repairs and sending the water out for testing in order to have the boil order lifted as quickly as possible.
 
This incident reminds me once again how very dependent we are on the infrastructure in our Village, and thus, how thankful we should be for our dedicated, responsible, and quick-thinking Public Works staff. Not only do these unsung heroes fix water main breaks, but they plow our streets, fix our roads and sidewalks, monitor our water quality, and maintain numerous Village facilities and vehicles, including our water treatment facility. Without their work in the sweltering summer heat, freezing temperatures of winter, and all times in between, daily life might quickly grind to a halt for all of us here in the Village.
 
These types of occurrences do remind us that there are many things we take for granted. So the next time you see a Public Works crew member out and about in the Village of Barrington, I hope you will give them a thank you or a friendly wave of gratitude.
 
Thank you, Public Works!
 
Karen Darch
Village President




Happy Fourth of July Weekend!


It's hard to believe that we have finally made it to the Fourth of July, but here we are!
 
Normally on this day I would be preparing a red, white, and blue outfit for our Main Street parade to celebrate the birthday of our country. But since I'll be celebrating the Fourth at home with my family tomorrow, I am instead in a more reflective mood and thinking about what our close-knit community means to all of us. More than any other day, the Fourth of July truly represents the best of what Barrington is all about - community spirit, family, friends, neighbors, and being together in our wonderful town.
 
I am reminded that this Fourth of July marks the fifth anniversary of both our special Sequicentennial year and the grand opening of Barrington's White House in 2015. We celebrated our 150th anniversary during the entire year of 2015, but one fabulous hurrah was our Sesquicentennial-themed parade. It was a grand celebration of the past 150 years in Barrington's history, and while I always enjoy each 4th of July parade, I will always remember that particular event as one of the highlights of my time in Barrington and in our community's history.
 
That day also marked the the grand opening of Barrington's White House. which had been purchased by the Village and renovated with private donations into the wonderful Cultural and Community Center that we have today. It's interesting to note that part of the history of Barrington's White House is that the home served as a makeshift hospital during the time of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Today, the White House continues to play an important role for our community during our current pandemic by offering virtual cultural events during this time that we cannot be together, including a wonderful July 4th presentation that you can watch online tomorrow (see below).
 
During this very strange pandemic summer, I would like to wish all of you in Barrington a wonderful Fourth of July, and I'm very much looking forward to summer of 2021 when we can all be together on Main Street once again.
 
Karen Darch
Village President




A Message from Karen Darch

June 26, 2020


Happy Friday!
 
It is a happy Friday indeed, as today Illinois enters into Phase 4 of the "Restore Illinois" re-opening plan. This is great news for our restaurants, as indoor dining can now resume (socially distanced, of course). In addition, gatherings of up to 50 people are now allowed. See below for other new guidelines on Phase 4 of the re-opening.
 
This move to Phase 4 is an encouraging sign for our community, which continues to see a relatively low number of coronavirus cases (you can go to the Illinois Department of Health web site to see statistics on cases in our state by zip code). But it remains very important for us to abide by the CDC guidelines and the Restore Illinois mandates in order to continue to ensure that our community and those most vulnerable among us remain safe during the pandemic.
 
Today I also wanted to remind our community that, in order to remain compliant with the "under-50" guidelines of Phase 4, our traditional Barrington 4th of July parade and fireworks activities will not occur this year. However, we are encouraging individual neighborhoods to organize their own car parades between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 4, and we'll also be sending Bob the DJ and several of our Village fire trucks and police vehicles throughout our neighborhoods during that time to greet all of you and wish you a Happy 4th.
 
Finally, I'd also like to encourage you to tune in to our own Barrington's White House's special virtual series of patriotic video performances and presentations on July 4th, which can be viewed at 11:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m.,and 7:00 p.m. on YouTube and on our own Channel 4 cable access network. See below for more information about the program.
 
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the new opportunities to be out and about in Barrington.
 
Karen Darch
Village President



A Message from Karen Darch - Happy Father's Day!

June 17, 2020
 

My message will be short and sweet this week - I would like to simply wish all the fathers in our community - and the many men who may not be fathers but are father-figures in someone's life - a very 
Happy Father's Day this weekend.
 
I hope that each of you is able to get outdoors, maybe play some golf or do some fishing, and enjoy the beautiful weather we have been having of late. I also hope you are able to spend some quality time with those who are nearest and dearest to you. While backyard barbeques may not be quite like they've been in previous years, it's still very important that we honor the men in our lives and take the time to enjoy their company.
 
Happy Father's Day!
 
 
Karen Darch
Village President



A Message from Karen Darch

June 12, 2020
 
 
Happy Friday!
 
I have to admit that now that the weather is getting warmer, our restaurants are open for outdoor dining, and our small shops are opening as well, the last week or so has finally felt a bit more "normal" here in Barrington after our long COVID spring.
 
It has been uplifting to see so many people out and about in Barrington again (albeit in a social-distanced sort of way). I am enjoying seeing faces I have not seen in many months venturing out and saying hello to their neighbors. You may have noticed that our Village staff has placed several new park benches around the Cook and Station Street areas, along with a bike rack. Seeing families and friends reconnecting while they enjoy our downtown, get ice cream, shop, and dine out underscores just how much we do need in-person social interaction in our lives, and how much we enjoy our close-knit community here in Barrington.
 
Speaking of coming together as a community, I was also very heartened by the peaceful rally that was held at Citizens Park last weekend. It was inspiring to see people come together to support important ideas and dialogue. The young organizers did a wonderful job, and the speakers were outstanding. I was very proud of our community for the way in which the rally was held and the way in which everyone worked hard at social distancing.
 
It is my hope that we will enter Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan on June 26 as scheduled. As we continue to see things open up, I do urge everyone to continue to practice social distancing. But I also hope you are able to take some time this summer to stop by a Barrington shop or restaurant and thank the owners and staff (with both your words and your pocketbook!) for their resiliency during the coronavirus pandemic. So many have become very creative and have persevered through a very difficult time.
 
Happy Summer!
 
Karen Darch
Village President


A Message from Karen Darch

June 5, 2020


Good morning,
 
It has been an emotional week in the history of our country, and here in Barrington as well. These days I am feeling that 2020 has now become a cruel mashup of the 1918 influenza pandemic, the 1933 Great Depression, and the civil unrest of the late 1960s, all rolled up into one. Even six months ago, no one could have predicted that this is where we would be today. But I am always hopeful that there are brighter days ahead.
 
So where does that leave us here in Barrington right now? Obviously, passions are very high on a number of fronts. As you know, tomorrow there will be a planned rally at Citizens Park that will provide an opportunity for many voices to be heard on the topic of racial equality in our country. 
 
I, like many of you, am saddened and upset by the death of George Floyd. I know that our Barrington Police Department is as well, as evidenced by the words of our own Barrington Police Chief David Dorn, who condemned the actions of the Minnesota officers and assured the community that the mission of the Barrington Police Department is to treat all people with respect and dignity at all times. I am proud of the good work our department does in this realm through creating positive relationships with our community, through ongoing training on all aspects of police conduct, and through their willingness to investigate their own when needed.
 
I'm also proud that several Barrington High School students and recent graduates expended great effort to create a peaceful rally to engage in civil discourse and support for racial equality.
 
I have heard many in our community voice support for the rally while also hearing from residents and business owners, who may support goals of the rally but are also fearful for their property and livelihoods. Also,many people are still very concerned about the health of our community during this pandemic. We are fortunate to live in a place and time when all of these voices may be heard. As we listen and hear, I hope we can allow the space for understanding, empathy, and compassion.
 
I was happy to hear that Rev. Dr. Zina Jacque will be a key speaker at tomorrow's rally. I have so very much admired the work that Zina and her partners have done with the Courageous Conversations series here in our community, and I believe that this important work has contributed to greater understanding among us all on so many topics.
 
Above all, as your Village President it is my duty to ensure that Barrington remains a peaceful, safe, and nonviolent place for everyone. I assure you that we are committed to that goal. And so, may we all continue to have these "courageous conversations" tomorrow and in the days ahead, above all working toward mutual, peaceful understanding and compassion for all.
 
Karen Darch
Village President



June 4, 2020

Dear Barrington Residents and Business Owners:
 
Yesterday, I notified you of a peaceful rally planned for Saturday, June 6, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. In order to accommodate the rally safely, the organizers have changed the location to Citizens Park.
 
As we stated yesterday, the Barrington Police Department is in ongoing, positive, and constructive dialogue with the organizers, who are current and former Barrington High School graduates. They have assured us that the intent is to host a contained, peaceful rally during a closed timeframe. While we realize that there is always a chance of outside influencers infiltrating rallies such as these, we have been heartened to see in recent days that peaceful rallies have indeed occurred in other similar communities near us, including in Lake Forest and Lake Geneva last evening. We also believe that the chances of escalation are lower due to the event being held during a contained timeframe in the afternoon.
 
As I also stated yesterday, it is important for our community to know that the Barrington Police Department is fully prepared for the rally and has put robust plans in place to monitor the event and to ensure that the rally remains peaceful at all times.
 
The plan includes significant police resources that will be on site and throughout the community, with backup resources in place that can be called upon to immediately protect the community and businesses should the event unintentionally escalate. At this point there is no reason to believe that this daytime, contained rally at Citizens Park will escalate. We will of course provide updates should the situation change.
 
Please also be aware that there are other rallies happening in other communities on Saturday as well. 
 
Above all, I continue to encourage everyone to maintain a peaceful mindset at all times on Saturday and in the days leading up to the rally.
 
Thank you,
 
Karen Darch
Village President


Click for a link to the Restore Illinois Plan or the Restore Illinois FAQs


A Message from Karen Darch

Monday, May 5, 2020

Good afternoon,

I am pleased to report to you today that 
Governor Pritzker has announced a five-phase plan called "Restore Illinois" to re-open the State of Illinois by region. Currently the state is in Phase II (see charts below), and the earliest any region could move to Phase III is May 29.
 
Below is information directly from the Governor's office:
 
"Restore Illinois is a public health plan to safely reintroduce the parts of our lives that have been put on hold in our fight against COVID-19. This is also a data-driven plan that operates on a region-by-region basis, a recognition that reality on the ground looks different in different areas of our state."
 
"The five-phase plan is guided by public health metrics designed to provide a framework for reopening businesses, education, and recreational activities in each phase. This initial plan can and will be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for effective treatments or vaccines is realized."
 
"The five-phase plan is based on regional healthcare availability and recognizes the distinct impact COVID-19 has had on different regions of our state as well as regional variations in hospital capacity. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has 11 Emergency Medical Services Regions that have traditionally guided its statewide public health work. For the purposes of Restore Illinois, from those 11, four health regions are established, each with the ability to independently move through a phased approach:
 
Northeast Illinois •  North-Central Illinois •  Central Illinois •  Southern Illinois

Restore
A 5-Phase Re-opening Plan for Each Region
 
Each of the four regions described above will be able to separately move through the five phases below to re-opening, based on the data in their region.

Restore Phase


Phase 1 – Rapid Spread: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing. Strict stay at home and social distancing guidelines are put in place and only essential businesses remain open. Every region has experienced this phase once already and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.
 
Phase 2 – Flattening: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds increases at an ever slower rate, moving toward a flat and even a downward trajectory. Non-essential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery. Illinoisans are directed to wear a face covering when outside the home, and can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing while practicing social distancing. To varying degrees, every region is experiencing flattening as of early May.
 
Phase 3 – Recovery: The rate of infection among those tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds is stable or declining. Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions. All gatherings limited to 10 or fewer people are allowed. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
 
Phase 4 – Revitalization: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline. All gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, child care and schools reopen under guidance from the IDPH. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
 
Phase 5 – Illinois Restored: With a vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period, the economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing. Conventions, festivals and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The Governor continues:
 
"Until COVID-19 is defeated, Restore Illinois recognizes that as health metrics tell us it is safe to move forward, health metrics may also tell us to return to a prior phase. With a vaccine or treatment not yet available, IDPH will be closely monitoring key metrics to immediately identify new growth in cases and hospitalizations to determine whether a return to a prior phase is needed."
 
"As millions of Illinoisans continue working together by staying at home and following experts’ recommendations, the result has been a lower infection rate, lower hospitalizations, and lower number of fatalities than without these measures. As the state’s curve begins to flatten, the risk of spread remains, and modeling and data point to a rapid surge in new cases if all mitigation measures are immediately lifted. The governor and his administration continue to urge all Illinois residents to follow the state’s stay at home order and to follow the guidance issued by the state and public health experts."
 
 
I am pleased to see that the Governor has outlined a data-driven and specific plan for re-opening our state in a safe manner. I hope that through our continued efforts at social distancing, we will continue to see a decline in the spread of COVID-19 and thus the ability to continue to move into the next phase sooner than later.
 
Stay safe and stay well.
 
Karen Darch
Village President


Friday, May 1, 2020

Happy Friday everyone,
 
And still yet another week has gone by in our "new normal" and now it is the first of May. I am always encouraged by the beautiful flowers and trees that begin to bloom at this time of year, and after the rain we've had I think we will be able to look forward to a glorious blooming in the weeks to come.
 
As the Village of Barrington local government officials and staff follow Gov. Pritzker's stay-at-home order, we have continued to seamlessly provide essential services during this "new normal." At the same time, we are also making plans for re-opening our public buildings in June with a mind toward keeping the public and our employees safe while we adhere to social-distancing and mask-wearing principles.
 
I am always interested to know not only about our residentsbut also how our businesses are managing during this time, and what your plans might be for re-opening your businesses once you are allowed to do so. Additionally, the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce has provided virtual meetings where good ideas have been exchanged about necessary modifications and changes needed for reopening. There has been much creativity emerging thus far from this unfortunate situation; please let us know if the Village government can further support your business in these efforts.
 
In talking to our staff, we have discussed reviving the "Curious Questions with Karen Darch" podcast in the near future. We had just gotten this program off the ground when the pandemic forced us to put our attention on other tasks, but I would like to continue to provide this new way of connecting with our residents. I'm mulling over topics, but I would be very interested in your thoughts on what you'd like to know more about during this time, be it pandemic-related or not. If you have a Curious Question or a topic you'd like to know more about, please e-mail me at kdarch@barrington-il.gov.
 
I hope you and your family are staying well and safe, and I hope you are finding time to get outside and enjoy our spring sunshine (safely, of course!). Take care and have a great weekend!
 
Karen Darch
Village President




Thursday, April 23, 2020

Good afternoon,
 
This afternoon Governor Pritzker announced that the state of Illinois will remain under a Stay-at-Home order until May 30. He will be issuing an Executive Order as such to take effect May 1. While I realize that this is not the news many of us were hoping for, it is unfortunately the reality that we must accept in order to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19.
 
According to data from Governor Pritzker's office, the peak of our curve in Illinois has yet to happen. The Illinois models predict that it will occur sometime in the next couple of weeks. At that time, we should then start down the other side of the curve.
 
Governor Pritzker also indicated that his office is working on a phased plan to begin slowly re-opening some businesses. His office will be sharing more on this in the days to come, but he did indicate that the following will take place beginning May 1:
 
  • State parks will begin a phased re-opening under guidance from the Department of Natural Resources. Fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website HEREGolf will be permitted under strict safety guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and when ensuring that social distancing is followed.
  • Retail stores which are currently designated as non-essential businesses and operations may re-open to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery.
  • Greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries may re-open as essential businesses. These stores must follow social distancing requirements and must require that employees and customers wear a face covering. Animal grooming services may also re-open.
  • Surgical centers and hospitals will be able to re-instate some elective procedures, while still maintaining enough beds for COVID patients
 
 
Perhaps most significantly, Governor Pritzker's new executive order mandates that as of May 1, all citizens over the age of 2 who are medically able to do so will be required to wear a face covering in public where 6-foot social distancing is not possible.
 
This means that you must be wearing a mask or appropriate face covering (scarf, etc.) over both your mouth and nose when you are doing essential activities such as grocery shopping and so on. It also means that you should be wearing a covering when you are out and about in parks if you cannot maintain a 6-foot social distance.
 
Our Barrington residents, as well as everyone in Illinois, must comply with the Governor's order and respect these restrictions. As much as this difficult, these measures are for our benefit, for the benefit of our loved ones, and for the benefit of our entire community.
 
The better our compliance with these restrictions, the faster we will be able to stop the spread of the virus and begin to have a phased a re-entry into the world we have left behind.
 
Again, I realize that this is a difficult pill to swallow for all of us who are anxious to get back to work and back to normal activities. However, it is important to remember that the threat of this virus is very real and it has impacted many people, even here in our community. So let us all continue to stay the course and respect the stay-at-home order.
 
Thank you, and please stay well.
 
 
Karen Darch
Village President






Friday, April 17, 2020
 
Another week has come and gone, and we are still social distancing and trying to adjust to our "new normal." Today Governor Pritzker announced that all schools will be closed through the end of the year, which is not surprising but still another indication that "getting back to normal" may take longer than we hope.
 
While we have been very fortunate here in the Barrington area in that our active cases of COVID-19 have been relatively low (just 29 cases in the 60010 zip code so far), we know that others have not been as lucky, and so we continue to do our part to bend the curve so that we can all begin to re-open certain segments of our community sooner rather than later.
 
And that makes me think of summer, and all of the wonderful activities that we normally enjoy in Barrington when the weather warms. While on the one hand the Village is working through the inevitable budget cuts that we will be facing due to reduced revenues, there is no doubt that we will all still need some fun this summer! And so we have been thinking about our summer events and how to adjust them to ensure that our entire community can stay safe, while also trying to work within the realities of our reduced budgets.
 
While we continue to await more detailed national and state guidance regarding larger gatherings this summer, we have already been proactive in making the decision jointly with Amdur Productions to postpone the annual Barrington Art Festival until September 12-13.
 
We have also made the decision to forego the Memorial Day Parade in favor of a very small ceremony at Village Hall that we hope to bring you virtually. In addition, all Barrington's White House events in May have been postponed, and we are looking into options for bringing you some of your favorite cultural events virtually until we can be together again.
 
At this time, we are still working through what our Cruise Nights/Summer Fun Thursdays could look like in the new era of social distancing. We're also considering options for adjusting our July 4th activities, as it is sadly difficult to think about the improbability of having so many people gathering in our downtown, despite our great affection for these beloved annual traditions. We have already been informed by the organizers of the Uncork Barrington Wine Festival and Barrington Brewfest that these events will not be held this summer.
 
While we have not made any firm decisions yet, we would love to hear your ideas for how you might want to enjoy your favorite Barrington events in the new era of social distancing. We'd also love to hear if you have ideas for other events that could be appropriate for this time. It's going to take a great deal of creativity and new thinking on all our parts to work together to ensure that we can all stay safe while coming together as best we can to take part in our beloved Barrington traditions.
 
We want to hear from you! Please e-mail your thoughts and ideas to me at kdarch@barrington-il.gov or to our events director, Patty Dowd Schmitz, at pdschmitz@barrington-il.gov. Our Village Board will be discussing summer events at our next board meeting on May 4, after which we will communicate with you about how our summer events will adapt and change in our "new normal."
 
Meanwhile, please continue to be well and stay safe. We are all feeling the effects of being cooped up in our homes (and today's snowfall certainly did not help that feeling!), but it continues to be critical that we adhere to the stay-at-home guidelines so that we can combat this deadly virus and all come back together sooner rather than later.
 
Take care of yourselves and your families.
 
 
Thank you,
 
Karen Darch
President, Village of Barrington

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