WBEZ | Arlington Heights http://www.wbez.org/tags/arlington-heights Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago suburb bans non-traditional pets after inquiries about keeping peacocks and pigs http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-suburb-bans-non-traditional-pets-after-inquiries-about-keeping-peacocks-and-pigs-108311 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Banning peacocks.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="line-height: 1.15;">A northwestern Chicago suburb amended an ordinance to keep pigs, peacocks and similar animals out of their backyards.</span></p><p>The Arlington Heights village board rewrote their ban on poultry and livestock to include &ldquo;similar fowls&rdquo; and &ldquo;similar animals&rdquo;. The ordinance addresses recent inquires about keeping a pot-bellied pig and a peacock.</p><p>Mayor Thomas Hayes said the restriction is important in keeping the residential character of the neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;There might be problems with the animals escaping, causing a nuisance with surrounding residences or attracting other varmints or other animals that might be a nuisance as predators,&rdquo; Hayes said.</p><p>The board introduced the ban after residents asked to raise chickens in their backyards earlier this year.</p><p>Any residents who disregard the ban will have the animal impounded.</p><p><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him @jclee89.</em></p></p> Tue, 06 Aug 2013 17:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-suburb-bans-non-traditional-pets-after-inquiries-about-keeping-peacocks-and-pigs-108311 Arlington Heights library, parks get renovations http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/arlington-heights-library-parks-get-renovations-105121 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/libraryprojector.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Imagine having access to multimedia studios that also serve you coffee, five community centers with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts and a sailing lake. No, it&rsquo;s not from a new private club or development project, it&rsquo;s all public and within a few miles of your home. That&rsquo;s what it&#39;s like to be an Arlington Heights resident.</p><p>While much of the village&rsquo;s public space seems to be filled with commercial strip malls and retail giants, area residents count on a number of public services and amenities that would amaze most Chicagoans.</p><p><strong>The Arlington Heights Memorial Library</strong></p><p>We hoped to speak with a librarian that would point us to other interesting locations in the community, but never imagined the library itself would be a wonder.&nbsp;</p><p>The Arlington Heights library was first born at a resident&rsquo;s home and the current facility was built in 1968. Since then, it&#39;s become a key facility for local residents. The library has been remodeled twice since, but it&rsquo;s now going through a major reorganization of internal space.</p><p>&ldquo;We really did need to do some things that reflected the way that people are using the library today,&rdquo; said Jason Kuhl, executive director of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.</p><p>Today, this five star library is being used as a gathering spot for the community much more than in the past, Kuhl said.</p><p>The renovation includes an area called &ldquo;Market Place&rdquo; with newer books on display and a coffee vending machine; an expansion of conference rooms; technology classes; a lounging area with a fire place; a close faximile of an Apple store Genius Bar for helping people with their iPads or other computer devices and multimedia studios.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8214/8409017270_b0b457a36c_n.jpg" style="height: 224px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" /></div><p>According to Kuhl, the library sees about 2,500 people per day. Last year, he said, the library had 900,000 visitors.</p><p>The $2.8 million project is funded from years of savings and the contributions of its local non-profit arm Friends of the Library. &nbsp;</p><p>Aside from monitoring expenses, the renovation didn&rsquo;t require any tax increases or referendums, said Kuhl.</p><p>But while the library seems to be managing its growth and success well, the Arlington Heights Park District is finding it a bit harder to manage the demands of its own community centers.</p><p><strong>Many parks to choose from, only two can be remodeled &hellip;.for now</strong></p><p>With five community centers, six pools, and 715 acres of land, park district executive director Steve Scholten said, there is a lot to manage. Unlike some neighboring suburbs, Arlington Heights has parks in each of its five major neighborhoods instead of one central facility.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8511/8407190226_0a3db2fcd4_n.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" /></div><p>Two years ago, the district got a $2.5 million grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to expand a facility on the far north end of the suburb- Camelot Park.&nbsp; The grant was contingent on local funds matching the $2.5 million award, so the parks tried to raise $48 million through a ballot initiative.</p><p>That measure was rejected by voters last March, as well as a revamped attempt for $39 million in November. Had these passed, the district could have renovated many of the facilities in the district, including three parks that all opened in 1969 (one year after the library&#39;s current building).</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5234/8411248833_5075d247d5_n.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="The Olympic Indoor Swim Center (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" /></div><p>This put the park district in an interesting place. Some on the board reportedly wanted to pursue using the grant money on a more centrally located park&ndash; specifically the Olympic indoor swim center. Eventually they determined the grant couldn&#39;t be tranfered to a different project.</p><p>On Tuesday, the Arlington park district board of commissioners approved moving ahead with the expansion and renovation of the Camelot and Frontier community centers after months of debate.</p><p>&ldquo;The project budget is $5.83 million and we&rsquo;ll be looking for $3.33 million of funding from fund balances and non-referendum bonding sources,&rdquo; Scholten said. &ldquo;We are now back on track doing one building at a time and with the funding, that is the next logical step.&rdquo;</p><p>So the park district had to scale back their renovation plans while the library is creating a dream facility. But why do two recreation districts in the same town have such different funding situations?</p><p>Park district officials point out the neighborhood model of the park district versus the centralized model of the library. Like the Chicago Park District, Arlington Heights positions parks throughout its residential neighborhoods instead of one or two central facilities. Due to the long and narrow shape of the town, it can be arduous to travel from one end to the other, especially at rush hour. Scholten says planners recognized this in the 1960s and defined five geographic neighborhoods that each include a larger park with a community center and outdoor pool.</p><p>The best usage figures available show around 500,000 people used all park district facilities last year (though their two tennis clubs don&#39;t keep daily visitor records). The library, on the other hand, has only one central location and a bookmobile (but also counted 900,000 visitors last year).</p><p>Despite the maintenence complications it presents, Scholten says he wouldn&#39;t have it any other way.</p><p>&quot;The advantage, though, is that the neighborhoods have easy access to all the programs that we offer and all the types of facilities we offer right there in their neighborhood,&quot; Scholten said. &quot;So it&#39;s a walkable, bikeable distance away for most people, and that&#39;s very appreciated.&quot;</p><p>He also says that they haven&#39;t considered moving to a more centralized model because the current set-up is too popular. And it isn&#39;t like the buildings are falling down, they&#39;re just a little small for the amount of programs they&#39;d like to offer.</p><p>&quot;If we can&#39;t renovate and expand them, we&#39;ll just have to do the best job we can making sure we program those spaces wisely and find other community space to meet the demand,&quot; Scholten said, dismissing the possibility of closing any current facilities.</p><p>Aside from indoor gyms, Camelot and Frontier parks may soon offer residents a place to go for walks in the winter.</p><p>&ldquo;Any new gym that we build in Camelot, Frontier&hellip; they will have some sort of walking track for people to use all winter long,&rdquo; said Kevin Keister the facility supervisor at Camelot Park.</p></p> Thu, 24 Jan 2013 09:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/arlington-heights-library-parks-get-renovations-105121 Suburban Chicago teachers file intent to strike http://www.wbez.org/news/suburban-chicago-teachers-file-intent-strike-104547 <p><p>WEST CHICAGO, Ill. &mdash; Teachers in a suburban Chicago school district have given notice they could strike as early as Jan. 7.</p><p>The Daily Herald in Arlington Heights <a href="http://bit.ly/U3FwkR" target="_blank">reports</a> teachers in West Chicago Elementary District 33 voted earlier this month to file their intent to strike. The paperwork was filed Friday.</p><p>A union official said teachers had been hopeful they could reach a compromise with the school board over key issues, particularly regarding health insurance premiums. But she said no compromise had been reached as of this week.</p><p>The school board president said the district must cap the amount it pays for health insurance in order to balance the budget.</p><p>The two sides also have disagreed on salary and class sizes.</p><p>Jan. 7 would be students&#39; first day of school following the holiday break.</p></p> Sat, 22 Dec 2012 18:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/suburban-chicago-teachers-file-intent-strike-104547 Christian activist feuds with suburban park district over a nativity scene http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/christian-activist-feuds-suburban-park-district-over-nativity-scene-104049 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/2105928599_347c483aff.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A controversy over a holiday display in a suburb west of Chicago could have a simple resolution: a little paperwork.</p><p>In early November, Christian activist Jim Finnegan offered to donate a large nativity to the Arlington Heights Park District. The town&rsquo;s annual holiday display includes a Christmas tree and dreidels, but Finnegan was not satisfied.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s like the difference between Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas,&rdquo; said Finnegan, who lives in Barrington and used to be a resident of Arlington Heights. &ldquo;We stand up for what the true meaning of Christmas is, and that&rsquo;s the birth of Christ.&rdquo;</p><p>In addition to being the only current member of the Illinois Nativity Scene Committee in the western suburbs, Finnegan is a board member at the Illinois Family Institute and a co-founder of a group that advocates against abortion rights in Ireland.</p><p>When the park district said they didn&rsquo;t want Finnegan&rsquo;s nativity, he called up his lawyer, Tom Brejcha of the Thomas More Society. The <a href="https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/about/" target="_blank">Thomas More Society</a> is a Chicago-based law firm that represents people who oppose same-sex marriage and abortion.</p><p>Finnegan and Brejcha are both connected to a group in Springfield that advocated successfully to place a large nativity scene on the state capitol five years ago. In the 1980s, Finnegan was involved in a battle over the nativity scene in Chicago&rsquo;s Daley Plaza that resulted in <a href="http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?xmldoc=19882197700FSupp1497_11966.xml&amp;docbase=CSLWAR2-1986-2006" target="_blank">a lawsuit</a>.&nbsp;That nativity scene went up this month without a hitch. Finnegan said the various nativity scenes he has advocated for were paid for by an anonymous donor.</p><p>The pair sent a letter Nov. 20 indicating that Finnegan&rsquo;s first-amendment rights were being violated.</p><p>But Timothy Riordan, the attorney for the Arlington Heights Park District, said Finnegan had simply never filled out an application for a permit. Instead, he asked the district to accept a donation of a nativity they didn&rsquo;t want.</p><p>&ldquo;In our view there&rsquo;s no real controversy,&rdquo; Riordan said.</p><p>He sent Finnegan&rsquo;s lawyer an application for a park use permit on Nov. 26.</p><p>&ldquo;He wanted to donate the nativity scene to the park district,&quot; Riordan said. &quot;The park district indicated it wasn&rsquo;t interested in accepting that donation. The park always had a holiday display and just didn&rsquo;t think it was consistent with the display they&rsquo;d had in the past. If you want to use a park for any purpose, there&rsquo;s a form.&rdquo;</p><p>Finnegan said Tuesday that he plans to apply for a permit to place the nativity in a different part of the same park.</p><p>&ldquo;I trust that the story will have a happy ending,&rdquo; Brejcha said. &ldquo;I congratulate Arlington Heights on having a beautiful park display. It&rsquo;s a positive step that they may be hospitable to the nativity scene after all.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 15:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/christian-activist-feuds-suburban-park-district-over-nativity-scene-104049 Broadway's Queen of Hearts returns to her hometown stage http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-08/broadways-queen-hearts-returns-her-hometown-stage-81969 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Karen as queen of hearts.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Actress and singer <a target="_blank" href="http://www.karenmason.com/">Karen Mason</a> came back to Chicago just in the nick of time. She&rsquo;s been wowing crowds in New York, performing in dimly lit cabarets and under the bright lights of Broadway. But Arlington Heights is where Mason grew up and it&rsquo;s in Chicago that she&rsquo;ll host her one-woman-show, <em>Setting New Standards</em>.<br /><br />The run starts tomorrow night at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.davenportspianobar.com/">Davenport&rsquo;s Piano Bar and Cabaret</a> in Wicker Park. To learn more about her solo act, Karen Mason joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>. Karen Mason&rsquo;s one-woman-show, <em>Setting New Standards </em>begins a six-day run Wednesday night at Davenport's in Wicker Park.<br /><br />She&rsquo;ll then return to New York where she&rsquo;ll prepare for her role as the Queen of Hearts in <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wonderlandonbroadway.com/index.html"><em>Wonderland</em></a>.</p></p> Tue, 08 Feb 2011 14:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-08/broadways-queen-hearts-returns-her-hometown-stage-81969