Just Asking with Mary Klest

In Just Asking, writer Mary Klest explores the community for unrecognized people, places,
and resources of interest to Barrington-area residents. E-mail Mary with your questions: mary@maryklest.com.


Who is your favorite teacher at Barrington High School?

Barrington High School is ranked 553rd out of 91,957 public high schools in the nation for academics according to Newsweek. It is in the top 1 percent of high schools nationally and internationally for the number of Advanced Placement (AP) tests taken each year according to College Board.
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What is your favorite piece of public art in the Barrington area?

I asked syndicated cartoonist Charles Boyce and copywriter Tamara Tabel.

When I inquire about favorite public art pieces, most people pause and then shrug their shoulders. I prompt them by suggesting the sculpture park at the Barrington Area Library, the Memorial statues in downtown Barrington, and the bronze horses at the Arboretum of South Barrington. My asking generated some curiosity. One person said: “Is there any public art?” Another asked: “Do you have a list of where each piece is?” Perhaps it’s time to create such a list. I believe this is a case of people not stopping to smell the roses, or in this situation, view the art.
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If you see a stray dog dodging cars on a village road what can you do?

I asked Lesley Irwin, founder of Animal House Shelter, Inc. who happened
upon such an incident on Lake Cook Road in the summer of 1996.

At the time, she was an Animal Science major at the University of Illinois when a friend called her to report seeing a dog being dumped on the road. A Barrington High School graduate, she had grown up in a home where nurturing and rehabilitating wayward animals was a way of life.
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What is your favorite social network in the Barrington area?

I asked Nina Stephenson, Joan and Bill Bowyer, and D.D. Gallagher-Johnson
why their networks are so much fun.

Nina Stephenson of Barrington Hills is the area’s social ambassador. She is president of Barrington Newcomers & Neighbors, an organization that welcomes newbie and long-time residents alike. Anyone in the 60010 or Barrington 220 can join weekly, monthly, seasonal, and casual get-togethers with the simple intent of having fun. “Our motto is ‘Make friends, have fun,’’ Nina said. “You’ll meet people you wouldn’t meet otherwise.” Download entire story in PDF format.


How do you balance personal and professional life while
managing a business from home?

I asked Michael Beightol, CEO of Coyote Marsh & Associates, a public relations
firm based in North Barrington.

Index cards help. Beightol used the cards to give his family a heads up when noise reduction was required. “I would tape a card to the wall in the kids’ playroom that read: Conference call from 2 – 3 p.m. today.” They got the message. Download entire story in PDF format.


What are the best holiday traditions for bonding with family?

I asked Barrington area families for their favorites.

Family traditions are ritualistic, predictable and memorable. This part of family history has no
bounds. Traditions can be silly, sentimental or solemn. Here is one that invites participation and
reflection. Download entire story in PDF format.


Who holds the scoring record in a season for the BHS Bronco football team?

I asked the record holder, Frank Shellenback Jr.

The first football team Frank Shellenback Jr. played on was at Barrington High School his freshman year in 1971. He was a fast halfback. The experience was “easy going” at a time when the team consisted of 32 players, all of whom played. “Everyone was in the game. It made our practices good,” he says. Like many athletes at the time, he shifted sports with the seasons – inside the gym during winter and outside with baseball in the spring. “We didn’t focus on one sport 365 days of the year.”
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How Barrington’s Independence Day parade organized?

I asked Melissa Bingham, chairwoman of the parade committee and an event planning professional.

Each year, when the bands start playing and flags gripped by tiny or veined hands start waving, anticipation builds. People dressed in shorts and T-shirts line the streets to salute soldiers, pick out their favorite float, or point to a loved one. It’s our hometown marching down Main Street. But how do they know where to position themselves?
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Why are most BHS art teachers dual professionals working as artists and teachers?

I asked Band Director Randy Karon and Visual Arts teacher Scott Ziegler.

Randy and Scott are artists who teach full time at Barrington High School. Randy learned to play all brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments during his college undergraduate program. His main instrument, which he’s been playing and performing on for 35 plus years, is the trumpet. His first teachers were educators and professional musicians. “I know that influenced me early on as I was learning the fundamentals of music and brass playing. It showed me that you can enjoy being a musician on so many different levels.”
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What’s the story behind Carol’s Garden on Northwest Highway in Barrington?

I asked Cuba Township Supervisor David Nelson, who saw a problem and turned it into a sweet gesture.

Just south of Barrington’s Public Safety Building is a little garden that offers a lovely view for passersby. Perennials fill the raised limestone wall bed and follow the meandering granite pathway up to a sign that reads Carol’s Garden.”
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JAN/FEB 2010

Why did you participate in the Barrington Roundup?

I asked artist Mary Lane.

Mary Lane was one of many to arrive early at the Barrington Area United Way Roundup auction in October. The fiberglass horses that stood regally on our town walkways and streets were being sold to raise funds in celebration of United Way’s 50th anniversary. Five of the horses being auctioned were her creations. A live horse owner, she said, “I painted subjects I love on a canvas I love.”
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NOV/DEC 2009

What security tips are the Barrington Police giving residents during the holiday season?

I asked police Officer John Burke, who is assigned to crime prevention and investigations.

Burke has been patrolling the streets of Barrington for 10 years. He says while the holidays are a time of good cheer and generous giving, they can create opportunities for crime due to the shopping season and homeowners being away. Below are some security tips to follow.
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What are five ways families can get organized as children return to school?

I asked Clare Mantelman and Kim DeSimone, founders of Barrington-based
Organize Now Inc.

Clutter happens, even in the best of families. “A house lived in is not immaculate. Try creating an environment that can be tidied up in a manner of minutes,” says Mantelman. With the dog days of summer over, its time to take a new look at household management. Sharing a sense of humor and a wonderful detachment from the silly ways we stack our stuff, Mantelman and DeSimone offer back-to-school and other organizational strategies for busy families.
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Why is the PTO Presidents Council recommending that parents read Doing School by Denise Clark Pope?

I asked Sue Randall, who leads the PTO Council and Barb Karon, chairwoman of Morningline at Barrington High School.

Doing School offers insight on the high school experience from a student point of view. The author profiles five students attending a high school much like our own with “caring teachers, innovative programs, and strong leadership.” Clark Pope is a veteran teacher and curriculum expert who lectures at Stanford University. For the book, she shadowed students identified by administrators as the most successful. She learns that their priorities, values, and intellectual curiosity are being compromised by an education system and parents who define success too narrowly.
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What resources are available for students seeking college scholarships?

I asked Melanie Coffman, college adviser and counselor at Barrington High School,
and Julie Kerr, guidance resource coordinator.

However well student achieve, they are going to need financial help to get through college. Its not like it was years ago, when ambitious students found jobs and took out loans to pay their own way. The loans are not available to cover the escalating cost of attending four-year colleges.
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What role does the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce
play in supporting the vitality of our business community?

I asked Brad Stetson, chief executiveof Barrington Bank &
Trust and 2009 chairman of the Chamber.

Business climates change and so does the board at the Chamber of Commerce. Brad Stetson is beginning his term as chairman looking for answers from questions such as: What can we do collectively to improve our business environment? What are the needs of our business community? How
can the Chamber help?
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What are the five most important job search skills
everyone should master?

We asked Jim Zalesky, president and job search adviser
at the Barrington Career Center.

With the average management position lasting only two to three years and a shaky economy causing income interruptions, job search skills may be as important as career training when it comes to protecting your professional future.
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How can I lower my electric bill cost?

We asked a heating and cooling professional and a
renewable energy enthusiast home owner.

Tis the season to keep your spirits up and your electric bill down. The Farmers’ Almanac predicts a “frigid, wet, wild, and snowy” winter season for the Great Lakes region this year. An unusual abundance of acorns and thick corn husks are just some of the signs used to predict a harsh winter, as well as early departures of geese and ducks. Predictable patterns of winter also include escalating electric bills.
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Which Barrington area community recycles the most and
where does all that stuff go?

We asked Frank Hillegonds at Groot and Bill Plunkett at Waste Management.

Barrington area villages contract with a waste management company to collect garbage and recyclables weekly. Frank Hillegonds, Groot’s municipal affairs manager, reports that Barrington residents outpace those in South Barrington, Barrington Hills, and Deer Park, making them the biggest area recyclers amongst those serviced by Groot. Described as “above average,” Barrington residents recycled a total of 1,827 tons of material during 2007. With 39,348 households, that means almost 92 pounds per month per household. The highest collection month was November followed by June.
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Which is the longest golf course hole nearby?

We surveyed Barrington area golf courses to find out.

The sun is bright and waving trees line the fairway on the fi rst hole at Barrington Hills Country Club. Stretching 595 yards, it is the longest golf hole in the area. The Club’s golf pro Mark Esler (shown below) is kind enough to share his strategies for playing the hole. Esler says that on a day like this a great golfer can reach the green in two strokes. The downwind offers an advantage by hurling the ball farther than usual. The fi rst hole at Barrington Hills is a par fi ve. “At the tee, there are two goals: get over the bunkers (sand traps) on the left and stay out of the rough. The rough is a killer,” he says. “You need a ‘rescue club’ to get out of it.” To pass the bunkers, we need to hit the ball straight about 200 yards off the tee.
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What’s the most popular flower arrangement sold in
Barrington for Mother’s Day?

We asked Liz Bremner, owner of the Fresh Flower Market on Main Street,
and Glen Egeland, owner of the Barrington Flower Shop on Cook Street.

“A mixed spring bouquet with seasonal, pastel-colored flowers such as phlox, lilies, or tulips is a popular choice,” says Liz. “Red or pink roses are also a favorite.” Glen agrees and adds iris to the list. Liz buys her roses from South America, bulbs from Holland, orchids from New Zealand, and other varieties from Kenya, Central America, and California. Some flowers come from as close by as Wisconsin and nearby farms.
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How is it decided what books are purchased for the
Barrington Area Library?

We asked library director Barbara Sugden, who will be retiring in
June after 33 years of service to our community.

“New books appear on the shelves throughout the year,” says Barbara Sudgen of the Barrington Area Library. In fact, the library added nearly 20,000 books to its collection last year. The professional librarians and department heads make recommendations based on their reading of book reviews and other periodicals targeted to libraries.
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What are Barrington residents doing to support U.S.
troops in Afghanistan and Iraq?

We asked Shelley May, who’s offering an easy way to send gifts from home.

Some might think the time for giving is over. Not Shelley May. She and her husband, Norman, recently transported 279 pounds of goods collected in Barrington to a warehouse in Naperville for shipment overseas to U.S. troops. They joined other volunteers boxing and sorting the food, comics, and letters from a 13-year-old boy named Spencer. Shelley calls it “gifts from home.” While at the warehouse she didn’t talk much. She listened. “Some of the volunteers had served in a previous war, and one woman said her son was on his third deployment. Nearly all of them know someone who is serving,” she says.
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