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Day in the District: Palatine

On April 17, Commissioner Britton enjoyed a Day in the District in the Village of Palatine.

With travel largely put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cook County Forest Preserves and the municipalities that surround them create the perfect staycation.

In honor of Earth Month, Commissioner Britton started the day volunteering at Deer Grove West. Led by steward Pete Jackson, and in keeping with COVID-19 safety guidelines, a small but mighty group of volunteers took up hand saws and loppers to clear invasive buckthorn.

The workday activities were followed by a guided tour of Deer Grove West to admire restoration work that has already been completed. Commissioner Britton was joined by Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Steve Gaus, League of Women Voters member Renee Gladstone, and environmentalist Henrietta Saunders.

During the tour, Commissioner Britton saw first-hand how controlled burns work in this preserve. Controlled burns are common and necessary, as it gives way to healthy vegetation found beneath leaf debris. You can learn more about this practice here. As a result of the controlled burns, wildflower blooms have sprung and hyacinth blooms are about two to three weeks away. Trails can be used by hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and leashed dogs.

After saying goodbye to the stewards of Deer Grove West, the next leg of the Palatine Day in the District took Commissioner Britton and Team 14 to downtown Palatine, where he spoke with the owners of Cook, Cork and Fork. Opened by John and Mica Mahler in 2015, Cook, Cork & Fork offers handy tools for kitchens as well as cooking classes for children and adults. While COVID-19 did put a strain on the day-to-day operations of the business, the Mahlers were able to apply for PPP loans and shift to smaller class sizes to keep their doors open. For anyone looking to purchase a unique kitchen gift for the gourmand in their life, Cook, Cork & Fork is a must.

The next business to be visited by Commissioner Britton and Team 14 was The Music Room. Relocating to its current location in 2005, the Music Room boasts 10,000 square feet of retail, studio, and performance space. Nearly 500 students call this storefront their musical home! A testament to the experience they provide, the Music Room was recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) as one of the Top 100 Music Retailers in the nation in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

The tour of downtown Palatine concluded with a visit to an old favorite – Christie’s Dairy Delights N' Coffee House. Commissioner Britton and Team 14 first had the pleasure of meeting owner, Chandini Duvvuri, back in September for the chamber's Explore Palatine event. Located right across the street from the Metra, Christie’s has coffee, ice cream, scones, and more.

After a quick pick me up, Commissioner Britton and Team 14 headed to Jelly Café’s Palatine location for lunch. There, Commissioner Britton caught up with owner Billy Kretsch who spoke to the hope he has as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. With indoor dining reopened, albeit at a smaller capacity, and takeout orders continuing to come in, Billy is optimistic about the future of Jelly Cafe. Serving breakfast and lunch (and amazing beignets with jelly!) Jelly Cafe has something for everyone.

Inspired by our Day in the District? Plan your own:

Take a look at more great pictures from the day:

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