Walgreens New Drug Disposal Boxes and an update on gambling in Lake County

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Sandy Hart, District 13

February 9, 2016

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Walgreens Disposal

I am so excited and proud to announce that Walgreens will install prescription drug disposal boxes in 500 stores across 39 states!  Last year State's Attorney Mike Nerheim and I met with Walgreens to request that they consider adding these boxes to their stores for the following reasons:

  • An estimated 10-33% of prescribed meds go unused
  • 70% of people who abuse prescription meds get them from a friend or family member
  • Accidental opioid overdoses has quadrupled since 1999 and outnumbers heroin and cocaine combined
  • Access to opioids in the home can lead to abuse by teens, and accidental overdoses by children and elderly
  • Improper disposal of pharmaceuticals pollutes our water and our land.  
  • Take Back Days aren’t enough: People stockpile prescriptions in their homes for a one day/year event.
  • While people can bring them to police stations, it's an added inconvenience.  Under this current model, the cost to dispose of these unwanted pharmaceuticals is borne by the taxpayer, since the collection and destruction has been overseen by government agencies.

I expressed that this would be good for Walgreens too:

  • It fits with their mission of social responsibility and environmental sustainability
  • It drives traffic to their stores with an additional visit
  • It creates increased customer loyalty due to commitment to employees, community, and the environment

  I am tremendously grateful to Walgreens for being a leader and a partner in our communities and that Lake County was recognized as an important ally in this initiative.  This move makes the disposal of medications — including opioids and other controlled substances — easier and more convenient while helping to reduce the misuse of medications and the rise in overdose deaths.

Video Gambling in Lake County

Recently a few people have asked about how the new gaming rules (allowing video poker in the unincorporated area) has impacted Lake County.  As you may know, I remain vehemently opposed to video gaming as I believe the negative impact to the community far outweigh the revenue.  Some key takeaways about gaming in Waukegan, North Chicago, and the unincorporated areas of Lake County:

  • $4,484,533 was lost* in video gaming machines in North Chicago since 9/2012.  The City of North Chicago gets 5% of these revenues, or just $224,227.   
  • In Waukegan and North Chicago combined, over $33,000,000 has been 'lost' in video gaming since September 2012
  • As a result of our county action, over $15,000,000 has been lost in video gaming in the unincorporated areas.  County government has received $750,000 in revenues, which is in a separate fund.  To date, the County Board has approved expenditures for Text-a-Tip, Crisis Intervention Training for our officers, and gambling counseling out of this fund.
  • The more machines added to a community, the greater the losses experienced.  The average 'loss' per machine hovers around $5,000 regardless of machines added.

I have been tracking the growth of video gaming and have attached a graph that I thought might be of interest to you.  All of this data is available through the Illinois Gaming Board.                                                                  *lost=dollars put in machines-dollars won from machines


Don't Get Caught With Expired License Plates!

The Secretary of State’s office will no longer send annual license plate renewal notices.  While this may be a minor inconvenience, this seemingly small change will save Illinois $450,000 per month.  Sign up to receive an an email notification to renew your pates.  Your registration ID and PIN are found on your paper registration form.

Senior Citizens May Qualify for Tax Deferral Program
Senior citizens may defer part or all of their property taxes on their personal residence if they qualify for the Senior Citizens Tax Deferral program​.  

Applications are available at the Lake County Treasurer’s Office, 18 N. County St., Waukegan, and must be notarized and submitted to the Treasurer’s Office by March 1. To learn more about the program, please contact the Treasurer’s Office at 847-377-2323, or visit www.lakecountyil.gov/treasurer

County Meetings and Transparency

Although the full county board meetings are televised every month, there are several committees that meet prior to this final vote.  In committee, there is rich conversation around long- and short-term projects; reports on the health and future of Lake County; new programs and policy changes; and grants and expenditures already included or new to the yearly budget.  While I have advocated that committees should be televised so that the public can stay informed, to date none of these meetings are recorded or televised.  I believe that this simple change serves the extremely important purpose of keeping all residents engaged and knowledgeable about how their taxpayer dollars are spent.  My most recent request was for the full board to consider televising all committee meetings, as is done in local government entities across Lake County.  I will keep you apprised of my progress.  In the meantime, Lake County recently launched a new service where residents can sign up to get meeting notices and agendas sent right to their email. Sign up and select from a list under “Meetings and Agendas.” 


See Rare Shakespeare book FREE at Lake County Discovery Museum, the only location in Illinois

Don't miss your chance to see one of the rarest, most valuable and most influential books in the world––the 1623 Shakespeare First Folio. This once-in-a-lifetime national touring exhibit commemorates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 1616. The exhibit runs through Feb. 28 and thanks to a generous donation, is FREE at the Lake County Discovery Museum  Learn more about this exhibit.


Are you Ready for the Upcoming Election?

There are several ways to register to vote in the upcoming General Primary Election. You can visit one of several Official Places of Voter Registration until Feb. 16; the Lake County Clerk’s Office, 18 N. County St., Room 101, Waukegan, online at LakeCountyClerk.info, or at an Illinois DMV when updating your driver’s license. You must be registered before receiving a ballot. For more information on the upcoming election, including changes in election law and the different ways to vote, watch this video.

LakeVoterPower.info is the one-click source for complete customized voter information, such as confirmation of voter registration; requesting a ballot by mail; directions to early and Election Day voting sites; and viewing a sample ballot.


Opioid initiative spearheads effort to train school nurses to administer Naxolone to students

School nurses can now be trained to administer Naloxone to any student experiencing an overdose without any legal barriers. Naloxone is an antidote to opioid overdose that is administered and blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication. The Lake County Opioid Initiative policy committee helped pass a bill that provides immunity for nurses within schools to have the ability to administer Naloxone. The Lake County Opioid Initiative’s mission is to develop, implement, evaluate and sustain a multi-strategy countywide effort to prevent opioid abuse, addiction, overdose, and death. More information

water quality

What's My Water Quality?  

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has some people thinking more about what comes out of their tap. Lake County Public Works provides water to customers across Lake County. To learn more about what we are doing to protect your local drinking water quality and find out where your water comes from, watch this video. You can also view our annual water quality consumer confidence reports

Attention Youth: Get A Jump on Summer Job Search

Applications are now available for the Lake County Board’s Summer Youth Employment Program, which offers youth the opportunity for a paid, part-time work experience over the summer.  Apply online or at the Lake County Job Center in Waukegan until Feb. 29.  

summer youth

Stormwater Management Commission Offers Eight Internships 

The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) is offering eight internship opportunities this spring, summer and fall to work in the Des Plaines River Watershed. SMC is seeking two interns to collect detention basin inventory data, and six to collect river and stream inventory data. View further details regarding the positions and how to apply


Dispose of Needles Properly!

When medical sharps (lancets, needles and syringes) are not disposed of properly, they could injure family members, trash handlers or others who might come in contact with them. It is now against the law to knowingly mix sharps with materials intended to be recycled by a residential hauler. You can prevent injury by placing sharp objects in a hard-plastic or metal container with a tight screw-on lid and place it in your trash, not recycling, container or bin. Do not use glass or clear plastic containers or put sharp objects in a container that will be used for recycling or returned to a store. Read more to learn about how to safely dispose of sharps.


Get a kit to check radon in your home

Residents are encouraged to check radon levels in their homes or apartments during the winter months. Radon is an odorless and colorless gas and can increase your risk of lung cancer. The Lake County Health Department Community Health Center offers short-term test kits to test levels in your home. Watch Healthy Lake County to learn more about this as well as tips on healthy eating and protecting yourself from hypothermia.

Summer camps early bird discount ends Feb. 15

Sneak some learning into your child’s summer adventures at a Lake County Forest Preserve Summer Camp. Early bird discounts are available through Monday, Feb. 15. Register today

Summer Camp LCFPD

Purchase your annual permit 

Annual permits for use of Lake County Forest Preserve dog parks, horse trails and model aircraft flying field are on sale. Permits are good from time of purchase through Dec. 31. Permits can be purchased online, by calling 847-367-6640, in person at our general offices in Libertyville and Operations and Public Safety Facility in Lindenhurst, or by mail or fax. 

dog park

Adopt an acre or a mile, and keep forest preserves beautiful

The Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves offers Lake County Forest Preserve users the opportunity to help make a difference by adopting an acre of their favorite forest preserve or a mile of their favorite trail. Donations to the Adopt An Acre or Adopt A Mile program support long-term maintenance of the preserves and trails you love. More information

picnic shelter

Make your picnic shelter reservations 

Lake County Forest Preserve picnic shelters and open areas are popular locations for family gatherings, wedding receptions, company picnics and other special events. Plan your 2016 event early to ensure your first choice of shelter and date. Reserve shelters online, by calling 847-367-6640, or in person. 

Sandy Hart Signature



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