Lake County News: September 2016

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Sandy Hart, District 13

September 30, 2016

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Dear Neighbor,

I hope this email finds you well and enjoying (?!) the fall weather.  Thank you to those of you who have contacted me regarding the videotaping of our Finance & Administrative meetings; I am glad that you have found the videos informative!  Please remember that the 2017 budget meetings are on October 18 and 19. Departments will review 2016 and talk about plans for the upcoming year.  

I am happy to announce two exciting things taking place here in Lake County: a partnership with Walgreens for Prescription Drug Disposal Boxes, and increased funding for Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for our officers.   

In Lake County, we collect several tons of medications at participating police stations, and it can be difficult for smaller departments to find secure locations to keep it.  Getting unwanted pharmaceuticals out of our homes and our environment is important to all of us and should be a shared responsibility.  Water treatment plants cannot remove all of these medications, and it is vitally important to our environment, and community safety, that they are disposed of properly.  I am grateful to Walgreens for partnering with the Lake County Opioid Initiative (LCOI) and police departments on their national rollout of 500 prescription drug disposal boxes and for their generous contribution to the LCOI so that we can continue our work saving lives and connecting people with treatment.  Walgreens commitment to social responsibility and environmental sustainability is obvious!  It is my hope that others will soon follow suit.  See the whole video, or watch a quick clip.

Today we learned that Lake County received a grant for $250,000 to train more of our officers so that they can safely manage encounters with people living with severe mental illness.  Studies show that communities with CIT officers save money; have far fewer violence-related incidents; and improves officer safety.  Our goal is to train 100% of our officers, and we are well on our way through a partnership with College of Lake County and this Bureau of Justice Assistance grant.  Thank you to Undersheriff Rose who has been an outspoken advocate on this initiative.

On the lighter side of things, don't miss RibFest in Lake Bluff on Saturday, October 1 at the gazebo!  Food will be served at approximately 12:00pm, and judging begins at around 3:00pm.  While the event is free, all donations received for People's Choice Awards (and others) go to Beef4Hunger, a non-profit delivering fresh beef to food banks.

On September 17 I attended the Gurnee Craft Beer Festival at Gurnee Mills.  All proceeds from this successful event went to Gurnee American Legion Post 771 and  Lake County Honor Flight, a program that provides transportation and lodging for WWII and Korean War veterans to visit Washington DC.  If you would like to welcome our veterans home from their trip, join us at Veterans Memorial Park on October 9, 5:30pm in North Chicago.  It is an incredibly moving experience and a privilege to greet and thank our veterans in person.

As always, it is an honor to represent you on the Lake County and Forest Preserve Boards.  Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions.

Sandy Hart Signature

Election Update: You Cannot Register to Vote on Election Day
This week the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois responded to a federal lawsuit that challenged the Illinois law allowing counties with a population of 100,000 or more to conduct registration (along with voting) in every precinct polling site on Election Day.  The Court ruled that this created a two-tiered system impacting the fundamental right to vote, favoring those individuals who live in more densely populated counties.  The Illinois Attorney Generals' Office has filed an appeal.  If the injunction is removed, people will be able to register and vote at all Election Day voting sites on Tuesday, November 8. 

What does this mean to you?  As of today, you cannot register to vote on Election Day.  However, you can register to vote online OR you can register and vote at all Early Voting Locations (hours and dates vary) through November 7 (the day before Election Day).  

For ballot information, voter registration and voting options in the upcoming election, please visit the County Clerk's Office Election Page

Important Info for Property Owners about Your 2016 Assessments
I have heard from several residents about their 2016 property assessment increase. This is an extremely complex issue, and Lake County Board members had many questions as well.  The Chief County Assessment Officer recently gave an explanation of the assessment process, and specifically the equalization process, to the county board.  Watch the discussion now.  To learn more, visit, or call 847-377-2050 to speak with a taxpayer advocate.  

Learn About Criminal Scams, Security and More at Senior Law Day
On October 14, 1:00-3:00pm, Lake County senior citizens are invited to attend Senior Law Day, an educational forum at the Park City Branch Court, 301 South Greenleaf Street in Park City. Participants will learn elder law; how to avoid criminal scams; staying safe in your home and online; and jury duty.  Learn more


Five Ways to Spot a Phone Scam
There is a significant increase in phone calls made to residents by people claiming to be Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The callers indicate that they are looking for payment and stating that if payments are not made, the taxpayer will be arrested.  How to tell if this is a scam:

  • The IRS will NOT call you about taxes without first mailing you an official notice
  • The IRS will NOT ask you for checking, debit, or credit card numbers.
  • The IRS will NOT require you to use a specific means of payment
  • The IRS will NOT demand that you pay monies without giving you an opportunity to question or appeal the amount.
  • The IRS will NOT threaten to have you arrested for non-payment.

New State Law Opens Door for Government Consolidation
The governor recently signed legislation giving Lake and McHenry County the authority to consolidate and dissolve units of local government. This legislative change helps us build on our consolidation efforts to improve efficiency of government services and alleviate tax burdens on residents.  Lake County and many municipalities already partner on several services, including plan review, inspections, and police.  We are also looking at the feasibility of consolidating 911 emergency dispatch centers in the region.  The new law is a step toward reducing the more than 7,000 units of government in Illinois, which is more than any state in the nation.

capital improvements project web portal

Government Transparency: Capital Projects
Lake County Government is investing in various improvement projects across the county – including road, water/sewer, stormwater projects and facility expansion projects, such as the new court tower in Waukegan. To increase transparency for our residents, we’ve developed the easy-to-use Lake County Capital Improvement Projects web portal.  You can view the project, get some details, and in many instances be linked to the website for more information.


Hawkfest! October 14 - 15   
See the fall hawk migration and live raptors at Hawkfest, held at Lake Forest College and Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve! There will be free bird walks, photography workshops, birding presentations and more.

Friday, Oct. 14:  Hawkfest dinner and presentation at   Lake Forest College (space limited, registration required) 

Saturday, Oct. 15Hawkfest from 1:30-4:00pm at Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve.  Join official raptor counters as they scan the skies and share their tips for identification. Help spot migrating raptors, and visit bird education stations to learn about raptor adaptations, the amazing world of woodpeckers, and waterfowl identification on Lake Michigan. The event is free and open to all ages. Learn more

A one-year old bald eagle has soared its way to the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest and is available for visits. The eagle weighs between eight and 10 pounds, is about two-and-a-half feet tall and has a wing span of six to seven feet. Visiting time is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Take the Des Plaines River Trail Challenge
Travel the entire 31.4 miles of the Des Plaines River Trail (DPRT) by Nov. 30 and be rewarded. The final section of the DPRT was completed in 2015 and now spans the length of the county. Help celebrate this amazing gem by using it. Bike it. Boat it. Walk it or run it. Or, you can make a donation to help the Forest Preserves keep it clean and safe. Learn more

Des Plaines River Trail

Take a  Virtual Tour of the New Courthouse Project
The new Lake County Courthouse will be eight stories tall and is expected to be completed in spring 2018. This expansion is designed to help increase efficiency of the justice system and help the county prepare for population growth. Watch this video to take a tour, and see the progress being made on the expansion project.

courthouse expansion

Flooded home

Unincorporated Residents May Get Discount on Flood Insurance
Residents in unincorporated Lake County may be able to save up to 20% on flood insurance policies. Lake County is re-certified each year through FEMA based on our floodplain and building code regulations and community information and education. With this rating, there is a potential savings of up to $257 per policy. Visit the County’s flood information page to determine if you are located in a floodplain and learn more about floodplain regulations. To see if you qualify, contact your flood insurance agent.

Opioid Initiative

A Way Out seeks to end destructive cycle of substance abuse
Individuals who have trouble with substance abuse but don’t know where to turn for help should know there is A Way Out. A Way Out is a Lake County pilot program, developed by the Lake County Opioid Initiative that is designed to fast track users to substance abuse programs and services. Individuals, who may be in possession of narcotics or paraphernalia can come into one of the participating police departments across the county 24/7 and will not face criminal charges as long as assistance is sought. Since the program’s start on June 1, 2016, 29 people have been assisted. Visit the A Way Out website to learn more. 

Jail and Health Department Work to Break Cycle of Addiction
The Lake County Jail and Health Department have launched a new treatment option to help opioid or alcohol addicted inmates in the Lake County Jail. Those eligible will begin receiving addiction treatment services through the Health Department in the jail and after they are released. The Health Department has committed to treating 15 inmates over the next six months. The initiative is part of the Health Department’s newly expanded Medication-Assisted Treatment program, which recently received a grant of $325,000 from the Health Resources and Services Administration. Read news release



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