Alert to homeowners, Household chemical waste collection, and More

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October 25, 2017

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Board to Consider 2018 Proposed Budget

The County Board is deliberating over the proposed FY2018 budget at a series of meetings, which began Oct. 24 and continue today. The budget hearings will be webcast and archived on

The proposed budget is balanced and sustainable. At the budget hearings, board members will carefully review the budget, ask questions, and may propose changes. The final budget will be adopted in November.

The proposed budget continues to maintain our core services and invests in both our physical and technological infrastructure. Lake County remains fiscally stable primarily due to the county board’s focus on strategic, data-driven decision-making, and the board’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Alert to Lake County Homeowners

Lake County homeowners have been receiving letters from two companies regarding the deed to their homes. The letters look official and threatening, but the true purpose of the mailing is to get you to spend your money with a fake company. Watch this video to learn how to protect yourself. If you have any questions or need a copy of your deed, contact the Lake County Recorder of Deeds Office at 847-377-2575.

Scam Recorder of Deeds Office

Protect Your Home with Property Check

property check

The Lake County Recorder of Deeds Office provides a tool for homeowners to help protect their biggest investment. Property Check is a free, easy-to-use, 24/7 online service that will alert subscribers, via email and/or text message, whenever a document is recorded against their name and/or property. The sign-up process only takes a few minutes. Once you enter your name notification criteria, you will only need to update your account information if your email address or cell phone number changes. Sign up!

Grace Period to Apply for Physical Property Damage Loans


In September, Governor Bruce Rauner sent a request to the President of the United States asking that he approve federal assistance to help people in the northern Illinois region, including Lake County, recover from the record flooding and severe storms. Lake County has not received a response to this request.

The Small Business Association (SBA) has announced a 15-day grace period for Lake County residents impacted by the July 2017 floods to apply for low-interest, physical damage loans. The filing deadline is now Nov. 1, 2017. Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. For more information on eligibility, loan amounts, and other requirements, please view this SBA Fact Sheet.

The deadline to apply for Economic Injury loans, such as loans to assist small businesses and non-profits through the recovery period, is May 16, 2018

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) on the SBA’s website at

Disaster loan information and applications may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing

Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead! You Can

emergency alerts

The flooding, which impacted Lake County this past summer as well as hurricanes impacting many parts of the country all remind us of the importance of coming together as a family and community to prepare. Lake County has a variety of resources to help you prepare for an emergency. Alert Lake County is your emergency preparedness resource, and watch this video for tips to get emergency alerts

Happy Halloween!

Whether your child will be a ghost, a goblin, a clown, or princess, get ready because it’s time for Halloween in Lake County! View the trick-or-treat hours for your area. 

trick or treat

Turn in Your Unused, Expired Medications for Safe Disposal

drug disposal

Turn in your unused or expired medications as the Lake County Sheriff's Office partners with the DEA for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Collection sites will be put in place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 at the following locations:

  • Barrington Police Department, 400 N. Northwest Highway
  • Village of Beach Park, 11270 W Wadsworth Road, Beach Park
  • Long Grove Fire Protection District, 1165 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove

Items that will be accepted are: expired solid prescription drugs, unwanted and unused prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs (pills), and controlled and non-controlled substances. Syringes, injectable drugs, IV solutions and liquid products will not be accepted. The service is free and anonymous.

Remember, you can dispose unused prescriptions or over-the-counter medications safely any time at prescription drug disposal boxes across the county. View the list of locations.

Red Ribbon Week

red ribbon

Preventing drug use among youth is a constant battle that communities must fight. Lake County joins the nation to observe Red Ribbon Week, which continues through Oct. 31 and its commitment to promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. To help, the County offers resources to help schools and parents address this important issue. Learn more

Protect Yourself Against the Flu. Get Your Flu Shot

Protect yourself and fight the flu by getting a flu shot. The Lake County Health Department offers the flu vaccine by appointment at the Immunizations Clinic, 2303 Dodge Ave., Waukegan. Learn more, including cost. Retail clinics, pharmacies, and individual healthcare providers also provide flu shots. Visit the Flu Vaccine Finder to find a convenient location.

flu vaccine awareness late fall

Surplus Equipment Auction Oct. 28

surplus equipment auction

Police cars, vans, SUVs, trailers, plows and other surplus equipment from local municipalities and government agencies will be at the Lake County Vehicle and Equipment Auction.

The auction will also include unclaimed property found in forest preserves throughout Lake County such as bicycles, clothing, electronics, and other assorted items in the possession of the Lake County Forest Preserve Ranger Police DepartmentAll items will be sold as-is. View a complete list of the items.

When: 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28
Where: Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 E. Peterson Road, Grayslake 

Lake County Board Approves Sustainability Contract

sustainable lake county

Lake County is committed to promoting a sustainable environment, and we have several initiatives and projects underway to make progress toward this strategic goal and core value. Recently, the Lake County Board approved a contract with a professional consulting firm that provides expertise in sustainability that will help advance specific tasks over the next year. They include: grant opportunities, energy audits for selected County facilities, a waste reduction program/food scrap collection (composting) pilot program at the Lake County Jail, and completion of a baseline carbon footprint for Lake County. Visit our Sustainable Lake County website to find out ways you can help promote sustainability!  


Don’t Throw Out Your Pumpkin! Drop It Off to be Composted
Drop off your pumpkin at a free compost dumpster between 9 a.m. and noon Nov. 4 at the Gurnee Village Hall parking lot, 325 N. O’Plaine Road. Any pumpkins, gourds and other organics can be included. Please remove candles, yarn, plastic or other decorations before dropping off your pumpkin. Learn more



Household Chemical Waste Collection in Mundelein
The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County will hold its next household chemical waste collection from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Mundelein Metra train station, 205 N. Archer Ave. Year-round HCW collections also are offered the second Saturday and fourth Monday of every month, by appointment only, at the Gurnee facility. These collections are open to Illinois residents only. View accepted items


hcw collection
eclipse glasses

Donate Your Eclipse Glasses
Do you still have the glasses you used to view the solar eclipse? Don’t throw them away! Bring glasses to one of four locations across Lake County now through Nov. 11 as the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County is working with Astronomers Without Borders to bring these glasses and provide a first-hand science experience for schools in developing countries. Please do not donate scratched, broken or torn glasses.

Lake County’s Dirty Jobs: Working to Improve Water Quality

Dirty Jobs water quality

Did you know Lake County roadways have storm sewer vortexes that act as filters for road grime, oil and other debris and help improve water quality? Watch our latest Lake County’s Dirty Jobs as County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor comes to Hawthorn Woods to clean out a vortex structure using a sewer truck on Old McHenry Road, east of Quentin Road.

Lake County Working to Improve Air Quality

LCDOT video air quality

Did you know that roundabouts, bike paths and smart traffic signals not only can help lead to less traffic and better fuel consumption but also help improve air quality? Watch this video as representatives from the Lake County Division of Transportation explain how.

Water System Inspections

water quality report

The Lake County Public Works Department is responsible for making sure we have a safe and sustainable source of drinking water. One important step in this process is the inspection of our water systems. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) inspects the County’s water systems every three years and reviews each system for technical, financial and general management. 

The Grandwood Park and Wildwood water systems were inspected earlier this year with no violations, and the Countryside Lake system is being inspected this October. In 2018, IEPA will be inspecting the Pekara, Hawthorn Woods, Fox Lake Hills and Forest Lake water systems. In addition to the inspections, Public Works also publishes an annual Water Quality Report with information on the sources, treatment and chemical analysis of each water distribution system.  To learn more, visit the Lake County Public Works website

Lake County Increases Minimum Legal Sales Age for Tobacco Products to 21 in Unincorporated Areas

Tobacco 21 ordinance

The County Board has approved an ordinance to increase the minimum legal sales age to purchase tobacco products to 21 in unincorporated Lake County, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Lake County is the first county in Illinois to raise the minimum legal sales age to 21 in unincorporated areas. To date, five Lake County communities including Deerfield, Highland Park, Lincolnshire, Vernon Hills, and Buffalo Grove are among 11 municipalities in the state of Illinois to adopt Tobacco 21 ordinances. 

Following the board's action, County Board Member Steve Carlson spoke about what this ordinance can do to help protect the health of the County's youth. Watch now.

Tobacco use continues to be the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States and is responsible for 480,000 deaths annually. In Illinois, 6,300 youth become new daily smokers each year. The Lake County Health Department provides FREE one-on-one and group counseling with a certified tobacco treatment specialist for adults looking to quit smoking or other their tobacco use. Learn more

Transportation News

County Update Pace Bus Services

Lake County Update - Pace Bus Services
Improving transportation is a top strategic goal for the Lake County Board, which includes working with our transit partners like Pace suburban bus service to provide services that meet the needs of our residents and our workforce. In this edition of Lake County Update, Linda Soto, Lake County’s representative on the Pace Board of Directors, talks about the fixed Pace routes in Lake County, Paratransit, the Shuttle Bug program, and new programs being rolled out elsewhere in the region that may make their way to Lake County, including Park-n-Ride and new Flex Lanes where express buses can move onto the shoulder of the Tollway when traffic is congested.

Washington Street Thoroughfare Project Comes to an End
Local officials gathered to celebrate the completion of the Washington Street Thoroughfare Project in central Lake County. The $53 million project included reconstructing and widening Washington Street as well as providing a grade separation by lowering Washington Street under the CN/Metra railroad tracks. Watch this video to learn more.

Washington Street complete

Be the Voice to Stop Suicide

crisis care hotline

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 24 nationwide. By understanding and knowing the warning signs, we can bring hope to those affected by suicide and change the conversation.   

Lake County is committed to helping its residents maintain their mental health and well-being, creating the Mental Health Coalition in 2016 to address the mental health crisis. Those needing crisis care and mental health assistance can use the following services 24/7.

  • Individuals can speak anonymously to counselors 24 hours a day and get help by contacting the crisis call center at 847-377-8088. Information and referrals to Lake County Health Department programs are available.
  • Text-A-Tip is a 24/7 anonymous text-communication system for youth needing immediate mental health assistance for themselves or a friend. Download the Lake County Help app, available at the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Within the app, select the 24-7 Text-A-Tip hotline where you will send a message to a dedicated number and receive an immediate response from a licensed clinician while remaining anonymous. 

Youth Gain Valuable Work Experience

The 2017 Lake County Summer Youth Employment Program recently wrapped up another exciting summer as more than 200 youth gained meaningful work experience while earning a paycheck. Funded by the Lake County Board, the program matches youth with local worksites that offer a paid, part-time work experience. Learn more about the Summer Youth Employment Program.

Summer Youth Employment Program 2017

Walk-in Permit Applications Drop-off Time Changes

permit application hours change

The hours of operation for receiving walk-in applications at the permit counter at the Lake County Central Permit Facility have changed and are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This change applies to all walk-in permit applications for the Health Department, Planning, Building and Development, Public Works, the Division of Transportation, and the Stormwater Management Commission. The Central Permit Facility, however, will be open at 7:30 a.m. and will close at 4:30 p.m., so residents can still drop off applications or paperwork if the permit counter is not staffed. 

The implementation of a new County-wide permitting system has expanded the number and types of permit applications that customers can submit online, reducing the need for people to visit our permit counter. Customers can now create an account to submit and pay for many permit applications electronically and review the status of their applications and inspections online. We analyzed traffic at our public counters and found that less than 5% of permit applications take place before 8 a.m. or after 4 p.m.  Adjusting the hours slightly will allow us to staff our public counters more efficiently, while still meeting the needs of our Lake County customers. For information, please visit the Planning, Building and Development website.

Sheriff's Office News

‘Live PD’ Visits Lake County
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office recently participated in the A&E Network’s “Live PD” show, which followed Sheriff’s deputies as they gave an inside look at the many responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Office and the calls deputies respond. Watch this video to learn more about how the Sheriff’s Office helps keep Lake County safe.

Live PD playbutton
veterans coat drive 2017

Help Give the Gift of Warmth to Veterans
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Veterans Assistance Commission, several local law enforcement agencies, and local high schools to collect coats and outerwear for the Lake County Law Enforcement Veteran's Coat Drive. Donations will be taken now through Nov. 8 at County offices and police departments across the county. View donation locations

Kids’ Korner Celebrates Caring for 50,000 Children

Kids Korner 50,000

The Kids’ Korner at the Lake County Courthouse recently marked a milestone, caring for 50,000 children. The Kids’ Korner provides a safe and fun waiting area for children who are visiting the courthouse to testify or whose parents or guardians are conducting court business. Watch this video to learn more.

Passport Process Made Easy

passport summary

Did you know you can apply for a new passport or renewal at the Lake County Circuit Clerk's Office without an appointment? You can even get your passport picture taken. Watch this video, available in English and Spanish to learn about the passport services provided.

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Forest Preserve News

Hike Lake County

Hike Lake County Challenge
Enjoy fall breezes and autumn colors while exploring designated “Hike Lake County” trails. Complete just seven of the hikes by Nov. 30 to earn a commemorative shield. View this year’s hike locations here.

LCFPD interactive trail map

New Interactive Trail Map
Did you hear that? The preserves are calling your name. Find your next adventure with the new Interactive Trail Map. This easy-to-use map will help you locate trails, preserves, activities and amenities from your phone, tablet or computer. Start exploring today.


shelter rental

Shelter Update
Plan early for your family reunion, company picnic or other group gathering to ensure your first choice of shelter and date. Reservations for 2018 picnic shelter rentals are now being accepted. Purchase permits online, by phone, or in person.


Spring Bluff Project Includes New Trail and Habitat Restoration
Thanks to an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 0.7 miles of new trail will be developed at 229-acre Spring Bluff Forest Preserve in Winthrop Harbor, converting an existing asphalt roadway to a recreational trail. The new trail will connect to existing trails at adjacent Illinois Beach State Park via the 7th Street bike lanes.  The project also includes building a wildlife education and observation deck and completing habitat restoration work within the preserve. Spring Bluff is primarily wetlands with oak savanna and prairie. 

The land being restored is part of a greater ecological complex that supports multiple natural landmarks, including the recent designation as a RAMSAR Wetland of International Importance, nine endangered plant and animal species, and 114 bird species. The expected project completion is late 2018View map


Ethel's Woods

Grants Received for Conservation Projects

  • Ethel’s Woods Forest Preserve: A $1 million Clean Water Act grant was received from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for work underway at Ethel’s Woods in Antioch. The grant will fund ecological restoration of the historical North Mill Creek riparian corridor.

  • Lake Michigan Lake Plain: A $1 million grant from the Sustain Our Great Lakes Partnership will help support continued restoration efforts for the Lake Plain project in northeastern Lake County. The grant, administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, will be used by the Lake County Forest Preserves and the Chiwaukee Prairie Illinois Beach Lake Plain Partnership to restore connected habitat key to sustaining and enhancing the biodiversity of the rare Lake Michigan Lake Plain ecosystem, which is part of the Great Lakes basin. The project will restore critical blocks of land through invasive plant and prescribed burn management strategies to increase acreage of connected quality habitat for the Blanding’s turtle and other federal and state-listed species of concern. Learn more

gateway grants

Gateways Grants Open the Door for Schools 
As budgets shrink, field trips are increasingly out of reach for Lake County schools, especially in low-income communities. Since 1991, Gateways Grants have made field trips possible for tens of thousands of students. They benefit from “school” in outdoor and museum settings, where learning is experiential and profound. School districts with a low-income population of 40 percent or more are eligible. Gateways Grants cover program fees and provide a bus stipend. Donations fully fund this program. Our goal is to raise $5,000 in Gateways Grants by the start of the school year. Help make field trips possible.


lcfpd strategic plan

Strategic Plan Update
In 2015, the Chiwaukee Prairie Illinois Beach Lake Plain (Lake Plain) was designated a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty for protection of exemplary wetland systems around the world. In June, the Lake Plain received added recognition by the Society of Wetland Scientists as a Wetland of Distinction. This publicly and privately protected ecosystem connects 14 different community types along Lake Michigan in southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois. Our partnership in this restoration project supports two of five strategic directions to help us achieve our 100-year Vision for Lake County. Learn more


Preservation Foundation Helps Fund Ranger Training
Lake County Forest Preserve Ranger Police patrol 10 percent of the land in Lake County, making ours the second largest jurisdiction. As part of their work, rangers often encounter people with emotional, cognitive, and mental health challenges. The Preservation Foundation’s Board of Directors recently approved a grant for Crisis Intervention Training to provide all full-time rangers with skills to deescalate interactions with people in crisis and connect them with health services. This specialized training will directly improve public safety in your forest preserves. Learn more about how you can stay safe in the preserves with these safety alerts and tips.

Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve

Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve to Undergo Improvement
Set in the midst of bustling suburbs, this emerald island offers a quiet place to relax and recreate with nature. Its wide-open spaces are safe, clean and easy to explore. Four miles of gravel trails are open to hikers, bicyclists and cross-country skiers. Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. The trails run through open areas within the preserve, crossing several creeks, skirting the reservoir and traversing restored prairie.

Within the next year, Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve will be undergoing reservoir expansion, preserve improvements, wetland mitigation and new trail construction. Visitors will enjoy 1.2 miles of additional trails that will provide two new loops east of Schaeffer Road, seven new boardwalks, two scenic overlooks and a 30-car expansion of the existing parking lot. Approximately a half-mile of the existing trail in a flood prone area will be relocated to higher ground to increase accessibility for longer periods and reduce long-term maintenance costs. Nineteen acres of new wetlands and 35 acres of prairie/savanna will be added as part of the restoration of the basin.

As part of a wetland mitigation bank, additional restoration work on the preserve’s western 65 acres will reestablish and rehabilitate native wetland habitat by returning the former farm fields to a sustainable natural condition. When complete, visitors of the preserve will be able to enjoy an additional 1.1 miles of new trails connecting an adjacent residential area and the Village of Long Grove’s soccer fields to the extensive network of existing trails within the preserve. View concept plans and project details. 

Middlefork Savanna Sept 2017

Bridge Connects Middlefork Savanna to Local Trails, Parks
At around 1:30 am on Sept. 9, the Lake County Forest Preserves began installing a 221-foot steel pedestrian bridge over the Metra Railway to connect trails at Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve to Lake Forest Academy and Townline Community Park. Watch video of installation. Other project elements include a scenic overlook, 10-foot-wide paved trails, and crosswalk improvements at the intersection of IL Route 60 and Academy Drive. View project map. This project is part of a larger effort to connect Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve and the Middlefork Trail and Greenway to the Des Plaines River Trail at MacArthur Woods Forest Preserve in Mettawa.

Middlefork Savanna

The Lake County Forest Preserves is pleased to be working with the following partners and donors to make this project possible: City of Lake Forest, Lake Forest Academy, Lake Forest Bank & Trust, Lake Forest Open Lands Association, and Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein. The Forest Preserve is the lead agency responsible for administration and coordination of the project and 60 percent of the local funding for construction costs. The Forest Preserve also secured federal funding for the project through a grant from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Learn more


Nippersink Forest Preserve

Connecting Trails: Nippersink Forest Preserve
Previously a seasonal retreat for camping and recreational vehicles, this preserve is now a year-round haven for people and wildlife. Visitors enjoy trails, picnicking, birdwatching, and nature observation. Century-old oak trees that rise above two scenic lakes, woodlands, wetlands and marshes offer plentiful habitat for wildlife. Extensive shoreline restoration efforts and improved fish habitats make Nippersink a great place to fish. Anglers can fish from shore or from two wheelchair accessible fishing piers.

The Lake County Division of Transportation is constructing a new multi-use path along Cedar Lake Road that will connect existing trails at Nippersink to the new path. This trail connection is part of LCDOT's project to reconstruct Cedar Lake Road from Route 120 to Nippersink Road. Completion of the entire project is expected by the end of 2018. View closure mapLearn more

Look Out for Deer!

Drivers are reminded to be cautious of deer during the fall breeding season. Deer will be more active and visible throughout the state, especially at dusk and dawn.  The risk for crashes involving deer greatly increases from October through December. Follow these safety tips.



Lake County Honors Students for Attendance

More than 96,000 Lake County students from 142 schools participated in this year’s Fall Attendance Competition. The top 10 schools in weekly attendance rate recently were honored by the Lake County Regional Office of Education. Watch this video to learn more about the competition.

2017 Attendance Week

Get Financial Aid Guidance at Free Workshops

financial aid workshop revised

College students and their parents can get help applying for college financial aid by attending a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) workshop offered now through February 2018 at locations across Lake County. View the full schedule in English and Spanish. At these free workshops, staff will help you complete and file your FAFSA online. The FAFSA must be filled out for students to be considered for state and federal financial aid, and many colleges and universities rely on FAFSA data to determine eligibility for the institution’s own financial aid funds.  Learn more, including what documents to bring to the session.


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