Lake County News: September 2017

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September 27, 2017

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Oriole Grove Forest Preserve

Great News! Oriole Grove and Prairie Wolf Now Fully Owned by Lake County Forest Preserves!
This land transfer was made possible by the governor's signing of HB534, which authorized a land exchange between IDNR and the Lake County Forest Preserves. As a result, the Lake County Forest Preserves now has full ownership of the 86-acre Oriole Grove Forest Preserve (Lake Bluff) and 435-acre Prairie Wolf Forest Preserve (Lake Forest), in exchange for the 131-acre Black Crown Forest Preserve (Volo), which will be added to Moraine Hills State Park in McHenry County. The agreement benefits all state and county residents since the land exchange provides that all three parcels will remain as open space in perpetuity. 

The Oriole Grove parcel is an important link between two IDNR protected sites, the Skokie River Prairie Land and Water Reserve to the north (owned by Lake Bluff Open Lands and the Skokie River Nature Preserve to the south (owned by Lake Forest Open Lands Association). Collectively, this stretch of open space extending from Route 176 to Deerpath Road is 250 acres. Protecting and restoring large, interconnected islands of suitable habitat is critical for the survival of plants and animals. 

Prairie Wolf Forest Preserve

In the 1970s, the state and the Forest Preserves cooperatively purchased parcels of land at Oriole Grove and Prairie Wolf to build floodwater retention structures. The reservoirs were never built by the state because they were later deemed economically unfeasible. The Forest Preserves has been working with IDNR for many years to find a way to transfer IDNR’s interests at Oriole Grove and Prairie Wolf so they are fully under the Forest Preserve's care and management. I am very grateful to the dedicated volunteers and professionals at both Lake Forest Open Lands and Lake Bluff Open Lands for the consistent protection of this vast area, and for their continued advocacy for the Forest Preserve's full ownership of this critical connection.

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Middlefork Savanna Sept 2017

Bridge Connects Middlefork Savanna to 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.

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.

Celebrate National Public Lands Day
Grab some work gloves and join other Forest Preserve volunteers to save some of Lake County's natural areas on Sept. 30 at Rollins Savanna in Grayslake. Dress in long pants and sturdy shoes, and bring work gloves for brush clearing, seed collection, and tree and shrub planting. All ages are invited. No prior experience is necessary. Register today

Fort Sheridan

Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve Reopening in 2018
Construction of public access improvements at Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve is going well thanks to the relatively dry weather we've had this season. Overall, the project is on schedule for reopening a portion of the preserve in the summer of 2018. Progress is being made on many items, including the entry drive, parking lot, pond expansion, turf trail, timber bridges, and overlooks. Boulders selected by Forest Preserve planners are being incorporated into the overlooks as gateway and seating elements.

During construction, all portions of the preserve north of Fort Sheridan’s historic district will be closed to public access. Respect all safety blockades and closure signage. Do not move blockades or attempt to access closed areas. The only areas of the preserve open to the public are the Parade Grounds and the Vattman Road entrance drive to the cemetery. View closure map. Learn more

Ethel's Woods

Grants Received for Conservation Projects

  • 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. Chiwaukee was designated a Wetland of International Importance under the Rasmsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty for protection of exemplary wetland systems around the world. 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. 
  • 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 historicl North Mill Creek riparian corridor.


Disaster Loans: July 2017 Flood
Individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations impacted by the July 2017 flooding in Lake County may be eligible for disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The deadline to apply for Physical Damage loans, such as loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property, is Oct. 17, 2017. 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. For more information on eligibility, loan amounts, and other requirements, please view this SBA Fact Sheet. If the governor's request for a Federal Disaster Declaration is approved, other resources may become available for Lake County residents and businesses. For more information, contact the SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, or emailing

emergency alerts

Disaster Preparedness
The recent Lake County flooding and hurricanes impacting many parts of the country all remind us of the importance of coming together as a family and community to prepare. As we observe National Preparedness Month this month, learn tips to help you prepare.

Lake County also 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

crisis care hotline

Be the Voice to Stop Suicide
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. 

veterans coat drive 2017

Help Give the Gift of Warmth to Veterans
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Veteran’s Assistance Commission, several local law enforcement agencies and many 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 at police departments throughout Lake County. View donation locations. The donated items will be delivered to Midwest Veterans Closet in North Chicago. 

Veterans history project

Veterans Invited to Join Next Veterans History Project
Veterans are invited to share their stories of wartime experiences on Nov. 10 at the Lake County Courthouse. The veterans’ interviews will be recorded and transcribed by official court reporters and then archived at the Library of Congress as part of the Veterans History Project. Civilians who were actively involved in supporting war efforts are also invited to share their stories. Learn more

Save the Date for Small Business Workshop
Attention business owners! Learn how to overcome the challenges of small business ownership and mitigate risk by joining a half-day workshop Oct. 11 at the University Center of Lake County in Grayslake. Topics include A State of Lake County from Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor, Overcoming Challenges of Small Business Ownership, and Mitigating Risk with Subject Matter Experts. Sign Up.

Tobacco 21 ordinance

Lake County Approves 'Tobacco 21'
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 on Sept. 12, 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

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
The Lake County Recorder’s 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!

hydrant flushing 2017

Public Works Begins Fall Hydrant Flushing 
Lake County Public Works has begun its semi-annual water hydrant flushing program. After hydrant flushing, customers may notice a slight discoloration of the water. Residents are urged not to do laundry during periods of flushing to avoid clothes to be stained. This is not harmful and will dissipate after a short time. It is recommended to run cold water for several minutes to clear your pipes.  View the schedule

LCDOT video air quality

Lake County Working to Improve 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.



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