Spending Questions / Chairman Takes Leave, New Court Tower, Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve Open

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Aug. 8, 2018

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Dear Neighbors, 

Last Monday I was surprised by Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor's announcement that he was taking a leave of absence to seek treatment for addiction.  I wish him strength and courage through his recovery.  In his absence, Board Member Carol Calabresa (District 15 representing Mundelein / Libertyville) will serve as acting Chairman, she is the Board's Vice Chair.


Simultaneously, pieces of information about the Chairman's personal use of a County credit card  have circulated among some County Board members and staff, causing many of us to ask serious questions about policies, procedures and transparency. Truthfully, some Board members know more than others.  The piecemeal opaque process by which this information has been shared with us, your representatives in County Government, is concerning to me.   I will continue to raise those concerns and ask more questions at Wednesday's finance committee meeting.


Tuesday, at the very end of the regular meeting of the County Board's Law & Judicial Committee (which I serve on) Acting Chair Calabresa announced that the Lake County State's Attorney is reviewing the Chairman's use of the County "P-card" and that an investigation has been initiated.  The County State's Attorney is now referring this matter to an outside law enforcement agency, which is wholly appropriate.  


We have many questions about what has gone on here, and I will continue to press for answers and share what I learn.  The entire issue of elected officials using county purchasing cards / credit cards will be discussed in the weeks ahead.  We need greater transparency about which officials have used these funds and for what purposes. We also need better policies in place to prevent further abuses.  I do not use a County credit card, I don't even have one.  I have only ever used County funds to communicate with you (postage, printing, online content) as specified by board rules.

I will keep you updated.  Please know, as your county board member I value the trust you place in me  and I believe I have an obligation to you, to ask questions and find out the whole truth about what has happened here.


New Lake County Court Tower Opens

Frank court tower ribbon cutting

On July 17 I attended the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan.  The ceremony also included the dedication of the Audrey H. Nixon Pedestrian Bridge, dedicated in honor of the late Board Member Audrey Nixon of North Chicago. 

The new eight-story, 200,000 sq. foot court tower houses 12 new courtrooms, jury assembly space, various administrative services and room for six future courtrooms. The tower construction began in June 2016 and opened to the public July 30, 2018. Watch this video to learn more.

Fort Sheridan Reopens with 70-Foot Overlook of Lake Michigan

LCFPD Fort Sheridan opening

The Lake County Forest Preserves announces the reopening of Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve in Lake Forest with new and improved features that provide greater access to the site’s natural beauty and rich military history. Following more than a year of construction, visitors will once again be able to enjoy portions of the preserve’s scenic trails and access to the Lake Michigan shoreline. Improvements include:

  • Three scenic observation areas, including a 70-foot overlook of Lake Michigan, with new and relocated educational exhibits that tell the story of the area’s unique history and include new information about the Lake Michigan Bird Flyway. 
  • Nearly a mile of new accessible paved trails and conversion of the woodchip section of the Hutchinson Trail with new bridges and boardwalks.
  • Redesigned main entrance on Gilgare Lane, widened to a full two lanes, which leads to a new 45-car parking lot with five accessible spaces and an evaporator toilet building (an innovative waste disposal method that is odor free and saves water). 
  • Improved north parking lot with new paved trailhead and an evaporator toilet building.
  • Restored shoreline with native plantings.
  • Remaining portion of George Bell Road and gates removed and area restored with native plantings. 

Public access to the restored 1.8-mile mowed grass trail will remain closed until summer 2019 to allow time for the grass surface to become better established for foot traffic. Management and monitoring of the 73-acre woodland, prairie and savanna portions of the site will continue in perpetuity. Learn more

Health Department Investigates Food-Borne Illness Outbreak

The Lake County Health Department is working with local, state, and federal public health officials to investigate an increase in cyclosporiasis (Cyclospora infection), affecting residents of multiple counties and states. Since May, the Health Department has investigated 43 cases of Cyclospora infection among Lake County residents, more than 14 times higher than the number of cases reported in 2017. 

Cyclospora infection may occur when a person consumes food or water contaminated with the Cyclospora parasite. Symptoms typically begin one to two weeks after exposure and can be treated with specific antibiotics. If left untreated, symptoms can last weeks to months. Cyclospora infection is unlikely to be transmitted from person to person. Learn More

2018 Hike Lake County Challenge

2018 Hike Lake County Challenge

Studies show spending time outdoors interacting with our natural world makes us healthier, happier and more mindful. Activate the power of nature for your good health by taking part in the annual Hike Lake County Challenge. Enjoy fall breezes and autumn colors while exploring designated “Hike Lake County” trails with family, friends or canine companions. Complete just seven of the hikes between Aug. 15 and Nov. 30 to earn a commemorative shield. View this year’s hike locations.

Mosquito Pools Test Positive for West Nile Virus in Lake County

Mosquito protection

The Lake County Health Department has confirmed nine pools or batches of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus, tracking ahead of the seasonal average in Lake County. This includes one pool tested in Highland Park. Summer and fall are prime times for West Nile virus. Take action by following these prevention tips.

Why Work for Lake County?

Why Work for Lake County

Discover opportunities for professional growth, abundant career choices, and jobs that offer variety and the chance to make a meaningful difference. These are a few of the reasons that Lake County employees love working for us! Watch this video and discover why Lake County is a great place to work!

Lake County Is Hiring
Lake County is currently hiring for a variety of positions, including nurses, counselors, maintenance workers, and court security officers. View the job openings!

We Need Election Judges

Election judge

Fair and accurate elections are incredibly important to all of us, and attentive election judges are enlisted for the meaningful responsibility of processing voters. Join our amazing election judge team and take on the rewarding role of working in your neighborhood Election Day voting site. Reserve your seat in an upcoming training. 

Transportation News

2018 adopt a highway

Apply Today to Adopt A Highway 
The Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) is currently looking for volunteers to help pick up litter and debris along Lake County highways and bike paths. Volunteers adopt a section of a county highway and commit to cleaning it twice a year.  

There may be a section of county highway or bike path in need near you. Several sections that haven't been available for years, have recently opened up. Please take a look at the available sections, fill out an application, and join us! Applications need to be submitted by Aug. 31.

2018-2023 highway improvement program

Lake County's 2018-2023 Highway Improvement Program
Lake County’s 2018-2023 Proposed Highway Improvement Program is now available. Review the five-year plan to learn more about how the program is created and to see which projects are currently funded in the next five years. More Information

Speed studies

County Implements Speed Studies
The Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) is responsible for setting the speed limit for county highways under our jurisdiction and township roads. Safety on the roadways is always a top priority and guides everything we do, including the determination of speed limits. What is a speed study, and how does the process work? Learn more

New Lighting to Help the Environment and Save Money

Lake County continues to look for ways to be more sustainable—both environmentally and economically. The Lake County Board authorized at its July 10 Board meeting to upgrade and install light-emitting diode (LED) street lighting at roundabout street lights and underpass luminaires. Over the past several years, LCDOT retrofitted all existing traffic signals throughout the county with long-lasting LED lamps, and now they are looking at street lighting. LED lights reduce power consumption and keep ongoing maintenance costs low. Learn more ways that Lake County focuses on sustainability by visiting our Sustainable Lake County website.

What You Should Throw In and Keep Out of Your Recycling Bin

dirty jobs recycling center

Curbside recycling keeps so much out of our landfills, BUT did you know there are items that you should not put in your recycling bin such as plastic bags and Styrofoam containers? Watch this video, and get an inside look of the recycling process at the Waste Management Recovery Facility in Grayslake. *Note* You'll notice items like plastic bags get wrapped in the machines. Before you add items to your recycling bin, check these guidelines from the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County.

2018 Water Quality Reports Available

water quality report

Lake County Public Works is committed to providing safe water throughout the County. As strong supporters of the Safe Drinking Water Act, Public Works releases annual water quality Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs) for the 12 water systems they own and operate. These reports describe the sources, treatment, and chemical analysis of each water distribution system. All Lake County systems passed testing requirements for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Visit the water quality reports web page to read your report. 

‘Women on Patrol’ to Film Sheriff’s Office

Live PD playbutton

Another television show will be riding with members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office beginning this month. The show, “Women on Patrol” will ride along with our Highway Patrol Division and provide an inside look at the responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Office and the variety of calls Sheriff’s Deputies respond to. This is not the first time the Sheriff’s Office has been featured on a television show!  Watch this video to learn more about the Sheriff’s Office on “Live PD.”

New Zion Health Center to Expand Access to Quality Services

Zion health center opening

The Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center has opened its new Zion Health Center, which will greatly expand access to quality health services for residents of northeast Lake County. Located at 1911 27th St., the site was fully renovated to provide integrated health services, including primary care, dental care, behavioral health, women’s health, nutrition services, case management, and more to provide patient-centered care under one roof. Watch this video to learn more about the new center.

Save on Prescriptions, Health and Dental Care

Lake County is one of many counties nationwide that participates in the National Association of Counties (NACo) Live Healthy Prescription, Health and Dental Discount program, which helps residents better manage the cost of prescription medications and health and dental services. There are no income requirements or age requirements, and it is open to residents with or without insurance. Residents have saved over $2 million on prescriptions over the past 13 years with this program! Learn more

You Are Not Alone! Help is Available

Crisis care interactive story map

If you or someone you know is feeling alone, do not be afraid to ask for help. Immediate mental health assistance is a phone call or a text away. Learn more about services in Lake County including Text-A-Tip and the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center’s Crisis Care Program. 

Your Courthouse at Work

Your Courthouse at Work

Watch this edition of Your Courthouse at Work as Lake County judges share information about the guardianship help desk, bond court, and small claims court. Also, take an inside look at the first Annual Veterans & Family Services RUCK March and an update on new laws and changes at the 19th Judicial Circuit. Watch now.

Lake County Children's Advocacy Center Honors Its Partners

Advocacy Center ceremony

The Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center is committed to providing a safe environment for child victims of abuse. The center wouldn’t be possible without help from community partners. Watch this video as the State’s Attorney’s Office took time to recognize these individuals.


Save the Date
The Lake County Opioid Initiative will be hosting its first Annual “Save a Life” fundraising event on Sept. 14 at the Double Tree by Hilton in Mundelein. Join us to support a significant cause and to continue our battle the against the opioid/heroin epidemic.  

Nominate an Illinois Veteran

Honor 200

Do you know an Illinois veteran whose contributions are above and beyond the call of duty? In partnership with the Illinois Bicentennial Office, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs is accepting nominations to honor the work of 200 veterans from across the state. Nominations will be evaluated on their achievements and on the extent to which their contributions have aided, benefited and provided inspiration to their community. Learn more, including the qualifications and how to apply. The deadline to apply is Aug. 31.

Four Things to Know About Land Development Fee Schedule

Lake County recently evaluated the Land Development Fee Schedule for development in unincorporated Lake County, and changes went into effect July 2. Learn four things you need to know about these changes. 

Gain Skills Needed in Today’s Workplace

Revive Lake County

Returning citizens and individuals with a criminal background can learn the skills needed in today’s workplace through a new program through Lake County Workforce Development called Revive Lake County. Individuals who successfully complete the program may be eligible to receive financial aid for job training or a paid work experience. Interested individuals are required to attend an information session at the Job Center’s Waukegan location. View the schedule.

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Forest Preserve News

2018 Fun Fest

Kids Nature Funfest
Enjoy an afternoon of nature activities that grow a child’s love of the outdoors at Kids Nature Funfest on Aug. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Greenbelt Cultural Center in North Chicago. See live animals, build a fort, net some insects, make creative arts and crafts, and take part in nature activities with several of our community partners. Open to families with children ages 12 and under, the event is free. No registration is required. Dress for the weather; event runs rain or shine.

Aquatic plant ID

Aquatic Plant ID from a Canoe
Learn about some of the fascinating plants growing in aquatic ecosystems while paddling a canoe. Some previous paddling experience preferred. Only 12 spots are available! Learn more and register today.

2018 Fred Fest

Fred Fest
Fred Fest returns to the Fox River Preserve in Port Barrington! The event features a diverse lineup of local bands, food and drinks for purchase, and family-friendly activities. Fred Fest benefits the Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves. Learn more


LCFPD bald eagles

The Baldies are Back in Town
You’ll find bald eagles soaring high in the sky, slowly flapping over water, perched in trees, or even on the ground. Look for them near rivers, lakes, marshes and shorelines. Bald eagles mainly eat fish, but also hunt mammals, waterfowl and carrion. Young eagles attain their white head feathers after about five years, so don’t rule out the possibility that giant brown bird overhead is a baldy. Look for a bright yellow, hooked bill and mottled white feathers on the body.

Nests are built near the trunk, high in the tree but below the crown. The diameter of a nest is typically 5 to 6 feet; height ranges from 2 to 4 feet. The nest may be reused (and added to) for years. The Lake County Forest Preserves has confirmed a few local nests in recent years, including this one photographed in April in southwestern Lake County. Send us an email and let us know if you see an active nest while out exploring your preserves. 

LCFPD green youth farm 2018

Green Youth Farm Thrives, Thanks to Donors
Early summer lettuces and kale, beans and squash are ripening at the Green Youth Farm in Lake County, thanks to donors to the Preservation Foundation. Among the farm’s supporters in 2018, we are pleased to thank Lake Forest Bank & Trust and Libertyville Bank & Trust. The company’s $10,000 grant helped provide a paid summer job for North Chicago and Waukegan high school students, who sow, tend and harvest fresh, healthful food as they gain valuable work experience. Learn more

Stormwater Management Commission News

Recently, the Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) submitted its annual facility inspection report to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of Lake County. This report is a yearly requirement for Lake County’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, which covers Lake County’s municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) discharge activities, provides monitoring and reporting requirements, and defines measurable goals for water quality protection. For more information, visit the website and the annual report.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at pfrank@lakecountyil.gov or visit my Facebook page

I encourage you to forward this update to others who may be interested in Lake County news. Residents who wish to automatically receive my bi-weekly newsletter can email me, or click the “Sign up for my mailing list here” button at the top of the newsletter.

Thank you,
Paul Frank 

Mr. Frank, County Board member and Forest Preserve Commissioner, serves on:

Lake County Board, 11th District:
Lake County Law and Judicial Committee
Lake County Health and Community Services Committee
Lake County Ad Hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Lake County Ad-Hoc Legislative Committee

Lake County Forest Preserves, 11th District: 
Planning Committee
Ethics Committee

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