Lake County News: July 2019


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Sandy Hart 2019

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July 30, 2019

Dear Neighbors, 

Led by the Lake County Coalition for the Homeless, Lake County Government and the Lovell Federal Healthcare Center, Lake County is now among a small group of communities throughout the nation that has been recognized for ending veteran homelessness. 

Ending vet homelessness

Since 2015, the Lake County Coalition for the Homeless, Lake County Government, Lovell Federal Healthcare Center and many other partners have been working to quickly house veterans, improve coordination across service providers and provide solutions to barriers that were keeping veterans homeless. It was incredible to hear directly from our veterans who found housing, and from Captain James Lovell about this major accomplishment. This marks an important milestone in working toward ending all types of homelessness in our community. See below for more information about veteran services and the upcoming Ruck March on September 7th. 

It was an honor to welcome Governor JB Pritzker and Lt. Governor Stratton to Lake County to announce the $45 billion “Rebuild Illinois” state infrastructure plan. Illinois has not had a capital plan in over a decade, and this bipartisan bill provides substantial funding for many Lake County area projects, including roads and bridges, schools, renewable energy, environmental and conservation programs, and other infrastructure improvements. These critical projects will bring much needed jobs, infrastructure, economic development and opportunity for the people of Lake County. Find Out More.

The Lake County Board adopted its strategic plan at its July meeting. The plan serves as a road map for our county government and influences how we prioritize and invest our resources. It outlines actions we will take to achieve our strategic goals of providing public safety, enhancing economic opportunities, improving infrastructure, promoting a sustainable environment, and building healthy, inclusive and resilient communities.

Every month I report to my colleagues on my previous month's work. I've included the July Report for your reference. I hope you will take a moment to read about some of things we are working toward to improve the quality of life in Lake County.

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

Thank you,

Hart Signature

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County News

Modular housing NC

More Affordable Housing for North Chicago

Lake County is committed to providing residents with affordable housing options, especially for low-income families. Utilizing modular housing helps with housing shortages because building can be done year-round in the factory, allowing for for high levels of quality control and assurance. Modular housing construction in North Chicago began in early June. Along with the State of Illinois, we provided funding to Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH) to install new single-family homes for sale to low-income families. These homes will be available later this year.

Criminal Justice Reform in Lake County 
Lake County is honored to be one of two communities in the U.S. selected to receive technical assistance to develop data-driven approaches to correct the ethnic and racial disparities that exists among people entering and being released from our jail. The 19th Judicial Court and justice partners are working with the Lake County Health Department and other partners to develop an action plan to address these inequities. This collaborative aligns with Lake County’s effort to reform the local criminal justice system and safely reduce the Lake County Jail’s population through the MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge.

Recreational Cannabis Model Zoning Ordinance Task Force
Governor Pritzker recently signed into law the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act legalizing the production, sale and adult use of recreational cannabis in Illinois effective January 1, 2020. Local governments across the state are now evaluating how they will ultimately regulate and/or restrict recreational cannabis businesses through zoning (to the extent permitted by law) in terms of location, operations, parking, security, distances to sensitive land uses, and other considerations.

To facilitate a regional “shared services” approach to tackling these complex issues, the Lake County Planning, Building & Development Department is leading a Model Zoning Ordinance Task Force with area municipalities and other community stakeholders to jointly develop regulatory strategies addressing commercial recreational cannabis in our respective jurisdictions. Updates will be provided as the Task Force convenes this summer.

County Board Appoints William T. Panos as New County Administrator
Following a nationwide search, the Lake County Board at its July 9 meeting approved the hiring of William T. Panos as the new County Administrator. William has extensive experience leading both public and private sector organizations, most recently serving as the Director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation, where he oversaw the state's Highway Department, Department of Motor Vehicles, aviation system and the Wyoming Highway Patrol. 

He brings a great deal of experience leading large, complex organizations and has impressed us with his leadership style and approach to collaboration and cooperation with Board Members, stakeholders, employees and residents.

As County Administrator, Panos will be the chief administrative officer for Lake County government, overseeing its $525 million annual budget and leading its more than 2,700 employees. Find out more.


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What Happened in Committees

Public Works, Planning & Transportation: Motor Fuel Tax

A presentation was given to members of the Public Works, Planning & Transportation Committee regarding the County Option Motor Fuel Tax (MFT), which is part of the new capital bill legislation that was passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Pritzker in late June. 

Committee Public Works

The new law allows Lake County government to impose a tax on all retail gasoline sold in Lake County, allowing for a minimum tax rate of four cents per gallon, and a maximum tax rate of eight cents per gallon. Preliminary discussions took place among the committee members that were present, and no official action has been taken. Watch the discussion.


Committee Energy

Energy & Environment: Clean Air Policies
Members discussed clean air policies and the nuisance ordinance. Current regulations in unincorporated Lake County allows the burning of yard waste and leaves The committee is expected to take up this issue at the next scheduled meeting.


The committee discussed options such as adopting burning restrictions, banning the burning of leaves, and the provision of yard waste hauling services in unincorporated Lake County. The discussions at the meeting were preliminary, and no official action has been taken. Watch the discussion.


Watch All County Board Meetings
Keep informed about Lake County government! Watch County Board meetings live at 9 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. You can watch meetings live online or on Comcast channels 18 and 30, or AT&T channel 99. You can also view archived board meetings and standing committee meetings anytime.


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Veteran News

Veterans Services Brochure

To honor veterans service, we offer resources to help veterans and eligible dependents who live in Lake County. Read our Veterans Services Brochure to learn more.


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Discharge Records or DD214’s
The Lake County Recorder of Deeds Office is the proud keeper of military service discharge records, or DD214’s. If you would like a copy, fill out a request form for discharge records or for discharge records filed specifically in Lake County.

Veterans’ Affairs Bonus Programs
Through the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Bonus Programs, veterans who served in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf or the Global War on Terrorism can apply for a bonus payment. POW’s also may be eligible for compensation. Learn more about the bonus payment and how to apply.


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News from the 19th Judicial Circuit

Law Day 2019

Law Day at the 19th Judicial Circuit
High school, middle school, and elementary school students came to the Lake County Courthouse to celebrate “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society” during this year’s Law Day. Featuring representatives from every corner of the county’s justice system, students had the opportunity to participate in mock trials, evidence presentations, and coloring/writing contests. Watch this video to learn more.


Your Courthouse at work

Your Courthouse at Work: Featuring a Tour of the New Court Tower
Watch this video as judges from the 19th Judicial Circuit take you on a behind-the-scenes look at what's happening at the Lake County Courthouse. Residents can take a virtual tour of the courthouse, get updates on new laws, learn about the Law Merit Badge Program, and much more.


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Health News

Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in Lake County

A mosquito pool sampled June 13 in Highland Park has tested positive for West Nile virus and is the first confirmed indicator of West Nile presence in Lake County in 2019. Last year, 72 pools or batches of mosquitoes and two birds tested positive for the West Nile virus.

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Practice the 4 D’s to protect yourself from mosquitoes: Drain, Defend, Dawn and Dusk, and Dress. Visit the Fight the Bite Now website to learn prevention tips and more information about West Nile virus.


Health Department Urges Lake County Residents to Swim Safely
Whether swimming at your local pool or enjoying family time on your favorite beach, it is important to protect yourself from illness, prevent the spread of germs, and check and see if conditions are safe for swimming.

Swimming effects

The Lake County Health Department monitors lake water for bacteria in more than 100 Lake Michigan and inland lake beaches to ensure that the water is acceptable for swimming. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, beach closure information can be found on the Health Department’s Beach Advisory web page, which is updated daily by 10 a.m. Find Out More


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Environmental News

water quality report

2019 Water Quality Reports Available

As strong supporters of the Safe Drinking Water Act, Lake County 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.


Initial Ethylene Oxide Air Monitoring Results Received
Preliminary results from the first three days of outdoor air monitoring for ethylene oxide (EtO) near Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee and Medline Industries in Waukegan indicate the presence of EtO at elevated levels at one location in Waukegan, and at varying and lower levels at all other sites. 

Because this initial data represents only three days of sampling, conclusions about potential impacts to health cannot yet be made, and monitoring is continuing. However, the results show that the highest levels were detected at the sampling location nearest the Medline facility, with the highest reading being 10 ug/m3 collected on June 7 and 8. Learn more about the initial air monitoring results.

To learn more about ethylene oxide, visit the Lake County Health Department's website.


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Transportation News

Illinois Tollway Will Not Complete the Environmental Impact Statement for the Tri-County Access Project
The Illinois Tollway announced recently that it will not complete the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Tri-County Access (TCA) Project, formerly known as the IL Route 53/120 Project. The EIS was intended to be a comprehensive regional study conducted by the Illinois Tollway to evaluate potential environmentally and fiscally responsible solutions to ease regional traffic congestion in Lake, northern Cook and eastern McHenry counties.

Lake County will continue to advocate and work closely with the Illinois Department of Transportation, municipal, township and State elected officials to improve traffic congestion based on priorities identified in the Lake County State Highway Consensus Plan. The Lake County Board reaffirmed its commitment to addressing traffic congestion relief by adopting an updated strategic plan at its July board meeting. The plan continues the emphasis on strategies and actions the County will take to support a sustainable transportation system. Learn more.


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Public Meetings

Public Meeting to Address Increased Rainfall in Lake County

Over the last few years, Lake County has been experiencing more frequent and stronger rainfall events, and as a result, the precipitation has broken records, caused millions of dollars in damage to properties, and obstructed the lives of Lake County residents and visitors. The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission invites individuals interested in hearing more about how increased rainfall is impacting Lake County to attend one of the public information meetings on Aug. 8. Find out more.



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Election News

Listen to Liberty! Serve Voters in 2020 Elections
Liberty, the Lake County Clerk’s Office’s canine recruiter, is asking you to play a vital role in democracy and serve voters by working in the March and November 2020 Election voting sites. Pay is based on your assignment, and jobs are available in and outside the voting sites. Only Lake County registered voters may apply. Learn more and apply today!


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Forest Preserve News

Objects Talks: Magniscope
Is Lake County the birthplace of the motion picture projector? Yes! Discover the role of the magniscope in early motion pictures and how its inventor Edward Amet used his machine to show movies he created in his backyard. Objects Talks: Magniscope, a program for adults, will run from 2 to 2:30 p.m. July 30 at the Dunn Museum. $6 adults, $6/$3 seniors. Includes Museum admission. Registration is required. Learn more »



Meet the authors of Marvelocity 

In their book Marvelocity, Alex Ross and Chip Kidd bring to life beloved Marvel Universe comic characters, including Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Avengers, Black Panther and many more. They tell the stories of the superheroes that live in this universe and of a boy who wanted to illustrate them. Meet both authors at a unique book signing from 1–4 p.m., August 10, at the Dunn MuseumLearn more »


Fresh produce

Fresh Produce Available
Each summer, teens from low-income communities work at the Green Youth Farm in Lake County to grow produce while gaining paid work experience, entrepreneurial skills and exposure to healthy foods and cooking. This program is a partnership between the Lake County Forest Preserves, the Preservation Foundation and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Fresh produce is available for purchase at a weekly farm stand from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays through Oct. 9. The farm stand is in the parking lot of the Greenbelt Cultural Center in North Chicago. Learn more »


More than Meets the Eye
As the second largest forest preserve in Illinois, how does the organization—which today protects 65 forest preserves, 204 miles of trails and nearly 31,000 acres of natural lands—keep them picturesque? It’s rooted in the daily and vigorous behind-the-scenes maintenance and operations work most preserve visitors never see or think about. Find out what Forest Preserve teams do behind the scenes to make visits enjoyable. Learn more »


LCFPD more than meets the eye

Blanding’s Turtles Released into Wetlands
Gary Glowacki, wildlife ecologist with the Lake County Forest Preserves, with the help of college veterinary students and wildlife technicians, recently released 91 Blanding’s turtle hatchlings into local wetlands in an effort to grow the population of the endangered reptile. In 2010, the Forest Preserves instituted a recovery program for the endangered species. Funding for the program comes from various sources, including the Adopt-a-Turtle program managed by the Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves. Learn more »


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Picturesque Views at Fox River Forest Preserve & Marina

Nestled along a peaceful stretch of the Fox River in Port Barrington, Fox River Forest Preserve boasts panoramic views of the river making it the perfect backdrop for taking pictures or just relaxing in nature. The landscape features rolling topography, oak savannas and high-quality wetlands. The preserve is a playground for boating, wakeboarding, water-skiing, tubing and fishing. Learn more » 


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Educational Animal

Educational Animal Ambassador
A 31-year-old red-tailed hawk serves as a teaching tool and educational animal ambassador. Because she is a wild raptor, staff refrains from assigning her any human attributes like a name. This helps communicate to the public that wild animals are not pets. Because her species is protected under the Migratory Bird Act, the Lake County Forest Preserves must hold state and federal permits to keep her. Learn more »



Monitoring in the Morning
Vegetation monitoring, recently done at Middlefork Savanna in Lake Forest, tracks changes in the presence, abundance and coverage of plants over time in a systematic way. It samples species our ecologists already know of in a preserve and captures those they don’t. The information gives reference points for what high-quality and degraded plant communities look like. Environmental Communications Specialist Brett Peto writes about this on the Lake County Nature blog. Learn more »


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Community Events and News

Ruck March of Lake County
Help raise awareness of the growing number of veteran suicides and honor all veterans and service members lost to suicide by participating in the Ruck March of Lake County. Check-in starts at 8 a.m. Sept. 7 as the march will begin at Daisy's Artish Cafe, 216 North Milwaukee, Number 1, Lake Villa. Learn more

Suicide Prevention Walk 
Participate in the Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force's 7th Annual 5K Walk for Awareness and Suicide Prevention at 9 a.m. Sept. 7 at Hastings Lake Forest Preserve, Shelter A, 21155 W Gelden Rd., Lake Villa. There will also be a one-mile walk option. Learn more and register.

Summer 2019 festival season

Encyclopedia to Lake County’s Summer Festival Season
The sun is out, and the streets are filled with people dancing, exploring their palate with enchanting eats, seeking thrills on carnival rides and more. Peruse through Visit Lake County’s Encyclopedia to the Summer Festival Season in Lake County.


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GO Lake County
Lace up your walking shoes and GO Lake County! Over 15 park districts and communities across the county have partnered to create programs and events for children and adults as part of the GO Lake County walking initiative. Find events in your area.


The owner of that property has voluntarily agreed to demolish the building. He has applied for a demolition permit. There were some issues with the well that prevented the health department from signing off on the permit until June 27, 2019. The permit has been issued and we expect the demolition to be completed within the next 90 days.


Boating in Lake County

Boating Lake County
Boating is one of the most popular activities in Lake County, and it’s no surprise as the area has over 170 lakes, rivers and waterways to visit. Check out Boating Lake County as your resource, including maps of all the county’s public boat ramps, lakefront dining, upcoming events and more.


Summer Meals Illinois
Children ages 18 and younger can access FREE meals at sites throughout the state as part of Summer Meals Illinois. Find a Summer Meals site near you by texting FOODIL to 877877 or by visiting Summer Feeding Illinois.


Keep It Safe

Keep it Safe Seminar
Some lenders impose unfair and abusive terms on borrowers through deception and coercion. Referred to as “predatory lending,” there are warning signs you should look for. Learn how to protect yourself from predatory lending practices and obtain advice on how to financially prepare for emergencies by attending the Keep It Safe Seminar, hosted by Lake County Treasurer Holly Kim and First Midwest Bank. The seminar will take place on Thursday, Aug. 1 at 5 p.m. at the University Center of Lake County. To register, call 847-377-2043 or email