Lake County News: August 2019


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Sandy Hart 2019

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August 22, 2019

Dear Neighbor,

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost at summer’s end. I hope you got to enjoy some relaxing time outdoors with family and friends. If, like me, you are helping children get settled back to school, I wish you and them a smooth transition. 

I am extremely fortunate that my work as County Chair lets me explore every part of our wonderful community. Lake County’s great diversity is a strength and source of great pride to me. In the times we live in, it is important that we come together in our communities to make sure all our residents feel welcome and that we all set a positive example with our actions and our words.   

As the 2020 census approaches, it is also critical that ALL residents of Lake County be counted, as it directly impacts our representation in Washington, D.C. and Springfield. Federal and state officials rely on population data derived from the census to allocate funds to the County and local units of government. I have been having conversations with Lake County staff and local leaders to discuss the 2020 census and make sure we do everything in our power to achieve an accurate count. 

In other news, I am pleased to report to you that Lake County will save more than $7 million in borrowing costs over the next nine years from replacing and reissuing two transportation bonds. We were able to achieve this savings because of our Triple-A bond rating, which means we can secure favorable low interest rates when we borrow for capital infrastructure projects. We’ll be able to use the $7 million in savings to invest in needed transportation projects, instead of paying it in interest costs. Read more below. 

Every month, I report to my colleagues on my previous month's work. I've included the August 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 be sure to check out below what's happening around Lake County and don't hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions. 

Thank you, 

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County News

Lake County's AAA Bond Rating Leads to Savings for Lake County
Lake County in 2019 has once again been awarded AAA bond ratings, the highest possible, by both Standard & Poor's Financial Services (S&P) and Moody’s Investors Service, two of the world’s largest credit rating agencies.

The high rating is important because it helps keep borrowing costs low and reflects a vote of confidence by financial experts in Lake County's strong financial management. The AAA rating has led to significant tangible savings for Lake County. The county will realize more than $7 million in savings on borrowing costs over the next nine years from replacing and reissuing two transportation bonds. Read more.

Final Ethylene Oxide Air Monitoring Results Received
The Lake County Health Department, Village of Gurnee and City of Waukegan received the final results from our joint outdoor air monitoring for ethylene oxide (EtO) near Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee and Medline Industries in Waukegan. The results are available to the public via the Health Department’s website.

The results have been sent to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a health risk assessment, and to the Illinois EPA (IEPA), which has regulatory authority over ethylene oxide emissions. The Illinois Department of Public Health will also conduct a cancer incidence study.

The Lake County Health Department has asked for an expedited health risk assessment and is urging the ATSDR, U.S. EPA and IEPA to send representatives to explain the potential health risks to our residents via a public meeting. Read more.

Reinstating Driving Privileges to Low Income Individuals
Those who lose their driving privileges due to unpaid fees often have a hard time obtaining or maintaining employment so they can support themselves and their families. As fees accumulate over time, it makes it very difficult for these individuals to get back on the road. Join the Lake County Board as we celebrate a major milestone in the Road to Reinstatement Pilot Program. This program provides qualified individuals an opportunity to reduce these outstanding fees and fines so they can get their licenses renewed or reinstated. Many thanks to Vice Chair Mary Ross Cunningham for her leadership on this important initiative.

The celebration takes place the morning of the court call, marking the most important step toward driver’s license reinstatement for participants in the program.

When: Friday, Aug. 30 at 8 a.m.
Where: Lake County Building Lobby, 18 N. County St., Waukegan


Potential Flooding Impact from FoxConn Development
In recent years, Lake County residents have been feeling the effects of the increased rainfall the county is receiving. Most notably, the July 2017 flood set records and caused millions of dollars in damage for residents and businesses. In addition to the higher trend of rainfall events the county is already receiving, the Foxconn development in Wisconsin has raised concerns surrounding the potential for worsening floodplain impacts.

On July 19, Congressman Brad Schneider held a Small Business Committee Congressional Field hearing that focused on the Foxconn development. Witnesses who testified included small business owner John During, Environmental Law and Policy Center Executive Director Howard Learner, and Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) Executive Director Mike Warner. Warner focused his testimony on the Upper Des Plaines Watershed impact study SMC recently conducted, in particular, what the results from the study could mean for Lake County. Learn more about the Upper Des Plaines Impact Analysis. Watch the video.


K-9 Dax Earns Top-Dog Honors  
Kudos to Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy John Forlenza and K9 Dax, who recently brought home several regional titles after participating in the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) Region #19 Patrol Dog Trial. 

At the event, K9 Dax completed his annual/national certifications in tracking, narcotics searches (rooms and vehicles), and cadaver detection. He also participated in a trial where he competed in the areas of obedience, agility, scent work (suspect and article searches), apprehension, and apprehension with gunfire. Learn more.


Beware of Computer-Based Scams
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office announced an increase in reports of Lake County residents becoming victims of computer-based scams. Beware of scammers who are impersonating computer repair company employees claiming they “accidentally” deposited money into your account and then asking you to repay them in gift cards. Learn more.


Computer Scams
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Veteran News

Join Next Veterans History Project
Veterans who served in any capacity from WWII to the present, as well as people who worked as civilian defense workers supporting war efforts, are invited and encouraged to register to be interviewed on Nov. 11 as part of the next Veterans History Project.


Those who sign up will be interviewed by volunteers and have their oral histories recorded by official court reporters who will produce written verbatim transcripts. The typed transcripts will be archived at the Library of Congress, making accessible the personal accounts of American veterans so that future generations may hear directly from the soldiers. A copy will also be provided to the veteran. Learn more.


Support Our Veterans!
There are two great opportunities coming up to support Veteran organizations; the first is a Veterans Fun Run Boot Camp 5K Run/Walk at 9am on Saturday, August 24 at 485 North Milwaukee Avenue in Lake Villa. All proceeds go to Midwest Veterans Closet where veterans can shop for furniture, clothing, and housewares for free.

ruck march

The next is a Ruck March sponsored by Lake County Veteran & Family Services on September 7. The annual event is to raise awareness about the Veteran suicide epidemic that claims approximately 20 Veteran lives every day. To honor our fallen Veterans, participants will walk for 22-kilometers carrying a 20+ pound ruck (backpack). The weight in the rucksack symbolizes the daily loss of life as well as the emotional and physical weight carried by those struggling with a lack of hope. Carry as much or as little as you can or want. It is up to you.

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What Happened in Committees?

Solar Energy Task Force Update
Lake County is working on several solar energy initiatives designed to increase the availability and use of solar power in the region. One such initiative is updating the County’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) with best practice-based regulations for solar energy installations in the unincorporated areas, which incorporates the recommendations of the Solar Energy Task Force convened by the County in spring 2019.


Committee Public Works

The Planning, Building and Development Department (PB&D) presented recommendations for solar-related amendments to the UDO at the Public Works, Planning and Transportation Committee last week. The discussion covered amendment highlights, and no official action was taken. View the presentation.


Health and Community Services Committee
The committee accepted over $160,000 in grants to help fund multiple programs, including Coordinated Intake, which provides services to pregnant women, Immunization Elimination of Disparities, Local Health Department Overdoses Surveillance and Response, and more. Watch the discussion.


Health & Community Services Committee

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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Transportation News

Daily Lane Closures on Belvidere Road in Gurnee and Park City
The Illinois Department of Transportation began resurfacing and repairing curbs and gutters on Belvidere Road (IL 120) from east of the Tri-State Tollway (Interstate 94) in Gurnee to Waukegan Road (IL 43) in Park City. The work will require daily lane closures and is expected to be completed by mid-November. Find out more.


Help Keep Our Highways Clean!
Volunteer with your friends, family or coworkers to help pick up litter and debris along Lake County highways and bike paths. Participants adopt a section of a county highway and commit to cleaning it twice a year. Learn more, including the list of available sections and how to apply. Applications are due by Aug. 30.


Adopt a Highway

2019-2024 Highway Improvement Program Lake County’s 2019-2024 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.


Improvement Program
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Job News

Job Fair for Individuals with Disabilities
Learn resources for increasing skillsets, meet businesses and learn about organizations offering support for employment goals. Come to the Waukegan Library, Lewis A/B Room, 128 N. County St. on Monday, Sept. 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. Learn more.


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Forest Preserve News

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 »


Green Youth Farm

Growing Strong Students
The Green Youth Farm in Lake County is a program that provides teens exposed to varied risk patterns with a summer job working on a 1.25-acre farm located within Greenbelt Forest Preserve in North Chicago. 

Fresh produce is available for purchase at a weekly farm stand that operates 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesdays through Oct. 9 from the parking lot of the Greenbelt Cultural Center, 1215 N. Green Bay Road, North Chicago. The program is a partnership between the Lake County Forest Preserves, its charitable partner the Preservation Foundation, and the Chicago Botanic GardenLearn more »


FREE Event on Monarchs and their Migration
Monarch butterflies across the Midwest will soon begin their migration south. Learn more about monarch life cycles, the importance of milkweeds and what you can do to help. The free event takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Ryerson Woods Welcome Center in Riverwoods. Learn more »


Monarch Butterflies
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Community Events and News

5 tears

I am so proud of a caring group of Lake Bluff students who have organized a walk to educate people and raise awareness about mental health. It will be Saturday, August 24th from 9:30am to 2:30pm in Lake Bluff, Illinois. Participants will meet at the village green in Lake Bluff. Thanks to LEAD for this important partnership. ​Tickets are $5 for everyone over the age of 5. 

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Training
Make a difference and help those who are at risk of suicide. Parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, caseworkers, and first responders are invited to attend a one-hour, FREE Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training to learn the warning signs of suicide and how to respond. Refreshments will be provided. Spanish interpretation provided by WPS60. Attend the upcoming QPR training event on Friday, Sept. 6 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Lake County Health Department in Waukegan. Register.


Suicide Prevention Walk

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.


Bereavement After Suicide
Friday, Sept. 6, 1-4pm. Lake County Health Department. Bereavement After Suicide training is available to licensed professionals. Professionals can learn about experiences of suicide survivors and things that help survivors cope with loss. There is a $25 registration fee. Register.


2019 Rx for Health

Fort Sheridan Walk-Rx for Health 
Sept. 14, 4:00-5:30 pm

Enhance your health and come for a 1-2 mile walk guided by naturalists and healthcare providers. The simple act of walking, especially in nature, can improve your overall health, both physically and mentally. Children 16 and under need to be accompanied by an adult. See additional dates and locations.


Dog and Cat

Grayslake Pet Vaccination Clinic
The Lake County Health Department's Animal Care and Control program will offer a low-cost pet vaccination and microchip clinic from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 7 at the Village of Grayslake Building, 10 South Seymour Ave., Grayslake. Offered at sites across the county, these clinics provide a convenient and affordable way to keep pets up to date with their shots and rabies tags. Only cash will be accepted on site. Additional information.



2020 Census Resources for You
The 2020 Census provides an opportunity for everyone to be counted. The results of the 2020 Census can help shape the future of your community. And there are many ways for individuals, businesses, community organizations and others to play a part.