Be Counted in the 2020 Census, Election Judges Wanted, Vote By Mail, and more


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Sandy Hart 2019

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September 1, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

Lake County Government has disbursed millions of federal CARES Act dollars across the county to agencies and non-profits that are directly assisting residents with food, shelter, and utility payments.  I am pleased to announce that Lake County has begun distributing CARES Act monies to non-profits and small businesses to assist them in purchasing personal protective equipment and crucial items necessary for them to protect their employees, clients, and customers. These federal dollars may also be used to help municipalities recover from the costs incurred combating coronavirus, and our team is working closely with our partners to ensure all federal guidelines are met while distributing these much needed funds as quickly as possible. Visit our webpage for more information, or call United Way's 211 line  if you need help.

Abbott is hiring! Just last week Abbott Labs announced that the FDA has authorized its rapid test for detection of COVID-19 infection. This authorization has led Abbott Labs to begin recruiting for up to 2200 additional employees to work in a Gurnee facility to manufacture millions of these tests to be distributed around the world. Lake County Partners and our Workforce Development Team is working closely with Abbott to help them ramp up hiring and connect potential workers for rapid employment. Interested parties may contact Lake County's Job Center for more information.

I've had several residents reach out to me with questions about the upcoming election, especially about where someone can drop off a "mail-in ballot" instead of putting it in the mail. The Clerk's Office is working diligently to place drop boxes for residents in secure locations with 24-hour surveillance. Once all locations are finalized they will be available on the Clerk's homepage.

As always, it is an honor and a pleasure to serve as the Chair of the County Board and as your Forest Preserve and County Board member. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. Thank you, and please stay safe and healthy.

Take Care,

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Lake County Government News 

property taxes

First Half of Second Installment Property Tax Bills Due Sept. 8 

In recognition of the financial hardship that many Lake County taxpayers are experiencing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, my colleagues and I enacted a one-time ordinance that allows taxpayers to spread their property tax payments over four installments, instead of the usual two installments. The second installment of Lake County property taxes are coming due. The new due dates are as follows:  

  • Sept. 8: 50 percent of the second installment 
  • Nov. 9: 50 percent of the remaining second installment  

Ways to pay: 

  • Pay by phone: Call (877) 690-3729 and enter jurisdiction code #7021. Fees apply.  

  • Pay by mail: Make checks payable to Lake County Collector, include the property index number (PIN) in the memo line, and mail to:
    Lake County Collector, PO Box 1030, Bedford Park, IL 60499-1030
    Please Include a copy of your payment coupon with your check.   

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Case Count Update 

The Lake County Health Department continues to monitor COVID-19 cases in Lake County. As of August 31, there are 14,605 Lake County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, and there have been 446 deaths associated with COVID-19. View the most current information. As of Aug. 31, the testing positivity rate in the North Suburban Region was 6.5 percent, with daily increases in four of the past ten days. View the region 9 information.

New Rules for Masks in Restaurants 

Beginning this week, people visiting bars and restaurants in Illinois are required to wear face coverings during all of their interactions with staff, regardless of whether they are sitting indoors or outdoors. The new guidelines were issued based on a recent increase in the number of cases statewide, and require that face coverings be worn over the nose and mouth when patrons are approached and served by staff, including but not limited to when employees take customer orders, bring food and beverages to the table, or take plates away.  Learn more


Community Forum on 'Excess Deaths' during COVID 19   Sunday, Sept. 13 at 1:30 p.m.
Across the country, the evidence is emerging that COVID-19 is exacerbating underlying health problems among vulnerable populations. The League of Women Voters Lake County is convening this forum, and Dr. Maryann Mason (Feinberg School of Medicine - Northwestern University), will highlight areas of concern within our community, including overdose, suicide, and stroke. Join me, Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg, Lake County States Attorney Mike Nerheim, Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper, and other community leaders for this important discussion. Registration

Lake County Forward

COVID-19 Housing Relief Program 

Lake County renters and homeowners who have been impacted by COVID-19 are invited to apply for a new program that offers financial assistance to help pay for rent, gas and electric bills.  

The COVID Housing Relief Program is being funded by the Lake County Board, using federal dollars the county received through the federal CARES Act.  The program offers financial assistance for up to three months of rent and/or utility bills for qualified residents who meet certain income guidelines. In order to qualify: 

  • You must be a Lake County resident. 
  • You must have recently lost income due to COVID-19, because of a job loss or other reasons, such as because you have to miss work to care for your school-age children. You can also qualify if you have a large unexpected medical cost. 
  • You must have limited savings. 
  • Your household must meet annual household income requirements.  

To apply for the program, Lake County residents should call 211 or text their zip code to 898211.  


Oriole Grove Master Plan Public Open House       September 22, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.                           Greenbelt Cultural Center, 1110 Green Bay Rd., North Chicago

I am excited to announce that the Lake County Forest Preserves is hosting a Public Open House to unveil two Master Plan options for Oriole Grove! This important 84-acre site provides a critical ecological link between the Lake Forest Open Lands property to the south and the Lake Bluff Open Lands to the north, creating 250-acres of open space along the Skokie River. Conservation biologists document that that protecting and restoring these large, interconnected islands of suitable habitat reduce local extinctions of plants and animals.

Veterans Ruck March

Lake County Veterans Ruck March 

Please join me for the virtual Ruck March hosted by the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation  September 1 - 22. The goal is for every participant to cover 22 kilometers independently or in small groups or teams during the 22 days. People are urged to partake using safe distancing. For more information and to register, visit the Lake County Veterans website. 

Sandy's video play button

There’s Still Time to Be Counted in the 2020 Census 

September 30, 2020 is the deadline to respond to the 2020 Census! When you respond you help make sure that Lake County gets every federal dollar we are entitled to, which supports local schools, roads, housing, healthcare and more. Recently, census data helped Lake County get $121 million in federal funding that is being used in part to help residents and small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19. Watch my video to see how you can make sure you get counted and help your community. 

To date, only (75%) of Lake County households have responded, with some towns responding at a higher rate than others. Here are the response rates as of September 1 in the towns that make up my district: 

  • Grayslake: 83.6% 
  • Gurnee: 81.5% 
  • Lake Bluff: 85.1% 
  • North Chicago: 53.8%  
  • Waukegan: 62.6%

Census workers are knocking on doors of all households that haven’t yet responded. If they stop by your home, please answer the door and talk to them—it takes just a few minutes. Or avoid an in-person visit by responding online at, or by calling 844-330-2020, and encourage your neighbors to do the same. 


Grant Requests Wanted for Projects to Improve Drainage and Reduce Flooding 
Do you have a watershed project idea that could positively impact your community? The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission is accepting requests for proposals for Watershed Management Board (WMB) funded projects for Fiscal Year 2021. This programs is available to the public to help fund drainage improvement and flood reduction projects. To have your project considered for funding, submit the application by 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2. Learn more.   

Valley Lake

Valley Lake Improvements on the Horizon

A number of years ago a pre-treatment basin was installed at the south end of Valley Lake. I know that Valley Lake has experienced algae blooms and other issues due to stormwater runoff into the lake. Lake County Stormwater Management has several requests to the DCEO to make stormwater improvements across the county, and this includes Valley Lake. Those improvements include stormsewer system upgrades and drainage system enhancements around Valley Lake; downstream enhancements from the lake; and upstream additions to improve the quality of the water that enters Valley Lake.  The timeline for these improvements is dependent upon the DCEO's review of the projects. The total project cost is estimated at $2,136,000.

election judge

Election Judges Wanted: Be a Good Neighbor and Get Paid for It! 

Are you looking for a way to help your community and earn some extra spending money? Sign up to be an election worker for the Nov. 3 General Election. Most importantly, your help is needed to maintain the integrity of the voting process. 

While working in the county's voting sites, your responsibilities could include verifying voters’ identity, issuing ballots, or observing the ballot bins Some roles would require your assistance in setting up the voting site on election eve. Pay rates vary according to the level of training you successfully complete and your assigned duties. 

Explore responsibilities and pay rates by visiting, calling 847-377-2408, or e-mailing with your name and contact information. Learn more 


Vote from the Comfort and Safety of Home  

Due to COVID-19, the Lake County Clerk’s office encourages all voters to vote by mail and avoid lines during Early Voting or on Election Day.  Feel safe when voting from the comfort of your own home. 

To vote by mail, you MUST be registered to vote and fill out an application for a ballot. Visit Voting by Mail in November for details and application forms. While applications will be accepted through Oct. 29, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. 

How to Return Your Completed Ballot: Beginning Sept. 24, the clerk’s office will begin mailing ballots to those who have applied to vote by mail.  Voters can return their completed ballots by mail, or bypass the mail and use a postage-free dropbox that will be available in various locations across the county.  The Clerk’s office is still finalizing the details for these boxes, and once they are available information will be shared in this newsletter, as well as through the media, the County’s social media channels and on our website.  

Register to Vote: If you are a Lake County resident and are not yet registered to vote, there are several ways to register, including in-person, via mail and online. Learn more  

Lake County Selected for Wellness Center Study Pilot Program  

If you've spoken to me at all about the work I do on the Lake County Board, then you've definitely heard me speak about the critical importance of creating an alternative to jail or emergency rooms for people who live with serious mental illness and come in contact with law enforcement. Lake County was recently selected to participate in a pilot program funded by the MacArthur Foundation to study the feasibility of implementing and sustaining a crisis/wellness center to help residents experiencing a mental health crisis. 

The wellness center would leverage the success of the County’s existing criminal justice and behavioral health programs such as A Way Out and the Jail High Utilizer Program and merge them into a 23-hour stabilization unit. The wellness center would offer a space where individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis can receive assistance and referrals to services that will help them start the road to recovery.

"A Way Out" Returns to Help Those Suffering From Addiction

Lake County’s "A Way Out" program is up and running again after being modified due to COVID-19. The program offers assistance to individuals who are suffering from addiction and looking to break the stranglehold that drugs have on their life.    

Anyone who needs help can enter a participating Lake County police department, 24 hours a day seven days a week, without fear of arrest and tell the clerk at the reception window they want to participate in "A Way Out." People seeking help after open lobby hours should locate a call box and tell the dispatch officer that they want to participate in the program, or call 847-549-5200.   

Those who choose to join the program will not be charged criminally if in possession of narcotics or paraphernalia when they turn themselves in, as long as assistance is sought out by the prospective program participant. 

Read more  

Lake County Amnesty Week for Court Fines

Do you have past due fines owed on traffic or criminal matters in Lake County?  During Lake County Amnesty Week, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, all collection fees and accrued interest will be waived on any past due fines for these matters. This program is offered through the Lake County Circuit Clerk's Office in coordination with the Lake County State's Attorney's OfficeAs our community continues to face challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this service may ease a little of the burden that some individuals may be facing due to outstanding balances owed to the Circuit Clerk's Office. 

More information on Amnesty Week, including payment options, instructions and branch locations, can be found on the Circuit Clerk’s website at 


Youth Employment Summer Bootcamp a Success 

For many years, the Lake County Board has sponsored a popular Summer Youth Employment Program to provide low-income youth with meaningful work experiences. Because of the pandemic, the Lake County Workforce Development office modified the program this year, and designed a two-week online Work Readiness Bootcamp that was held from July 27 to Aug. 7. More than 80 high school students participated, and earned a stipend of up to $500 for their active participation. Guest speakers were a highlight of the event, including Andre Harris, a high school teacher, Dan Ortego from the College of Lake County, and Workforce Board members and local business leaders Andrew Warrington, Carlotta Roman and Jennifer Harris. Thanks to all who participated! 

advocacy center

Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center Remains Active in Serving Child Abuse Victims 

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center—which serves victims of child abuse--has continued to remain active to provide service to this most vulnerable population. 

The center has served 412 victims in the first six months of 2020, compared with 978 victims in all of 2019. Due to the pandemic, the advocacy center has shifted gears to do more online events, like virtual art groups for boys and girls and parent support groups In addition, staff performed acts of kindness during the pandemic by dropping off games and activities on doorsteps for families. They also increased interaction on their website and added educational videos for families to learn more about the process before coming to the advocacy center.  

Learn more about the Advocacy Center. 

Community Action Partnership Energy Assistance Program   

The Community Action Partnership invites low-income Lake County residents to apply for grant assistance to help pay for energy bills. The program is funded through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). Income guidelines to qualify for the program have recently been raised to serve more families. To apply, please call the Community Action Partnership at 847-249-4330 to schedule an appointment. Learn more   

Get Assistance With ComEd Bills   

If you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for ComEd’s Bill Payment Assistance Program. Eligible ComEd customers who have limited income and are past due on their energy bills can apply to receive a one-time bill assistance credit of up to $500. The program expires on Dec. 31, 2020 or until funds are exhausted, so apply soon.  

To learn more:  


Call 211 to Get Connected to the Help You Need  

If you need assistance finding food, shelter, rent or utility assistance, or other essential services, call 211 or TEXT your zip code to 898211 to speak with someone who can help 24/7. To receive general COVID-19 information via text message, text “COVID19” to 211211. For more information, visit    

Opioid Overdoses Are on the Rise 

Across the country, deaths from opioid overdoses have increased during the pandemic, according to an American Medical Association Report. Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, a day to remember those lost, acknowledge the grief of those left behind, and fight to end overdose. If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Illinois Helpline any time at  833-2FINDHELP or text “HELP” to 833234. Lake County also offers harm reduction services, including free naloxone, a life-saving medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. Call (847) 377-8450 or visit for more information. 

mental health

Mental Health First Aid

Lake County Health Department’s Mental Health First Aid initiative has resumed operations and is now offering classes virtually. This includes a two-hour self-paced course, followed by four hours of  instructor-led training delivered virtually. 

The virtual course curricula includes expanded content on trauma, addiction and self-care. Mental Health First Aid is an education program that teaches adults how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge, how to listen non-judgmentally and give reassurance to a person who may be experiencing a mental health challenge, and how to refer a person to appropriate professional support and services. For more information and to sign up for classes, visit


Make Sure Your Child’s Vaccinations are Up-to-Date

School will look different this year due to COVID-19, but the importance of on-time vaccinations hasn’t changed. Children should still receive their routine vaccinations that help protect them from diseases like chickenpox and pertussis.   

Immunization requirements for the 2020-21 school year can be found on the IDPH website. You can learn more about immunizations at the IDPH’s page on Immunization. 

Vaccination appointments are available at the Health Department’s Community Health Centers throughout Lake County. To schedule an appointment, please call (847) 377-8800.


Lake County Transportation Improvements Programmed for Next 5 Years 

Lake County’s 2020-2025 Proposed Transportation Improvement Program is now available. This program is annually created by the Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) to show the projects that are currently programmed over the next five years. 

Funding from the Rebuild Illinois plan is going straight to critical infrastructure projects in Lake County that would have taken a long time to come to fruition," said Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart. "These projects will improve the quality of life for our residents by reducing the time they spend in traffic and also will create new jobs for people during these difficult times." 


View current and upcoming Lake County transportation projects by:  

My Commute

Tell us About your Commute to Work or School Before COVID-1

As part of its  Strategic Plan, the Lake County Board made it a priority to focus on transportation solutions that provide alternatives to travel in single-occupancy vehicles, which is one person in a vehicle at a time. The goal is to develop a plan that reduces trip times, air pollution and carbon emissions, protects our valuable open space and positions Lake County to be competitive in a 21st-century economy. One way to do this is reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips. 

As an important step in this process, we need your input. We invite you to take part in our MY Commute Lake County study, and tell us how you normally commute to work, school or other frequent destinations. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted commuting right now, and its impacts will be considered through this study. 

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Forest Preserves Logo 2020 Redesign

Forest Preserve News

Hike Lake County Challenge 

Grab your hiking shoes and head to the trails to participate in the Hike Lake County challenge while enjoying fall breezes and autumn colors. Complete seven hikes along designated "Hike Lake County" trails before Nov. 30 to earn a commemorative shield for your walking stick or a zipper pull when you turn in your Travel Log. Learn more » 


Dunn Museum Reopens August 29 

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The Bess Bower Dunn Museum in Libertyville is reopening to the public on Saturday, Aug. 29 with new guidelines, limited hours, timed entry tickets, and other safety and public health measures in place to comply with COVID-19 concerns. “We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the Dunn Museum,” said Angelo Kyle, President of the Lake County Forest Preserves. “New cleaning protocols and visitation procedures support the comfort and safety of visitors and employees, and allow us to once again provide a quality experience for people to learn about Lake County history and culture." Purchase general admission timed tickets online 

Three National Awards Earned 

Three awards

It's awesome to be recognized for your efforts. The Lake County Forest Preserves recently earned three awards from the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials (NACPRO). The Lakewood Master Plan project received a Planning Initiative Award; two long-standing volunteer stewards earned Outstanding Volunteer Awards; and the Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves received an Outstanding Supporting Organization AwardLearn more

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Watch All County Board and Committee Meetings 


All Lake County board and committee meetings are continuing to be conducted remotely. Meetings are live-streamed at and on cable television (Comcast channels 18 or 30, depending on where you live, and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99). The public is also welcome to view the livestream of all meetings in-person at 18 N. County Street, Waukegan, 10th Floor Assembly Room. 

To maintain proper social distancing, the number of persons permitted to attend will be limited. Public comments can also be submitted by email and phone call. Learn more   
To see a current schedule of board and committee meetings, click here. 

All meetings are recorded and posted on the Lake County website.