Lake County News

Lake County News

Press releases and more news from Zion, Waukegan, & Winthrop Harbor.

Armed car-jacking on Sheridan Road

April 1, 2020 —  A 24-year old man entered his silver2007 Infiniti G35 parked in the 2600 block of Sheridan Road around 1 p.m. Tuesday when he was approached by a group of five black men. One of them grabbed the driver’s side door as the victim was attempting to close it, pointed a black semi-automatic handgun with a gray slide at him and demanded the victim get out of the car and give him the keys.

 The victim complied, exited the vehicle, and the offender demanded the victim’s cell phone but the victim took off running. The five offenders entered the victim’s vehicle, a:

The offender with the gun is described as thin, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, in his late teens or early 20s with a dark complexion and scruffy facial hair. He and the others were wearing black hooded sweatshirts of coats.

The Infiniti has noticeable cracks on the front bumper, a rosary necklace hanging from the rear-view mirror and a visible white scuff mark on the rear bumper. The license plate number is AN 22 568.  The vehicle was last seen driving north in the 2600 block of Elim Avenue, and has not been recovered at this time.

Anyone with information on this crime is urged to contact the Zion Police Department at 847-746-4110 or Lake County Crime Stoppers at 847-662-2222.

Sew masks for patients and make a difference

April 1, 2020 — As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to unfold, a critical worldwide shortage has developed in the supplies needed for health care workers to continue their frontline work for those suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19 and those being treated for other health needs.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) Chicago, located in Zion, has received a number of requests from generous groups and individuals wanting to help the cancer community by offering to make hand-sewn surgical masks.
 “We are touched by this philanthropic spirit, and are embracing this proactive, collaborative approach to helping cancer hospitals avoid potential shortfalls,” said Pete Govorchin, President and CEO of CTCA Chicago. “With a long history in the Zion community, CTCA is woven into the fabric of an amazing community made up of talented and generous people.”
 If you are passionate about sewing and/or know individuals or groups that sew, CTCA has developed careful, detailed instructions on how to make hand-sewn surgical masks, to ensure that your time is well spent and the masks will provide proper protection. Please go to for instructions on the proper materials and process for making hand-sewn surgical masks.
“We recognize these are challenging times for us all. Together, working for the good of humanity, we will see this through,” said Govorchin.
Please call 847.746.6597 before dropping off any donations so that hospital representatives can provide you with drop off instructions.

Zion McDonald’s Robbed

April 1, 2020 — Early Tuesday morning, March 31, two black males wearing surgical masks went to the counter in the Zion McDonald’s in the 2000 block of Sheridan Road. When the employee opened the cash register, both men pulled out guns and pointed them at the cashier, according to Zion Police Chief Kirk Henderson.
One man reached over the counter and took the cash from the open register. The second man pointed his gun at other employees and went behind the counter to drive-thru register and tried to open it, but failed. They left the building.
No one was injured and the amount of stolen cash is unknown. Anyone with information is asked to call the Lake County Crime Stoppers at 847-662-2222, or the Zion Police at 847-746-4110.

BP board handles business in spite of virus

By Ginny Skweres

March 31, 2020 — Beach park Mayor John Hucker concluded the March 26 board meeting by saying it had been the strangest meeting ever. That’s because trustees participated virtually from various locations, due to the Corona virus. However, since bills need to be paid and business needs to be handled, the open meeting was held online.

Trustees want residents to know that there are phone numbers on the village Website about who to contact for assistance. For a specific question, residents can email trustees or staff. Face Book also has some links to various programs.

Emergency ordinance

The first thing the board tackled was approving an ordinance that gives the village president the authority to declare an emergency. This provides the mayor with maximum flexibility to take timely action and provide for expenditures in case of an emergency or disaster when a quorum of the board cannot act. This declaration continues for the duration of the emergency, but expires at the end of the mayor’s term. It can be put in place again for a new mayor.

Delayed enforcement

The board also approved an ordinance that allows the village to not enforce water disconnections due to failure to pay water bills. No water will be initially turned off during the current situation. This action was requested by Gov. Pritzker.

Payment for the water, plus interest, will be due following the emergency. Software is tracking delinquent accounts and residents will be billed.

System upgrades

The board waived competitive bidding for upgrades to the Green Bay Road elevated tank, Lynch Booster station and the Aberdeen Lift Station in an amount not to exceed $53,905. The bid will be given to Metropolitan Pump Company, which already has installed software for the balance of the project they began. Their bid came in under budget.

Heatherstone landscaping

The board approved hiring Brightview to handle the landscaping in Heatherstone subdivision this season at a cost of $34,213.  They have been doing the work previously.


The board approved a purchase of multi-media equipment for the board room at a cost of $19,661, which had been budgeted for $40,000.  The old system has not been working and this upgrade will allow the village to record and stream information in real time.

Paxton Drive

The board approved vacating a portion of Paxton Drive that will be used for the development of Casey’s Retail which will use the property to get in and out of the location. The land will be turned over to the contract purchaser (Casey’s). The entrance to Paxton Drive will be along the south side Wadsworth Road. This is a hurdle that brings the development closer to construction, according to the board.

The board also approved a resolution for the updated 2020 Village of Beach Park Zoning map.


SEDOL paraprofessional charged with battery

March 31, 2020 — Justin Cole, 35, of the 2400 block of 82nd Street, Kenosha, Wis., was arrested on a warrant for misdemeanor battery issued March 27. This stems from an investigation of Cole as a paraprofessional at the Special Education District of Lake County (SEDOL) when he used excessive force while with a seven-year-old student.

 The seven-year-old pushed Cole and Cole responded by picking up a pillow and struck the seven-year-old in the head, using the pillow as a barrier between the boy’s head and Cole’s hand.  This caused the boy to fall to the ground and begin crying.

SEDOL administration terminated Cole’s employment.


Health Department Coronavirus update

March 25, 2020 — The total number of Lake County residents testing positive for Coronavirus is 115, as of March 24, since the first Lake County case was identified on March 11.

The Lake County Health Department again urges the community to stay home unless leaving is absolutely necessary. If you must leave the house, it is very important to practice social distancing and keep six feet between yourself and others.  

“It is really imperative the community take the stay at home order seriously,” said Mark Pfister, Executive Director of the Lake County Health Department. “The novel coronavirus is easily spread human to human, and we all need to take it upon ourselves to protect one another by keeping our distance.”

Additional information:

It is critically important that the community follow prescribed preventative measures such as social distancing and the 3 C’s to avoid getting sick: 

1.  Clean hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol; 

2.  Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or your elbow; and 

3.  Contain illness by staying home if you are sick. 

Social Distancing 

• Stay home as much as possible. 

• Call to check on family, neighbors, and older adults instead of visiting. 

• Check with your healthcare provider about tele-health options. 

What to do if you are sick: 

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, stay home and call your doctor. Distance yourself from others in the household and if possible, stay in your own bedroom and use your own bathroom. Seek medical care right away if your illness is worsening (for example, you have difficulty breathing).   

Do not walk into a healthcare facility, urgent care clinic, or hospital before calling. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor.  If your doctor believes that you need to be tested for COVID-19, your doctor should refer you to a COVID-19 testing site

Residents who do not have a primary care provider can contact the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center at(847-377-8800 to schedule an appointment.  


Zion approves renewal of electricity aggregation

By Ginny Skweres

March 25, 2020 — The Zion Council met on March 17, but seats for commissioners and the audience were all placed at least six feet apart. Attendance was light.

The Council approved renewing an aggregation program for electricity in Zion for one year. The rate will remain the same, but the city will receive a civic contribution. Commissioners also approved using 25 percent of its energy from green sources and will be named an EPA Green Power Partner community.

Commissioners also approved a special use permit from Liberty Temple Zion, to operate a ministerial training center at 2200 Sheridan Road. The permit requires weekend parking, between 8 a.m. and noon, to be limited to the five permitted spaces in front and the two in the back.

A tax anticipation warrant, not to exceed $1 million, was approved to provide cash flow until the city receives property taxes. Administrator David Knabel said that the city has bills coming in faster than revenue at this time of the year. These funds won’t be used until the money in the City’s cash reserve of about $1 million has been spent.

“It’s not a good situation to be in…but it helps us bridge that gap,” Knabel said.

The Zion Police Department is a member of the Major Crash Assistant Team, and the intergovernmental agreement was amended to reflect changes in the use of Drug Recognition Experts and the Drone Incident Response Team. The changes are necessary because of the anticipated increase of impaired driving due to the legalization of cannabis, according to Police Chief Kirk Henderson.The Council approved the agreement.


Winthrop Harbor allows alcohol to be sold curb-side

March 24, 2020 —  The Illinois Liquor Control Commission has issued a directive allowing local liquor commissioners to permit the alternative sales of alcoholic products in an effort to provide some relief to local establishments that have been ordered closed to on-site sales. 

These rules are also intended to promote healthy social distancing. In an effort to offset some of the inevitable sales and revenue losses attributed to the COVID-19 outbreak Mayor Michael Bruno, as Local Liquor Commissioner, has issued an order providing temporary relief to liquor license holders.

“If I as Mayor and Liquor Commissioner have the latitude from the State of Illinois to reduce the negative impact COVID-19 on our business community I feel I am obligated to exercise the powers granted to me,” said Mayor Michael Bruno. “An expiration extension of existing licenses and the granting of Temporary Delivery Licenses will offer some financial benefit to licensees.”

Each retail liquor Licensee within the Village of Winthrop Harbor is granted a Temporary Delivery license that allows the following sale and deliveries of packaged products that the Licensee’s original license allowed it to sell: Package sales: “to-go” sales; Curbside sales; and Home delivery sales.

•All sales must be made only to persons age 21 years and older, and if a purchaser cannot provide proof of age at the point of sale, the alcoholic products must be returned to the Licensee and a full refund given to the purchaser.

•TDL sales must be in original packages.  Pre-mixed cocktails or other concoctions are expressly prohibited.  Growlers may be sold under a TDL by a brew pub, but only in original containers and not refills of customers’ containers.

•DL sales may be delivered by using third parties, but the Licensee shall remain fully responsible to ensure sales are allowed only as provided for in this Order.  Violations of sales rules will subject Licensees to the same penalties as usual.

•The specific licensees granted this relief are the following:  Bars, taverns, restaurants, package goods sellers, brew pubs, distillation pubs and wineries.

•TDLs do not expand the range of products the Licensees may sell.  For example, if a Licensee has a license to sell beer and wine, it cannot use the TDL to sell whiskey.

•The liquor licenses currently in effect shall be extended to July 31, 2020.

•The Village Clerk, acting as administrative assistant to the Local Liquor Commissioner is directed to provide copies of this notice to all Licensees in the most expeditious way possible, given the nature of the current viral emergency.

•These rules are temporary and will last only until the COVID-19 emergency has been rescinded by the Governor.


ZB Library closed, but offers options

March 24, 2020 — The Zion-Benton Library is issuing temporary library cards to those without them so they can check out eBooks, learn a new language, or read favorite eMagazines!

Apply now! Visit for more information. This card will enable usage of the library’s online resources such as down-loadable and other resources.

 Once the Library reopens, please go to the library at 2400 Gabriel Ave., Zion, with proof of address to extend your usage of the card.

The library is closed until further notice.

Resources for kids

Storyline Online is a FREE literacy resource where the world’s best storytellers read to children. Visit to learn more.


Sheriff’s Office and ATF arrest convicted felon

March 24, 2020 — The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Group in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Chicago Field Division concluded an undercover operation resulting in the arrest of Malcom J Brown, 31, of Chicago,  a convicted felon, and documented street gang member, who sold cocaine and purchased firearms from undercover detectives/agents.

Brown was suspected of dealing drugs in numerous counties in northern Illinois, and sold undercover detectives over 60 grams of cocaine at a location in Lake County. On another occasion, he met undercover detectives at a location in Will County, where he sold over 65 grams of cocaine.  Finally, on March 19, he sold over 75 grams of cocaine and purchased three firearms from an undercover ATF agent, again in Will County.

He was arrested at that time and was found to be in possession of an additional nearly 140 grams of cocaine. Since Brown committed crimes in more than one county, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office agreed to lead the prosecution.  The Illinois Attorney General’s Office approved the following charges:

Three Counts of Class X Felony Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute; six counts of Class 2 Felony Unlawful Possession of a Weapon by a Felon; and Class X Felony Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun by a Felon.  Additionally, as he was on parole, the Illinois Department of Corrections issued a parole violation warrant for Brown.

Following an initial court hearing in Will County, Brown’s bond was set at $1,000,000. He is next due in Will County Court on April 2. The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office will be co-prosecuting the case with the Attorney General’s Office.

Sheriff John Idleburg said, “This is what our Special Investigations Group is all about, collaborating with other local, regional, and federal law-enforcement to keep drugs off our streets and firearms out of the hands of dangerous felons. Kudos to all of our first-responders who continue to work, keeping the community safe amid the Coronavirus pandemic.”

All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.


Zion Police Department made arrest in a fatal hit and run accident

March 24, 2020 —  Zion Police Officers had been called to the 2200 Block of Elisha Avenue on Saturday, Dec, 7 for a report of a personal injury crash Investigation revealed that Kevin Lancaster, 17, of Zion, allegedly, while driving a stolen vehicle, struck Nancy Ezell, 63, of Zion, causing serious and traumatic injuries to her. She was removed from life support and died on Dec. 13. Lancaster fled the area and abandoned the stolen vehicle several blocks from the scene.

Officers and detectives conducted interviews and gathered large amounts of physical evidence, and on March 21, North Chicago Officers arrested Kevin Lancaster on a warrant for leaving the scene of an accident (Class 1 felony) and reckless homicide (Class 3 felony).

Bond has been set at $500,000. Zion Police Detectives, working with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, had obtained an arrest warrant for Lancaster, a juvenile, charging him as an adult in this case.


Police need information on aggravated battery

March 24, 2020 — Zion Police Officers responded to a report of shots fired at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, March 23, in the 2100 Block of Gideon Avenue. Early reports indicated five or six gunshots heard.

Officers later located two victims who had been struck by the gunfire, one adult female and one juvenile male. The adult female suffered a single gunshot wound to the arm and the juvenile suffered a single graze wound to the head.

Both victims were transported by the Zion Fire Department and treated at the Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. Fortunately, doctors at Condell Medical Center classified both injuries as minor.

Detectives believe there is no threat to the general public and that this was a targeted attack over an ongoing dispute.

Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact the Zion Police Department, Det. Richards at 847-872-8000 or the Lake County Crime Stoppers at 847-662-2222.

The Zion Police department continues to investigate this case.