Press releases and more news from Zion, Waukegan, & Winthrop Harbor.
A Message from Sheriff John D. Idleburg
May 28, 2020 — “Over the last several days, I have been reflecting on the death of George Floyd, who unnecessarily died while in the custody of the Minneapolis, Minnesota Police Department. I am not one to ordinarily jump to conclusions, but the video of this tragic incident should shock the moral consciousness of every member of our society. What happened to Mr. Floyd is a tragedy that never should have happened.
As your sheriff, I believe it is important to address this matter with the community we serve. This is the year 2020 and law-enforcement across our nation should understand we are guardians of our community, we are protectors of our community, we serve our community, and we are nothing without the trust and support of our community. What tragically happened to Mr. Floyd at the hands of those sworn to serve and protect creates a significant hole in the moral fabric of the relationship law-enforcement has built with our communities.
Honestly speaking, there is no doubt the incident in Minneapolis creates tension and anxiety in every community across our country, especially in communities of color. It is important that everyone in Lake County knows the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is here to work with them – not against them. The men and women serving at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office are true professionals. Our staff is trained to deescalate situations, communicate effectively and efficiently with the community, not use force unless absolutely necessary, and when using force – using the minimum amount necessary. Our staff understands the philosophy that justice is served in a courtroom, not on the street.
We take the trust and faith you instill in us very seriously and we believe and apply the concepts of procedural justice and legitimacy. We hold ourselves to a high standard, hold ourselves accountable, and it is only fair the community hold us to those same standards. I am proud of the men and women of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and I certainly hope you are as well.
We understand how upsetting and hurtful this incident is to our communities across the country. Speaking, marching, or protesting are completely acceptable ways to express oneself, but we have to remember doing this peacefully is paramount. Rioting, causing damage, personal injury, and destruction is no way to deliver a message. Governments across America should always be willing to listen to the people, but it is so important messages are delivered in a peaceful, nonviolent manner, or the message is likely to go unheard.
Mr. Floyd’s death will not be in vain and will serve a pivotal piece in emphasizing the importance of police accountability. The Floyd family has the deepest condolences of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.”
Beach Park traffic crash with critical injuries
May 28, 2020 — A 2013 Nissan Altima, driven by a 33-year-old man of Waukegan, was traveling northbound on Green Bay Road approaching Chaplin Avenue, Beach Park, at 10:20 p.m. May 27. For an unknown reason, the driver of the Nissan crossed into the southbound lanes of traffic hitting a south-bound 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier head-on.
Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies responded, and the driver of the Chevrolet was taken to Vista East Medical Center in Waukegan with serious injuries. One passenger, a 27-year-old female of North Chicago, was not wearing a seatbelt and was partially ejected out of the front windshield. Another passenger in the Chevrolet, a 35-year-old male of Waukegan, had minor injuries. Both were taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center.
The driver of the Nissan was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville with critical, life-threatening injuries. Alcohol appears to be a factor in the crash, and an investigation is ongoing.
Memorial Day Traffic Safety Campaign Results
May 27, 2020 — Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested four people for driving under the influence and issued a total of 152 citations during the recent Memorial Day traffic safety campaign. Deputies cited five people for driving with a suspended/revoked driver’s licenses, issued 16 citations for individuals operating vehicles without insurance, and issued 54 speeding citations.
Sheriff John Idleburg said, “We’ve recently seen an increase in people excessively speeding and driving recklessly. Our deputies will be out throughout the summer months ensuring those who take to our roadways can travel safely. Please do your part and follow all traffic laws.”
Winthrop Harbor Village Hall to open to public June 1
By Ginny Skweres
May 26, 2020 — The Winthrop Harbor Board had a short meeting on May 19, and is planning to open Village Hall to the public on May 1. The plan for reopening is ongoing, but the village is considering increasing to three the number of days that Clean and Green Cleaning Services comes to Village Hall. They would disinfect high-touch surfaces in high traffic areas. The decision will be made when re-opening procedures are finalized.
The board approved a resolution to endorse the Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus’ Greenest Region Compact. The Caucus aims for high quality of life for residents, protection and stewardship of the environment and sustainable economic vitality.
The board also approved spending an additional $33,000 from the Motor Fuel Tax fund to cover the greatly increased cost of salt to be used for snow and ice control. The village buys the salt from the Illinois Department of Transportation, which goes out for bids for many municipalities.
The board has recently discussed creating the position of Mayor Pro Tem to fill in for the mayor if he is absent. Last week, Trustee Robert Marabella was unanimously approved for the position.
Zion Council approves deficit budget
By Ginny Skweres
May 26, 2020 — The Council approved the budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21 with a deficit of $1.8 million at their May 15 Council meeting. City Administrator David Knabel said the city has been cutting expenses and will continue to do so. He said Zion is seeking Lake County funding for Covid expenses and continues to work to obtain federal funding in regard to the Nuclear Stranded Act.
Mayor Billy McKinney said the city is counting on positive data from the 2020 Census, and is looking for capital funding from state representatives. McKinney also sent a letter to the Lake County Board asking for help for Zion, which he said has been under funded for many years. These are the some of the things that could reduce the amount of money the city might need to borrow to cover the gaps in the future.
The Zion Council approved ordinances that: renew a play ground lease for Martha’s Nursery and Day Care at 1227 27th Street; and to allow variances for property at 2621 Elim Avenue that will continue to allow it be used as a single-family residence, and to put in a driveway. It is zoned central business.
The Council also approved the lowest responsible bids for fuel and construction materials. In addition, the Council approved using Chicagoland Paving Contractors Inc., Lake Zurich, for the 2020 patching program. They approved spending $156,000 to come from the Motor Fuel Tax fund.
An eight-inch water main just west of Sheridan Road between 21st and 23rd streets that was installed in 1928, needs to be replaced. The board approved spending $69,990 for engineering services on the project. Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd., will do the work. It is a budgeted item in the water fund.
The Council approved an installment agreement with Municipal Funding Solutions to borrow $337,362 to purchase Star Com Radio Equipment for the Police Department. The equipment will also be used by the Fire Department. This is the same equipment used by municipalities throughout Lake County and the state.
Department heads and City Officials were re-approved by the Council.
Liquor licenses discussion
Administrator David Knabel brought up for discussion delaying the required renewal of liquor Licenses for the cafes and restaurants that sell liquor, but have been closed due to Covid 19. The $2,500 fees are usually due on June 30, but he suggested delaying it to Sept.30 and charging them a fee for a nine-month period. Mayor Billy McKinney said it was a tremendous idea, as did other members of the Council. They encouraged Knabel to move ahead with the idea which would come up for a vote at a future meeting.
Construction expected to begin on Casey’s General Store
By Ginny Skweres
May 19, 2020 — The Beach Park Village Board met May 14 via Zoom in order to maintain village business. They approved the final plat of subdivision for Casey’s retail company ay 39131 Sheridan Road. The project for the gas station and general store began nearly two years ago, and needed approval by other entities in addition to the village.
According to Chad Wallace who represented Casey’s, the company is ready to go forward and purchase the property. It is unknown when construction will begin, but Wallace said the company is eager to do so.
Trustee Linda Sittig clarified that the Beach Park Village Clean-up was postponed and not cancelled, and expects that it will take place at the end of June. Meanwhile. Advance has begun to pick up large items.
Trustee Mark Otterson gave a shout out to the Public Works Department. In order to keep their distance as required, they’ve been working 12-hour shifts, including over the weekends. “It’s different, but it’s working out so far,” Otterson said.
Fire in Zion damages residence
May 11, 2020 — There was a structural fire May 6 in the 1800 block of Hermon Avenue in a duplex unit. When firefighters arrived, all of the residents were out of the home. There was heavy fire from the back and they used multiple hose lines to contain it.
Beach Park, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and Winthrop Harbor Fire Departments assisted with the fire, and Libertyville and North Chicago Fire Departments covered Zion Stations.
The structure was uninhabitable after the fire and damage was estimated at $20,000.
K9 Deutsch to be missed
Winthrop Harbor to adhere to governor’s emergency rules
By Ginny Skweres
May 11, 2020 — The Winthrop Harbor village Board held a virtual meeting May 5 and renews an ordinance that said the village will follow the emergency rules for Covid put in place by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and will continue until the threat is bated.
The board also approved an ordinance to create the position of a president pro tem who will chair meetings and/or fulfill the duties of village president until the elected mayor returns or is able to take over the responsibilities.
The board approved an extension of benefits for employees who had to cancel time off during the Covid emergency. They will be allowed to take the time after the usual time period has ended.
The following people were appointed to various board and commission:
Margo Nelson, Planning and Zoning Board member through 4/30/25
William Stried, Planning and Zoning Board member through 4/30/25
Margo Nelson, Chairperson Economic Development Commission
Fred Seamon, Vice Chairman Economic Development Commission
Gary Powell, Member Economic Development Commission through 4/30/23
Robert Long, Member at large, Economic Development Commission
The Board also approved the renewal of an intergovernmental agreement with Benton Township, regarding snow and ice control, and adding pot hole patching. The village will perform this service through 2016 at the agreed upon hourly rate.
Drive-thru COVID-19 testing in Waukegan
May 5, 2020 — The former Waukegan emissions testing site is now being used as a COVID-19 testing facility at 2161 Northwestern Avenue.
Anyone with symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell) at no cost. A photo ID is needed.
People with or without symptoms can be tested if:
- they were exposed to confirmed COVID-19 cases
- they have compromised immune systems and/or chronic medical conditions
- they are healthcare workers
- they are first responders
- they are employees who support Critical Infrastructure (grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, gas stations, public utilities, factories, childcare and sanitation)
- they are slated to receive elective surgery within 72 hours
The facility is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until 500 tests are completed daily. Illinois National Guard Soldiers will be conducting tests and test results can be expected within four to seven days. High demand for this service is anticipated and as a result, long wait times are possible.
Speeder charged with DUI
May 5, 2020 — Luis Ariel Caceres Matute, 26, of Kenosha, Wis., was stopped around 7:30 a.m., May 3, in the 2100 block of Sheridan Road after police clocked his vehicle going 70 mph in a 30 mph zone.Caceres-Matute also was driving without a valid driver’s license and showed obvious signs of being under the influence of alcohol.
BP Fire Chief Tierney retires
By Ginny Skweres
May 4, 2020 — The Beach Park Fire Department honored Fire Chief Paul Tierney, who retired April 30, by driving past Station One with lights and sirens. He was also presented with a plaque which pictured a flag with his name and a fire fighters’ symbol on it. Deputy Chief Fred Friedl gifted him with two Challenge Coins on behalf of firefighters.
After the presentations, Chief Tierney told the group, “I have no more words. I love you all.”
He began his career with the Buffalo Grove Fire Department in 1975, and rose through the ranks until he left in 2009.
Chief Tierney joined the Beach Park Fire Department in 2002 as a part-time fire chief, and was made full-time in 2008. He led several professional groups including: President of the Lake County Fire Chief’s Association; President of the Beach Park Firefighters Pension Board; Treasurer for the Lake-McHenry Counties Specialized Response Team; a member of the Illinois and Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association; and assisted with the creation of the Lake-McHenry County Wildland Task Force.
During his retirement announcement to the Board of Trustees and Department membership, Chief Tierney stated, “I have had the honor of working with so many professionals and outstanding firefighters over my 45-year career. However, some of my most proud moments have occurred here at the Beach Park Fire Department.
“Over the last 18 years I have had the opportunity to see this organization grow from a fledgling department with an ISO rating of a 9 to the professional ISO Class 3 organization it is today! This accomplishment was only successful due to the team effort and dedication of our membership to the Fire Protection District. The residents of our community have certainly benefited from all of your endeavors, dedication, and commitment.”
According to the Board of Trustees, Tierney is most proud of the transition from a part-time paid on-call department to a full-time combination Fire Rescue Department; an updated and modernized EMS, Firefighting fleet and equipment; a remodeled and expanded Station No. 1 on Lewis; opening a second Fire Station to better serve the West portions of the Fire Protection District; increasing training certification standards; and was responsible for receiving over $2.6 million in federal grant funds for the Department.
County crashes last Saturday
May 4, 2020 — There were two serious crashes in the evening of Saturday, May 2 to which Sheriff’s Deputies responded.
Shortly after 6 p.m., a 55-year-old Wadsworth man riding a Honda Gold Wing Motorcycle was traveling in parking lot in the 25900 block of Riverwoods Road, Mettawa. He accelerated, which caused the front wheel to rise from the roadway. He lost control and crashed. He was not wearing a helmet, was critically injured and was taken to Advocate Condell Hospital in Libertyville.
In beach Park a Chevrolet Impala, driven by a 22-year-old male of North Chicago, was traveling southbound on Sheridan Road around 8:45 p.m. and crossed into the northbound lane. He hit a Nissan Rogue, driven by a 37-year-old man of Waukegan, head-on.
Both drivers were taken to Vista East Medical Center in Waukegan. The driver of the Chevrolet was in critical condition and the driver of the Nissan had minor injuries.
Both crashes remain under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Technical Crash Investigations Unit.
Good news for boaters
By Ginny Skweres
April 28, 2020 — The North Point Marina will be open for the 2020 boating season as of May 1. However, making it so wasn’t easy.
In a response to local mayors, Rep. Joyce Mason and others have been working with the Governor’s Office and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to make it happen. Since the marina in Kenosha, Wis., will be open, North Point and area businesses would have lost a lot of business.
Boats in a slip are like cars in a parking lot, so people will be allowed to put their boats in. However, people will be required to maintain social distancing and follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control.
“I’m so happy to think our boating season might have just been saved,” Mason said.
Currently only two people will be allowed on a boat at a time, but Mason is working to change that so an entire family that lives together can be on a boat at the same time. Municipalities will be in charge of enforcement, she said.
While the bathrooms will be open for use, the swimming pool and concession stand will not be open since social distancing in those locations could not be maintained.
The marina stated that all facilities are undergoing a thorough deep cleaning and disinfecting before opening for the 2020 season. During the 2020 season, all restrooms, bath houses, public access areas, keypads, doorknobs and handles and touch points will be cleaned and disinfected daily.
They encourage guests to take appropriate hygiene measures, including washing hands frequently, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and staying home if they are ill.
Man dies in fatal crash in Wadsworth
April 28, 2020 — A man driving a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am west on Wadsworth Road died after hitting a traffic signal at Delaney Road at a high rate of speed on April 25.
Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies found the car with extensive damage, and determined the vehicle was occupied by only the male driver, who was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Preliminary investigation shows the Pontiac was traveling westbound on Wadsworth Road approaching Delany Road, at a high rate of speed. The driver of the Pontiac lost control of the vehicle and left the roadway to the north. The Pontiac likely rolled before striking a traffic signal pole at the intersection. Due to the speed, the Pontiac wrapped around the traffic signal.
The Lake County Coroner’s Office responded to the scene and have scheduled an autopsy for the driver on Monday.
The crash remains under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Technical Crash Investigations Unit.
Woman killed by gunshot in Zion
April 28, 2020 — A 21-year old Zion woman was shot outside in the 2300 block of Jethro Avenue, on Sunday, April 26.
Officers responded to Vista Medical Center East shortly before 4:30 AM after the woman was brought into the ER. She suffered a single gunshot wound to the abdomen, and her injuries were considered serious. She died Monday afternoon.
Officers and detectives have located and collected evidence related to this crime. The Lake County Major Crime Task Force is investigating.
Zion Police Chief Kirk D. Henderson asked that anyone with information on this crime to contact the Zion Police Department at 847-746-4110 or Lake County Crime Stoppers at 847-662-2222.
Letter to the editor:
(Editors note: The views and comments expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of this publication, Letters to the Editor can be sent to email@example.com)
Enduring life-altering trials like COVID-19 evolves one’s understanding of life. It shows how much we should be grateful for, how innovation grows from limitation, and ultimately how much of our lives we actually don’t control. Reflecting on this, we hope to be drawn closer to The All-Powerful Source Who governs all and plans for our growth. However, we still may question why there’s suffering in the world, as did Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad, before us.
The Holy Quran says “Blessed is He in whose hand is the kingdom, and He has power over all things; It is He Who has created death and Life that He might try you—which of you is best in deeds; and He is the Mighty, the Most Forgiving” (67:2-3).
The founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, says, “A true believer should not be saddened at times of tribulation…at times of difficulty a fountainhead of love starts.”
So, as an Ahmadi Muslim, I’m reminded that God has not left us hopeless. In fact, it is His design that puts in us an endless capacity for love and service that, if used, will ultimately see us through this trial and is the remedy for the immense pain that has gripped many of our neighbors, friends and families during this epidemic.
We believe that God’s fundamental attributes are Grace and Mercy, let’s emulate those qualities in ease and in hardship. The gravity of this moment will be different for all of us but how each of us responds will determine how well we recover when it ends.
THANK YOU to all frontline workers and all of those who have selflessly sacrificed for the safety of all.
WH mayor agrees with Rep. Schneider
April 27, 2020 — U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (D) released a statement in regard to federal funding on April 21 in which he acknowledged his appreciation for the $349 billion fund approved by the White House.
He also stated, “Many of my constituents also remain in the dark about the status of their EIDL applications and deserve answers from the SBA. The Trump Administration owes it to the American people to do a much better job administering this second phase of CARES Act relief to ensure those most in need get the help they deserve.
“I also applaud the funding for our hospitals, and the resources for expanded testing, which will be necessary to ensure our communities are prepared to re-open.
“I am disappointed that the White House and congressional Republicans stonewalled our attempts to secure help for the states and local governments on the front lines of this crisis. I will redouble my efforts to secure this funding in the next package, because we must find a path forward to provide federal resources to the states and local governments facing catastrophic economic realities created by this pandemic.”
“…The Trump Administration failed to set clear guidelines on PPP for lenders and to communicate with applicants, which allowed larger, more sophisticated companies with existing banking relationships to jump the line to get preferential access to the money that was intended for small Main Street businesses.
“Many of my constituents also remain in the dark about the status of their EIDL applications and deserve answers from the SBA. The Trump Administration owes it to the American people to do a much better job administering this second phase of CARES Act relief to ensure those most in need get the help they deserve.”
After reading Schneider’s letter, Winthrop Harbor Mayor Dr. Michael Brunio wrote a letter to Mandi Florip, Executive Director of the Lake County Municipal League, and asked what he could do to bring support to the local community.
He wrote: “Since the COVID outbreak we in the northeast corner of the county have developed a regional partnership, quasi coalition if you will, consisting of municipalities, townships, school districts and special purpose districts as a tool for pooling resources and information. One of the group’s most recent conference calls included Congressman Schneider. We shared with both him and his staff our concerns regarding revenue loss. This week this same group lobbied Representative Mason to push the issue with both Congressman Schneider and Congresswomen Underwood. Don’t get me wrong, both of our U.S. Representatives have been strong supporters of our communities, but something is not working. And though I know politics and policy are almost always intertwined, this is not the time for politics. Locally, or through the IML is there a “Plan B” being formulated to respond to this serious lack of support for local units of government.? Should we as local leaders be formalizing in writing or presentation our new and even more urgent concerns to Senator’s Duckworth and Durbin and or to the White House? Do we know what our colleagues in other COGs throughout the country are doing, if anything?
“In no way do I believe we’ve been given that answer. Tell me what I can do, if anything, to rally our colleagues, the boots on the ground. As I look at the numbers the writing on the wall tells me after being knocked down by this pandemic our Village, my home, is going to struggle to get back on its feet. It appears that this is all a result of the seemingly obtuseness at the federal level. I need to make sure we come back stronger than ever. It is my obligation; it is unwritten but understood as part of the oath I took. Republican, Democrat, Independent none of this matters. I am the Mayor of a small community of less than 10,000. Not a Chicago not a New York, but just a small community. These are our friends, neighbors and family. I and our Village Board stand ready, please let me know what we can do.”
Winthrop Harbor hires part-time officer
By Ginny Skweres
April 27, 2020 — At a short Winthrop Harbor Village Board meeting Tuesday, April 20, the board approved hiring Erik Waring as a part-time police officer. He fills a spot left empty when a former part-time officer left for a position elsewhere.
The board also approved the purchase of a Village Hall boiler pump at a cost of $5,375. The old pump was about 25 years old, and repairs would cost more than half of a replacement, with no guarantees. The village went out to bid for this purchase and received one other bid which was higher.
The board also approved the purchase of a utility vehicle at a cost not to exceed $16,000. It replaces a 19-year old model that would cost between $3,000 to $4,000 to repair. It will be used by the Parks and Recreation Department to maintain village parks.
The board approved a policy to be followed in the case of a concussion in a Parks and Recreation participant. The first action is to educate coaches, parents, athletes and program staff. Staff and coaches will be required to successfully complete online training.
If a player is thought to have suffered a concussion, he or she will be removed from play, and parents will be notified. If unconscious, 911 will be called. In order to return to play, the participant will need a doctor’s written note.
Beach Park balanced budget approved
By Ginny Skweres
April 27, 2020 — The Beach Park Village Board began its April 23 meeting with a public hearing on the proposed annual budget. Even though this was a virtual meeting, residents were invited to join online or via telephone. There were no questions from residents or board member, and the public hearing was closed.
In the meeting, the board approved the 2020-2021 budget, which was balanced, as it has been for more than 30 years. However, Mayor John Hucker did point out that that revenue is expected to be down this year due to Covid 19. It is likely to impact sales tax, income tax, video gaming tax and more, he said. The village will keep an eye on revenue and expenses and have daily discussions, he said. The board will consider the current situation when they vote on street improvements, which is funded by the motor fuel tax, and they will postpone capital expenditures.
Trustee Don Jensen, head of the Finance Department, thanked Finance Director Peggy McHugh and the staff for the hours and hours of work they put into it. The rest of the board members also expressed their appreciation.
The board also approved a raffle license for Our Lady of Humility School. Their raffle will run from April 24 to May 16. Raffle tickets will be sold online, and the prize will be $10,000.
Trustee Linda Sittig encourages residents to continue following the guidelines established by the Center for Disease Control, now that Gov. Pritzker has extended the ‘Stay at Home’ ruling until late May.
During Citizen Comments, resident Bob Johnson asked the board to consider a ban on open burning of leaves and wood during the remainder of the Covid 19 outbreak. He said it impacts those suffering from the virus and others who have breathing problems.
Two arrested for armed robbery
April 27, 2020 — Two men were arrested April 24 for an armed robbery at the Zion McDonald’s on March 31. Both men had handguns that they pointed at employees, and wore surgical masks.
Jerry T. Thomas, 19, of Chicago and George C. Johnson, 24, of North Chicago were charged with Class X Felony armed robbery and Class 1 Felony aggravated armed robbery. Bond was set at $750,000 each, and each was alleged to have been in three other robberies in Waukegan and one on Roselle.
Thomas is being held at the DuPage County Jail. Johnson is being held in the Lake County Jail.
Zion District 6 holds virtual meeting
By Ginny Skweres
April 21, 2020 — The Zion district 6 School Board held its first virtual meeting Monday evening since the Covid 19 virus broke out. Members of the public had been invited to observe the meeting via Zoom. The first action was to approve virtual meetings, which was unanimous.
The board also approved adding one full-time nurse whose role would be administrative, and would over-see all nurses and health aides who work in the schools.
Superintendent Dr. Keely Robert was enthusiastic in thanking everyone who helped in providing meals for the ‘Grab and Go’ program. It’s a group effort with many generous supporters in the community, she said. The district has been providing between 1,400 to 1,500 meals a day, and has been working hard to keep the program going.
The open meeting lasted about 15 minutes, and the board broke off for the closed portion of the meeting.
Wadsworth loses two who served the village
April 20, 2020 — The Village of Wadsworth mourns the recent passing of two gentlemen who provided many years of public service to our local and surrounding communities.
On Sunday, March 8, 2020, former Village President Ed Tomkowiak passed away. Ed served the Village for about 26 years: 16 as Village Trustee (1967-1983): eight as Village President (1983-1991): and for two years as a member of the Village Comprehensive Plan Update Committee (2012-2014).
Just last week, on Friday, April 10, 2020, current Village Trustee Ken Harvey passed away. Ken served the Village as Trustee from 2007-2020. Prior to his service as a Wadsworth Trustee, Ken had a distinguished 28-year career with the Waukegan Fire Department.
We ask that the Wadsworth Community keep the Tomkowiak and Harvey families in your thoughts during this time. Their obituaries can be viewed at the web sites for Congdon’s Funeral Home and the Gurnee Salata Funeral Home.
The Village values the service that both Ed and Ken provided our citizenry. They will truly be missed.
New jail inmate tests Positive for COVID-19
April 21, 2020 — A female in her 30s, who had been arrested by North Chicago Police Department on a failure to appear arrest warrant for felony retail theft and felony theft was traken to the Lake County Jail on April 20. She was also charged with obstruction of justice and possession of drug paraphernalia. She arrived at the jail at about 10:30 a.m. and attended an electronic bond hearing. She was remanded to the jail with a bond amount of $250,000.
At about 1:30 p.m. she was taken to Vista East Medical Center because she is pregnant and appeared lethargic. There, she was diagnosed with a non-COVID-19 medical issue and released back into the custody of the Lake County Jail at approximately 6:35 p.m., but was placed in the medical unit of the jail upon her return. The following day she was tested by the jail medical provider for COVID-19, because she was going through withdrawals, and her withdrawal-type symptoms were similar to COVID-19 symptoms. On April 21, the jail was informed the female’s COVID-19 test was positive.
The female remains housed in the medical unit and not in general population. No other inmates or correctional staff have tested positive. The jail continues to work closely with the Lake County Health Department.
Jail continues COVID-19 mitigation efforts
April 20, 2020 — After a previously released male inmate tested positive for COVID-19 on April 16, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office continues to follow protocols. They received confirmation from the Lake County Health Department that the man tested positive for novel coronavirus COVID-19. He is a 28-year-old male of Des Plaines, and was remanded to the Lake County Jail on Feb. 27 and discharged on April 13 following a plea agreement.
Beginning April 8, the inmate complained of flu-like symptoms, and was seen several times by the jail’s medical provider and his mild symptoms stabilized. When the inmate was discharged on April 13, his temperature registered normal, and he didn’t have or report any sickness symptoms. On April 15, the inmate checked into a Cook County hospital and was tested for COVID-19, the test came back positive. The inmate was discharged from the hospital shortly after receiving the test results.
A number of protocols have been enacted since February to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 entering the jail as well as enhanced mitigation procedures should inmates feel ill. Thus far, these mitigation procedures have been overall successful. These include:
* Enhanced medical screening for inmates and employees entering the jail
* Increased cleanings of jail pods
* Minimization of inmates moving from pod to pod
* Establishing a medical segregation area for inmates with mild illness symptoms
* Any inmate experiencing illness wears a mask while quarantined
* Worked with Courts & criminal justice partners to establish electronic bond hearings, versus in-person hearings
* Inmates who receive a recognizance bond at their initial hearing never enter the jail’s general population area
* Utilizing PPEs for all jail staff
* Utilized vacant housing pods to spread the distance between inmates
* All newly remanded inmates are housed out of general population for 14 days for medical evaluation before being moved to general population
There are ten other inmates who were housed in the same pod of the former inmate who tested positive. None of those inmates are currently experiencing any symptoms of illness, however, they are being closely monitored by medical staff.
Currently, there are three inmates housed in the medical unit. Two of those inmates were remanded to the jail on April 16, 2020, one of them has been diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and the other had a slightly elevated temperature. The other inmate was a previously housed inmate who complained of stomach pains. Those inmates are in good condition.
No other current jail inmates are experiencing a fever or any other symptoms of illness. Per the guidelines of the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health, COVID-19 testing of a symptomatic individuals is not recommended.
If an inmate’s health begins to significantly decline, an inmate experiences a medical emergency, or their medical care is beyond the capabilities of the medical provider, the inmate would be immediately transported to an area hospital for treatment.
The Lake County Jail continues to follow all CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Lake County Health Department guidelines. The jail’s medical provider continues to work closely with the Lake County Health Department.
Lake County Police Memorial postponed
April 20, 2020 — The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is postponing the Annual Lake County Police Memorial due to continued COVID-19 concerns.The annual event, scheduled to take place in May, will be postponed until the late summer or early fall.
Sheriff John Idleburg said, “While it is disappointing … it is a step we can take to avoid spreading COVID-19 at a large gathering. Those killed in the line-of-duty deserve our respect, gratitude, and recognition, so we will announce a new date for late summer or early fall.”
Beach Park Village and Fire Department to share fuel resources
By Ginny Skweres
April 14, 2020 — The Beach Park Board met April 9 via video and audio conference. Members of the public were able to watch the proceedings.
In addition to approving the bills to be paid, the board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Beach Park Fire Department. The Fire Department is now able to fill up their vehicles gas tanks and buy related petroleum products at the Beach Park Public Works Building.
The Fire Department will pay an additional 8 cents per gallon to defray the administrative costs. This allows the Fire Department to pay less for gas, and helps lower overhead expenses for the village.
The village’s Finance Department has been working on the annual budget, and it will come before the board at the next meeting, which is scheduled for April 23rd.
Lake County’s K9 Diesel captures Crystal Lake man
April 14, 2020 — Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call on April 8 for a trespasser in the unincorporated area of the town of McHenry (in Lake County) where a man was breaking into a relative’s home.
Robert B. Hunter, Jr.,33, of Crystal Lake threw a glass container at officers and tried to barricade himself in the bathroom. When he refused to leave, deputies unleashed Diesel who bit Hunter on the arm. Hunter hit the K9 with a lead pipe and Diesel bit him again. Deputies took Hunter into custody and took him to Northern Illinois Medical Center in McHenry, where he received treatment for the dog bite. Following the treatment, he was released into the custody of sheriff’s deputies who took him to the Lake county Jail.
K9 Diesel was not injured by the hit with the pipe.
Hunter was charged with Class 4 assault with a weapon, resisting arrest, criminal trespass and misdemeanor striking a police dog and violating an order of protection. He was held for Bond Court.
Fatal crash in Waukegan
April 14, 2020 — Waukegan Police Officers located a serious crash that had been reported at Lewis Avenue and Laurel Avenues on April 11. Based on the severity of the crash, the City’s Major Crash Unit was called to investigate.
Investigators believe a red Honda SUV was going north on Lewis Avenue, crossed into the southbound lane and hit a red Chevrolet SUV, which had been southbound on Lewis.
The driver of Honda was taken to an area hospital where she later passed. She was identified as a female in her 80s from Waukegan.
The driver of Chevrolet was a Waukegan woman in her 40s who was released on-scene without being transported. No citations were issued at the time.
Indiana man arrested in Waukegan
April 7, 2020 — The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service arrested Gregory Vaughn Jr., 32, of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was wanted on Fort Wayne warrants for attempted murder, robbery, theft, invasion of property, and interference with the reporting of a crime. On March 2, Vaughn allegedly entered a residence in Fort Wayne where his children reside with their mother. Vaughn stabbed the mother of his children, in front of his children. The following day he returned to the residence and shot an acquaintance of the mother of his children and fled.
The Marshal’s Service asked for assistance from the sheriff’s Office since they thought Vaughn was in Lake county. They found him in the 3100 block of West Grandville Avenue, Waukegan and took him into custody without incident. He has been held in the Lake County Jail on $1,000,000 bail.
Zion held emergency meeting last week
By Ginny Skweres
April 7, 2020 — The Zion City Council met April 3 for an emergency meeting to organize a personnel plan that includes safe distancing as well as meeting the needs of resident. City Hall is closed, but the phones are monitored, and messages that are left will be answered.
Employees of each department will take turns manning the phones and handling business. Each department is set up to take voice messages. Department phone numbers are listed on the city’s web site.
The Zion Police and Fire Departments will operate as usual, but administrative employees will rotate their presence in the offices.
It is possible to get building permits, which will be handled on a case by case basis. The department will do inspections via pictures, rather than going to the site.
Rental inspections have been postponed, but requirements must still be met.
These changes were approved through April 30.
Mayor Billy McKinney encourages all residents to practice safe distancing to limit exposure and infection. It’s important to shelter in place, he said.
The next Council meeting is at 3:30 p.m., April 14.
Suspicious car yielded weapon
April 7, 2020 — Zion Police Officers received a complaint about a suspicious vehicle in the 3000 block of Sheridan Road at 9 a.m. Friday, April 3. Officers conducted a traffic stop and found a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun in the vehicle.
Alan F. Green, 31, North Chicago, a passenger, was charged with two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and resisting a peace officer. Green is on parole and a parole violation warrant was issued for him. He was held for Bond Court.
The driver, Ebony Johnson, 36, of Grayslake, was arrested and charged with DUI, given a court date, and released.
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
Zion McDonald’s Robbed
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
• 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 zblibrary.info 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 www.storylineonline.net 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.