News and stuff about Lake Forest and Lake Bluff

Church Honors Long-time Lake Forest Residents with Jane and Mike Weeden Terrace

Submitted by The Church of the Holy Spirit


The Church of the Holy Spirit will honor the memory of long-time Lake Forest residents Jane and Mike Weeden on Sunday, July 20, during the consecration of The Jane and Mike Weeden Terrace.

“We were blessed by their presence,” said Rob Krebs, a member of The Church of the Holy Spirit and a voice in the decision to name the terrace in the Weedens’ honor. “This is perfect way to celebrate their contributions and what the two of them meant to this church.”

The Weedens called Lake Forest home for nearly 30 years and were devoted members of The Church of the Holy Spirit. Jane served as Chairman of the church’s Altar Guild during the 1970s and 80s, and Mike served as Warden from 1988 to 1992.

The consecration of the terrace is the culmination of more than a year spent renovating The Church of the Holy Spirit’s facilities to make them both more environmentally sustainable and accessible to people with disabilities.

The Jane and Mike Weeden Terrace replaces a set of stairs that once led to the church’s main entrance.

“There’s a tradition of having stairs at many churches – as if you are leaving the day-to-day roughness of the world behind and bringing yourself closer to God,” said Thomas Rajkovich, who designed the new terrace. “We wanted to be thoughtful of the needs of those who had trouble with stairs while also being sensitive about the historic character of the original church.”

Rajkovich came up with the design after carefully studying the design of similar terraces at English hall churches throughout the United States and England.

“It’s very common in English hall churches for there to be some sort of paved terrace area where people gather before and after services,” said Rajkovich. The Jane and Mike Weeden Terrace provides this gathering space while making the entrance accessible to those with disabilities. A set of stairs to the west of the entrance allows those who are able to ascend a set of church steps.

In addition to the construction of the terrace, the church’s landscaping has also been restructured. “We wanted to celebrate the way the space has been re-envisioned,” said landscape architect Craig Bergmann.

“We wanted to design a landscape that was simple, honest, low-maintenance and appropriate,” he said. “I think it will be a nice place for someone to sit and contemplate.”

The church’s parking lot has also been redesigned to more evenly distribute rainwater, thereby reducing The Church of the Holy Spirit’s “footprint on the earth,” said Rajkovich. “There was a sense that stewardship generally means not only being good shepherds for the people in the congregation, but also the rest of creation,“ he shared.

The consecration of the new construction will take place outside The Church of the Holy Spirit’s main entrance following the 10 a.m. worship service on Sunday, July 20.

Lake Forest Train Fatalities: What About The Tunnel?

This is third in a series of stories on train fatalities at the west Lake Forest Metra station. For the two most recent articles, click on the following:


This is a rendering of a pedestrian underpass that's being built in Lombard.

Metra and other rail agencies are constructing a pedestrian underpass similar to this rendering in Lombard.


By Adrienne Fawcett

Lake Forest has been talking about constructing a pedestrian underpass at the west Lake Forest train station at least since 2009 after two commuters were killed within 10 months of each other while attempting to cross the railroad tracks. A third commuter fatality at the station this summer brings the issue to the forefront again.

What’s up with the tunnel now?

It’s still in the planning stages because the city hasn’t found the means to fund what it estimates will cost $6.5 million. Lake Forest has received about $2.5 million toward that in federal and state grants, Assistant City Manager Carina Walters told GazeboNews. Most of the funds received so far are from the Illinois Department of Transportation’s High Speed Rail program, according to the city’s FY2015 budget (scroll to page 27 to see info on the pedestrian tunnel).

“There are federal and state grant opportunities out there; however, you need to meet the criteria outlined within the grant specifications. Whenever the City sees or hears of grant opportunities we are aggressively applying when applicable. We have spoken with all rail agencies and budgets are extremely tight; however, we are creatively trying to find alternate funding solutions,” she said.

If the $4 million funding gap is secured by spring of 2015, city leaders hope to begin construction on the pedestrian underpass then. And if the money isn’t found?

“The reality is that the project does not go forward until funding is secured,” said City Manager Robert Kiely Jr. “The City does not have $4 million in its Capital Budget to undertake the project. That is why we are working very hard to identify other state and federal sources to close the gap.”

According to the city’s FY2015 budget, nearly 90 trains travel through the Telegraph Road station every week day, including 48 Metra trains, 16 Amtrak trains and 20 to 25 freight trains from Canadian Pacific Railroad. A study of the Everett/Telegraph Road intersection, which is adjacent to the rail crossing, found that 7,500 vehicles cross it every day.

Lake Forest and Amtrak have been discussing a potential stop at the west-side depot for some time, and the rail agencies have made the pedestrian underpass a stipulation for the Amtrak stop.

What would the underpass look like?

The city is considering an underpass that’s similar to the tunnel being built in the Village of Lombard. (A rendering of that project is at the top of this story):

Lombard communication manager Bridget Doyle said the Village of Lombard is contributing about $300,000 to the total price of the tunnel project, which Metra estimates to be $8.1 million. According to Metra’s website, funding is coming from several rail agencies:

  • Metra: $3.7 million
  • Union Pacific Railroad: $3.3 million
  • Illinois Commerce Commission: $750,000
  • Village of Lombard $300,000 (for architectural enhancements to the tunnel, including lighting and floor, wall and ceiling finishes)

Highland Park also has a pedestrian tunnel; it’s at the Ravinia stop and was constructed in 2010. Ravinia privately funded the $5 million project through a fund-raising campaign specific to the underpass, said Ravinia Director of Communications Nick Pullia. He said the money came from the not-for-profit Ravinia Fixed Assets Fund supported by a few key donations. Click here to read a press release on the Ravinia tunnel from 2010.

Where would the underpass be located?

The pedestrian underpass would be near the Waukegan and Everett Road intersection at the south end of the station. This would enable pedestrians to travel underground from the parking lot on the west side of the tracks, where the station is located, to the Settler’s Square shopping center on the east side of the tracks, which is a popular pick-up/drop-off site for the train.

The budget states “that the proposed underpass will provide ADA compliant pedestrian access underneath the tracks thereby reducing the congestion in the Settler’s Square for pick-up of passengers. With the pedestrian tunnel all passengers could be picked up at the Train Station. In addition, the tunnel prevents future casualties thereby minimizing the disruption of transit operations.”

Three commuters have been killed by trains at the west Lake Forest depot in recent years: Jean Hubbard McNeill, age 51, of Round Lake, in 2008; Teresa Spradlin, 43, of Grayslake, in 2009; and Mark E. Worden, 59, of Chicago, in July  2014. All three worked in Lake County and were struck after they crossed the tracks against warning devices to catch what they thought were trains that would take them home.

“The City sees the underpass as not only a Lake Forest asset; however, this is really a regional asset,” said Walters.

End note to GazeboNews readers: You may also be interested in these articles from 2009:

Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in Lake County

Submitted by Lake County Health Department

A mosquito pool (or batch of mosquitoes) sampled July 8th in Deerfield has tested positive for West Nile virus. The mosquito pool is the first confirmed indicator of the disease’s presence in Lake County in 2014. In 2013, five human cases, 2 birds, and 41 mosquito pools tested positive for the virus in the county.

“Hot weather typically increases mosquito activity,” said Tony Beltran, the Health Department’s Executive Director. “You can protect yourself against mosquito bites by following the three R’s – reduce your exposure to mosquitoes, repel them by wearing insect repellent, and report areas where mosquitoes typically breed.”

The Health Department maintains a West Nile virus hotline for county residents to report areas of stagnant water (which are conducive for mosquito breeding), or to obtain more information on the signs and symptoms of West Nile encephalitis. The West Nile hotline number is: (847) 377-8300. Information can also be found at:

Recommendations to prevent mosquito breeding include:

  • Discard old tires, buckets, drums or any water holding containers. Poke holes in tires used as bumpers on docks
  • Keep roof gutters and downspouts clear of debris
  • Keep trash containers covered
  • Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store indoors when not in use
  • Drain unused swimming pools
  • Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water
  • Change the water in bird baths and plant urns at least once a week
  • Store boats upside down or drain rainwater weekly

Recommendations to prevent mosquito bites include:

  • Whenever possible, limit outdoor activity at dusk
  • Wear light-colored clothing that minimizes exposed skin and provides some protection from mosquito bites
  • Make sure door and window screens fit tightly and that all holes are repaired
  • Apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

While most people infected with WNV have no symptoms of illness, some may become ill, usually three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. In some individuals, particularly the elderly, the virus can cause muscle weakness, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, coma or death.

The Health Department conducts a multi-faceted mosquito surveillance program in Lake County. Beginning in late spring and continuing into the autumn, a series of traps are set around the county, including within the Lake County Forest Preserves. At each site a pool, or batch, of mosquitoes is tested weekly for West Nile virus. Areas of stagnant water are also investigated throughout the season for the presence of mosquito larvae, specifically from the Culex mosquito which is the primary carrier of West Nile in Illinois. Finally, the locations of dead birds are monitored to assist in the assessment of potential West Nile virus activity. The Health Department works closely with the municipalities, townships, and the Lake County Forest Preserve District in monitoring the mosquitoes that may pose a public health threat.

Information about WNV can be found on the Department’s Website at:

‘Veterans Closet’ Serves U.S. Veterans In Style

Wadsworth, IL – If you are a veteran who needs clothing, please visit the Veterans Closet where vets shop for FREE. Sponsored by the Lake County Council for Seniors and hosted by the Freedom Farm for Vets and John Ress in Wadsworth, the store provides almost-new men’s and women’s clothing for veterans — for free.

At any time, as space permits, small household items such as sheets, blankets and small appliances may be available.

Currently, the Veterans Closet is housed in a mid-sized trailer on loan from Valerie Herson in honor of her late father, Donald R. Herson, a veteran. Volunteers include veterans, community members, and children of veterans and active duty personnel from Kids Rank. Collectively, they worked countless hours sorting, folding and stuffing bins, hanging blouses, shirts, jackets, and outerwear, and matching socks, shoes and boots.

The Veterans Closet will open Friday, July 18 at 10 a.m. and will be open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointment is not necessary; however call ahead to be sure what you need is available. Donations of clothing and small household items are taken by appointment.

Monetary donations, no matter how small or large, are desperately needed to continue to serve Veterans and their families.

For more information visit Lake County Council for Seniors website at or call Lake County Council for Seniors at 847.244.1720.

  • Freedom Farm for Vets is located at 13155 Hart Street, Wadsworth, IL 60083
  • Kids Rank is located at 1957 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, IL 60035

Lake Bluff Hosts Sidewalk Chalk Art Competition

Submitted by the Lake Bluff Library

Sidewalk Chalk Art Competition
Saturday, July 19 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Chalk it up to Creativity! Aspiring local artists, equipped with chalk, will have an opportunity to create sidewalk art at the Lake Bluff Public Library for the 2nd annual Sidewalk Chalk Art Competition.

This is a one-day event, held rain or shine during the Northwestern Medicine Lake Bluff Criterium. Registration begins June 16 and ends July 16. Entries will be judged in three categories: a youth category (ages 11 and under), a student category (ages 12-18), and a family/group category.

Prizes will be awarded based on the interpretation of the theme, “Journey to a New World,” and artistic quality. Space is limited.


Discover Lake Forest’s ‘West Side Stories’ at Historical Society Exhibit

Submitted by the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society

Join us on Thursday, July 17 at 1:30 p.m. at Lake Forest Place for a free talk in connection with the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society’s exhibit “West Side Stories: The History of West Lake Forest.” Curator Laurie Stein will discuss some of the stories behind West Side Stories – historical details, personalities and anecdotes also touched on in the exhibit.

A section of the exhibit called “Faces of West Lake Forest,” profiling ten residents whose actions transformed life in our community and beyond, will be installed at Lake Forest Place for residents and guests to view. Susan Kelsey, Arthur Miller, and Shirley Paddock, authors of the 2012 book West Lake Forest, will be present to sign books, which will be available for a special discount price of $20 at the lecture.

The full exhibit West Side Stories is open at the Historical Society, 361 E. Westminster, Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday by appointment, and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. Museum attendance is free.


West Side Stories focuses on the history of the part of Lake Forest west of Route 41, which, according to a survey of local residents, is the boundary line the majority now use to define “west Lake Forest.”

Early pioneers settled the area years before the incorporation of Lake Forest. A farming community known as Everett arose at the intersection of Waukegan and Everett roads, focused around the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul train station, St. Patrick Church and Everett School. Lake Forest’s western territory was annexed to the city in three stages, in 1926, 1957, and 1988.

Featured at the museum are dozens of artifacts that reveal a slice of life in west Lake Forest, past and present. A 12-foot-long timeline gives a chronology of the area. Visitors can see the old transition into the new through a time lapse presentation of aerial photographs and by comparing Lake Forest maps from various decades.

The exhibit launched in April with a members’ preview event at the Historical Society museum attended by 100 members and their guests. Parts of the exhibit have gone on tour at various locations in west Lake Forest. You can now see panels from West Side Stories at the Telegraph Road Metra Station and at Lake Forest Place. Earlier this spring, the exhibit stopped at Everett School for the 100th anniversary celebration and at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. Future sites will be announced later this year.

Sponsors of West Side Stories include: Packaging Corporation of America, The Private Bank, Robin and Sandy Stuart, Anonymous, Barry and Barbara Carroll, Brunswick Corporation, Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, Sunset Foods, and Starbucks West Lake Forest and East Lake Forest. In-kind contributions were made by: Anonymous, Carolyn and Mark McMahon, PostNet, and TruCreative.

More information about the exhibit is available online at or by calling 847.234.5253.

Ravinia Underpass Connects Parking Lot To Entrance Gate

The following is a 2010 Press Release from Ravinia:

Ravinia Festival will break ground immediately following the 2010 season on building a handicapped-accessible pedestrian underpass that will connect the main parking lot to the festival grounds at the Tyler Gate entrance under the train tracks. The work will be completed by spring with the underpass opening at the start of the 2011 festival season. Construction crews will work around the train schedule on the Metra North line—which stops at the festival gate—so there will be no commuter delays. Ravinia will privately fund the $5 million project.

The underpass will eliminate long wait times in the parking lot for customers who cannot enter the grounds while trains are unloading. Without the underpass, wait times can be as long as 30 minutes when the northbound and southbound trains arrive consecutively.

“Ravinia was started by a train company in 1904, and the train’s convenient location to the festival is one of the keys to our success. It is still the fastest, easiest, most energy-efficient and least-expensive way to get to Ravinia, whether you’re coming for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or for Sheryl Crow.” Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman said. “We want to ensure that this vital part of our heritage remains customer-friendly and worry-free. The underpass will make the trip to Ravinia even easier by allowing people to enter the park as they arrive instead of finding themselves blocked by an unloading train.”
Ravinia staff and its contractors have worked closely with representatives from Union Pacific Railroad and the City of Highland Park for the past two years to plan this project. It has already been approved by the city’s Design Review Commission, Historic Preservation Commission and Festival Relations Committee, with periodic updates provided to the Highland Park City Council, which last night approved the construction work schedule.

Ravinia has engaged the services of traffic consultants to model pedestrian flow, acousticians to measure sound levels and a myriad of engineers to map and minimize the potential construction impact on the neighborhood.

“We have met with Highland Park staff on more than a dozen occasions to seek approval and guidance for every aspect, including design, engineering, positioning of the entrance ramps, tree preservation and drainage,” said Ravinia Festival General Manager Patricia Sanders, who will oversee the project along with contractor W. B Olson and project manager Jim Johnson of The AT Group.

The underpass was designed by JJR. It features two ADA-compliant ramps that will lead Ravinia patrons to a 42 foot underpass. Patrons will emerge to a mirror set of ramps on the park side. Groves of birch trees will be planted in the center of the ramps on both sides and all ramp walls will feature a concrete relief panel displaying the name “Ravinia” camouflaged in a relief image of birch trees.

Heads Up: Lake Bluff Weedkill Planned For July 16 and 18

On Wednesday, July 16, and Friday, July 18, the Lake Bluff Parks Division in cooperation with the Village of Lake Bluff will spray for weeds along Village Right of Way areas. Flags and signage will be posted to inform residents of the application.

This application will take place weather permitting. Should the application be postponed, a new email will be sent out to update every one of the new date(s) of treatment. Please be aware of flagged areas, treated areas may be re-entered once dry.

Contact Park Services Manager Noah Mach at if you would like to be added to the email notification list.

Lake Bluff Offers Triathlete Training

Sponsored by Lake Bluff Park District: Become a triathlete in just 60 minutes. One hour and you become a triathlete; it will happen so fast you won’t know what hit you! This in house triathlon is a fun challenge that will appeal to everyone (age 14+ only) – from seasoned athletes to first timers. Pack your goggles and bike shoes and join us for this fun event.

Here’s how this one-hour race against the clock breaks down:

* 10 minute swim in the 50-meter outdoor pool 
* 30 minute bike ride in the Spin™ studio 
* 20 minute run on the treadmill

Performance is measured by distance covered in each of the three legs. The more distance
you cover, the higher your score. You will start in waves of 6 people every 25 minutes; waves start times will be available 2 days prior to the race. Registration closes on July 24, 2014.


7:30 a.m. to noon

Polar Vortex, Shmortex …


Photos by Eric Grenier
Story by Adrienne Fawcett

The dreaded weather phrase “Polar Vortex” made it back into news headlines late last week, shattering an otherwise lovely spell of breezy summer days as meteorologists predicted a cold snap for mid-July. But while unseasonably cool and annoyingly wet weather has indeed arrived, the use of the phrase “Polar Vortex” was a tad inaccurate, as ABC-News reported.

Still, it’s raining as I write this on Monday morning, a mere 68 degrees F, and I’m wearing a sweater, on July 14, the start of what’s usually the Chicago-area’s hottest week. Things could be better … but they could be worse. Lake Forest’s very own weatherman Carl Noble measured 1/3 of an inch of rain in his backyard on July 12 while other parts of Chicago were deluged with more than five inches. Carl measures precipitation for the Community Collaboration Rain, Hail & Snow Network, aka CoCoRahs.

So let us not complain about the weather … this time. Instead let us reflect on weather patterns of yore, specifically, from this past winter when we dressed in multiple layers to get the paper on the driveway and velcroed our dogs into little coats to get them to go outside. Yes, then we really did have something to complain about, as Lake Bluff’s Eric Grenier captured in these Polar Vortex photos when he was among the few brave souls in town and at the beach:

Photos by Eric Grenier of Lake Bluff

Photos by Eric Grenier of Lake Bluff; winter 2014