News and stuff about Lake Forest and Lake Bluff

Ask The Gazebo: What’s Up With the JAWA Pond in Lake Bluff?

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A reader asked GazeboNews about the low water level of the storm water retention pond at the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency (JAWA for short).

According to our reader, who frequents the spot with his two flat-coated retrievers, the pond, which is located just outside the JAWA building’s front gate in Lake Bluff, appeared “to be dropping quite noticeably.” A recent site visit confirmed that water levels still appear to be low.

GazeboNews spoke with Bill Souci, the JAWA director of operations, and he initially informed us that while the storm water retention pond level “fluctuates seasonally,” there was “some indication that it is lower than normal.”

According to Souci, an investigation into the issue showed that there was “a small separation between two sections of storm drain outlet piping at the west end of the pond.”

“We believe that water may have seeped through the pond bank and into that separation,” said Souci. “The separation has been fixed.”

Souci added that he hopes to see the water level rebound as a result, but “a good rain would certainly help.”

Parade Book Shares Story of Gordon Stanley “Mickey” Cochrane, Hall of Fame Baseball Player & Former Lake Bluff Resident

Submitted by the Lake Bluff Fourth of July Committee

The Lake Bluff Parade Book, an annual tradition, will soon be delivered to homes and businesses. Now in its 9th edition, this year’s Parade Book is the biggest it’s ever been–at 160 pages long–and includes six feature stories. Fittingly, given that this year’s Grand Marshal is the Lake Bluff Youth Baseball Association, the book’s lead-off story delves into the life and career of professional baseball player and Hall of Famer Gordon Stanley “Mickey” Cochrane, who once called Lake Bluff home.

COCHRANE, Gordon 1926 baseball card

Lake Bluff resident David Forlow discovered Cochrane’s Lake Bluff connection while working on a research project about Scottish ancestry in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff.

The Hall of Fame catcher made his Major League debut in 1925, and would go on to play in three World Series, set numerous Major League records, and win the Most Valuable Player Award twice. Cochrane’s baseball career came to an abrupt end in 1937 when his skull was fractured by a pitch.

Cochrane then served in the Navy and managed the Great Lakes Naval Training Station baseball team. It was around that time that he moved his family to Lake Bluff. While he relocated his family to Montana for a short time,  Cochrane returned to Lake Bluff where he lived in a house on Sheridan Rd. until his death in 1962.


Left to right: Jimmie Foxx, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Cochrane
Photo credit: By mojumbo22 (Foxx – Ruth – Gehrig – Cochrane) [CC-BY-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

To read more about Cochrane’s distinguished baseball career and life, be sure to peruse your copy of the Parade Book. Other stories in this year’s Parade Book include a pictorial ode to Lake Bluff’s canine companions and their role in the parade; the Fourth of July love story of Lake Bluffers Beth Roubal and Michael Baker; and one local family’s parade memories.

The Parade Book can also be viewed online. For parade news and information, visit You can also find the Parade on Facebook or Instagram.

Inovasi Celebrates Five Years in Business

By Jenny Quill, contributing writer

This June marks Inovasi’s fifth anniversary. In that time, the restaurant has received numerous accolades and its chef/proprietor John des Rosiers has even cooked at the James Beard House. He’s also opened two additional businesses that are across the street and next door to Inovasi:  Wisma opened in 2011 and The Other Door earlier this year. GazeboNews caught up with des Rosiers to take a look back at the last five years, find out how he plans to celebrate his restaurant’s big birthday, and learn what’s on the horizon for The Other Door.

GN: How do you plan to celebrate Inovasi’s anniversary?

JDR: We are going to have an entire week of Inovasi being 50% off. The whole place. I want everyone to come in and see what we are up to, check us out, and bring as many friends as they can. Especially bring anyone who says they didn’t enjoy us before or have not visited in a long while. It will be the week of June 2 to June 7, which is the week we were fully open to the public 5 years ago. I want to thank everyone for being so supportive to us, we have had an amazing first five years!

GN: What are your plans for The Other Door?

JDR: Right now [the plan is] to expand it next door to have more seating. We are working with our landlords and should have the space soon. Hopefully adding about 30 seats. Our guests have been asking and we are working out a solution.

GN: What was the motivation for Inovasi’s renovation? Can you describe the new look and what you were trying to achieve?

JDR: We said in the beginning that Inovasi was a “fluid concept,” and what I meant back then was that we were going to adapt and change along the way. I didn’t want to be a stale restaurant that is exactly the same as when we first opened and this idea applies to every aspect of our business, including the decor. I want to keep everything we do fresh and lively for us and our guests. I wanted a more urban feel, a little rustic with the plank wood, but still finished and not raw; not so “suburban”. We are in a very old building with a rich history and I wanted to show that more. I also wanted to expand our bar area and define it as a separate style of space. So the restaurant appeals to more customers overall depending on what mood you’re in.


GN: What are your plans for the next five years? What are your hopes for Inovasi?

JDR: My hopes are that we continue to show everyone on the Shore we are the best restaurant, and I promise we will continue to get better, continue to innovate and push forward. I would love to show guests that have not seen us in a while, or maybe have never been into the restaurant, how great we are, and how easy it is to find an avenue for your particular tastes, whether that is complex or simple.

GN: In the past five years, what’s the best dish you’ve put out? Any swings and misses?

JDR: Misses, yes for sure. I made a very Japanese-style dish called “black and white,” the white was sake poached and pureed rice and the black was chicken that we crusted in charcoal crackers. I liked it, but most people did not, so we quickly removed it. Best: I don’t know. Honestly, we have had over 2,300 dishes on our menu so far. That’s how often we update it and try new things. There have been a lot of home runs, but even those have to be taken off to make way for new ideas and new inspirations.

Update: Former Lake Forest High School Board President’s Defamation Lawsuit Dismissed

Due to a formatting error, a portion of the statement submitted by Sharon Golan’s attorney Beverly A. Berneman was accidentally omitted. We’ve added to the story. We regret the mistake.

By Jenny Quill, contributing writer

The 19th Judicial Circuit Court of Lake County has dismissed a lawsuit filed by former Lake Forest High School Board President Sharon Golan against current LFHS Board member Ted Moorman.

The lawsuit, which was dismissed on April 30 by Judge Diane E. Winter, accused Moorman of defamation per se and Invasion of Privacy – False Light. The complaint stipulated that the cause for action arose from “false and misleading statements that Moorman made about Sharon” while Golan was president of the high school board and that Golan had “suffered severe emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment, and injury to her reputation” as a result.

The statements referred to in Golan’s complaint were made by Moorman in March and April 2013 as he campaigned for a seat on the High School Board. The statements were largely focused on Golan’s involvement in selecting a construction manager for the $50-million-plus campus improvement project undertaken by LFHS in 2006 to renovate and upgrade portions of the campus. The contract was ultimately awarded to Pepper Construction Co., which is owned by Golan’s husband’s uncle and cousins. At a March 10, 2013 League of Women Voters public debate, Moorman accused Golan of failing to disclose “a beneficial financial interest her family has in Pepper Construction which completed the … project.”

According to a statement released by James B. Sloan and Arthur S. Gold, Moorman’s attorneys, “Judge Winter found that Moorman’s campaign statements did not support Golan’s claims of defamation or false light and dismissed both claims and the entire case without a trial.”

“Moorman said, ‘I am grateful the Court is willing to protect my Constitutional rights against those seeking to stifle me by bringing a lawsuit that has no merit.’”

A press release submitted by Golan’s attorney Beverly A. Berneman states:

“Sharon Golan, immediate past President of the Lake Forest High School District 115 School Board, filed suit in Lake County against Ted Moorman for defamation and invasion of privacy-false light. In the complaint, Mrs. Golan alleged that during Moorman’s campaign for a position on the School Board, he made certain factual misstatements about her and her actions as a member of the School Board and as President of the School Board. Moorman accused Mrs. Golan of acting with an undisclosed conflict of interest by awarding no bid construction contracts to Pepper Construction which is owned by Mrs. Golan’s husband’s uncle and cousins. The statements were not true and therefore Ms. Golan believed them to be damaging to her reputation and highly offensive to her personally and to her unblemished record of public service. Moorman continued to make the statements even after Mrs. Golan personally advised him that he was in error.

Public school records, which Moorman claimed do not exist, were presented to the court and showed that Mrs. Golan did not have a financial interest in Pepper Construction Co., that her tenuous relationship with the family that does own the company was made known in public meetings and public documents, and as an extra measure, Mrs. Golan did not take part in the board’s vote for the contracts.

Moorman’s defense was based on his claim that as a school board member, Mrs. Golan is a public figure and his comments were made in an effort to further his campaign for election to the board. In his filings with the court, Moorman asserted that he did not think the public would believe his statements because “. . .in light of the campaign, and the overall tenor of the public debate, Defendant’s statements ought not to be taken as literal assertions”.

The court denied Moorman’s motion to dismiss Ms. Golan’s complaint based upon the Citizen Participation Act (735 ILCS 110/5). The court held that Moorman’s false statements were not protected by the First Amendment. The court granted Moorman’s motion to dismiss on the basis that although Mrs. Golan’s complaint properly alleged that Moorman acted with actual malice, the statements were capable of innocent construction. The court’s determination was based upon the political context of the statements. The court believed that Moorman had carefully crafted his statements to go right to the edge of defamation. In so stating, the court commented on the sorry state of politics and that the general public has little faith in the truth of statements made by politicians such as Moorman.

Mrs. Golan expressed her disappointment in the dismissal. “I wanted to shed a light on how rancorous and dirty national politics has now bled over into local politics”, says Ms. Golan. “I spent my years on the School Board and as School Board President trying to uphold the integrity of the Board. Neither I nor my husband has ever had any interest in Pepper Construction which has always been owned by my husband’s uncle and cousins. And yet, I disclosed the tenuous relationship and recused myself from any decisions involving the selection of Pepper Construction. I was really shaken and upset by Moorman’s unfounded accusations”.

Mrs. Golan is evaluating the ruling and has not yet made a decision on whether to file an appeal.”

Body Pulled from Lake at Forest Park Beach in Lake Forest

This story has been updated. It was originally posted at 10:19 a.m. on Thurs., May 8.

Thurs., May 8, 11:13 a.m.

Divers recovered a body from Lake Michigan after a nearly three hour search & rescue mission at Forest Park Beach in Lake Forest on Thursday morning, May 8.

Other media outlets are reporting that the body is that of a woman, though that information has not been officially confirmed.

The water temperature was 49 degrees along the Chicago shoreline, according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

We’ll update this story when more information becomes available.

Thurs., May 8, 10:19 a.m.


Multiple fire departments and ambulances are on the scene.


Media lined up at bluff’s edge.

Multiple fire and police departments, including those from Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, are responding to a call of a swimmer in distress at Forest Park Beach in Lake Forest.

Lake Forest Deputy Chief of Police Karl Walldorf said the first emergency call came in at 8:21 a.m.

Police interviewed multiple witnesses at the scene who reported seeing and hearing a swimmer in distress. The witnesses were at Forest Park Beach for morning walks and other activities. The swimmer’s gender and age could not be confirmed.

The large search effort also includes multiple dive teams and boats in the water. Divers are actively searching the water, which is relatively calm at this time.

We’ll update this story as more information becomes available.

Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Leash Laws Explained

By Jenny Quill, contributing writer

Kathleen Reidy's dog Liam was often seen strutting down the road by his owner's side.

Kathleen Reidy’s dog, Liam, was often seen strutting down the streets of Lake Bluff by his owner’s side.

With warmer weather just around the corner, dogs and their owners will be venturing out for walks, park play time, and swimming at Sunrise Beach. But before you and Fido head out into the great outdoors, you may want to brush up on leash laws and pet regulations in Lake Bluff and Lake Forest. You may be surprised to learn that the Village of Lake Bluff and the City of Lake Forest have different leash laws, as do the Village of Lake Bluff and the Lake Bluff Park District. So here’s the scoop on managing your pets in Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, local parks, and Open Lands trails.

Village of Lake Bluff
The Village of Lake Bluff does not require dogs to be leashed in public areas. According to information provided by Lake Bluff Police Chief David Belmonte: “While Lake Bluff does not have a general ‘leash law,’ local ordinances do require owners to keep their dog under their control at all times (only female dogs in heat are required to be on a leash). So, although a leash is not always legally required for every dog, it is always a good idea to keep dogs leashed on walks or when off your property to keep him from running unexpectedly after another animal or out into traffic.”

Lake Bluff Park District
According to the Lake Bluff Park District’s Conduct Ordinance, all dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet when on Park District property. Dogs for the visually impaired or other specially trained assistance dogs are exempt.

The only Park District property where dogs do not have to be leashed at all times is at the Sunrise Beach dog-friendly beach area. Residents who wish to take their dog to the beach must have a valid dog pass that owners are required to show to Park District staff upon entry.

According to the ordinance, any person without a pass will be “subject to immediate removal from the beach … Any person whose dog violates any provision of the ordinance shall be charged with a $25 fine per incident and will be required to immediately remove dog from beach. Any dog with three fines may have its access revoked for one year.”

Lake Bluff Open Lands Association (LBOLA)

According to Larry McCotter, president of Lake Bluff Open Lands Association, “dogs shall be leashed at all times” in association areas, though LBOLA is limited in its ability to enforce the rule. “As our Skokie River Prairie reserve is open to the public, we can’t make any threats or take any punitive action ourselves as [the] Lake Forest Open Lands Association can do,” said McCotter. That said, complaints about dogs in association areas are “infrequent,” according to McCotter.

City of Lake Forest
The City of Lake Forest’s dog regulations differ from Lake Bluff’s in a number of ways. Firstly, owners must register and license their dogs (cats, too) with the city. The license year is May 1 to April 30 and annual pet licenses cost $10. They’re available for purchase online.

The City’s leash law is straightforward: “No dog shall be permitted to run at large in the City of Lake Forest. Dogs must be leashed in all City parks, and owners are required to clean up after their dogs. No dog shall be permitted, except on a leash, to use or be upon any public street, sidewalk, or parkway. Dogs are not permitted at Forest Park Beach.”

Enforcement of the pet license requirement generally only occurs after a pet has gotten loose. According to Lake Forest Police Chief Jim Held, a first offense is typically a warning for no dog license, then tickets follow for additional offenses.

City of Lake Forest Parks & Recreation Department
Lake Forest Parks & Rec abides by the City of Lake Forest pet regulations. Dogs must be leashed on Park District property at all times, and no dogs are allowed at Forest Park Beach.

Lake Forest Open Lands Association (LFOLA)
Only registered members of Lake Forest Open Lands with dog walking privileges may walk their dogs in LFOLA lands. Those members must display a current Association dog-walking parking decal. Dogs are not permitted at Mellody Farm Nature Preserve.

LFOLA’s detailed dog rules also include:

  • Dogs must be leashed at all times when in view of education groups, other people or other dogs.
  • Dog walkers are responsible for the bagging and removal of their dog’s waste on all Association properties.
  • No more than three dogs per adult walker are allowed in Association preserves at any time.
  • All dogs must display a current license tag from their municipality of residence.
  • Dogs visiting Association preserves must be current on all distemper, parvo and rabies shots.
  • Unhealthy dogs or dogs that are in season may not be walked in Association preserves.
  • No aggressive dogs shall be allowed on Association property.
  • Dog walkers are responsible for the behavior of their dog(s).
  • Dogs should be discouraged from entering wetlands and streams.
  • Use of Association preserves should be limited to the trail. No off-trail field training of dogs is permitted on the lands or waters of Lake Forest Open Lands.
  • Dog walkers must abide by any additional notices that may be posted from time to time.
  • All federal, state and municipal rules, laws and regulations apply.
  • As for enforcement, failure to adhere to the rules can result in fines and penalties, including “civil and criminal and expulsion from Open Lands preserves either temporary or permanently and/or membership termination.”

Lake Bluff’s Target Development May Include Chipotle & Pot Belly

By Jenny Quill, contributing writer

Chipotle and Pot Belly in Lake Bluff? It could happen, though you may want to hold off on telling your teenager just yet.

At the April 14 meeting of the Architectural Board of Review, representatives from McVickers Development and Oxford Real Estate Equities presented elevation designs for outlot buildings that are part of the new Target Development in Lake Bluff. One of the outlot building designs illustrates Chipotle and Pot Belly as neighboring restaurant tenants.

Lake Bluff Village Administrator Drew Irvin told GazeboNews that Oxford Real Estate Equities informed the Village that leases are being negotiated with Chipotle and Pot Belly but haven’t been signed at this point.

A public hearing to consider a site plan review for the design of the proposed buildings located on the Target development will be held on Tues., May 6 at 7 p.m. at Village Hall. To view the meeting agenda, click here. To view the proposed building designs, click here.

New Restaurant to Open in Downtown Lake Bluff

By Jenny Quill, contributing writer

maevery logo

Maevery Public House will open in the former Twenty East Café & Bar space in downtown Lake Bluff early this summer. Greg Derman, the longtime general manager of The Grille on Laurel, will helm the restaurant alongside Executive Chef Timothy Michael, the former chef de cuisine at Frontier restaurant in Chicago.

The restaurant represents a homecoming of sorts for Michael, whose mother-in-law is Peg Gronau, owner of Lake Bluff’s Peg Ann & Kompany. For Derman, who grew up in Lake Forest, the restaurant is an opportunity to build a business on his home turf.

“I’ve wanted to do something in this community on my own,” said Derman. “And Lake Bluff is the perfect place.”

Having spent 10 years at The Grille on Laurel, Derman certainly has an advantage in knowing the local clientele.

“The thing about working here and growing up here is that you really start hearing what people want and need,” said Derman.

Derman hopes to give the people what they want at Maevery, which is named for his daughter, Mae Avery. The restaurant will serve “American cuisine with a chef’s touch to it,” said Derman. While the menu is still in development, Derman said that diners should expect steaks, chops and sandwiches, among other dishes, as well as wine, beer, and craft cocktails. The restaurant will be open for dinner and brunch.

Artist Mark McMahon Creates Mural for Everett Elementary’s Centennial Celebration



By Jenny Quill, contributor

In celebration of its 100th birthday, Everett Elementary in Lake Forest has commissioned Mark McMahon, a nationally acclaimed artist, Lake Forest resident, and former Everett School parent, to create a Centennial Mural, a 9-foot by 12-foot tile mural that will be permanently installed at the school. Working alongside McMahon is his longtime associate Gail Galloway, a former local art teacher and Everett parent. Together, McMahon and Galloway have been working closely with Everett’s art teacher and students to create the mural.




The mural will be unveiled at the Everett Centennial Celebration on Thurs., April 24. The event will include a presentation of historical information, the mural unveiling, and classroom visits to view student-created Centennial Research Projects. The APT will also present a history project of its own at the Centennial event.

Here’s the Centennial Celebration schedule:

5:45-6:15pm – Presentation in the Gym (guest recognition, historical information, and mural project)
6:20-7:30pm – Classroom Visits (walk around the school and view student projects in classrooms)
7:15-7:45pm – Refreshments in the Multipurpose Room



Ask the Gazebo: When Will Target Open in Lake Bluff?

By Jenny Quill, contributing writer

A GazeboNews reader recently inquired as to when work would begin on the new Target store in Lake Bluff.

The Lake Bluff Board of Trustees signed off on a resolution back in June that gave Target the green light to move forward with the development. And, according to the Village of Lake Bluff, in January of this year, Target Corp. closed on the former Shepard Chevrolet property where the future store will be built.

At the time, demolition was said to begin this spring, with a tentative opening date of fall 2015.

According to Lake Bluff Village Administrator Drew Irvin, as of today, Target has not yet filed a demolition permit with the Village, so it’s not known when the project will get underway.

For more information about the Target development, click here.