News and stuff about Lake Forest and Lake Bluff

Lake Bluff: A Favorite Place To Rest And Nest for American Woodcocks

Lake Bluff Open Lands Association's Woodcock Walk; photo from LBOLA's Facebook page.

Lake Bluff Open Lands Association’s Woodcock Walk; photo from LBOLA’s Facebook page.

By Adrienne Fawcett

Lake Bluff real estate received top billing from American Woodcocks in Lake and Cook Counties, according to a recent birding survey.

Members of Illinois Audubon Society’s Lake/Cook Chapter conducted the survey at the request of the University of Arkansas, which is studying American Woodcock migration. Lake Cook Audubon President Rena Cohen said her organization covered 35 sites in Lake and Cook Counties and that birders counted 12 woodcocks in one night in Lake Bluff’s 35-acre Skokie River Land & Water Reserve, the highest number recorded by the group. The surveys were completed by April 9 because the University calculated that birds staying beyond that date are here to nest, not just migrate through the area.

More recently, on April 19, Lake Bluff Open Lands Association held its annual Woodcock Walk in the same area, and the Woodcocks didn’t disappoint.

So … What’s an American Woodcock and why should we care? describes American Woodcocks as “plump, short-legged shorebirds with very long, straight bills.” (Click here to listen to the woodcock’s peent call, flight and wing sounds and growling challenge call.)

For images of this interesting bird, please click here.

Lake Bluff’s David Barkhausen ventured out at dusk on Thursday evening, April 17, to see if Woodcocks were in town, and he heard at least three or four from the middle of the Skokie Preserve, which is located south of Route 176, west of Green Bay, and east of the Skokie River a quarter mile east of Route 41. He heard several Woodcocks and had a decent look at one circling overhead and then landing a few times. He also got very close to a Woodcock dancing in circles on the ground while uttering its every-few-seconds loud “peent” cricket-like call.

“After doing this for a minute or more, the male Woodcock takes off high in the air and circles rapidly at around 100-200 feet,” said Barkhausen. “He then descends suddenly, and you hear the whistling flutter of his wings and can often see the bird drop down just before he hits the ground and resumes the ‘peenting’ sound. The bird I was near was in some fairly tall brush, so I could not see him or his dance on the ground even though I was within 50 feet of him.”

Intrigued, he followed up his birding exploration with an email to Lake/Cook Audubon’s Rena Cohen. Here’s a Q&A between the two (published on GazeboNews with their permission).

Barkhausen: Do birdwatchers in search of Woodcocks sometimes use flashlights to try to spot the birds on the ground, or will that scare them off too readily or stop them from doing their “peenting?”

Cohen: Flashlights are discouraged but I can’t tell you for sure if the light will distract the birds in any way.

Barkhausen: How long are they apt to stick around? Do they nest here, or are they migrating? I gather this springtime activity is a mating ritual. How long might it last?

Cohen: Woodcocks do nest here but some just stop here and continue on their way during migration.

A few factoids – these birds arrive early (in late March) because they eat worms and don’t need insects like most spring migrants do. Their beaks have a flexible tip that helps them dig up worms, and their “dance” (Google it if you haven’t seen it) is believed to help them locate worms under the ground. They typically make a 360-degree turn as they peent so it frequently sounds as if they’re moving away even if they aren’t. Also, the sound they make when they fly up in the air to display is made by air passing through three very thin wing feathers that are noticeably thinner than the rest .

Barkhausen: Another question is how long is the mating ritual dance apt to continue? You did say that some of them stay and indicated that if they’re still here (after April 9th), they’re likely to make this home. Would that be until late fall?

Cohen: Hmm, good question! I don’t know when they stop displaying, but the literature says they continue to display long after most females have laid eggs. That can happen as early as March, but I can tell you that one of them at Heller Nature Center was still displaying on Wednesday, and they’re certainly still active now.

Their mating habits are also interesting. Some males display at several singing grounds and mate with multiple females. The female often visits four or more singing grounds before nesting, and she may keep up these visits even while she cares for her young. The male gives no parental care. I guess that’s why he has the energy to keep on doing his courtship flight – which has given him the nickname “sky dancer.”

Renowned Expressionist Diane Thodos Opens Exhibit at Re-invent Gallery

Sponsored post by Re-invent Gallery in Lake Forest:

Re-Invent Gallery invites the community to an opening night celebration of its newest exhibit, Diane Thodos: Forces of Life: Lyricism and Requiem, which opens Good Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. and runs through May 31 at 202 E. Wisconsin Ave, Lake Forest.

Painter and printmaker Diane Thodos has always felt drawn to the expressionist art movements of the Modernist era – most specifically to Abstract Expressionism from the 1940’s – 1950’s and German Expressionism from 1906 – 1924. Her paintings and prints embody two different aspects – a drive towards the lyrical, and an opposite one towards the tragic. For her, figure and abstraction create a fertile ground for ever-new compositional and emotionally expressive possibilities.

Earning her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1989, Thodos was mentored early on by Donald Kuspit, an iconic New York art critic and intellectual who inspired her to delve deeply into the world of Expressionism. She was further inspired by the powerful graphic techniques of the German Expressionists after a fateful meeting with owners of an immense private collection of such works in 1992. Over the course of two decades, she has been granted access to the collection for self-study, and her paintings and woodblock prints reflect both style and technical techniques of bygone Expressionist masters. Like many noted American Abstract Expressionists of our time Thodos also studied with Stanley William Hayter who revealed the importance of subconscious imagery through the use of automatic gesture or automatism.

Diane Thodos

Diane Thodos


Of her new one-woman exhibit at Re-invent, Thodos states, “I feel that our current culture is undergoing a period of both upheaval and uncertainty. This is why the tragic aspect of my work attempts to distill states of feeling that are essential and direct in their expression. My lyrical work represents an equal and opposing life force…In this exhibit, you will see the opposite poles of life and death, lyricism and tragedy, abstraction and figure.”

Re-invent gallery co-owner Cecilia Lanyon said, “Diane is a significant artist among American Abstract Expressionists today, who has exhibited nationally and internationally. We are honored to showcase her works through this exhibit, from her life-infused paintings to her most intricate woodblock prints.”

The show’s Opening Night Celebration is Good Friday, April 18, 6-9 p.m.. Visit or call 224-544-5961

Lost Dog: Have You Seen Figgy?

A GazeboNews reader asked us to post the following:

lost dog shih tzu
Figgy no collar
last seen tue April 15 6pm
Near Barat College

Pls contact Lake Forest Police




First Presbyterian Church Rummage: Biggest Sale Yet

Submitted by First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest

Photos submitted by Jorina Fontelera, director of communications at  First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest

Photos submitted by Jorina Fontelera, director of communications at
First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest

First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest will host the biggest Rummage Sale in its history, now entering its 64th consecutive year, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 3 at 700 N. Sheridan Road in Lake Forest.

Staffed by more than 400 volunteers, the church collects thousands of clean, usable items throughout the year from clothes and accessories to furniture, antiques, electronics, appliances, sports equipment, décor, household goods and many more. Over the course of a year, volunteers collect, sort and organize these items to get them ready for the sale. Open to all—both local and out of state—the Rummage Sale takes up 40,000 square feet of space inside the church and two circus tents full of sale items cover the church’s parking lot.


“Rummage is a year-long event here at First Presbyterian. It takes thousands of hours of volunteer work by hundreds of volunteers to make it such a huge success,” said Jeff Howard, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest elder and co-moderator of the Mission Committee and Rummage sub-committee. “Rummage would not be possible without the tireless efforts of these volunteers.”

Since its inception in 1950, this event has contributed more than $5 million to First Presbyterian’s Mission program. Mission provides grants to local and global partner organizations that help nurture faith development, pastoral care and church leadership support; empower youth and adults to achieve their potential through high-quality education; and/or meet the immediate needs of impoverished families while pursuing long-term solutions to address the effects of poverty.


“The Rummage Sale serves as a wonderful fellowship opportunity for church members and the community,” said Reverend Dr. Christine Chakoian, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest’s senior pastor. “It also sends precious dollars to our mission partners while serving low income families. It’s truly a sight to see.”

On the day of the sale, shoppers can park in the Lake Forest city lots, at the Lake Forest Metra station parking lot and on the street, unless otherwise marked as a “no parking” zone. A free Rummage Sale shuttle will pick-up and drop-off patrons from the city and train parking lots. Cash, check and credit cards (Visa or Mastercard) are accepted at the sale.


First Presbyterian will continue to collect donations for this year’s Rummage Sale until April 14. Donations should be clean; free of odors, stains, tears, holes; and, if applicable, in working condition. Breakable goods should be stored in sturdy boxes and clothing in large, sturdy plastic bags. Donation items can be dropped off at the church from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays.


For more information about donating goods or about the Rummage Sale, contact the church at (847) 234-6250 or visit



About First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest

First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest strives to proclaim Christ’s message, provide a community of spiritual nurture and promote God’s vision of justice. Worship is at the heart of the organization and its mission outreach, study groups, faith formation programs and fellowship opportunities grow out of the desire to love and serve the Lord together. Since its establishment in 1859, the church continues to reflect the goals of its founders—to live together as a community dedicated to Christian life and to betterment through education and benevolences—while growing with the needs of its congregation. For more information, visit the church’s website at

Lake Forest Soccer Stars Shipp & Quon in Chicago for Double-Header

Two Lake Forest High School graduates who have gone on to play professional soccer will be in Chicago on Saturday, April 19, for a double-header at Chicago’s Toyota Park.

The first game will feature rookie Harrison Shipp (LFHS Class of 2010), who graduated from Notre Dame last year. He was an All-American, captain of his team, a nominee for the prestigious Hermann Award — AND his team won the NCAA championship last year. He now plays for the Chicago Fire — click here for an article on about Harry.

Harry Shipp; photo from a video on

Harry Shipp; photo from a video on

The second game will feature Rachel Quon, who is starting her second season playing for the Red Stars. She graduated last year from Stanford University and was an All-American, captain of her team, a nominee for the Hermann Award and her team won the NCAA championship in 2011. Rachel recently made her first cap for the Canadian
National Team.

Please visit the Chicago Red Stars website for information about the double header.

Photo of Rachel Quon from Wikipedia

Photo of Rachel Quon from Wikipedia

What Happened To Spring?

Snow fair … One day Sande Noble went out to the garden to enjoy the daffodils and other spring blossoms. The next day it snowed.



Sunday; photos by Sande Noble of Lake Forest.






April Showers Bring Delays To Pot Hole Repairs in Lake Forest

Correction made Tuesday 8:21 a.m. to reflect the following: City Council increased a $253,000 patching budget by $200,000 for a total of $453,000. Motor Fuel Tax funds are the source of $1.72 million for the City’s annual resurfacing programs.

A pot hole, one of many, on Lewis Avenue in Lake Forest.

A pot hole, one of many, on Lewis Avenue in Lake Forest; photo by A.J. Goldsmith.

By A. J. Goldsmith, GazeboNews corespondent

Lake Forest Public Works began repairing potholes in mid-February, but inclement weather has slowed down the work, Michael Thomas, Director of Public Works for the City told GazeboNews.

“We cannot apply patches to the holes until they are dry,” said Thomas. Road-repair work will continue throughout the year.

To correct the damage to Lake Forest’s streets by this past winter’s severe weather, City Council increased a $253,000 patching budget by $200,000 for a total of $453,000, according to city spokeswoman Susan Banks. Motor Fuel Tax funds are the source of $1.72 million for the City’s annual resurfacing programs. Thomas’ department is also correcting winter damage to mail boxes, street signs and street lights all the while continuing regular street sweeping program.

To speed up the hole-patching program, Lake Forest recently purchased an asphalt-heating-and-applying machine for $30,000, replacing one that had been in service since 1996. This machine allows the city to recycle old asphalt for immediate repairs, providing service until new asphalt can be bought when the plants reopen, usually by mid-April.

Areas larger than 4’ x 5’ cannot be filled by city equipment. Those repairs have been contracted to Peter Baker & Sons of Roundout, IL. In addition, large-area, overlay work has also been contracted to the Baker firm at a cost of $1,720,000. This year, overlay work is scheduled on the following streets: Conway Farms Drive between Route 60 and Everett, McKinley Road between Lake Bluff and Woodland Avenue, and Onwentsia from Green Bay Road to the creek.

A $227,000 program to upgrade concrete roads in the Lake Forest Heights subdivision is out for bid at this time.

Lewis Avenue pot hole.

Lewis Avenue pot hole.

What You Should Know About the Route 60 Whole Foods Development Proposal

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by the Board of Directors of the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.

GazeboNews Reader Forum


The Board of Directors of the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation has followed closely the ongoing review of the Special Use petition for the property at the corner of Rt. 60 and Saunders Road, commonly referred to as the “Whole Foods” development. This petition has recently been presented for a Special Use Permit at the Plan Commission and for architectural and landscape review at the Building Review Board.

Misinformation and confusion about the underlying requirements of this special use petition have been apparent at the hearings and in ongoing public commentary. Our Board of Directors has in-depth knowledge of the City’s regulations because many of us have served on City boards, the City Council, or as architects working with these regulations. Many residents may not have had this type of experience and may not be as familiar with local governmental codes and procedures. As this petition involves issues related to historic preservation, we want to share our understanding of the issues with the community. We strongly believe that Lake Forest’s Comprehensive Plan, careful attention to details of subdivision, stewardship of quality architecture and landscaping, and defined commitment to preserving our community’s historic buildings and landscape heritage are what make this a very special community of distinction.

First, it is important to understand that the petition for Special Use before the Plan Commission and Building Review Board is not about whether Whole Foods will be allowed to come to Lake Forest. Whole Foods is the proposed anchor tenant in a proposed commercial development. The issue before the City is not “Whole Foods” or “no Whole Foods.” The issue is whether the commercial developer and owner of the property will be granted a special use permit that allows changes from the “Comprehensive Plan Amendment for the Rt. 60 Sub-Area” of Lake Forest adopted by the City Council June 4, 2001, as well as the requirements set forth in the approved subdivision agreement for the subject property. Both documents are City-approved plans for the vision of the Rt. 60 corridor. Further the Zoning Code, Section 46-53-5 Transitional District, specifically references consistency with the Comprehensive Plan Amendment for the Rt. 60 Sub-Area.

What does the “Comprehensive Plan for the Rt. 60 Sub-Area” recommend (see quotes below)? What is the developer asking to be changed?

1. “Enhance Route 60 as the western gateway into Lake Forest.” The developer asks to place small clapboard structures within the front 20% of the 150-foot setback established by the Comprehensive Plan and the subdivision requirements, in stark contrast to the rest of the Rt. 60 western gateway to Lake Forest which maintains the setback.

2. “Enhance Conway Park as a world-class corporate park.” In contrast to Conway Park’s image as a world-class corporate park, the developer asks to place small shed-like structures up close to the road in violation of requirements established by the City.

3. “Enhance and preserve significant tree stands, wetlands, and water views.” The developer asks to remove over 300 mature trees.

4. “Continue improving the frontage along both sides of the roadway (150 feet north/south of right-of-way) with landscaping, and other design features to create a greenway/gateway setting.” The developer asks to reduce the 150 feet to 25 feet, less even than Vernon Hills has in its Rt. 60 development. The developer asks to remove trees within the required setback area. All others who have developed along Rt. 60 have complied with the 150-foot setback and landscape requirement, setting a precedent for compliance on this final undeveloped parcel facing Rt. 60.

5. “The landscaped greenway/gateway should extend along Route 60 from the Tollway to Waukegan Road. A comprehensive plan for this area shall be developed and all future development shall landscape their front 150 feet in accordance with said plan.”  The developer’s petition removes over 300 mature trees and requests a 25-foot setback. Most of the required 150-foot setback will be paved with the developer’s parking lot. All others who have developed along Rt. 60 have complied with the 150-foot setback, setting a precedent for compliance on this final undeveloped parcel facing Rt. 60.

6. Specifically, regarding the parcel in question:

  • “Moderate density low-rise residential with a range of housing product types that preserves significant tree stands, preserves the site’s overall wooded character, and links to the future residential neighborhood to the east.” The developer asks to remove over 300 mature trees, destroying the “wooded character” of the site.
  • “Adaptive re-use of the Miller estate house.” This provision also is a condition of the approval for subdivision of the property, which also includes reuse of the surrounding mature landscape. The developer asks to demolish the Miller estate house (also known as the Everitt House and/or “the old mansion.”), which received one of the City’s highest honors by being designated a landmark by the City in 2006.
  • The developer also asks to remove the estate’s entry landscape created by famed landscape architect Jens Jensen, who also designed the landscape of the J. Ogden Armour estate, an adaptively re-used estate across Rt. 60 on the north side, which sets a preservation precedent in its adaptive re-use as Lake Forest Academy.

If a special use is recommended by the Plan Commission under these conditions, the Historic Preservation Commission will be required to review the request for demolition of the landmarked manor house to determine whether the building is re-useable or not. The burden of proof is the responsibility of the petitioner. The developer and property owner to date have provided no evidence that the building cannot be adaptively re-used and, in fact, have chosen to ignore the City’s designation report and an additional report that they commissioned which documents the quality and distinction of the manor house, its auxiliary structures, and its landscape.

Note that there also are aesthetic issues under review for this project, relating to the developer’s plans for architectural design, building materials, and landscape and hardscape design, which are being addressed by the Building Review Board. The Board at its last meeting requested revision of these and other plans for the project to help ensure that it is more compatible with the design and materials used at neighboring properties, which set an architectural and landscape precedent for the visual appearance of the Rt. 60 gateway to Lake Forest.

Spring Blooms …

Sometimes it seems spring bulbs and blooms will never find their way here. But as you can see in these photos, color is starting to pop up.

Spring photos submitted by Sande Noble

Spring photos submitted by Sande Noble



LFHS Grad To Shoot Film In Lake Forest, Lake Bluff This Summer

By Adrienne Fawcett

If you’ve ever dreamed of being involved in a movie production, now’s your chance to do more than dream. Lake Forest native Lain Kienzle is shooting her NYU senior thesis film, “The Nappers,” in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff in June. Classmates from Lake Forest High School (2010 and ’11) are on board to help with the project, and they’re looking for assistance from others in the community.

GazeboNews asked Lain to explain the scope of the film, who’s involved, what they need and how people can help.

Let’s start with the help part: The filmmakers plan to shoot at local locations and source everything they possibly can from Lake Forest and Lake Bluff and involve as many people as possible in the project, be it in kind donations and discounts (such as meals from local restaurants), community members who want to work as crew on the film, or funding for the film’s Kickstarter campaign ( (Kickstarter is a website that helps people raise money for projects and such).

“Currently, we’re most focused on the Kickstarter campaign as it ends soon, so any kind of help we can get there is huge and most appreciated,” said Lain.

What is this project all about?

“The Nappers” is Lain’s New York University Tisch School of the Arts senior thesis film. Here’s a synopsis, as explained on the film’s website:

Scott and Robbie met in preschool and have been inseparable ever since. Scott was always the more adventurous of the two, and lead the mischief the pair got into, while the more straight-laced Robbie happily joined in. Their friendship was all fun and games until Scott was sent to prison for ten months, after getting mixed up with some shady meatheads, Brick and Nash.

Scott, now 21, returns to his pristine, midwestern hometown to make amends with Robbie after his stint in prison. But before Scott can make things right, Brick and Nash find him and demand that he pay back to money he owes them. It’s not long before Robbie gets sucked into the mess and the pair are forced to kidnap an alligator from the local zoo for Nash, and Robbie and Scott have to figure out how to keep their friendship afloat amidst the chaos.

Who is Lain Kienzle?

Lain is an LFHS alum (2010), and she participated in a lot of local theater (such as at CenterStage).

“I felt that Lake Forest and Lake Bluff were such an integral part of shaping who I am that I had to shoot my thesis there,” she said. “In high school, I was heavily involved with Talent Show, all of the theater productions, and created a senior digital short my senior year in telecom, which won me the juror’s prize and the Chicagoland Highschool Film Festival.

Lain Kienzle

Lain Kienzle

“Since then, I’ve been studying film and television production at New York University (rated #1 film school in the country by many sources), working on television shows and films such as 30 Rock, Impractical Jokers, and Black Nativity, as well as working at the BBC currently. My previous film won a handful of screenwriting, and acting awards, as well as Faculty Commendation at NYU’s film festival.”

LFHS New Media Deaprtment head Steve Douglass has high praise for his former student.

“Lain has been an incredible student, mentor and representative of the New Media program over the years. She has stayed connected throughout her time at NYU, the top film school in the nation, inspiring my students with her stories and work. She spoke brilliantly about her experience, along with Hayden McAfee, in a video our Seniors produced and received an Honorable Mention at the White House Film Festival (”

Why is Lain making this film:

“For me, The Nappers is really about love and the need for balance,” she said. “Growing up in an affluent community definitely had its perks, but it can also put a lot of pressure on the kids growing up there. When kids face too much pressure to achieve, bad things happen. And ultimately, kids fall into one of two groups: the Scott group or the Robbie group. The Scott group underachieves and gets in trouble. The Robbie group places even more pressure on themselves to be the perfect kids who go to an ivy league school and become doctors or lawyers because they’re not allowed to fail.

“While achievements are important and an education and job are both important things, what’s missing is an emphasis on the relationships in kids’ lives. I believe that every Scott needs a Robbie to force him to live up to his potential, and that every Robbie needs a Scott to force him to have a little fun and get in a little trouble for once. Otherwise, these kids become totally lost, and can really get themselves into a mess.

“Robbie and Scott need each other in order to succeed in every field, and they are the most important things to each other. I believe that friendship and love really are the cure for everything, and that’s what The Nappers is all about.

Who is on the crew so far?

“Tim Wong (our sound designer) is also an LFHS alum (2011) who was active in local theater, both at the high school and in other community productions. He worked as the sound director on the LFHS tech crew for the duration of his time at the high school, played trumpet in the pep band, and has been working on my films since my senior year of high school. He initially pursued a pre-med degree in college, but then chose to follow his passion for sound design and has since worked on SXSW winner Fort Tilden and various web series for the Stonestreet Acting Studio in New York.

Tim Wong, center

Tim Wong, center

“We’re working with Alex Flagstad (LFHS Class of 2011) to make the music for the film. He’s currently at USC’s prestigious music program, and was active in the talent show, as well as volleyball. Alex played guitar for a talent show act that a friend and I put together our senior year.

Alex Flagstad

Alex Flagstad

“Steve Douglass, the new media teacher at LFHS, has been tremendously supportive, and had me come into his classes two weeks ago to pitch the film to current students in order to give them the opportunity to work on a real film set. One student, Bailey Lawrence, immediately came out of the woodwork, proactively getting involved. We’re also currently in talks with other new media alums about working on the film as well.

What else do you need by way of assistance from the hometown?

“We’re lodging the cast and crew from New York at my family’s house as well as Tim’s family’s house, as well as shooting at a local house as our main location.

“Ultimately, the key to our success is the connections we’ve made with the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff community, and we’d love to tap into it even further in order to make something we all can be proud of and that can represent the place that shaped so much of who we are.”