News and stuff about Lake Forest and Lake Bluff

CenterStage Pitches ‘Damn Yankees’

Victoria Cameron as Lola, Chris Johnson as Joe Hardy and Tom Beck as Mr. Applegate.

Victoria Cameron as Lola, Chris Johnson as Joe Hardy and Tom Beck as Mr. Applegate.

What would you do to see your favorite baseball team win the pennant? That’s the premise of “Damn Yankees,” the summer musical presented by CenterStage in Lake Forest on July 25, 26, 27, 31 and August 1 and 2.

“Damn Yankees” is the story of middle-aged baseball fan Joe Boyd who jumps at the chance to lead his beloved Washington Senators to the pennant over the despised New York Yankees. With the help of Mr. Applegate, Joe Boyd is transformed into the young baseball phenom Joe Hardy and leads the Senators from worst to first. But as we all know, making a deal with the devil has it’s risks.

Joyce Lee Becker as Doris, Dick Salon as Benny Van Buren and June Miller as Sister.

Joyce Lee Becker as Doris, Dick Salon as Benny Van Buren and June Miller as Sister.

Damn Yankees is filled with many memorable songs including the signature “Heart” as well as “Two Lost Souls” and “Shoeless Joe from Hannibal Mo” and the sultry “Whatever Lola Wants.”

The CenterStage in Lake Forest’s production features Tom Beck as Mr. Applegate, June Miller as Sister, Chris Finch as Joe Boyd, Stacey Goebel as Meg Boyd, Chris Johnson as Joe Hardy, Dick Salon as Benny Van Buren, Joyce Lee Becker as Doris and Victoria Cameron as Lola.

Stacey Goebel as Meg Boyd, Chris Johnson as Joe Hardy and Chris Finch as Joe Boyd.

Stacey Goebel as Meg Boyd, Chris Johnson as Joe Hardy and Chris Finch as Joe Boyd.

“Damn Yankees” is directed by Mark Taylor with vocal director Andrea Amdahl Taylor, orchestra director Brian O’Connor, choreography by Jenna Jozefowski and technical director Chris Alaimo.

“Damn Yankees” is presented by CenterStage in Lake Forest July 25-August 2 at Gorton Community Center, 400 East Illinois Road, Lake Forest. Performances are 7:30pm July 25, 26, 31 & August 1 & 2; 3:00pm matinee on July 27. Tickets in advance are $25/adults and $15/students and seniors; all tickets $30/at the door.

Visit or call 847-234-6062.

Sponsored Post by CenterStage Lake Forest

Photographer Captures Century Of Life And Architecture In And Near Lake Forest

Sponsored Post by Re-invent Art Gallery & Studio of Lake Forest:


Accomplished art photographer Caitlin Saville Collins is a member of one of the oldest families in Lake Forest, and she honors that history with a fascinating new photo exhibit of Lake Forest events, landmarks and architecture covering a century of local beauty and life – past to present. For anyone, her photos stand alone as beautiful art. And for generations of locals, they will have additional meaning.

One show favorite is bound to be Caitlin’s early-career black-and-white photo of Howard van Doren Shaw’s wood-carved “Extra Angel”. The Angel blessed the exterior of Shaw’s Meadow Studio at Ragdale for generations, but the elements took their toll and it has been removed from viewing. But Caitlin’s photo shows the angel in younger days, and it comes with a story, too.


csaville_extra angel

“Howard van Doren Shaw designed the angels for atop the pillars of the nave at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. He had expert Italian woodcarvers execute his design, ordering 14 angels for the church – but they mistakenly made him 15! ” noted Caitlin. ”That’s how the now-famous Extra Angel came to Shaw’s Ragdale home.”

Caitlin has several other photos in the exhibit of Shaw works, and a special connection, too. The great architect was a close friend and colleague of Clayton Mark, her great-great-grandfather, also building him his home at 999 Lake Road. With these and other historical tie-ins, the exhibit will also feature photos from the Mark-Saville archives, chronicling bygone days around town.

Present-day Lake Forest will also be front and center in the exhibit. Her newest photos depict many current and familiar Lake Forest landmarks, nature scenes, architectural elements and statues – all taken with taken Caitlin’s keen eye and artistic flair as interesting and engaging stand-alone pieces for anyone, anywhere.

Lake Forest Days

Lake Forest Days

“I’ve always felt that Lake Forest is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I am proud and privileged to give the world a window into the area’s hidden and not-so-hidden treasures through my photography,” said the artist.

She continued, “Photography has always flowed as a natural extension of my life. I grew up watching my grandfather taking pictures and capturing our lives, and after he died, I even used his cameras through high school…. The rest, as they say, is history!”

The Beauitiful LiFe Exhibit runs at Re-invent July 26 through September 6. A pre-opening celebration will be held Friday, July 25 from 6-9, with freewill admission.

Re-invent is located at 202 E. Wisconsin Ave, in Lake Forest and the 4000sf arts hub features the main gallery, an artisans shop, studio and workshop/event space. Visit or call 224-544-5961 for details.

Lake Forest Composer Debuts Sequel To 100-Year-Old Story

Jim Stephenson

Jim Stephenson

Lake Forest’s Jim Stephenson is debuting a new classical music composition at Ravinia on Aug. 5 that has a very interesting story behind it. Jim is a full-time composer and Composer-in-Residence at the Lake Forest Symphony. His new work is titled “The Devil’s Tale”, and it’s a sequel to a work called “The Soldier’s Tale” by Igor Stravinsky. Jim explains:

Almost a century ago, Igor Stravinsky wrote a work called “The Soldier’s Tale”, which has become an iconic work amongst the chamber music repertoire. It is the story of a soldier who trades in his fiddle to the devil for ‘wealth untold.’ Long story short – the devil triumphs, and the soldier ends up with no soul, and isn’t too pleased about the whole thing…

I wrote a sequel – and mine is called ‘The Devil’s Tale.’ I pick up where Stravinsky left off, but mine is set in Vegas. (lots of opportunity for devilish mischief there). The music and story are completely my own, but I certainly pay my respects to Stravinsky throughout.

I’m very honored to have the Grammy award-winning Chicago Pro Musica (members of the Chicago Symphony) as my ensemble, in a presentation directed/narrated by the multi-talented Hershey Felder. They will be performing both the Stravinsky and my piece all in one concert!

For more information and/or to secure a ticket to this concert, please visit this link to Ravinia’s website.

Road Closures For July 19th Criterium Race and Block Party

From the Village of Lake Bluff’s website:

On Saturday, July 19th the Village will host the Lake Bluff Criterium Bicycle Races in conjunction with the Village Block Party in the Central Business District. Set up for the events, including street closures, will begin at 8:00 am on Saturday with racing starting at 10:00 am. The Village Block Party will be on the Village Green from 4:00 to 11:00 pm.

As a result, E. Center Avenue and E. Scranton Avenue will be closed to all vehicular traffic between Sheridan Road and Gurney Avenue starting at 8:00 am until racing is completed at approximately 8:00 pm. In addition Oak Avenue, Evanston Avenue, Glen Avenue, and Gurney Avenue will be closed between E. Center and E. Scranton Avenues. Residents should make arrangements to have their vehicles moved outside the race route prior to 8:00 am on Saturday. Vehicles may be parked on side streets or at the Train Station Parking Lot for free on Saturday. For questions regarding the planned road closures, please contact the Lake Bluff Police Department at 847-234-2152.

For more information on the Bike Race and Block Party, click here.

Making A Difference One Bike At A Time …

The Lake Bluff Criterium begins on Friday and the town is getting primed. The race is part of the Prairie State Series, with eight days of racing from July 18 to July 27. World Bicycle Relief  has ties to the series and those involved in it. Last year they were in attendance and a part of the Criterium in Lake Bluff, and they’re coming back this year.

According to Marco Colbert, director of Prairie State Cycling Series and the Lake Bluff Criterium, Prairie State supports the mission of World Bicycle relief, because of the amazing difference a bike can make in the right setting.

“A bicycle is like a dream come true in many areas in Africa. Especially a strong bicycle, can become a work animal,” he said. “Young girls can go to school longer, business people can take 3 times more produce to market. Health care workers can see 3-4 times more patients per day, with a bicycle.”

Rob Dintruff, a resident of Lake Bluff, has worked in Africa for 15 years, dealing with people with HIV and governments and agencies that are also involved with the global issue of HIV. Rob and Marco met through the Lake Bluff Criterium, and they decided there would be some benefit to getting Rob together with World Bicycle Relief to share knowledge and experience. Rob has seen with his own eyes, in rural Africa, the benefit of a bicycle.

Rob sat down with Charles Constan, Executive Director, from World Bicycle Relief, to share insights and compare notes — here’s the video:

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.