TribLocal - Highland Park & Highwood /highland-park-highwood TribLocal – Chicagoland's local news community Wed, 09 Jan 2013 16:22:47 +0000 en hourly 1 Lake County Board member Aaron Lawlor selected as Edgar Fellow /highland-park-highwood/2012/06/27/lake-county-board-member-aaron-lawlor-selected-as-edgar-fellow/ /highland-park-highwood/2012/06/27/lake-county-board-member-aaron-lawlor-selected-as-edgar-fellow/#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2012 18:27:23 +0000 Brian L. Cox /mundelein/?p=26524

Lake County board member, Aaron Lawlor, said that in his travels around the country he has heard many jokes and snide remarks about government corruption in Illinois.

“Illinois has definitely had its problems,” Lawlor said. “When I’ve participated in programs with elected officials from around the country, they really do kind of laugh. The folks, even from states with colored pasts like New Jersey, laugh about Illinois being one of the more corrupt states in the union.”

Lawlor, 29, who was recently selected to participate in the inaugural “Edgar Fellow Program,” said he hopes to bring up the topic of corruption and other pressing issues when he meets with others in the program in August.

“It’s something I hope we talk about,” said Lawlor, who was invited to participate in the program as one of “40 emerging Illinois leaders.” “If you don’t have a government people have faith in, you really can’t begin to face the other issues we’re facing.”

The Edgar Fellow Program was designed by former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar to promote responsible and responsive leadership in government. The 40 leaders will gather from Aug. 19‐22 at the University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign to launch a “forward‐looking enterprise” led by former Gov. Jim Edgar and the university’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA), according to a release.

According to the release, the objectives of the Edgar Fellows initiative are to “enhance leadership skills and promote understanding, networking and cooperation across regional, partisan and ethnic lines as these young men and women move ahead in their public‐service careers.”

“We see this as a tremendous opportunity for these outstanding women and men to further develop their abilities and encourage them to become the leaders our state will need to meet the great challenges of the 21st Century,” Edgar said in a written release.

“Just as importantly, this program offers a chance for them to broaden their perspectives and to become acquainted with each other, so they can work together effectively for the good of our state as they assume additional responsibility,” Edgar said.

Lawlor said he plans to talk to his colleagues in the program about steps the Lake County board has taken in the areas of ethics reform.

“What we’ve done in Lake County is to really strengthen our ethics ordinance,” he said. “Commissioners have never been involved in direct hiring, other than our administrator.”

“We made a more stringent ethics ordinance that we passed last year which basically says commissioners won’t even inquire about the status of a [job] application,” he added. “Instead we just refer the individual to the HR department. It completely takes us out of the equation from any possibility or perception of impropriety.”

Another hot button issue Lawlor said he plans to bring up during the meeting is property taxes. He said that from “a local level” property taxes are continuing to increase both from school districts and local governments and the increases are “becoming unsustainable” for residents of Lake County and the surrounding areas.

“It’s the fundamental issue that we face on the county board,” he said. “While we’re responsible for about 10 percent of the tax bill, people think we have more control over it than we do.”

“The real control is rooted in Springfield where they set the law related to property taxes,” he added. “I think what we’re going to see in coming years is that people are going to be increasingly upset about their property tax bills. It’s an issue that needs to be dealt with at the state level.”

Lawlor, who worked as a political director for Ill. Senator Mark Kirk, before being elected to the Lake County board, also said heath care will be on the top of his list of important issues when he travels downstate in August.

“When you look at the issues the state is facing almost all of them are budgetary and many of the budgetary issues fall under the realm of healthcare, whether its Medicaid, Medicare pensions, employee health benefits and that sort of thing,” he said. “If we’re going to work to solve some of the problem of our state, those are areas that really touch the core problems we’re facing.”

While wasteful spending is a concern, Lawlor cautioned against “short sighted budget cuts.”

What I’m excited to learn about is when we talk about cuts, which are absolutely necessary, we also need to look at the long term impacts on our state and our communities,” Lawlor added.

He also said the state cannot keep pushing obligations and unfunded mandates on local governments while taking away revenue streams.

“Local government is stretched really down to the bone,” he said. “At the end of the day local government, I believe, touches peoples lives more closely than pretty much any other level of government.”

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Skilling: Pleasant end to the work week /highland-park-highwood/2012/06/22/skilling-pleasant-end-to-the-work-week/ /highland-park-highwood/2012/06/22/skilling-pleasant-end-to-the-work-week/#comments Fri, 22 Jun 2012 13:14:05 +0000 Kara Silva /barrington/?p=31890

The work week ends with sunshine and warmth but without the humidity that smothered the first half of the week.

Friday is to deliver 85-degree warmth for the 25th time this year in a month running a solid 5 degrees above normal — the ninth consecutive month to produce a temperature surplus here and the warmest June of the past quarter century.


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Midwest Young Artists Music School in Highwood Awarded Top Rated Non-Profit Status for 2012 /highland-park-highwood/community/stories/2012/06/midwest-young-artists-music-school-in-highwood-awarded-top-rated-non-profit-status-for-2012/ /highland-park-highwood/community/stories/2012/06/midwest-young-artists-music-school-in-highwood-awarded-top-rated-non-profit-status-for-2012/#comments Thu, 21 Jun 2012 12:26:07 +0000 Midwest Young Artists /algonquin/?post_type=community_post&p=95638

Highwood, Illinois – Midwest Young Artists (MYA), the premier pre-college music school and ensemble program in the Midwest is pleased to announce that they have been awarded the coveted Top-Rated status for 2012 by Great Non Profits, the leading authority in non-profit ratings.

Thanks to the many students, parents and supporters who gave glowing reviews, MYA is now in its second year in a row as a top rated arts and culture organization with a perfect 5 star rating. This is great news for MYA, which is also celebrating their 20th anniversary season this year.

MYA’s programming encompasses over 65 chamber music ensembles, 8 orchestras, a comprehensive Jazz program, music theory and history courses, early childhood education, Summer music camps, Wind Symphony and choral programs. Top musicians and educators from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Northwestern University, Carthage College and more make up the dedicated and esteemed faculty. MYA graduates are routinely accepted into the most prestigious conservatories and universities in the world.

Through financial aid and scholarships, it is the goal of MYA to ensure that every qualified student is able to participate in these award-winning ensembles. Dr. Allan Dennis is the founder and Director of the organization, which was created in 1993 with just one orchestra. He is passionate about maintaining a nurturing environment where talent is encouraged to flourish: “What we do is give each child the opportunity to challenge themselves by playing and performing great music and learning to work cooperatively in groups, whether it is a chamber ensemble, jazz combo, an orchestra or big band. Our students learn to work together to challenge themselves creatively and socially.”

To find out more about MYA and their upcoming summer concerts, Fun Fest open house in August and the exciting 20th anniversary season coming up visit: Watch the students of MYA in action with over 100 free podcast performances on
For more information, email or call (847) 926-9898.
Follow MYA on Facebook at:
Find Private Lesson Teachers that teach at MYA:

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Visit Lake County Wins a Bronze Telly Award /highland-park-highwood/community/stories/2012/06/visit-lake-county-wins-a-bronze-telly-award/ /highland-park-highwood/community/stories/2012/06/visit-lake-county-wins-a-bronze-telly-award/#comments Thu, 21 Jun 2012 08:38:42 +0000 Anthony Haag /gurnee/?post_type=community_post&p=32699 Visit Lake County Wins a Bronze Telly Award
33rd Annual Telly Awards honors the very best commercials, videos, films and Internet work

Lake County, IL, June 14, 2012 – The winners of the 33rd Annual Telly Awards have been announced, with Visit Lake County taking home a statuette for their “Let The Ride Take You” TV spot. The spot won a Bronze Telly (second place) in the Travel/Tourism category. With nearly 11,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this year’s Telly Awards has been one of the most successful and competitive in the long history of the Telly Awards.

In “Let The Ride Take You”, produced by ad agency Davis Harrison Dion, Lake County spotlights the variety of attractions and destinations that are “just a short ride away” in Lake County. Focusing on “the ride” the television spot featured rides through Lake County via different vehicles including a classic red convertible, a canoe, golf cart, waterslide and roller coaster. “The Ride” targeted a broader audience focusing on the variety of offerings Lake County has during the summer for kids and the whole family.

"We are extremely excited to have received this prestigious recognition," said Maureen Riedy, president, Visit Lake County. "The TV spot was the cornerstone to a tremendously successful ad campaign last year, and is so visually engaging, that we have expanded the concept for this summer’s campaign to include even more rides you can take in Lake County.”

For additional information, or to find out more about Lake County, please visit our website at

About Lake County
Visit Lake County serves as the champion for tourism and the official destination marketing organization for Lake County, Illinois and represents municipalities, hotels, attractions and hospitality related businesses throughout the county. The agency provides travel resources and services for visitors and event planners to enhance the economic impact of travel spending in the county.

About The Telly Awards

Founded in 1979, the Telly Awards is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and web commercials, videos and films. Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.

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Winners and losers: Chicago-area casinos 20 years later /highland-park-highwood/2012/06/21/winners-and-losers-chicago-area-casinos-20-years-later/ /highland-park-highwood/2012/06/21/winners-and-losers-chicago-area-casinos-20-years-later/#comments Thu, 21 Jun 2012 11:52:42 +0000 Heather Leszczewicz /des-plaines/?p=45493

The first suburban Chicago casino opened 20 years ago this month, bringing with it hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in taxes, but also stories of gambling addiction and hardship for some area residents.

Joliet’s Empress Casino, which was renamed Hollywood Casino Joliet in 2010, welcomed its first customers in June 1992. Over the next two years, casinos opened in Joliet, Aurora and Elgin. Rivers Casino in Des Plaines opened last July, and gambling expansion talks in Springfield could put new casinos in the north and south suburbs and downtown Chicago.

During the past two decades, the fissure between casino supporters and opponents has remained deep.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

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Skilling: Warmest June in 25 years, but relief in sight /highland-park-highwood/2012/06/20/skilling-warmest-june-in-25-years-but-relief-in-sight/ /highland-park-highwood/2012/06/20/skilling-warmest-june-in-25-years-but-relief-in-sight/#comments Wed, 20 Jun 2012 13:48:39 +0000 Heather Leszczewicz /arlington-heights/?p=49943 The Chicago area will swelter through a third straight day of 90s Wednesday, making June the warmest here in 25 years.

But relief is in sight. The highs will simmer down to the low 80s or even upper 70s Thursday, Friday and Saturday, then the middle 70s on Monday and Tuesday.

Wednesday’s high is expected to be around 94, and that means June will have eight 90s on the books when the summer solstice arrives this evening. The average temperature of 71.9 degrees so far this month is 5 degrees above the norm and the warmest June 1-20 period since 1987.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

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Lifeguard on duty: Swim at your own risk /highland-park-highwood/2012/06/20/lifeguard-on-duty-swim-at-your-own-risk/ /highland-park-highwood/2012/06/20/lifeguard-on-duty-swim-at-your-own-risk/#comments Wed, 20 Jun 2012 12:04:01 +0000 Heather Leszczewicz /arlington-heights/?p=49936

Lifeguards at Pioneer Park pool in Arlington Heights always have to be on alert — for swimmers in trouble, but also for the lifeguard certification agency that could show up at any time to videotape them on duty, conduct a simulated drowning or quiz them on proper rescue techniques.

Pool managers also perform unannounced drills. At one drill Tuesday, a pool manager tossed a baby mannequin into the deep end from outside the view of the lifeguard on duty. The guard calmly but quickly stood up, blew her whistle three times, jumped in and fished out the doll in a matter of seconds.

In response to drowning deaths, lawsuits, improved training and rescue techniques and the proliferation of risk managers, lifeguards at public pools and beaches in the Chicago area appear to receive more rigorous training than ever before.

Many area park districts rely on national certification agencies like the American Red Cross and Jeff Ellis & Associates that focus on constant vigilance to prevent drownings. The training regimens may require off-season instruction, weekly refreshers during the summer and the passage of surprise drills and inspections. Park district insurance companies also typically require audits and intense oversight of lifeguards.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

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Wonderful Wednesdays in Downtown Highland Park /highland-park-highwood/community/stories/2012/06/wonderful-wednesdays-in-downtown-highland-park/ /highland-park-highwood/community/stories/2012/06/wonderful-wednesdays-in-downtown-highland-park/#comments Tue, 19 Jun 2012 11:12:20 +0000 Downtown Highland Park Alliance /highland-park-highwood/?post_type=community_post&p=49799

This summer enjoy a night out under the stars in Downtown Highland Park complimented by a family favorite movie or concert when the Downtown Highland Park Alliance presents, Wonderful Wednesdays. Taking place outdoors in Port Clinton Square, 600 Central Avenue, the Alliance will host free movies and music on Wednesdays, beginning June 27. It’s the perfect way to spend quality time with the family while taking advantage of all the wonderful amenities that Downtown Highland Park has to offer.

“Wonderful Wednesdays is a great opportunity for families and residents to get out and have fun outside in Downtown Highland Park,” said Wendy Gimbel, Event Manager Highland Park CBD Public/Private Economic Alliance. “We chose films and music that would appeal to both young and mature residents while also creating an ideal way to spend summer nights in Downtown Highland Park.”

Beginning June 27th a series of movies will be shown on a large screen in Port Clinton Square. Bring chairs and blankets and enjoy a wonderful evening under the stars with a new classic film, The Blind Side, starring Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock. See the box office hit A League of Their Own on Wednesday, July 11th. Starring Rosie O’Donnell, Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna, this baseball comedy/drama film will remind you why “There’s no crying in baseball!” On Wednesday, July 18, enjoy the critically acclaimed and Academy Award winning family film Hugo directed by Martin Scorsese.

Take out those dancing shoes for Wonderful Wednesday music starting in August. On Wednesday, August 1, enjoy Ken Arlen’s Front of House, a nine piece dance band. The group plays everything from Sinatra-style jazz, to all the great R&B of the 60’s and 70’s, classic rock from the 80’s and 90’s, contemporary pop and more. On Wednesday, August 8, rock ‘n roll with Ronnie Rice. Dance and sing along to Ronnie’s unique blend of rock ‘n roll classics. If you’re a fan of sounds that came out of Detroit, Philadelphia, or California, you’re in for a treat as Ronnie performs all the great dance fads.

Movies start at dusk and music start at 7:00 p.m. each Wednesday. Arrive early to enjoy last-minute shopping downtown and dinner before an evening of entertainment and relaxation. To learn more about Wonderful Wednesdays or the Downtown Highland Park Alliance visit

The Downtown Highland Park Alliance is a public-private partnership of the Highland Park CBD Property Owners Association, the City of Highland Park and the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce. The Alliance was founded in 2008 to enhance the economic vitality of Downtown Highland Park. The operations and promotions of the Alliance are funded by a Special Service Area commercial property tax currently authorized through 2013. For more information visit or call 847.780.4293.

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HPHS Student Heads to China to Compete on TV Show /highland-park-highwood/community/stories/2012/06/hphs-student-heads-to-china-to-compete-on-tv-show/ /highland-park-highwood/community/stories/2012/06/hphs-student-heads-to-china-to-compete-on-tv-show/#comments Tue, 19 Jun 2012 10:58:48 +0000 District 113 /highland-park-highwood/?post_type=community_post&p=49885

Highland Park High School student Melanie Neilan is doing something a little out of the ordinary during her summer vacation. She was selected to participate in a star search competition in China called Xing Guang Dadao.

“It’s basically a combination of American Idol and America’s Got Talent,” Neilan explained.

Neilan was originally encouraged to submit a tape for the competition by her Chinese teacher Weifang Wang after she received a gold medal in the Midwest Chinese Speech Contest. She sent a dancing, singing, acting and piano sample; some were in English, others were in Chinese. However, if selected, she would have to compete in Chinese.

“I hadn’t heard back from them for two weeks. I thought I probably didn’t get it,” she remembered. “I audition for things all the time,” and added that she’s used to rejection, which is why she was thrilled to find out she had been accepted.

“I think one of the reasons I was chosen is because I’m American and it’s rare to have a foreigner on their show,” Neilan said.

Neilan was already planning on spending a month in China this summer on a Highland Park High School trip. Now, she’ll extend her vacation to compete in July. Her plan is to pursue an acting career in film after high school and thinks that this is a great opportunity to get her foot in the door. She also can’t wait to perform in front of such a large audience.

“I really love being on stage and I don’t think I’ve ever been on the stage with that many people before,” Neilan said. “I think it will be exhilarating.”

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Skilling: We’re on a hot streak not seen since 1977 /highland-park-highwood/2012/06/19/skilling-were-on-a-hot-streak-not-seen-since-1977/ /highland-park-highwood/2012/06/19/skilling-were-on-a-hot-streak-not-seen-since-1977/#comments Tue, 19 Jun 2012 13:50:30 +0000 Heather Leszczewicz /arlington-heights/?p=49902

A second uncomfortable day lies ahead, potentially hotter than Monday, with highs in the middle to upper 90s.

The reading would mark the 12th time this year that the Chicago area has been visited by a 90-plus temperatures. Only one other year — since official weather records began in 1871 — has logged more 90-degree or higher readings by June 19. The year was 1977 and there were 13 days in the 90s by this date.

The warm air covering the Midwest has discouraged the formation of clouds and rain. The brutally hot and often bone-dry summer of 1988 serves as a benchmark for hot summers in the Chicago area. That year produced more 90 and 100-degree temperatures than any other on the record books here — 47 and 7, respectively.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

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