The Village Voice
News from the Village of Vernon Hills
January 26, 2018 – Issue #15
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In This Issue of
the Village Voice

  • Bears Fit Proposal
  • Citizen's Police Academy
  • Life-Saving Awards
  • Naloxone Available
  • Coyotes
  • March 20 Election
  • Flood Tax Credit
  • Village Board Meetings
  • Small Wireless Facilities
  • Climate Action Pledge
  • New Building Codes
  • Senior Bus/Honor
  • Aspen Drive Library
  • New Businesses
  • VH Update Show
  • Mark Your Calendar
  • Polar Plunge

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Preliminary idea of what the signage for the new Bears Fit health club, located in the former Sports Authority, might look like.

Get Fit with the Chicago Bears...

Bears Themed Fitness Club Proposed for Former Sports Authority Site

Vernon Hills has always been "Bears Country," and that moniker will be even more appropriate if a proposed Bears Fit health club comes to town. Representatives of Football Fit Chicago, LLC were on hand for the January 23 Committee of the Whole meeting to present their ideas for the fitness center, which would be located in the former Sports Authority, 155 E. Townline Road.

The proposed project is a joint venture between long-time fitness entrepreneur Mark Mastrov and Monsters of the Midway LLC, an entity of the Chicago Bears NFL football team.

Cliff Stein, Chicago Bears VP of Football Administration and General Counsel, presented the group's preliminary thinking for the 45,400 square foot space, which is expected to include an extensive selection of exercise equipment and fitness services, including cryotherapy, physical therapy, nutrition education, sports science analysis and personal training.

Current and former Bears players and staff are expected to be a common sight around the facility. The close proximity to Halas Hall provides the team with easy access to supplemental workouts and treatment. Former Bears are also being recruited to provide personal training and coaching services.

Bears Fit would be only the third health club of its kind, following a very successful Cowboys Fit opening in Dallas and a soon-to-open 49ers Fit in San Francisco. The location would also mark the first brick-and-mortar Chicago Bears merchandise store outside of Soldier Field.

This preliminary presentation was the first step in the Village's processes. The Village Board will vote on the owner group's request for a Building Use and Conversion Certificate during their February 6 meeting. After that, next steps will include building permits and site change approvals. Owners are hoping to be open by Fall 2018. The full presentation is available by viewing the 1-23-18 Board Meeting

VHPD Citizen's Police Academy

Space is Limited – Session Starts March 21

If you are a Vernon Hills resident age 21 or over, consider signing up for the VHPD Citizen's Police Academy (CPA). Space is limited, so please act quickly.

The CPA is a great opportunity to learn what it's like to be a police officer. It includes classroom training, discussion, demonstrations and hands-on practicals. Topics include Patrol Operations, Use of Force, Firearms (including use of the range), DUI Enforcement and Evidence Collection. Participants will have an opportunity to shoot firearms as well as take part in a ride-along with an officer.

The 2018 Citizen's Police Academy is free, and runs for ten Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Classes are scheduled for March 21 through May 23.  To learn more, call 847-247-4889 or email Information is also posted on the VHPD website.

Three Honored for Life-Saving Actions

Members of the Vernon Hills Police Department again helped save a life by administering anti-opiod medication. Officers Art Fink, Haley Lemmer and Ryan Yaeger were honored for their quick action during a November emergency call. Thank you for your exemplary service. (1-23-2018 Board Meeting)

A Word on Opioid Reversal Medications: In honoring the officers, Police Chief Patrick Kreis and Village leaders noted the unfortunate reach of opioid addiction in our region, as well as the life-saving power of Naloxone, which is now available in Illinois without a prescription. Residents with concerns about opioid use are encouraged to talk with their pharmacist or doctor to secure their own Naloxone and learn how to use it. At the urging of Mayor Roger Byrne, Chief Kreis will work with Countryside Fire Chief Jeff Steingart to discuss incorporating overdose identification and Naloxone use in upcoming First Aid/CPR classes. More information is available through
Eastern Coyotes are becoming more common in suburban areas such as Vernon Hills.

Coyotes More Active Now

Coyote activity has been reported around our parks and neighborhoods. Wildlife experts note that this is mating season, which will then lead to mother coyotes and pups later this spring. During these times, we may see coyotes more often, especially at dusk and night time as they hunt for food. 

The Village is aware of this activity. VHPD officers are ready to respond to your concerns, however there is little they can do as the Village does not trap or relocate animals. That said, residents are encouraged to be aware and take steps to minimize the chances of a problem with coyotes or any wild animals:
  • Keep your pets secure – don't leave them unattended or let them run free, especially in the evening.
  • Use a short leash – walk your pet close to you (8-foot leash or shorter) to discourage any interaction with coyotes or any wildlife. Coyotes are generally not afraid of dogs, and they are territorial when other animals get near their dens.
  • Secure your garbage – garbage offers easy meals and attracts all kinds of creatures.
  • Don't put pet food outside – feed your pets in the house.
  • If you feed birds, keep the area clean – spilled seed can attract rodents, which in turn attract larger creatures.
  • If you encounter a coyote – show them who is boss. Make noise, wave your arms, shine lights, throw a stick – anything to  reinforce what should be the animal's natural instinct to be afraid of humans.
For more information, visit the VHPD Coyote webpage, or explore the Lake County Forest Preserve Wildlife Information webpages.

March 20 Election Resources

A General Primary Election is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20. In Illinois, voters must be registered prior to election day. If you have a valid Illinois driver's license or state ID card, you may register online until March 4. Reminder that the polling location previously located in the Laschen Center has moved across the parking lot to Village Hall. For more information about the election, including candidate lists, ballot samples, polling locations and more – visit the Lake County Clerk's election webpages.
2017 Flood – Photo courtesy of Lake County

Income Tax Credit for July 2017 Flood

Lake County property owners who sustained flood damage from the July 2017 flood may be eligible to claim an income tax credit worth up to $750 under a new state law. If eligible, the credit may be applied to your 2017 Illinois income taxes. Apply through your Township Assessor (residents north of Route 60 are in Libertyville Township; residents south of Route 60 are in Vernon Township). You may also apply through the Chief County Assessment Office. As part of the certification process, property owners will need to complete an IRS form and a Natural Disaster Income Tax Credit Certificate, as well as provide proof of loss (receipts, insurance claims). More information is found on the Chief County Assessment Office's webpages. Lake County also offers information about other programs on the 2017 Flood Information webpage.

Small Wireless Facilities: This rendering of a pole-mounted small cell antenna is an example of the type of module we are likely to see around Vernon Hills and other municipalities. More info appears below.

Next Village Board Meetings – February 6 & 20

  • The full 2018 Meeting Schedule is available on the Meeting Schedules webpage.
  • Meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are held at Village Hall, 290 Evergreen Drive at Route 45.
  • Residents are encouraged to attend meetings, as well as view them on the Village YouTube Channel and on Cable Access. Agendas and minutes are posted online. 

A Few Items of Interest...

  • Small Wireless Facilities Update: Village staff continues to monitor state-level legislative action regarding the deployment of small wireless cell modules, which wireless providers are interested in placing in areas of high usage or low coverage. Building Commissioner Michael Atkinson recently reported to the Village Board (1-9-2018 Board Meeting) that a draft ordinance is ready for public hearing before the Village Planning and Zoning Commission as soon as Springfield moves forward. The Village ordinance is designed to impose some level of local control over placement, size and appearance. In it's current form, proposed state legislation would allow small cell antennas on all utility poles in the public right of way. Vernon Hills has joined with other municipalities in pushing for more local control of deployment. 
  • Lake County Climate Action Pledge: Vernon Hills Trustees expressed support for the Lake County initiative to move beyond coal, adopt clean energy goals, and build climate-resilient infrastructure. Read the statement. (1-9-2018 Board Meeting)
  • Updated Building Codes: Building Commissioner Michael Atkinson reported to Trustees on efforts to update Village building codes to follow the 2018 International Code Council (ICC) models. Vernon Hills is working with Mundelein and Libertyville to create consistent, updated codes to support our cross-municipality partnership of shared inspectors. (1-23-2018 Board Meeting)
  • Senior Bus Honors: Long-time Vernon Hills Senior Bus driver Cecil Blevins was recently honored for his service. Cecil has been a driver for the free VH shuttle for more than 20 years. Thank you, Cecil, and best wishes for your retirement! (Free Senior Shuttle: Residents age 55 and over are reminded that the Village offers free local bus service. Learn more by calling 847-367-3700. Schedule by 4 p.m. the day before for door-to-door service on selected routes.)
  • Aspen Drive Library Expansion: In other news around the Village, the Cook Memorial Public Library Board has approved a $6.75 million expansion of the Aspen Drive Library. Current plans are to add 15,000 square feet, of which half would be unfinished basement. Library leaders note that the project will be funded by reserves, a loan and fundraising, with no new taxes required. Formal design will begin now, with construction anticipated by Spring 2019, and opening planned for Fall 2019. An artist's rendering of the new space is shown in orange below. (

Artist's preliminary rendering of Aspen Drive Library addition planned for the northeast corner of the building – courtesy of Cook Memorial Public Library

New Biz...

Residents are encouraged to shop in town whenever we can. Local sales tax supports the bulk of Village-provided services – the Village of Vernon Hills collects no property tax. With that in mind, here is a list of recent new business permits and business-related items before the Board:
  • Orange Theory Fitness – Open at 700 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Hawthorn Hills Center
  • T-Mobil – Open in Hawthorn Mall
  • Nirvana Wine & Grillerie – Located at 701 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Rivertree Court – Now offering online wine sales.
  • Scotty's on 21 – Proposed location at 700 Milwaukee Ave. in Hawthorn Hills Center – Granted liquor license for new restaurant, anticipated open in April. Companion restaurant to Scotty's on Sheridan

Vernon Hills Update Cable/Web Show

January 2018 topics include the Village budget process, local development projects, our snow and ice management plan, and the Vernon Hills Senior Shuttle. See all of the shows on the Vernon Hills Update YouTube channel.
Mark Your Calendar...

D128 Community Ed Classes Begin – Monday, January 29. Community Ed webpages

Stevenson Foundation Silent Auction and C5 Aerial Dance Performance – February 8 beginning at 6 p.m. at Stevenson High School Performing Arts Center.  SHS events

Park District Just the Two of Us Dance
– February 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Sullivan Center.  Park District events

SWALCO Household Chemical Waste Event – February 10 by appointment in Gurnee.  SWALCO

Polar Plunge for Illinois Special Olympics
– February 19 at Twin Lakes Palatine; VHPD's Frozen Copsicles take the plunge at noon; donations appreciated.  VHPD Polar Plunge and VHPD Frozen Copsicles donation page

Hawthorn D73 Kindergarten Registration – Thurs., February 22 from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., Hawthorn Middle South, 600 N. Aspen Drive.  Registration Info

Hawthorn D73 Kindergarten Registration
– Fri., February 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hawthorn Middle South, 600 N. Aspen Drive. Registration Info

Park District/Chick-fil-A Food Drive
– Sat., February 24 from 8 a.m. to noon at Sullivan Center. Supports Vernon Township Pantry. Donate a non-perishable food item and receive a free Chick-fil-A coupon. Park District events

One Book One Community Author Visit with Laurie Lico Albanese – Sat., February 24 at 1 p.m. at Vernon Hills High School. Supports community read of Stolen Beauty. Sponsored by Cook Memorial Library. Cook Library events

SWALCO Household Chemical Waste Event – February 26 by appointment in Gurnee  SWALCO

Park District 5th Annual Craft Beer Tasting
– March 3 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Sullivan Center.  Park District events

2018 General Primary Election – Tues., March 20. Some voting sites have changed – for instance, Laschen Center polling place moves to Vernon Hills Village Hall. More information about registering, early voting, voting by mail, ballot items through Lake County IL Clerk's March 20 Election webpage 

First VHPD Citizen's Police Academy Class – Wed., March 21 from 7 to 9:30 p.m.; runs for 10 weeks.  VHPD Citizen's Police Academy

Park District Hoppin' Holiday Hunt – March 24 at 9 a.m. at Sullivan Center.  Park District events


The VHPD Frozen Copsicles are once again raising money for Illinois Special Olympics. They'll participate in a Polar Plunge on February 19. To learn more or donate toward their effort, visit the VHPD Polar Plunge webpage or VHPD Frozen Copsicles donation page.
Thank you.

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