The Village Voice
News from the Village of Vernon Hills
August 19, 2020
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In This Issue of
the Village Voice

  • Queens Crowned
  • Road Rehab Grass
  • Diversity Study
  • Census Takers
  • Water Tower
  • Board Meetings
  • Board Actions
  • Huntington Drive
  • Water Storage
  • Joint Review Board
  • Trustee Vacancy
  • Food Scrapping
  • Vote by Mail
  • Arbortheater Project
  • Mosquito Program
  • Farmers Market
  • Reach Out

Village Voice eNews

The Village Voice eNewsletter is provided as a service of the Village of Vernon Hills. This eNewsletter is distributed once or twice each month, or as information dictates. You may manage your subscription at the bottom of the page. Please direct your comments to

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2020 VH Pageant Winners

Congratulations to our new Vernon Hills Royal Court – Little Miss Adija Varnelis (middle), Junior Miss Jeneen Alsamsam (right), and Miss Madisyn Chiarello (left). They were selected to serve as Vernon Hills Ambassadors during a Pandemic-modified pageant held on August 15. Congratulations to all of the participants, and thank you to out-going ambassadors Jasmine Wasco, Victoria Burda and Valerie Burda, as well as to volunteer co-directors Karen Kalinowski and Kelly O'Bryan. 

Road Rehab 2020...
Final Grass Restoration

This year's Village Road Rehabilitation Project was largely completed early this summer in portions of Hawthorn Club, Cherry Valley, Olde Grove Farm, Sugar Creek and Westmoreland neighborhoods. Initial backfilling, topsoil placement and temporary seeding was completed in June of this year. Unfortunately, most of the areas where seeding was placed did not germinate due to the summer heat and limited rainfall. 

Village Public Works crews will be going through the entire project limits beginning in the middle of September to top dress with topsoil and re-seed these areas when the weather is better for the seeding to germinate. In addition, remaining punchlist items will be completed.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact Steven Maslov ( Senior Engineer Technician, or Carissa Hansen ( Administrative Assistant, between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. We appreciate your patience and cooperation during this construction project.

Diversity & Inclusion Assessment

During the August 11 Village Board Meeting, Trustees expressed support for engaging Dr. Bryan Watkins/RavensKeep, LLC to assist with an internal inventory and external assessment and review of Village and Department policies and practices (including recruitment, promotion, BOFPC rules, Village rules/practices, adoption of shared principles, VHPD engagement strategies, etc.). Dr. Watkins will facilitate discussion with staff and stakeholders regarding policies and practices, delivery of services, and their relationship to community expectations. (Vernon Hills Village Board Meeting - 8/11/20)

Census Workers Making Rounds
Census takers have begun visiting Vernon Hills homes that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census. Your response to the Census is extremely important as it helps support our schools, hospitals, roads, services and support programs. Vernon Hills is currently at a 77 percent self-response rate – and we can do even better. Watch for Census Workers to visit to help those who have not yet completed the Census. As you can see from the photo above, workers should be carrying identification cards and materials.
Water Tower Work: Lake County Public Works is working on the water tower located on Hawthorn Parkway east of Butterfield Road. Crews will repair and repaint the 500,000-gallon tower in the same design. (By keeping the existing design, there is no cost to the Village.) Crews have covered the ground and installed a curtain to contain materials. The project is expected to last approximately three months. 


Meeting Schedule:
   Tuesday, September 1
   Tuesday, September 15
   Tuesday, October 6

  • In-person meetings have resumed at Village Hall, 290 Evergreen Drive, beginning at 7 p.m. Note that masks, social distancing, capacity restrictions and other measures will be in place to support a safe environment.  
  • The full Meeting Schedule is available on the Meeting Schedules webpage. 
  • Agendas and minutes are posted online; Meeting recordings are available on the Village YouTube Channel

Actions of Interest

Gregg's Parkway/Huntington Drive Intersection: During the August 11 Committee of the Whole meeting, Public Works Director/Village Engineer David Brown shared information about the success of the Gregg's Parkway/Huntington Drive temporary turn-lane elimination. This intersection has received a great deal of attention over many months due to the number of incidents. Mr. Brown noted that in the majority of accidents, people said that they didn't see the other party. Because Gregg's Parkway is governed by a three party agreement that requires concurrence from Lake County, the Village worked with LDOT as well as Gregg's Landing neighbors to come up with options to increase safety at this intersection. In January, a designated turn lane from Gregg's Parkway onto Huntington Drive was temporarily eliminated. Traffic studies were done before and after the change. Mr. Brown reported that after drivers adjusted to the new configuration, accidents at the intersection decreased dramatically with the elimination of the designated turn lane. Further, the homeowner associations within the Gregg's Landing subdivision agree that this change is the most logical and least disruptive option available to immediately increase safety at this intersection. With that in mind, Trustees directed staff to provide costs and plans for making the turn lane elimination permanent. Those plans are expected to be presented at the September 1 Board Meeting. (Vernon Hills Village Board Meeting - 8/11/20)

Lake County Water Storage Project: Lake County Board Member Julie Simpson appeared before the Village Board on August 11, noting that discussion is ongoing within Lake County to determine siting for a water storage facility. One potential site for the facility has been identified as green space near the Carriages of Grosse Pointe, which has met with neighborhood opposition. Ms. Simpson noted that dialogue is open between Lake County and Village Staff, with a push to secure more study of potential sites and impacts. Ms. Simpson and Public Works Director David Brown expect that more concrete information will be available in the next 60 to 90 days, with anticipation of reporting back to the Village Board at some point in November. (Vernon Hills Village Board Meeting - 8/11/20)

Joint Review Board Meeting: The Joint Review Board for the proposed Hawthorn Mall Redevelopment Project Area met on August 13, during which members reviewed the TIF Eligibility Criteria and Draft TIF Plan. (The TIF Qualification Report and Draft Hawthorn Mall Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Plan and Project Report are posted on the Village website.)

The Joint Review Board (JRB) is an advisory body to the Village Board. It is composed of a representative from each of the affected taxing bodies, plus one member of the community. The board reviews the public record, planning documents and proposed ordinances approving the redevelopment plan and project and proposed amendments to the redevelopment plan or additions of parcels of property to the redevelopment project area to be adopted by the municipality. A board's recommendation shall be an advisory, non-binding recommendation. The board shall base its recommendation to approve or disapprove the redevelopment plan and the designation of the redevelopment project area or the amendment of the redevelopment plan or addition of parcels of property to the redevelopment project area on the basis of the redevelopment project area and redevelopment plan satisfying the plan requirements, and the eligibility criteria defined in Section 11-74.4-3, of the Illinois TIF Act.

The next joint Review Board Meeting is scheduled to be held via Zoom te
leconference on August 27 at 2 p.m. Directions for logging into the meeting will be provided on the Village website prior to the meeting. A recording of the August 13 meeting is posted on the Village YouTube Channel – Vernon Hills Joint Review Board Meeting - Proposed Hawthorn Mall Redevelopment Project Area 8/13/20.

Board of Trustees Vacancy Reminder: The Village of Vernon Hills Board of Trustees is looking to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Trustee Kari Brown due to a change in residency. Pursuant to State Statutes, the appointment will be for a term until the next general municipal election, which will occur in April 2021. Village residents interested in being considered for appointment are asked to send a letter of interest and resume with contact information to President Roger Byrne and Board of Trustees, Village of Vernon Hills, 290 Evergreen Drive, Vernon Hills, IL 60061. Direct questions to Mark Fleischhauer, Village Manager/Clerk, at or 847-918-3550. You are also welcome to contact President Byrne or any of the Trustees to discuss the vacant position (President & Village Board emails).

Finance Department Administrative Assistant: During the August 11 Village Board Meeting, Trustees approved filling a vacant administrative assistant position in the Village Finance Department with a contract employee provided by Lauterbach and Amen, who already provides financial services to the Village on an outsourced basis. By using a contract employee rather than a traditional employee, the Village anticipates saving anywhere from $28,500 to $58,000 per year, depending on the resulting health insurance and benefits package that would be provided. The Village Budget was subsequently adjusted to include an additional $50,000 for Lauterbach and Amen. (Vernon Hills Village Board Meeting - 8/11/20)

Village Budget Update: Trustees expect to receive a detailed financial/budget update during the September 1 Board Meeting.

Vacant Lot Upkeep: In response to concerns raised during the public comment portion of the August 11 Village Board Meeting, Trustees directed staff to review and suggest amendments to Village ordinances in an effort to require owners of undeveloped commercial properties to appropriately maintain weeds and tall grass. (Vernon Hills Village Board Meeting - 8/11/20)

Fairgrounds Outdoor Patio: Representatives from Fairgrounds Craft Coffee and Tea, located in Mellody Farm, appeared before the Committee of the Whole to request an outdoor seating area, which was granted. (Vernon Hills Village Board Meeting - 8/11/20)

Shake Shack Drive-Up Window: Trustees approved a new drive-up window for Shake Shack at Mellody Farm. The single window will be used by people who have previously ordered using the Shake Shack website or phone app. (Vernon Hills Village Board Meeting - 8/11/20)

Firestone Tires Concept Presentation: Firestone representatives appeared before Trustees during the August 11 Committee of the Whole meeting to present ideas for a tire store in the Shoppes of Gregg's Landing, just north of the Aldi supermarket. These general concepts will now move into more formal plans that the developer will present for staff technical review as well as to the Planning & Zoning Commission. (Vernon Hills Village Board Meeting - 8/11/20)

General Concept for QSR: In conjunction with he Firestone concept, developers floated the possibility of a not-yet-marketed Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) to be located on a parcel north of the Shoppes of Gregg's Landing retention pond near Aldi. Developers were looking for general feedback from Trustees as to their feelings about locating a smoothie or coffee shop (not Starbucks) at this location. Trustees were generally favorable. At this point, there is no tenant or actual plan for this parcel, but rather the developer used this opportunity to gather feedback. (Vernon Hills Village Board Meeting - 8/11/20)

Community Announcements: Residents are reminded of the Village's Community Voice webpages, which provide a place to announce events and activities. Please submit your items to

Congratulations, Fireman Tony: Congratulations to Countryside Fire's Tony Rodkey for 20 years of service. A familiar face throughout our schools and Countryside Fire Nation, Fireman Tony works hard to keep us educated and safe. Best wishes for your next 20 years!

Countryside Fire Protection District Chief Chuck Smith (left) is shown with Fireman Tony Rodkey as he is honored for 20 years of service to the community.

Food Scrap & Organics Program


DYK – By diverting food scraps away from trash, you can reduce the amount of waste heading to landfills and can reduce your impact on the climate?  
Food Waste is the single largest component in our landfills, accounting for 22% of the waste. And food in landfills does not decompose easily. It releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide (meaning it traps more heat in our environment than Carbon Dioxide) leading to global warming.
You can make a difference by subscribing to the Food Scrap & Organics program. Your food scraps/waste will be picked up weekly and composted in a commercial composting facility. From those scraps a nutrient rich soil amendment (Compost) is created, that is reused back in the environment to make soil healthier and improve its function. Participation in this program will help save space within landfills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and return nutrients back to the environment.  
For details, please review the Residential Food Scrap Composting Program information sheet. To request services from Advanced Disposal, visit the Advanced Disposal Request Services webpage. 


Vote By Mail Info

In light of the Pandemic, Lake County encourages residents to vote by mail for the November 3 Election. Note that Lake County recently announced plans to provide secure, postage-free drop boxes for mail-in ballots. Details will be provided by Lake County as they become available. If you have participated in a recent election, you should have already received your vote-by-mail ballot request automatically. You may also request a vote-by-mail ballot through the Lake County Voter Power web portal. More information about Illinois voting by mail as well as all ways to vote are included in the Lake County Clerk's Voter Services webpages.

Arbortheater Sediment Project

The Vernon Hills Memorial Arbortheater, located on Fairway Drive at the north end of the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex, was deeded to the Village as part of the development of the Continental Executive Parke. Since it was dedicated in May 1996, the Arbortheater has become a popular location for events, concerts, photos, picnics and peaceful walks.

In an effort to keep the area beautiful, Public Works has spearheaded a number of projects at the Arbortheater. For instance, sediment has a tendency to accumulate along the site's waterways. Last year, the Village worked with a contractor to remove sediment in the lower ponds. The contractor deployed two large sediment bags to receive sediment-laden water. The sediment bags slowly released clean water while retaining the sediment. The sediment bags have now been removed and the disturbed areas restored. (See before and after photos above.) In addition, staff is currently reviewing a breach in the uppermost pond liner and will be working to make the necessary repairs.

Village Mosquito Program

The Village contracts with Clarke for mosquito abatement services. In addition to weekly catch basin treatments, each month from June through September Clarke performs one Village-wide spray application in the late evening, reducing the mosquito population by 80% after each spray. The Village has asked our contractor for additional applications to help deter the threat of West Nile Virus.  

Notification of Applications: The Village is notified by Clarke twelve to twenty-four hours prior to each spray event. This information is then shared with residents via electronic communications, including social media. Residents may also request advanced notices directly from Clarke by visiting or calling the Clarke Mosquito Hotline at 800-942-2555 and asking to be added to the notification list for the Village of Vernon Hills. 

Application Content: The product used for adult mosquito control in the Village is called Biomist 3+15. It is an EPA-registered product for use in residential and recreation areas. It’s formulated with the active ingredient permethrin, a synthetic pyrethroid that mimics the naturally occurring insecticide qualities found in chrysanthemum flowers. The mode of distribution is white mineral oil with a very small amount of active ingredient used — about a half teaspoon treating an acre. The EPA has determined that when Biomist 3+15 is used according to label directions to control adult mosquitoes, the application does not pose unreasonable risk to public health and the environment. The full Biomist label is publicly available on the Clarke website,


Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process,
gradually changing opinions,
slowly eroding old barriers,
quietly building new structures.

– John F. Kennedy

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The Village Voice

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