Zion-Benton News

Stories from the May 28, 2015 Issue


Lake County Forest Preserves adopt a balanced budget for FY 2015/16

By Mona Shannon
Zion-Benton News staff 

The Lake County Forest Preserves is tasked with keeping more than 30,300 acres of forest preserves in Lake County safe, clean and open for people to enjoy. That has become more of a challenge as Lake County’s Equalized Assessed Value continues to decline.

The county’s EAV has had an unprecedented drop of 25.7 percent over the past six years, which has translated into a significant drop in property tax revenue. Of property taxes collected in Lake County, 2.17 percent of the typical tax bill goes to support your Forest Preserves.

At its May meeting, the Lake County Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners adopted a fiscal year 2015-2016 budget of $80,474,020. The board adopted a balanced operating budget which is about $2.9 million less (8.3 percent) than in 2008-09.

The overall budget increased $1.6 million (2.1 percent) from the previous year, primarily due to a $2.9 million (16 percent) increase in the capital budget.

Over the past six years, the District has reduced staff and made many other cost-cutting measures to maintain a balanced budget. The District’s operating budget has been cut by $2,856,650 over the past six fiscal years, or approximately 8 percent, even though substantial increases in District lands and trails have occurred during that same time period. More...

'Light Up Green Bay Road’ almost out of Phase One

By Ginny Skweres

Zion-Benton News staff 

In 2012 Janice Booker and her daughter witnessed an accident at Green Bay Road and 29th Street in Beach Park. A Chevrolet Suburban and a Honda Civic collided and Orinthia McCoy, 66, a teacher in Round Lake died in the crash on April 14. It wasn’t the first accident at that location.

Observing that left a very deep impression, especially when it could have been avoided with better road configuration and a stop light. Booker and Julie Gonka, both of Beach Park, began the ‘Light Up Green Bay Road’ campaign and met with legislators and eventually IDOT to recognize the need for a stop light and better safety.

Their request received a lot of support through petitions and online at Facebook and their efforts were a success. Action takes time and nothing is visible yet, but plans are underway.

Improvements for recreating the intersection of 29th Street, Kenosha Road and Green Bay Road are still in the Phase One stage but are expected to be completed this summer.
This improvement includes re-aligning Kenosha Road to remove the existing intersection skew at Green Bay Road and install a traffic signal. Green Bay Road will be widened to three lanes between 29th Street and the proposed Kenosha Road to accommodate turn lanes, according to Booker. More...

Photo of the Week

Remembering the fallen

Tinley Shaide, 18 months, on her dad, Jerry’s shoulders, wears a T-shirt honoring her uncle James Ochsner at the Village of Beach Park’s Memorial Day service Monday. Ochsner was killed by an improvised explosive device Nov. 15, 2005 in Afghanistan.


Reviving the WH Dive Team

The Winthrop Harbor Fire Department is turning to the public to help revive its
dive team - a unit that hasn’t been in operation in recent years. Funds raised at the May 24 Winthrop Harbor Firefighter’s Association’s Annual Pancake Breakfast
will go toward the purchase of dive team equipment.

School News

North Prairie Jr. High students Alexia McDaniel, Rebecca Unze and Bailey Hoenig, proudly show their completed project after painting two canvas art boards with inspirational and positive
messages to be displayed at Winthrop Harbor schools.


Zee-Bee Alyssa Amann has made the cheerleading squad at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. UW-Milwaukee is a Division I program and Amann will be a flyer for the Panthers after an outstanding cheer career at Zion-Benton. Amann is pictured with her mother Carla.