Monday, August 31, 2015

Comic Relief

Your LakeCountyEye was at the annual Lake County Comic Con. Judging from the number of sculpted superhero physiques in attendance, it could have been an afternoon in the Lake County Board weightlifting room.

Haha, the News-Sun says ...
They came from Lake and Cook counties as well as Michigan and other states to engage in board and video games, watch Cosmic Family Feud played by their favorite superheroes, compete in costume contests, pose for photographs with wild-looking creatures, browse through comic books, get their faces painted like vampires and purchase games, posters, buttons, jewelry — anything related to the print and video world of fictional characters, both the good and the evil ones. They were attending the second annual Lake Count-I-Con, a convention held Saturday and Sunday at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake.
Superheroes join forces for Lake Count-I-Con at Grayslake fairgrounds
Comic Con is an opportunity to dress up in public as your favorite fantasy character. Without getting arrested. The convention this year did not disappoint. Your LakeCountyEye has not seen this much repurposed vinyl since they dredged Waukegan Harbor.

Your LakeCountyEye naturally was in costume -- and was a fly on the wall. Ant-Man sends his regards.

Operatives are challenged to ID your LakeCountyEye from this photo of convention participants:
Hint: pictures often show more than meets the eye. Only Residents are eligible to participate.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Legally Employed

Please provide references. Lake County has a new official motto:
Come for the schools.
Stay for the Wisconsin jobs.
Haha, your LakeCountyEye jests. The News-Sun says the jobs are in Waukegan:
The unemployment rate in Waukegan dropped below the state average of 5.9 percent this summer, with Lake County Partners reporting that more than 1,000 jobs were added to the local rolls between May and June, the highest spike in summer hiring on record.
1,000 new jobs: Waukegan unemployment drops below state average
One source told your LakeCountyEye not to break out the champagne and caviar just yet: "999 of those jobs are candidates for Lake County State's Attorney."

That's all your LakeCountyEye has. Get a job.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sullivan's Travelling

through thick and through thin Your LakeCountyEye won't have Ed Sullivan Jr to kick around any more. The Daily Herald says ...
State Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein won't seek re-election in 2016, he announced today, making him the second suburban Republican incumbent to decide to end his Illinois House career with this term.
State Rep. Sullivan won't run; another Republican leaps in
Hours before Sullivan's surprise announcement, Dan McConchie announced that he would challenge Sullivan in the Republican Primary. According to the Chicago Tribune ...
The current officeholder is Ed Sullivan, Jr., a seven-term incumbent who also holds the position of Fremont Township assessor, a full-time job. "The incumbent has had both fists in the taxpayer's pocket for too long," McConchie said.
Dan McConchie to Seek Republican Nomination in Illinois House District 51
The two-fisted McConchie, according to the Illinois Review, is ...
currently a member of Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran's Human Trafficking Task Force.
It is unknown if Sullivan plans to run for Lake County State's Attorney instead. Your LakeCountyEye will keep you apprised when further developments warrant.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Road to Perfidy

Is that a gun in your pocket or are you happy to see me? It's a well known quirk of the English language: every sentence uttered by Aaron Lawlor contains a noun, a verb, and the Route 53 Extension. Haha, this may explain why Lawlor, the Lake County Board Chair, was uncharacteristically tight-lipped after a Hawthorn Woods town meeting -- one critical of the $3 billion highway project. Lawlor told the Chicago Tribune:
"There were a number of valid concerns, and a number of inaccuracies, that we're going to address," Lawlor said. "I'm going to leave it at that."
Hawthorn Woods mayor on Route 53: 'Basically, we have an issue with everything'
Note to Operatives: On this blog, valid concerns are numbered few and far between. But if it's inaccuracies that you are looking for, you've come to the right place. Your LakeCountyEye knows at least 10 widely believed misbeliefs about the Route 53 Extension:
Ten Common Misconceptions
About the Route 53 Extension
  1. Paved with Gold

  2. Will be the Only Man-Made Object Visible from the Moon

  3. Filed a Wrongful Conviction Suit Against the County

  4. Phase #1: Build It Over the Long Grove Sinkhole
    Phase #2: FEMA Pays for It

  5. For Twice as Many Lanes at Half the Cost, It's Shaped Like a Moebius Strip

  6. Plans to Run for Lake County State's Attorney

  7. STD Stands for Special Taxing District

  8. To be Constructed Out of Lumber Left Over from the Goliath Rollercoaster

  9. Will Pay for Itself, After the Oil Fields Along the Right-of-Way are Seized

  10. One Royal Clusterf*ck
Look for your LakeCountyEye busting myths near you.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Travel Incentives

That's the signpost up ahead -- your next stop, the Special Taxing District. One corporate gravy train has exploded in Lake County. Organizations looking for tax incentives from the County may want to think twice, because, according to the Daily Herald ...
The county board on Tuesday unanimously approved an incentive policy that outlines several conditions, including a measurable return on investment, that must be met before county officials would consider rebating sales or property taxes for a project.
Lake County puts conditions on tax incentives for businesses
Every law has unexpected consequences. This one has the Route 53 Extension Blue Ribbon Panel crying foul. To find out why, your LakeCountyEye asked Dr. I.M. Bhatschidtkhrazzi -- Professor of Corporate Extortion at the College of Lake County.

"Ya," chuckled Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, "that asphalt albatross will never get built if Lake County demands an ROI out of the Route 53 Extension. The Toll Authority will have to slap a $20 surcharge on their Oasis burritos, before they would offset those sweetheart tax-breaks that the County Board promised."

That would not sit well with the Lake County motorists?

Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi produced a calculator. "If you figure the average automobile toll at $5, and figure ten million cars every year -- at a cost of $3 billion, it will take 60 years to pay for the Route 53 Extension!"

That's a lot of rubber on the road.

"Not to mention leaky crankcases." grimaced Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "The Toll Authority is studying how the airline industry makes its profit. Motorists on the Route 53 Extension will be hit with extra fees -- like a finder's fee. Anyone who breaks down and wants a tow-truck to find them, pays a fee."

Wouldn't public transportation be better?

"Lake County's public transportation system is called Uber." said Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "Studies prove that a small fleet of Uber drivers could move more people through the Route 53 corridor -- and quicker -- than any 45mpg limited access parkway. And at a fraction of the cost."

How much of a fraction?

What fraction is $3000 of $3 billion?

That would add up to an enviable ROI, to be sure.  Did Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi have any parting advice?

"Tell your operatives my Uber ID is #LikeaBhatschidtkhrazziOuttaHell. Ping me any time 24/7/365."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Throwing Good Money After Bad?

A new bumpersticker observed today in Lake County:
Haha, as readers of this blog already know ...
Wall of Silence
Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran surprised some people and said he will run against Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim for the office of Lake County State's Attorney.

This surprised your LakeCountyEye -- who noted that Curran's political PAC ...
Friends of Mark Curran
has benefited from more than $1000 in donations from Michael Nerheim (or a family member):

Contributions List: Nerheim
In related news, Peoria Congressman Aaron Schock, who resigned in March, is being sued by a campaign donor:
A Chicago lawyer filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against former Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock on Wednesday, saying he was tricked into believing the young congressman was "a breath of fresh air" in a corruption-prone state but who instead intended to collect campaign money for personal use.
Donor sues ex-U.S. congressman Aaron Schock seeking reimbursement
It is unknown whether Nerheim plans to follow, erm, suit, and sue Curran to get his money back. If not, your LakeCountyEye does not think it would be from lack of legal resources.

Sources say the Curran election campaign remains unapologetic. "Sure they can get some guilty verdicts," one source told your LakeCountyEye. "But we'll get the money back when we file a counter-suit for wrongful conviction. Bring it on."

Your LakeCountyEye will keep you apprised when further developments warrant.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Wall of Silence

Marvel Movie Note to Ops: If you need to dig up some dirt, the place to go these days is Waukegan. An underground tunnel is being dug in Waukegan, and will connect the County Jail with the County Courthouse. And as readers of this blog should know, construction mishaps have already resulted in the Long Grove sinkhole ...
Notes from the Underground
... as well as a ruptured sewage pipe & flooded county building basements:
Sticky Notes from the Underground
Well, OK, the second story is true.

Perhaps flush with success, your LakeCountyEye has learned that the excavators have now accidentally punctured the wall of silence -- the same wall of silence that isolates Lake County's divisions of government.

The first person observed taking advantage of the breach in the wall was Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran -- who announced today that he will challenge Michael Nerheim in 2016 for Lake County State's Attorney. According to the Daily Herald, Curran said ...
"Mike Nerheim has done nothing to raise the caliber of the office," Curran said in a news release. "Today I made an opening statement, but I will be presenting evidence throughout the campaign that change is needed." Curran said the Lake County state's attorney's office has been responsible for six wrongful convictions since 2010. Those cases include overturned convictions involving Juan Rivera, Jerry Hobbs, James Edwards and Benny Starks, Curran said, and noted the Rivera case resulted in the single largest wrongful conviction settlement in U.S. history at $20 million.
Curran says he'll run for Lake County state's attorney
Informed sources say the State's Attorney office has no plans to press charges against the construction workers who ruptured the wall. Or against Mark Curran. "Sure we can get some guilty verdicts," one source told your LakeCountyEye. "But this is Lake County. In the long run they will be suing us for wrongful conviction. Why bother?"

Your LakeCountyEye will keep you apprised when further developments warrant.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Boat Anchor

If Lake County's villages were engaged in an arms race for your tourist dollars, then the Village of Fox Lake just got a $15,000 shipment of guns. Haha, the Daily Herald said that ...
Fox Lake officials hope a new marketing campaign focusing on the future while remembering the past will bring tourists to the former resort town on the shores of the Chain O' Lakes. Using the tagline "Anchoring Traditions ... Linking the Future," the new initiative is designed not only to strengthen the community and connect with residents, but also to appeal to tourists with the goal of becoming a destination for Illinois and Wisconsin residents, Mayor Donnie Schmit said Wednesday.
Fox Lake unveils new marketing campaign, logo
Fox Lake retained a marketing firm at $2,200/mo to manage the campaign. The village also budgeted $15,000 for a new logo.

This was the old Fox Lake logo:
In case you ever wondered what happened to Chief Illiniwek, he retired to a waterfront cottage on Fox Lake.

This is the new Fox Lake logo:
One goal of the rebranding campaign is to call attention to Fox Lake's festivals: Venetian Night, Cardboard Boat Race, Mayor's Challenge Pasta Dinner and 5K Race, Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting Ceremony, Annual Polar Plunge.

It is unknown if Talk Like a Pirate Day will be included.

Operatives who crave a cool personal logo of their own, are directed to any of these clipart websites:

Bing Images
Yarrr, we be pirates.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sticky Notes from the Underground

It's a dirty job but someone has to do it. Trees may be down and buildings may be damaged, but at least the culprit this time was an EF-1 tornado (that touched down Sunday in Grayslake). And not from excavation work under the Lake County Courthouse.

Haha, as readers of this blog no doubt recall ...
Notes from the Underground
An underground tunnel is being dug in Waukegan to transfer prisoners from the County Jail to the County Courthouse. Worries that a large-scale underground excavation like this can lead to widespread damage may not be totally groundless.

Your LakeCountyEye has learned the below-ground excavators broke a sewage pipe that flooded basements under the County Sheriff and Court Buildings. Informed sources say stored paper files were submerged and that County employees were ordered to retrieve the records. And without the safety of protective scuba gear!

It is unknown whether Lake County Chairman Aaron Lawlor, who was seen earlier this year cleaning sludge at a County water reclamation plant ...
Lake County's Dirty Jobs - Vernon Hills Water Reclamation Facility
rolled up his pant-legs and pitched in to help.

Note to Ops: If the County has not been responding to your requests for vital paper documents, you now know why. On second thought, you may want to reassess your need for those documents.

EPA investigators with hazmat gear were seen. Do not be surprised if you see yellow EPA-Superfund-Site tape around County buildings.

OSHA however is not expected to file suit against County officials. One OSHA source told your LakeCountyEye, "Sure we can get some guilty verdicts, the law is cut and dry. But this is Lake County. In the long run they will be suing us for wrongful conviction. Why bother?"

Your LakeCountyEye will keep you apprised when further developments warrant.

Monday, August 3, 2015

We Don't Need No Stinkin Amstutz

"We're on a mission from God." If the Amstutz Expressway were a 36 inch pizza then the long knives would be out for it. A News-Sun op-ed published last week was really a thinly veiled call for the Amstutz's demise:
There's nothing about the 2.9-mile abomination and its social, financial, aesthetic or cultural contribution to Waukegan that could not be improved by unleashing jackhammers to destroy it.
Rutter: Waukegan's Amstutz Expressway is a 'massive purple wart'
Is the Amstutz on the road to oblivion? Your LakeCountyEye asked Dr. I.M. Bhatschidtkhrazzi -- the Travelling Professor at the College of Lake County.

"Ya," sighed Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi "they want to bulldoze the Amstutz into Lake Michigan like it was some empty beach and turn it into high-value lakefront property."

Too sad. Who exactly would feel the burden?

"No one ever uses the road, so exactly no one." said Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "And that's exactly why the Amstutz is America's highway. Every movie chase scene since Ben-Hur has been filmed on the Amstutz."


"Bullitt, The French Connection, Smokey and the Bandit, Thelma & Louise, Mad Max, Death Race 2000, Driving Miss Daisy ... these were all filmed on the Amstutz. It's the most recognizable 2.9 mile stretch of highway in the lower 48!"

Too cool. Are there plans to save the Amstutz?

"Bet on it." replied Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "Do you remember the Route 53 Extension?"

Who can forget?

"The Route 53 Extension," continued Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi "is a $3 billion, unbuilt highway that everybody wants but nobody wants to pay for. Compare it with the Amstutz -- a highway that is built and paid-for, but nobody wants. Now combine the two and what do you get?"

One of those venn diagram jokes?

Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi pulled up close: "The Route 53 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council has a top-secret fail-safe doomsday-scenario contingency plan prepared, in case the taxpayers don't give them those 3 billion smackers. Just suppose one moonless night the Lake County Division of Transportation shuts down the Amstutz -- and removes all of the highway signs. And replaces them with Route 53 Extension highway signs. What will everyone think the next morning?"

Your LakeCountyEye, being no Carnac the Magnificent, did not know.

"The commuters," chuckled Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, "will think the Amstutz had been demolished. And that the Route 53 Extension had finally been built! The County gets rid of the Amstutz, and produces a Route 53 Extension -- all for the price of a couple dozen traffic signs. It's a win-win for everyone."

Too crazy. Did Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi have any parting advice?

"Don't be surprised if the Amstutz turns, one day, into a $5 toll-road. Tell your Operatives to hold on to their pennies."

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Location Location Location

Question of the day: Name the one thing in Lake County seen by more people on the planet than anything else. If you said a settlement check for a wrongful conviction, give yourself a judge's citation. The correct answer is the Amstutz Expressway.

The Amstutz Expressway in Waukegan has been an outdoor location for hit movies seen by millions. The seldom used freeway is a favorite with moviemakers, ever since scenes in The Blues Brothers were shot there in 1980. The Chicago Tribune said (in 1998) ...
The Amstutz makes a perfect location because it looks like a full-blown expressway and can be closed off for days at a time without causing any real problems for commuters. "The people at the Illinois Film Office call me and ask if the Amstutz is still the road to nowhere," said David Motley, Waukegan's director of public relations and special events. "It's very popular because it looks right and it's easy to close off. We don't charge a rental fee either. Just what it costs for public works and police to close it. What I want to do, though, is show producers some of our other locations when they're in town using the Amstutz."
The Road To Nowhere
If Traffic Were Meant To Fly, All Roads Would Be Like The Amstutz Expressway
However, while the Illinois Film Office features a gallery of top movie locations ...

Location Gallery

... the Amstutz is conspicuous in its absence.

Note to Ops: The Illinois Film Office wants to know about your film location and provides a handy web form ...

Submit a Location
So if you happen to own the Amstutz, please waste no time in correcting this regrettable bureaucratic oversight. If you don't act quickly this offer can expire at any time and without notice.