Drug Take Back Day

Resident Marie Borg (left) receives a free prescription drug lock box from Stand Strong Coalition Coordinator Jamie Epstein (right) at the October 22nd Drug Take Back Day.

Resident Marie Borg (left) receives a free prescription drug lock box from Stand Strong Coalition Coordinator Jamie Epstein (right) at the October 22nd Drug Take Back Day.

In a joint project between the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Village of Long Grove, and the Long Grove Fire Protection District, a prescription drug collection event was held this past weekend at the firehouse on Old McHenry Road. Residents could safely dispose of unwanted or expired prescription medicines and unwanted sharps. In addition, pharmacy students from Rosalind Franklin University were on hand to assist, answer questions, and provide free blood pressure readings.

It was great to see so many residents doing the right thing by keeping these medicines out of the ground water stream and environment. It is also important to dispose of unneeded medications properly to combat the real and growing problem of prescription drug abuse. As Village President, I am a member of Stand Strong Coalition, a group based out of Stevenson High School dedicated to working together as a community to help prevent underage drinking, marijuana use, and prescription drug abuse in our youth. I was happy to be a part of this drug collection event and worked along with Stand Strong Founder and Coordinator Jamie Epstein to hand out free prescription drug lock boxes to interested community members. These boxes are easy to use and allow you to keep your prescription medicines at home safe and secure from theft.

If you missed this opportunity and would like to dispose of unwanted drugs, they can be dropped off at the police stations in our neighboring communities of Lincolnshire, Buffalo Grove, and Mundelein during regular business hours. In addition, Walgreens is offering collection sites at selected locations in Lake County. The closest location to Long Grove is near Lake Cook Road, at 15 N. Buffalo Grove Road.

Volunteering at the Event:  Detective David Tomasello of the Lake County Sheriff's Office (3rd from right), Stand Strong members Angie Underwood and Jamie Epstein (in blue), and pharmacy students from Rosalind Franklin University.

Volunteering at the event: Detective David Tomasello of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office (4th from right), Stand Strong members Angie Underwood and Jamie Epstein (in blue), and pharmacy students from Rosalind Franklin University.

Cars and Cigars

Lake County Board Representative Craig Taylor (on the right) shows off his vintage car to Aaron Underwood.

Lake County Board Representative Craig Taylor (on the right) shows off his vintage car to Aaron Underwood.

Earlier this month I was pleasantly surprised by an event in our historic downtown that I attended by happenstance. On Sunday, July 10th a group of volunteers gathered at the Historical Society farmhouse to do some needed painting, and over the course of the morning as we worked, we watched the Stempel parking lot slowly fill with nearly 100 antique and vintage cars. As it turned out, downtown business Neumann’s Cigars and More had partnered with the Village of Kildeer Police Department to host a car show and fundraiser that attracted an estimated 1,000 people enjoying the beautiful summer day. Besides checking out all the cool cars, the event featured music, food, raffles, awards, and a demonstration by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit.

With so many interesting and unique cars on display, we could not help ourselves from wandering over to investigate. My husband was like a kid in a candy store! The “Cars and Cigars” fundraiser collected over $15,000 to benefit Illinois Special Olympics, and while Aaron was ogling the sweet rides of the past, I had a chance to chat with the organizer of the event. Kildeer police Chief Steve Balinski launched the fundraiser five years ago while working with the Buffalo Grove police department, and continued the tradition when he made the move to Kildeer.  I love the teamwork of volunteers from two of our neighboring villages coming together with a Long Grove business to host such a fun and successful afternoon, all to benefit a worthy cause. I’m so glad we were in the perfect place to see this real-life “hot wheels” collection come to life!

The Thin Blue Line

Caught at Village Hall by our Lake County Sheriff Officer, Kevin McHugh.

Caught at Village Hall by our Lake County Sheriff Deputy, Kevin McHugh.

Most residents of Long Grove are familiar with the fact that we do not have a municipal police department, but instead contract for police services through the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. This has been a long-standing and beneficial arrangement for the Village, and we have been fortunate to have many deputies over the years providing excellent service to our community. One current familiar face to all of us in Long Grove is Deputy Sheriff Kevin McHugh.

From time to time, I have heard Long Grove warmly referred to as “Mayberry,” in a comparison to the fictional hometown that was the setting for T.V.’s The Andy Griffith Show. In that same spirit then, Deputy Sheriff McHugh is our Sheriff Andy Taylor. Officer McHugh has been serving our Village since May of 2005, and is by now so familiar with our community that he knows many of our citizens by name. I’m not the only resident who takes comfort in being greeted by Kevin’s friendly smile in the downtown, out on patrol of our streets, or at my doorstep when the security system is accidentally triggered (again!) When the Food Network needed an amicable and outgoing public figure to emcee the cooking competition during the Long Grove filming of their show Eating America during Strawberry Fest, Kevin was the man.

But make no mistake, Officer McHugh is a highly skilled professional and takes law enforcement in our Village very seriously. He graduated from University of Louisville, KY as a Crime Prevention Specialist and began his career with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in 1987, being elected Deputy Sheriff of the Year in both 1999 and 2000. In August of 2013, just a few months after taking office, I was honored to present Officer McHugh with a special outstanding service award from the Village of Long Grove.

Yesterday, on June 30, 2016, Kevin retired after serving 29 years with the Lake County Sheriff. A cookout was held at the fire station so that we could offer our deep appreciation for the many contributions he has made to make our Village a safer place to live. Everyone in Long Grove wishes Kevin well in his new endeavors, and we hope to see him back in town from time to time.

CERT Team: On Deck for Emergencies

Wielding the fire axe with members of our Long Grove CERT Team.

Wielding the fire axe with members of our Long Grove CERT Team.

The Long Grove Fire Protection District held an open house this fall during National Fire Prevention Week and the CERT team was on hand to take part in the festivities. In addition to answering questions and interacting with the public, they found time to dress me up in a Fire Chief vest and they even let me get up close and personal with a fire axe! I learned many interesting things about this dedicated group of community volunteers that day, starting with the meaning of their acronym CERT: Community Emergency Response Team. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the formation of our Long Grove team, which works hand-in-hand with our local first responders to provide extra assistance in special emergency situations. Some of the types of service our CERT volunteers provide include traffic direction, shoveling snow for the elderly and disabled, informing residents in cases of suspected gas leaks or downed power lines, and clearing fallen trees with their trusty power tools.

To get a little more insight into the experience of being a CERT member, I called my friend and fellow resident Walter Roth. A three-year veteran of the program, Walter happily answered a few of my questions:

What type of training did you initially have to undergo to become a member of the CERT team?
Walter: It was a nine week process. We met for three hours every Tuesday evening, and the training focused on areas such as First Aid, Search & Rescue, and CPR.

Did you have to train out in the field, and do you have ongoing education sessions?
Walter: Yes, as a matter of fact in late September I attended a weekend training seminar sponsored by Illinois Search and Rescue. This was held at Lakewood Forest Preserve and included four hours of classroom instruction and 12 hours of field work. The outdoor sessions focused on helping us sharpen our skills in looking for lost people and evidence. The instructors hid a deck of playing cards throughout the forest preserve and we had to find as many as possible using special observation techniques and reminding ourselves to look for things that are not always obvious. The average untrained volunteer will only have a 25% success rate at this kind of task, as opposed to trained volunteers like our CERT team members, who average closer to 80 or 90%. My personal experience with this has taught me to push past any bias and not make assumptions in a situation—a lot of evidence can be overlooked by making incorrect assumptions.

Have you had any experience so far that sticks out in your mind as a defining moment of your CERT service?
Walter: In April of 2014 we were called into service in the middle of the night to assist with the house explosion in Royal Melbourne. Our CERT team was tasked with doing building assessments and looking for anyone who might be injured in neighborhoods adjoining Royal Melbourne and across the golf course from the explosion site. It was just amazing to be on hand to see how much damage had occurred and to be able to be helpful in a time of need for our community.

I want to take a moment in this season of Thanksgiving to appreciate Walter and all his colleagues on the CERT team for their ongoing service to our community. On behalf of the Village Board and all the residents, Thank You! For more information on this program, be sure to check out their website: slcrcert.org.

Fire District Open House

Members of the Long Grove Fire Protection District teach a young recruit how to handle the fire hose.

Members of the Long Grove Fire Protection District teach a young recruit how to handle the fire hose.

We are smack dab in the middle of National Fire Prevention Week, so in honor of that I would like to give a shout out today to our local firefighters here in Long Grove. Our community is actually served by two separate districts that respond to emergencies in the area:  Long Grove Fire Protection District and Countryside Fire Protection District. A community Open House was held this past Saturday at the fire station in downtown Long Grove, and it was a delight to be on hand to see the local kids having fun while learning about fire safety. In my mind, there is no truck more colorful or fascinating than a firetruck. Many years ago, I was even lucky enough to get to ride atop one once in a homecoming parade–what a thrill! This weekend a large number of families took the opportunity to enjoy hot dogs, station tours, demonstrations, and kids activities while meeting staff and checking out the awesome trucks. I was very, very tempted to take a turn with the kids sliding down the fire pole, and only the threat of being caught in a picture and subsequently mocked on social media kept me at bay. One thing that I did thoroughly enjoy was watching the little ones tackle the firefighter’s obstacle course, complete with hosing down a pretend house of flames. I even got to handle a real fire axe–could this be what I really need to keep my Trustees in line? My gavel seems rather wimpy by comparison!

Visiting with Fire Chief Robert Turpel during the Open House.

Visiting with Long Grove Fire Chief Robert Turpel during the Open House.