Community Confronts Challenges: 2020 Lake Forest Year In Review

Jonah Meadows

LAKE FOREST, IL — While New Year's Eve 2020 will be unlike year's past The end of an unforgettable year offers a opportunity to look back on some of the top local news stories from the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff area published during 2020.

The year's coverage was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, which touched the life of every member of the community in some way — from schools to work, from the political to the personal.

There have been 1,362 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents of the 60044 and 60045 ZIP codes as of New Year's Eve, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Some have been among the 716 Lake County residents who have died of the virus during the year, although state officials have declined to release their towns of residence.

During 2020, the Lake Forest area saw one of its largest political demonstrations in decades when local high school students organized a demonstration and vigil at Market Square in June in response to the the death of George Floyd. Lake Forest High School also saw the name of a former teacher stripped from campus, the retirement of the longtime choir director and the recent announcement that the superintendent was resigning to take a job at a neighboring district after the school board rejected his coronavirus recommendations. And, in legal proceedings that preceded the pandemic, a city manager and a county party leader and state senator pleaded guilty, while feds charged a mayor with a conspiracy.

Here are some of the most-read articles published by the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch during 2020:

Former Lake Forest City Manager Pleads Guilty To Reduced Charge

Bob Kiely admitted to attempted official misconduct, a misdemeanor, in a plea bargain that allows him to keep his $200,000-a-year pension.

Casey Urlacher Charged With Offshore Sports Gambling Conspiracy

The mayor of Mettawa and brother of the former Chicago Bears player is among 10 people indicted on federal conspiracy charges.

Coronavirus Test Made By Abbott Labs Wins Emergency FDA Nod

The Green Oaks-based company is ramping up production in an effort to provide 1 million tests a week to hospitals and labs by the end of the month.
THEN: Abbott Labs Gets Emergency Authorization For Rapid Coronavirus Test

On March 19, Abbott Labs announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for its test for the novel coronavirus. (Abbott Laboratories Photo)
On March 19, Abbott Labs announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for its test for the novel coronavirus. (Abbott Laboratories Photo)

First Lake County Coronavirus Deaths Reported At Local Hospitals

Test results show a man in his 50s who died Tuesday was the first Lake County resident to die from COVID-19 complications, the coroner said.

North Shore Distillery Makes Hand Sanitizer To Fight Coronavirus

The Rockland Road distillery became the first in the nation to receive FDA approval to produce alcohol-based hand sanitizer last month.

Hundreds Of Lake Foresters Likely Have Coronavirus, Mayor Warns

"Frankly, I expected better from Lake Foresters," Mayor George Pandaleon said, urging residents to take the stay-at-home order seriously.

Classic Car Parade Heads Through Senior Residential Community

A slow-moving parade of dozens of antique automobiles is set to roll through Lake Forest Place so residents can watch from inside.

A 1937 Packard owned by Claude and Audrey Ohanesian is paraded through Lake Forest Place on May 17. (John Maxson)
A 1937 Packard owned by Claude and Audrey Ohanesian is paraded through Lake Forest Place on May 17. (John Maxson)

Retiring LFHS Choir Director Conducts 111-Part Final Performance

After 33 years directing Lake Forest High School choirs, Tim Haskett's final curtain call was a virtual one.

Tim Haskett conducts the Lake Forest High School choir at a 2019 holiday concert. (Courtesy Visual Image Photography)
Tim Haskett conducts the Lake Forest High School choir at a 2019 holiday concert. (Courtesy Visual Image Photography)

Hundreds Of Demonstrators Rally In Lake Forest To Denounce Racism

"People refuse to discuss or acknowledge that there are problems here," attendees were told. "And this stops today."

Hundreds of people attended a demonstration in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and a vigil for George Floyd June 3 at Market Square in Lake Forest. (Andrew Walter)
Hundreds of people attended a demonstration in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and a vigil for George Floyd June 3 at Market Square in Lake Forest. (Andrew Walter)

Ex-LFHS Teacher Accused Of 'Inappropriate' Contact With Students

Board members voted June 19 rename the David Miller Theater following allegations of decades of sexual misconduct by the former theater teacher.

Lake Forest Innkeeper Supports Staff, Community Amid Crisis

Matt Barba, general manager of Deer Path Inn, helped organize an auction to raise over $50,000 to help shuttered local businesses.

Wedding At Lake Forest Hospital 'Made Her Last Dream Come True'

Hospital staff helped organize an outdoor marriage ceremony, allowing a mother with terminal cancer to witness her daughter's wedding.

A small wedding was held in the courtyard at Lake Forest Hospital on July 5 to allow a hospice patient to witness her daughter's marriage. (Courtesy Lake Forest Hospital)
A small wedding was held in the courtyard at Lake Forest Hospital on July 5 to allow a hospice patient to witness her daughter's marriage. (Courtesy Lake Forest Hospital)

Nursing Exec Leads Lake Forest Hospital To Magnet 'Gold Standard'

In four decades on staff, Denise Majeski has overseen nurses through a series of challenges — including an evacuation and, now, a pandemic.

Indicted State Senator Again Promises To Step Down As Party Chair

Charged with tax fraud, Lake County Democratic Party Chair Sen. Terry Link could arrange to select his own successor if he resigns his seat.
THEN: Link Resigns, Pleads Guilty To Years Of Tax Fraud

Former Illinois Sen. Terry Link pleaded guilty to tax fraud Sept. 16, saying he filed false federal income tax returns from 2012 to 2016 and used money from his campaign fund on person expenses. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)
Former Illinois Sen. Terry Link pleaded guilty to tax fraud Sept. 16, saying he filed false federal income tax returns from 2012 to 2016 and used money from his campaign fund on person expenses. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

Lake Forest Native Sydney Barber Makes History At Naval Academy

The Lake Forest High School grad is the first Black woman ever named brigade commander at the U.S. Naval Academy.

North Shore Hospitals Receive First Doses Of Coronavirus Vaccine

NorthShore University HealthSystem and Lake Forest Hospital began receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 17.

Superintendent Mike Simeck To Resign As Lake Forest Schools Chief

After nine years in charge of Districts 67 and 115 in Lake Forest, Simeck will take over as superintendent of Deerfield School District 109.
AFTER: Lake Forest High School Board Rejects Recommendation For Fully Remote Learning

Thank you for being part of the Patch community during 2020, and we hope you will join us in 2021. As always, to contact Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch with news tips, comments, questions, suggestions or requests email lakeforest@patch.com.

This article originally appeared on the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch