Highland Park Rises To The Occasion: 2020 Year In Review

Jonah Meadows

HIGHLAND PARK, 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 Highland Park and Highwood 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 1,826 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents of the 60035 and 60040 ZIP codes as of New Year's Eve, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Some people from Highland Park and Highwood 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.

In addition to grappling with the impact of the pandemic, Highland Park saw political demonstrations following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and again after two people died during protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. The City Council gave the go-ahead to a new development on the site of the former Saks Fifth Avenue store and later opened the door for the possibility of recreational marijuana businesses, as well as expanded residential development downtown. A local elementary school received national recognition, and local students stepped up to help families in need.

Here are some of the most-read articles published by Highland Park Patch during 2020:

HPHS Principal Answers Student's Holocaust Remembrance Petition

Over 5,000 signatures were collected to "reinstate" a mandatory Holocaust memorial assembly, but administrators say it was never canceled.

Mayor Warns Residents Flouting Coronavirus Stay-At-Home Order

Mayor Nancy Rotering called out groups of Highland Park residents who have been violating the governor's order.

Ravinia Festival Cancels 2020 Season Due To Coronavirus

Ravinia Festival has operated continually since its 1904 opening, except for 1932–35, when the park was silenced by the Great Depression.

Rosewood Beach Sand Replenished, Breakwater Reinforced

Recent shoreline projects are preventing further erosion and protecting infrastructure, according to the park district.

Plan To Redevelop Ex-Saks Fifth Avenue Site Wins Preliminary Nod

The five-story proposed Albion at Renaissance Place includes 89 apartments and ground-floor commercial space along Green Bay Road.

A close-up of a rendering shows the proposed 38-foot, 7-inch metal sign on the planned Albion at Renaissance Place development. (Albion Residential)
A close-up of a rendering shows the proposed 38-foot, 7-inch metal sign on the planned Albion at Renaissance Place development. (Albion Residential)

Pro-Trump Rally In Highland Park Dwarfed By Counterprotest

Hundreds of demonstrators loudly confronted each other Monday after counterprotesters warned a "militia" was coming to Highland Park.

Demonstrators for and against President Donald Trump gathered Sept. 7 at the corner of St. Johns and Central avenues in Highland Park. (Aaron Brooks)
Demonstrators for and against President Donald Trump gathered Sept. 7 at the corner of St. Johns and Central avenues in Highland Park. (Aaron Brooks)

Highland Park Offers Coronavirus Grants To Restaurants, Retailers

The City Council approved matching grants of up to $10,000 for restaurants and $5,000 for retail stores to cover COVID-19-related expenses.

Highland Park Students Provide Needed Groceries To Local Families

High schoolers with experience on service-learning trips organized by a pair of North Shore educators are now serving the local community.

With the help of donations from local residents and businesses, a group of high school students launched Project Shop N' Drop, which has provided more than 3,600 bags of groceries to 477 people since early May. (Courtesy Ida Fiore)
With the help of donations from local residents and businesses, a group of high school students launched Project Shop N' Drop, which has provided more than 3,600 bags of groceries to 477 people since early May. (Courtesy Ida Fiore)

10-Year-Old Twins Start Business Making, Selling Mask Holders

The Highland Park fifth-graders are donating a portion of the proceeds from each beaded mask holder they sell to a North Shore charity.

Indian Trail Named National Blue Ribbon School

For the first time in more than 30 years, a school in Highland Park has won the prestigious U.S. Department of Education award.

Indian Trail Elementary School Principal Maria Grable, at center, is presented with flowers by North Shore School District 112 administrators at a Sept. 24 ceremony honoring the school's designation as a National Blue Ribbon School. (North Shore School District 112)
Indian Trail Elementary School Principal Maria Grable, at center, is presented with flowers by North Shore School District 112 administrators at a Sept. 24 ceremony honoring the school's designation as a National Blue Ribbon School. (North Shore School District 112)

Coronavirus Rates Make North Shore School District 112 Go Remote

Despite a "remarkably successful" hybrid schedule, increasing community spread of COVID-19 is now affecting operations, administrators said.
EARLIER: Most Students Opt For Return To Campus In North Shore School District 112

Highland Park, Deerfield High Schools Set For Remote 2nd Semester

District 113 board members voiced support for sticking with a "remote plus services" model through the end of this school year.
EARLIER: Highland Park, Deerfield Districts Plan For Return To School

COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Available For Lake County Residents

The Lake County Health Department created an online portal for residents to register to be notified when a coronavirus vaccine is available.

North Shore Hospitals Receive First Doses Of Coronavirus Vaccine

NorthShore University HealthSystem operates the regional hospital coordinating center for the north suburbs.

Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeffrey Kopin receives the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Thursday in Lake Forest. (Northwestern Medicine)
Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeffrey Kopin receives the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Thursday in Lake Forest. (Northwestern Medicine)

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

This article originally appeared on the Highland Park Patch