Category: Latest News

Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program provides free meals over the summer to kids less than 18 years of age in communities where more than 50% of the population is over the poverty line. At meal sites, children can receive a healthy meal in a safe place to eat and build friendship – many sites also offer educational activities and games. If you are interested in learning more about Summer Food Service Program sites in your area, visit


Stepping Up Initiative

At the May 20th Board meeting, I sponsored and passed the  “Stepping Up Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails”, supported by President Preckwinkle and Sherriff Dart.

Cook County takes pride in its responsibility to protect and enhance the health, welfare and safety of its residents in efficient and cost-effective ways; and has successfully reduced its total jail population by 20% since 2013; and is implementing creative approaches to best meet these goals.

Counties nationwide routinely provide treatment services to the estimated 2 million people with serious mental illnesses booked into jail each year. Without appropriate treatment and services, people with mental illnesses continue to cycle through the criminal justice system, often resulting in tragic outcomes for these individuals and their families. Adults with mental illnesses tend to stay longer in jail and upon release are at a higher risk of recidivism.

The initiative is a partnership with the National Association of Counties, the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the American Psychiatric Foundation, which will examine treatment and service capabilities in order to determine programs available to people with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders, to safely reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.

To learn more about the initiative, visit


FPD Land Acquisition in Barrington Hills

The Forest Preserves of Cook County Board of Commissioners approved a request to purchase a 24-acre parcel of land in Barrington Hills located at 165 Algonquin Road.  The parcel will provide a greenway connection from the Forest Preserve’s Spring Lake Preserve, one of the Forest Preserve’s finest natural area properties, to the 400-acre Horizon Farms property, acquired in 2014.

“As outlined in our Land Acquisition Plan, making purchases near existing parcels of Forest Preserve property benefits the plants and wildlife in the surrounding area,” said Forest Preserves of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. “Natural connections to larger areas act as buffers between developed areas and the habitats we are trying to protect.”

Forest Preserve land includes some of the most diverse habitats in Cook County such as forests, wetlands, prairies and savannas.

“Even adding smaller pieces of land to our holdings are important to our overall portfolio,” said General Superintendent Arnold Randall. “We’ve worked to identify properties in close proximity to our current natural areas in order to fill in the gaps in our current holdings.”

The board’s approval grants the FPCC the authority to purchase the parcel for $2.15 million. The money will come from the FPCC’s Real Estate Acquisition Fund which is appropriated with General Operating Funds. In 2012, the sale of General Obligation Bonds provided an additional $27 million earmarked for Land Acquisition.

Once this and other recent acquisitions are final, the District’s total land holdings will be 69,337 acres. Under the leadership of President Preckwinkle, the FPCC has increased its efforts to buy land, adding 1,060 acres since 2011, including this property and other recently approved acquisitions. Land Acquisition is one of the goals of the Next Century Conservation Plan, commissioned by President Preckwinkle, which aims to expand the Forest Preserve footprint to 90,000 acres over the next 25 years.


Upcoming Special Events in the Forest Preserves

Check out some of the great upcoming events in the Cook County Forest Preserves:

May 23 – Sept 7
Daily (weather permitting)
10:00 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Butterflies & Blooms at Chicago Botanic Garden
Hundreds of colorful butterflies from around the world – including South America, Asia and Africa, as well as butterflies native to Illinois – flutter around visitors in the lepidopteran habitat of Butterflies & Blooms, which relocates this year to a new site near McDonald Woods. Fee applies.
June 8 – Sept 7
Monday – Thursday
Evenings at the Chicago Botanic Garden
The Garden’s summer hours extend to 9 p.m. from June 6 to September 7, with evening music programs beginning on June 8. The special live music performances for all ages are offered four nights a week. See for a schedule of performances. Free.
July 25 & 26
Saturday & Sunday
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m
Herb Garden Weekend at the Regenstein Fruit and Vegetable Garden, Chicago Botanic Garden
The weekend features displays, demonstrations, and kids’ activities on growing and using a variety of kitchen garden herbs. Selected vendors will be on-site selling herbal products.
July 26
Pond Dippin’ at Crabtree Nature Center, Barrington Hills
Cool off this summer by net dipping in our pond an seeing what lives there.Creature Feature at Trailside Museum of Natural History, River Forest
Learn about an animal that makes its home within our forest preserves! Drop-in family program.

Bike the Trails at River Trail Nature Center, Northbrook
Bring your off-rad bike for a leisurely trek through the forest preserves with one of our naturalists. Helmet and water bottle required.

July 30
6:30 p.m.
Films in the forest: “Frozen” at Green Lake Aquatic Center, Calumet City
When the newly-crowned Queen Elsa accidentally uses her power to turn the land into endless winter, her sister Anna teams up with a mountain man, his reindeer and a snowman to set out on a dangerous and mysterious journey to bring her back.



Cook County & FPD Job Opportunities

For a list of Cook County jobs, answers to questions, and to apply, visit To apply for any of the jobs listed below, visit

PositionRemarksDepartmentApplication PeriodStatusSalary
Volunteer Program SpecialistInternal/ExternalPermits, Concessions and Volunteer ResourcesJune 29, 2015 - July 12, 2015Full-Time$43,801/Yearly
Volunteer Program CoodinatorInternal/ExternalPermits, Concessions and Volunteer ResourcesJune 29, 2015 - July 12, 2015Full-Time$50,482/Yearly
Tractor MechanicInternal/ExternalFacilities and FleetJuly 6, 2015 - July 19, 2015Full-TIme$65,354/Yearly