Chicago suburbs

Chicago’s Christmas Weekend: 61 Shot, 11 Killed

The trend sure hasn’t been Chicago’s friend lately as shootings are concerned.

On November 30, I pointed out that shootings increased in the “Windy City” on the long holiday weekends (Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving) when compared to last year.

On December 5, I noted Chicago-area expressway shootings have also grown year-over-year since 2013.

And now there’s this from the Chicago Tribune website yesterday. Megan Crepeau, Peter Nickeas, and Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas reported:

A total of 61 people were shot in the city during the holiday weekend and 11 of them died of their wounds, according to data kept by the Tribune. Seven people were killed on Christmas Day alone, more than on the holiday the past three years combined. Three people were killed in 2015, one in 2014, and two in 2013.

The number of people shot over the holiday weekend also sharply outpaced recent years. During the Christmas weekend in 2015, 29 people were shot and seven of them died. In 2014, when Christmas fell on a Thursday, the four-day weekend included 35 people shot and seven people killed, according to Tribune data…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Looks like Christmas is now part of this deadly trend.

The HeyJackass! website (“Illustrating Chicago Values”) shows 4,345 shot with 787 killed in the city year-to-date.

Wonder what kind of carnage New Year’s Eve might bring?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Crepeau, Megan, Nickeas, Peter and Rosenberg-Douglas, Katherine. “A violent Christmas in a violent year for Chicago: 11 killed, 50 wounded.” Chicago Tribune. 27 Dec. 2016. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-christmas-shootings-violence-47-shot-holiday-weekend-20161226-story.html). 28 Dec. 2016.

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Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 Crime, Public Safety Comments Off on Chicago’s Christmas Weekend: 61 Shot, 11 Killed

Maxon’s Gun Shop, Range Coming To DuPage County?

The last time I blogged about Maxon Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor Range in the near-northwest suburb of Des Plaines, I was congratulating them back in February 2015 on receiving a prestigious Five Star rating from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

These days, Maxon’s is in the local news for their proposed expansion into DuPage County, Illinois. Erin Hegarty reported on the Chicago Tribune website on November 23:

Preliminary plans have been proposed for an indoor shooting range and gun shop in Warrenville, just across the street from Naperville on Ferry Road.

Naperville resident Dan Eldridge already owns the Maxon Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor Range in Des Plaines. Building a second location in Warrenville was a necessity because he needs more classroom space, he said, but it will also fill a void for this type of business in the western suburbs.

“This would allow us to grow in an underserved area in Chicagoland,” Eldridge said.

The new location on 7-plus acres at 30W255 Ferry Road will serve residents in Warrenville, Naperville and Aurora – a market that lacks facilities for shooting classes and practice ranges, he said. Its proximity to Route 59 and Interstate 88 will allow them to attract shooting enthusiasts from as far as 20 to 30 miles away, he said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to Hegarty, Maxon’s owner figures the new facility would employ about 25 full- and part-time workers.

You can read the entire article on the Chicago Tribune website here. And for more information about Maxon’s, head on over to their site here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, December 8th, 2016 Firearms, Hunting, Self-Defense, Shooting Sports, Training Comments Off on Maxon’s Gun Shop, Range Coming To DuPage County?

Chicago Water Treatment Plant Breach Worrisome?

Back on August 16, 2014, I wrote on Survival And Prosperity:

Chicago residents and those from surrounding suburbs who get their tap water from the city really should consider setting aside an emergency supply of water if they haven’t done so already…

This was mentioned in light of a Chicago Sun-Times piece about security concerns at Chicago’s James W. Jardine Water Purification Plant- the largest water treatment plant in the world.

Water plant security in the “Windy City” was in the news again right before the weekend. Brad Edwards reported on the CBS 2 Chicago website on November 10:

Clean drinking water is essential for our health, so when a man with a foreign passport is discovered trespassing in a protected Chicago water plant, the FBI and Homeland security are alerted.

Authorities say Shahroon Augustine entered the Eugene Sawyer Water Purification Plant with a duffle bag, containing a passport from Pakistan.

He was charged with trespassing, then vanished…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Was this simply a case of criminal trespassing, or something more sinister? Regardless, unauthorized parties having access to a portion of Chicagoland’s supply of drinking water isn’t a good thing.

Once again, those potentially-affected really should consider socking away an emergency supply of H20 if they haven’t done so already. And it’s something that can be done relatively inexpensively.

You can read the entire article on the CBS 2 Chicago site here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 Crime, Government, Middle East, Preparedness, Public Safety, Security, Supplies, Utilities, Water Comments Off on Chicago Water Treatment Plant Breach Worrisome?

My Early Voting Experience In Cook County, Illinois

For those planning to cast a ballot in the November 8, 2016, elections, you might want to consider taking advantage of the last day of “early voting” if the opportunity presents itself.

Figuring that voter turnout on Election Day might be heavy around these parts, Friday morning after rush hour my girlfriend and I headed down to our designated early voting location- a public library in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. The room in which the voting was taking place wasn’t packed to the gills, but it was busy enough that I had to wait in line to be checked-in. Here are a few highlights from that experience:

-A number of my fellow voters brought English-speaking translators with them. Since there looked to be only one seat per voting machine, it appeared these parties had to wait a bit until two adjacent machines/seats were simultaneously vacated so the voter could conduct their business.

-On that note, I don’t believe the voting place staffer who processed me- a very nice older Asian gentleman- spoke English too well. Still, he was able to communicate with me in the noisy room via head nods and hand gestures, so it all worked out fine in the end.

-Some party (again, seemingly English-challenged) was trying to make the case to staffers that one of their members should be permitted to vote due to the fact that the Cook County voter information card that was mailed to them was addressed to the “household” (for example, mine read “Hill Household”). Since this person was part of that household, it was argued they should be able to vote. I didn’t stick around long enough to see how that discussion panned out, but something tells me it will come up again somewhere in the next two days.

-The touch-screen voting machine I used functioned pretty good. The “Next” button was kind of “sticky” though.

-After reading stories in the news of voting machine “malfunctions” in other states, you bet I double-checked my ballot via the optional print out before it was cast.

-While the environment was somewhat hectic, those staffing the early voting location seemed like they had the situation under control. Hat-tip to them.

-Still, the worker collecting the “cards” used in the voting machines did not give me an “I Voted” sticker as I departed. He was sure to bestow one on my girlfriend, but not me. For a brief instant I actually thought about going back inside to get a sticker. Am I lame or what?

Anyway, that was my experience at a Cook County early voting location before the weekend. Not too horrible. But considering the potential crowds/hiccups at the polling places Tuesday, like I said, you might want to consider taking advantage of the last day of “early voting” if the opportunity presents itself.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Monday, November 7th, 2016 Government Comments Off on My Early Voting Experience In Cook County, Illinois

Robert Shiller: ‘Neither Farmland Nor Housing Has Been A Great Place To Invest Money Over The Long Term’

Yale University Economics Professor Robert Shiller just torpedoed long-held notions about farmland and residential real estate in this country. The Nobel Prize winner, who correctly-called the dot-com and housing busts of the last decade, penned the following on The New York Times website on July 15:

Despite solid price increases over the last few years, land and homes have actually been disappointing investments. It’s worth considering why.

Let’s start by looking at the numbers. The best long-term data on land in the United States is for farmland, which is valuable in its own right and can also be considered a great reservoir that can be converted to housing and other purposes at opportune times.

Over the century from 1915 to 2015, though, the real value of American farmland (deflated by the Consumer Price Index) increased only 3.1 times, according to the Department of Agriculture. That comes to an average increase of only 1.1 percent a year– and with a growing population, that’s barely enough to keep per capita real land value unchanged.

According to my own data (relying on the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which I helped create), real home prices rose even more slowly over the same period — a total increase of 1.8 times, which comes to an average of only 0.6 percent a year.

What all that amounts to is that neither farmland nor housing has been a great place to invest money over the long term…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Neither farmland nor housing has been a great place to invest money over the long term”

Obviously, this goes contrary to what many Americans have believed all along.

However, the fact that farmland can produce income from crops should not be ignored.

Residential real estate may also offer benefits beyond property value. In my case, the single-family dwelling in the Chicago suburbs which my girlfriend and I own is a significant improvement in such areas as security and food production, for example, compared to our previous rental unit in a multi-family building on the city’s Northwest Side.

An interesting piece from Dr. Shiller, which you can read on the Times’ website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 Agriculture, Crash Prophets, Farming, Food, Housing, Income, Investing, Security Comments Off on Robert Shiller: ‘Neither Farmland Nor Housing Has Been A Great Place To Invest Money Over The Long Term’

Chicago-Area Residents Renting Egg-Laying Chickens

I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of owning egg-laying chickens from observing preppers/survivalists the last several years. Keeping an egg-laying hen would be something I’d investigate further- if the Chicago suburb I lived in permitted it and our winters weren’t so frigid. For those Chicago-area residents who are permitted to have chickens, I learned from reading my Sunday paper on July 3 that renting egg-laying hens for a portion of the year is now an affordable possibility. Nara Schoenberg reported on the Chicago Tribune website on June 27:

Kelin Petersen knew she wanted a chicken.

The Logan Square mother of three had confided in her best friend, also an admirer of the fluffy barnyard bird. She’d tracked down a good book on chicken care and read it to her kids, who had responded enthusiastically. But it wasn’t until a casual conversation with a farm-savvy friend at church that Petersen finally saw a clear path to her goal.

“You can rent chickens, you know,” her friend said. “We don’t have enough land to do it, but you could totally do it.”

Determined to eat local, live green or just do something a little different, Chicagoans such as Petersen are increasingly renting egg-laying hens for the summer

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

As far as costs are concerned, Schoenberg noted later on in the piece:

Chicken rental costs roughly $110 a month, and typically includes two or three chickens, feed, dishes, bedding, and a sturdy wood and wire coop, as well as email, phone or text support…

Good to know. You can read the entire article here on the Tribune website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 Food, Preparedness Comments Off on Chicago-Area Residents Renting Egg-Laying Chickens

Project Prepper, Part 46: Summer Storm Gear Check

In the last installment of the “Project Prepper” series of posts, I talked about “threat priorities” and how severe weather is a top one for me. I blogged:

From my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well…

The other night the Chicago metropolitan area was hit by a strong summer storm in which the local news reported 15,000 residents lost power (actually somewhat of a small number compared to other recent severe weather events around these parts). The occasion served as a reminder that I should probably perform a gear check prior to the arrival of more summertime severe weather, which is the focus of today’s post.

Emergency Alerts

I checked the operation and battery backup of my ever-vigilant Midland WR-100 Weather/All Hazards Alert Radio (now discontinued by the manufacturer but replaced with a newer model- the Midland WR-120). Everything is in working order. You should have heard the racket that device was making the other night (early morning actually) prior to/during that storm. Yeah, it’s in working order all right.

Emergency Lighting

I gathered up the various lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps in the house set aside for emergency lighting (and day-to-day tasks as well) and checked the operation of all these devices. This included:

Coleman Twin High Performance 8D LED Lantern (580 lumens)
Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” 3D LED Lantern (530 lumens)
Rayovac Sportsman 3D LED Lantern (240 lumens)
Maglite Heavy Duty 6D Incandescent Flashlight (136 lumens)
Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” 2D LED Flashlight (320 lumens)
Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” 3AAA LED Flashlight (250 lumens)
Coast HL3 3AAA LED Headlamp (60 lumens) x 2
Princeton Tec Fuel 3AAA LED Headlamp (43 lumens)

All but one passed inspection, with fresh batteries taking care of the holdout.

The Coast headlamps and Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” lantern/flashlights are new additions to my emergency lighting stash, and have been working great when called upon to perform tasks around the house and off-site. Particularly those Rayovac products. These seem to be built really tough (rubber head/tail cap, aluminum titanium alloy body) and are incredibly bright. The free Rayovac batteries included with each device were a nice bonus as well.

Rayovac "Virtually Indestructible" LED lantern/flashlights- functional, tough, and affordable

Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” LED lantern/flashlights- functional, tough, and affordable

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I should also mention that in late spring, I lubricated threaded regions on the Maglite and Rayovac flashlights with Vaseline to protect threads and minimize “squealing.”

In addition, some time ago my girlfriend received two stained-glass, programmable 3D LED wall sconces as a gift from her family. We mounted one of them in our second floor hallway and it functions really well as a night light- and emergency light that doesn’t require power in the home to be on. To avoid burning through D-size alkaline batteries, I ordered a 6-pack of EBL 10,000mAh Ni-MH D-Cell Rechargeable Batteries from Amazon to partner with my trusty Rayovac PS3 Universal Smart Battery Charger. While one set (3 batteries) powers the wall sconce that’s been installed, the other goes to the charger. I’ve only started this rotation quite recently, but so far the EBL rechargeable batteries have been performing quite well.

Emergency Cooling

Other devices I checked over include two dual-powered (batteries or included AC adapter) O2COOL 10-inch Portable Fans. These worked just fine. The portable fans should make extended power outages on hot summer days a little bit more bearable.

All of this gear is strategically-positioned around the house for fast access in an emergency (and for daily use).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Items added to “Gear And Supplies” page)

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Thursday, July 7th, 2016 Communications, Emergencies, Energy, Gear, Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Project Prepper, Terrorism, Utilities, Weather Comments Off on Project Prepper, Part 46: Summer Storm Gear Check

Signs Of The Time, Part 101

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed “spelling” seems to be less important to a growing number of Americans these days?

Genevieve Bookwalter reported on the Chicago Tribune website on April 28:

Outraged Naperville residents are demanding that Hassert Boulevard be renamed, mistakenly believing the road honors former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who admitted this week he sexually abused students when he was a Yorkville high school wrestling coach.

Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said he’s received dozens of emails from angry constituents.

“People are upset,” Chirico said. “You have a street named after a pedophile?”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Bookwalter continued:

The confusion also prompted the village of Bolingbrook to post a note on its website, http://www.bolingbrook.com, alerting residents that the street name was Hassert, not Hastert.

On his Facebook page, Bolingbrook mayor Roger Claar posted a photo of a sign reading, “Hassert Blvd is Named After The Hassert Family NOT Dennis Hastert The former Speaker.” Claar said Thursday evening that his staff will post six of the blue-and-white metal signs, which stand about three feet by five feet, along Hassert Boulevard by the end of the day Friday

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I don’t know what’s worse. That people can’t tell the difference between “Hastert” and “Hassert,” or that taxpayer money may have been needed to address this shortcoming.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Bookwalter, Genevieve. “Outraged residents confuse Hassert, Hastert; demand street sign removal.” Naperville Sun. 28 Apr. 2016. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/news/ct-nvs-naperville-hassert-confusion-st-0429-20160428-story.html). 3 May 2016.

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Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 Government, Main Street, Signs Of The Time, Taxes Comments Off on Signs Of The Time, Part 101

Project Prepper, Part 45: Top 3 Threat Priorities

“As a result of my research and this blog, I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones), and think it’s probably wise to acquaint myself more with ‘prepping’ via a sustained ‘hands-on’ program of learning and doing, which I’ll call ‘Project Prepper.’

Through a series of posts on this blog which I suspect should last for quite some time (years?), I’ll be able to share my preparedness experiences with you…”

Survival And Prosperity, “Project Prepper, Part 1: It Begins,” October 24, 2012

This week’s “Project Prepper” post is going to be a little different. While I’m currently working on a number of projects related to fulfilling seven “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast):

1. Physical Security
2. Financial Security
3. Water
4. Food
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy
7. Shelter

Today I’m going to talk about threat priorities. As a forty-something homeowner residing with my girlfriend in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, in 2016, “I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones).” Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I blog about them frequently. But from my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well.

Financial crisis. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity and its predecessor know I’ve been on the lookout for coming “tough times” for some years now. From this blog’s “About” page:

Back in 2004 when SP’s creator/editor Christopher Hill was surveying the economic and investment landscape in support of his own investing activities, he concluded from his own research that the United States was heading towards a financial crash. Deciding that this was something other Americans might want to know about, Mr. Hill launched the independent financial blog Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog on Wall Street,” on Memorial Day Weekend 2007 with the purpose of warning and educating others about the approaching U.S. economic crash. He has been credited with calling last decade’s housing bubble and subsequent bust, the 2008 global economic crisis, and the “Great Recession” as a result of his work on this project. Chris wrote over 1,500 posts on Boom2Bust.com during its nearly three-year run, with many of these picked up and republished on the web sites of The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Fox News, Reuters, USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times group, the Austin-American Statesman, the Palm Beach Post, and the West Orlando News, among other media outlets. Chris was also interviewed for a May 2009 MSNBC.com article as a result of his work with the blog.

Since Memorial Day Weekend 2007, I’ve stood by and watched as the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and subprime mortgage crisis was quickly followed by carnage on Wall Street in the autumn of 2008 and a “Great Recession.” I also observed how the Washington politicians and the Fed responded by “papering up” the mess with massive government and central bank intervention. But as everyone knows, you can only “kick the can down the road” so far. And my concern is that the road is rapidly coming to an end. Visit this blog often enough and you might get that sense as well.

Consequently, I’ve come to believe that the U.S. financial crash I still see headed our way won’t be like an airplane that suffers a sudden, catastrophic failure and plummets back to Earth like a rock. Rather, taking into account the abilities of the federal government and central bank to keep the aircraft aloft for quite some time, the crash may be more akin to a slow- yet-unavoidable descent into the ground. At which point, Americans might be left pondering what had happened to them, just like Argentines did after their economy crapped out in the early 2000s after prosperous times.

Making matters worse is the fact that I still reside in Cook County and Illinois, whose financial troubles are well-publicized. While I’ve left Chicago, I still haven’t made Wisconsin my permanent home address.

When the “balloon goes up” locally and nationally, I suspect everyday living is going to get particularly gritty around these parts.

As terrorism is concerned, post-9/11 I found myself working in the public safety field. As part of my duties at a local fire department, I catalogued potential terrorist targets in the area in the hunt for money to upgrade the agency’s response capabilities. It was my belief that the threat was real then, and it remains so today. Even more so in 2016, as U.S. border security is quite suspect at a time when those who would wish to harm the “homeland” continually make their operational capabilities and future desires for wreaking death and destruction known.


“Border Patrol Admits US Citizenship Doesn’t Matter”
YouTube Video

Like I’ve repeatedly said before on this blog, I believe it’s only a matter of time before the United States suffers terror attacks possibly resembling what occurred in Beslan (Russia) in 2004, Mumbai (India) in 2008, and more recently in Paris and Brussels. And a terrorist strike rivaling or even surpassing the carnage of September 11, 2011, is not out of the question as far as I’m concerned. New jihadists continue to replace their fallen predecessors in this “War on Terror,” and the religious duty of killing “infidels” remains the same. On May 6, 2011, I wrote:

In 2005, Dr. Paul L. Williams, a journalist and author, published the book The Al-Qaeda Connection, in which he discussed plans for a future nuclear terrorist strike, dubbed “American Hiroshima.” He wrote:

Bin Laden asserts that he must kill four million Americans- two million of whom must be children- in order to achieve parity for a litany of “wrongs” committed against the Muslim people by the United States of America. The “wrongs” include the establishment and occupation of military bases between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, the support of Israel and the suppression of the Palestinian people, the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions, and the invasions of Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

These days, the Islamic State has stolen the headlines from Al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremists. But such religious fanaticism as a whole remains a top concern for me.

Severe weather, financial crisis, and terrorism are natural and man-made threats that register the most on my radar. But this doesn’t mean I discount other potential dangers to life and property either (pandemic, severe space weather, and war would probably be the next three on the list). As such, an “all-hazards” approach is emphasized in my “Project Prepper” activities.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Project Prepper, Part 44: Backup Heating For House Update

Back on February 25, I started discussing backup heating for the house my girlfriend and I purchased in 2013. I blogged:

Last Friday, incredibly strong winds (max gust speed 62 mph) pummeled the Chicagoland area. Not surprisingly, we lost power for a few hours- along with the heat. As I lay in bed recovering from the flu and buried under the covers, I thought to myself, “It’s a good thing it isn’t that cold outside today considering its February in Chicago.”

Later on I started thinking about what my girlfriend and I would do if the electricity had been out for a longer stretch of time while the outside temperatures were more “seasonal.”

I decided to look into a backup heat source for the house once I was up and about again…

I initially thought a vent-free natural gas heater, installed on a basement wall adjacent to the utility room, was the solution. But as I wrote in my last “Project Prepper” entry:

I’m starting to like the idea of a natural gas-powered stationary (standby) generator above and beyond the vent-free heater. The standby generator would allow us to keep using the furnace to heat the house and run other essentials in the event of a power outage…

Now, our HVAC guy did come out to the house to discuss a new heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system for the structure- which my girlfriend and I subsequently agreed to purchase. But not before I confirmed the setup could be tied into a natural gas-powered stationary (standby) generator down the road. When asked if he knew someone qualified to install such a generator, he informed me his brother-in-law does such work. Nice.

In the meantime, while the Chicagoland winter was pretty tame this year (especially when compared to the last two), I’d still like to bridge the gap with some temporary backup heating setup until we can afford to buy a stationary generator. I’m leaning towards picking up a Big Buddy Portable Heater by Mr. Heater after reading a number of decent reviews about the product. From its “Description” page on the Mr. Heater website:

The Most Popular Portable Propane Heater in North America. This patented radiant 4,000-18,000 BTU Liquid Propane heater connects directly to two 1 lb. cylinders and is the perfect solution for heating enclosed spaces like cabins up to 400 sq. ft. An integrated fan increases the heating capacity of this unit, blending radiant and convection style heat to give you the best of both worlds. Two swivel regulators give you the ability to adapt usage from disposable cylinders to a remote gas supply with the purchase of a single hose and filter. To light the unit, simply push and rotate the knob. The built in Piezo sparking mechanism will take care of the rest. With the Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) and accidental tip-over safety shut-off, you can be sure that you will enjoy years of comfortable indoor safe heat.

• 4,000, 9,000, or 18,000 BTU per hour
• For use with propane gas
• Heats up to 400 sq. ft.
• Single control start knob
• Hi-Med-Low heat settings
• Swivel regulators
• Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS)
• Accidental tip-over safety shut-off
• Connects to two 1 lb. cylinders
• Connects to a 20 lb. cylinder with optional hose
• Fan operates on 4 – D batteries or AC adapter, both sold separately


“Big Buddy- Operation and Accessories”
YouTube Video

I like the fact that the device can be used for emergency home heating. From its product page on Amazon.com:

The Big Buddy Propane Heater by Mr. Heater is the latest evolution in portable heat-with the capacity to heat up to 400 square feet. It combines radiant heat comfort with fan-powered convection heat for maximum heating efficiency, providing safe, reliable heat anytime. Use it for emergency situations, workshops, garages, storage buildings, construction trailers, barns, tents, patios, porches, cabins, fishing shanties, truck caps, barns — anywhere you want to stay warm. May also be used inside your home in case of a power outage

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Some more research is required on my end. Still, it’s nice knowing there might be a temporary backup heating option available for the house until a stationary generator can be put into play.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 Emergencies, Energy, Infrastructure, Natural Resources, Preparedness, Project Prepper, Utilities, Weather Comments Off on Project Prepper, Part 44: Backup Heating For House Update
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