Chicago

Chicago Suffers 4 Killed, 22 Wounded In Weekend Shootings

The other weekend in Chicago was a nice one for the most part, and the local news media reported there were 4 killed and 30 wounded from shootings.

This past weekend was somewhat cooler. Still, from the Fox 32 (Chicago) website this morning:

Four people were killed and at least 22 others- including a 13-year-old boy- have been injured in Chicago gun violence since Friday morning, police said…

According to the popular Chicago-focused website HeyJackass!, 102 individuals have been shot and killed year-to-date in the city, with another 542 shot and wounded.

If the remainder of spring and this summer really do turn out to be warmer than usual, these numbers could get a whole lot worse as the year drags on.

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

Source:

“4 killed, 22 wounded in Chicago weekend shootings.” Fox 32. 27 Apr. 2015. (http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/28897326/3-killed-6-injured-in-shootings-since-friday-morning). 27 Apr. 2015.

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Upcoming REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area

Chicago-area readers- below are survival-related training classes from REI for the month of May:

Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Palos Forest Preserve- Bull Frog Lake (south suburbs- Willow Springs), May 2, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 7 spots left
Preparing for the Unexpected- Outdoor Emergency Basics, Northbrook REI (north suburbs- Northbrook), May 4, 7- 8:30 PM, Free, 26 spots left
Wilderness Survival: 3-Season Skills, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), May 9, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 12 spots left
Introduction to Backcountry Skills Class, Blackwell Forest Preserve- McKee Marsh (west suburbs- Warrenville), May 10, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 12 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Northbrook REI (north suburbs- Northbrook), May 14, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 11 spots left
Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), May 17, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member,10 spots left
Introduction to Backcountry Skills Class, Palos Forest Preserve- Wolf Road Woods (south suburbs- Willow Springs), May 24, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 12 spots left
Wilderness Survival: 3-Season Skills, Palos Forest Preserve- Wolf Road Woods (south suburbs- Willow Springs), May 31, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 10 spots left

REI membership is still available for only a one-time fee of $20. For more information about REI, visit their website here.

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

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Monday, April 27th, 2015 Emergencies, Gear, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Chicago Uber Driver With Concealed-Carry Permit Shoots Man Firing Into Crowd In Logan Square

I’m guessing some members of the anti-concealed-carry crowd in Illinois and beyond aren’t too pleased that news of the following makes its way into the mainstream media. Greg Ziezulewicz reported on the Chicago Tribune website Monday morning:

Authorities say no charges will be filed against an Uber driver who shot and wounded a gunman who opened fire on a crowd of people in Logan Square over the weekend.

The driver had a concealed-carry permit and acted in the defense of himself and others…

Glad to hear this Illinois Concealed Carry License holder was at the right place at the right time.

While I haven’t heard any comment on the incident by City Hall or a high-ranking representative of the Chicago Police Department, I’ll make the following prediction. Undoubtedly, they’ll be a time when an Illinois CCL holder screws up royally. And when that individual does, the anti-CCW crowd will scream bloody murder in an attempt to convince anyone who will listen that legal concealed-carry of a firearm by the citizenry is a huge mistake and should be rescinded. Mark my words.

You can read the entire piece on the Tribune website here.

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

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Bloody Chicago Weekend Sign Of Things To Come?

Unlike last year, Chicago is having an authentic spring in 2015.

But accompanying the much-welcomed warm weather has been the dreaded shootings and homicides.

The Chicago news media is reporting the tally from this past weekend (starting late Friday afternoon) was four killed and thirty wounded.

There seems to be more talk of shootings/related murders in the news these days. The popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop reported this morning:

Nearly 600 people shot this year (and a 25% increase in homicides as of yesterday)…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If one believes warm weather equals more shootings, then the “Windy City” could be in for a real bloodbath in 2015.

Looking at my copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2015, which claims around an 80 percent accuracy rate with its weather forecasts and correctly-predicted the colder than normal winter for the area, the rest of spring looks to be warmer than usual, with summer being described as “hotter than normal.”

Uh-oh. I wonder if City Hall and “Chicago’s Finest” are aware of that longer-range forecast yet?

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

Source:

SCC. “Forty Shot?” Second City Cop. 21 Apr. 2015. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2015/04/forty-shot.html). 21 Apr. 2015.

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Standard & Poor’s Warns Chicago ‘Downgrade Of More Than One Notch Is Possible’

Not too much talk about the following last week in the Chicago-area news. From Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Helen Samuelson over on S&P’s Global Credit Portal website on April 9:

CHICAGO (Standard & Poor’s) April 9, 2015–After months of campaigning and uncertainty, Chicago (A+/Negative general obligation debt rating) can get back to the business of running itself. As such, we expect Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attention to be focused on the city’s budget challenges, namely its ballooning pension obligation.

During the course of the election — and particularly during the runoff — Mayor Emanuel avoided addressing the possibility of property tax increases to help pay for these pension obligations.

“Following Tuesday’s vote, in order to maintain its current rating, we expect the administration to address the pension and budget challenges head on by providing solutions that will support the city’s credit strengths in the near and far term,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Helen Samuelson.

Our ‘A+’ rating is predicated on Chicago’s ability to make the changes necessary to address its budget gap and pension problem. However, even with this ability, to ensure long-term stability Chicago still needs to demonstrate its willingness to make difficult choices that address its budget issues.

Otherwise, the ‘A+’ rating could be severely pressured. Our negative rating outlook reflects the city’s fiscal pressures. If the city doesn’t find structural solutions, a downgrade of more than one notch is possible.

In our view, if the city fails to articulate and implement a plan by the end of 2015 to sustainably fund its pension contributions, or if it substantially draws down its reserves to fund the contributions, we will likely lower the rating. This is regardless of whatever relief the state legislature may or may not provide. We will likely affirm the rating and revise the outlook to stable if Chicago is able to successfully absorb its higher pension costs while maintaining balanced budgetary performance and reserves at or near their current level…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

To date, a different credit rating agency- Moody’s- has been making the most noise about the City of Chicago’s financial woes. Yvette Shields reported on The Bond Buyer website on April 6:

The city has suffered a steep credit rating slide and further credit deterioration is threatened.

Chicago’s GO ratings range from a low of Baa2 — two notches above speculative grade — from Moody’s to a high of A-plus from Standard & Poor’s…

“A-plus.” That may not be the case at year end.

You can read that entire Standard & Poor’s piece on the Global Credit Portal here.

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

Source:

Shields, Yvette. “Big Stakes as Market Awaits Chicago’s Mayoral Pick.” The Bond Buyer. 6 Apr. 2015. (http://www.bondbuyer.com/news/regionalnews/big-stakes-as-market-awaits-chicagos-mayoral-pick-1071986-1.html). 16 Apr. 2015.

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Thursday, April 16th, 2015 Credit, Debt Crisis, Entitlements, Government, Taxes No Comments

Chicago To Be Run By Emergency Financial Control Board Within 2 Years?

Last Wednesday, I reminded Survival And Prosperity readers (local ones in particular) that Chicago- upon reelecting Rahm Emanuel as Mayor- remains in serious financial trouble. From that post:

As Rahm Emanuel enters his second term as Mayor of Chicago, I feel that proverbial brick wall is still fast-approaching.

Perhaps the best Chicagoans can hope for at this point is a controlled crash landing.

I know one thing. If I were still living in the city, I’d be preparing for the coming carnage…

Some readers might feel I was being a little too “sensational” with that statement. Therefore, I’d like to offer up the following for your consideration. Reuters’ Megan Davies and Karen Pierog reported on April 8:

Chicago has not seen the population losses Detroit did and its business and commercial real estate markets remain healthy, but its current circumstances are more dire than any other major American city today, with aggregate debt of $21.4 billion, up 60 percent since 2004.

Although Chicago’s situation isn’t bad enough yet to warrant a bankruptcy filing, that threat is out there if it fails to tackle its problems.

“People say Chicago’s not Detroit,” said Tom Metzold, a senior portfolio advisor at investment manager Eaton Vance. “Not right now. Chicago is Detroit ten years from now. I don’t care how economically strong your economy is. They don’t have a printing press. You can only tax so much.”

Metzold estimated the odds of a Chapter 9 bankruptcy in the next five years are “virtually zero” but said in the next 10 years that could rise to 25 percent if it fails to act

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In case readers are wondering, Metzold’s s “Street cred” includes serving as VP and Co-Director of Municipal Investments at Eaton Vance (one of the oldest investment management firms in the U.S.- established 1924), and as its Portfolio Manager since 1991.

Not as “optimistic” about Chicago’s financial future is Joe Mysak, Editor of Bloomberg Brief. He warned in an April 8 commentary:

I’m not a betting man. If I were, I’d bet that Chicago is going to be run by an Emergency Financial Control Board, or something like it, within two years, the same as New York City back in 1975 (and until 1986)…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Mysak, who’s been covering the municipal bond market since 1981, pointed out the city’s abysmal Moody’s credit rating (“one step from the basement of investment grade”) and wrote:

So a cut to junk may well be in the cards, and with it diminished and eventually lack of access to capital. Chicago has already creatively used, and some would say abused, the municipal market to subsidize city operations…

When the banks no longer want to lend to Chicago is presumably when the state of Illinois would come in, offering cash, loan guarantees, intercession with the federal government and whatever else the city needs in exchange for external management via an Emergency Financial Control Board…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The author of the Encyclopedia of Municipal Bonds signed-off with:

Two years. That’s how long I give the city of Chicago. Good luck, Rahm.

Good luck Chicago…

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

Sources:

Davies, Megan and Pierog, Karen. “Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel confronts fiscal nightmare as he begins second term.” Reuters. 8 Apr. 2015. (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/04/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-confronts-fiscal-nightmare-as-he-begins-second-term/). 12 Apr. 2015.

Mysak, Joe. “Next Stop for Chicago: Emergency Financial Control Board.” Bloomberg Brief. 8 Apr. 2015. (http://newsletters.briefs.bloomberg.com/document/3fz176niqylzjr6oax/commentary). 12 Apr. 2015.

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Chicago Area Threatened By Severe Weather Thursday

There was plenty of talk tonight on the local news about the prospect of severe weather Thursday in the Chicago area and elsewhere in Midwest. Jon Erdman reported tonight on the Weather Channel website:

A multi-day severe weather outbreak, including tornadoes, is underway and will continue through Thursday in parts of the South and Midwest. Some severe weather may continue into Friday along the East Coast and South. This has the potential to be the most widespread severe weather event so far this spring.

Thursday: More widespread severe thunderstorms possible from the southern Plains to the Mississippi Valley and southern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. Some supercells with tornadoes possible. There is some uncertainty in how unstable the atmosphere will become in the afternoon after morning thunderstorms rumble through the region. This will dictate exactly how much and where we see the most significant severe storms in the afternoon.

Thursday Threat Cities: St. Louis | Chicago | Little Rock, Arkansas…

“This has the potential to be the most widespread severe weather event so far this spring.”

Prepare accordingly. A couple of days ago I rounded up a number of items from around the house I might be using during/after a spring severe weather event:

Severe Weather Gear

I made sure this gear was in good working order, and added/replaced batteries as needed. I plan on storing most of these items within a bin in one location in the home going forward.

You can read the rest of Erdman’s piece on Weather.com here. And if you’re just beginning to prepare for severe weather events, Ready.gov is a good place to start.

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

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Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 Emergencies, Preparedness, Weather No Comments

Afterthoughts: Chicago’s 2015 Mayoral Election

In case you hadn’t heard, Rahm Emanuel remains Mayor of Chicago after defeating Jesús “Chuy” García yesterday in a run-off election 55.7 percent to 44.3 percent with 98.7% of precincts reporting.

Here are some of my thoughts regarding the 2015 mayoral election in Chicago:

1. The fact that “Chuy,” a Cook County commissioner who was born in Durango, Mexico, forced Mayor Emanuel into a first-ever run-off election for the position signaled two things. One, a number of Chicago voters aren’t too happy with the way the “Rahmfather” is running the city. And two, Chicago’s Hispanics continue to flex their growing political muscle. Natasha Korecki reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website back on March 15:

According to census data from 2010, Hispanics make up just shy of 29 percent of the city’s population- but they account for only 13 to 15 percent of the electorate. (Garcia’s campaign says that number was at about 16 percent on Feb. 24.)

Should trends hold, I envision Latinos making significant gains with that percentage. Korecki added:

“The Hispanic population is the fastest-growing segment of the early-childhood population,” says Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, an Emanuel supporter. “Latinos make up 47 percent of students in CPS,. It’s a very significant population…

Last December, the U.S. Census Bureau forecasted that Hispanics will comprise 25 percent of the U.S. population within the next 30 years- up from approximately 17 percent right now.

At risk of sounding like “Captain Obvious” here, I’m thinking Chicago’s future will be a much more Latino one. Particularly as city government is concerned.

(Editor’s note: Back in the fall of 1988 I told my high school Spanish teacher I wanted to learn the language because I thought it would “come in handy” someday. Has it ever.)

2. After being forced into a run-off, the Rahm camp realized he’s rubbed a number of Chicagoans the wrong way. Which led to commercials like this:


“New Rahm Emanuel Ad: ‘I Can Rub People The Wrong Way’”
YouTube Video

So now that he’s won the run-off, what’s Mayor Emanuel “tune” now? Rick Pearson and Bill Ruthhart reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

After finishing a salad and bowl of matzo ball soup, Emanuel was asked what he learned from the runoff and whether he would, in fact, be a more inclusive mayor in his second term.

Emanuel responded by confidently saying the feedback he’d gotten from voters during the campaign would serve as his “North Star.” Asked by the Tribune if that meant he would take a different approach to running the city, Emanuel instead deflected the question by telling the reporter: “You’ll evaluate that, and my guess is you’ll tell me on a 24-hour basis.”

Pressed again on whether he had heard the voters and would change his often brusque style, Emanuel responded with just one word:

“Yeah.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Yeah. I don’t know about you, but the impression I get from that response is- something tells me old habits might be particularly hard to break with this one.

I can’t help but wonder if dead fish aren’t already on their way…

3. Chicago’s “financial reckoning day” is still fast approaching. And I don’t think it matters who’s in charge, as I believe we’re too far along in the deterioration and the required political will to do something about it just isn’t there. Still. I read a “funny” comment on the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop earlier today. From a Tuesday night post:

Anonymous said…

Blah blah blah. The city will not go.bankrupt. We are third in the country for tourists, we have numerous international and national companies world headquarters plus we have a 100s of millions in tif funds. Commie chuy was a police hater that had no plan for this city. Rahm ain’t no picnic either but next to chuy he was a genius.

Now consider what the National Journal’s John B. Judis reported on March 30:

Chicago is facing a truly grave set of problems– problems that are essentially more extreme versions of the challenges confronting city governments across the country.

The quandaries begin with Chicago’s dramatic social divide. To an even greater extent than is the case in, say, New York or Philadelphia, Chicago has become two entirely separate cities. One is a bustling metropolis that includes the Loop, Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, and the Gold Coast, as well as the city’s well-to-do, working-class, and upwardly mobile immigrant neighborhoods. The other Chicago consists of impoverished neighborhoods on the far South and West Sides, primarily populated by African-Americans. These places have remained beyond the reach of the city’s recovery from the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, even as it grapples with this extreme gap, Chicago is suffering from a severe fiscal crisis. Like plenty of other municipalities, Chicago lacks the revenue to pay its bills, particularly its pension obligations to city workers. According to a 2013 Pew report, 61 other U.S. cities face similar difficulties, but Chicago’s situation is one of the worst. “Voters must realize we are facing the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” says Roosevelt University’s Paul Green, the doyen of Chicago political experts. “If something doesn’t happen, the city is beyond the abyss.”

Those problems aren’t really Emanuel’s fault, but his efforts to fix them over the past four years haven’t yielded especially good results. For his part, Garcia—who has been at the forefront of Latino politics in Chicago for four decades and who has a history of bucking Chicago’s political establishment—has run a campaign long on general populist criticism of the incumbent, but short on credible ideas about what he would do differently.

All of which means that this election won’t yield much of a mandate for dramatic solutions to Chicago’s twin crises

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Translated: Probably doesn’t matter who won the election, because Chicago looks to “lose” with either at the helm.

Once again, the economic situation appears too far gone at this point, and the political will to truly get the city’s finances back on track just isn’t there.

I hope Judis is wrong. And I hope I’m wrong here.

But the numbers are looking pretty atrocious right now.

As much as I’d like to side with “Anonymous,” as Rahm Emanuel enters his second term as Mayor of Chicago, I feel that proverbial brick wall is still fast-approaching.

Perhaps the best Chicagoans can hope for at this point is a controlled crash landing.

I know one thing. If I were still living in the city, I’d be preparing for the coming carnage.

More on that topic soon.

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

Sources:

Korecki, Natasha. “Getting Hispanics to the polls in Chicago mayor’s race no slam dunk for Chuy.” Chicago Sun-Times. 15 Mar. 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/7/71/438985/getting-hispanics-polls-chicago-mayors-race-slam-dunk-chuy). 8 Apr. 2015.

Pearson, Rick and Ruthhart, Bill. “’Second chance.’ Emanuel says he’s ‘humbled’ by victory.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Apr. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-chicago-mayoral-election-20150407-story.html#page=1). 8 Apr. 2015.

SCC. “Mixed Bag.” Second City Cop. 7 Apr. 2015. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2015/04/mixed-bag.html). 8 Apr. 2015.

Judis, John B. “Broken city: Rahm Emanuel and the unraveling of Chicago.” National Journal. 30 Mar. 2015. (https://www.yahoo.com/politics/broken-city-rahm-emanuel-and-the-unraveling-of-115037357316.html). 8 Apr. 2015.

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Upcoming REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area

Chicago-area readers- below are survival-related training classes from REI for the month of April:

Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Schaumburg REI (northwest suburbs- Schaumburg), April 10, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 2 spots left
Introduction to Backcountry Skills Class, Blackwell Forest Preserve- McKee Marsh (west suburbs- Warrenville), April 11, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 9 spots left
Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), April 12, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 3 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Lincoln Park REI (north side Chicago- Lincoln Park), April 20, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 6 spots left
Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI, Ping Tom Memorial Park- Fieldhouse (south side Chicago- Chinatown) May 2-3, 9 AM-6 PM, $225 member/$255 non-member, 18 spots left

REI membership is still available for only a one-time fee of $20. For more information about REI, visit their website here.

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

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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 Emergencies, Gear, Health, Preparedness, Training No Comments

C.U.M.A. Survival School Offering Civil Unrest/Bug Out/Spring Weather Survival Training In Glenview, Illinois, This April

I just love all these survival-related training opportunities popping up this spring. And here’s the latest instruction being offered by Waysun Johnny Tsai and the Chicago, Illinois-based C.U.M.A. Survival School (first blogged about last April) in conjunction with Off The X Training Concepts in north suburban Glenview. From a Facebook event page:

Off The X Training Concepts is pleased to host Johnny Tsai of the C.U.M.A. Survival School for a course on

Civil Unrest / Bug Out / Spring Weather Survival Training

The following topics will be covered in this course:

Home Prep
Home Defense
The Bug In
Vehicle Prep & Considerations
The Bug Out
Basic Wilderness Survival Skills

Cost: $150 (New Students) $75 (C.U.M.A. SURVIVAL Alumni)

This is a CLOSED DOOR CLASS. Students must Pre-Register / Pre-Pay to attend this class.

To Register, please contact: Registration@offthextraining.com or sifujohnnytsai@gmail.com

Facebook shows the class is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 18, from 10 AM to 4:30 PM, with the location listed as Off The X Training Concepts, 4350 DiPaolo Center, Lower Level, Glenview, Illinois.

You can view that Facebook event page here. For more information about C.U.M.A. Survival School, you can visit their website here.

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

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The Green Suite Of Chicago Offering Window Farming For Beginners, DIY Solar Electricity Classes In April

Here’s the latest instruction being offered by Nick Conrad over at The Green Suite in Chicago (first blogged about here back in January 2014). From the Dabble website:

Window Farming for Beginners with The Green Suite

Gardening Classes in Chicago

Class Info

Have you always wanted to start a garden but don’t have the space or knowledge? Window farming is inexpensive and easy way to grow your own food right in your window! Constructed from recycled materials, window farms are perfect for small apartments with limited space.

The class consists of a 1hr introduction to the basics of hydroponics, window farming and seed cultivation followed by a thirty-minute workshop. In the workshop you will make a small hydroponic planter to take home with you. Each student should bring one empty plastic bottle. (12-32oz is best)

Anyone can learn how to grow fresh, organic food, hydroponically. Enroll today and you’ll learn how to grow your own food, save money and turn trash into treasure!

What to bring

Each student should bring one empty plastic bottle. (12-32oz is best)

What will be provided

Hydroponic Supplies

The class is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, from 7 to 8:45 PM at The Green Suite (3958 N. Fremont, Apt. 3, Chicago). As I type this Tuesday night, there’s only 4 spots still left. Cost is only $30 to attend.

In addition to window farming, The Green Suite is offering instruction on solar electricity. From the Dabble website:

DIY Solar Electricity with The Green Suite

Sustainability Classes in Chicago

Class Info

Wouldn’t it be awesome to harness your own electricity from the sun? Solar energy is green, silent and a lot easier to build than you think.

This DIY class will cover the basics of electricity as well as how to design, build, and install your own solar panel system. In addition to solar electricity, we will discuss other sources of renewable energy such as wind and geothermal power. The class concludes with hands-on experience assembling part of an actual solar panel.

You will walk away from this course with the basic knowledge needed to start generating your own solar energy at home…and for a lot less money than you thought!

The class is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15, 2015, from 7 to 8:45 PM at The Green Suite. There are 10 spots left as I type this. Cost again is only $30 to attend.

If you’re interested in this instruction, head on over to the Dabble website here for more information and to register for a class. You can learn more about The Green Suite on their website here.

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

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Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills Offering Many Survival-Related Training Classes In April

There’s a large number of survival-related training opportunities scheduled this month at the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills (first blogged about here). From the school’s “Calendar Of Events” page:

flint knapping workshop
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
6:30pm- 8:30pm
monthly flint knapping , stone tools and weapons construction, with Al Eastman. at the american indian center , class cost 35$ includes materials . contact us to reserve a spot.

rope work, climbing, and repeling
Saturday, April 4, 2015
1:00pm- 4:00pm
rope work climbing and repeling workshop with vince hawkins, price and location to be announced.

shelter building
Saturday, April 11, 2015
1:00pm- 5:00pm
shelter building with robert reed , class cost and location to be announced

Foraging Tour
Friday, April 24, 2015
8:00am- 8:00pm
A full day out of the city foraging in the driftless area with Chris Mayor, cost 40$
location: to be disclosed

Wilderness Survival 101
Saturday, April 25, 2015
1:00pm- 4:00pm
The wilderness survival basics course teaches you the necessary tools and skills needed to get by in the unforeseeable event of a wilderness emergency. By the end of this course you will know what tools and equipment you should never leave your home without, how to prioritize what actions you take to not die in a wilderness survival situation, how to build a survival shelter with nothing more than what will fit into your pocket and much more. Every year hundreds of people die in the wilderness because they don’t know these skills. Don’t become part of that static. Be prepared to survive.

Skills to be covered:
Different types of survival kits and equipment
Wilderness survival priorities
Fire craft 101
Basic shelter construction
Water procurement
$30 per person

Wild foods preperation and cooking
Saturday, April 25, 2015
6:30pm- 8:30pm
byob dinner, plant identification , and cooking class featuring all foraged ingredients , paleo friendly, taught by chris mayor 40$ at the american indian center of chicago, contact us to reserve a spot.

For more information and/or to sign up for the above instruction, head on over to the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills website here.

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

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Project Prepper, Part 33: Focus On Food

It’s been some time since my last “Project Prepper” post (January 5), where I reaffirmed security is at the top of a list of six “innate survival needs” I’m working on meeting as part of this series of posts. That list, as you may recall, includes:

• Security
• Water
• Food
• Shelter
• Sanitation and Health
• Energy

Today, I’m focusing on survival need #3- food. In particular, starting a food garden.

Regular readers of these posts may remember me mentioning I’ve already socked away a couple of buckets of high-quality freeze-dried food at very attractive prices.

In addition to freeze-dried food, I’m planning on turning to copy canning soon to grow my emergency food supply.

For those readers not familiar with the term “copy canning,” from stockupfood.com:

1. Make a menu of meals for the week. Include the meals that you eat most often for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner… and don’t forget desert!
2. Now make a shopping list based off this menu.
3. After looking over your shopping list choose an item that you can buy multiples of easily- or inexpensively if it’s been a tight month. (ex. a can of cream of chicken soup, or 10.) This method of buying multiple cans at once is called copy canning.

Furthermore, I want to transform a basement closet into a pantry capable of storing this emergency food, among other things.

Finally, as I blogged back on November 6, 2014:

This coming winter, I look forward to planning with my girlfriend a future food garden located on our property. I think I know of a good spot for it as well…

Now, I’ve been wanting a food garden since I lived in the “concrete jungle” that is Chicago’s Northwest Side. So much so, if I didn’t end up living someplace where I had my own private plot to grow one, I figured I might utilize a community food garden. I started looking into them a few years back , and loved the concept. However, I was put off about the potential for theft. Which turns out is a real concern in the Chicagoland area…

Winter is finally starting to release its grasp on us here in the Chicago suburbs. As such, my girlfriend and I have been discussing the future food garden. Since the last thing I grew from seed to plant was a lima bean back when I was in the third grade, I figure it might be wise to proceed slowly-but-steadily with this venture. To start, we plan on utilizing two areas of our backyard to attempt to grow a small number of fruits, herbs, and vegetables (if possible- I still have a good deal of research to perform here). This space behind our garage gets a tremendous amount of sun:

Food Garden Area Garage

And this setup in the middle of our backyard has already seen a number of herbs planted and harvested there (courtesy of my girlfriend’s mom):

Food Garden Area Mid Yard

The other night, I studied a resource I originally wrote about back on May 29, 2012. From that post:

Here in Illinois, we’ve got the University of Illinois Extension, the flagship outreach effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that offers educational programs to residents of all of Illinois’ 102 counties. Under the “Horticulture” area of their website are 57 extension program sub-sections chock-full of free information on gardening and more. Examples include:

• “My First Garden”
• “Successful Container Gardens”
• “Common Vegetable Problems”
• “Herb Gardening”
• “Backyard Fruits”

One feature under “Horticulture” that may be of particular interest to Illinois residents who desire to grow food but don’t know where to start is the “Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide.” It looks fairly impressive in terms of the amount of information provided.

That’s me! “Illinois resident who desire to grow food but don’t know where to start.” And the Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide (found here) is “fairly impressive,” providing me basic information and inspiration (courage, really) to start, maintain, and (hopefully) harvest a food garden. Topics covered included:

• Step 1 – Make Good Use of Your Location
• Step 2 – Plan Your Garden Layout
• Step 3 – Grow Recommended Varieties
• Step 4 – Obtain Good Seed, Plants, Equipment, and Supplies
• Step 5 – Prepare and Care for the Soil Properly
• Step 6 – Plant Your Vegetables Right
• Step 7 – Keep Down Weeds
• Step 8 – Control Pests
• Step 9 – Water Properly
• Step 10 – Harvest at Peak Quality

I also have two books my girlfriend picked up for this project- Month-By-Month Gardening in Illinois: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year and Guide to Illinois Vegetable Gardening (Vegetable Gardening Guides) by James A. Fizzell- that I’ll be studying carefully along with that guide.

I hope to achieve a number of things from this food garden:

• Better nutrition
• Better health
• Improved food security

Stay tuned.

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

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Free, Discounted Rain Barrels For Cook County, Illinois, Residents

Shortly after I moved to my new residence in the Chicago suburbs, I started looking into rain barrels for use around the property. I came across the following program for free/discounted barrels from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (District), “an independent government and taxing body encompassing approximately 91 percent of the land area and 98 percent of the assessed valuation of Cook County, Illinois.” From the MWRD website:

Rain Barrels are a type of green infrastructure, a new approach to managing stormwater by keeping rain on the property and out of the sewer system. We provide rain barrels at cost to Cook County residents. $58 (plus tax) includes a flexible connecting elbow to attach your barrel to your downspout, a linking hose to connect it to a second barrel, detailed instructions, and free delivery to your home…

Some lucky Cook County residents might even qualify for FREE rain barrels. From the site:

Some Cook County municipalities are also partnering with the MWRD to offer free rain barrels to residents who meet certain requirements. See the list below or check with your municipality to find out if they are participating and if your home meets the requirements of the program.

Village of Bellwood
City of Berwyn
City of Blue Island
City of Calumet City
Village of Crestwood
Village of Forest View
Village of LaGrange Park
Village of Midlothian
Village of Oak Park
Village of Riverside
Village of Stickney
Village of Stone Park
Village of Wilmette

Head on over to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago website here for more information about their rain barrel program.

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

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Sunday, March 29th, 2015 Preparedness, Supplies, Water No Comments

Earthquake Rattles Far Northwest Suburbs Of Chicago

Back when I worked for a fire department in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, one of my duties was to find grant money. I would point out to potential sources of disaster funding that our response area is threatened by earthquakes– among other dangers. The fire chief may have thought the argument was somewhat of a stretch, but as long as I was getting the department money to bolster its disaster response capabilities, I don’t think he cared.

Last might, my girlfriend and I were watching the local news when reports of a trembler in the far northwest suburbs came in. Liam Ford and Erin Sauder wrote on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

An earthquake hit the northwest suburbs near Lake in the Hills on Wednesday evening, authorities said.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude of 2.9 hit about 1 1/4 miles west of Lake in the Hills at 6:08 p.m.

USGS data show that if confirmed, it would be the biggest seismic event in the Chicago area since one near a McCook quarry on Nov. 4, 2013, measuring 3.2. Before that, the largest in recent years was Feb. 10, 2010, when a 3.8 quake hit near Elgin…

LeeAnn Shelton added on the Chicago Sun-Times website last night:

Weak or light shaking was felt in parts of Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills, Huntley, Union, Woodstock, Wonder Lake and as far away as Elgin, according to the USGS website.

Most earthquakes with a magnitude between 2.0 and 3.0 do not typically cause damage, according to the USGS.

Just one more reminder that earthquakes do in fact occur in northern Illinois.

For more information on earthquake threats and preparedness in the state, visit the “Earthquake” page on the Ready Illinois website here.

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

Sources:

Ford, Liam and Sauder, Erin. “Quake shakes northwest suburbs, no damage or injuries reported.” Chicago Tribune. 26 Mar. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-lake-in-the-hills-earthquake-20150325-story.html). 26 Mar. 2015.

Shelton, LeeAnn. “Small earthquake reported in northwest suburbs.” Chicago Sun-Times. 25 Mar. 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/470125/small-earthquake-reported-northwest-suburbs). 26 Mar. 2015.

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Thursday, March 26th, 2015 Emergencies, Natural Disasters, Preparedness No Comments


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