Chicago

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

Judicial Watch: 165,900 Convicted Criminal Aliens Released Throughout U.S. By Immigration And Customs Enforcement

Security and self-defense are often on my mind these days. Even more so after reading the following yesterday on the website of Judicial Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative, non-partisan educational foundation. From their “Press Room”:

Judicial Watch today released 76 pages of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents revealing that as of April 26, 2014, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had released 165,900 convicted criminal aliens throughout the United States, including many convicted of such violent crimes as homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. (Reports recently detailed that ICE released another 30,000 in the most recent fiscal year, which brings the grand total of known criminals released by the Obama administration to 195,900.)

The documents were released through a July 21, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:14-cv-01237)) filed by Judicial Watch…

The ICE documents confirm a May 2014 Center Immigration Studies (CIS) report showing that in 2013 ICE freed 36,007 convicted criminal aliens, who had nearly 88,000 convictions, including 193 homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, and 303 kidnapping convictions.

As has been previously reported, and is evidenced in these documents, the 36,007 criminal aliens freed by ICE in 2013 were just the tip of the iceberg. In a DHS “Overview of ICE” document marked “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY,” the following figures are reported through April 26, 2014 [NOTE: “Final Order” indicates the illegal aliens were ordered to leave the country, but have not done so and remain free]:

• Non-Detained Final Order Convicted CRIMINAL 165,950
• Non-Detained Final Order NON CRIMINAL 706,950
• Non-Detained Final Order TOTAL 872,900

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Chicago Crime Commission recently pointed out:

There are an estimated 70 to 100 gangs in the Chicago metropolitan area with a membership of between 68,000 to over 150,000.

“68,000 to Over 150,000″ gangbangers in the Chicagoland area.

And now ICE releases 165,900 convicted criminal aliens throughout the country, with a good number of them likely headed to the nearby “sanctuary city” of Chicago and its suburbs- where I live.

Yeah, I’d be a fool to not be at least a little concerned about the safety of my loved ones or myself in light of all this disturbing information.

You can read the entire press release on the Judicial Watch site here.

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

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Many Chicago-Area Residents Unprepared For Spring Snow Event

I didn’t publish any new material yesterday on Survival And Prosperity due to the fact my girlfriend and I were painting the front room most of the weekend and I shoveled half-a-foot of snow around my property and that of my neighbors (who are getting on in years) Monday here in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

I did get the chance to watch some local news yesterday morning before heading out to shovel in the early afternoon.

And all I could do was shake my head.

You see, the various TV broadcasts were pointing out that many Chicago-area residents were unprepared for the wintry weather.

Despite the fact that it’s been known to snow around here as late as May.

Sadly, camera crews showed a number of people woefully under-dressed for the occasion. One woman was waiting for her ride- while wearing sandals. A Barrington resident was clearing snow from his property in shorts and sandals. Downtown, plenty of people were wearing jackets and other clothing much more appropriate for a warm spring day.

One of the reporters told viewers that most of the people she talked to who were not donning winter wear admitted they had already placed their winter clothes in storage.

Yikes!

I get it. The Chicagoland area has had some real nice weather lately- especially compared to last year.

And from time-to-time I’m guilty too of not being appropriately-dressed for the weather/seasons (I no longer use loafers without socks during the winter. Then again, I can’t remember the last time I wore loafers.)

I wouldn’t make such a big deal about the whole thing if I wasn’t concerned it’s symptomatic of something bigger affecting many Chicago-area residents.

Namely, falling into a state of unpreparedness by letting ourselves become too easily detached from reality.

Long-time area residents know darn well that winter-like weather can strike the Midwest from October through May. Yet we experience several nice spring-like days, and all of a sudden we’re rushing to put the winter gear away by mid-March.

I was driving out by St. Charles the other week when I spotted a pickup truck laden with holiday decorations and a snowblower that looked destined for storage. “Damn fool jinxed us,” I declared to my girlfriend.

Should there be any surprise that President Obama’s “Hope and Change” campaign message struck a chord with so many people around these parts?

And yet here I am, with plenty of sand still clinging to the sidewalks/driveway and my Swedish military M90 parka, Norwegian military rain pants, and U.S. “Mickey Mouse” boots lying around the basement bathroom, ready to be put into civilian service.

It’s good to live for today, to embrace euphoria. But it’s no less important to remember history, pick out/understand trends, grasp the “big picture.”

Remain connected to reality.

And prepare accordingly for the not-so-nice stuff.

Your frozen butt would thank you.

I could easily suggest don’t put away winter items until Mother’s Day (May 10 this year).

But that wouldn’t have done much good last year, when snow fell on the Chicago metro area on May 16.

Oh well. All we can do is be prepared for more snow if/when it comes. And give thanks for any warm weather that heads our way.

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

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Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 Preparedness, Weather No Comments

Proposed Niles, Illinois, Gun Shop And Range Back In Court On April 14

Sorry about the delayed posting this week. While I would have liked to have celebrated an extended St. Patrick’s Day weekend here in the Chicago area (and wrote), a number of personal matters required my attention instead.

Speaking of the Chicagoland area, remember when I blogged last summer about that gun shop and range possibly opening up around my old stomping grounds on the Northwest Side? Last I heard, the proposed facility at 6143 Howard Street in Niles was being sued by a gun “control” group calling themselves People for a Safer Society. I noted on November 13:

As for the new gun shop/range? Alex Hernandez reported on The Bugle website on October 24:

People for a Safer Society are suing to block Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy from opening in Niles.

“The area immediately surrounding [Sportsman’s] is replete with schools, religious facilities, children’s recreations facilities, and other non-gun-related businesses and entities, many or all of which are within walking distance of the Howard Property and the proposed gun range,” said the suit filed by People for a Safer Society last Friday.

Back in July trustees voted 4-1 to grant Sportsman’s a special use permit to open an 1,800-square-foot firing range and 2,500 square feet of retail space at 6143 W. Howard St…

The suit claims that if Sportsman’s opens the business would endanger Niles by allowing “easy access for buying a gun for anyone in or near Niles and the surrounding villages and communities,” that Sportsman’s gun sales “would result in the feeding of crime guns to the City of Chicago,” and finally a fear that the store could increase the risk of suicides and mass shootings in the area…

That’s the last I heard of the Niles gun shop and shooting range- until this afternoon. Tom Robb reported on the website of Journal & Topics Newspapers (northwest Chicago suburbs) last week:

A significant ruling, in the case of anti-gun activists challenging Niles village trustees’ approval of a gun shop and shooting range, could come next month. It could end the case, send it to trial or add another party to the lawsuit.

At issue in a ruling, expected Tuesday, Apr. 14, is whether the challenge to the special use permit would be “facial” or “as applied.”

Robb explained later in the article:

In their motion to dismiss the suit, Niles attorneys wrote, “An applied challenge represents a plaintiff’s protest against how a statute was applied in a particular context… while a facial challenge represents a plaintiff’s contention that a statute is incapable of constitutional application in any context.”

Because the case could not withstand a facial challenge, village attorneys say in their motion that the case should be dismissed.

People For A Safer Society attorney Anthony Hind said he believes the standard in the gun shop case should rest on the “as applied” standard, based on long-standing state law, and that it should move forward…

There’s more to this legal stuff, which you can read over on the Des Plaines-based paper’s website here.

Survival And Prosperity wishes 6143 Howard Partners Inc. the best of luck on April 14.

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

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Chicago City Council Budget Chair On Property Tax Hike: ‘I Believe We Can Truly Say That It Will Happen’

Back when I was an aide to U.S. Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, there was one cardinal rule to be followed when communicating with constituents:

Good news comes from Paul, bad news comes from his assistants.

With that in mind, last night my girlfriend and I were watching the Chicago news on TV when the following story appeared. From the WGN Web Desk this morning:

A Chicago property tax hike could be on the way.

That wasn’t announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

It was said by an alderman who is trying to help him get reelected.

Several of Emanuel’s allies held a press conference Monday to question how challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia would pay for the promises he’s making on the campaign trail.

That’s when 34th Ward Alderman Carrie Austin, the City Council budget chairman, said property tax increases may be needed to cover Emanuel’s spending plans.

“I believe we can truly say that it will happen, but it’s all in the ‘how much,’” said Austin. “Nothing is off the table, and I think we should be honest with the people to let them know that everything is being considered.”

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Considering the event was organized to attack mayoral challenger Jesús “Chuy” Garcia and this City Council routinely carries water for Emanuel, I initially thought “The Rahmfather” was trying to kill two birds with one stone here- blast “Chuy” and have Alderman Austin start conditioning Chicagoans for the looming property tax hike I’ve been warning about for some time now on this blog.

Good news Rahm. Bad news City Council budget chairman.

But then I thought more about how Rahm obviously realizes talk of tax hikes is one of the “third-rails” of politics- particularly before a runoff election that’s only a few weeks away (April 7) and where “Chuy” is not too far behind in the various polls.

Plus there’s this from Hal Dardick about the incident on the Chicago Tribune website yesterday:

Austin, known for speaking off the cuff, quickly tried to qualify her property tax hike comment, saying she meant only that “everything is on the table.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Maybe this wasn’t orchestrated by Rahm?

Oh well. Smooth move or gaffe, I see it as yet more evidence of a property tax hike being just around the corner.

Plan accordingly.

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

Sources:

“Mayor Emanuel Ally: Property tax hike likely.” WGN News Desk. 10 Mar. 2015. (http://wgntv.com/2015/03/10/mayor-emanuel-ally-property-tax-hike-likely/). 10 Mar. 2015.

Dardick, Hal. “Emanuel ally: Property tax hike likely in second term.” Chicago Tribune. 9 Mar. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/chi-emanuel-ally-says-property-tax-likely-in-second-term-20150309-story.html). 10 Mar. 2015.

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Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 Debt Crisis, Fiscal Policy, Government, Taxes No Comments

Chicago Tribune: ‘As Many As 40 Oil Trains Come Through Chicago And The Suburbs Each Week’

My girlfriend likes the popular getaway destination of Galena, Illinois (never been there myself). So she was concerned last week when breaking news appeared on the TV screen about a BNSF Railway train carrying 103 tank cars laden with crude oil derailing and exploding in that northwest part of the state.

Luckily, the incident occurred in a sparsely-populated area (no injuries reported).

But it’s been revealed that the tank cars that burst into flames had already been retrofitted with protective shields to meet a higher safety standard than federal law requires.

Richard Wronski reported in my Sunday paper (the Chicago Tribune) yesterday:

The fiery train derailment Thursday near Galena should serve as a wake-up call for the state and the Chicago area to be better prepared in the event of a similar incident in the metropolitan area, officials said…

Had the incident occurred in the city or suburbs, it would have forced the evacuation of thousands of people and caused enormous damage, officials said…

Documents filed with the state and obtained by the Tribune last year show that as many as 40 oil trains come through Chicago and the suburbs each week

Few Chicago-area fire departments have enough firefighting foam and equipment to respond effectively to the kind of roaring infernos that have resulted from tank car derailments, the Tribune reported last year…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Well that’s disturbing to read (hat tip Wronski and the Tribune for digging this info up).

As regular readers may remember, my girlfriend and I moved out of the city a year-and-a-half ago to one of the northwest suburbs, where a set of railroad tracks (frequently used by freight) is located about a half-mile away.

This event has indeed been a “wake-up call.” I really need to investigate if a potential hazardous materials incident exists with that rail line. And plan accordingly.

Chicago-area readers might want to do the same if they haven’t already.

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

Source:

Wronksi, Richard. “Galena derailment should put Chicago on alert, officials say.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Mar. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-crude-oil-train-derailment-met-20150306-story.html). 8 Mar. 2015

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The Green Suite Of Chicago Offering DIY Solar Electricity, Window Farming Classes In March

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

There are two sessions scheduled this month. The first will take place on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, from 7 to 9 PM at The Green Suite (3958 N. Fremont, Apt. 3, Chicago). As I type this Saturday morning, there’s only 2 spots still left. Cost is only $30 to attend.

The second session will take place on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, from 7 to 9 PM at The Green Suite. Only 1 spot left as I type this. 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 to take place on Wednesday, March 18, 2015, from 7 to 9 PM at The Green Suite. There are 8 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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Upcoming REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area

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

Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), March 8, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 2 spots left
Wilderness Survival: 3-Season Skills, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), March 14, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 7 spots left
Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI, Northerly Island Fieldhouse (downtown Chicago) March 14-15, 9 AM-6 PM, $225 member/$255 non-member, 14 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Oakbrook REI (west suburbs- Oakbrook), March 17, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 6 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, March 5th, 2015 Emergencies, Gear, Health, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills Offering Field First Aid, Land Navigation, Coal-Burned Container Classes In March

There are a 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:

field first aid

Saturday, March 7, 2015
11:30am-4:00pm

first aid in the woods with vincent hawkings. accidents happen, if your backpacking, hiking, or otherwise engaged in activities that take you far from the ER learning skills that could buy you the extra time to get medical care could make all the difference. class cost 25$

land navigation

Saturday, March 14, 2015
11:30am-4:00pm

land navigation course with robert reed . class cost 25$

coal burned containers

Saturday, March 28, 2015
12:30pm-2:30pm

An ancient technique for the controlled burning of logs used by aboriginal peoples to produce everything from spoons and bowls to canoes and drums.

Class will start with a short nature walk with a discussion on wood identification where students will choose a suitable log or branch to make an implement of their choice followed by short demonstration on proper technique for controlling the rate and position of the burn.

Students will then work on burning a container of their own, and we’ll finish with a discussion on food safe wood finishes.

taught by chris mayor class cost 25$ contact us to reserve a spot.

For more information, 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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Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 Emergencies, Health, Medicine, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Illinois Democrat Introduces Statewide Gun Registration, Ammo ‘Control’ Bill

“A list, record, or registry of legally owned firearms or law-abiding firearm owners is not a law enforcement tool and can become an instrument for profiling, harassing, or abusing law-abiding citizens based on their choice to own a firearm and exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed under the United States Constitution. Further, such a list, record, or registry has the potential to fall into the wrong hands and become a shopping list for thieves.”

-State of Florida Statutes, 790.335 Prohibition of registration of firearms; electronic records

The push for more gun “control” is on the march in the “Land of Lincoln.”

Last year around this time, State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) spearheaded statewide gun registration and ammunition “control” in Illinois with HB4715. Creating the “Firearms Registration Act,” the legislation eventually went nowhere.

This time around, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago) is the torch-bearer of more gun and ammo “control” in the Midwestern state, filing the resurrected Firearms Registration Act legislation in the Senate (SB1413) on February 20. From a synopsis of the bill over on the Illinois General Assembly website:

Creates the Firearms Registration Act. Provides that every person in the State must register each firearm he or she owns or possesses in accordance with the Act. Provides that a person shall not purchase or possess ammunition within this State without having first obtained a registration certificate identifying a firearm that is suitable for use with that ammunition, or a receipt demonstrating that the person has applied to register a suitable firearm under the Act and that the application is pending. Provides that the Department of State Police must complete a background check of any person who applies for: (1) a registration certificate for a firearm that was lawfully owned or possessed on the effective date of the Act, was brought into the State by a new resident, or was acquired by operation of law upon the death of the former owner; or (2) a renewal of a registration certificate unless, within 12 months of the date the renewal application is submitted, the applicant passed a background check conducted by the Department in connection with the applicant’s acquisition of another firearm. Provides exceptions. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Provides that it is a Class 2 felony to sell or transfer ownership of a firearm to another person without complying with the registration requirement of the Firearms Registration Act.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Before Illinois gun owners dismiss the chances of such legislation becoming law in the state, it should be noted that:

• 2014 was as an election year for state senators and representatives
• Illinois Democrats maintain a veto-proof supermajority in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly in 2015- 71 Democrats to 46 Republicans in the House and 39 Democrats to 20 Republicans in the Senate
• A future mass shooting along the lines of Newtown or some other mass casualty event on American soil “featuring” firearms could be all it takes for the public to get behind the Firearms Registration Act

For more information about Illinois Senate Bill 1413 and to track its status, you can visit the Illinois General Assembly website here.

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

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Moody’s Downgrades Chicago’s Credit Rating Yet Again, Issues Negative Outlook

Chicago’s financial health is still pretty bleak in 2015.

Almost one year ago to this day, I blogged about bond credit rating giant Moody’s Investor Service downgrading the City of Chicago’s general obligation (GO) and sales tax ratings to Baa1 from A3, affecting $8.3 billion of GO and sales tax debt. I added last March:

According to Moody’s, “Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.”

Just before the weekend, Moody’s downgraded Chicago’s credit rating yet again. The Global Credit Research division announced on the Moody’s website under “Ratings News” Friday:

Rating Action: Moody’s downgrades Chicago, IL to Baa2; maintains negative outlook

Baa2 applies to $8.3B of GO debt, $542M of sales tax debt, and $268M of motor fuel tax debt

New York, February 27, 2015 — Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1 the rating on the City of Chicago, IL’s $8.3 billion of outstanding general obligation (GO) debt, $542 million of outstanding sales tax revenue debt, and $268 million of outstanding or authorized motor fuel tax revenue debt. We have also downgraded to Speculative Grade (SG) from VMIG 3 the short-term rating on the city’s outstanding Sales Tax Revenue Refunding Bonds, Variable Rate Series 2002. The outlook on the long-term ratings remains negative…

“The outlook on the long-term ratings remains negative”

Kind of hard to get excited about the “Windy City’s” prospects after reading that.

To be fair, some are suggesting the credit rating downgrades are being influenced by City Hall in order to avoid meeting certain financial obligations (i.e., Chicago’s well-publicized public pension crisis).

“We ain’t got it.”

You can read the entire Moody’s press release on their website here.

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

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