Illinois

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)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 5th, 2015 Emergencies, Gear, Health, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Illinois Emergency Management Agency: Prepare For Severe Weather This Spring

A reminder from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for “local” readers of Survival And Prosperity:

IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather

February 27, 2015

Tornadoes, floods and severe storms can happen any time of year

SPRINGFIELD – Believe it or not, warm weather soon will return to Illinois. As exciting as that sounds, warmer temperatures also mean an increased potential for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding.

To help people prepare for severe weather, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will join with the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management agencies throughout March to increase awareness of these severe weather hazards.

“We can’t prevent dangerous storms from occurring,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “However, there are ways to prepare to help you stay safe when severe weather strikes. We encourage everyone to learn more about severe weather hazards, identify a safe place to go during storms, and assemble and maintain an emergency supply kit. These actions could help save your life or the life of your loved ones.”

Joseph said Illinois experienced 48 tornadoes in 2014, which resulted in two injuries and nearly $5 million in damage to homes and crops. In 2013, the state saw 54 tornadoes, including 25 twisters on Nov. 17, a vivid reminder that tornadoes and severe storms can happen anytime of the year.

“Although the typical peak time for severe storms in Illinois is April through June, events of the past three years have proven otherwise.” said Chris Miller, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln, Ill. “Nearly half of all tornadoes in Illinois since January 2012 have occurred during the fall and winter months. This underscores just how important it is to be ‘Weather Ready’ all year in Illinois.”

IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides information about tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding along with recommended actions to take before, during and after each of these weather events. It is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov or by calling (217) 785-9925. Preparedness tips and information are also available through the Ready Illinois Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter Page (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois).

Visit IEMA’s website here for more information on emergency preparedness.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Are Expandable Batons Legal In Chicago, Illinois? (2015 Update)

On January 19, I started reviewing Chicago-area laws concerning self-defense tools for the new year. That day, I blogged about the legality of pepper spray in Chicago.

Today, I’m going to look at if collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons are legal in Chicago, Illinois.

Like with that pepper spray post, let’s start at the top. Looking at the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Criminal Offenses, (720 ILCS 5/) Criminal Code of 2012, “ARTICLE 24. DEADLY WEAPONS”:

(720 ILCS 5/24-1) (from Ch. 38, par. 24-1)
Sec. 24-1. Unlawful Use of Weapons.
(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:
(1) Sells, manufactures, purchases, possesses or carries any bludgeon, black-jack, slung-shot, sand-club, sand-bag, metal knuckles or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition, throwing star, or any knife, commonly referred to as a switchblade knife, which has a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife, or a ballistic knife, which is a device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile by means of a coil spring, elastic material or compressed gas; or
(2) Carries or possesses with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, a dagger, dirk, billy, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto, broken bottle or other piece of glass, stun gun or taser or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character…

No specific mention of collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons. But there’s also this:

13) Carries or possesses on or about his or her person while in a building occupied by a unit of government, a billy club, other weapon of like character, or other instrument of like character intended for use as a weapon. For the purposes of this Section, “billy club” means a short stick or club commonly carried by police officers which is either telescopic or constructed of a solid piece of wood or other man-made material.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

From my research on this subject, I’ve encountered instances where collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons have also been referred to as “billy clubs” (like above) and “bludgeoning devices.” Keep that in mind going forward.

Since Chicago is part of Cook County, let’s next look at the Cook County Code of Ordinances, Part I- GENERAL ORDINANCES, Chapter 58- OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS, ARTICLE VI. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PUBLIC PEACE, Sec. 58-172. – Disorderly Conduct:

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to commit disorderly conduct. A person commits disorderly conduct when he knowingly…
(6) Carries in a threatening or menacing manner, without authority of law, any razor, knife, stiletto, blackjack, bludgeon, metal knuckles, slingshot, any knife, the blade of which is released by a spring mechanism, including knives known as “switch-blades”, undetectable knives as defined in Section 58-176 of this Code, an object containing noxious or deleterious liquid, gas or substance or other weapon, or conceals said weapon on or about the person or vehicle…

Once again, no specific mention of collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons. But “bludgeon” makes an appearance.

Finally, let’s see what the City of Chicago has on the books regarding these batons. From the Municipal Code of Chicago, TITLE 8 OFFENSES AFFECTING PUBLIC PEACE, MORALS AND WELFARE, CHAPTER 8-24 FIREARMS AND OTHER WEAPONS, 8-24-020 Sale or possession of deadly weapons:

(a) No person shall sell, offer for sale, keep, possess, purchase, loan or give to any person any bludgeon, blackjack, slung shot, sandclub, sandbag, metal knuckles, or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition, throwing star, switchblade knife or ballistic knife; provided that this subsection shall not apply to the purchase, possession or carrying of a black- jack or slung shot by a peace officer.

Nothing specific. But there’s “bludgeon” again.

So are collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons legal in Chicago?

While not mentioned specifically in the Illinois Criminal Code, the Cook County Code of Ordinances, and the Municipal Code of Chicago, should the authorities want to prosecute an individual purchasing, possessing, selling, etcetera a collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic baton in the city of Chicago, it should surprise no one if the device is equated with a “billy club” or “bludgeon.” In which case, that individual could be in a lot of trouble.

Next time, I’ll be discussing knives in Chicago.

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

(Legal disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain such advice.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 Legal, Non-Lethal Weapons, Self-Defense No Comments

Chicago-Area Shopping Malls Targeted By Terrorists?

Muslim extremists are calling for terror attacks directed against Western malls. From the website of Chicago CBS affiliate Channel 2 Saturday night:

A terror group with ties to al-Qaeda released an online video Saturday appearing to call for attacks on Western malls, including at least one U.S. shopping center.

There is no credible, serious threat to a location in the Chicago region, but CBS 2’s Chelsea Irving reports one area police agency is taking the message seriously.

In the 75-minute video released Saturday, Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab calls for lone followers to attack Western targets.

The speaker specifically mentions the Mall of America in Minnesota. In the last five minutes of the video, the logo of Westfield shopping centers appears. The addresses in the video are for Westfield malls in England, but the speaker calls for attacks on any Westfield mall.

In the U.S., Westfield has 38 malls in eight states. Three are in the Chicago region: in Aurora, Skokie and Vernon Hills…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Specifically, those Chicago-area shopping malls are Westfield Fox Valley (Aurora), Westfield Old Orchard (Skokie), and Westfield Hawthorn (Vernon Hills).

Keep in mind authorities say “there is no credible, serious threat to a location in the Chicago region.” Personally, I’d just as soon visit these three malls as any other these days, maintaining optimal situational awareness during those “shopping sprees.”

You can read the entire CBS 2 piece on their website here.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Maxon Shooter’s Supplies And Indoor Range In Des Plaines Awarded 5-Star Rating From NSSF

Firearm enthusiasts in the Chicago area might have heard of Maxon Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor Range in the near-northwest suburb of Des Plaines. While I haven’t visited their new facility (yet), I have had some interaction with Maxon’s in the past, assisting their office manager in late 2012 with populating the “Helpful Resources” area of their website. This weekend, I happened to be poking around the Illinois State Rifle Association’s website when I spotted the following:

Maxon Shooters Supplies & Indoor Range has been awarded the prestigious Five Star rating from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The NSSF evaluates facility amenities, cleanliness and appearance, customer service, community involvement and overall management. There are just 58 shooting ranges throughout the United States that have received a Five Star rating from the NSSF. In December of last year, a representative from the NSSF conducted a thorough inspection of the Maxon facility and interviewed personnel. After completing the inspection, the NSSF representative consulted with his colleagues which ultimately resulted in the awarding of the Five Star rating for Maxon. The nearest Five Star-rated range is over 300 miles from Chicago in Ohio. Maxon Shooters Supplies & Indoor Range is the only range in Illinois to have achieved this distinction

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Congratulations to Maxon’s on this terrific achievement.

As “Shotgun Joe” Biden would say, “This is a big f*****g deal.”

You can read the rest of the ISRA piece on Maxon’s here, and visit the gun store and range’s website here.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More On Illinois Department Of Natural Resources Wingshooting Clinics In 2015

Tonight, I’m going to be revisiting two subjects from earlier this week. The first is the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Wingshooting Clinics this year. The Illinois Government News Network page on the State of Illinois ran the following last Thursday about the IDNR-sponsored classes. From a February 13 press release:

IDNR Announces 2015 Wingshooting Clinic Schedule
Thirty-two clinics scheduled statewide for beginning and experienced shooters

SRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), collaborating with many partners and co-sponsors, will be holding 32 wingshooting clinics at sites throughout Illinois from March through early November this year. Most clinics are conducted on weekends.

Many of the 2015 wingshooting clinics will be conducted at IDNR sites, while a number will be held at cooperating gun clubs and shooting ranges, hunting preserves, and farms.

Youth/Women’s Wingshooting Clinics are about learning to safely shoot a shotgun at a moving target with reasonable reliability. Girls and boys typically in the 10-15 age group – and women of all ages – are eligible to participate. Each youth/women’s clinic starts with a morning shotgun safety presentation, followed by a brief small group hands-on shotgun orientation session with each group’s wingshooting instructor. After a lunch break, students spend the afternoon in the field shooting flying clay targets on presentations designed for beginning and novice shooters. Not only do the students learn to safely handle and fire a shotgun, but they learn that being skilled at shooting clay targets is a lot of fun. Most youth/women’s clinics are provided at no cost to participants. A few have a nominal – typically $10 – registration fee. Shotguns, shot shells, and clay targets are provided for shooting students, as is lunch at many clinic sites.

Hunter Wingshooting Clinics are hands-on, and include extensive live fire at a variety of clay target presentations on sporting clays courses specifically designed for teaching typical hunting situations. From ducks and doves to pheasants, quail and rabbits, hunters will find clay target presentations that resemble their favorite, as well as their most troublesome shots. Hunter wingshooting clinics consist of two wingshooting sessions each day.

A short briefing about shotgun safety and handling and on-range safety occurs during the first 15 minutes of each four-hour shooting session. The clinics are designed primarily to improve the wingshooting skills of hunters. However, these wingshooting clinics are not limited to hunters. Anyone from 16 years of age on up with beginning to advanced wingshooting skills who wants to improve their shotgun shooting skills can attend. The fee to participate is either $30 or $35 per participant, depending on the clinic.

Clinics are taught by instructors certified by the IDNR. Many clinic instructors also have a National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) instructor certification. The participant-to-instructor ratio is usually four to one. Participants are typically grouped with other shooters with similar shooting ability.

There are also a few special wingshooting clinics/activities on the schedule. The IDNR’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program offers shotgun shooting classes as part of an extensive outdoor skills program. These classes, taught by IDNR Wingshooting Instructors, are among the most popular classes among BOW participants. During the National Hunting and Fishing Days activities at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area in September, the opportunity to shoot flying clay targets is available under the supervision of IDNR Hunter Safety Instructors. The ‘Healing Outside Of A Hospital’ (HOOAH) program provides sporting clays shooting under the supervision of IDNR Wingshooting Instructors to active duty military personnel recovering from injuries, and disabled veterans.

To view the 2015 IDNR Wingshooting Clinic schedule, and register for a clinic, check the IDNR website at this link: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/wingshooting/WingshootingDates.htm

Thought I’d share the above as it’s quite a bit more information than what I provided yesterday.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Illinois Department Of Natural Resources Announces 2015 Wingshooting Clinics

When the “balloon goes up,” no doubt there will be people who turn to upland game (bird) hunting to put food on the table- if they aren’t doing so already. And here in the state of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources sponsors training for residents to develop this potentially-lifesaving skill (in addition to firearm/hunter safety). From the IDNR website:

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) working with a variety of partners, sponsors wingshooting clinics at sites geographically distributed throughout Illinois. Two types of clinics are offered. Youth/Women’s clinics are designed to teach participants basic firearm and hunter safety, wingshooting fundamentals, as well as practical wingshooting. Hunters clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of hunters and impart sound wingshooting practice techniques. The clinics are conducted on weekends during the spring through early fall of each year…


IDNR Wingshooting Clinic @ St. Charles Sportsmen’s Club
YouTube Video

Yesterday I learned that the IDNR has released information about this year’s clinics. There will be 32 clinics in the state starting March 7 (2 events are already full).

The state agency is maintaining a wingshooting clinic schedule on its website, which you can view here.

For more information about the IDNR Wingshooting Clinics program, head on over to this web page.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thoughts On Chicago Home Invader Yelling ‘Fire! Fire!’

“According to the FBI, nearly 50,000 robberies within residences (the bureau’s classification for home invasions, not all of which involve violent entry) occurred in 2011, or about 135 per day…”

-NBC News website, September 9, 2014

Beware of the following. From Chicago’s ABC 7 website back on January 27:

Police are warning residents of a pair of home invasions on Chicago’s Far Northwest Side.

Authorities said a man broke into two homes, one in the 3800-block of North Pacific Avenue around 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 19 and one in the 6700-block of North Oxford Avenue around 2:50 p.m. on Jan. 21.

In each incident, police said the suspect forced his way through the front door, yelled, “Fire! Fire!” and ran out.

The suspect then got into a dark-colored vehicle driven by someone else and took off…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the rest of that article here, which doesn’t give an explanation for why the home invader spent the time and effort breaking into these residences- only to shout “Fire!” on both occasions, then leave. Note the following comment on the piece though:

This is just bizarre; I think there’s more to this story than the article lets on. If they do find this guy, they definitely need to get him psychiatric help since he’s clearly mentally ill…

“Mentally ill.” Perhaps. But consider this alternative. The home invader broke into these homes, discovered he wasn’t alone, and in an effort to create confusion for a rapid escape, the “Caucasian or Hispanic man in his late 20s” subsequently yelled “Fire! Fire!”. Under these circumstances, it would have been easy for the (almost) victims to mistake the intruder as some Good Samaritan at first and set about checking the premises for fire before realizing what really happened.

Mentally ill? How about “fast-thinker” or “smart criminal”?

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

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Civic Federation Proposes Less Government Spending, More Taxes To Tackle Illinois’ $6.4 Billion In Unpaid Bills

Regular Survival And Prosperity readers shouldn’t be surprised to hear the following from The Civic Federation, an independent, non-partisan government research organization that provides analysis and recommendations on government finance issues for the Chicago region and State of Illinois. From a press release last Thursday:

In a report released today, the Civic Federation’s Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability proposes a comprehensive five-year plan that responds to the dire reality of Illinois’ financial condition with painful, but necessary recommendations. The plan immediately stabilizes the State’s operating budget and establishes a sustainable long-term financial plan that would pay off Illinois’ unpaid bill backlog of approximately $6.4 billion. The full 56-page report is available here.

Nearly five years after the official end of the national economic downturn, Illinois is still burdened with billions of dollars in unpaid bills. The State’s five pension systems, underfunded for decades and further weakened by recession-driven investment losses, are consuming a growing share of annual operating revenues. Temporary income tax rate increases enacted in 2011 helped the State cope with these massive problems, but the higher rates began to phase out on January 1, 2015 and the State’s income tax revenues are expected to plummet by $5.2 billion between FY2014 and FY2016.

“The incomplete FY2015 budget resulted in a greater deterioration of Illinois’ finances and made the necessary actions to fix this crisis even more painful,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation. “Illinois cannot afford such a steep rollback of its tax rates without eliminating entire areas of State services or completely restructuring the government.”

After examining the effectiveness of multiple budget scenarios based on the fundamental long-term financial goals detailed below, the Federation proposes the following recommendations as part of a comprehensive five-year plan…

In a nutshell, The Civic Federation proposes less government spending and more taxes for the State of Illinois. From that press release:

1. Fix Fiscal Cliff in FY2015: Rather than sharply dropping income tax rates by 25% in one year, the State should retroactively increase the income tax rate to 4.25% for individuals and 6.0% for corporations as of January 1, 2015. The State could then provide additional tax relief by rolling back the rates on January 1, 2018 to 4.0% for individuals and 5.6% for corporations.
2. Control State Spending: The State should restrict discretionary spending growth from the 2.7% level shown in its three-year projections to 2.0%, closer to the rate of inflation. This could reduce total State spending by $1.3 billion over five years.
3. Broaden the Income Tax Base to Include Some Retirement Income: Out of the 41 states that impose an income tax, Illinois is one of only three that exempt all pension income. To create greater equity among taxpayers, the State’s income tax base should include non-Social Security retirement income from individuals with a total income of more than $50,000.
4. Expand Sales Tax Base to Include Services: Illinois should expand its sales tax base to include a list of 32 service taxes proposed by Governor Rauner. Due to the complexity of sourcing rules and collections for new businesses that are not currently required to collect sales taxes, it is estimated this expansion could take up to two fiscal years to fully implement.
5. Temporarily Eliminate Sales Tax Exemption for Food and Non-Prescription Drugs: To provide much-needed immediate revenue, the State should temporarily eliminate the tax exemption for food and non-prescription drugs. The State should apply the full 6.25% sales tax rate to food and over-the-counter drug purchases through FY2019 and then reinstate the exemption in FY2020 after the service tax expansion is fully implemented and the State’s backlog of unpaid bills is eliminated.
6. Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to Provide Assistance to Low Income Residents: To help soften the impact of the State’s fiscal crisis on low income residents, the Civic Federation proposes an increase in the State’s Earned Income Tax Credit from 10% of the federal credit to 15% of the federal credit by FY2018…

At this point, I wholeheartedly believe it’s just a matter of time now before a number of the above are implemented either willingly (legislatively) or forcefully (“financial reckoning day”) in the “Land of Lincoln” down the road.

As such, it might be wise for Illinoisans to start preparing (if they haven’t done so already) for an impending hit to household finances and elsewhere.

You can read the entire press release and obtain that report on The Civic Federation’s website here.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills Offering Survival Basics, Fire Building Classes On February 28

Chicago-area blog readers may have noticed local content has been somewhat heavy on nearby survival-related training opportunities lately.

I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about them as much as I have.

Back on January 9, I blogged about Chris Mayor and the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills, and some instruction they were scheduled to provide earlier this month. Looking at the school’s “Calendar Of Events” page last week, I noticed two classes being offered on the last day February. From the calendar:

survival basics

Saturday, February 28, 2015
11:30am-1:30pm

introduction on the essentials: fire, water, shelter, and food. How to plan a successful trip. We’ll also discuss gear and getting properly outfitted for deep woods camping. class cost 25$

we’re meeting at 10:00 am at the heartland cafe and traveling to our destination. contact us to reserve a spot

In addition to basic survival training, the school will be offering instruction on a potentially life-saving skill particularly for this time of year in this part of the country. Also from the calendar:

fire building

Saturday, February 28, 2015
2:00pm-4:00pm

In this class students will learn a variety of ways to start a fire in a survival or wilderness setting,

the class will cover making charcloth and punkwood and how to use them in combination with a flint and steel. we’ll discuss gathering fatwood , identifying various stones that spark when stuck with steel, proper safety, and what to do in worst case situations. location to be disclosed students should bring an altoids tin as well as a piece of cotton fabric or denim. class cost 25$ contact us to reserve a spot

Looking at Dabble.co (not .com), where information about the school’s classes can also be found, it shows only 8 spots left for Survival Basics and 6 places available for Fire Building as I type this.

In early March, I see a Flint Knapping workshop and Field First Aid class on the calendar. Lots of interesting and useful instruction coming out of the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills these days, which you can learn more about on their website here.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Illinois Bill Would Legalize Firearm Suppressor Use

“By definition, the primary role of a suppressor is to reduce the overall sound signature of the host firearm to hearing safe levels. They do so by trapping the expanding gasses at the muzzle and allowing them to slowly cool, in a similar fashion to car mufflers. Their muffling capabilities intrinsically make them a hearing protection device for both the shooter and those around them.”

-American Suppressor Association website

Illinois firearm owners might be interested in the following. Brian Brueggemann reported on the Belleville News-Democrat website last Friday:

Hunters and other shooting enthusiasts would be allowed to have silencers on their guns under a bill filed in the Illinois legislature.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, said gun owners want silencers for a simple reason: to avoid hearing loss.

“There are a lot of veterans, a lot of hunters and shooters, who have suffered hearing loss,” Phelps said.

Phelps acknowledged that gun opponents are likely to challenge the bill.

“I’m used to that. They said that about concealed-carry — they said everybody was going to be running around shooting each other, like the wild west,” Phelps said. “That’s the movies.”

Firearm suppressors (or sound suppressors and silencers as they’re also known) are highly-regulated in the United States. J. Guthrie reported on the Guns & Ammo website back on May 13, 2012:

If you lived in Scotland, they would be required for hunting. If you lived in Finland you could saunter down to the local gun shop and buy one over the counter—one more reason to like Finland. In the U.S., suppressors are regulated by the National Firearms Act and you have to first make sure they are legal in your state, fill out a federal form and send it, a couple of photos and some fingerprints into the BATFE for approval. Once approved—the process can take six or seven months—the BATFE sends you a little stamp and some paperwork and you can take possession of the suppressor from you dealer. There are legal considerations for interstate transportation and transferring the suppressor too…

The suppressor legislation sponsored by Phelps is Illinois House Bill 433 (you can check on its status here). State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) has filed the same bill in the Senate.

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

Sources:

Brueggemann, Brian. “Bill would allow Illinois gun owners to use silencers.” Belleville News-Democrat. 6 Feb. 2015. (http://www.bnd.com/2015/02/06/3649514_bill-would-allow-illinois-gun.html?rh=1). 11 Feb. 2015.

Guthrie, J. “G&A Basics: How Suppressors Work.” Guns & Ammo. 13 May 2012. (http://www.gunsandammo.com/gear-accessories/suppressors/ga-basics-how-suppressors-work/). 11 Feb. 2015.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 Firearms, Gun Rights, Health, Hunting, Legal, Shooting Sports No Comments

Upcoming REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area

Chicago-area readers- below are survival-related training classes from REI for the next month or so:

Valentine’s Day Couples Survival in the Wilderness, Palos Forest Preserve- Bull Frog Lake (south suburbs- Willow Springs), February 14, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 2 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Northbrook REI (north suburbs- Northbrook), February 19, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 9 spots left
Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Palos Forest Preserve- Bull Frog Lake (south suburbs- Willow Springs), February 22, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 6 spots left
Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI, Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center (west suburbs- Oak Brook) February 21, 9 AM-6 PM, $225 member/$255 non-member, 3 spots left
Wilderness Survival: 3-Season Skills, Palos Forest Preserve- Bull Frog Lake (south suburbs- Willow Springs), February 28, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 4 spots left
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, 7 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)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 Emergencies, Health, Medicine, Preparedness, Training No Comments


Please Rate this Blog HERE
Christopher E. Hill, Editor
10,773 Visits February 2015
550,836 Visits 11/22/10-2/28/15
NEW! Advertising Disclosure HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
JM Bullion Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
BullionVault BullionVault.com Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
MyPatriotSupply.com Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Get Your Cold-Weather Camping Gear at Nitro-Pak! Nitro-Pak Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Food Insurance Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
CHIEF Supply Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
bullet proof vests BulletSafe Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Survival Titles Save 20% Paladin Press Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
BUDK Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Not all airguns preform the same in colder weather. Click to learn more. PyramidAir.com Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Airsoft Megastore Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
 

Categories

Archives