Illinois

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

Illinois Emergency Management Agency: Develop Post-Disaster Communications Plan With ‘Text First, Talk Second’ Approach

Severe Weather Preparedness Month is almost over here in Illinois. But the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is still passing along valuable information to state residents on what to do when a disaster occurs. From a press release on the Illinois Government News Network website yesterday:

‘Text First, Talk Second’ Often Best Way to Contact Loved Ones When Disaster Strikes

IEMA Encourages People to Have Plan for Communicating with Family Members, Friends during Emergencies

SPRINGFIELD – When disaster strikes, your first instinct probably is to call loved ones to make sure they’re OK or let them know you’re safe. It’s likely everyone else affected by the emergency is thinking the same thing. In these instances, telephone lines can quickly become overloaded, preventing not only your call from going through but also blocking critical 911 calls.

During Severe Weather Preparedness Month in March, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging people to develop a Family Communications Plan that includes the “Text First, Talk Second” concept.

“Communicating with family and friends immediately after a disaster is important,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We’re encouraging people to plan now so they’ll know how to reach their contacts in the chaotic aftermath of a disaster.”

Joseph said short, simple text messages, such as “R U OK?” and “I’m OK,” are more likely to get through to your loved ones than a phone call when phone service is disrupted. As phone congestion eases, you can follow up with a phone call to relay more information.

Data-based services like texts and emails are less likely to experience network congestion during an emergency. You can also use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to post your status to let family and friends know you’re OK.

While Text-to-911 is on the horizon for emergency communications, it currently is available only in limited areas of the U.S. If you need to contact 911, do so by landline or cell phone unless your community has notified you that this service is activated in your area.

Additional emergency communications tips include:

• Keep all phone calls brief by conveying only vital information to emergency personnel and/or family.
• If you are unsuccessful in completing a call using your cell phone, wait ten seconds before redialing to help reduce network congestion.
• If you lose power, you can charge your cell phone in your car. Be sure your car is in a well-ventilated place, not in a garage.
• Another resource for letting friends and family know your status after a disaster is the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well Registry at https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php.
• Your communications plan should identify an out-of-area contact and household members should carry that information with them at all times. If a disaster occurs when you are separated, it often is easier to call outside your immediate area. Family members can call the contact to provide location and coordinate reunification plans.

For more information about developing a family communications plan, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

Great advice regarding that “Text First, Talk Second” strategy.

Even I can text on my vintage “dumb phone” with its Shaun of the Dead ringtone.

To find out more about IEMA, you can visit their website here.

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

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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

Illinois In Worst Shape Of 43 States That Filed FY 2014 Audits

William G. Holland, the Auditor General for the State of Illinois, has just reported on Illinois’ finances.

It’s still fugly.

From the Summary Report Digest for “Statewide Financial Statement Audit For the Year Ended June 30, 2014”:

The Illinois Office of the State Comptroller prepares the State of Illinois Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The CAFR is the State’s official annual report which provides the readers with the financial position of the State as of June 30, 2014, and results of operations during the fiscal year.

The financial section of the CAFR includes the Independent Auditors’ Report on the basic financial statements, the management discussion and analysis, the basic financial statements, required supplementary information, and individual fund statements and schedules…

The June 30, 2014 financial statements of the State of Illinois are fairly presented in all material respects.

The financial statements at June 30, 2014 reflect the following:

The net position of governmental activities continued to deteriorate and the deficit increased by $1.3 billion from FY13 to FY14. Overall, the net position of governmental activities is reported as a deficit of $49.2 billion. (Exhibit 1)
• The General Fund deficit decreased by $658 million from FY13 to FY14. The June 30, 2014 deficit was $6.7 billion. (Exhibit 2)

Over time, increases and decreases in net position measure whether the State’s financial position is improving or deteriorating. A comparison of Illinois’ financial position to other states is contained in Exhibit 3…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And the results of that “comparison of Illinois’ financial position to other states”?

Karen Pierog of Reuters reported Wednesday:

This left Illinois in the worst shape of the 43 U.S. states that had filed fiscal 2014 audits. The only other state with negative assets was Massachusetts at $29 billion. Texas reported the biggest positive net assets at $119.4 billion

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Good ol’ Texas. Probably get even more sneers from local folks at my University of Texas t-shirt I picked up while at that Food Insurance-sponsored prepper conference in Dallas the other year.

Pierog added something else of note:

The state marked its thirteenth consecutive year with a general fund deficit

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

For most of those years, Democrats have dominated state government, occupying the governor’s office and the majority of both houses in the Illinois General Assembly.

Coincidence?

I’ll keep typing it on this blog until my fingers fall off:

“Financial reckoning day” is eventually coming to the “Land of Lincoln.”

As such, it might be wise for Illinoisans to start preparing if they haven’t done so already.

It won’t be the end of the world, but for many it could feel like it. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea to start addressing various vulnerabilities for such an occasion- financial and otherwise.

You can read that Summary Report Digest (.pdf format) on the Illinois Auditor General’s web page here.

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

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

Source:

Pierog, Karen. “Illinois finances continued downward slide in FY 2014: auditor.” Reuters. 18 Mar. 2015. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/18/us-usa-illinois-audit-idUSKBN0ME2M920150318). 20 Mar. 2015.

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Illinois Gun Owners Descend On State Capital To Lobby Lawmakers

Yesterday was Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day (IGOLD) down in Springfield. Nick Swedberg of the Associated Press reported last night:

Gun owners from across the state flooded the Illinois Capitol on Wednesday for an annual rally, and many spoke with lawmakers from their home districts about legislation to broaden gun rights…

I’ve blogged about this annual gun rights event before. From the Illinois State Rifle Association website:

Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day (IGOLD) was started back in the early ‘90’s to put a face on Illinois gun owners. Up until that time the media had portrayed gun owners and those who believed in the Second Amendment as some knuckle dragging Neanderthal throw backs, barely worthy of being called humans. IGOLD helped change that although the mainstream media still labels gun owners that way, when they can get away with it.

The first ISRA Lobby Day was attended by about 200 people. Among those attending were four undercover policemen. In 2006, the ISRA joined with several other groups and ISRA Lobby Day became Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day (IGOLD). The Illinois Gun Owners’ Lobby Day (IGOLD) has become the number one demonstration of citizens promoting gun owners’ rights in the United States – the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) is its primary sponsor. The crowds have grown each year. In 2013, 8200 gun owners showed up to lobby their legislators and to become the face of all the gun owners in Illinois. Because of IGOLD and other ISRA activities, gun owners have increased in stature in Illinois…

I understand that this year IGOLD pushed for expanding gun rights in the state- particularly concealed-carry. Swedberg added:

Proposed legislation in the General Assembly would allow concealed carry in places prohibited under current law, such as bus stations, churches and bars…

The state’s top gun rights advocacy group is expected to meet with [Illinois Governor Bruce] Rauner this month, a meeting that previous Democratic governors only promised to have. The organization’s executive director said that’s a positive sign that the new administration will be more favorable to their cause than the last.

“It’s hard to deal with people who just shut you out,” Richard Pearson, head of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said.

Illinois gun owners should be grateful for ISRA and IGOLD. Because when the next mass shooting along the lines of Newtown comes along, their keeping the spotlight on gun rights will remind politicians across the “Land of Lincoln” they’ll have a battle on their hands attempting to implement knee-jerk ineffective and unconstitutional gun “control” laws.

For more information about the Illinois State Rifle Association, visit their website here.

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

Source:

Swedberg, Nick. “Gun owners rally for right to carry guns in more places.” Associated Press. 18 Mar. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/news/ct-sta-gun-rights-st-0319-20150318-story.html). 19 Mar. 2015.

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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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Illinois State Police: FOID Applications Accepted Online Beginning March 16, Other Changes For CCL, FOID App Process, FFL Dealers

Prospective firearm owners in Illinois will soon be able to apply for a Firearm Owner’s Identification card via the Internet. From an Illinois State Police press release Friday:

Officials Aim to Modernize and Expedite Licensing Process for Efficiency

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Police (ISP) today announced the Agency will begin accepting on-line FOID applications beginning March 16, 2015, to provide a more streamlined and modernized application process. The ISP will no longer accept the current FOID paper applications after Monday, March 9, 2015; however, like the CCL, the new FOID application will be available through the Department’s website or through the paper alternative call center method for those individuals who do not have computer access. Minors under the age of 21 without a state of Illinois Driver’s License or Identification card and Amish applicants will be required to complete an alternative call-in paper application.

The ISP has also made changes to the login for both the CCL and FOID applications. Applicants will no longer be required to obtain a state of Illinois digital I.D. through the Department of Central Management Services. This login change will allow users greater accessibility to the new application process. All new applicants and returning CCL applicants will need to register with the Illinois State Police by providing some key identifiers found on their Illinois Driver’s License or Identification card, creating a username and password, and answering four security questions. The CCL website will be unavailable beginning Friday, March 13, 2015, at 5:00 p.m., until Monday, March 16, 2015, at 7:00 a.m., in order to implement the new FOID system.

Federal Firearm Licensed (FFLs) dealers will also have access to the web-based portal in order to conduct the required background checks of those wishing to purchase a firearm. All FFL’s in the state of Illinois are required to register with the ISP via the website at www.ispffl.com or by calling 217-524-3847 to continue to perform background checks after the launch of the new system. The old FTIP system will be closed on March 15 at 4:00 p.m. to allow data to be transferred to the new system. Beginning March 16, at 8:30 a.m., firearm dealers will be able to submit firearm background transactions via the website and follow up on previously requested checks based upon a transaction number.

Firearm dealers using the web-portal during the first 30 days of implementation will be able to submit transactions at no cost. The traditional fee of $2.00 is being waived. Firearm dealers will also still have the option of using the 800# dial-up process; however, dealers will be charged the $2.00 processing fee for this option.

The new CCL and FOID application process is intended to provide a user-friendly portal designed to ease and streamline both application processes.

For more information about the FOID card, you can visit the Illinois State Police website here. And for info about the Illinois Concealed Carry License, you can go to its web page here.

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

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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

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)

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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


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