LifeSaver Program – My First Program WorkOut


Hello LifeSavers,

Hope that everything is going well with you.

I had my first workout yesterday (yes, bad me). I walked 4.57 miles and burned 502 calories. That should remind me (and you, if you want), that the mentality of burning it later does not sit very well. Just to keep it in perspective:

  • 1 slice of cheese pizza  = 272 calories (who eats just one?)
  • 1 bagel (plain) = 245 calories
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream = 289 calories

Well, so much for that, we get the picture. I need to be mindful of what I put in, that way my workouts will be more effective.

Remember that next Friday is weigh-in day (4/7/17). You must send your info by 1000 on Friday.

See you on the other side!


Your fellow LifeSaver,

Edward Lara
HR Director
American Home Health
1660 N. Farnsworth Ave., Suite 3
Aurora, IL 60505



When the temperature hits 70 degrees in March in Chicago, spring can’t be far away. Most homeowners think of spring in terms of lawn maintenance. That includes picking up sticks and tree branches on the lawn, repairing sod torn up by the snow plow, spreading fertilizer, and attacking Creeping Charley once again.

Inside the house, spring is a good time to clean up, throw out, give away, and recycle. Housewives in the 50’s had a routine called Spring Cleaning. They took heavy blankets off of the beds, took the pictures off the walls and cleaned the glass, washed the curtains, scrubbed and waxed floors, cleaned the carpets, and MORE.

Before polyester fabrics were invented, lace curtains were made of cotton. The housewife washed the curtains and then attached them to curtain stretchers. Each edge of the curtain had to be hooked over nails on the frame of the curtain stretcher. Then the curtain was left on the curtain stretcher until the curtain was dry.

Did you know that the best way to clean wallpaper is to vacuum it with a soft brush? Be careful not to pull the cobwebs along the surface. That may leave a streak. Instead, wrap a white pillowcase or undershirt around a broom, and use it to remove cobwebs.

Some of the 50’s cleaning methods must have been left over from another era. An old woman and her husband lived in a new house. Their house had wool carpeting in the dining room and living room. To clean it, it, she sprinkled salt all over the carpet. Then she used a broom to sweep the salt from the carpet. When she did laundry, she did not use bleach. Instead, she would lay the white tea towels on the grass to dry in the sun.

Today, spring is a good time for throwing out old bills and bank statements. Remember to shred any materials containing personal or financial information. That includes old income tax returns, investment statements, canceled checks, paycheck stubs, ATM receipts, credit card statements, and insurance policies.

Before you start cleaning out your financial papers, check the requirements/suggestions for saving documents and supporting documents. For example, keep income tax returns for three to ten years as required. Keep all supporting documents in case of an audit.

Remember that spring is the time for people sixty-five and older to apply for rebates on the municipal tax on gas and electric bills. You will need copies of your gas and electric bills to apply for the rebates. Save the gas and electric bills. Then call your municipality to see if you are eligible for the rebates.

Some people like to clean out their closets as a part of Spring Cleaning. If you do this, remember that organizations such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army welcome donations.

To see a video about the Grand Opening of a Goodwill Store in Skokie on October 28, 2016, go to Skokie Goodwill Store and Donation Center, Grand Opening at

—By Karen Centowski



Are you in the market for a car or pick-up truck or SUV? Have you considered buying a late model off-lease vehicle instead of a brand-new one?

When the recession hit the United States, many customers chose to lease cars and trucks instead of buying new vehicles. This trend has continued since 2009 when auto sales were at their low. In fact, according to “It’s a good time to buy used,” an article in the March 12, 2017 issue of the Chicago Tribune, “The number of new vehicles that were leased hit a record 4.4 million last year, triple the number in 2009.”

Since most leases are for 36 months, a rapidly increasing number of off-lease vehicles are hitting the market. In fact, according to this source, the auto industry expects a record 3.6 million off-lease vehicles this year. Many of these late-model used cars will wind up as certified pre-owned cars. A certified used car usually costs about $1,500 more than a typical used car.

A surplus of vehicles coming off-lease could lower the price on these pre-owned cars. It is a classic case of supply and demand. With a record 3.6 million off-lease vehicles available this year, consumers should be able to get a good deal on a used car.

The competition now will be between new cars and late model used cars coming off-lease. Car manufacturers can increase the incentives on new cars to make them more enticing to shoppers. Will the customer buy a one to three-year-old vehicle coming off-lease, or will the customer prefer a brand-new car?

According to the article, there is also a big demand now for used full-size pick-up trucks. In fact, the wholesale value of full-size pick-up trucks increased 4.3 percent. Used SUVs have also been in high demand.

If you are in the market for a different car or pick-up truck or SUV, shop around. Only you can decide what works best for you.

—Karen Centowski


Girl with Prom Dress

When spring arrives, prom season in the United States begins. What if your daughter had been asked to attend a high school prom, but you could not afford the $100 to $600 to buy a dress for her? Just as the fairy godmother transformed Cinderella’s simple dress into a beautiful ball gown, ordinary people have developed programs to provide free prom dresses, shoes, and accessories to high school girls who cannot afford to buy them.

The Glass Slipper Project in Chicago is one of these programs. Founded in 1999, the Glass Slipper Project has helped more than 20,000 young women to attend their proms. Each girl selects her own prom dress, shoes, purse, and jewelry at “boutiques” within the building. A volunteer “personnel shopper” assists the girl in the selection of the prom dress. “Boutique” dates for the Glass Slipper Project for 2017 are April 22 and April 29. For additional information, go to

Items can be donated to the Glass Slipper Project by dropping them off at any of eight Zengeler Cleaners in Chicago. Zengeler Cleaners has participated in the Glass Slipper Project for fifteen consecutive years. Tom Zengeler, President of Illinois’ oldest cleaner, said, “The Glass Slipper Project collection drive is one of our favorite times of the year. Our entire team enjoys the opportunity to work with students from local schools, community-minded businesses and other organizations to support the project. Last year, we set an all-time record by collecting 5,287 dresses. We think we can beat that in 2017, thanks to the continued support of local schools, individual donors, and the local business community.”

Zengeler Cleaners’ stores are located in Deerfield, Hubbard Woods, Northfield, Winnetka, Long Grove, Northbrook, and two locations in Libertyville. For more information about Zengeler Cleaners, go to, or contact Tom Zengeler at (847) 272-6550, ext. 14.

Other communities also have projects similar to Chicago’s Glass Slipper Project. For example, the Junior League of Kane and DuPage Counties provide free, gently-used prom dresses to girls who would have trouble affording one. This program is called Cinderella’s Closet. The 2017 event was held March 18 in Elgin.

Immanuel United Methodist Church in Lakeside Park, Kentucky, began a Cinderella’s Closet ministry in 2006. Each year the program helps nearly 450 girls in Northern Kentucky.

The Website describes the impetus for the founding of the program: “It’s an effort inspired by a teenager our founder, Erin Peterson, met while shopping at a consignment store. Erin overheard the teenager ask the clerk if the beautiful, gently-used gown on display could be put on hold while she figured out how to pay for it.

She asked her foster mother for the money, but a prom dress is an extra in life, and its price was out of their reach. Seeing her disappointment, Erin bought the dress for her. As tears flooded her eyes, she said she would look ‘just like Cinderella.’”

Indian Prairie School District 204 recently sponsored Valley Runway, a project that collects new and gently used prom dresses for students whose families might not be able to afford the expense of new ones. The idea developed as Metea Valley reading specialist Ann Cluxton and Metea Valley dean of students were driving home from a trip to Elgin’s Cinderella’s Closet last year to help nine girls get dresses to wear to the Metea Valley prom.

Cluxton’s original goal was to collect 100 prom dresses. With the help of parent-teacher associations at Metea Valley, Waubonsee Valley, and Nequa Valley high schools, Cluxton collected nearly 600 dresses. A grant from the Indian Prairie Educational Foundation paid for dress racks and materials used to build private changing rooms. A donation from the Naperville Rotary was used to buy new dresses in smaller and larger hard-to-find sizes. On March 3 and March 4, more than fifty high school girls selected prom dresses provided to them at no charge.

To see a video about the Cinderella’s Closet in Northern Kentucky, go to Cinderella’s Closet Experience You Tube at

—by Karen Centowski



Years ago, before radio and television and the Internet, newspapers were a critical feature in America. For centuries, American newspapers have printed not only the news but also opinion pieces, want ads, lost and found, and obituary notices. They have become a staple in the fabric of our society.

A number of factors have caused a decline in the number and profitability of newspapers. Among these are the loss of much classified advertising and severe drops in circulation.

Classified advertising used to be a significant source of revenue for newspapers especially for jobs, real estate, and vehicles. The article “Decline of newspapers” on, describes the current situation: “Free services like Craigslist have decimated the classified advertising departments of newspapers, some of which depended on classifieds for 70% of their ad revenue. Research has shown that Craigslist cost the newspaper industry $5.4 billion from 2000-2007.” In addition, the consolidation of large department stores, which once used substantial advertising, hurt the newspaper industry.

With the advent of cable television and the Internet, newspaper circulation suffered. According to the Pew Research Center’s “Newspapers: Fact Sheet,” weekly circulation of newspapers fell 7% in 2015 and Sunday circulation fell 4%. The article continues, “The newspaper workforce has shrunk by about 20,000 positions, or 39% in the last 20 years.”

You may think that you don’t read newspapers. If you are using Google, you are often reading information gathered and produced by print media. One estimate put the percentage of online news derived from newspapers at 80%. Next time you Google a news item, check the byline. You will be surprised at the source.

“Newspapers are doing the reporting in this country,” observed John S. Carroll, former editor of the Los Angeles Times for five years. “Google and Yahoo! aren’t those people putting reporters on the street in any number. Blogs can’t afford it.” Google and Yahoo! also do not have the expense of union contracts, printing presses, delivery trucks, and other overhead.

The newspaper industry has gone through many ups and downs through the years, and the industry has survived. Perhaps this is just another bump in the road.

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video about printing a newspaper, go to Video: A behind-the-scenes glimpse into how this newspaper gets made at


Paper Boy

Thirty years ago, newspapers in the suburbs were delivered by boys on bicycles. Rain or shine, the paperboy would drag into his house the heavy bundle of newspapers dumped on his driveway, stuff the papers and inserts into individual plastic bags, and load them into his delivery bag. Then off he would go on his bicycle.

The routes were close to home, right in the neighborhood. The parents knew each other from school functions, block parties, and Boy Scout events. The neighborhood was considered a safe place for children. Kids played outside with their friends. They rode their bikes on the dirt hills in the new subdivision, used their skateboards on the sidewalks, and played baseball on the school baseball diamond.

Almost every family in the neighborhood subscribed to the local newspaper. Some even took a local paper and a big city paper. It was easy to remember the route. Just put a paper on every doorstep.

Newspapers had strict rules in those days. First, the paper had to be placed next to the door with the name of the paper right side up. That rule was relaxed in later years. The new rules warned against throwing the paper into the bushes or on top of the house. On top of the house? Some kids had better aim than others.

Once a month the paperboy would go door to door to collect the money for the subscription to the paper. Many customers would pay for the paper and, in addition, give the paperboy a generous tip.

The job sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Let’s list some “challenges.” Prior to major holidays such as Christmas and Easter, thick bundles of ads had to be inserted into the paper. This extra weight made it almost impossible for the paperboy to deliver the papers on bicycle. The paperboy had to deliver part of the route, return home for more papers, deliver those papers, and repeat the process until all papers were delivered.

Weather could be a bitter enemy. In the winter, deep snowstorms, frigid temperatures, and icy roads and sidewalks challenged the resolve of the paperboy. In the summer, there were severe thunderstorms with lightning, drenching downpours, and extreme heat.

A paper route was a family project. If customers worked during the day, Mom or Dad drove the paperboy to the customers’ homes at night to collect money for the subscription. If the paperboy went to a Boy Scout camp for a week or two, another family member had to deliver the papers. Still, having a paper route was a good job for a boy aged nine to fifteen.

The paperboy has largely disappeared. Newspapers are delivered by adults who throw the papers out of the windows of their vehicles. No one even tries to get the newspaper next to the door with the name of the paper right side up. The customer is lucky if the paper is not out by the curb buried in snow by the snow plow.

— By Karen Centowski

To see a video about a paperboy, go to The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey—Narrated by Forest Whitaker at


school bus

When Illinois schools were consolidated after World War II, over 120,000 students were enrolled in one-room schools. These students, who had attended schools within two miles of their homes, had to be transported to schools in towns and cities. The era of the yellow school bus had begun.

Students who lived in rural areas often spent significant time aboard the buses going to school and coming home from school. It was not uncommon for a child to get on a bus at 7:l5 A.M. and arrive at his grade school at 8:30 A.M. High school students then transferred to another bus and rode an additional twenty minutes to their school.

The bus was a place for studying together, for conversation, and for contemplation. For older students, the school bus was a mini-classroom in the morning. High school students would sit near each other and compare their answers for Algebra problems or Latin translations. Each student had to defend his position. Then together they would agree upon an answer.

Younger students usually sat in the same place each day. Boys full of mischief would often sit in the last seats in the bus, the seats far away from the bus driver. If students got into trouble on the bus, the driver would stop the bus, lumber down the aisle, and speak directly to the troublemaker. If the infraction was serious, the driver would tell the troublemaker to come to the front of the bus and sit in the seat directly behind the driver.

Students would often sit with the same person each day—saving a seat for their best friend or girlfriend/boyfriend. The ride home was a time to tell each other about things that had had happened during the day.

In the late afternoon after many of the children had been dropped off, the bus was usually quiet. This was a time to sit by the window and look out at the fields of wheat or corn or soybeans, to look at the farmhouses, barns, machine sheds, and corn cribs of the neighboring farms. It was a time to think about life, to contemplate the future.

Riding a school bus on country roads was hazardous at times. Sometimes roads would be covered with snow and ice. If the snow was too deep, the buses would travel only the main roads and highways. Buses often had to turn around in a student’s driveway without backing into a deep ditch on the other side of the road. Buses had to cross railroad tracks at railroad crossings with no gates and poor visibility. Sometimes a car would plow into the rear of a bus stopped to pick up or let off a student.

Going to another county on a field trip was a real treat. On long trips, the students would sing a long, repetitive song such as “Found a Peanut” or “99 Bottles of Beer.” The teachers and the driver never discouraged the students from singing these songs. Did it drive the school bus driver crazy? Maybe it was worth it because it kept the students out of trouble.


Sung to the tune of “Oh My Darling, Clementine,” the song has the following basic lyrics:

Found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peanut just now,
just now I found a peanut, found a peanut just now.

Cracked it open, cracked it open, cracked it open just now,
just now I cracked it open, cracked it open just now.

It was rotten, it was rotten, it was rotten just now,
Just now it was rotten, it was rotten just now.

Ate it anyway, ate it anyway, ate it anyway just now,
just now I ate it anyway, ate it anyway just now,

Got sick, got sick, got sick just now,
just now I got sick, got sick just now.

Called the doctor, called the doctor, called the doctor just now,
just now I called the doctor, called the doctor just now.

Said I wouldn’t die, said I wouldn’t die, said I wouldn’t die just now,
just now he said I wouldn’t die, wouldn’t die just now.

Died anyway, died anyway, died anyway just now,
just now I died anyway, died anyway just now.

Went to Heaven, went to Heaven, went to Heaven just now,
just now I went to Heaven, went to Heaven just now.

Wouldn’t let me in, wouldn’t let me in, wouldn’t let me in just now,
just now he wouldn’t let me in, wouldn’t let me in just now.

Sent back home, sent back home, sent back home just now,
just now I was sent back home, sent back home just now.

Went out walking, went out walking, went out walking just now,
just now I went out walking, went out walking just now.

Repeat entire song beginning with “Found a peanut.”

—By Karen Centowski