Made in the Suburbs

Enclosed in the September 24, 2017 issue of the Aurora Beacon-News was a sixty-page, glossy magazine called “Made in the Suburbs.” Published by the Chicago Tribune, this magazine contains fascinating articles about products made in suburbs of Chicago. Twenty-seven companies are featured.

You may have seen one of these products being carried in a parade or flying over a school or courthouse or even stretched across a football field. That flag was made by FlagSource, 951 Swanson Drive in Batavia. The company has seventy employees and runs two shifts, 24 hours a day, six days a week. According to the website, the company makes U.S. flags, state flags, international flags, historical flags, military flags, boutique flags, boutique garden flags, attraction flags, and ISO flags.

You may have driven past another product made in the suburbs, the walls that line Midway Airport runways along Cicero Avenue. The company, Noise Barriers, was also responsible for the doors and soundproof spaces at broadcasting stations like WGN and CBS television studios in Chicago. Noise Barriers also creates noise barrier designs used to insulate around heating and cooling systems in large buildings such as schools.

If you own a Ford Taurus sedan or a Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle, your vehicle was probably made at the Chicago Assembly Plant, 12600 S. Torrence Avenue. Nearly 5,300 employees work there. Body panels for these vehicles are made at the company’s stamping plant at 1000 E. Lincoln Highway, Chicago Heights. The stamping plant employs about 1,300 people, according to the automaker.

If you are a gardener, you are probably familiar with Ball Horticultural Company. The company was founded in 1905 as a cut-flower field in Chicago. In 1925, the company moved its operation to West Chicago, and the first greenhouses were put in there. The company moved its business offices to the same location. In the 1930s, Ball sent train cars full of flowers to Chicago on lines that ran next to the company’s property. The company now focuses on developing new flowers such as a solid black petunia. Ball Seed Company sells seeds directly to consumers.

If you like Italian Ice, Zarlengo’s Italian Ice in Chicago Heights is the place for you. This family owned business has been making and selling this fruit-flavored ice in Chicago Heights since 1983. The product is now available throughout the Chicago area, including during Chicago White Sox games at Guaranteed Rate Field. Even upscale restaurants such as Au Cheval in Chicago have added Zarlengo’s products to their menus.

Get a copy of this publication and read about these and other interesting products made in the Chicago suburbs.

—By Karen Centowski


car flood

When hurricane Harvey struck Texas and hurricane Irma hit Florida this year, hundreds of thousands of vehicles were damaged by flood water. In fact, according to the firm Cox Automotive, hurricanes Harvey and Irma may have flooded between half a million and one million cars.

Vehicles declared a total loss will be given a “salvage” title. These vehicles will be sold to dismantlers who will sell the undamaged parts. Other vehicles declared a total loss will end up in the hands of scammers.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau, an industry fraud prevention group, issued the following statement: “Unfortunately, some of the flooded vehicles may be purchased at bargain prices, cleaned up, and then taken out of state where the vehicle identification number is switched and the car is retitled with no indication that it has been damaged.” The vehicles are then sold to unsuspecting buyers.

According to the article “Watch out for flood of water-damaged used vehicles” on, the National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends that used car buyers take the following steps to avoid getting scammed with a water-damaged car:

“Select a reputable car dealer and use a VIN checker to ensure the car does not have a salvage title. You can use dealer reviews at’s site to find a dealer and also can browse’s used-car inventory. You can find links to reputable VIN history and title checkers at the federal National Motor Vehicle Title Information System site.

Flood-check tips:

  • Inspect (and smell) the vehicle for water stains, mildew, sand or silt under the carpet, floormats, headliner and dashboard.
  • Inspect the upholstery and door panel materials for fading.
  • Check for rust around screws in the center console area and areas water doesn’t usually reach.
  • Check for mud or grit in the spare tire compartment and in small crevices under the hood. Also, look for rust and corrosion under the hood.
  • Inspect the seat belt retractor for moisture, mildew or grime.
  • Check to make sure the speakers work; door-mounted speakers will often be damaged in a flood.
  • Pay close attention to the wheels; aluminum alloys may be coated in a white powder and show signs of pitting, or small dimples in the material.
  • Have a mechanic inspect the vehicle prior to purchasing it.
  • Trust your instincts. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video about flood damaged cars, go to Millions of Cars and Trucks Were Soaked in Flood Waters After the Storm at



If your child needs a pediatric private duty nurse in order to live at home, you probably have a wish list of qualities or skills that person would possess. Hiring a pediatric private duty nurse is somewhat like hiring a babysitter. As a parent, you want to know that the babysitter will focus her attention on your child, not texting her friends or playing games on her I-phone. You want the babysitter to be dependable and reliable, to arrive on time for scheduled assignments. You want the babysitter to have experience in age appropriate skills such as changing diapers and giving a baby a bottle.

If you hire pediatric private duty nurses licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, you can be confident that the nurses have the education and skills required to do the job. The State of Illinois requires that all nurses have valid nursing licenses. They must have hands-on CPR training. Online CPR courses are not accepted. In order to renew her nursing license in Illinois, a nurse must have completed twenty hours of in-services since the last renewal two years ago. Each nurse must pass a criminal background check and a Nurse Aide Registry check at time of hire.

An established agency such as American Home Health employs hundreds of nurses. Many have special areas of expertise such as ventilators, tracheotomy, and g-tube. After an initial client assessment is completed, the nurses are scheduled for eight-hour shifts with clients within twenty miles of their homes. A nurse has the right to refuse any job offer. Likewise, the client has the right to refuse to accept a particular nurse. The goal is to achieve a good match between nurses and clients.

If a nurse is unable to work her regular shift, the schedulers in the office will make every effort to find another nurse to cover the shift. Sometimes it is impossible to find a replacement. Occasionally, nurses may be unable to get to a client’s home due to flooded streets, icy roads, and other acts of nature. In those cases, the family will need to care for the child.

Each American Home Health nurse has a supervisor who provides support to the nurse and family. This supervisor helps to resolve any problems that may arise. She also evaluates the performance of the nurses under her supervision. We urge you to work with the supervisors to help us provide excellent nursing care to our clients.

—By Karen Centowski



John was an ironworker, one of those men and women who build bridges and skyscrapers. The job required agility, balance, courage, and dedication. Winter or Summer, the work continued. Then one day, high above the ground, John slipped and fell.

Aarav was four when tragedy struck. He wandered away and fell into a nearby pond. Aarav nearly drowned and suffered life-long injury.

Both John and Aarav now require round-the-clock nursing care. However, instead of remaining in a hospital, both are able to live at home with the services of private duty nurses.

A private duty nurse is a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) who works one-on-one with individual clients. Care is provided in the home of the client rather than in a hospital setting. American Home Health nurses are offered cases within twenty miles of their homes. The nurses work eight-hour shifts. Round-the-clock nursing is available.

Many private duty nursing cases involve pediatric cases. The child may require Tracheostomy Care (Trach) or Gastrostomy Tube (G-tube) or Ventilator (Vent). Pediatric patients may have long term illnesses such as Cerebral Palsy (CP) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Adult cases often involve job-related injuries and illnesses covered by workman’s compensation. Some of these may be caused by accidents such as a fall from a ladder. Other conditions may be caused by overuse or misuse of the body over a long period of time. For example, repetitive stress may cause carpel tunnel syndrome or chronic back problems.

The services of a private duty nurse may be paid by private pay or private insurance. Other payors include managed care companies, Medicare, and Medicaid. Pediatric clients with long term illnesses may be on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The State of Illinois Department of Specialized Care for Children also pays for services for eligible individuals.

To make arrangements for a private duty nurse, please call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501, or contact us at

By Karen Centowski