It was a typical Saturday on the Amtrak train heading from Kansas City to Chicago. Michael Case, 46, of Homewood was the conductor. The date was May 19, 2017.

One older male passenger seemed “discombobulated,” Case later reported. The passenger, Edward Klein, had tried to enter private sleeping quarters and asked where he could find the library.

When the train made a scheduled stop at the Fourth Avenue Metra Railway station north of downtown Naperville, Case said he tried to help Klein by keeping him from getting off. He knew that Klein was bound for Milwaukee via Chicago. The conductor said he then got off the train and unloaded some baggage.

When Case returned to the train compartment door, he said he saw Klein standing inside, holding a snub-nosed revolver and wearing “a look of anger.” Klein, a retired federal law enforcement officer, fired once, striking Case in the torso.

The Chicago Tribune article “Train conductor shot at Naperville station” describes how Case turned and ran a short distance. Onlookers “wrestled Klein to the ground and kept him immobile until police arrived. Naperville police officer Anthony Cimilucca, who took Klein into custody and recovered the revolver from his pants pocket, testified that Klein said he was angry because he was prevented from leaving the train.”

The Chicago Tribune article reported that a hearing was scheduled “to determine whether to acquit Klein or find that prosecutors have sufficient evidence to prove his guilt.” Klein could face involuntary commitment in a mental facility. Because of his mental state, Klein would not face a prison sentence.

Klein, who is eighty years old, has since been declared unfit to stand trial on charges that include attempted murder. Authorities say that Klein “exhibits dementialike symptoms and is not likely to regain mental fitness.”

Case was hospitalized for two months and had a third surgery planned for January. David Piazza, the medical director for trauma surgery at Edward Hospital, has said that “Michael Case is in serious condition, and expected to require hospitalization and treatment for another six to nine months.” According to his wife, Sara, Michael Case remains anxious to get back on the job at Amtrak. “Our goal on the medical staff is (that) he will return to work,” Piazza said.

When an individual is recovering from a serious injury, he may be able to return home with round-the-clock private duty nursing. American Home Health offers private duty nursing for adults in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission.

For further information, go to, or call (630) 236-3501.

—by Karen Centowski


When Elaine retired in her seventies, she and her husband, Ernie, lived in their home on a tree-lined street across from a grade school. The sight and sounds of the children playing on the playground brought joy to their lives.

Elaine had filled the front yard with beds of tulips and daffodils, garden gnomes, and ornamental shrubs. A small tree with arching branches stood by the sidewalk to the front door. A long row of lilacs arched along the property line from the street to the garage in the back yard. It was an oasis, a quiet spot away from the traffic noise on the busy city street three blocks away.

Elaine’s husband died when he was in his eighties, but Elaine continued to live in the family’s home. For many years, she was able to live by herself in the home. Then, as she grew older, she had to quit driving. She also needed help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, and cleaning the house.

Years before this, Elaine had bought long-term care insurance. An article called “Aging or Rehabilitating at Home is possible” states that “Most people still mistakenly associate long-term care insurance with nursing homes. In fact, just the opposite is true. According to the LTC Sourcebook published by the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, some 7.6 million individuals currently receive care at home because of acute illnesses, long-term health conditions, permanent disability, or terminal illness. By comparison, there are over 1.8 million individuals in nursing homes.”

Because she had purchased long-term care insurance, Elaine was able to employ Certified Nursing Assistants to come to her home to help with the tasks of daily living. Some were young women who were planning to become nurses. Others were women with families of their own.

Each CNA brought her own talents and skills. Several were excellent cooks who prepared dishes served in their homelands. One loved Christmas and helped Elaine assemble and decorate a huge Christmas tree in her living room.

Elaine had few bad things to say about her CNAs. One complaint involved food. Elaine was Irish, and she was accustomed to having baked potatoes frequently. If the CNAs prepared potatoes at all for her, they prepared scalloped potatoes or potatoes au gratin or fried potatoes or some other fancy recipe. Elaine would say, “All I want is a baked potato. How hard is it to wash a potato, wrap it in aluminum foil, and bake it in the oven for an hour?”

With the help of the Certified Nursing Assistants, Elaine was able to stay in her home until her death at age ninety. She was alert and vibrant until the end.

American Home Health employs Certified Nursing Assistants to work eight hour shifts in the homes of clients. All CNAs must complete the usual application process. In addition, CNAs must pass a fingerprint-based criminal background check. If you or a family member needs the services of a CNA, contact American Home Health at (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski


If you love tomatoes on the vine, you probably love summer when fresh tomatoes are plentiful. Now, thanks to hydroponic methods, you can get locally grown vine-ripened tomatoes all year round.

One hydroponic farming operation is located in Rochelle, Illinois. According to an article in the February 12, 2018 issue of The Beacon-News, “the glass-enclosed facility consists of two 7 1/2-acre greenhouses that today produce a total of 9 million pounds of tomatoes annually.” They are sold at Jewel food stores under the MightyVine label. The facility also supplies tomatoes to over three-hundred Chicago-area restaurants. In addition, MightyVine canned tomatoes are sold to area Whole Foods and Jewel stores.

Developer Daniel Murphy, who owns the Rochelle facility, said the idea came from his dad, “an Italian-Irish man who was raised in the Chicago area and knows the food industry here. This was my father’s passion and vision, and he always felt the issue was how to have fresh produce here year-round.”

Murphy continued, “Tomatoes are 90 percent water and don’t transport well and are often picked before they’re ripe, which means not having their true color or taste.” MightyVine boasts its tomatoes “are picked today and on your plate tomorrow.”

Murphy said that the company employs 100 workers and that “we have applications on file for 300 more people waiting to get a job here. People get to work in a (climate) controlled environment 365 days a year where it’s never too hot or too cold, and we have our own ecosystem where we use rainwater and collect it in barrels, and water is provided directly to the roots.” Murphy continued, “We have our own bees we use for pollination-it’s a complete system.”

State Representative Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego) and members of the Illinois Farm Bureau recently toured the MightyVine tomato “growhouse” in Rochelle. Russ Orrill, assistant director of state legislation for the Illinois Farm Bureau, said that the decision to raise tomatoes was no accident. Local markets and grocery stores consistently report that the tomato is their Number 1 commodity. Orrill went on to explain, “Because of the versatility of the tomato between salads, salsas and all the various sauces, it’s the commodity people most ask for.”

Next time you’re in Jewel, pick up a box of MightyVine tomatoes. I guarantee that you will eat them and declare that they are “mighty fine tomatoes.”

To see a video about MightyVine tomatoes, go to Chicago’s Best Tomato: YouTube at

By Karen Centowski


In 1975, the $4 billion Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP), better known as “The Deep Tunnel,” was begun. The goal was to reduce water pollution and sewer-backup problems in fifty-two municipalities in Cook County. It involved the construction of 109 miles of tunnels nine to thirty-three feet in diameter excavated from dolomite limestone bedrock as much as 350 feet below the surface.

While working on the deep tunnel storm runoff project in Chicago, a construction worker fell while climbing on cement reinforcement wire and was paralyzed. It was determined that lack of appropriate safety measures led to his paralysis. The public authority, as well as the two architectural firms working with them, settled the case for more than $4 million. As a result of the accident, the worker required lifelong medical care.

Sometimes workers who are severely injured on the job are forced to spend the rest of their lives in a hospital or nursing home. Sometimes they are able to return to their own homes with 24-hour a day nursing care. American Home Health offers the following adult private duty services:

  1. Ventilator Care
  2. Oxygen Therapy
  3. Tracheostomy Care
  4. BiPAP or CPAP
  5. Inhalation Therapy
  6. Respiratory Treatments
  7. Medication Administration
  8. TPN
  9. Pain Management
  10. Antibiotic Treatment
  11. Assessments
  12. Wound Care
  13. Lab Draws
  14. Tube Feedings
  15. Enterostomal Care
  16. Anti-Coagulant Therapy
  17. Bowel Programs

American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook. Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee.

For further information, go to, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski


If you live in Chicago or the collar counties, you are probably accustomed to the huge number of shootings or homicides that occur in the city. Now another crime, carjacking, has surged to its highest numbers in at least ten years, according to a Chicago Tribune article printed December 29, 2017.

Although the vast number of shootings and homicides tended to be concentrated on the South and West sides, carjacking occurred throughout the city, often in trendy neighborhoods and downtown. Among the 967 victims of carjacking in Chicago in 2017 were ordinary citizens, an off-duty police officer, and a Lyft driver.

What is carjacking? Merriam-Webster defines it as “the theft of an automobile from its driver by force or intimidation.” The word “carjacking” is actually a combination of car + hijack + ing. According to Merriam-Webster, the word was first used in 1991.

Thieves often use force, threatening the drivers with a gun or knife, to rob their victims of their money and their vehicles. Sometimes the thieves then use the vehicles in drive-by shootings, smash-and-grab burglaries, and other crimes. Sometimes they might just go for a joy ride in the car and abandon it on a city street.

What methods do criminals use to steal the cars? One method is called “bump-and-run.” The criminals intentionally drive their car into the rear of the victim’s car. When the driver gets out of his car to survey the damage and exchange insurance information, the criminals threaten the victim with a weapon, jump into the car, and drive away.

Darren Reboletti, a Lyft driver, was dropping off his Lyft passenger around 1:30 A.M. on December 20, 2017 on the South Side of Chicago when he felt another car bump into his brand-new Jeep Cherokee from behind. When he got out to check the damage, someone from the other car jumped into his Jeep. Reboletti tried to pull the thief out of the Jeep, but the thief kicked him, swore at him, and threatened to kill him. Reboletti backed off, and the thief drove away in his 2017 Jeep. The second vehicle, a blue Ford Exposition, also fled.

Another method is distraction. The criminals place a $20.00 bill under the windshield wiper of a parked car. When the driver gets out to retrieve the $20.00 bill, the thieves jump into the car and drive away.

A third method is armed robbery. On December 18, 2017, an off-duty Chicago police officer was sitting in his personal car two blocks from police department headquarters on the South Side. Two men approached the officer’s car. One man tapped on the passenger’s side window to distract the officer. The other man, Carlos Hendricks, age 18, went to the driver’s side, pulled a gun, and demanded the car. According to the Chicago Tribune article “Police: Charges filed against man shot while carjacking off-duty Chicago cop near headquarters,” the officer fired one shot and hit Hendricks in the abdomen. Hendricks was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The other suspect ran away and remained at large as of December 19. A gun belonging to Hendricks was recovered from the scene.

—By Karen Centowski