Say you’re flying into O’Hare Airport and want to get to downtown Chicago. What are your options? Currently, you have five options. You could take a CTA train for $5.00 or less and get downtown in forty-five minutes. You could take a taxi for around $40.00 and get there in twenty-five to ninety minutes. You could use the shuttle van services for over $25.00 and arrive downtown in twenty-five to ninety minutes. You could hail a rideshare such as Lyft or Uber for $35.00-$50.00 (surges to $140 or more) and get there in twenty-five to ninety minutes.

As early as the 1990’s, Richard J. Daley had envisioned a high-speed rail line between downtown Chicago and O’Hare Airport. In fact, according to a Chicago Tribune article published June 14. 2018, the city and CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) spent more than $250 million on the Block 37 “superstation,” a shopping center atop a station for the high-speed rail. However, “Daley ordered the work stopped in 2008, saying the technology was outdated and more than $100 million more was still needed for completion.”

In 2011, Mayor Rahm Emanuel resurrected the idea of a high-speed rail line from downtown Chicago to O’Hare and in 2016 hired outside engineers to help explore the possibility for the high-speed rail line.

On February 9, 2017, Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a press conference to provide an update on the state of Chicago’s infrastructure. He also endorsed the idea of a high-speed rail line from downtown Chicago to O’Hare. The rail line was expected to cost billions of dollars and would require major support from private investors. Emanuel announced that Bob Rivkin, who had previously served as general counsel for the CTA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Delta Air Lines, had been hired “to drum up support and find partners to make the new O’Hare express line a reality.”

Enter Elon Musk, the billionaire tech entrepreneur. On June 14, 2018, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Elon Musk’s Boring Company had been selected from four competing bids to provide high-speed transportation between downtown Chicago and O’Hare Airport. Musk’s Boring Company would dig a fourteen-feet in diameter tunnel from downtown Chicago to O’Hare. Lined with interlocking concrete pieces, the tunnel would contain self-driving electric vehicles called “skates.” Each “skate” could transport sixteen passengers at speeds from 100-150 m.p.h. Under Musk’s proposal, it would take just twelve minutes for passengers to get from O’Hare to downtown Chicago at an estimated cost of $25.00.

The estimated cost of the project is almost $1 billion. Who is going to pay for this? Elon Musk says his company will pay for the entire project. “In exchange for paying to build the new transit system, Boring would keep the revenue from the system’s transit fees and any money generated by advertisements, branding, and in-vehicle sales,” Rivkin said.

Will Musk’s high-speed transit system ever get built? Critics point to numerous challenges such as environmental impacts, regulatory approvals, financing costs, and unforeseen complications. According to a Chicago Sun Times article “Mayoral challengers, academics raise caution flags about Musk’s O’Hare Express,” Joe Schwieterman, director of DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute, “gave the mayor and Musk high marks for dreaming big and aiming high. But he gave the project only a one-in-three chance of ever being built. And even if it does, he’s afraid Chicago taxpayers could get stuck with at least part of the tab.”

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video Elon Musk’s Boring Company To Build Express To O’Hare, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24yqz0jZVaw.


A crime common in the 1930’s and 1940’s has returned with a new twist. Instead of an individual breaking through a store-front window to grab jewelry or other valuables out of the shop’s display, groups of thieves now are using cars and pick-up trucks to crash into shops. It’s a carefully orchestrated crime known as smash-and-grab.

These are not random acts of theft. High-end merchandise, especially designer handbags and clothing, is targeted. Think of Louis Vuitton handbags costing $2,000 to $6,000 and Salvatore Ferragamo shoes ranging from $300 to $700. Think of Giuseppe shoes for $1,000 a pair. Think of merchandise at GameStop.

Why do the thieves steal the high-end merchandise and ignore the inexpensive items? Robert Lombardo, associate professor of criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago, said thieves steal high-end merchandise because “that’s the stuff people want.” He explained that local thieves may attempt to sell the merchandise in the neighborhood. The merchandise stolen by professional criminals may be “bound for resale in other markets.”

Generally, the thieves target stores on streets rather than in malls. Wearing masks and gloves, the burglars drive a car or a van or a pick-up truck through the store’s front door or glass window. Then the thieves quickly grab as much high-end merchandise as they can carry, and they rush out the door. On November 26, 2014, the actions of one group of thieves were caught on a surveillance video in the store.

On April 17, 2018, a team of smash-and-grab thieves drove a stolen vehicle through the entrance of a GameStop in the 1500 block of North Cicero in the North Austin area of Chicago. The burglars stole cash and merchandise and then fled the scene. They left the stolen car embedded in the entrance of the store.

Stores in malls are not immune to smash-and-grab burglaries. On November 18, 2014, burglars drove through the outside entrance of the Northbrook Court mall and through a corridor before slamming into the Louis Vuitton store. The burglars were dressed in black pants and black hooded sweatshirts. They wore gloves and either ski masks or surgical masks.

A video surveillance system recorded the action as burglars with sledgehammers broke a hole in the glass, and the thieves climbed through the hole one after another to get into the store. They quickly gathered purses and bags from the shelves and from behind the counter, and then they ran into the mall.

A similar smash-and-grab burglary occurred September 7, 2014 at the Louis Vuitton store at the Oakbrook Center mall. Thieves rammed a minivan into the store and stole about $120,000 worth of merchandise. On November 4, 2014, a smash-and-grab occurred at the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall in Aurora. A minivan rammed through the front window of Salvatore Ferragamo. The burglars stole $40,000 worth of purses and luggage.

—By Karen Centowski

To see the surveillance video of a smash-and-grab in Chicago, go to the November 27, 2014 Chicago Tribune article, “Crash-and-grab burglars hitting high-end stores in suburbs and Chicago.”


Have you ever walked ten miles in one day? How about sixty miles in three days? Was the three-day walk for breast cancer research? If so, you were probably participating in a Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure to raise money for breast cancer research and patient support programs.

The organization, originally known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, was founded in 1982 by Nancy Goodman Brinker in memory of her younger sister, Susan Goodman Komen. Born in Peoria, Illinois in 1943, Komen was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of thirty-three and died at thirty-six. Brinker promised her sister that she would do everything she could to end breast cancer.

In 1983, The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was introduced. Held in Dallas, Texas, the event consisted of a series of 5K runs and fitness walks to raise money for breast cancer research. Eight hundred individuals participated. In 2008, the organization celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Race for the Cure. By 2010, there were approximately 130 races worldwide, and over 1.6 million participated in the race.

Additional funding for the organization comes from cause marketing. What is that? According to https://causegood.com, “Cause marketing is the marketing of a for-profit product or business which benefits a nonprofit charity or supports a social cause in some way.” For example, Yoplait ran the Save Lids to Save Lives program. The Susan G. Komen organization raised over $36 million a year from over 60 cause marketing partnerships.

A number of large corporations provide financial contributions to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Top organizations include American Airlines, Bank of America, Caterpillar Foundation, Ford Motor Company, General Mills, Hewlett-Packard, Mohawk Industries, New Balance, Walgreens, and Yoplait.

What started in 1982 has become a multimillion fundraising effort to end breast cancer forever. According to “Susan G. Komen for the Cure” at https://wikipedia.org/wiki, “To date, Komen has funded more than $800 million in breast cancer research.”

If you have a family member who needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). 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. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission.

For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski


Imagine yourself with no hair. If you’re a man, you probably could adjust to being bald. After all, some men shave their heads as a fashion statement. Musicians and movie stars routinely appear bald. Remember Yul Brynner in the 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I? How about Michael Jordan, the famous basketball player?

For a woman it’s a different story. Even in Biblical times, a woman’s long hair was considered her glory. It was not her clothing, not her jewelry, not her facial features. It was her long hair. According to an article at http://www.dailymail.co.uk, the average woman in the U.S. will spend over $55,000 on grooming and styling her hair in a lifetime. Hair is important to women.

What if you were a child and had no hair on your head? Would other children make fun of you? Would strangers stare at you?

In 1997, an organization called Locks of Love was founded to provide hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. According to www.locksoflove.org, “Most recipients suffer from an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata, which causes hair follicles to shut down, causing hair loss on the scalp. Many also lose their eye lashes, eyebrows, and all body hair. The hair loss is permanent. Others are victims of severe burns or cancer survivors.”

To make these hairpieces for children, Locks of Love relies on individuals to donate their own hair. Donated hair must be at least ten inches long measured tip to tip. Colored or permed hair is accepted, but hair that has been bleached is not usable. Wigs, falls, hair extensions, or synthetic hair are not accepted.

Locks of Love encourages donors to have their hair cut at their regular beauty shop. Be sure to discuss this plan with your beautician in advance. Ask if the beautician has experience with donations to Locks of Love. Cutting ten inches off your hair is a big step. You want to be sure that you and the beautician follow the guidelines. For more information, go to http://www.locksoflove.org.

If your child has a serious medical condition and needs pediatric private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants(CNAs). 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. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com.

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video of Army Captain Cara Manning donating 16 inches of her hair, go to Locks of Love You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TihjqArB8KE.


Michael J. Fox

Do you remember a television show called “Family Ties” starring Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton? The show ran from 1982—1989 for a total of 176 episodes. During his seven years on “Family Ties,” he earned three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. Michael J. Fox also had the lead role of Mike Flaherty in the series “Spin City,” which ran from 1996-2001 for a total of 103 episodes. For a young actor, Fox was leading a charmed life.

What the world did not know is that Michael J. Fox, who was born in Canada in 1961, had been diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 29. He did not disclose his condition to the public for another seven years. Then, in January of 2000, he announced his retirement from “Spin City,” and he launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Since 2000, the Michael J. Fox Foundation has raised $750 million to fund Parkinson’s Disease Research. The money comes from individual contributions, galas, and activities of Team Fox. One headline read, “ ‘Funny Thing’ # Fox Gala raised $5.2 million and Brings Down the House with Music and Comedy.”

Ordinary individuals throughout the world have raised money for the foundation. Team Fox members have held pancake breakfasts, fashion shows, dance parties, comedy shows, the New York City Marathon, art auctions, and more. More than $70 million has been raised in this way.

It is estimated that 600,000 to one million people in the United States alone have Parkinson’s Disease. It is thought to be caused by genetic factors, environmental factors, and by head injury. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure.

If a member of your family has Parkinson’s Disease and requires private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). 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. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com.

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video Michael J. Fox Life—Love + Parkinson’s Interview 2012 [HD] 7 – You Tube, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZQhp3yEgYM.


Chicago Union Station
Chicago Union Station

Picture yourself walking into the Great Hall at Union Station in Chicago. With its huge columns, arches, and skylights, the Great Hall is a spectacular interior space. Rays of light cascade from the skylight into this waiting area for passengers.

Built in 1925, Union Station was originally designed by Daniel Burnham, an American architect. Over the past ninety years, leaks had developed in the skylight, and plaster had degraded in the Great Hall. Construction is now underway to alleviate those problems. The $22 million project will refurbish the 219-foot long skylight and repair plaster throughout the Great Hall.

An article at https://archpaper.com, “Chicago Union Station Renovation Will Brighten the Great Hall,” describes the process:

“To address the skylight’s water problems, each of the 2,052 pieces of glass will be replaced and a new third layer of glass will be added above the entire opening. The new high-efficiency, fully transparent glass panes will replace the current wire-embedded glass, and the end result is expected to allow about 50 percent more light into the space. Once the significant water damage on the walls is repaired, the entire Great Hall will be repainted in its original color.”

This phase of Union Station’s renovation is being funded by Amtrak, which owns the building. The renovation is expected to be completed in late 2018.

More controversial is a proposal by Chicago-based architects Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) to construct a seven-story addition atop the current Union Station. The proposed glass rectangle would contain a hotel, apartments, an office complex, and retail. Reaction has been less than enthusiastic. One article appearing June 26, 2018 at https://archpaper.com compares this proposal to the disaster at Soldier Field. In “Will a proposed addition turn Chicago’s Union Station into the new Soldier Field?” Elizabeth Blasius writes, “In 2004, Chicago watched historic Soldier Field become a toilet bowl. In 2019, Union Station will become a self-inked address stamper.” Blasius feels that “the addition reads as out of scale and context for the existing building.”

Since Union Station was listed as a Chicago Landmark in 2002, the plans for the proposed seven-story addition would have to be reviewed by The Commission on Chicago Landmarks before a permit is issued. Using Chicago’s Landmark Ordinance as its guide, the commission would consider the appropriateness of the proposed addition on this Chicago Landmark. Blasius believes that “the plan as presented should be considered by the CCL as an adverse effect on a designated local landmark.”

—By Karen Centowski

To see a rendering of the proposed addition and to read the entire article, go to https://archpaper.com/2018/06/will-proposed-addition-turn-chicagos-union-station-into-new-soldier-field