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LUPUS: “THE WOLF”

Forty years ago, a teacher at a Catholic elementary school invited the faculty members and their husbands and wives to a Christmas party in her home.  It was an opportunity to socialize, to have fun together.  The women wore their long dresses, and the men wore suits.  Everyone was excited to attend.

Since these faculty members worked together every day, they were at ease with each other.  As each couple arrived, the hostess and guests greeted them.  The house was filled with chatter and laughter.

When all guests had arrived, the hostess announced that she had a surprise for them.  She had enlisted the services of a palm reader, who would tell their futures.  Each person would meet individually with the palm reader in a separate room.  The palm reader would examine the individual’s hand life lines, love lines, and give a reading.  It was simply a party game.  What could go wrong?

Everyone was having a good time until Marie came out of her meeting with the palm reader.  Marie’s face was ashen.  She walked directly to her husband and whispered something to him.  The room became unnaturally quiet.  It was as if all of the air had gone out of a balloon.

Apparently, Marie had received bad news, very bad news.  The palm reader had told Marie that she had lupus, a fatal illness.  How would a palm reader know that?  And what is lupus?

According to WebMD, “Lupus is one of many disorders of the immune system known as autoimmune diseases.  The (patient’s) immune system turns against parts of the body it is designed to protect.  This results in inflammation and damage to various body tissues.  Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain.”

A National Resource Center on Lupus article at https://www.lupus.org/resources states that lupus was identified in the classical period (1230—1856).  The word lupus (Latin for “wolf”) is attributed to the thirteenth century physician Rogerius who used it to describe the erosive facial lesions which were reminiscent of a wolf’s bite.

If you have a family member who suffers from lupus and 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

REMEMBERING THE “L” CRASH OF 1977

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It was a Friday afternoon, February 4, 1977, just a little after 5:20 P.M. Office workers in Chicago’s central business district called “The Loop” were headed home. Many rode the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) elevated trains: the Ravenswood, the Lake—Dan Ryan, and the Evanston Express.

The elevated tracks formed a rectangular pattern above Lake Street, Wabash Avenue, Van Buren Street, and Wells Street. In 1977, three lines operated on the Loop. Each line operated in a different direction. Wikipedia, “1977 Chicago Loop derailment,” describes the situation: “The Ravenswood Line operated counter-clockwise around the loop, while the Evanston Express operated clockwise opposite from the Ravenswood trains. The Lake—Dan Ryan Line operated in both directions, but only used the Lake and Wabash legs of the Loop.”

On this day, a switching issue forced dispatchers to reroute the Evanston Express to run counter-clockwise around the Loop instead of its normal clockwise route. This put the Evanston Express on the tracks normally used by the Ravenswood and westbound Lake—Dan Ryan. The Ravenswood train would have to stop short and wait for the Evanston Express to clear the tracks before it could proceed. Likewise, the Lake—Dan Ryan would have to stop and wait for the Ravenswood to clear the track before it could proceed.

At approximately 5:25 P.M., a Ravenswood train was stopped on the tracks, just past the northeast turn, waiting for the Evanston Express to clear the State/Lake platform. The Lake—Dan Ryan approached the Ravenswood train, but it neglected to stop. Instead, ignoring both track and cab signals, it proceeded and bumped into the Ravenswood train.

What happened next could have been a scene from a horror movie. After the initial impact, the operator of the Lake—Dan Ryan train continued to apply traction power. Therefore, the rear cars of the Lake—Dan Ryan train continued to push forward. That pinned the front of the train against the waiting Ravenswood on the right-angle turn of the track. The pressure from behind caused the coupling bar between the first two cars to bend. The coupled ends of these first two cars were pushed up into the air. Then the third car was forced upwards until the three train cars jackknifed and fell off the tracks. The first train car fell onto a track support structure. The second and third cars fell all the way to the street below. The fourth car dangled between the track and street. The last four cars remained on the tracks, still in the Randolph/Wabash station.

Eleven people were killed, and more than one hundred and sixty were injured. The cause of the crash was determined to be operator error.

—By Karen Centowski


To see the video “El Crash Chicago 1977 (ABC News Special Report)—You Tube,” go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1lcl_LOThw.

SENIOR CITIZEN ASSESSMENT FREEZE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION

Senior Celebration

HERE’S ANOTHER WAY TO SAVE MONEY IF YOU ARE SIXTY-FIVE OR OLDER.  THE INFORMATION BELOW IS FOR RESIDENTS OF KANE COUNTY. INCOME MAXIMUMS AND DEADLINE DATES VARY FROM COUNTY TO COUNTY.  CONTACT YOUR COUNTY ASSESSMENT OFFICE FOR INSTRUCTIONS AND THE APPROPRIATE FORM.  INFORMATION AND FORMS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET. 

 IF YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE, THINK ABOUT YOUR PARENTS OR OLDER FRIENDS.  TELL THEM ABOUT THE PROGRAM.  HAVE THEM CONTACT THEIR COUNTY ASSESSMENT OFFICE.  REMEMBER THAT INCOME MAXIMUMS AND DEADLINE DATES VARY FROM COUNTY TO COUNTY.

IF YOU OR YOUR PARENTS OR OLDER FRIENDS WERE NOT AWARE OF THE PROGRAM AND FAILED TO APPLY, HAVE THEM CONTACT THEIR ASSESSOR’S OFFICE.  IT MAY BE POSSIBLE FOR THEM TO SEEK THE BENEFITS RETROACTIVELY FOR AT LEAST A FEW YEARS. 

SENIOR CITIZEN ASSESSMENT FREEZE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION

 Are you upset that your real estate tax bill keeps increasing each year?  Are you sure that you are getting all the exemptions for which you qualify?  Are you aware of the Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption for property owners over 65?

What is the “Senior Freeze” exemption?

The Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption reduces the Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) of a home by the difference of a home between the 2016 Equalized Assessed Value and the Equalized Assessed Value of the “Base Year.”  The base year generally is the year prior to the year the taxpayer first receives the exemption.  This exemption does not freeze the amount of a property tax bill, which could change if the tax rate changes.  The assessment and tax bill may increase if improvements are added to the home.  oswHowever, if the Equalized Assessed Value of the home decreases in the future, the taxpayer will benefit from any reduction.

Who is eligible?

At least one of the owners of the property must

  • Be sixty-five or older by December 31, 2015.
  • Own the property or have an equitable interest in it by written instrument or had a leasehold interest in the single family home.
  • Use the property as his principal residence on both January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016.
  • Have a total household income of $55,000 or less in 2015.

What is a household?   

A household means the applicant, the applicant’s spouse, and all persons who use the residence of the applicant as their principal dwelling place on January 1, 2016, whether they pay rent or not.

What is included in household income?

Household income includes your income, your spouse’s income, and the income of all persons living in the house.  Examples of income are listed below:

  • Alimony or maintenance received
  • Annuity benefits
  • Black Lung benefits
  • Business income, including capital gains
  • Cash assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services and/or any other governmental cash assistance
  • Cash winnings from other such sources as raffles, lotteries, and gambling
  • Civil Service benefits
  • Damages awarded in a lawsuit for nonphysical injury or sickness (for example, age discrimination or injury to reputation)
  • Dividends
  • Farm income
  • Illinois Income Tax Refund
  • Interest, including interest received on life insurance policies
  • Long term care insurance (federally taxable portion only)
  • Lump sum Social Security payments
  • Miscellaneous income from rummage sales, recycling aluminum, baby sitting, etc.
  • Military retirement pay based on age or length of service
  • Monthly insurance benefits
  • Pension and IRA benefits (federally taxable portion only)
  • Railroad Retirement benefits
  • Rental income
  • Social Security income
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
  • Unemployment compensation (all)
  • Wages, salaries and tips
  • Workers’ Compensation Act Income
  • Workers’ Occupational Disease Act income

What is not included in household income?

Examples of income that are not included in household income are listed below.

  • Cash gifts and loans
  • Child support payments
  • Circuit Breaker grants
  • COBRA Subsidy Payments
  • Damages paid from a lawsuit for a physical injury or sickness
  • Energy Assistance payments
  • Federal income tax refunds
  • IRAs “rolled over” into other retirement accounts, unless “rolled over” into a Roth IRA
  • Lump sums from inheritances or insurance policies
  • Money borrowed against a life insurance policy or from any financial institution
  • Reverse mortgage payments
  • Spousal impoverishment payments
  • Stipends from Foster Parents and Foster Grandparent programs
  • Veterans’ benefits

When must I file?

If you are eligible for the Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption, you should file the appropriate form with the County Assessment Office by July 1, 2016.  You must file an application every year to continue to receive an exemption.  The eligibility requirements under “Who is eligible?” must be met each year.  Additional documentation (i.e., birth certificates, tax returns, etc.) may be required by the County Assessment Office to verify the information on this application.

What if I need additional assistance?

If you have questions, please contact the Kane County Assessment Office at (630) 208-3818.

 by Karen Centowski