Tag Archives: karen


Born at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago on July 21, 1951, Robin Williams was the son of Robert Fitzgerald Williams, a senior executive in Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln-Mercury Division. His mother, Laurie McLaurin, was a former model from Jackson, Mississippi. During a television interview on Inside the Actors Studio in 2001, Williams credited his mother as an important early influence on his humor. He said he tried to make her laugh to gain attention.

Williams attended public elementary school at Gorton Elementary School in Lake Forest and middle school at Deer Path Junior High School. When he was twelve, his father was transferred to Detroit. When he was sixteen, his father took early retirement and the family moved to California.

He began performing stand-up comedy in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the 1970’s. He also starred in numerous films including Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) and the box office hit Mrs. Doubtfire (1993).

On August 11, 2014, the world learned that Williams had committed suicide by hanging himself in his California home. He was sixty-three years old. The autopsy report showed no alcohol or illegal drugs were involved. Prescription drugs in his system were at “therapeutic” levels. The final autopsy report noted that Williams had been suffering “a recent increase in paranoia.” An examination of his brain tissue suggested Williams suffered from “diffuse Lewy body dementia.”

According to a Mayo Clinic article “Lewy body dementia” at https://www.mayoclinic.org., “Lewy body dementia, also known as dementia with Lewy bodies, is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease dementia. Protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, develop in nerve cells in the brain regions involved in thinking, memory and movement (motor control).

“Lewy body dementia causes a progressive decline in mental abilities. People with Lewy body dementia may experience visual hallucinations, and change in alertness and attention. Other effects include Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms such as rigid muscles, slow movement and tremors.”

If you have a family member who suffers from Lewy body dementia 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


When the snow melts and the grass turns green again, homeowners often get the urge to begin working in the yard or garden. Maybe the husband and wife go to a nursery and select a tree to plant in the yard. Maybe they stop at Home Depot to look at the samples of wood fence to enclose the backyard. The kids would love to have a swing set or, better yet, a tree house. Each of these projects requires digging in the ground.

Have you ever thought about what is buried in the ground of a typical subdivision? Storm sewers, sanitary sewers, natural gas lines, electrical wires, telephone lines, cable wires, water lines. If the homeowner accidentally punctures or severs one of these underground lines, the results could be catastrophic.

State law requires that you notify JULIE at least two business days (excluding weekends and holidays) before any digging project regardless of the project size or depth. Even if you are digging in the same location as a previous project, you must notify JULIE.

To notify JULIE, call 8-1-1 or 1-800-892-0123. Call center agents are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. There is no charge for this service. According to http://illinois1call.com, you will be asked to provide the following information when you call:

  • Your name, address, a phone number at which you can be reached, an email address and a fax and/or pager number, if available
  • The location of the excavation will take place, including county, city or unincorporated township, section and quarter section numbers if available, address, cross street (within ¼ mile), subdivision name, etc.
  • Start date and time of planned excavation
  • Type and extent of excavation involved
  • Whether the dig area has been outlined with white paint, flags or stakes

You will be given a dig number that identifies specific information about your locate request. It is important that you keep this number as proof that you contacted JULIE.

JULIE does not own or mark underground lines. Instead, JULIE notifies the utility companies so that they can mark your property. The utilities use the following colors of flags, stakes, or paint to mark the underground lines:

  • Red – Electric
  • Yellow – Gas, oil or petroleum
  • Orange – Communications
  • Blue – Potable water
  • Purple – Reclaimed water, irrigation
  • Green – Sewer
  • White – Proposed excavation
  • Pink – Temporary go to https://survey


An underground line may actually be within 18 inches of either side of the marked line. This is called the tolerance zone. Use extreme care when digging within 18 inches on either side of the utility marking. Digging by hand is recommended within the tolerance zone.

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video called Digging Dangers 24: Strike Three! Excavation Accidents YouTube, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A53Qo1QIp3w.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN – Proclamation 106—Thanksgiving Day, 1863

Abraham Lincoln


XVI President of the United States: 1861-1865

Proclamation 106—Thanksgiving Day, 1863
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.


By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

Citation: Abraham Lincoln: “Proclamation 106—Thanksgiving Day, 1863,” October 3, 1863. Online by Gerhard Peters and
John T. Woolley.  American Presidency Project,




Do you remember the thrill of going into a record store and thumbing through the bins of vinyl records? Beginning in 1963, the Beatles released Please Please Me, A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, and many more albums. Simon and Garfunkle’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters was released in 1970. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was released in 1973. Between 1965 and 2013, the Rolling Stones released twenty-five studio albums. Bruce Springsteen, who released Born to Run in 1975 and Born in the U.S.A. in 1984, continues to perform. Add to that Country and Western music by performers such as George Strait, Garth Brooks, Reba McIntyre, and Wynonna Judd.

Part of the experience was looking at the album covers. The album jackets were works of art, designed to complement the music on the album. The records were protected by a sleeve, and each record had a label attached to it.

In 1982 compact discs (CDs) were introduced. According to https://en.wikipedia.org, “By 1988 CD sales in the United States surpassed those of vinyl LPs, and by 1992 CD sales surpassed those of prerecorded music cassette tapes.”

There were always record collectors who preferred the vinyl records, but the market largely ignored them. Many LP pressing plants closed except for a few which pressed dance music records used by D.J.s.

Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in vinyl records. In a New York Times article entitled “Weaned on CDs, They’re Reaching for Vinyl,” Allan Kozinn summarizes the state of vinyl: “These days, every major record label and many smaller ones are releasing vinyl, and most major new releases have a vinyl version, leading to a spate of new pressing plants.”

Why would anyone want a vinyl record when a CD is available? Some owners speak of the warmth and depth of the sound. Others speak fondly of the popping sounds occasionally heard when the vinyl record is played. Many are attracted to the album covers. Just stepping into a record shop and thumbing through the albums is like a walk down memory lane.

How are LPs selling? Manufacturers report that about 25 million vinyl records were pressed in the United States last year. Sales of turntables and accessories are increasing as well. Record store customers now include 15-25 years old shoppers as well as the traditional 35-55 years old shoppers. A new generation has discovered vinyl.

To see a video about the return to vinyl, go to Drop The Needle Again (A Documentary on Record Store Culture) at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6-A32_YDK0.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are unable to access a video by using the link, type the name of the video into your search engine.

Karen Centowski


Leaning Tower

If you’ve lived in the Chicago area for a while, you have probably gone to the most famous sites in the city. You’ve taken the elevator to the top of the John Hancock Building and looked out over the city. You have gone to Millennium Park and peered at the Cloud Gate Sculpture (the “bean”). You’ve gone shopping on the Magnificent Mile. You’ve gone to the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium. Maybe you’ve even gone to a Bulls game or a Cubs game or a Sox game.

Here’s one thing you probably have not done. Drive to 6300 W. Touhy Avenue in Niles. There, just off the main road in a 22-acre park, is a replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. Why would this be in Niles, Illinois?

The park, Ilgair Park, was built in the 1920’s by Robert Ilg, a successful businessman. The park had two large outdoor pools which required a constant source of water. Ilg built this half size replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to conceal a water tower.

The Leaning Tower of Niles is 94 feet tall and 28 feet in diameter. Built of reinforced concrete, it leans 7.4 feet to mimic the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy. Construction began in 1931 and was completed in 1934.

Cracks soon began developing in the reinforced concrete due to the freeze-thaw cycles of Illinois. In 1995, the Village of Niles undertook a $1.2 million renovation project. Concrete was repaired. New lights were added to each of the eight floors. A plaza with four fountains was developed around the Leaning Tower. A thirty-foot reflecting pool was built. A “telefono” booth was installed. Landscaping was improved. Formal dedication of The Leaning Tower Plaza occurred June 26, 1997.

If you have the opportunity to go to Pisa, Italy, you will be able to see the original Leaning Tower of Pisa. According to en.wikipedia.org., construction of the tower occurred in three stages over 199 years. Work on the ground floor began in 1173. After construction had progressed to the second floor in 1178, the tower began to sink. Construction was halted for almost a century because of battles with Genoa, Lucca, and Florence.

In 1272, construction resumed. To compensate for the tilt, the upper floors were built with one side taller than the other. In 1284, construction was halted again by war. The seventh floor was completed in 1319, and in 1372 the bell-chamber was added.

Scientists have determined that the tower was built on weak, unstable subsoil. Through the years, numerous attempts have been made to correct the posture of the tower.

To see a video about these efforts to find a solution, go to Worst Engineering Disaster of All Times Documentary—The Leaning Tower of Pisa—Films at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J7TtDbj2n4.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are unable to access a video by using the link, type the name of the video into your search engine.

—By Karen Centowski