Sunday, 31 January 2016

This Day In History - February 2nd


First Groundhog Day

On this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring.

Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State.

Groundhogs, also called woodchucks and whose scientific name is Marmota monax, typically weigh 12 to 15 pounds and live six to eight years. They eat vegetables and fruits, whistle when they’re frightened or looking for a mate and can climb trees and swim. They go into hibernation in the late fall; during this time, their body temperatures drop significantly, their heartbeats slow from 80 to five beats per minute and they can lose 30 percent of their body fat. In February, male groundhogs emerge from their burrows to look for a mate (not to predict the weather) before going underground again.

They come out of hibernation for good in March.

In 1887, a newspaper editor belonging to a group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club declared that Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog, was America’s only true weather-forecasting groundhog. The line of groundhogs that have since been known as Phil might be America’s most famous groundhogs, but other towns across North America now have their own weather-predicting rodents, from Birmingham Bill to Staten Island Chuck to Shubenacadie Sam in Canada.

In 1993, the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray popularized the usage of “groundhog day” to mean something that is repeated over and over. Today, tens of thousands of people converge on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney each February 2 to witness Phil’s prediction. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club hosts a three-day celebration featuring entertainment and activities.

This Day In History - February 1st


First session of the U.S. Supreme Court

In the Royal Exchange Building on New York City’s Broad Street, the Supreme Court of the United States meets for the first time, with Chief Justice John Jay of New York presiding.

The U.S. Supreme Court was established by Article Three of the U.S. Constitution, which took effect in March 1789. The Constitution granted the Supreme Court ultimate jurisdiction over all laws, especially those in which constitutionality was at issue. The court was also designated to rule on cases concerning treaties of the United States, foreign diplomats, admiralty practice, and maritime jurisdiction.

In September 1789, the Judiciary Act was passed, implementing Article Three by providing for six justices who would serve on the court for life. The same day, President George Washington appointed John Jay to preside as chief justice, and John Rutledge of South Carolina, William Cushing of Massachusetts, John Blair of Virginia, Robert Harrison of Maryland, and James Wilson of Pennsylvania to serve as associate justices. Two days later, all six appointments were confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The Supreme Court later grew into arguably the most powerful judicial body in the world in terms of its central place in the U.S. political order. In times of constitutional crisis, for better or worse, it always played a definitive role in resolving the great issues of the time.

This Day In History - January 31st


House passes the 13th Amendment

On this day in 1865, the U.S. House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in America.The amendmentread, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

When the Civil War began, President Abraham Lincoln’s professed goal was the restoration of the Union. But early in the war, the Union began keeping escaped slaves rather than returning them to their owners, so slavery essentially ended wherever the Union army was victorious.

In September 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in areas that were still in rebellion against the Union. This measure opened the issue of what to do about slavery in border states that had not seceded or in areas that had been captured by the Union before the proclamation.

In 1864, an amendment abolishing slavery passed the U.S. Senate but died in the House as Democrats rallied in the name of states’ rights. The election of 1864 brought Lincoln back to the White House along with significant Republican majorities in both houses, so it appeared the amendment was headed for passage when the new Congress convened in March 1865.

Lincoln preferred that the amendment receive bipartisan support–some Democrats indicated support for the measure, but many still resisted. The amendment passed 119 to 56, seven votes above the necessary two-thirds majority.

Several Democrats abstained, but the 13th Amendment was sent to the states for ratification, which came in December 1865. With the passage of the amendment, the institution that had indelibly shaped American history was eradicated.

Village Engineer Report - January 26, 2016

by Village Engineer Jim Czarnik

On the agenda for approval tonight are two items relating to the Village’s annual MFT maintenance program.  This includes tasks such as snow plowing, tree trimming, street maintenance, and street lighting maintenance.   
Also, so the Board is aware, I have not been asked to move forward with a street resurfacing program this year due to the State’s budget uncertainty.  This would be the first year since I have served Sauk Village that we have not done a street resurfacing program.  

We are not getting any CDBG money this year however, can certainly bank the funding we receive from the State this year and put it towards a larger street resurfacing program next year.  I just want to be sure that is what you want. 

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Sauk Village Administrator/Public Safety Director Report - January 26, 2016

Administrator’s Report

by Village Administrator / Public Safety Director JW Fairman


UCR-Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics (Update)

  •  January 2016 UCR crime report graph will be sent to the Board after February 1st.


Update on Blueprint Partners Project-BPP / Vacant Housing / Contract Components

  • The Village’s master vacant list, to date, shows 475 vacant homes:
    • Vacant                       379 houses
    • Vacant/Occupied     84 houses
    • Demo list                    12 houses  

SVPD is the process of identifying the 84 vacant/occupied houses as to their status.

  • Several months ago legislation had been submitted to the Board of Trustees to assist staff in their efforts to control vacancy related issues. This legislation will spell out ownership responsibility on all issues of property located in Sauk Village relating to occupancy, water and sewer. The Village continues to lose a considerable amount of financial resources from vacant/occupied houses that are not paying their related cost for Village services. By year’s end this cost could well exceed $50,000. It is staff’s position that this legislation should be moved forward. We thank Trustee Burgess and Meyers for supporting staff efforts on this legislation.


  • Staff has also reviewed Village’s scavenger contract to ascertain if the Village is paying the vender for acceptable services. Several obvious conclusions have been made:

  1. The contract provides for scavenger services for every residential house in the Village.
  2. The Vender will deliver those services unless otherwise notified by the Village that the number of residential units has changed.
  3. Staff has advised me that due to layoffs several years ago no staff, since the layoffs, has notified the vender in regards to discontinuation of scavenger services for vacant properties. The current scavenger billing for each residential property is $16.75 monthly. Staff currently pays the Vender what it receives from the billings and the underage (approximately $96,000 in 2015) is what the Village is compounding and owes the Vender.
  4. For compliance purposes Staff will begin sending the Vender (on a monthly basis beginning February 1, 2016) the Village’s master vacant list requesting that the Vender not bill the Village for services to properties on the vacant list.
  5. I strongly recommend that a liaison from the Board of Trustees have a meeting with the Vender in regards to past debt regarding services rendered to vacant houses.



Staff continues to prepare a draft for the 2015/16 annual budget. When completed, the draft will be submitted to the Finance Committee for review.


Sauk Village Homeland Security (ESDA) Report - January 26, 2016

 Sauk Village Homeland Security Report

Over the past 2 weeks, the ESDA responded to 23 calls. The ESDA department responded to 2 fire alarms, 5 vehicle accidents, 2 smell of gas, 3 CO investigations, 6 school patrol, 1missing person, 1 power outage, 2 structure fires, and 1 wires down.





This Day In History - January 30th


Andrew Jackson narrowly escapes assassination

On this day in 1835, Andrew Jackson becomes the first American president to experience an assassination attempt.

Richard Lawrence, an unemployed house painter, approached Jackson as he left a congressional funeral held in the House chamber of the Capitol building and shot at him, but his gun misfired. A furious 67-year-old Jackson confronted his attacker, clubbing Lawrence several times with his walking cane.

During the scuffle, Lawrence managed to pull out a second loaded pistol and pulled the trigger, but it also misfired. Jackson’s aides then wrestled Lawrence away from the president, leaving Jackson unharmed but angry and, as it turned out, paranoid.

Lawrence was most likely a mentally unstable individual with no connections to Jackson’s political rivals, but Jackson was convinced that Lawrence had been hired by his Whig Party opponents to assassinate him. At the time, Jackson’s Democrats and the Whigs were locked in battle over Jackson’s attempt to dismantle the Bank of the United States. His vice president, Martin Van Buren, was also wary and thereafter carried two loaded pistols with him when visiting the Senate.

Jackson’s suspicions were never proven and Lawrence spent the rest of his life in a mental institution. A century later, Smithsonian Institute researchers conducted a study of Lawrence’s derringers, during which both guns discharged properly on the test’s first try. It was later determined that the odds of both guns misfiring during the assassination attempt were one in 125,000. 

Friday, 29 January 2016

Sauk Village Fire Department Report - January 26, 2016

Fire Department Report

by Fire Chief Al Stoffregen

Over the past 2 weeks, the fire department responded to 24 calls. The fire department responded to 5 vehicle accidents, 3 fire alarms, 7 medical assist, 2 CO alarms, 3 gas leaks, 1 assist other agency, 1 structure fire, 1 wires down, and 1 still alarm.

As the Board knows our ariel truck was sent back to Spartan in Michigan for a chassis recall. On the way to Michigan the engine light came on. Spartan called Caterpillar to check engine out. I informed J.W. Fairman we just had $6,000 on engine work. I should know more by Wednesday or Thursday. At that time I will let J.W. Fairman know what is going on.


This Day In History - January 29th


Kansas Enters The Union

In 1854, Kansas and Nebraska were organized as territories with popular sovereignty (popular vote) to decide the issue of slavery. There was really no debate over the issue in Nebraska, as the territory was filled with settlers from the Midwest, where there was no slavery.

In Kansas, the situation was much different. Although most of the settlers were anti-slave or abolitionists, there were many pro-slave Missourians lurking just over the border. When residents in the territory voted on the issue, many fraudulent votes were cast from Missouri.

This triggered the massive violence that earned the area the name “Bleeding Kansas.” Both sides committed atrocities, and the fighting over the issue of slavery was a preview of the Civil War.

Kansas remained one of the most important political questions throughout the 1850s. Each side drafted constitutions, but the anti-slave faction eventually gained the upper hand. Kansas entered the Union as a free state; however,the conflict over slavery in the state continued into the Civil War.

Kansas was the scene of some of the most brutal acts of violence during the war. One extreme example was the sacking of Lawrence in 1863, when pro-slave forces murdered nearly 200 men and burned the anti-slave town.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Open Tollway Positions

·       Buyer ($16.00 /Hour)  Deadline to apply 2/9/16

·       This position requires an individual with an Associate degree.

·       This position also requires a minimum of three (3) years' work experience in the procurement/contract field and/or purchasing-related work.

·        A working knowledge of the State of Illinois Procurement Code is desired.

·        The ability to write contract specifications in a clear and concise manner, from sources ranging from non-existent to overly detailed, is required.

·       Comprehensive skills in Microsoft Office Applications (Word, Excel, and Outlook) are required.

·       Excellent verbal and written communication skills and attention to detail are required.

·        The ability to concisely and accurately communicate with using departments and vendors is required.

·        Sign Maker/Hanger ($23.97 /Hour) Deadline to apply 2/8/16

·        High school graduate or GED equivalent is required.

·        Ability to spell and differentiate colors.

·        A Class "A" CDL permit with an endorsement for air brakes is required at the time of interview.

·        Candidates will be required, as a condition of employment, to obtain a Class "A" CDL with an endorsement for air brakes within the first 30 days of employment and maintain said license throughout the term of their employment.

·        Failure to obtain and/or maintain said license shall be grounds for termination.

·        All costs associated with the permit and license is the responsibility of the candidate/employee.

·        Must be able to work in an elevated position on a ladder or lift truck and on elevated structures.

·        Ability to lift and carry 50 - 100 pounds. Have knowledge of and familiarity with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

·        Two (2) years' experience in sign fabrication and installation is desired.

·        Ability to perform in an outside environment in all types of weather.

·        Must be available to participate in Snow & Ice Control Operations including mandatory overtime as required by Storm Conditions.

·        Knowledge of computer based sign design is desired.

·        Must pass written exam with a 75% or higher in order to qualify for an interview.

·        Roadway Lighting Technician  ($23.97/Hour) Deadline to apply 2/8/16

·        High School Graduate or equivalent GED is required.

·        Regardless of grade, all electricians shall have a general knowledge of roadway electrical maintenance operations.

·        A Class "A" CDL permit with an endorsement for air brakes is required at the time of interview.

·         Candidates will be required, as a condition of employment, to obtain a Class "A" CDL with an endorsement for air brakes within the first 30 days of employment and maintain said license throughout the term of their employment.

·        Failure to obtain and/or maintain said license shall be grounds for termination.

·        All costs associated with the permit and license is the responsibility of the candidate/employee.

·        A Roadway Electrician shall have a minimum of five (5) years on control wiring (Photo cell time controls).

·        Also extensive background on 480 volt single and three phase.

·        Incumbent must be able to lift 60 pounds.

·        Must pass written examination with a 75 % or higher to qualify for an interview.

This Day In History - January 28th


Challenger Explodes After Liftoff

The space shuttle Challenger explodes just after liftoff on this day in 1986, killing the seven astronauts aboard.

The Challenger was the second shuttle built by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It took its first flight into space on April 4, 1983, and made a total of nine voyages prior to January 1986. The 10th trip for Challenger included a teacher from New Hampshire, Christa MacAuliffe, among the astronauts, as part of a new Teacher in Space project.

The Challenger was scheduled to launch on January 22, but a series of problems with the weather delayed the launch until January 28. It was a cold morning at Cape Canaveral and engineers working on the shuttle team warned their superiors that certain equipment on the shuttle was vulnerable to failure at cold temperatures. However, these warnings went unheeded and at 11:39 a.m., the Challenger was launched. Problems began immediately.

First, the O-ring seal on the Challenger‘s solid rocket booster, which had become brittle in the cold temperatures, failed. Flames then broke out of the booster and damaged the external fuel tank. Within 73 seconds, the shuttle began breaking apart, and then it plunged into the ocean. 

All seven astronauts died but it remains unclear what caused their deaths. A later investigation revealed that the forces involved in the shuttle breakup were not sufficient to have killed them, but that they may have lost consciousness only seconds later as their module lost cabin pressure.

President Ronald Reagan postponed the State of the Union address that was scheduled for that evening and instead addressed the nation about the tragedy. He appointed a commission to investigate the accident and the shuttle program was put on hiatus.

The Rogers Commission determined that Morton Thiokol, the company that designed the solid rocket boosters, had ignored warnings about potential flaws. NASA managers were aware of these design problems, but also failed to take action. Famously, scientist Richard Feynman, a member of the Rogers Commission, demonstrated the O-ring flaw to the public using a simple glass of ice water.

Ten years after the disaster, two large pieces from the Challenger washed ashore on a Florida beach. The remaining debris from the Challenger is now stored in a missile silo at Cape Canaveral.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

This Day In History - January 26th


Bears Beat Patriots in Super Bowl XX

On January 26, 1986, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Chicago Bears score a Super Bowl record number of points to defeat the New England Patriots, 46-10, and win their first championship since 1963.

Led by Coach Mike Ditka, a tight end for the Bears during their last Super Bowl win, Chicago won 17 of 18 games to reach the championship match-up with the Patriots, who became only the fourth wild-card team in history to advance to the Super Bowl. After Tony Franklin kicked a 36-yard field goal only one minute and 19 seconds into the game, New England took the quickest lead in Super Bowl history. It was mostly downhill for the Patriots from there, as the Bears built a 23-3 lead by halftime, gaining a total of 236 yards, compared with New England’s minus 19. The young Patriots quarterback, Tony Eason, had zero completions in six passes, was sacked three times and fumbled once before being replaced by Steve Grogan near the end of the first half.

The mighty Bears defense made a crucial impact on the game, causing six Patriot turnovers (four of which led to touchdowns) and holding New England to a total of only seven rushing yards all game. The Bears were hot on offense as well, as quarterback Jim McMahon completed 12 of 20 passes for 256 yards and no interceptions. Defensive tackle William “The Refrigerator” Perry had one of the game’s most memorable moments, running in a one-yard touchdown and spiking the ball in celebration. The celebrated Chicago running back Walter Payton carried 22 times for 61 yards but did not score, the one disappointment in an otherwise triumphant game for the Bears.

When the game was over, the Bears had set a new NFL record for margin of victory (36 points), bettering the mark of 29 set by the Los Angeles Raiders when they beat the Washington Redskins 38-9 in Super Bowl XVIII. They also scored more points than any other team in the history of the Super Bowl, beating the previous record (38) shared by the Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XIX. The Bears defensive end Richard Dent, who contributed one and a half of Chicago’s record seven sacks, was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XX, becoming only the fourth defender to win the honor.

Super Bowl XX is also remembered for the ubiquitous “Super Bowl Shuffle,” a rap song and accompanying video released by the Bears during the weeks leading up to their championship meeting with the Patriots. Payton, McMahon, Dent, Perry and linebacker Mike Singletary were among the Bears who participated in the song’s production, which reached #41 on the Billboard charts and earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.


Additions to the Comcast channel line-up

Sauk Village Public Works Department Report - January 26, 2016

Public Works Report

by Director Kevin Weller

  • Clean up after storm event
  • Repair water main break 22228 Yates
  • Worked on storm sewer blockage related to Pacesetter Steel
  • Received 4 loads of salt 100 tons and put it away
  • HVAC units being worked on at Police Department, Fire Department, Public Works and Village Hall
  • Case cards system being worked on possible electric surg
  • Garbage cans and miner pickup around town
  • Vendors picked up parts for  vehicle ,equipment,and buildings
  • Repaired tools and equipment and vehicles
  • Started shut off list jetted B box 21743 Carol found concrete called in for dig
  • Shut water off for frozen pipes 4 locations
  • Removed tree 1839 223rd St. prep for hydrant replacement
  • Pothole work  complaint locations Pacesetter Steel
  • PD,Transport cars for PD to shops
  • Water plant repairs due to weather
  • PW building work.  

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Cook County Property Fraud Alert - Free Service

Quick Reminder


License plate renewal notices are no longer being mailed by the Illinois Secretary of State due to the budget impasse. If you need to renew your plate sticker, don't wait until the last minute and end up with a ticket. 

Make sure to get your sticker well before the end of the month. The Office of the Secretary of State anticipates resuming mailing out renewal notices once budgetary issues are resolved. 

You can renew online or by mail.
Secretary of State
Vehicle Services Department
501 S. 2nd Street, Room 011

Springfield, IL 62756 

This Day In History - January 23rd


First woman M.D.

Blackwell, born in Bristol, England, came to the United States in her youth and attended the medical faculty of Geneva College, now known as Hobart College. In 1849, she graduated with the highest grades in her class and was granted an M.D. In 1857, after several years of private practice, she founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children with her sister, Emily Blackwell, also a doctor.

In 1868, the institution was expanded to include a women’s college for the training of nurses and doctors, the first of its kind in America. The next year, Blackwell returned to England, where in 1875 she became professor of gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Women, a medical discipline she had helped to establish.

Friday, 22 January 2016

IRS Free File Launches; Offers More Free Federal and Free State Tax Software Options


WASHINGTON  — The Internal Revenue Service and Free File Alliance today announced the launch of Free File with many changes and updates for 2016, including more free state tax return options and easier Form W-2 imports.

For 2016, there are 13 brand-name tax software providers making their federal tax return products available for free. Taxpayers whose adjusted gross income was $62,000 or less during 2015 are eligible for at least one, if not more, of the 13 tax software products. The income limitation is $2,000 higher than last year. People can use Free File software immediately but e-filed returns will not be transmitted to the IRS until Tuesday, Jan. 19, when the filing season officially begins.

For taxpayers who earned more than $62,000, there’s Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms.  Free File Fillable Forms will be available on Jan. 19.

“You don’t have to be an expert on taxes. Free File software can help walk you through the steps and help you get it right,” said John A. Koskinen, IRS Commissioner. “For 13 years, this partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance has helped taxpayers. The real winner in this partnership has been the nation’s taxpayers.”

Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance, said, “We are proud to once again offer the industry’s most innovative and secure tax software at no cost to 70 percent of American taxpayers. Tax time can be stressful, but Free File makes step-by-step help accessible to everyone making $62,000 or less. is the one place where taxpayers can choose from a variety of industry-leading tax software options in order to prepare and e-file their federal tax returns at absolutely no cost.”

Free File is available only at Since 2003, more than 46 million people have used Free File, saving nearly $1.4 billion based on a conservative $30-fee estimate.

The Free File Alliance and its members also are active participants in the Security Summit Initiative to provide additional identity theft safeguards for tax filing and for the Security Awareness campaign – Taxes. Security. Together. – that encourages taxpayers to take steps to better protect their data.
For 2016, more Free File software providers are offering both free federal and free state tax return preparation for states with income tax requirements. Some providers also are offering state tax return preparation for a fee. State tax return offers are at the discretion of the providers.

Additionally, new for this year, several software providers also are offering the easy importation of Form W-2 information which can help reduce errors.

More than 70 percent of all taxpayers — 100 million people — are eligible for the software products. Each of the 13 companies has its own special offers, generally based on age, income or state residency. Taxpayers can review each company offer or they can use a “Help Me” tool that will find the software for which they are eligible, including which companies offer a free state return.

Free File also can help taxpayers with the new health care requirements. Just as last filing season, almost everyone will need to do something when filing a tax return this year. For each month in 2015, taxpayers and everyone on their return must:

  • Report health care coverage, or
  • Claim an exemption from coverage or
  • Make a shared responsibility payment with their tax return.

Most people will simply have to check a box to report health care coverage for the entire year.
If a taxpayer or anyone on their return purchased coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace, they may be eligible for the premium tax credit. If they opted for any advance payments of the premium tax credit to help with their monthly insurance premium payments, they must file a tax return, even if they were not required to file. Taxpayers must reconcile their advance payments with the amount they were due. Learn more at

Taxpayers have the option to prepare their return at any time and schedule a tax payment as late as the tax deadline, which, for 2016, is April 18. Taxpayers who cannot meet the April 18 tax filing deadline can also use Free File to file a six-month extension.

Remember, the fastest way to get your refund is through e-file and direct deposit. Direct deposit is fast, safe and easy. Just have your routing number and account number handy. Nine out of 10 taxpayers will receive their refunds within 21 days.

For 2016, Free File can also help taxpayers with myRA a new, free, retirement savings account from the Treasury Department.  Taxpayers who have a myRA account may use Free File to deposit their tax refund or a portion of their refund into their myRA account. Just use Form 8888 or follow your software product’s instructions.

This Day In History - January 22nd


Supreme Court legalizes abortion

In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Roe v. Wade that women, as part of their constitutional right to privacy, can terminate a pregnancy during its first two trimesters. Only during the last trimester, when the fetus can survive outside the womb, would states be permitted to regulate abortion of a healthy pregnancy.

The controversial ruling, essentially reversing a century of anti-abortion legislation in the United States, was the result of a call by many American women for control over their own reproductive processes. Although defended by the Supreme Court on several occasions, the legalization of abortion became a divisive and intensely emotional public issue. The debate intensified during the 1980s, and both pro-choice and pro-life organizations strengthened their membership and political influence.

Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush used their executive authority to legislate abortion clinic guidelines that restricted free practice of the procedure. However, in 1986, and again in 1989 and 1992, the Supreme Court narrowly reaffirmed the decision, and in 1993 President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, overturned his predecessors’ anti-abortion legislation within days of taking office. In the 1990s, opponents of abortion rights increasingly turned to violent methods in their campaign to make abortion illegal again.

In 2005, the retirement of Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who though conservative had helped block efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, led to fears that the historic legislation might be vulnerable to reversal.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

This Day In History - January 27th


U.S. officially ends participation in a Cold War conflict

  The Paris Peace Accords are signed by officials from the United States and North Vietnam, bringing an official end to America’s participation in its most unpopular foreign war. The accords did little, however, to solve the turmoil in Vietnam or to heal the terrible domestic divisions in the United States brought on by its involvement in this Cold War battleground.

Peace negotiations between the United States and North Vietnam had been ongoing since 1968. Richard Nixon was elected president that year, largely on the basis of his promise to find a way to “peace with honor” in Vietnam. Four years later, after the deaths of thousands more American servicemen, South Vietnamese soldiers, North Vietnamese soldiers, and Viet Cong fighters, the Paris Peace Accords were signed, and America’s participation in the struggle in Vietnam came to a close.

On the military side, the accords seemed straightforward enough. A cease-fire was declared, and the United States promised to remove all military forces from South Vietnam within 60 days. For their part, the North Vietnamese promised to return all American prisoners of war within that same 60-day framework. The nearly 150,000 North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam were allowed to remain after the cease-fire.

The political side of the agreement was somewhat less clear. In essence, the accords called for the reunification of North and South Vietnam through “peaceful means on the basis of discussions and agreements between North and South Viet-Nam.” Precisely what this entailed was left unsaid. The United States also promised to “contribute to healing the wounds of war and to postwar reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam [North Vietnam] and throughout Indochina.”

Most Americans were relieved simply to be out of the Vietnam quagmire. The war against communism in Southeast Asia cost over 50,000 U.S. lives and billions of dollars, in addition to countless soldiers wounded in the line of duty. At home, the war seriously fractured the consensus about the Cold War that had been established in the period after World War II–simple appeals to fighting the red threat of communism would no longer be sufficient to move the American nation to commit its prestige, manpower, and money to foreign conflicts.

For Vietnam, the accords meant little. The cease-fire almost immediately collapsed, with recriminations and accusations flying from both sides. In 1975, the North Vietnamese launched a massive military offensive, crushed the South Vietnamese forces, and reunified Vietnam under communist rule.

This Day In History - January 25th


First Winter Olympics

On January 25, 1924, the first Winter Olympics take off in style at Chamonix in the French Alps. Spectators were thrilled by the ski jump and bobsled as well as 12 other events involving a total of six sports. The “International Winter Sports Week,” as it was known, was a great success, and in 1928 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially designated the Winter Games, staged in St. Moritz, Switzerland, as the second Winter Olympics.

Five years after the birth of the modern Olympics in 1896, the first organized international competition involving winter sports was staged in Sweden. Called the Nordic Games, only Scandinavian countries competed. Like the Olympics, it was staged thereon every four years but always in Sweden. In 1908, figure skating made its way into the Summer Olympics in London, though it was not actually held until October, some three months after the other events were over.

In 1911, the IOC proposed the staging of a separate winter competition for the 1912 Stockholm Games, but Sweden, wanting to protect the popularity of the Nordic Games, declined. Germany planned a Winter Olympics to precede the 1916 Berlin Summer Games, but World War I forced the cancellation of both.

At the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, ice hockey joined figure skating as an official Olympic event, and Canada took home the first of many hockey gold medals. Soon after, an agreement was reached with Scandinavians to stage the IOC-sanctioned International Winter Sports Week. It was so popular among the 16 participating nations that, in 1925, the IOC formally created the Winter Olympics, retroactively making Chamonix the first.

In Chamonix, Scandinavians dominated the speed rinks and slopes, and Norway won the unofficial team competition with 17 medals. The United States came in third, winning its only gold medal with Charles Jewtraw’s victory in the 500-meter speed-skating event. Canada won another hockey gold, scoring 110 goals and allowing just three goals in five games.

Of the nearly 300 athletes, only 13 were women, and they only competed in the figure-skating events. Austrian Helene Engelmann won the pairs competition with Alfred Berger, and Austrian Herma Planck Szabo won the women’s singles. The Olympics offered a particular boost to skiing, a sport that would make enormous strides within the next decade. At Chamonix, Norway won all but one of the nine skiing medals.

This Day In History - January 24th


Boy Scouts movement begins

On January 24, 1908, the Boy Scouts movement begins in England with the publication of the first installment of Robert Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys. The name Baden-Powell was already well known to many English boys, and thousands of them eagerly bought up the handbook. By the end of April, the serialization of Scouting for Boys was completed, and scores of impromptu Boy Scout troops had sprung up across Britain.

In 1900, Baden-Powell became a national hero in Britain for his 217-day defense of Mafeking in the South African War. Soon after, Aids to Scouting, a military field manual he had written for British soldiers in 1899, caught on with a younger audience. Boys loved the lessons on tracking and observation and organized elaborate games using the book. Hearing this, Baden-Powell decided to write a nonmilitary field manual for adolescents that would also emphasize the importance of morality and good deeds.

First, however, he decided to try out some of his ideas on an actual group of boys. On July 25, 1907, he took a diverse group of 21 adolescents to Brownsea Island in Dorsetshire where they set up camp for a fortnight. With the aid of other instructors, he taught the boys about camping, observation, deduction, woodcraft, boating, lifesaving, patriotism, and chivalry. Many of these lessons were learned through inventive games that were very popular with the boys. The first Boy Scouts meeting was a great success.

With the success of Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell set up a central Boy Scouts office, which registered new Scouts and designed a uniform. By the end of 1908, there were 60,000 Boy Scouts, and troops began springing up in British Commonwealth countries across the globe. In September 1909, the first national Boy Scout meeting was held at the Crystal Palace in London. Ten thousand Scouts showed up, including a group of uniformed girls who called themselves the Girl Scouts. In 1910, Baden-Powell organized the Girl Guides as a separate organization.

The American version of the Boy Scouts has it origins in an event that occurred in London in 1909. Chicago publisher William Boyce was lost in the fog when a Boy Scout came to his aid. After guiding Boyce to his destination, the boy refused a tip, explaining that as a Boy Scout he would not accept payment for doing a good deed. This anonymous gesture inspired Boyce to organize several regional U.S. youth organizations, specifically the Woodcraft Indians and the Sons of Daniel Boone, into the Boy Scouts of America. Incorporated on February 8, 1910, the movement soon spread throughout the country. In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts of America in Savannah, Georgia.

In 1916, Baden-Powell organized the Wolf Cubs, which caught on as the Cub Scouts in the United States, for boys under the age of 11. Four years later, the first international Boy Scout Jamboree was held in London, and Baden-Powell was acclaimed Chief Scout of the world. He died in 1941.

IRS Urges Public to Stay Alert for Scam Phone Calls

The IRS continues to warn consumers to guard against scam phone calls from thieves intent on stealing their money or their identity.

Criminals pose as the IRS to trick victims out of their money or personal information. Here are several tips to help you avoid being a victim of these scams:

  • Scammers make unsolicited calls.  Thieves call taxpayers claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via phishing email.
  • Callers try to scare their victims.  Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money.

  • Scams use caller ID spoofing.  Scammers often alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

  • Cons try new tricks all the time.  Some schemes provide an actual IRS address where they tell the victim to mail a receipt for the payment they make. Others use emails that contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or an email address for a reply. These scams often use official IRS letterhead in emails or regular mail that they send to their victims. They try these ploys to make the ruse look official.

  • Scams cost victims over $23 million.  The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, has received reports of about 736,000 scam contacts since October 2013. Nearly 4,550 victims have collectively paid over $23 million as a result of the scam.

The IRS will not:
  • Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
  • Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
  • Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.

    Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

    Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.

If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.

If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:
  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.
Phone scams first tried to sting older people, new immigrants to the U.S. and those who speak English as a second language. Now the crooks try to swindle just about anyone. And they’ve ripped-off people in every state in the nation.

Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

This Day In History - January 20th


Iran Hostage Crisis Ends

On November 4, 1979, the crisis began when militant Iranian students, outraged that the U.S. government had allowed the ousted shah of Iran to travel to New York City for medical treatment, seized the U.S. embassy in Teheran.

The Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s political and religious leader, took over the hostage situation, refusing all appeals to release the hostages, even after the U.N. Security Council demanded an end to the crisis in an unanimous vote. However, two weeks after the storming of the embassy, the Ayatollah began to release all non-U.S. captives, and all female and minority Americans, citing these groups as among the people oppressed by the government of the United States. The remaining 52 captives remained at the mercy of the Ayatollah for the next 14 months.

President Jimmy Carter was unable to diplomatically resolve the crisis, and on April 24, 1980, he ordered a disastrous rescue mission in which eight U.S. military personnel were killed and no hostages rescued. Three months later, the former shah died of cancer in Egypt, but the crisis continued. In November 1980,

Carter lost the presidential election to Republican Ronald Reagan. Soon after, with the assistance of Algerian intermediaries, successful negotiations began between the United States and Iran. On the day of Reagan’s inauguration, the United States freed almost $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets, and the hostages were released after 444 days. The next day, Jimmy Carter flew to West Germany to greet the Americans on their way home.

Finance Department Report - January 12th


  • Village of Sauk Village Finance Department has filed DECO Quarterly report ending 11/30/2015-B Boxes and Fire Hydrants grant
  • Village will be filing soon the ICE grant final report for $35,000/- grant.
  • Village is going to wrap up soon the audited financial report for the year 04/30/2015.
  • Village Finance department is working with Village Administrator to save some postage-cost cutting measures-by eliminating mailing of Water shut-off notice by including shut-off date in the regular water bills.  No more shut-off notices issued.
  • Finance department is working with many Banks that provides more services than we currently receive.
This concludes my report.

Mohan Rao

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

This Day In History - January 21st


President Carter pardons draft dodgers

On this day in 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter grants an unconditional pardon to hundreds of thousands of men who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War.

In total, some 100,000 young Americans went abroad in the late 1960s and early 70s to avoid serving in the war. Ninety percent went to Canada, where after some initial controversy they were eventually welcomed as immigrants. Still others hid inside the United States. In addition to those who avoided the draft, a relatively small number–about 1,000–of deserters from the U.S. armed forces also headed to Canada. While the Canadian government technically reserved the right to prosecute deserters, in practice they left them alone, even instructing border guards not to ask too many questions.

For its part, the U.S. government continued to prosecute draft evaders after the Vietnam War ended. A total of 209,517 men were formally accused of violating draft laws, while government officials estimate another 360,000 were never formally accused. If they returned home, those living in Canada or elsewhere faced prison sentences or forced military service.

During his 1976 presidential campaign, Jimmy Carter promised to pardon draft dodgers as a way of putting the war and the bitter divisions it caused firmly in the past. After winning the election, Carter wasted no time in making good on his word. Though many transplanted Americans returned home, an estimated 50,000 settled permanently in Canada, greatly expanding the country’s arts and academic scenes and pushing Canadian politics decidedly to the left.

Back in the U.S., Carter’s decision generated a good deal of controversy. Heavily criticized by veterans’ groups and others for allowing unpatriotic lawbreakers to get off scot-free, the pardon and companion relief plan came under fire from amnesty groups for not addressing deserters, soldiers who were dishonorably discharged or civilian anti-war demonstrators who had been prosecuted for their resistance.

Years later, Vietnam-era draft evasion still carries a powerful stigma. Though no prominent political figures have been found to have broken any draft laws, Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and Vice-Presidents Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney–none of whom saw combat in Vietnam–have all been accused of being draft dodgers at one time or another. Although there is not currently a draft in the U.S., desertion and conscientious objection have remained pressing issues among the armed forces during the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Monday, 18 January 2016

“Free” Senior Enrichment Seminars


 Below are copies of three “Free” Senior Enrichment Seminars being presented by the Cook County Elder Justice Center, at the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois on the following seminar topics:



 Ø  Thursday,  January 21, 2016 – (11:30 am – 1:30 pm)

                        Topic: “Financial Literacy: Managing and Protecting Your Assets"

(There is still time to reserve your seat.)

 Ø   Thursday, February 11, 2016 – (12:00 noon  – 1:30 pm)

                         Topic:  “Property Tax Savings for Seniors:  Are You Overpaying?"

 Ø  Thursday, February 25, 2016 – (12:00 noon  – 1:30 pm)

                         Topic:  “Fair Housing Updates for Seniors:  How to Avoid Landlord

                                    - Tenant Disputes"

Additional information regarding the Cook County Elder Justice Center, and upcoming seminar announcements through August 2016 can be viewed at