Saturday, August 5, 2017

Northfield Township Property Tax Appeals

The Cook County Assessor's Office is accepting 2017 assessment appeals from Northfield Township property owners through September 1. Any changes in assessed value would impact real estate taxes paid in 2018.

NorthfieldTownship Assessor's Department staff can advise homeowners on how to build effective appeals. Call (847) 724-8300. Research and appeals can also be done directly online at the Cook County Assessor’s website.

Paper appeal forms are available at:
Northfield Township, 2550 Waukegan Road, Suite 100, Glenview, or
Cook County Assessor's satellite office in the Skokie Courthouse, 5600 Old Orchard Road, Room 149, Skokie.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

More Tips to Enjoy the Eclipse

Eclipse Preparation Underway at Illinois Department of Transportation

Agency working with law enforcement, public asked to plan ahead

SPRINGFIELD – Although the sun might go missing for a little while, the Illinois Department of Transportation promises to stay active leading up to the solar eclipse to make sure traffic keeps moving and the traveling public remains safe. Carbondale is in the path of the total eclipse, making it one of the prime viewing areas in the country for the Aug. 21 event. The rest of the state will experience a partial eclipse of approximately 90 percent.

“The Illinois Department of Transportation is proud to be one of several state agencies teaming up to make sure that Illinois is prepared to host this historic occasion,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said. “We also need the public to do its part. By following a few basic guidelines, the eclipse can be safe and exciting for everyone.” 

Up to 200,000 people are expected to visit southern Illinois to view the eclipse and take part in local festivities in the days leading up to it.

Unlike some states, Illinois is placing no special restrictions on truck activities due to the eclipse.  To help with traffic flow, lane closures on major IDOT projects in the southern part of the state will be temporarily lifted during the weekend before the eclipse and the following day. Throughout the state, digital message boards will be used to communicate traffic and safety messages.

The department also is coordinating with Illinois State Police and local law enforcement to ensure that traffic control points are appropriately staffed. 

If you are traveling during the eclipse, here are some commonsense tips:
  •  Plan ahead: Do not expect to park and view the eclipse from the side of the road. 
  • Anticipate increased pedestrian and bike traffic near popular viewing areas.
  • Do not wear special viewing glasses or take photos of the eclipse while driving.
  • On the day of the eclipse, drive with your headlights on.
  • Use the Getting Around Illinois website to get the latest on traffic conditions.

 To help answer questions about the eclipse, IDOT has created a special page on its website.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Health and Safety Tips for the Solar Eclipse

Looking at the sun when it is partially eclipsed is unsafe
SPRINGFIELD – On Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible across the entire U.S.  The last total solar eclipse seen coast to coast in the U.S. was in 1918.  Starting shortly before noon and lasting until 2:45 p.m. central time, people in Illinois can see the moon pass in front of the sun.  There is a 70-mile wide path across the country called the path of totality, when the sun will be completely blocked by the moon.  Parts of southern Illinois are in the path of totality and people there will see a total eclipse.  Totality in Carbondale and the immediate surrounding area will last approximately 2 minutes and 40 seconds.  Central and northern Illinois will see varying degrees of the partial eclipse with decreasing magnitude further north.  More information about the path of the eclipse and how long it will last can be found on the American Astronomical Society website.

Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief phase when the moon entirely eclipses the sun.  The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers. 

“Looking at the sun without eclipse glasses or solar viewers can cause ‘eclipse blindness’ or retinal burns,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun.” 

To date, four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17. Follow this link for more information about eclipse glasses and solar viewers from the American Astronomical Society.


If you’re planning to spend the day outside and turn the eclipse viewing into an event, keep in mind sun and heat safety.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Illinois Unclaimed Property

In Illinois, forgotten bank and investment accounts are a common form of unclaimed property. How does an account become forgotten? Typically, as businesses upgrade technology, an address might be accidentally altered or a name misspelled. One number off on an address, or one letter off on a name, could create enough confusion to ‘misplace’ an account. Or, when people move, a little-used account might be overlooked when completing the change of address forms.


In Illinois, property is considered unclaimed if the owner has not touched it in five years. A database of unclaimed properties can be found here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Nonfiction Book Review



This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression by Daphne Merkin

Attractive, educated, and successful, Daphne Merkin appeared to have all the glamorous trappings of a charmed upper-middle class life – including a coveted position as a staff writer for The New Yorker. But in between landing lucrative book deals, summering in the Hamptons, and hobnobbing with Manhattan’s literati, she was also periodically staving off overwhelming urges to drown herself, slit her wrists, or walk into oncoming traffic. In her new memoir, This Close to Happy, Merkin paints a sharp and devastating portrait of despair. With graceful candor, she recounts her lifelong battle with clinical depression, which led to various hospital stays, myriad meds, and a rotating cast of therapists. She also describes her obsessive, destructive relationship with her mother, a withholding and enigmatic woman who loomed large in Merkin’s life, even after her death from lung cancer. This Close to Happy is a deeply intimate book, and some may cringe at the author’s propensity to overshare – or worse, they may characterize her as another “poor little rich girl” insufficiently aware of her obvious privilege. But the quality of her writing – elegant, perceptive, and utterly absorbing – ultimately elevates the material, so much so that the book essentially transcends the genre of confessional memoir. Furthermore, in the age of social media, where carefully crafted images of happiness are the norm, This Close to Happy qualifies as an especially courageous book. By sharing her descent into darkness, Merkin helps to shed light on a poorly understood disorder that unfortunately still carries a burden of stigma. --Romi Pekarek Smith








Friday, May 26, 2017

Protect Yourself This Mosquito Season

SPRINGFIELD – As we enter mosquito season, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reminding Illinoisans of the best ways to avoid being bitten.  Different types of mosquitoes can carry different types of diseases, like West Nile virus and Zika virus, but steps you can take to protect yourself from mosquito bites are essentially the same.

“Each year since 2002 when we saw the first human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois, we’ve seen the virus circulate across the state,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D. J.D.  “Now, for the second summer, we’re monitoring for Zika virus in Illinois.  While Zika is also primarily transmitted through the bite of a mosquito, the main type of mosquito that carries Zika virus is rarely found in Illinois.  However, taking some simple precautions can help you avoid mosquito bites, regardless of the type of mosquito or the diseases they carry.”

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected Culex pipiens, “house” mosquito.  Mild cases of West Nile virus infections may cause a slight fever or headache.  More severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, paralysis or death.  Symptoms usually occur from three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.  However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms.  People older than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile Virus.

Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito, a mosquito that rarely has been found in Illinois.  Unlike West Nile virus, Zika virus can be passed from person to person through sex, so it’s important to wear a condom if you or your partner may have been exposed to Zika.  Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms and might not realize they have been infected.  The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes), and typically last several days to a week.  However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects.  Since December 2015, 116 cases of Zika virus have been reported in Illinois; 115 cases are travel-related and one case occurred through sex with someone who traveled to an area with Zika virus.  More information about Zika virus can be found on the IDPH website.

Predicting how bad the mosquito season will be is like predicting the weather - it can change week to week.  The key factors in determining high or low levels of mosquito activity are temperature and rainfall.  Although people usually notice mosquitoes during rainy conditions, those mosquitoes are commonly called floodwater or nuisance mosquitoes (Aedes vexans) and typically do not carry disease.  In hot, dry weather, mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus breed in stagnant water, like street catch basins and ditches, and multiply rapidly.  Similarly, the type of mosquito that carries Zika virus also breeds in stagnant water like empty flower pots, tires, and any container that holds water that is not changed weekly.  There are two other types of mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus and Aedes triseriatus) found in Illinois that can also carry disease and breed in water-collecting containers. 

Here are some simple precautions you can take to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and protect yourself from being bitten.  Precautions include practicing the three “R’s” – reduce, repel, and report.
  •        REDUCE - make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.  Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.  Try to keep doors and windows shut. Eliminate, or refresh each week all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.
  •        REPEL - when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions.  Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  •        REPORT – report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.  The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito eggs.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the IDPH website.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14

In 1914, Congress designated the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day. The U.S. Census Bureau has compiled a variety of statistics on mothers and their characteristics.  Happy Mother's Day!