In fear of corporations throughout Illinois relocating and taking their jobs, income tax revenue, and sales tax revenue with them, corporate tax incentives have been awarded to create jobs and to lure businesses from other states. Yet, while corporate America has been “downsizing”, the rate of small business “start-ups” has grown, and the rate for small business failures has declined. Since 1990, as big business eliminated 4M jobs, small businesses added 8M new jobs. In fact, small businesses provided 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s.
Many small businesses and marketing networks can be ran from a home office, which preserves valuable Lake County real estate and our open spaces. At today’s (August 14, 2016) Hawthorn Woods House Party, we talked about areas of employment deficits and how we can fill employment gaps. We also debunked some of the skepticism associated with marketing networks. You may find familiar household names on Global Revenue’s list of Top 50 Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) Companies.
Paula Hoerner talked about her experience as an Arbonne Independent Consultant and the history behind Arbonne International, LLC. She also introduced us to Arbonne’s line of products, which combine nature with leading science in order to reduce our exposure to toxins, support health and nutrition, and facilitate a healthier lifestyle.
Terry Cox, member of Lake County’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
I met some amazing people at theLake County Fair. The Democrats’ Booth was set up by Chris Zimmerman and husband – they worked very hard to make the booth run smoothly for candidates. It was well organized, appealing to the eye, and best of all – a lot of fun! I hope they give themselves a well deserved vacation after a long few weeks with very little sleep while preparing! ( … and hubby, I couldn’t help but notice how sweet it was of you to bring Chris some ice cream and put a little smile on an exhausted face!)
I spoke with Terry Cox, Senior Advisor and Consultant from Lake County’sCommunity Emergency Response Team (CERT). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began promoting nationwide use of CERTs in an effort to prepare communities for hazards and to meet immediate life-saving needs in the event of a major disaster. CERT teams have been established in hundreds of communities with more than 60,000 people completing their program. Training for preparedness includes education in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT members assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. These skills help save and sustain lives following a disaster until help arrives.
Terry provided an eyewitness account of the recent propane tank explosion in Gurnee. I’m very impressed with the level of dedication, emergency preparedness, and professionalism demonstrated by both our Gurnee firefighters and the members of CERT who were able to attend to this incident with no injuries reported.
“Sean Stewart – Lake McHenry County Scanner” (@LMCScanner) July 28, 2016
Members of CERT introduced me to a couple of great apps that are very useful in the event of an emergency:
2016 Emergency Response Guidebook (Free) provides first responders with a go-to resource to help deal with hazmat accidents during the critical first 30 minutes. It also lists identifications used for hazardous substances, many of which are currently transported through our communities.
HAZMAT Evac ($4.99) provides First Responders and Emergency Managers easy access to map-based standoff distances and HAZMAT spill evacuation areas.
I had the opportunity to speak with members of the Citizen Police Academy. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office serves as the largest law enforcement agency in the country, and its Citizen Police Academy is designed to open lines of communication that can increase public understanding of the mission, goals, and operations of law enforcement. Their instructors are deputy sheriffs, supervisors, and other personnel with specialized law enforcement expertise, and classes incorporate an interactive format providing participants with “hands-on” experience whenever practical. They caution that the intent of this program is NOT to create “quasi-cops”, but instead to produce well-informed citizens.
Another public outreach program promoted by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is Volunteer Senior Advocates. Senior Advocates trains volunteers in various aspects of crime prevention, community relations, and victim assistance. They work to reduce the opportunity for criminal victimization, to improve quality of life, and to focus attention on the related needs and concerns of our senior citizens.
‘Hillary Clinton’ and ‘Ariel’ from TheLittle Mermaid – visiting the Democrats’ Booth at the Lake County Fair!
Last but not least (and definitely my grandson’s favorite!), I ran into ‘Ariel‘ from The Little Mermaid who graciously took the time to pose for a photo with ‘Hillary’ and I! Who would have thought?
The Lake County Fair was not only a great time, but it was also an event where I could meet and talk with many dedicated people who live and work in our communities and learn about the quality programs available to our residents.
For more information regarding the above programs, contact:
CERT – Mundelein Fire Station 1
Citizen Police Academy
Mark C. Curran, Jr., Sheriff
Volunteer Senior Advocates
Jeanne Frank, President
Phillip DeRuntz, Vice President
Many public safety experts and environmentalists worry that the current regulations do not go far enough in preventing spills and protecting communities that neighbor rail routes.
A little over a month after a Union Pacific train carrying Bakken crude oil derailed outside of the tiny Oregon known of Mosier, the Department of Transportation has announced new rules aimed at ensuring that communities near oil train routes have adequate information and help in the event of an oil derailment.
The new rules would, among other things, require railroad companies that ship oil by rail to come up with response plans in case of a worst-case scenario oil spill — something that most railroad companies are not currently required to do.
“Incidents involving crude oil can have devastating consequences to local communities and the environment. We’ve taken more than 30 actions in the last two years to continue to address risk, and we continue to push the industry to do more to prevent derailments from happening,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement Wednesday. “This rule goes one step further to hold industry accountable to plan and prepare for the worst case scenario. It would help to ensure that railroads have comprehensive plans to respond to derailments when they occur and better ensure the safety of communities living near railroads.”
The shipment of oil by rail has boomed in the last five years, increasing from less than 1 million barrels shipped via rail in 2010 to around 25 million in 2014, thanks, in large part, to the oil boom in North Dakota.
While it’s certainly true that the Department of Transportation has taken numerous steps in the past few years to strengthen regulations regarding oil-by-rail shipments, many public safety experts and environmentalists worry that the current regulations do not go far enough in preventing spills and protecting communities that neighbor rail routes.
The new rules proposed Wednesday would increase the number of trains that would be required to develop comprehensive response plans for potential spills. Comprehensive plans cover worst-case spill scenarios, but current regulations only require comprehensive plans from tank cars containing over 1,000 barrels, or 42,000 gallons, of oil. According to the Department of Transportation, the current approximate carrying capacity for tank cars hauling crude oil is about 30,000 gallons, which means that the vast majority of rail cars hauling crude oil are not required to develop worst-case-scenario plans in the event of a derailment, accident, or spill. The new rules would expand the scope of trains required to come up with response plans for a worst-case-scenario spill, requiring any train carrying 20 or more loaded tank cars of petroleum oil in a continuous block, or any train car carrying 35 tank cars of petroleum oil throughout the entire train, to develop comprehensive oil spill response plans.
The new rules would also expand the type of information that rail companies are required to disclose with state officials. Currently, railroad companies are only required tell state officials if they are sending 1,000,000 gallons or more of Bakken crude in a single train through that state. Under the new rules, railroads would be required to notify state officials about all shipments of flammable liquids, not just Bakken crude (though Bakken crude is thought to be more flammablethan other types of oil, combusting at low temperatures due to its high concentrations of natural gas). The rules would also include new testing methods that oil and rail companies could use to determine the volatility of their crude.
Also on Wednesday, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden (D) and Jeff Merkeley (D) introduced a bill aimed at improving oil-by-rail safety. The bill, dubbed the Mandate Oil Spill Inspections and Emergency Rules (MOSIER) Act, would require the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate major oil derailments, and give them an additional $2 million in funding to make this a reality (the NTSB has blamed limited staff for its inability to quickly investigate some derailments, like the one that occurred in Mosier).
The act would also allow the Federal Railroad Administration to declare moratoriums on oil train routes following derailments. In the wake of the Mosier derailment, both Wyden and Merkeley wrote a letter to the FRA asking for a moratorium on oil trains throughout the state. That request, however, was ignored, and Union Pacific resumed shipping oil through the state less than three weeks after the accident.
Lastly, the act would require the Department of Transportation to set a standard for the volatility of crude oil that can be shipped via rail. The Obama administration had previously balked at setting such a requirement, deferring to state regulators in North Dakota to set a standard for volatility. The North Dakota standard, however, was met with skepticism from environmentalists, who noted that the standards called for a level of volatility well above what was seen in oil-by-rail disasters like the Lac-Mégantic explosion that killed 47 in Quebec in 2013.
Both the Department of Transportation’s new rules and the MOSIER Act were met with cautious praise from environmental groups, with Lauren Goldberg — staff attorney for Columbia Riverkeeper, a northwest organization that has been fighting the influx of oil trains through Oregon and Washington — calling the rules “a step in the right direction.”
Goldberg was quick to note, however, that the rules could still fall short of protecting communities. The Mosier derailment, which eventually sent some 42,000 gallons of oil into the Columbia River, was caused by a sheared track screw that had been cleared by a Union Pacific safety inspection just weeks before the incident — these new rules would do little to prevent that kind of accident from occurring.
“Piling another band aid on the problem doesn’t address the root cause: Volatile oil is unsafe on railroads passing through communities and along critical water resources, like the Columbia River,” Goldberg said. “Nothing short of a ban on mega oil trains can solve this.”
There are 70,000 to 100,000 rotted, unsafe bridges in the US with no regulation.
This morning, July 9th, 2016, I joined citizens who were gathered in Chicago to learn about the local dangers of crude by rail. We visited rail yards, critical Chicago junctions, and saw a number of the routes the trains take as they pass through the city.
Chicago’s rail hub has approximately 1,000 trains, or about 40,000 rail cars, passing through daily, which was forecast to grow 170% between the years 2004 and 2030. This is one quarter of the nation’s rail traffic according to Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
“Just weeks after an oil train derailed and exploded in Oregon we mark the third anniversary of the deadly Lac Megantic oil train disaster,” says Tom Shepherd, southeast side resident and board member with the Southeast Environmental Task Force and event host. “The Mosier, Oregon accident was a close call. We can’t simply wait for the next oil train to derail and destroy homes, a school, or a town along the thousands of miles of tracks that these trains travel. Oil trains are too dangerous for the rails.”
“Across North America our partners are holding citizen actions to call for an immediate stop to crude oil trains,” says Alex Ramel, Field Director at STAND. “The fracked shale oil and tar sands being moved by train is the dirtiest, most polluting oil in the country, and we don’t need it. Every day the US exports five times more oil than we move by train. Stopping all oil trains tomorrow wouldn’t change our oil supply, but it would make 25 million Americans living in the blast zone safer and more secure.”
Track problems cause 59% of freight train accidents. The Department of Transportation predicts 10 fiery accidents a year.
Our residents were out in force on the Fourth of July! Enjoying time with our most adorable ‘little citizens’ just brought me back to remembering how very special our communities are, and how important it is to stop every once in a while to take in our surroundings and appreciate the time we have with those people closest to us. Thank you, Friends, for making this day extra special, and thank you Pete Waitzman for capturing these memories!