Ringling Brothers Circus Memories 

Join the group Ringling Brothers Circus Memories and share your memories and experiences 

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Community Fundraisers We Should Consider Attending

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A Day of Remembrance 

Today, April 15th, we celebrate the life and times of Harold Lee Washington (April 15, 1922 – November 25, 1987); an African American lawyer and politician who became the first African-American Mayor of Chicago, serving from 1983 until his death in 1987.
Harold Washington was born in Chicago and was raised by his father. After dropping out of high school during his junior year, Washington earned a high school equivalence degree in the Army, after being drafted during World War II. He graduated from Roosevelt University in 1949 with a degree in political science followed by a degree in law from Northwestern University in 1952. Washington began his political career when he succeeded his deceased father in 1953 as a Democratic Party precinct captain. After positions as a city attorney and a state labor arbitrator, he served in the Illinois House of Representatives for eleven years.
He then advanced to seats in the Illinois State Senate in 1976 and the United States House of Representatives in 1980. Washington was instrumental in the 1982 effort to extend the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 1977, Washington made an unsuccessful bid to become the mayor of Chicago. In 1983, he again entered the mayoral race and won the primaries. He edged out Republican Bernard Epton in the general election to become the city’s first African-American mayor. Washington increased racial diversity in city administration, assuring equal opportunities for women and minorities seeking employment and ended city patronage.
He had difficulty implementing his initiatives since his political opponents held the majority of the 50 City Council seats. In 1986, after a Federal court called for new elections in certain wards that were deemed racially biased, however, Washington achieved more legislative success. He unexpectedly died of a heart attack shortly after his reelection in 1987, ending hope for a popular, progressive, multiracial city government.
Despite the bickering in City Council, Washington seemed to relish his role as Chicago’s ambassador to the world. At a party held shortly after his re-election on April 7, 1987, he said to a group of supporters, “In the old days, when you told people in other countries that you were from Chicago, they would say, ‘Boom-boom! Rat-a-tat-tat!’ Nowadays, they say [crowd joins with him], ‘How’s Harold?’!”
In later years, various city facilities and institutions would be named or renamed after the late mayor to commemorate his legacy. The new building housing the main branch of the Chicago Public Library, located at 400 South State Street, was named the Harold Washington Library Center. The former Loop College in downtown Chicago was renamed Harold Washington College. In addition to the downtown facilities, the 40,000-square-foot Harold Washington Cultural Center was opened to the public in August 2004, in the historic South Side neighborhood of Bronzeville, at 4701 S. King Drive. Across from the Hampton House apartments where Washington lived, a city park was renamed Harold Washington Park, which was known for “Harold’s Parakeets”, a colony of feral monk parakeets that inhabited an ash trees in the park. On the campus of Chicago State University, at 9501 S. King Drive, one of the campus’s buildings is named Harold Washington Hall.

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Piltaver the “Accidental Mayor”

April 12, 2017

If there is any lesson to be learned from the April 4 suburban elections, it is this: Voters were singularly unimpressed by a good tan, good connections, good background and good intentions. In Lincolnwood, Norridge, Park Ridge and Schiller Park, “goodness” bit the dust.
In suburban municipalities, most of which are smaller than a Chicago ward, a different dynamic exists. Local contests are not partisan or ideological. A meritocracy prevails. Voters, especially property owners, know whether an incumbent mayor is competent, because incompetency directly affects them in the form of higher taxes, higher crime, and an overall decline in the quality of their neighborhood. Many voters personally know their mayor, and are leery of any change, absent clear incumbent ineptitude, ignorance or misconduct.
In LINCOLNWOOD, which has a population of 12,590 and a registered voter pool of 9,417, three-term mayor Gerald Turry spent three weeks of the 2017 campaign in Mexico. He should have been working the 10 precincts in dreary Lincolnwood. Voters knew where Turry was, knew the village functioned quite well in his absence, knew they had an alternative, and decided Turry was expendable. Turry lost 1,161-877, or 56.9 percent, to Trustee Barry Bass.
This year’s turnout was 2,060, or 21.9 percent, less than 2013’s 2,223 turnout. Turry, the 12-year mayor, backed by the dominant Lincolnwood Alliance Party, got the support of 9.3 percent of the registered voters. Turry, a former Niles West High school administrator, was elected mayor in 2005, announced his retirement in 2013, unretired, and won 857-776-564 in a three-way mayoral race as an Alliance-backed independent, getting 39 percent. Bass, from Lincolnwood’s east end, which has a large Jewish Orthodox contingent, was elected trustee on the Alliance slate, which has ruled since 1931.
Bass, sometime in 2016, decided that the Alliance-run government was a “cabal,” and announced for mayor, blasting Turry for the village’s alleged high crime, insider favoritism and economic stagnation. Nobody took Bass seriously. But Turry, in some people’s eyes, showed that he didn’t take his job seriously. Alliance has 4 of 6 trustees, so Bass, whom they most likely deem an opportunistic turncoat, will be powerless. When the bickering and obstructionism begins, nobody will take Lincolnwood’s government seriously.
In NORRIDGE, which has a population of 14,572 and a registered voter pool of 8,989, deputy Illinois Secretary of State Tom Benigno disproved the notion that “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” In 2013 Benigno, despite a multitude of Democratic connections, lost to James Chmura 1,910-1,209, with 266 votes to a third candidate, largely because (a) Chmura, a village official, had a village network of supporters and (b) Benigno imported a bunch of precinct workers from Mike Madigan’s 13th Ward. In 2017, Benigno lost 1,889-1,331 with Chmura getting 58.7 percent and carrying 8 of 9 precincts.
“They just didn’t turn out,” said Benigno. Give me a break. Benigno had a horde of what he said were “volunteers from Norridge, not outsiders” blanketing the town, devoted the last 4 years plotting his comeback, ripped Chmura for Norridge’s alleged high crime, wasteful spending and storefront vacancies, spent more than $75,000, and got 253 fewer votes in 2017 than in 2013. Norridge is economically booming, and voters resented Benigno’s doom-and-gloom fabrications. Turnout was 3,611, or 42.4 percent, in 2013 and 3,253, or 36.2 percent, in 2017. But there is an upside: Benigno has his $165,000-a year day job.
In PARK RIDGE, which has a population of 37,480 and a registered voter pool of 23,796, 39-year old attorney Lucas Fuksa thought the city was ready for a change. Fuksa was born in Poland, came to the United States at age 3, and was running in a city where at least a quarter of the population is immigrant or second-generation Polish. His opponent was acting mayor Marty Maloney, who took over in 2015 when Dave Schmidt died. Fuksa’s presumed Polish base was MIA, and the little-known Maloney won by a hefty 4,668-2,117, or 68.9 percent, carrying 28 of 29 precincts in a turnout of 6,805. The election was non-partisan.
In 2013, Schmidt, an avowed Republican, won 5,614-3,432 over Democratic-backed Larry Ryles. Turnout was down by 928.
In SCHILLER PARK, which as a population of 11,793 and a registered voter pool of 5,638, incumbent Barbara Piltaver, who won by 10 votes in 2013, got bounced after one term. She is a publisher of the local People and Places newspaper, penned editorials critical of the Republican-leaning local establishment, was viewed as an inconsequential gadfly, and was not taken seriously by former Mayor Anna Montana. Piltaver was the quintessential goody-goody, good-intentions candidate.
Montana was part of Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens’ Leyden Township political machine. Stephens is also the township Republican committeeman. So complacent were the Montana-Stephens crowd that, on Election Day, Montana had nearly $50,000 unspent in her campaign account. Piltaver won 1,211-1,201, carrying 4 of 7 precincts, and has been a competent, reasonably popular mayor. Her opponent was Nick Caiafa, a township trustee and a product of the Stephens Machine, who spent $58,253 through Dec. 31, and probably another $50,000 through April 4.
Astutely, Caiafa ran a low-key, high-intensity campaign focusing on precinct contacts, eschewing negative anti-Piltaver mailings. With 2,500 voting households and close to 50 workers, and a warchest of $75,000, the machine had the ability to identify, persuade and turn-out the anti-Piltaver vote. On April 4, Piltaver lost 1,279-1,014, or 55.8 percent, carrying only two of 7 precincts. Compared to 2013, Piltaver’s vote declined by 197. Clearly, she was an accidental mayor.
In MORTON GROVE, which has a population of 23,270 and a registered voter pool of 17,210, the big loser was conservative firebrand Dan Proft and his Liberty Principles Political Action Committee. Proft is attempting to rebuild the north suburban Republican Party in his image, spending money for targeted candidates in Maine Township. Incumbent Danny DiMaria, an ostensible Republican, beat then-mayor Dan Staackmann in the 2013 Action Party (local Republicans) primary, with the help of cross-over Caucus Party (local Democrats) voters.
Staackmann, a hardcore conservative, made a comeback in 2015, winning a Park Board seat. Proft’s PAC reportedly paid for two mailings to 9,000 households attacking DiMaria for taking an increase in his wi-fi and cell phone expense allowance while mayor. Voters were non-plussed. DiMaria, with the covert assistance of Democratic township committeeman Lou Lang, stomped Staackmann 2,383-794, getting 75.1 percent and winning all 16 precincts. The Action/Caucus party is firmly in charge.
In DES PLAINES, which has a population of 58,364 and a registered voter pool of 40,971, 30-year old wunderkind mayor Matt Bogusz infuriated the city’s patriarchy by not being sufficiently docile and capitulative. Especially aggravating was the fact that Bogusz ordered all city officials (but not himself) to take a polygraph when somebody leaked confidential personnel records to the media, and spent over $80,000 for an ad agency to create a new city motto; they came up with “City of the Good Move,” which the oldsters lampooned as sounding like Des Plaines was a constipation-free zone.
Nevertheless, with the local economy booming and Rivers casino revenue flowing, there was minimal discontent with the “Boy Mayor.” Malcolm Chester, one of the anti-Bogusz aldermen, waged an inept mayoral campaign. Bogusz won by a thumping 4,717-2,715, getting 63.5 percent and losing just three of 43 precincts. In 2013, against a former mayor and an alderman, Bogusz, then an alderman, won 4,599-2,652-1,120, getting 54.9 percent. Bogusz got 118 more votes than in 2013, but his opposition got 1,057 fewer votes.
Des Plaines has term-limits, so Bogusz will be out-the-door in 2021. A Democrat, Bogusz is looking for a soft landing somewhere. The patriarchs are well-placed for 2021.
In NILES, which has a population of 29,803 and a registered voter pool of 21,521 political longevity is a virtue, not a vice. Nick Blase was mayor for 48 years, until he went to jail. Incumbent Mayor Andy Przybylo is a local institution, having been a trustee for 20 years, Blase ally, and mayor since 2013. Przybylo won a second term 2,262-597 over Steve Yasell, not much different from his 2,770-1,604 2013 win. Niles’ voters are content with the status of the status quo. However, they did pass a referendum mandating term-limits, so Przybylo will, like Bogusz, be a goner in 2021.
The mayor-in-waiting is George Alpogianis, a local restaurateur who led the trustee field in 2017. To put it in perspective, Przybylo’s 2,262 votes were 10.5 percent of the voter pool.
In SKOKIE, it’s the same old, same old. Skokie’s population is 64,784 and its registered voter pool is 41,677. The city is less than 40 percent white, and under 30 percent Jewish. Mayor George Van Dusen is the lineal descendant of a clique of insiders who have run Skokie since the 1960s. Van Dusen was unopposed for a fourth term in 2017, getting 3,063 votes in an 8.4 percent turnout, or 7.3 percent of the registered voter pool. Skokie is a politically peaceful city and that won’t change anytime soon.
In MAINE TOWNSHIP, Proft did score a win with the triumph of Susan Sweeney for trustee. Sweeney will be groomed for a future legislative race.

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In Schiller Park, I Predict…………………….

It’s 4 pm on Election Day in Schiller Park, and it is clear by the turn out and conversations that Nick Caiafa and his entire slate are the clear winners.     

Let me be the first to congratulate Nick Caiafa as the new Village President of Schiller Park as well as his entire slate who worked quite hard.    

At this point Nick’s slate were able to secure almost 400 mail in votes to Mayor Piltaver’s slightly over a hundred, meaning it is likely that Nick had a 300 vote lead before the polls opened today, with possibly a greater lead achieved through early voting.   The turnout today does not appear to support Mayor Piltaver in overcoming the the pre-election day work of her opponent.   

Mayor Piltaver would have to win precinct 2 by a margin of 3 to1, as well as win either precinct 44 or 25 by a very healthy margin, looking very dim at this hour.  Piltaver is likely going to win precincts 17, 27 and maybe win precinct 1 by a slim margin, but clearly she is getting clobbered in precinct 45. 

Final tallies may be delayed with the paper ballots, but I predict in the end Nick and his entire slate are winners in Schiller Park.  
Let me be the first to Congratulate Nick Caiafa, Rosa Jos, Tom Deegan, Moses Diaz, and Joan Golembiewski.

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Schiller Park, Where Was The Discussion of the Issues that Involve the Voters’ Interests ?

Did I miss it,  or in the volumes of literature that was mailed and distributed door to door was there a discussion of the real issues facing the Village of Schiller Park ?

What are the issues and what are the politicians proposed solutions ?

The lack of a political debate, whether in debate format, literature  or via door to door discussion has done a great disservice to the residents of the Village of Schiller Park.

Since this election cycle has not defined the issues or the solutions;  let’s examine on the eve of the election what we should have been deciding upon, NOT politicians trashing of each other !

Street Repaving

No one has clearing talked about the critical issues with infrastructure, starting with the repaving of streets.    The Mayor and Board in a united effort unanimously adopted a .05 per gallon for gasoline tax for which now they are trashing each other.   They have indicated that they are going to use some of the money to  eliminate a deficiency in the police and fire pension funds which need $50 million dollars and use some of  the money to repave the Village streets (costs approaching $20 million dollars).   Yet did anybody mention that the tax will only raise about $450,000 per year ?     Do the math it does not add up !  What is the solution ?    Do we as taxpayers keep facing steeper and steeper costs each year, no real solution ?  Just eyewash ?  In the last 25 years where is the short range and long range plan for the street program ?

Deteriorating Sewer and Water Infrastructure

Most of the current sewer and water infrastructure is more than 50 years old with some in excess of 90 years old.    To properly upgrade and replace the necessary infrastructure could run as high as $65 million dollars.   What type of surcharge on the consumer in Schiller Park will be necessary to complete these upgrades in a reasonable period of time to avoid future service interruptions ?    What are the long range and short range goals ? No one can answer that question.

Obsolete Police Station 

When the Schiller Park Police Station was occupied in 1967, it was already obsolete.   Yet the department has continued to function for 50 years in a crowded and inefficient facility.    When will the politicians recognize that this community has to not only have the facility to provide services to the residents, but operate next to the World’s busiest airport and the third largest city in the United States.   Where do we find the funding for a new police station (Costing approximately $12,000,000) ?     What are the positions of the candidates on supporting the law enforcement to protect our residents ?

Sexton Landfill

What are the positions of the political adversaries in the cleaning up of the 22 acre polluted landfill and how do they envision its future contribution to the economic health of the Village of Schiller Park ?    No one put forward a plan or ideas to address this 60 year problem.


What are the positions of the politicians to the erection of billboards on the eastside of the Tri State Tollroad ?     What are their positions on the proliferation of the electronic billboards ?    No statements and no answers.    Someones response is to put a referendum on the ballot, clearly we know the community opposes the expansion of the billboards from the public meetings and petitions.   We need to hear from the politicians not keep putting it on the residents.

Proliferation of Parking Lots

Neither side can deny culpability for inviting in and expanding the parking lots in Schiller Park.    Now everyone is running from what the door was opened to when the first  parking lot anchored the Mannheim Road Gateway TIF.  What are the positions of the candidates and how do they propose that this runaway train be stopped ?

Ornamental Lighting

Schiller Park is a metropolitan community, not a rural community.     So why do we continue to provide unengineered street lighting sporadically through the town on wooden poles ?  With the growth in technology, the politicians should be able to propose a plan using the latest technology to provide an engineered solution for the Village and its residents.     The looks of the Village would be greatly enhanced with proper ornamental street lighting as well as the safety for all residents.

Priority Employment

Where is the effort by the politicians to give priority to employ qualified residents with the Village instead of employing non residents.   No politician of any differing political persuasion proposed an ordinance or resolution to provide priority in employment to qualified residents.   The voters should demand that their tax dollars go first to employ residents.

Intergovernmental CoOperation with Surrounding Towns for Economic Development 

What are the politician’s positions on cooperation with Rosemont, Franklin Park, and Bensenville  for the attracting and mutually working to recruit and retain business in the region ?    What type of models would they be willing to approve to attract and retain business.   For example, shared sales tax revenue ?

Term Limits

What are the positions of the politicians on adopting an ordinance to impose term limits on local government elected positions ?    Why has not any of them introduced for consideration by the Village Board such an ordinance ?  Would the candidates support term limits ?


So what is the position of the politicians on the hiring of relatives for government employment in Schiller Park ?    If they chose to chastise one elected official for such conduct, where or when has an ordinance been proposed to eliminate or limit such employment options  ?   Would the candidates support a ban on nepotism ?

Contracting of Services

No one discussed the current privatized or contracted services, nor did anyone talk about how such expansion could save taxpayer’s money.     What are the positions of the candidates on the privatizing of governmental services ?

Consolidation of Government Services

What are the positions of the candidates on considering of the consolidation of services to safe the taxpayers’ money.    What services could they consider to be reviewed to consolidate ?  Currently, per Illinois law,  Schiller Park is consolidating their 911 services with Norridge and Harwood Heights, with the 911 center being relocated from our police station to the Harwood Heights police station.  What other police services for example should be consolidated ?   For example the police lockup and processing, should it be regionalized ?    What do the candidates feel about the consolidation of the police department lock up ?    Consolidation is trending in government nationally, what are the positions of the candidates as to how far it would benefit the taxpayers of Schiller Park ?

Adult Use District 

No adult use district could be established close to any residential area without Board approval, furthermore there are standards that bar such usages from near residents and homes, so what are the candidates positions on changing the current usage?

So where is the realistic discussion to discuss the realistic solution ?   Which political party has a plan ?      Or is this just Illinois political



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Schiller Park Has Lost It’s Moral Compass

The local election in Schiller Park has become a proverbial “witches cauldron”.

Clearly, the community has lost its moral compass, as the political discussion in Schiller Park has reached an abysmal low.    We have seen people banned off of Facebook, a news station filming in the Schiller Park neighborhoods, and none of the discussion about the serious issues of the Village.

What has happened to the moral and ethical arguments of  “political debate”?

This downward spiral began with the surfacing of the “Schillerparkblog” which was then supplanted by the “Jim Tompson” blog.    Each cycle of these posts continued to seek a new low with the attacking of an 80 year old woman, disabled children, administrators, …………………..elected officials, etc.    The postings moved from some feeble attempts political satire to down right mean spirited, nasty abuse of various members of the community, true cyber bullying by the adults of the community.

This all led to a “sick contest” of  who could do a better job of dismembering and berating our neighbors and fellow citizens.   The greatest evil is the misrepresentation and lies fed to a gullible public to sell self serving agendas.   Political figures on all sides have skirted the truth to satisfy their constituents.

The voters who have studied the issues can only shake their heads in disgust.   We must hold the elected and appointed officials to the highest moral and ethical standards and vote accordingly.    Without adequately addressing the political dishonesty that the uninformed voters must face they are lost, and it is ultimately manifested in the meager numbers at the ballot box.

Both sides have pushed the mail in ballots and early voting to get an advantage over each other.    If it is only the few that vote, and the voters are dissuaded from voting on April 4th, the actual election results may be biased.   Voters must get out and vote on Election Day, April 4, 2017, true democracy in our Village is at stake.

Whoever is elected on April 4, 2017, must provide the leadership to help the community of Schiller Park to regain their moral compass.   All of us have the foundation for building a strong moral compass and there are many benefits to having this.   It gives people a sense of integrity, which a tool for having a sense of self worth and a self confidence.

Evidence suggests that people who have a healthy functioning moral compass are more grounded, focused, content with life and productive.   They also seem to have more nurturing and positive relationships with people around them and their environment.   They minimize harm to this world and maximize their contributions.  In other words, they give back as much as they take in or maybe even more.  They also have a healthier sense of individualistic self, while concentrating on a good for all.

Everyone eligible to vote needs to come out and vote tomorrow; we  need to  concentrate on making our decision at the ballot box by activating our personal moral compass.  We all have an individual sense of what it means to be moral, and we need to activate it  to enable us to fully function individually and be a positive part of Schiller Park.

We need to support the leadership going forward that will assist the community of Schiller Park to make it a global compass where it directs us toward caring for the good of all.

We need to chose leadership  that can look at our world in Schiller Park as an inner related system that is more and more connected.  We should not try to add negativity to it by hating, judging unfairly, being superficial, resenting, being self centered and taking advantage.

Finally,  “be like a hummingbird”;  that is do not take things too seriously.  Have a little laugh at your imperfections, then try to fix them if you can.   Don’t take things as black and white;  don’t get fixated;  open your mind to the variety and the beauty of life.  Get yourself excited.   If you lose something of value to you, give yourself time to grieve , process, and release the feeling, bring the memory of love and joy to replace the pain.  Make every moment count.   And this will help keep the compass clean.

At the end, be flexible with the political process.  Be sensitive to your needs and that of others.   Don’t have unreasonable expectations.     Focus on the political process, not the outcome;  get excited.

Get out and vote !!!


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Autism and Special Needs Walkathon

State Representative ‪Emanuel Chris Welch excited to co-chair this amazing event for @The_answerinc. Come walk with us. #autism #theanswer #specialneeds‬

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A Tragedy in London on the Thames

An American from Utah named Kurt Cochran takes his wife on a once in a lifetime trip to the great places of Europe for their 25th wedding anniversary and a piece of “donkey dung” runs them over with his car, on the bridge over the Thames in London.  

Kurt died and now his wife Melissa, will forever lose the future they had together, because leftists wish to protect extremists by pretending they are good people.
Extreme Islam has one goal, that is to turn the whole world into pagan worshippers of Allah, which is just another name for Satan.

Kurt Cochran

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Demolition Begins Today at East Leyden’s Dodge Field

The demolition of Dodge Field began this morning .    This is the first step in the construction of a $65 million addition to East Leyden.  This construction includes a new expansive pool, a new state of the art cafeteria, new labs, new girls locker room, and a new wrestling room.   The music department is getting new practice facilities.   Also there will be an employee daycare facility and a Districtwide preK program facility constructed.   For the next two years traffic patterns will have detours around East Leyden.  The construction should be completed by the Fall of 2019.  For many it is the passing of some great memories at Dodge Field.   

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