Severe winter storms can cause
widespread damage and disruption. Heavy snow often results in
paralyzed transportation systems, stranded vehicles and automobile
accidents. When accompanied by intense winds and extreme cold, snow
can isolate entire towns. These conditions are a dangerous threat to
life. Glazing from ice storms topples utility lines and poles and
makes travel virtually impossible. Even walking may be a dangerous
The hazards posed by winter storms and
extreme cold can be catastrophic. However, you and your family can
take actions now that will increase your chances of surviving winter
storms and extreme cold.
Before a winter
storm or extreme cold
Know the terms relating to winter
storms and extreme cold. (Watch for a future posting in this series
to learn more.)
Know the names of the counties in which
you live, work and often spend time. County names are used to
identify areas at risk.
Learn how to protect your family's
health during the winter months. (Watch for details in a future
Learn to dress appropriately for the
winter. (Watch for details in a future posting.)
Learn the physical dangers to your
body. (Watch for details in a future posting.)
emergency supplies for work or home:
your home to extend the life of your fuel supply:
steps to prevent frozen water pipes:
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for possible isolation in your home:
your vehicle for the winter:
- Winterize your vehicle following
the suggested maintenance schedule included in the ownerís manual
or have your vehicle serviced by a reputable dealer, garage or
- Regularly check your wipers,
tires, lights and fluid levels (radiator, windshield washer, power
steering, oil and brakes). Make sure the brakes and transmission
are working properly. Lubricate door and trunk locks with lock
lubricant to prevent them from freezing.
- Prepare a winter storm survival
kit and carry it in your vehicle.
with extra batteries
High-calorie, nonperishable food
clothing to keep dry
empty can and plastic cover, along with tissues and paper towels
for sanitary purposes
can and waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking water
sand (or cat litter)
scraper and brush
and road maps
(To be continued)
Emergency Management Agency]
One new law, HB 3652, improves public
safety by adding an additional $50 fine for speeding in a highway
construction or maintenance zone. That $50 would pay for additional
police monitoring of construction zone speed limits. Under current
law, the minimum fine for a first violation is $150. A second or
subsequent violation carries a minimum fine of $300. The new law
adds an additional $50 fine.
Based on the 14,841 citations issued
last year, this new law could raise as much as $742,050 for the
Illinois Department of Transportation to hire off-duty state
troopers to patrol highway construction and maintenance zones.
Another law, HB 4117, allows
student-led prayer in public schools so long as it is non-disruptive
and complies with federal law and the U.S. Constitution. The
legislation applies only to students.
The Legislature also approved several
measures to address the issue of homeland security in the wake of
the terrorist attacks one year ago. One such measure, HB 5648,
improves security at nuclear facilities in the state. The new law
creates the offense of criminal trespass to a nuclear facility when
the person (a) knowingly and without lawful authority enters or
remains within a nuclear facility or on the grounds after receiving
notice that entry to the nuclear facility is forbidden or (b)
remains in the facility or on the grounds of the facility after
being asked to leave.
In addition, a new law, SB 1638,
creates juvenile drug courts to address drug-related crimes
committed by youths. The intention of the law is to reduce drug
abuse among minors. Under the law, a minor may be admitted into a
drug court program only upon the agreement of the prosecutor and
minor and with the approval of the court; a minor is excluded from
the program if the crime committed is violent in nature. The law
also requires drug court programs to maintain a network of substance
abuse treatment programs representing a continuum of graduated
substance abuse treatment options commensurate with the needs of
minors. If the minor violates the conditions of the drug court
program, the court may impose reasonable punishments on the minor.
Other legislative measures that become
law on Jan. 1 are as follows:
Tax deferral (SB 1606) -- Increases the
household income cap for the Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax
Deferral to $40,000.
Mental health (HB 3119) -- Requires
fiscal notes to be prepared on all legislation that amends the
Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code or the
Developmental Disability and Mental Disability Service Act.
Teacher scholarships (HB 4912) -- Makes
changes to various teacher-shortage scholarships Illinois offers and
requires freshmen to repay their teacher scholarships if they choose
not to become teachers.
Psychotropic drugs (HB 3744) --
Prohibits a school board from disciplining a student because of a
parentís refusal to administer psychotropic or psycho-stimulant
medication such as Ritalin to the student.
Foreign bonds (HB 4159) -- Allows the
state treasurer to purchase bonds from Israel.
Fire safety (SB 1545) -- Clarifies that
a local fire department, or the Office of the State Fire Marshal,
may conduct fire safety checks in public schools.
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Warranties (HB 4720) -- Protects
consumers from overcharges on repairs made under warranty by
assuring the manufacturer will pay the posted rate.
Inmate reimbursement (SB 2195) --
Requires prison inmates to provide financial information so the
state can collect reimbursement for incarceration expenses.
Animal cruelty (HB 5625) -- Makes it
illegal to create, sell, market, offer to market or possess a
depiction of animal cruelty.
Homicide (HB 5654) -- Requires each
county to establish a written protocol to deal with homicides and
Juvenile justice (HB 4129) -- Allows
juveniles the right to a hearing on a "reverse waiver" in adult
court after an automatic transfer to adult court for selling drugs
in or around schools and public housing complexes. The defendant,
the state or the judge on his or her own may request that hearing.
Police dogs (HB 5639) -- Increases the
penalty for injuring a police animal.
Fictitious licenses (HB 4472) -- Makes
it an offense to use a fraudulent or fictitious driverís license to
purchase or attempt to purchase a ticket from a public or private
provider of land, air or water transportation.
Railroad safety (HB 5340) -- Enhances
the penalties for motorists or pedestrians who violate grade
Teen-age drinking (HB 5941) -- Allows
for the discretionary suspension of a minorís drivers license by the
secretary of state based on a "conviction for a violation" for an
alcohol infraction involving a minor.
Horse-drawn vehicles (HB 3363) --
Allows townships to charge a $50 license for horse-drawn carriages
and use the funds for road improvements.
OUI/DUI (SB 1752) -- Standardizes
penalties between land, water and snow drunk-driving accidents that
cause permanent and disfiguring injury.
License plates (HB 4937) -- Makes
veterans plates eligible for the Circuit Breaker license plate
discount. (HB 3629) -- Creates license plates to benefit hospice
services in Illinois. (HB 3645) -- Creates "Lewis and Clark
Bicentennial" license plates to benefit historical preservation of
the Lewis and Clark expedition. (SB 1552) -- Creates Route 66 plates
to benefit tourism along historic Route 66 in Illinois. (HB 6004) --
Creates Pan-Hellenic license plates to benefit charitable entities
designated by fraternities and sororities.
Driverís license (SB 1926) -- Creates
a distinct license for drivers younger than 21 years old to curb
underage drinking and smoking.
Unlicensed drivers (SB 1726, HB 3794)
-- Increases penalties for driving with an expired license or
Air bags (HB 4353) -- Makes it illegal
to remove an air bag in a vehicle and replace it with another
Insurance (HB 5615) -- Requires anyone
convicted three or more times of driving without liability insurance
to provide proof of financial responsibility to the secretary of
state for at least one year.
parking (SB 1530) -- Requires disabled parking permits to be
displayed in clear view either on the dashboard or rearview mirror.
Conservatives in Kentucky, feeling a
need for change, started Take Back Kentucky, and, being successful
in their mission, they wanted to help Illinois get started. Davis
said legislators "contact us to see what our research people have
come up with on legislative bills."
Home-schoolers, pro-life groups,
veterans, 2nd Amendment groups, trappers, tax groups, property
rights advocates, IFOR, ABATE and other concerned groups found they
have a lot in common as Davis instructed them on how to work
together on legislative issues.
He stressed that "all organizations
will not agree on all issues."
"Move on the issues your organization
can support and sit out on the ones you cannot," he said.
"Illinois can do the same as Kentucky
has done. Constitutional values can be restored with hard work and
cooperation," said Nellie Gerlach of Sparta, who was one of the
organizers of the meeting.
A home-schooling mother from
Taylorville was excited about the meeting. She said she had wanted
to "do more" but felt helpless. "The coalition of these
organizations will make it possible to accomplish what I could not
do alone or even with an individual group. Working together to help
each other is what life is all about."
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"There is major concern about the
trails and areas being closed for any kind of recreation in the
Shawnee Forest in southern Illinois," said Cheryl Blackorby,
who represented the Shawnee Trail Conservancy. She is a professional
trail rider and a writer for magazines such as
"We look forward to working as a
coalition with groups throughout Illinois, and we have thousands of
members in our group to bring to the table," she said.
Organizations throughout Illinois will
be forming coalitions in the five designated regions throughout the
state. All constitutionally based organizations are invited to
participate in Take Back Illinois.
For information on Take Back Illinois,
contact Nellie Gerlach at 1 (618) 443-4717 or
Joyce Morrison at 1 (618) 376-6791 or
[Press release submitted by