Best And Worst Run States


An extensive survey of every state conducted by 24/7 Wall St. determines how well states are managed, examining their financial data, as well as the services they provide and their residents' standard of living. Here are the top five best- and worst-run states


Center For Disease Control - Fast Facts

CDC Fast Facts

  • Founded in 1946
  • Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia
  • More than 15,000 employees in nearly 170 occupations
  • Field staff assigned to all 50 states and more than 50 countries
CDC is our nation’s health protection agency, and our scientists and disease detectives work around
the world to track diseases, research outbreaks, and respond to emergencies of all kinds. CDC works with partners around the country and world to:



Craig Hullinger, AICP and Chuck Eckenstahler, AICP

President Paul Lohmann of Beecher, Illinois summarizes the transportation conditions in one simple sentence, “it’s bad and getting worse.”   What he describes is the increasing amount of cars and trucks using local east-west  roads in their journey into or through Chicago.  “This Indiana  car and truck traffic is seeking faster and less congested alternatives to the I-65 and I-80/94 route from northern Indiana to downtown Chicago or the suburban interstate routes around Chicago,” according to Lohmann.

In 1994, nine Villages, Cities and Townships formed the Eastern Will County Regional Planning Council to address issues affecting member communities cooperatively.  While the initial focus was on understanding the impact of the proposed new regional airport, these communities also identified several current non-airport problems needing intergovernmental solutions.  Aligning streets and roads between Illinois and Indiana was an oblivious top priority.

Initial research quickly identified several important findings:

1. There was little, if any, productive discussions between the two State Transportation Departments on this matter,

2. The respective local transportation planning agencies while recognizing the problem and promoting long range plans that include routes that would alleviate the problems, little or no short-term planning was underway which would alleviate the current problems.

3. Local officials on both sides of the state line were expressing similar concern for action.

4. No organization for elected officials existed within the current transportation planning process that could coordinate solutions to transportation or other issues of concern between the two states.

The EWCRPC stepped into this void for its members’ filling the role of a facilitator for drawing together local officials along the 20-mile state line corridor from Lake Michigan south the Kankakee County.  This 20-mile corridor has only six continuous “on-alignment“ roads connecting the two states and approximately twenty local roads between the two states with  “offset’ alignments.

The objective of the EWCRPC study was simple, gain consensus for realignment of selected roads to serve as local road connectors between the two states.  The EWCRPC believes a consensus between local government officials will show sufficient concern to prompt favorable actions by metropolitan transportation planning agencies and federal funding agencies.

Ken Kramer, Chair of the EWCRPC notes, “we have organized a local grass root’s effort to solve a serious traffic safety and congestion problem.  Our goal of aligned interest of local governments from both stated in our area is a first.  We believe we have started a process that will grow beyond this immediate issue and serve as an action body to address other issues of mutual concern in the future.”

For now Paul Lohmann waits, concerned about the traffic impact on Beecher since recently completed traffic count studies reported Route 1 traffic through the business district is greater than the traffic counts on divided four lane commercial roads serving other surrounding communities.   Notes Lohmann, “besides our concern for safety, we worry that increased traffic will limit new commercial growth and seriously harm local business.”

About the authors

Chuck Eckenstahler (AICP & CED Retired), semi-retired in 2008 from a 35-year career as an active full-time municipal planning, economic development and real estate consultant.  He helped originate and teaches economic development subjects in the Certificate in Economic Development Program offered by the Graduate School of Business at Purdue North Central, Westville, Indiana and also serves on the faculty of the Lowell Stahl Center for Commercial Real Estate Studies at Lewis University, Oakbrook Illinois. He can be contacted at pctecken@comcast.net or by phone at 219-861-2077.

Craig Hullinger AICP has 35 years of experience in economic development, city planning, and transportation planning. He is a Partner in the consulting firm of Ruyle Hullinger and Associates. He was formerly the Economic Development Director of Peoria, the Director of Land Use for Will County, and the Village Manager of Olympia Fields, Minooka, and University Park. He is member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a Vietnam Veteran, and is a retired Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. He can be contacted at Craighullinger@gmail.com or by phone at 309 634 5557.

Web Site:    craighullinger.com


Boy Scout Law, Slogan, Motto, and Oath

I wrote this from memory. I think I have it right except I think I am missing something from the oath.

Pretty good principles to live by then and now.

The Twelve Points of the Scout Law

A Scout is:


and Reverent


Do a good turn daily.


Be prepared.


On my honor I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my Country.

To obey the Scout law.

To help other people at all times.

To keep myself physically fit, mentally awake, and morally straight.


This is from the internet: 


I had it mostly right, but they do have and Outdoor Code I don't remember at all. I hope it is something they came up since 1965.

Boy Scout Oath, Law,
Motto and Slogan
and the
Outdoor Code

Boy Scout Oath or Promise

On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

Note that the Boy Scout Oath has traditionally been considered to have three promises. Those three promises are delineated by the semicolons in the Oath, which divide it into three clauses. The three promises of the Scout Oath are, therefore:
  • Duty to God and country,
  • Duty to other people, and
  • Duty to self
DUTY TO GOD AND COUNTRY: Your family and religious leaders teach you to know and serve God. By following these teachings, you do your duty to God.
Men and women of the past worked to make America great, and many gave their lives for their country. By being a good family member and a good citizen, by working for your country's good and obeying its laws, you do your duty to your country. Obeying the Scout Law means living by its 12 points.
DUTY TO OTHER PEOPLE: Many people need help. A cheery smile and a helping hand make life easier for others. By doing a Good Turn daily and helping when you're needed, you prove yourself a Scout and do your part to make this a better world.
DUTY TO SELF: Keeping yourself physically strong means taking care of your body. Eat the right foods and build your strength. Staying mentally awake means learn all you can, be curious, and ask questions. Being morally straight means to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.

Boy Scout Law

A Scout is:
  • Trustworthy,
  • Loyal,
  • Helpful,
  • Friendly,
  • Courteous,
  • Kind,
  • Obedient,
  • Cheerful,
  • Thrifty,
  • Brave,
  • Clean,
  • and Reverent.

Boy Scout Motto

Be Prepared!

Boy Scout Slogan

Do a Good Turn Daily!

The Outdoor Code

As an American, I will do my best to -
  • Be clean in my outdoor manners
  • Be careful with fire
  • Be considerate in the outdoors, and
  • Be conservation minded.

George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior

George Washington
"..and it may truly be said, that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great.."

– Thomas Jefferson, about George Washington, 1814

Richard Brookhiser,Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington (New York: Simon & Schuster Inc., 1996) pp. 130-131.
By age sixteen, Washington had copied out by hand, 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. They are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. Presumably they were copied out as part of an exercise in penmanship assigned by young Washington's schoolmaster. The first English translation of the French rules appeared in 1640, and are ascribed to Francis Hawkins the twelve-year-old son of a doctor.

Today many, if not all of these rules, sound a little fussy if not downright silly. It would be easy to dismiss them as outdated and appropriate to a time of powdered wigs and quills, but they reflect a focus that is increasingly difficult to find. The rules have in common a focus on other people rather than the narrow focus of our own self-interests that we find so prevalent today. Fussy or not, they represent more than just manners. They are the small sacrifices that we should all be willing to make for the good of all and the sake of living together.

These rules proclaim our respect for others and in turn give us the gift of self-respect and heightened self-esteem.

Richard Brookhiser, in his book on Washington wrote that "all modern manners in the western world were originally aristocratic. Courtesy meant behavior appropriate to a court;chivalry comes from chevalier – a knight. Yet Washington was to dedicate himself to freeing America from a court's control. Could manners survive the operation? Without realizing it, the Jesuits who wrote them, and the young man who copied them, were outlining and absorbing a system of courtesy appropriate to equals and near-equals. When the company for whom the decent behavior was to be performed expanded to the nation, Washington was ready. Parson Weems got this right, when he wrote that it was 'no wonder every body honoured him who honoured every body.'"

The Rules:
Treat everyone with respect. 1stEvery Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
 2ndWhen in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usually Discovered.
Be considerate of others. Do not embarrass others. 3rdShow Nothing to your Friend that may affright him.
 4thIn the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.
 5thIf You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkerchief or Hand before your face and turn aside.
 6thSleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.
 7thPut not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Dressed.
 8thAt Play and at Fire its Good manners to Give Place to the last Commer, and affect not to Speak Louder than Ordinary.
 9thSpit not in the Fire, nor Stoop low before it neither Put your Hands into the Flames to warm them, nor Set your Feet upon the Fire especially if there be meat before it.
10thWhen you Sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them.
11thShift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.
12thShake not the head, Feet, or Legs roll not the Eyes lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by approaching too near him when you Speak.

13thKill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexterously upon it if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off.

Click the link below to read more of the rules.

Funeral Streetcar

Before the automobile one of the ways you could travel toward your final resting place was by public transit.  Dedicated funeral cars were added to the streetcar systems. 

The funeral streetcar in Chicago conveniently went to the 111th St cemeteries in my old south side neighborhood, Mount Greenwood. The famous "Seven Holy Tombs" from John Powers novels are about Mount Greenwood, including "The Last Catholic in America" and "Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up".

According to Roy G. Benedict, "the Chicago funeral streetcars were built in 1910 by the G. C. Kuhlman Car Co. for the Calumet & South Chicago Railway Co. (C&SC) as numbers 1-2. The potential traffic was funerals originating in the C&SC territory -- South Chicago and the East Side, West Pullman, Roseland, etc. -- for burials at the cemeteries along 111th Street in the Mt. Greenwood district. 

A track connection was made across the Rock Island main line at Washington Heights (103rd Street) to create a reasonable routing. The Chicago Surface Lines renumbered the cars Y301-Y302 but soon converted them to passenger cars 2857-2858. Once the streets were paved, motorized corteges became practicable. They had been funeral cars for less than ten years. As passenger cars they lasted more than another twenty years."

"Another city that did a brisk business in funeral trains was Chicago, where the ‘L’ took mourners accompanying caskets to cemetery station stops in specially designed funeral cars at a rate that reached 22 trips per week in 1907, according to a fascinating investigation by WBEZ. "

Cool Old Trucks

Thanks to Nan Brennan for sharing.


Bird on a Floating Island

A little floating island floated up to our backyard. 

And then a nice bird landed on the island.

A fine big bird.



John Cole, Scranton Times-Tribune

cartoon ebola us troops - Google Search


Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago Riverwalk

"When the Chicago Riverwalk is completed in 2016, it will be the city’s most visible and ambitious new public space after Millennium Park, which just celebrated its10th anniversary. And like the park, it represents the further evolution of the downtown landscape from an industrial corridor into a recreational center, and the reclamation of the Chicago River from a shipping canal-slash-sewer into a centerpiece of 21st century Chicago.."



Colonization - Expansion and Contraction Animation

Click to see an animation of the Colonization Expansion and Contraction.

The animation shows how slowly the United States was colonized by Europeans. For the first 200 years settlement was on a narrow sliver along the east coast.  Eventually the population hit critical mass and the balance of the country was quickly overtaken.

I wrote something about the mixing of European, Native American, and African American groups in our early history, shown below: 

Members of the Creek (Muscogee) Nation in Oklahoma around 1877. Note the evidence of mixed European and African ancestry. L to R, Lochar Harjo, unidentified man, John McGilvry, Silas Jefferson or Hotulko miko (Chief of the Whirlwind).

The conventional view of the settlement of America is that white Europeans immigrated to North America, stole the land, and killed most of the Native Americans. The few survivors were driven to reservations, where a relative few descendants live today.

This view is partially incorrect. Murder and theft did occur but what happened in many cases is that whites and Indians intermarried and interbred. The second and third generation American often received European, Native American, and African genes. Continuing immigration of white settlers gradually increased the percentage of European contribution to the population. Our ancestors gradually forgot their origins and that they were part Native American.

The early settlers in the 1600's and 1700's were tough people immigrating to a difficult environment. There were many young men coming to the new world to make their fortune. They often came without wives or their wives died in childbirth. They did what was natural and what occurs whenever two population groups come together - they intermarried. Who did these settlers marry if not Native American women? I have it on good scientific authority that women are required for the creation of descendants.

When two populations come into contact they usually interact, socialize, and intermarry to form a new population group. This takes place in all countries. In North and South America there are a number of countries that proudly recognize their Native American roots. Mexico and Chile are two prominent examples. But Argentina and the US are examples of countries where large ongoing European immigration continued to dilute the original population mix.

Improved immunity from disease favored intermarriage. Children of Native Americans and immigrants would have better immunity to old and new world diseases.

Our history is full of conflicts and short wars between colonists and Native Americans. The wars get a lot of publicity and are a big part of our historical understanding of the past. But relatively few Native Americans and settlers killed in the Indian wars. For the most part they peacefully traded and interacted and intermarried.

Marriage of Pocahantas and John Rolfe

There are numerous accounts of intermarriage. The marriage of Pocahontas to John Rolfe is perhaps the best known example. But there is little historic memory of intermarriage since it was not very noteworthy. People simply married and had children. Their children did the same and after a few generations little was remembered about the origins of the great and great great great grandparents.

Both my wife and I have family histories that indicate that one or more of our distant ancestors were Native American. And most of the known intermarriage would have occurred in the 1600 and 1700’s, when much of the European immigration were young men. And in the early years the population of the country was majority Native American.

Most of the social intercourse among Native Americans and colonists would have occurred at the edge of the colonial settlement. And this line very slowly moved west, allowing for many years of opportunities for trade, sexual intercourse, and marriage.

Disease also played a part. Europeans brought diseases which heavily impacted Native Americans who had no natural immunity to old world disease. And the Americas were the home of diseases for which Europeans had little native immunity. A person carrying both European and Native American genes had better immunity and a better chance of surviving and passing on his genes. The hardy survivors intermarried and passed on their immunities to their descendants.

Most people do not know their complete ethnic heritage back over 3 or 4 generations. There are roughly 10 generations back to pre colonial America. Ten generations equals 1024 forbears. Virtually no one knows the background or makeup of all of their 1024 ancestors.

I can only follow a dozen or so names back to the colonial era. Most of these were male lines who kept their last name. It is much more difficult to determine the ancestry of the women they married, who changed their name with each marriage. And some of them were probably Native American - more then my one known Native American ancestor.

In Mexico, for example, male ancestors are often of European descent while female ancestors were Native Americans. This follows the pattern of the conqueror, where the males with better technology and wealth successfully father the most children. The same situation prevailed in the US, but with ongoing waves of European immigration overwhelming the Native American contribution.


Firemen Pensions

My friends the Firemen in Illinois were quite pleased a few years ago when they won a substantial benefit from the Illinois Legislature.  Their pensions were changed so that their surviving spouse received 100 Per cent of their pension regardless of the cause of death.

"What were you thinking", I said.  "Not only will you not get any more money over the course of your life, but you will have to hire a food taster!"

I enjoyed watching their expressions as this concept sunk in.

Lessons Learned:

Never make yourself more valuable dead than alive to the person who prepares your food. 


The High Line's Last Section Plays Up Its Rugged Past

Anthony Paletta

All images © Iwan Baan, 2014 (Section 3)

The promise of any urban railroad, however dark or congested its start, is the eventual release onto the open frontier, the prospect that those buried tracks could, in time, take you anywhere. For those of us whose only timetable is our walking pace, this is the experience of the newly opened, final phase of the High Line. The park, after snaking in its two initial stages through some 20 dense blocks of Manhattan, widens into a broad promenade that terminates in an epic vista of the Hudson. It’s a grand coda and a satisfying finish to one of the most ambitious park designs in recent memory.

Click below to read the article on Metropolis Magazine.