This summer Chicago expanded its blue cart recycling program to an additional 61,000 households. The blue cart recycling program began in 2007 and this expansion will give even more neighborhoods access to recycling services with their garbage pick-up. The program offers bi-weekly recycling collection services to Chicago residents in single family homes as well as two to four flat buildings. It is a single stream recycling program where recycled materials are collected together by a collection truck and then sorted at processing centers using a mix of old and new technologies such as conveyor belts and as infrared readers. Once sorted the individual commodities are sold to manufacturers who reprocess and reuse the products. This system for recycling has some advantages such as the fact that recycled materials are not contaminated by garbage or food waste, people are more willing to participate as they do not have to separately store the various recyclable materials, and the City can use the less expensive single compartment trucks when picking up recyclables. Common items that can be recycled through this program include glass jars and bottles, aluminum, tin and steel cans, cardboard from cereal and tissue boxes, paper and toilet paper towel rolls, telephone books, magazines, newspapers and catalogs, paper bags as well as beverage cartons. Plastic bottles, containers and jugs can be recycled if they have numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 imprinted on the bottom, usually inside of a triangle. Items such as clothes, linens and hangers are not accepted and should be recycled through other means. If you live in a multi-unit apartment building, the Chicago recycling ordinance requires multi-unit residential building owners, governing associations and/or condominium boards to offer the residents an effective recycling program. The ordinance defines an effective program as including at least three source separated recyclable materials, having a written plan explaining to residents how to prepare their recyclable materials, implementing an educational plan for all new residents, and issuing semi-annual quality reports. If your building does not currently recycle, you should call the owner, association or board and request that one be implemented.
Imagine that you have just found out that you have a serious illness; there are a number of thoughts running through your mind. One of them is “What about work?” Everyone reacts differently to a medical diagnosis, but when it comes to the work place you may want to consider how much you share until you have gathered all the information about your illness and treatments. After being diagnosed with any illness, especially a serious or terminal one, other areas of your life are unfortunately affected as well. When your health does affect your employment, the last thing you expect is to be confronted with harassment or the threat of losing your job, income and health benefits. People with life threatening or chronic illness often feel that employers discriminate against them but it’s not illegal to discriminate in hiring; it’s only illegal to discriminate based on certain protected classes. The question is whether or not you disclose to an employer or HR if you are diagnosed with a serious illness such as Cancer, MS or Arthritis. You have rights and it is important that you know what those rights are: Employment discrimination based on an employee’s medical condition is prohibited in many cases by state and federal laws. Medical discrimination can include basing decisions on hiring, firing, promotion, and job assignment on incorrect assumptions about what an employee can and can’t do. Talk to your doctor about your treatment plan, what the possible side effects are, and how they may affect your ability to perform your job. Familiarize yourself with your legal rights as a sick worker. Go over your health insurance coverage, the company policy on medical leave, and your legal rights as determined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Family Medical Leave Act(FMLA). These are the primary federal laws that protect qualified employees and applicants from unfair treatment. Have a Plan Ready: Often the most difficult part in starting the conversation is the fear of how your employer is going to react. Consider that, in addition to having the law on your side as you continue to work through your treatment, you may also have allies in your manager and your colleagues. If you can, come up with a tentative plan for keeping up with your projects, and some ideas to accommodate any time off you may need. Things may change when you discover how[READ MORE…]
A developer bought several pieces of property next to our three flat last year and tore down the two houses. A few weeks ago a construction company showed up, fenced off the empty lots and began to dig a foundation. Given the rainy weather, they have finally started to frame the house and they are working from daybreak to sunset, making it impossible for us to open a window or have a conversation in the backyard because of the incredible noise levels. We talked to a few of the men working and they referred us to the developer who has not called back. Do we have any options to stop the obvious noise pollution? The City of Chicago does have a noise pollution ordinance, 11-4-1115, but it applies to “any radio, tape recorder, cassette player or other device for receiving broadcast sound or reproducing recorded sound if the device is located (1) On the public way; or (2) In any motor vehicle on the public way. The City of Chicago Environmental Department will respond to calls for noise levels other than those from devices such as radios or speakers but the noise level limits of 55db only apply from 9 pm to 8 am. There is no ordinance that applies during daytime hours for noise from construction or businesses. While the State of Illinois has a lengthy list of noise standards under PART 901 SOUND EMISSION STANDARDS AND LIMITATIONS FOR PROPERTY LINE-NOISE-SOURCES of the Illinois Administrative Code, exceptions include lawn care maintenance equipment , agricultural farm machinery, snowmobiles, and sound emitted from equipment being used for construction used during daytime hours. In order to pursue this you would have to prove the noise is excessive, unnecessary, and fixable, and the levels constitute a nuisance to your residential living environment and are harmful to your mental and/or physical health. You might consider contacting an attorney at Ankin Law LLC. to have them assist you in crafting a letter to both the developer and the construction company to see if a compromise could be reached with perhaps a modification of the time periods when they are working. And remember, the building will be completed so the noise pollution is temporary.
We so often hear people talk about an attractive nuisance when referring to items in yards such as a swimming pool, but what does that mean? The doctrine of attractive nuisance refers to unenclosed pools, machinery or stacks of building materials that are simultaneously both a lure and a hidden danger to children. Natural conditions, such as a lake or a steep hill, are not general considered to be attractive nuisances. In order to be held to be liable for injury, the property owner must either create or maintain the harmful object. In many states, the court weighs property owner liability in attractive nuisance cases by determining if the property owner knew or suspected that children might trespass near the hazard, whether the hazard poses an unreasonable risk of death or harm to children, whether the children can appreciate the risk involved; and whether the landowner took reasonable precautions or exercised reasonable care to eliminate the hazard or to protect the children from harm. The Illinois Supreme Court, in a ruling last year in the case of Choate v. Indiana Harbor Belt R.R. Co., 2012 IL 112948, confirmed that the State of Illinois does not recognize the “attractive nuisance doctrine” in the same manner as many other states. In Choate v. Indiana Harbor Belt R.R., a 12-year-old boy named Dominic Choate attempted to impress his friends by jumping aboard a slow-moving freight train. In his third and final attempt he fell, and the train ran over his foot, resulting in a below the knee amputation. In a lawsuit, Choate claimed it was the railroad’s fault. The railroad asked for summary judgment, because it was obvious that jumping on a train was dangerous, and Choate admitted that he knew it was dangerous. The trial court refused, and awarded $6.5 million in damages. An intermediate appellate court affirmed the decision but the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the ruling stating that a landowner owes no duty to trespassers, and while it owes a duty to children to warn them of latent harms that a child might not reasonably apprehend, it owes no duty with respect to obvious harms. The court went on to say that the Plaintiff and his friends had not paid attention to the fence segments; or the posted warning sign and they were not trying to cross the tracks. Because Choate was clearly trespassing, the railroad did not have the[READ MORE…]
You have probably seen the Montrose Dog Beach on Lake Michigan where canines and their human companions can romp in the sand and splash in the water. This is just one of more than a dozen dog parks in Chicago where dogs are allowed to be off –leash. Many of these sites have doggie drinking fountains, and dog owner bulletin boards as well extra doggie bags. While it may seem to be a walk in the park, dog owners should be aware that Municipal Code 7-12-140 requires all dogs four months and older be registered in Chicago. Registration is necessary to enter Chicago Park District dog-friendly areas. Rules for Dog Friendly Areas (DFA) are enforced by the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control and they can issue tickets to violators. Violators face a possible fine of $500. The registration tag must be on the dog’s collar or harness and dog owners must carry their permits at all times when attending DFAs. Even if you’re just visiting for the day, you must have the permit and tag. There are no visitor or day passes. Having your dog registered with the City shows that you are a responsible dog owner. Dog bites and mishaps happen; your dog can very easily be provoked into biting someone. In Illinois, the law is very strict regarding dog bites and dog attacks. As long someone haven’t trespassed or otherwise provoked your dog into assaulting someone, you, as the owner of the dog, are liable for the injury. The Illinois Animal Control Act clearly states that: “If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.” If your dog has bitten or attacked a person, call our Chicago dog bite attorneys at Ankin Law before you speak with anyone so we can properly advise you of your rights. A dog bite or an animal attack is certainly an unpleasant event and it can be very dangerous or even deadly! . We will investigate who was responsible for the attack, as we understand dog owners, know your rights and we will fight for you. A dog is[READ MORE…]
Chicago is one of the nation’s bike-friendliest cities, but it wasn’t always that way. At one point, the two-wheelers / “High Wheelers”, introduced in 1870, were banned from parts of the city; according to the Chicago Park District, the “High Wheelers” were prohibited from Lincoln Park because of the danger they posed for riders and pedestrians alike. The newest piece of Chicago’s vast transit system does not rumble between the downtown streets on the elevated rail lines or utilize the fleet of hybrid buses. The City, with the urging of Mayor Emanuel, is making it easy for commuters and visitors to get around via their bicycles, with new protected bike lanes and stoplights with bike signals. It is important to note that while Illinois does not currently have a state bicycle helmet law, several municipalities do; Barrington requires all persons under 17 to wear a helmet while Cicero, Inverness and Skokie require helmets for persons less than 16 years of age. The City of Chicago only requires helmets for messengers. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune about “Bicycle Helmet Laws” indicated that states that require children and teenagers to wear helmets report fewer deaths involving bicycles and cars. Researchers looked at the number of U.S. bicycle deaths between 1999 and 2010 and found that states with bicycle helmet laws had 20% fewer bike-related fatalities for people under the age of 16. There is no doubt that if you are in a bicycle accident involving a head injury, a helmet may very well save your life or prevent brain damage. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2008 Traffic Safety Facts, 70% of cyclists involved in a fatal crash suffer from head injuries, and helmets are 85 to 88% effective in preventing head and brain injuries. The NHTSA calls helmets “the single most effective way to reduce head injuries and fatalities from bicycle crashes.” The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute supports helmet laws covering all age groups and they work to raise awareness that helmets save lives. Many riders and parents don’t realize that they and their children should use a helmet. Since bicycles on a public road are vehicles, the bicycle rider has the rights and obligations similar to those of any vehicle user especially in heavily populated and unsafe road environments, so requiring a bicycle helmet should be considered similar to the requirement to wear a seatbelt in[READ MORE…]
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