Giving thanks!

November is a month of celebrating all that is good about our nation’s freedom and its democracy.

The first week of November in even-numbered years, we typically exercise our right to vote for our state and federal lawmakers – a privilege many take for granted. Millions of people in countries around the world have struggled to win and maintain the opportunity to voice their opinions in free and open elections. Closer to home, civic-minded people have pledged to support our freedoms and work on our behalf on the town councils and the county boards, and in the Illinois General Assembly and United States Congress.

On November 11, we honor our veterans, the men and women who left their home and families to protect our freedoms and defend our rights. These brave souls fought for our freedom and many did not return. We honor their sacrifices, the courage they displayed in fighting and the determination to succeed not for themselves but for all of us. It is because of veterans, those before them, those fighting today, and those who follow afterward that we enjoy this liberty. We owe them our thanks, our gratitude and our admiration.

Not surprisingly, the early residents of our nation who first celebrated Thanksgiving came to this nation in search of freedom. On Thanksgiving, we take time to reflect on the many things for which we have to be thankful in our homes, our communities, our state and our nation. Although now celebrated the fourth Thursday in the month, the first statewide Thanksgiving in Illinois, proclaimed by Governor Thomas Ford in 1842, was actually celebrated in December!   And it was Abraham Lincoln who declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.

ISP steps up efforts to ensure safe holidays on Illinois roads

With the holidays around the corner, the Illinois State Police (ISP) wants to remind drivers to exercise extra caution to arrive safely at their destination. The ISP will be using a combination of enforcement mechanisms to help reduce serious crashes. They will be highly visible on the interstates and heavily-traveled state routes and will be aggressively enforcing speeding, DUI, distracted driving and seat belt violations.  

In addition, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is joining the ISP to remind motorists to Click It or Ticket. The Click It or Ticket campaign officially started Nov. 22 and will end Dec. 2. The goal is to reduce motor vehicle crashes that result in injuries and traffic fatalities. The stepped-up patrols and seat belt enforcement zones will be conducted during the holiday season throughout the state.

Only you can prevent turkey fires: safety information for holiday cooking

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) data, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. On average, 166,100 home fires, per year, involve cooking equipment. Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment.

Fire safety information can be found on the NFPA website at or on the Office of the State Fire Marshal website at

Jil Tracy

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