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I know no more about the Ebola crisis than you, but I served for years on a medical center foundation board, and was often briefed by the hospital administrator. A few years back, she told us her current internal campaign was to convince medical staff to wash their hands before and after patient contact in her hospitals.

That’s right: “WASH YOUR HANDS!”

If basic sanitation instruction and follow-through has been so poor in our hospitals that medical staff doesn’t know enough to consistently wash their hands, it’s not too much of a leap to understand why protocols for handling of suspected Ebola patients are not being properly implemented.

Today is the 143rd anniversary of the Chicago Fire. On that fateful day in 1871, much of Chicago burned, as did Peshtigo, Wisconsin, with the greatest loss of life in any American fire, as well as the fellow upper midwestern cities of Holland and Manistee, Michigan, all on the same day! Many wealthy Chicagoans, displaced by the fire, used the recently opened railroad to move their families to new estates along the rocky, un-farmable shores of Lake Geneva (some call it Geneva Lake), while the city was being rebuilt. Many stayed, at least to enjoy the lake as a summer home. Millions, then billions were invested to turn rustic Lake Geneva into what came to be known as “The Newport of the West” for the wealthy and a tourist haven for the multitudes of Chicago and Milwaukee and Rockford. Would the Lake Geneva of 2014 have been better off without the Chicago Fire of 1871? Good question. While much of the shore of the lake is still beautifully wooded, and the deep, spring-fed waters remain fresh, increasing numbers of white McMansions break the natural shoreline, and hundreds of boats, increasingly fast power boats criss-cross the lake. Yet lake area residents are more and more sensitized to what environmental conservation means to the importance of their natural inheritance. The modern concept of “re-wilding,” or restoring natural surroundings and native wildlife is taking a foothold.

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Only 8% of you approve of what Congress has been doing.

Here’s one BIG reason to vote this December, and vote OUT all incumbent candidates and bring in fresh blood.

In the aftermath of the school massacre at Sandy Hook, two years ago this December, 92% of gun owners wanted to see mandatory background checks required for all gun purchases. Yet Congress did nothing. In some states, up to 95% of the population wanted background checks, yet the Congress was afraid of the remaining 5%.

Instituting background checks for gun purchases and coming down hard on illegal gun trafficking by gangs and drug addicts could make a BIG difference in community safety across this nation, without restricting the legal ownership of guns one bit. Yet Congress did NOTHING.

Where were you when you heard about Sandy Hook? (I was driving home from officiating at a cause-related communications awards program I support at Bradley University.)

Where do you stand now?

Vote OUT Congress (of BOTH parties) this December. Send a new message, and a new Congress, to Washington.

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