The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the runaway Blue Line train that crashed into a westbound train last Monday, injuring dozens of people, had been left with its power on and in a setting that permitted its unmanned operation, at a CTA repair terminal. The setting that the train was left in apparently allowed the train to keep moving even though emergency brakes had been applied. The NTSB also found that unoccupied trains are routinely left powered on while stored in repair facilities with the settings that allow the trains to continue moving through a mechanical train stop mechanism after a momentary stop. Although the CTA is reported to be disputing the NTSB findings, it has issued a number of precautions to all of its railyard employees to make sure that trains undergoing maintenance stay in place. The NTSB has urged the CTA to review its procedures for storing unoccupied cars, and has recommended that the CTA disconnect the power sources to its trains while stored, and placing wheel chocks or “derails”, which would block the free rolling of the train’s wheels and force the car off-rail in the event of unwanted movement.
We’ll see what the CTA’s ultimate response and explanation for last Monday’s train wreck is. In the meantime, let’s all hope that the CTA pays attention to the NTSB’s findings and recommendations so that the thousands of CTA passengers who ride these trains each day are not exposed to the risk of unmanned runaway trains. Mass transit accidents can be devastating. To learn more about how you can protect you and your family in the event of a mass transportation accident, please visit our website.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as a result of a train crash, you may be able to take action. Please contact the attorneys of Lane Brown, LLC, or call us at 312-332-1400 to speak with us about your options. We can help. To learn more about Lane Brown, please visit our website at lanebrownlaw.com.
Make September Special by Taking Advantage of These Fun Events in Chicago
As Chicago makes the transition from summer into the cooler days of fall, it may seem like all the fun is over for the year. However, there is still a lot of fun to be had—and beautiful evenings to enjoy—before the snow starts to fall. If you feel like you’re out of ideas for keeping things interesting now that summer vacation time is over, here are some ideas for making September special:
- Access for All: Tom Olin’s Photographs of the Disability Rights Movement, until April 10, 2016. The Chicago History Museum is still hosting a powerful exhibit of photos from photographer Tom Olin. The prints show activists fighting for disability rights to bring about the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the exhibit will focus on educating visitors about this important moment in history. Take an afternoon to check it out before it disappears next April!
- Super Bears Shuffle 5K, September 10. Can’t wait for game day? Get ready for the Super Bears Shuffle 5K! Just the second year for this event, participants can expect a fun day at Soldier Field with the Bears Drumline, Staley Da Bear, and a pep rally.
- Venetian Night, September 12. Enjoy an evening that features a parade of illuminated boats, favorite Broadway themes, and fireworks at the Navy Pier. Venetian Night brings the spirit of Venice to Lake Michigan and promises fun for the whole family.
- Oktoberfest, September 18 and 19. Are you ready for a little taste of autumn? The “Oktober” festival takes place for two days in downtown Oak Park, featuring music, craft beer, fall-themed foods, and even a root beer garden for the kids!
- Apple Fest, September 19. In its 28th year, the Annual Apple Fest kicks off the fall season and celebrates one of America’s favorite fruits. Expect to enjoy candy apples, apple pies, steaming apple cider, local musicians, and craft vendors.
- Oktoberfest Chicago, September 25–27. Head down to St. Alphonsus in the West Lakeview neighborhood and enjoy a Bavarian-themed weekend. The event invites you to “bring on autumn and pull out the lederhosen” and features food, beer tastings, brats, two music stages, and kids’ activities.
- Grand Art & Design Festival, September 26 and 27. The recently revamped Art & Design Festival will still bring together home and garden design vendors, but it will now also feature music, local crafts, handmade goods, jewelry, food trucks, and hayrides! It takes place in the Grand Avenue Design District in West Town.
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Enjoy a Labor Day Weekend of Fun in Chicago Before Bidding Farewell to Summer
Are you ready to get a few more days of events, festivals, and fun in before the summer is officially over for 2015? Although there’s quite a bit to choose from, here is just a sampling of some of the exciting events going on in Chicago for Labor Day weekend:
- Chicago Jazz Festival, September 3–6. This year, the 37th annual Chicago Jazz Festival will continue to promote the appreciation of jazz by bringing in talented musicians from Chicago, around the nation, and around the world. Head to the Chicago Cultural Center at Millennium Park over Labor Day weekend—admission is free! If you can’t make it to this event, don’t forget that you can still catch some of the Neighborhood Nights on weekends until August 22.
- Taste of Polonia Festival, September 4–7. Also known as Polish Fest, this four-day event will feature four stages of non-stop live music, delicious Polish food and beer, activities for kids, plus vendors and cultural exhibits. It will be held at the Copernicus Center in Jefferson Park, and children under the age of 12 get in free!
- The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival, September 4–7. If you’ve been spending the late summer days pondering your autumn wardrobe, take a chance to indulge yourself during the Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival. The event is billed as “America’s only shopping festival,” and it features non-stop events that that focus on fashion, fitness, and food. You might even want to check out the Magnificent Mile Chicago Women’s Half Marathon & 5K on Sunday, September 6.
- Naperville Jaycees Last Fling 2015, September 4–7. Celebrating 50 years this year, the Last Fling promises a fun end to the summer with live music, a 5k run, and a Labor Day Parade. The events will take place across the street from Rotary Hill in Naperville, not far from Central High School.
- Chicago’s Best Summer WingFest, September 5. Are you passionate about wings? Summer WingFest promises to reinvent itself this year with more of everything, including music, carnival games, eating contests, craft beers, vendors, and—of course—delicious chicken wings prepared by some of the best local chefs!
- Motor Row Craft Beer & Wine Fest, September 5 & 6. If you want to enjoy a sampling of wines and microbrews in a historic neighborhood, check out the Motor Row Craft Beer & Wine Fest. This will be the first year for the festival, which will be held in the Motor Row District. Along with the tasting events, you’ll find art, music, and food.
No matter how you and your family choose to celebrate Labor Day this year, we hope that you’ll do so safely and responsibly—and that you enjoy the long weekend. For more news, events, and information from our legal team, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus.
Find Out Where to Watch Fourth of July Fireworks in the Chicago Area and How to Celebrate Safely in the Backyard
When it’s time to celebrate Independence Day, almost everyone—young and old alike—start thinking about fireworks lighting up the sky. If you’re ready to start celebrating for July Fourth weekend, here’s a rundown of some local fireworks displays and a little information about how to celebrate safely with your family.
Fourth of July Fireworks Events in the Chicago Area
The Fourth is a highly anticipated holiday here in Chicago, and you can expect local celebrations across the metro area. Here’s some information about just a few of the many festivals featuring fireworks displays this year:
- Chicago. Whether you join the crowds on the dock or watch from a hotel or rooftop bar, find a spot to catch the display of fireworks and music at the Navy Pier, which will start at 9:30 p.m. on July 4.
- Deerfield. The Deerfield Family Days celebration promises live music, a pancake breakfast, a bike parade, a dog show, and so much more over Independence Day weekend. Enjoy the fireworks display scheduled for Friday, July 3, at 9:15 p.m., and then come back on Saturday to take part in more events.
- Glenview. Start by watching the parade at 11:15 a.m. on July 4, which will proceed from Harlem Avenue to Central Road. After a day of fun, head down to Gallery Park at 7:00 p.m. to catch patriotic music from the North Shore Concert Band and the twilight fireworks display.
- Lake Forest. Starting at 6:00 p.m., the Lake Forest Festival & Fireworks will feature live music and activities for the kids at Deerpath Park. The fireworks display is free and scheduled to begin around 9:40 p.m.
- Oak Park. Celebrate the Fourth by watching the Independence Day Parade at 10:00 a.m. and the fireworks at dusk. The fireworks display will be held at the Oak Park and River Forest High School football stadium.
If you don’t see your local fireworks display listed here, there are tons of other options for celebrating the holiday. Most of the cities and towns in the surrounding area have displays and festivals scheduled for July Fourth weekend, so don’t forget to check your hometown’s website and newspaper for a schedule of events.
Enjoying Fireworks Safely at Backyard Displays and Family Gatherings
Do you prefer to avoid the crowds and celebrate with family in the backyard? Most fireworks are banned in Illinois, and some cities have additional laws that further limit the kinds of ignitable entertainment that are allowed. In some areas, it may even be illegal to light up a few sparklers. Before you make plans or purchase fireworks over the border in Indiana, be aware of federal, state, and local laws that apply to you.
However, if you’re traveling out of town to enjoy a backyard display with family and friends or just picking up some snake pellets and novelties for the kids to enjoy, here are some tips for avoiding tragedy from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:
- Children should always be supervised by an adult when watching or using fireworks and related novelties. Never allow young children to play with fireworks.
- Never use any kind of fireworks indoors, and always follow safety instructions on the packaging.
- Make sure the outdoor area you choose is away from people, pets, buildings, cars, and flammable materials.
- Don’t keep fireworks in your pocket, shoot them off from your hand, or fire them into metal or glass containers.
- Always keep a bucket of water nearby, and make sure you have access to a hose or fire extinguisher.
- Light only one firework at a time, and move away quickly.
- Don’t attempt to relight a “dud.” Keep an eye on it for 20 minutes, and then submerge it in water. You should also soak any spent fireworks before disposing of them in a metal trash can.
- Don’t be tempted to light up fireworks when you’re intoxicated—and remember not to get behind the wheel on the way home if you plan to celebrate with alcohol.
How does your family stay safe while enjoying Fourth of July festivities? Leave us a comment below, or connect with Lane Brown on Facebook today to share your stories with our readers.
Fun and Interesting July and August Events in the Chicago Area
There are tons of events in the Chicago area over the summer, and it’s not too late to enjoy them—even if you’ve been too busy to make it to some of the early-season festivals for Memorial Day or the Fourth. There’s something going on to suit just about everyone, whether you’re heading out on your own or packing up the family on a sunny weekend.
Here are some highlights of the numerous opportunities for food, fun, music, and getting involved in July and August:
- July 15–19, Kane County Fair. Ready to get started with some summer fun today? Enjoy an old-fashioned county fair with rides, exhibits, contests, vendors, and entertainment. The Kane County Fair takes place at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles. Check out the event’s website for admission information.
- July 17–19, Health and Fitness Expo. Take part in a free, two-day event that features health information, demonstrations, and more. Alongside the expo, the big attractions will be the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon, a 5K run, and a 10K run.
- July 18, Disability Pride Parade. Participate in the march along Dearborn Street—or just watch and enjoy a free day of fun to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) at the Disability Pride Parade.
- July 18, Kaleidoscope Family Day. The Ryan Education Center at the Art Institute of Chicago will be hosting its 25th annual family day, which offers art-making activities and more for kids, teens, and parents. Admission is free, so stop by for an afternoon of creative fun!
- July 19, Dearborn Garden Walk. Learn more about historic Dearborn Street this summer by indulging in a walking tour of beautiful rear gardens, some of which will feature live classical and jazz music. Get your tickets in advance now!
- July 25–26, North Shore Festival of Art. This Art Festival in Skokie offers paintings, photographs, sculptures, ceramics, and other art from juried artists in an outdoor exhibition. You can expect to find food, music, and kids’ activities at the festival, and both admission and parking are free.
- August 1–2, Edge Fest. Celebrate all things Edgewater on the neighborhood’s lakefront, and enjoy live music, karaoke, food, art, and more. Admission for the event is a suggested donation of five dollars, which benefits the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce.
- August 7–9, Chicago Hot Dog Fest. This year, the Hot Dog Fest will fill three days with the iconic American food, live music, and a kids’ activity area. The event is held at the park at Clark Street and W. LaSalle Drive, and it benefits the Chicago History Museum.
- August 8–9, Kite Festival. Get together at the Chicago Botanical Gardens for kite performances set to music, kite-making workshops, and kids’ activities.
- August 9, French Connection Day. Enjoy a day of French culture in Cantigny that will feature an open-air market, wine tasting, street performers, and activities for kids. Admission is free, but there is a parking fee of five dollars.
- August 15, XPLORE Chicago. Join a team-based adventure that will challenge you to race around the city, find clues, and solve challenges. It’s a great way to get a workout, have an adventure, and participate in a scavenger hunt unlike any other! You can register now to run or just show up to watch.
- August 15–16, Malott Japanese Garden Summer Festival. Hear traditional Japanese instruments, listen to folktales, and enjoy a tea ceremony at the Chicago Botanic Garden. There will be plenty of family-friendly hands-on projects so your family can create while you learn in a beautiful environment.
- August 29–30, Midnight Circus in the Parks. Bring the whole family to see the Midnight Circus kick off its 2015 season in Grand Crossing Park. Get tickets now so you don’t miss an exciting show with word-class circus performers. The program will run through October in different parks around Chicago, and it helps raise funds for local park improvements.
- August 30, Transamerica Chicago Triathlon. This year, the Chicago Triathlon will feature five stand-alone triathlons, as well as an exciting Triple Challenge event. There’s something for professionals, amateurs, and even kids, so don’t miss out!
Stay Safe During Summer Fun
No matter what you choose to do, remember to stay safe. July and August are usually the hottest months of the year, and the city will be busy all summer long.
- Make sure you’re prepared to stay hydrated in hot weather and protect yourself from the sun.
- Drive carefully and pay attention, especially around bikes and foot traffic. Don’t forget to plan enough time to get there when traffic is likely to be extra heavy.
- If you choose to drink at a summer event, make sure you have a designated driver or a plan for getting home at the end of the night. Never drink and drive!
All of us at Lane Brown, LLC hope you enjoy a safe and happy summer in Chicago! Want to learn more about us and what we do? Connect with us on Facebook for constantly updated news, tips, and information.
Have Fun and Celebrate Freedom in Chicago With These Memorial Day Weekend Events
Join us in remembering the sacrifices made by men and women in the U.S. military, and get out and celebrate our freedoms over the long weekend. There are a number of ways to enjoy Memorial Day weekend in Chicago. Here are some of the numerous events to choose from for 2015:
- Wreath Laying Ceremony and Memorial Day Parade. The Memorial Day Parade in Chicago is one of the largest in the United States, honoring all of the people who have lost their lives defending our nation. Get started on Saturday with the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Eternal Flame at the Daley Center Plaza at 11 a.m., and then watch the parade kick off at noon with marching bands, active and veteran military personnel, the drum and bugle corps, and more.
- Red, White, and Bar-B-Q. This annual barbecue festival and competition is put on by the Westmont Lions Club, and is the largest sanctioned Kansas City Barbeque Society contest in Illinois. The festival runs from May 22 through May 24, and features live music, incredible food, an all-ages carnival, cooking demonstrations, and more. Admission is free, so drop by and join the fun at Ty Warner Park in Westmont.
- Bike the Drive. Take over Lake Shore Drive on your bike and support a great cause! The MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive event gives cyclists the chance to enjoy the open road and see the sights around the city while the route is closed to vehicles. Everyone is welcome, regardless of age or ability, so sign up now and join the event at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 24—and don’t forget about the after-party at Butler Field. The event benefits Active Transportation Alliance, which is focused on making biking, walking, and public transportation a safe choice for Chicagoland residents.
- Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest. The Irish Fest is a much-anticipated event every Memorial Day Weekend, and this May marks its 29th year. Don’t forget to get your tickets! The event will take place at Gaelic Park in Oak Forest, promising four days of music, food, fun, and other great ways to celebrate Irish culture.
- Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival. This music festival kicks off street-fest season in Chicagoland with food, libations, live music, and the work of local artisans. Put on by the Central Lakeview Merchants Association, the event kicks off on Saturday near the Belmont Red Line “El” stop and runs through Sunday. There is a suggested donation of $5.
- St. Charles Fine Art Show. The Fine Art Show event, presented by STC Capital Bank, is a well-respected, juried art show that will showcase the work of 100 artists. On May 23 and 24, come to Downtown St. Charles to see artwork of all kinds, artist’s demonstrations, and live bands. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the many parks, restaurants, and shops St. Charles has to offer!
Do you know of another Memorial Day event that you’d like to share with our readers? Connect with Lane Brown on Facebook and tell us all about it!