For Father’s Day: Chester Felix Garstki, Dad

by Carol A. Westbrook We think about our fathers during the month of June. Father’s Day is a time to remember these beloved men, especially those who have passed. We reflect on how remarkable their live were, and of so many questions we’d ask them if they were still alive. I’ ask my Dad what…

Smitten by Fitbit

by Carol Westbrook If all the data from the 70 million Fitbits and other wearables in the U.S. were analyzed for clusters of flu-like symptoms, we might have known about the coronavirus epidemic, traced the contacts and perhaps slow its spread, even before widespread testing was available. This is the power of wearable health technology.…

Looking Up with 2020 Vision: Astronomers’ Views of our Night Sky

by Carol A Westbrook Have you ever looked up at a dark night sky filled with millions of stars, and felt the wonder and awe of the universe? It’s a rare experience in 2020, since the night sky is so bright due to light pollution, that even the brightest stars appear dim. Fortunately, don’t need…

The Candidate: Running for office in small town America

by Carol A Westbrook “You must be crazy,” the current Council president said to me. “Why do you want to run for Town Council?” Being on the Beverly Shores Town Council was a thankless job. It paid only a small stipend, took up a lot of time in month meetings, committee meetings, and pubic events.…

Seeing is Believing: The Crop Circle Controversy

by Carol A Westbrook It’s summer’s end. The fields are golden with ripe grain, bringing thoughts of harvest festivals, hayrides, apple cider… and crop circles. Yes, I can’t drive past a field full of golden grain without keeping my eyes peeled for crop circles. Scanning for crop circles is a habit I picked up 25…

Don’t Want No Short People ‘Round Here

by Carol A Westbrook It’s been over 30 years since Randy Newman released his hit, “Short People,” singing, that they “…. got grubby little fingers And dirty little minds They’re gonna get you every time Well, I don’t want no short people ‘Round here.” Most Americans recognized this song as a parody of racial discrimination.…

Universal Medicare: Free Healthcare or Your Worst Nightmare?

by Carol A Westbrook “Medicare for All” is a battle cry for the upcoming national elections, as voters’ health care costs continue to skyrocket. Universal Medicare, they believe, will provide free health care, improve access to the best doctors, and lower the cost of prescription drugs. Is it a dream, or is it a nightmare?…

Let There Be Light

by Carol A Westbrook On the first day of creation, God said. “Let there be light,” according to the Bible. In most major religions, God creates day and night, the sun, or light itself on the first day. To the ancients, the sun was God Himself–the Egyptians had Ra, and the Aztecs, Huītzilōpōchtli.There is something divine…

Where in the World Are You?

by Carol A Westbrook “Drive east 6 blocks and then turn right, and you’ll be there,” I told my son. He answered, “Forget it. I don’t know which way is east. I’ll just use my GPS.” I was incredulous. How could any native Chicagoan not know where east is located–toward Lake Michigan, of course! How…

Halting the Drug Overdose Crisis: A Doctor’s Prescription

by Carol A Westbrook “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning” has been replaced by “Here’s a bottle of oxycodone. Don’t call me for a month.” Two million Americans are addicted or dependent on opioid drugs. Last year, 72,000 of them died of overdoses, usually by accidentally taking too high a dose of…

We Are All Immigrants

On Labor Day we celebrate the contributions of the hard-working people who helped build our nation. Many of them were immigrants who fled war, religious persecution, and poverty. As a matter of fact, most of us have immigrant root; ironically, this this is one of the most defining aspects of being American.