Taking a look ahead into the new year


Here we are, four days into 2020 and the world does not seem any better.
Increasing tensions in the Middle East, wildfires destroying houses and wildlife in Australia, reports of shootings in churches and stabbings in homes. Sometimes I just want to put my head in the sand and hope it all goes away.
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I sometimes forget the small army of people who work holidays while I loll in my easy chair. Nurses, doctors, police, firefighters, tow truck drivers, servers, cooks, utility workers…like I said, a whole army of people who work to keep us safe and provide comfort to us. Thank you all for what you do.
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The New Year brings the start of a new age to Illinois…the Age of Pot. From news reports I saw, a lot of people could not wait to buy legal marijuana. There are also dire warnings that this marijuana is not the same stuff that was smoked 40 years ago. This weed is stronger, more potent. Tread carefully, my friends.
Looking for a new career? I think cookie and brownie makers would do well in today’s Illinois.
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If you wonder what our lawmakers do, take comfort in the 250 new laws that went into effect Jan. 1.  
Of course there was the marijuana legalization, but several other laws affect us.
The minimum wage starts the incline to $15 per hour. If you trade in a car you will pay a tax on your vehicle. Traffic fines go up, so it will now cost you $300 to pass that stopped school bus. A second offense will be $1,000 — so be alert.
License plate fees go up as well. This is not a surprise because those fees never go down, do they?
There is also a tax on parking lots and garages. I am not sure how this works for homeowners near Wrigley Field who rent out their yards for some extra bucks, but the big garages and lots will now pay a tax, which will be passed on to those parking there.
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I have seen a couple of warnings about dating papers with 20, as in 6/19/20. The fear is that someone could add numbers, changing the effective date of the contract or lease — 6/19/20 becomes 6/19/2017 when altered. Something to think about.

Terry Dickow is a retired elementary school teacher with lots of opinions, some you will like, some you won’t. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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