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Donations for Illinois Masonic Home while shopping
Created: 1/24/2017

Many of your supporters are shopping for Valentine's Day gifts, and reminding them to shop at smile.amazon.com can increase donations for Illinois Masonic Home. Amazon has a large variety of gifts that are perfect for Valentine's Day including electronics, jewelry, clothing, and more.


IRS Scams
Created: 1/21/2017

It is that time of year again, tax time. During this time of year, the scam phone calls increase to consumers to scare or trick people into paying money or providing personal confidential information that can be used to steal or compromise their identity. 

Here are some tips from IRS.gov to help you avoid becoming a victim:

  • Scammers make unsolicited calls. This is when thieves call taxpayers claiming to be an IRS official. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. This is how they con the victim into sending cash through the method of a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” call back requests through phone “robo-calls” or via phishing email.
  • Callers try to scare their victims. Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of the victim if money is not paid.
  • Scams use caller ID spoofing. Scammers often alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another government agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.
  • Cons try new tricks all the time. Some schemes provide an actual IRS address where they tell the victim to mail a receipt for the payment. Others use emails that contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or email address for a reply. These scams often use official IRS letterhead in emails or regular mail they send to their victims. They try these ploys to make the ruse look official.

There are things the IRS will NOT do:

  • Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
  • Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
  • Require you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require you pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.
  • Email you.  The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
  • The IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. 

If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do, do not give ANY information.  Hang up immediately.  To report a call, contact TIGTA at 800-366-4484.  

Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure.  Tax scams can happen any time of the year, not just at tax time.  For more visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov.

Report all unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS or an IRS-related function to phishing@irs.gov.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS.  Visit https://www.irs.gov/Taxpayer-Bill-of-Rights to explore your rights and the IRS obligations to protect yourself from these scams.

 

Brother Vymazal from Praque, Czech Republic
Created: 1/9/2017


R.W. Bro. John Loayza, Dr. Josef Vymazal, W. Bro. David Sandoval, W. Bro. Eric Roder, R.W. Bro. Michael Braun

Brothers Josef Vymazal and Eric Roder were recently in Chicago to attend professional seminars. The brothers made requests that during their short stay arrangements be made for them to attend an Illinois Lodge meeting. On December 1st, they were invited to attend the regularly stated meeting of Wilmette Park Lodge No. 931.

At the meeting, Brother Vymazal, from Narod Lodge No. 1, Praque, Czech Republic, gave a short talk about issue concerning Masonry in his home country. One of the challenges they face is conducting business in four different languages; French, English, German, and Italian.

Worshipful Master, David Sandoval, of Wilmette Park Lodge, presented his lodge’s anniversary coin to the visiting brethren. Worshipful Brother Eric Roder also presented his lodge coin to Wilmette Park Lodge for its archives. Bro. Roder is from Lebanon Lodge No. 32, located in Langdon, N.D. The Grand Master’s pin was presented to the visitors by R.W. Brother Michael Braun, DDGM of the 3rd Northeastern District.

Both visiting brothers enjoyed the fellowship of Illinois Free Masonry and the City of Chicago as well as its suburbs.

 

Village of Skokie proclaims Howard Graff day
Created: 12/24/2016

An extraordinary honor bestowed upon our Brother Howard Graff.

Mayor of Skokie, George Van Dusen proclaimed October 19, 2016 to be “Howard Graff Day.” Brother Howard Graff is the Grand Chancellor of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, a 33° Scottish Rite Mason, member of the Chicago Valley for fifty-two years, and member of Oriental Lodge #33.

There have been many accomplishments during Brother Howard’s Masonic fifty-three years in Masonry, but one of the dearest to him happened this September when the European Adriatic Association of DeMolay International created the Howard Graff Medal of Honor. It is to be awarded to the most accomplished DeMolay member in each year. Also, a new chapter to be formed in Sarajevo, Bosnia will be called the Howard Graff Chapter. This will be the first time, after the ethnic and religious wars of 1990’s that young men from 16 to 21 years of age from four different religions (Catholic, Christian Orthodox, Muslim and Jews) will be able to sit and work together in a young person’s Masonic organization.

Brother Howard joined the Skokie Valley Chapter of DeMolay almost sixty years ago. His steadfast work in international DeMolay is now recognized and honored for assisting and bringing the youth of four countries in the Balkans together.

After the proclamation, Mayor Van Dusen said, “On behalf of the Village of Skokie, residents, family, and friends of Howard Graff, we express our gratitude and appreciation to Mr. Howard Graff for his contributions. We wish you good health and happiness. Thank you for helping to make the Village of Skokie one of the best communities in United States of America.” And thank you Brother Howard for all you have done for Freemasons in Illinois and the world.

Michael Toth, 32°
Past Master
Oriental Lodge #33, Chicago


Cabral and Zuniga’s heroic actions
Created: 11/26/2016

 
 Chicago Police officers Juan Zuniga (left) and Alejandro Cabral. 

Bro. Alejandro Cabral was made a Mason in 2010, he had no idea of the events that were about to unfold in his life. Alejandro is a Chicago Police Officer and a Past Master of Berwyn Lodge #839. On July 5, 2016, he and his partner, Juan Zuniga, responded to a report of a person who had been shot. Upon their arrival, they found a man with a chest wound.

Cabral, who is an Army veteran, was unable to stop the victims bleeding by applying pressure. He asked Office Zuniga to bring a QuikClot Combat Gauze from the first aid kit in his vest. They used it to control the bleeding until paramedics arrived.

Cabral and Zunig

a were familiar with the QuikClot bandage from their military training. The gauze is treated with a mineral that speeds up the body’s natural ability to clot. Cabral had used them in Afghanistan when treating wounded civilians. The QuikClot bandage is not part of the officer’s standard equipment. Cabral had used a portion of his department allowance to buy the bandages. He believes that every officer should be required to have them in their supplies.

Training on how use the special gauze has been offered on a voluntary basis to police officers since 2012. Cabral underwent that training about a year ago to refresh

the knowledge he had gotten while serving in the Army. Since the QuikClot is not provided by the department, Chicago Police officials are trying to work with foundations and organizations to equip as many officers as possible.

Because of Cabral and Zuniga’s heroic action and foresight, on Tuesday September 7, 2016 the City of Chicago presented them with a Mayoral Resolution for Heroism (City of Chicago Council Award). They also were recognized by the Chicago White Sox. The team gave them the honor of throwing out the first pitch on August 25, 2016 during a pregame ceremony honoring Police and Firefighters.

Since the incident, Chicago aldermen have been calling for the QuikClot gauze to be added to first responder’s equipment. It is not known how the cash strapped Police Department will pay for the QuikClot kit, but there may be federal funding available. Most believe that the $50 per package expense is well worth it. The New York Police Department will soon have the emergency kit added to their standard equipment.


 
   
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