The problem when I don’t write for a while is that life just keeps happening. And the more things there are to write about, the less likely I am to write, because it all feels like too much to cover. However, if I may abandon my trademark humility for a moment: I suspect you’d rather hear from me about a small portion of the things than none of the things.
A lot of life has happened. We did both get Covid, finally. Nobody knows exactly how, which is the way of it these days. We each had mild cases and quarantined for ten days; it sucked, then we moved on. Lucky.
I didn’t test positive until a few days after Ashley did, despite our best efforts to stay apart. Just when I was starting to think I might be some kind of superdodger (a real thing1)—and the day after I got my Omicron booster—I did test positive. For the sake of keeping my ego in check, this was probably a good thing; I could have become an insufferable braggart.
Oh well. I admit I had at times imagined myself 30 years in the future, being asked, “So did you get Covid back in the ’20s?” (That’s what they’re going to call it. Ick.) I would reply, “No, I never did!” Then whatever kid had asked me would walk away muttering, “You lying old man.” Maybe I dodged a bullet there.
I am thrilled to announce that I will soon be co-hosting my first political fundraising house party!
My friend Anna Rubin and two slate-mates2 are running for a seat on the inaugural District Council, a new community oversight body for Chicago’s police department that is decades in the making. Through a fierce and sustained organizing effort, we now have the Empowering Communities for Public Safety3 ordinance, which sets up these three-person district councils, as well as a city-wide commission that has a say on policing policies.
On the district council, Darrell, Dierdre and Anna will hold community meetings and serve as liaisons between residents, the commission and the police department, educate people about what services are currently available, and develop and advocate for new initiatives that rethink how Chicago does public safety—and for whom it does it.
(If you’re going to be in Chicago, the party is happening on the evening of Saturday, December 3! Send me a quick reply to this email or fill out this RSVP form if you want to go, or if you want to help spread the word. Or donate directly here.)
Normally, I do not leap for joy when I receive a newsletter email from Office of the Illinois State Treasurer. I’m sure you’ll forgive me for thinking an email titled “$11 Million in Unclaimed Property Returned This Week”4 would not be particularly enthralling. This sounded like it’s probably pretty routine for a state with 12 million people.
I’m not sure on what impulse I decided to actually read it, but I’m glad I did. The Treasurer needs to hire a better headline writer, because it turns out that the $11 million was part of a single claim.
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs’ office made history this week when it returned $11 million to the estate of a Chicago man who died of natural causes just before Christmas in 2016.
It is the largest returned unclaimed property dollar amount in the nation’s history.
Most of Joseph Richard Stancak’s 119 heirs reside in Poland, where his parents were born, as well as Slovakia.
And little is known about how Mr. Stancak accumulated such wealth so quietly, although he did own a boat named “Easy.”
“This is a life-changing amount of money,” Frerichs said. “I only wish we knew more about Mr. Stancak.”
*Not this week, you’ll have noticed. The good news is I’ve got a nice backlog now.
Trying out this fancy Instagram embed feature. Click through and you’ll get 10 photos for the price of one! (This is from a recent trip to visit friends in West Lafayette, Indiana; I’ve never been so close to such a large bird in the wild before.)
So you haven’t caught COVID yet. Does that mean you’re a superdodger? ↩
For more info on these three amazing individuals: Dacres, O’Connor & Rubin for 20th District Council ↩
For more info on what this ordinance does and why it exists: ECPS home page ↩
Press release with further details about how they figured out where the $11 million was supposed to go: https://illinoistreasurergovprod.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/twocms/media/doc/october2022_frerichsreturns11milliondollars.pdf ↩