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This blog is where we'll post new articles, videos and information about upcoming training programs.

Mixed Martial Arts class starting this Tuesday in Evanston!

Mixed Martial Arts Class  begins in Evanston. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7;30pm at http://www.fonsecamartialarts.com

Mixed Martial Arts Class begins in Evanston. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7:30pm at http://www.fonsecamartialarts.com

Starting this Tuesday I will be teaching Mixed Martial Arts every Tuesday and Thursday 7:30pm – 8:30pm at Fonseca Martial Arts in Evanston under the title of Combatives

In the Combatives Mixed Martial Arts Class, students will learn a wide variety of strikes, kicks, throws/takedowns and submission grappling techniques; and how to defend against various punches, kicks, chokes, grabs, submissions and how to deal with multiple attackers. The class will combine the best techniques from Boxing, Catch-Wrestling, Karate, Thai Boxing, Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, French Savate, Jun Fan, Filipino Martial Arts and many others while maintaining a respect for the original arts and cultures using a philosophy closely aligned with Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do.

It doesn’t matter if you are new to martial arts or have years of experience, there is something for everyone in this class.

For more information you can reach me at ekress@ameritech.net or contact Fonseca Martial Arts at (847) 866-0200.

Ed Kress

Takedown Defense For the Street

Daniel Brenka’s Tactical Thursday Training has invited me to “Takedowns For The Street” at his Tactical Thursday Training at Degerberg Academy this Thursday evening at 8:30. There will be a $10 fee for the hour of training. We will be limiting the number of attendees so that we will have plenty of space to work takedowns and takedown defense.

Much of the time spent training in either BJJ or Submission Wrestling is on the ground. The most often cited reason for this is that all street fights end up on the ground. If we assume this is a true statement then how we end up on the ground is just as important, if not more important, than what we do when we get there.

Learning how to take someone down is the gateway to learning how to defend against it!

Thursday 19th 8:30-9:30 at Degerberg Academy Milwaukee Ave/Old Irving Location: 3596 North Milwaukee Avenue, Old Irving Park, Chicago, Illinois 60641

Tactical Street Takedowns
Taught by Ed Kress

This will be the first in a series of street takedown sessions.
We will focus on: -How to counter your attacker that is trying to take you down and how to stay on your feet.
-What happens when your firearm fails at takedown range?
-What happens if you do not react quickly due to stress?
-What happens if your attacker is on top of you before you know it?
-Learn how to not be taken down and how to create the distance needed to unsure your safety.

This is a live session and not a lecture. The whole point is to show up and work on these drills over and over. Warm up all take place 8-8:30.

Street or workout clothes.
Bring a pants belt.

You may bring your unloaded firearm and holster if you have an IL CC permit. NO live ammo allowed in the building. Safety first!

There will be a $10 fee for this session to cover instructors fee.
Open to 35 people since we have limited space and focusing on takedowns.

Please check in with me if you plan attending. You can reach me at ekress@ameritech.net or

Don’t open the Door!

Lincoln Park Neighborhood by Sweet One

A young woman, living near DePaul University, heard a knock at the door to her apartment. When she went to answer it she found herself staring at a man wearing a ski mask and displaying a handgun.

Police say the woman was robbed at about 2:30 p.m. in the 2600 block of North Wilton in the Lincoln Park neighborhood near DePaul University.

She told officers she was then sexually assaulted at gunpoint inside her apartment. The attacker was wearing a ski mask, as well as a dark shirt, jeans, black gym shoes and gloves, police said Thursday.

What did the man say to get her to open the door?

Why would you open the door to a stranger?

1. Bad timing.  You were expecting a delivery and the assailant just happened to pick that time to knock on your door. 

2. You let your guard down because it was either late morning, or the middle of the afternoon and you assumed you were safe at those times of the day.

3. The person at the door said they were from one of the following: the electric company, the gas company, or the heating and or air-conditioning repair firm sent by the buildings owner.  If the owner didn’t arrange with you to have anything repaired, don’t let them in.

4. The person claims to be a neighbor or a friend of another tenant asking if they can leave something with you for their friend.

5. This one is the scariest.  They claim that someone is attacking them and want you to save them by opening your door to let them in.  We all want to help someone in need, especially someone whose life may be in danger.

What precautions can you take to avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime?

1. Don’t open your door to strangers!  Even if it is a woman claiming that her life is in danger.  How do you know they don’t have an accomplice waiting out of view ready to rush in?  Tell the person to stay by the door and call 911 immediately. 

2. If you live in an apartment building make sure the outside door locks behind you after you enter the building.  All apartment buildings should have a working lock on the door to the building. 

3. If the door to the building is unlocked it could mean that someone other than a tenant could have gained access.  Don’t go in alone.  If you must enter the building then proceed with extreme caution.  If you carry mace/pepper spray have it in your hand and be prepared to use it.

4. Don’t depend on a door chain to keep an assailant out. People use door chains to open the door slightly to see who is outside.  Don’t do it!  Most chains are held in place by a few small screws, which can be ripped out if the assailant throws his body against the door.  A door bar is better for this purpose, if installed properly.

5. Just because someone says they are with the police department, or utility company, doesn’t mean they are.  Ask for identification.  If they refuse to show it to you call the police.  If you don’t like the look of the I.D. call the police or the company they claim to be with and ask for confirmation.

6. If you have a peephole in the door use it.  If at home, look out the window or the mail slot.  If you don’t like what you see or feel uncertain about who they say they are, don’t open the door!

You can sign up for Act in Self Defense classes at: http://www.fonsecamartialarts.com/self-defense

If you are interested in a Personal Safety/Self-Defense Class for you, your high school, college, business, or organization contact me at ekress@ameritech.net.

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Are students prepared for the dark side of high school and college?

Moving on to high school, college, or a new job has its risks.  UIC Campus by Paco Seoane via Creative Commons

Moving on to high school, college, or a new job has its risks. UIC Campus by Paco Seoane via Creative Commons


It’s that time again. The kids are heading back to school and some moms and dads are having mixed emotions as their sons and daughters head off to what awaits them in high school or college.

Along with the pride that fills a parents heart there is also fear. It was hard enough keeping them safe and secure through elementary school, but high school is another story all together, and watching them leave home for college is a cause for even more concern.

Educating kids in ways to identify and avoid potentially dangerous people, places and situations should be part of every child’s education.

This weekend, I will be leading workshops in personal safety and self-defense at North Park University, for their incoming freshmen. The workshops will focus on helping students increase their personal and situation awareness, and when absolutely necessary, physically defend themselves.

One way to improve your awareness is to educate yourself about ways to avoid becoming a victim in your new environment, whether it is high school, college, or the work place. As part of the personal safety and self-defense workshops scheduled this weekend I will post popular self-defense articles from the past as well as a few new ones everyday.

This is the first one: Beware of predators using boundary-lowering tactics!

4th woman attacked in Midlothian:

All 4 attacks have taken place within a few blocks of the Midlothian Metra Station. Photo by Katherine via Creative Commons

All 4 attacks have taken place within a few blocks of the Midlothian Metra Station. Photo by Katherine via Creative Commons

It has been just over a week since the last attack took place near the Metra Station in Midlothian. It was the fourth attack in as many weeks.

The first attack took place July 20th and the most recent on August 10th. According to ABC News the victims said their attacker punched and beat them before robbing them of cash. Some of them reported being hit after they gave up their valuables.

The latest victim was attacked from behind and according to an earlier report on the first 3 muggings, by ABC News, at least 2 of the earlier victims were also attacked from behind.

In almost all of the self-defense classes, especially those taught to high school and college students, I am asked how to handle an attack from behind. I explain that I will cover some options to that type of attack, but first I ask them how they might find themselves in that situation. They seldom come up with a scenario. The answer I get is “well, they are just there”. Very seldom will I hear, “I had my headphones on or my earbuds in and didn’t hear them, or I was busy texting and wasn’t paying attention”.

In the case of the young mother who was attacked while attempting to enter her home with your infant.
Any parent will tell you that a managing a child of any age is a huge distraction and will easily keep you from paying attention to what is going on around you.

She probably felt pretty safe in front of her home. We are more apt to let our guard down when we are in familiar surroundings. It can happen to anyone, including law enforcement officers. Read about the tragic death of officer Soderberg in: “The last Lesson”.

Where you are most comfortable is where you can be most vulnerable.

How can you avoid being mugged?

Here are a few suggestions from our previous post “Eyes in the back of your head”

1. If you are walking by yourself at night you need to raise your awareness and look ahead for places where muggers might be hiding.

2. Do not use ear buds or headphones when you are walking alone.

3. Look behind you to see if anyone is there, especially after passing an area where someone could have been hiding

4. If someone is approaching from behind, cross the street and start looking for a safe place to run to, such as an open business or where other people might be walking.

5. If you are carrying mace/pepper spray put it in your hand and be mentally prepared to use it. It should not be buried in the bottom of your bag.

More suggestions and tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of this tip of crime can be found by clicking on the links below.

Anatomy of a mugging Part-1

Anatomy of a Mugging Part-2

Awareness is the key to your safety!

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Recent security training didn’t stop shooter in Maryland mall

COLUMBIA, MD - JANUARY 27: A security guard walks past the boarded up Zumiez store where two days earlier three people were shot and killed at the Mall in Columbia January 27, 2014 in Columbia, Maryland.Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

COLUMBIA, MD – JANUARY 27: A security guard walks past the boarded up Zumiez store where two days earlier three people were shot and killed at the Mall in Columbia January 27, 2014 in Columbia, Maryland.Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Maryland mall where a shooting last Saturday left three dead and five injured reopened yesterday. Returning shoppers were greeted by an increased presence of police and mall security.

Signs of the tragedy that took place just a few days before can be seen at Zumiez, the store where the shooting occurred, remained closed, and a temporary wall had been built across its entrance. On the wall was a message saying the store would be closed until further notice in “loving memory” of Brianna Benlolo, 21, and Tyler Johnson, 25, the two employees who were killed, reported the New York Times.

Retailers are taking steps to make shopping at malls and stand-alone stores more secure.

Managers from the mall in Columbia attended a training seminar for retail officials provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Department of Homeland Security, says Rich Miller, the senior security adviser to the National Retail Federation. The association updated its 2011 guidelines for dealing with shooters last year.

Key points from the guidelines on dealing with active shooters that shoppers should know.

1. Active shooters don’t negotiate or converse.  Run, hide, and fight as a last resort in an active shooter situation.

2. Shoppers are urged to evacuate if it is safe to do so.  Store workers are instructed to tell those who can safely flee to keep their hands up. 

3. Seek safety in the nearest store. 

Store employees are supposed to take customers into a back room, close the door or store gates and wait for police to tell them when it’s safe to leave.

It is claimed that lives are saved when training and guidelines such as these are put into practice, but is there a way to keep these types of shootings from occurring in the first place?

The use of metal detectors might have prevented Darion Aguilar from walking into the mall with his Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, but with more people making purchases from the safety of their homes using the internet, retailers don’t want to put up barriers to shoppers entering their malls and stores.

What can you do to avoid becoming a victim of an active shooter?

1. Be aware of what is going on around you. 

2. Have an escape plan. It doesn’t matter if you are in a shopping mall, food court, theater, restaurant, or at home: you need to plan for the worst possible situation.



3. When entering a shopping mall, theater, restaurant, or any public place you need to know is how will you get out in an emergency. You should locate at least two exits.



4. In the case of an active shooter you should leave your belongings and escape rather than hide or play dead.

5. Head to the closest exit as quickly as possible. To avoid making yourself an easy target you may need to crawl to the exit instead of standing up and running.

You can sign up for Act in Self Defense classes at: http://www.fonsecamartialarts.com/self-defense

If you are interested in a Personal Safety/Self-Defense Class for you, your high school, college, business, or organization contact me at ekress@ameritech.net.

Black Friday: 10 tips to keep thieves at bay

Over 140 million people will be shopping for bargains this Black Friday. Sprinkled in among those millions of bargain hunters will be thousands of criminals looking to pick up a few gifts at your expense. Insane by Kevinspencer

Over 140 million people will be shopping for bargains this Black Friday. Sprinkled in among those millions of bargain hunters will be thousands of criminals looking to pick up a few gifts at your expense.
Insane by Kevinspencer

Over 140 million people will be shopping for bargains this Black Friday. Sprinkled in among those millions of bargain hunters will be thousands of criminals looking to pick up a few gifts at your expense.
These criminals will come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. They will consist of thieves, strong-arm robbers, pickpockets, and purse-snatchers who will be watching your every move, just waiting for you to let down your guard.

What can you do to avoid becoming a victim of Black Friday thievery?

1. Don’t overload yourself with too many packages.  You will make it much easier for a thief to steal them from you.



2. When walking out to your car have your keys in your hand and focus your attention on the area near your car.  If you see anyone loitering in the parking lot consider going back into the store or mall and informing security.



3. When leaving a store, especially a computer or electronics store, look behind you to see if anyone has followed you out of the store.  Pay particular attention to anyone not carrying packages with them.



4. Put your purchases in your trunk.  This is especially important for those of you who will not be driving directly home.   If you are driving a car without a trunk bring a coat or blanket to throw over your packages.



5. When driving off after making an expensive purchase like a TV or computer check your rear view mirror to see if your are being followed.  Thieves have been known to follow potential victims home with the intent to break into the house at a future date when the owners are away.



6. Keep your purses close to your body and drape your arm over them.  This will make it more difficult for pickpockets to reach inside your bag or for it to be ripped off your shoulder.

7. If you stop at a food court don’t sling your bag over the back of the chair.  Food courts are a haven for thieves looking for hungry, tired shoppers focused on food instead of their valuables.  Place your bags in front of you between your feet.



8. Keep wallets small.  Don’t take more credit cards or cash than you think you may use. You should carry your wallet inside your coat or front pants pocket, and keep your cash separate from your wallet to limit your loss should your pocket get picked.



9. Don’t take out your checkbook, credit card or I.D. before it is necessary to make your purchase.  Identity thieves could be standing right behind you attempting to glean information over your shoulder. 

10. Don’t leave your purse open or set your wallet on the counter when paying with a credit card.  Take the credit card out and hold the wallet tightly in your hand.

You can avoid the parking hassles and the crowded stores and malls all together by staying home and shopping on line.

If you must go out this Friday then please stay alert and keep an eye out for criminals looking for a five-fingered-discount.

You can sign up for Act in Self Defense classes at: http://www.fonsecamartialarts.com/self-defense

If you are interested in a Personal Safety/Self-Defense Class for you, your high school, college, business, or organization contact me at ekress@ameritech.net.

What are the real dangers trick-or-treaters face on Halloween?

Halloween is here. Streets and sidewalks across the country will be filled with ghosts, ghouls, witches and zombies out trick-or-treating. What danger will they be facing this Halloween? Is it the possibility that they will eat candy laced with poison or filled with needles or razorblades?

 What real dangers do these trick-or-treaters really need to worry about on Halloween . The night crew by kreg.steppe via Creative Commons


What real dangers do these trick-or-treaters really need to worry about on Halloween . The night crew by kreg.steppe via Creative Commons

Despite the warnings we receive every Halloween regarding the possibilities of poisoned candy, snopes.com says that there appears to be little evidence of such things actually occurring. There does appear to be some history of pins and razor blades finding their way into some treats, but according to snopes.com the number of recorded incidents perpetrated by strangers is quite low.

Is there a significant danger of your child being molested or abducted?

Kristen Anderson, director of the case analysis division for sex offender tracking at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, reported that, “only nine non-family child abductions were reported in the United States between 29 October and 1 November over a 5-year period, none of which appeared to have any connection to trick-or-treating.”

What is so dangerous about Halloween?

Sperling’s BestPlaces indicates that the real danger on  Halloween involves crossing the street!
They analyzed more than four million records in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 1990 – 2010 for children 0-18 years of age on October 31 and came up with a number of revealing statistics.

1. Halloween Was Deadliest Day of the Year for Child Pedestrian Accidents.
One hundred and fifteen child pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween over the 21 years of our analysis. That is an average of 5.5 fatalities each year on October 31, which is more than double the average number of 2.6 fatalities for other days.

2. The “Deadliest Hour” Nearly one-fourth (26 out of 115) of accidents occurred from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Over 60% of the accidents occurred in the 4-hour period from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

3. Middle of the Block Most Hazardous.  Over 70% of the accidents occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk.

4. Ages Most at Risk on Halloween. Most of the fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15 (32% of all child fatalities), followed by children ages 5-8 (23%).

5. Drivers Who Posed the Greatest Risk. Young drivers ages 15-25 accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal accidents involving child pedestrians on Halloween.

What can you do to prevent you or a loved one from being the cause or the victim of a traffic accident?



1. Don’t wear a mask that will limit your vision. Non-toxic face paint used properly can be scarier than any mask.



2. Make sure the costume you or your child wears is bright enough to be seen at night and does not impede mobility. If you are trying to get out of the way of a driver who isn’t paying attention it helps if you don’t trip over your costume.



3. Coach your kids not to cross in the middle of the street and especially not to run out from between parked cars.



4. Adults, if you are going to be out partying take a cab. Walking while intoxicated on the second most dangerous night of the year for pedestrians is not a good idea.



5. Don’t Assume! Just because you are in a crosswalk with the light doesn’t mean an on coming car will stop. The City of Chicago’s recent analysis of vehicle-pedestrian crashes found that almost 80 percent of those accidents occurred in or near crosswalks, often involving people who were crossing with the “walk” signal.

You can sign up for Act in Self Defense classes at: http://www.fonsecamartialarts.com/self-defense

If you are interested in a Personal Safety/Self-Defense Class for you, your high school, college, business, or organization contact me at ekress@ameritech.net.

Find my iPhone app leads to arrest of very busy cell phone thief

Ayesha Hayes, of the 8800 block of South Colfax Avenue, was charged with felony theft and was ordered held on $200,000 bail on Monday by Circuit Court Judge Donald Panarese Jr. According to court records(Cook County Sheriff Dept. / September 2, 2013)

Ayesha Hayes, of the 8800 block of South Colfax Avenue, was charged with felony theft and was ordered held on $200,000 bail on Monday by Circuit Court Judge Donald Panarese Jr. According to court records(Cook County Sheriff Dept. / September 2, 2013)

It appears to have been a busy night for 39-year old Alicia Hayes, who was arrested and charged with stealing 10 cell phones worth more than $5,000 from a Near North nightclub according to yesterday’s Chicago Tribune.

She managed to steal all the phones over a period of just few hours from patrons of the Castle Chicago Night Club, 632 N. Dearborn St., according to police.

How did Hayes manage to steal 10 cell phones without anyone catching her in the act?

1. The state of awareness of most cell phone owners is pretty low to begin with, add the lack of focus brought on by a few drinks and it is easy to see how it could occur.

2. Most nightclubs are dark and crowded making it easy for thieves to get up close without the victims taking much notice.

3. Victims may have been having such a good time they didn’t even notice their phone was missing until she was long gone.

According to Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Michael Sullivan, an 18th District officer was flagged down by a female patron at about 4:15 a.m. and the woman told the officer that her iPhone had been stolen. The officer used the Find my iPhone app to track the woman’s phone.

CNET says the Find My iPhone app works on iOS devices and requires an iCloud account and a valid Apple ID. When turned on, Find My iPhone sends the geolocation data of your device to the servers at regular intervals, allowing you to find your phone from any other device you can log into (including Web browsers). Find My iPhone is installed by default with iOS 5 and 6, but must be turned on to be active. 

The tech-savvy officer was able to see that the phone was a little over a mile away and apparently traveling in a vehicle.  Officers responded and pulled over the vehicle on the 1500 block of North LaSalle with two women inside, and found the original victim’s phone along with nine other phones police said.
Ayesha Hayes, of the 8800 block of South Colfax Avenue, was charged with felony theft and was ordered held on $200,000 bail on Monday by Circuit Court Judge Donald Panarese Jr. According to court records, Hayes has an extensive criminal history for theft.

What can you do to prevent your cell phone from being robbed?

1. Be on guard when using your phone at restaurants, bars, clubs and especially when traveling on public transportation.

2. When not using your phone put it away where it can’t be seen.  Do not leave your phone lying out on a bar, table or on top of an open handbag.

3. Think of your phone as the amount of cash it would take to replace it.  If you were carrying $500.00 in cash around with you would you be holding it in your hand for everyone to see?  Would you leave it sitting on a bar, a table in a restaurant, or the counter in a store? 

You can sign up for Act in Self Defense classes at: http://www.fonsecamartialarts.com/self-defense

If you are interested in a Personal Safety/Self-Defense Class for you, your high school, college, business, or organization contact me at ekress@ameritech.net.

ATM skimming: What can you do to avoid becoming a victim?

A customer uses a Chase Bank ATM on March 17, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Just north of Chicago in the suburb of Wilmette a similar Chase Bank ATM was tampered with in an attempt to skim credit and debit card information. Credits:   Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

A customer uses a Chase Bank ATM on March 17, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Just north of Chicago in the suburb of Wilmette a similar Chase Bank ATM was tampered with in an attempt to skim credit and debit card information.
Credits: Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some customers will look around to see if anyone is loitering nearby before they withdraw cash from an ATM, but they probably wouldn’t have spotted Ahmet Cilek, who was sentenced Wednesday to 62 months of imprisonment for his participation in an ATM skimming scheme, or Miroslav M. Slavov, 26, of 9011 N. Chester Avenue in Niles, who the Tribune reported, was charged with burglary and possession of “a document making implement” after he was arrested on May 26 near a Chase Bank ATM at 50 Skokie Boulevard in Wilmette.

These two thieves didn’t need to be waiting near an ATM to victimize the people using it.

The Tribune reported Wednesday, that Chase Bank officials notified police that there was an illegal device on the ATM, at their Wilmette location, and officers established a stakeout of the cash machine and arrested Slavon when he returned to pickup the device, said chief Brian King.

“It was a nice observation by Chase and a very timely call to the police department,” said King. “That’s what made this case successful.”

The police checked the security camera monitoring the machine and began surveillance. Slavov was arrested when he returned to the machine to collect the equipment he had placed on the ATM.

How does skimming work?

Devices are placed over card readers, which include pinhead-sized cameras and well-crafted attachments that sit snugly on top of ATM card readers and PIN pads, looking just like the real equipment.  Examples of this type of device can be viewed at Krebs-on- Security and Hoax-Slayer.  Bluetooth technology allows the fake card reader and PIN pad to talk to each other, and data drives or wireless technology can make downloading of stolen information quick and easy.

Given such clever engineering, consumers may not be able to tell that a machine has been compromised. Banks may not know either.  According to Wilmette Police Chief Brian King, “Generally skimming devices are put on over weekends,” he said. “If you’re withdrawing cash, especially on a Friday or Saturday, make sure the ATM device is authentic, that there’s nothing on the front of it that could be acting as a card reader.”
Perpetrators of such fraud often place skimmers on outdoor ATMs on Friday evenings and remove them before the bank opens on Monday. The data is typically passed to crooks in another country within hours.

What can you do to avoid becoming a victim?

1. Protect your pin. When entering your PIN, cover the keypad with your other hand to prevent any cameras from catching your digits.



2. Give It A Wiggle – Skimming devices are often false panels attached to the ATM—such as where you put your card into the machine. If parts of the ATM look damaged or different, give it a wiggle.



3. Choose Your ATMs Wisely – Avoid using ATMs in poorly lit or low trafficked areas. Experts often recommend choosing a bank ATM over standalone ATMs in public places.



4. Watch Your Statements – The most vigilant person can still fall victim to ATM skimmers, and it’s important to always keep a close eye on your accounts.



5. Report Fraud Immediately – Report any fraudulent activity to your bank as soon as you discover it.


You can sign up for Act in Self Defense classes at: http://www.fonsecamartialarts.com/self-defense

If you are interested in a Personal Safety/Self-Defense Class for you, your high school, college, business, or organization contact me at ekress@ameritech.net.