The October 2019 Chemical Bulletin Print

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    Next Meeting

    Fred Basolo Award Presentation and Dinner

    Kim Renee Dunbar

    University Distinguished Professor

    Davidson Professor of Science
    Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University

    "Adventures in Wernerian Coordination Chemistry"

    Friday, October 18
    at Northwestern University, Evanston
    Technological institute LR3

    Register Now


    Decades of fundamental research in transition metal and rare earth chemistry, with applications as disparate as anti-cancer drugs, molecular magnets and conductors, and various switchable materials, have taken me and my group on many enjoyable adventures.  One major avenue of investigation in our laboratories has been devoted to the renaissance of cyanide chemistry, which traces its origins to the first recorded coordination compound, viz., the Prussian Blue pigment synthesized over 300 years ago. A second important focus in our group involves the study of metal ion binding with anions and redox active ligands, work that resulted in the discovery of anion-pi interactions and new architectures for transition metal and lanthanide ions with tunable structures and properties.  A third thrust area is a career-long effort to elaborate the chemistry of dirhodium compounds in the ground and excited states, efforts that have led to exciting new directions in cancer and energy research.  In all of these research activities, irrespective of the problems being addressed, the central theme is coordination chemistry, the basic principles of which were laid out by Alfred Werner in the late 19th century. Vignettes of our excursions in the world of the ever-fascinating metal-ligand bond will be shared with emphasis on the journey - which is far more interesting than the destination!  

    PROGRAM at Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Rd. 60208

    • 1:00 - 2:00  (Tech K140)  Special BIP Seminar
    • 4:15 - 4:30  (Tech LR3 Lobby) Registration and refreshments
    • 4:30 - 5:30  (Tech LR3) Presentaiton of Meda / Lecture

    PROGRAM at Hilton Orrington, 2nd flr Heritage Ballroom, 1710 Orrington Ave,

    • 6:00  Reception
    • 7:00  Introduction and Dinner
    • 8:00  General ACS meeting


    • Jumbo lump crab cakes (Sweet corn butter, roasted red pepper puree and crispy micro greens)
    • Vegetable spring roll (with ponzu dipping sauce)
    • Thai chicken satay (with peanut sauce)
    • A1 marinated sirloin skewer

    Salad: House salad (baby field greens in a radicchio lettuce cup with cucumber, tomatoes, herb focaccia crostini and balsamic vinaigrette)

    Entrees (choice of 1):
    Vegetarian: Roasted Portobello stack (grilled vegetables, sandwiched between roasted Portobello mushrooms over quinoa pilaf)
    Fish: Pan seared white fish (almond-pistachio crusted, drizzled with citrus beurre blanc and parmesan risotto)
    Chicken: Rosemary panko crusted chicken (Dijon demi-glace with whipped mashed potatoes)
    Beef: Grilled beef filet (carmelized shallot cabernet demi-glace with whipped potatoes)

    Dessert: Warm chocolate lava cake


    Dinner Registration Deadline: 12:00 Noon on Friday October 11, 2019
    Lecture-only Registration Deadline: 12:00 noon Thursday, October 17, 2019

    QUESTIONS OR NON-WEB RESERVATIONS?  Please contact the Section Office via phone (847-391-9091) or email ([email protected]).


    Professor Kim R. Dunbar is the Davidson Chair of Science Professor and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University. She received her Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Purdue University in 1984 with Professor Richard A. Walton and carried out postdoctoral research at Texas A&M University from 1985-1986 under the direction of the late F. Albert Cotton. She joined the Texas A&M chemistry faculty in 1999 after being a faculty member at Michigan State University from 1987-1999 where she served as University Distinguished Professor from 1998-1999. In 2004, she was named a Davidson Professor of Science at Texas A&M University and a joint holder of the Davidson Chair in Science, meriting particular distinction as the first female chair holder in the history of the College of Science. Kim Dunbar's research in synthetic and structural inorganic chemistry – funded over the years by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Fund and the Welch Foundation – is focused on the application of coordination chemistry principles to the solution of diverse problems, ranging from designing new magnetic and conducting materials to anticancer agents. Dr. Dunbar is a pioneer in the study of anion-pi interactions. Major professional honors include the ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry, the Fred Basolo Medal for Outstanding Research in Inorganic Chemistry from Northwestern University and the Chicago ACS Local Section, an Honorary Degree from Westminster College, a Presidential Award for Service to NOBCChE and the STEM Community at the 42nd Annual "Bridging Generations Through STEM" NOBCChE conference, the Inaugural Eminent Scholar Award at Texas A&M University from the Women Former Students’ Network, a Distinguished Achievement Award in Research from the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M, and the Inaugural Distinguished Achievement Award in Graduate Mentoring from the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Earlier in her career Dr. Dunbar received a Sigma Xi Research Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, and a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. She also received Distinguished Alumna Awards from her graduate alma mater, Purdue University, and her undergraduate institution, Westminster College. She was a Wilsmore Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia and a Visiting Professor at the Institut Le Bel, Université de Strasbourg, France. Dr. Dunbar served her profession as Associate Editor of Inorganic Chemistry for 12 years and is a past Secretary, Chair, Councilor and member of the Executive Committee of the American Chemical Society's Division of Inorganic Chemistry and was a member of the Minority Affairs Committee. She has also served as local section Chair for the Texas A&M Section of the ACS. She has graduated 47 students with Ph.D. degrees and mentored over 60 graduate students, 60 postdoctoral researchers and Visiting Scholars and more than 40 undergraduates. She collaborates extensively with colleagues from Europe and Asia as well as North America. Dr. Dunbar is the author of over 415 publications and 22 book chapters or reviews.

    Map for Basolo LectureDIRECTIONS and PARKING:


    Northwestern University Technological Institute
    2145 Sheridan Road
    Room LR3
    Evanston, IL 60208

    Map & Directions:


    Hilton Orrington
    1710 Orrington Ave
    Evanston, IL  60201

    Lecture:  Noyes St. Lot or Campus Drive Garage (shown on map)
    Dinner: Parking garage $8; Valet parking curbside at Hilton Orrington $12

    The Hilton Orrington is a 10-15 minute walk from the lecture location.


    $35.00 MAIN SITE DINNER-AIChE Member
    $35.00 MAIN SITE DINNER-ACS Member
    $37.00 MAIN SITE DINNER-Guest/Non-member
    $0.00 MAIN SITE-Lecture only
    $15.00 T-shirt: CHICAgO Elements
    $10.00 Tote bag: CHICAgO elements - blue
    $? Individual Donation (flexible amount)
    $? Company Sponsorship (flexible amount)
    $? Donation to Project SEED (flexible amount)

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    Safety First Minute

    Chemical Safety in The News

    I’d like to take this month’s “Safety First” Minute to report briefly on three current developments in research, workplace, and chemical safety.

    • The Research Safety Student Initiative at Northwestern University recently made public an online series of “Safety Minutes.” Each presentation is centered on a specific safety topic and consists of a few PowerPoint slides. The series comprises almost 100 individual files, which are organized into 12 broad content areas, including biological hazards, handling dangerous chemicals, process and equipment hazards, and radiation safety. The university encourages departments to use safety moments at the beginning of seminars and research talks as well as group meetings to remind everyone to conduct science carefully. Check out the series of safety moments at

    • On September 4, 2019 the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) issued a new safety digest on the value of employee participation to prevent chemical incidents. Lack of effective workforce participation was a factor in several major incidents investigated by the CSB because workers and their representatives were not engaged to help identify hazards and reduce risks. According to the CSB: "Worker engagement is key to an effective process safety program. After all, it's employees who are so often in direct contact with the hazards -- and have the experience and knowledge to help prevent them."
    See for more information.

    • Also this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued guidance to help companies comply with a final rule prohibiting the manufacture, processing, and distribution of methylene chloride in ALL paint removers for consumer use. EPA took this action after analyzing the health impacts, including several fatalities, resulting from exposure to methylene chloride. The EPA found risks to consumers to be unreasonable. Short-term exposure to methylene chloride fumes can rapidly cause dizziness, loss of consciousness, and death due to nervous system depression. People have died after being incapacitated during paint and coating removal with methylene chloride. Find more information here:

    As the announcements in this “Safety First” Minute make clear, issues related to chemical safety affect our lives and our livelihoods in many ways. How receptive are we to continuous improvement in our knowledge and understanding of chemical safety, and how inclusive are we when analyzing hazards and risks with students, coworkers, colleagues, family members, and even the general public? Please let me know how “Safety First” Minutes can help the Chicago ACS better serve our members!

    Respectfully submitted,
    Irene Cesa

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    Election Information


    The Section election is being conducted online via Association Voting. The membership was sent an email message with instructions from [email protected] on September 18, 2019. Voting will continue until 11:59 AM October 18.

    Questions? Please contact the Section Office.



    Sherri Rukes
    Bernie Santarsiero


    Josh Kurutz
    Mike Koehler


    Andrea Twiss-Brooks
    Raj Govindarajan


    Tanya Ivushkina


    Mark Cesa
    Sharada Buddha
    Mike Morello 
    Lauren Jackson
    Becky Sanders 
    Irene Cesa 
    Julia Wiester 
    Alissa Potts
    Bosky Soni
    Vivian Sullivan 
    Veronica Bern
    Avrom Litin
    Katie Leach 


    Ken Fivizzani
    Mike Koehler


    Omar Farha
    Ilana Lemberger
    Sherri Rukes
    Josh Kurutz

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    Councilors' Report

    Report of Council Meeting in San Diego

    The Council Meeting took place on August 28 during the 258th National Meeting of the ACS in San Diego, CA from August 25 – 29, 2019. The theme of this meeting was “Chemistry and Water.”  The Chicago section was represented at Council by ten councilors:  Charles Cannon (Local Section Activities),  David Crumrine (Constitution and Bylaws), Ken Fivizzani (Community Activities), Russell Johnson (Chemistry and Public Affairs), Fran Kravitz (Ethics and also a Career Consultant) , Margy Levenberg (Meetings and Expositions), Milt Levenberg (Senior Chemists), Inessa Miller and Barbara Moriarty (Chemistry and Public Affairs) and Susan Shih (Education).  The national activities of each are given, as I know them.

    Finances: The Society’s 2019 Financial Performance (though 7/31/2019) indicates that the Net from Operations was $30.1 million. This amount is $10 million favorable to the Approved Budget and $1.7 million less than that for the same period in 2018.  Total revenues are right on budget at $338.0 million.  Total expenses are $308 million, which is $10 million favorable to budget.  The ACS is expected to finish the year meeting all five of the Society’s financial guidelines.

    The Committee on Budget and Finance recommend, and the Board voted to approve, funding in the 2020 Budget for ChemIDP (Individual Development Plan), the International Student Chapter program, and the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Education Resources pilot.

    Governance: The Council elected councilors to serve on the Committee on Committees, the Council Policy Committee and the Committee on Nominations.  For the Committee on Committees – Lisa M. Balbes, D. Richard Cobb, Emilio X. Esposito, Jason E. Ritchie, and Stephanie J. Watson were elected for three-year terms (2020–2022).  For the Council Policy Committee – Anne M. Gaffney, Lydia E. M. Hines, Will E. Lynch, and Sally B. Peters were elected to full three-year terms (2020–2022), while Dee Ann Casteel was elected to a one-year term (2020).   For the Committee on Nominations and Elections – Michelle V. Buchannan, Charles E. Cannon, Alan A. Hazari, Amber S. Hinkle, and Thomas H. Lane were elected to full three-year terms (2020–2022).

    Meetings and Expositions (M&E): The total attendance at the meeting was reported to be 12,409 with 3095 students and 7488 attendees.  Once again, as part of the sustainability plan, only the mobile app was available (and not printed programs).  M&E recommended that the Early-bird Member Registration fee for national meetings in 2020 be $505.

    Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA):  The Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA) reported that the unemployment rate for member chemists was 2.0%.  The on-site career fair at the meeting had 239 job seeker profiles and 31 employers with 81 total open positions.

    Community Activities:  The theme for National Chemistry Week (NCW), to be held this October, is “Marvelous Metals”.  NCW 2019 will also celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT2019).

    Local Section Activities:  The Chicago Section won two ChemLuminary awards:  the Most Innovative New Activity or Program Award and the ACS President’s Award for Local Section Governmental Affairs.

    The Council voted (subject to Board approval) to approve the creation of an International Chemical Sciences Chapter in the Republic of Georgia.

    The Council voted to transfer the Pittsburgh Local Section from District II to District III.

    The Council voted (subject to Board approval) to continue the International Activities and Professional Training committees.

    If you have any questions and/or comments about the above Council actions, please contact me or one of your other representatives.  You may contact me by email ([email protected]).


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    Chemistry Day

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    Sponsors of this issue



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    Historical Feature

    Fred Basolo Medal for Outstanding Research in Inorganic Chemistry

    On August 17–18, 1990 a huge celebration of Fred’s 70th birthday and his retirement, known as Basolo 70, financially supported by 16 corporations and societies and attended by almost all of his Ph.D. students and postdocs, was held. Enough funds were left so that his students and postdoctoral fellows created an endowment to establish an annual Basolo Medal and Lecture, beginning in 1991. Governor James Thompson proclaimed August 18, 1990 “Fred Basolo Day in the State of Illinois.”1

    This year’s Basolo Medal winner, Professor Kim R. Dunbar, is the second chemist from Texas A&M University to be so recognized in the past half-dozen years. Marcetta Darensbourg, Basolo Medalist in 2013, is also from Texas A&M. The very first recipient of the medal was Ralph G. Pearson, then at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Over the years since its founding, the medal has been given to inorganic chemists2 from the United States (24) as well as from Italy (1), Japan (2) and the UK (2).

    One facet of Professor Basolo’s many contributions to inorganic chemistry – documented in the form of his career-spanning output of 400 publications and four books – was his work on transition metals capable of forming Werner (or Wernerian) complexes. Alfred Werner (1866–1919) won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1913 for his discoveries that laid the foundation for coordination chemistry. The different areas of coordination chemistry3 can be classified, in broad terms, according to the nature of the ligands involved. In classical (or Werner) complexes, ligands bind to metals almost exclusively via the lone pairs of electrons residing on the main-group atoms of the ligand. Typical ligands are H2O, NH3, Cl, CN and ethylene diamine.

    Following Basolo’s death (1920–2007), the authors of one obituary noted that, “For his dissertation, Fred synthesized optically active cis-[PtCl2{NH2CH2CH2NH2}2]Cl2 and studied the stereochemical changes occurring during its ligand substitution reactions. His second publication on this subject… aroused little interest until more than two decades later, when Barnett Rosenberg discovered the anti-tumor activity of the related complex, cis-[PtCl2(NH3)2] (cisplatin),” which has been widely used as an anti-cancer drug.

    Over the course of his career, Basolo was interested in bio-organic chemistry and organometallic chemistry as well as in the synthesis and reaction mechanisms of transition metal Werner complexes, work for which he became recognized internationally.4 Professor Dunbar has followed in Basolo’s footsteps by working in the area of coordination complexes, or, as she puts it, “the world of the ever-fascinating metal-ligand bond.” One example comes from a recent publication1 in Chemical Communications where Dunbar prepared a series of dirhodium complexes that act as photosensitizers for the catalytic reduction of protons to H2 gas.                                         

     ~ M.E.S.~

    1. B. Kauffman, L.M. Kauffman and H.B. Gray, J. Coord. Chem. 2008, 54, 8332.

    2. For a complete list of Basolo Medal winners see

    3. Adapted part from


    Q & A with Kim Dunbar

    When asked what anecdote(s) she could recall about her interactions with Professor Basolo, Dunbar offered these insights5:

       “I saw Fred every year at the annual Inorganic Gordon Conferences beginning when I was an Assistant Professor. Fred would sit in the back of the room (unlike all the other "heavy hitters") and would always ask questions of every speaker. His questions were very insightful and he also usually gave a history lesson to the speaker and the audience about aspects of the topic that were little known, especially to the younger inorganic chemists. I marveled at how much he knew! What was perhaps even more impressive to me than Fred's encyclopedic knowledge of the literature and research was his friendly nature and his willingness to spend quality time with anyone who wished to speak with him. He was "down-to-earth" and he loved his role as senior mentor to the young chemists.

       Years later Fred called me and told me about his memoir that John Fackler had convinced him to write. He told me that he had a section on the Inorganic Chemistry Gordon Research Conference and that he was putting a picture of me and Nadine DeVries because he wanted to point out that we chaired the 1999 and 2000 Inorganic GRC's which were very successful. He clearly wanted to showcase women and their role in the GRC. This was an absolutely wonderful gesture and very telling of Fred's supportive role in my career.”

    5. Personal communication (September 11, 2019)

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    Sidney Harris Cartoon with ZARE Commentary

    “This ironic cartoon by Sidney Harris recalls a time of the great mercury-in-tuna scare.  Certainly, mercury contamination can be a deadly problem, but I think this threat pales in comparison with other environmental challenges we face for a growing population, such as how to generate more energy, how to make more drinkable water, and how to grow more food that people want to eat, all in a sustainable manner.”                

    ~Richard N. Zare, Stanford University

    Funded by the ACS Innovative Grant Program and hosted by the Division of History of Chemistry, eminent cartoonist Sidney Harris has agreed to provide 12 previously unpublished cartoons to ACS Local Sections for use in their news-letters and web pages beginning in January 2019. Many of his cartoons are available in the book “EUREKA! DETAILS TO FOLLOW – Cartoons on Chemistry” (2018), Sidney Harris Publisher.

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    From the Editor's Desk

    Dear Readers,

    What’s old is new again! In this issue you will find a page from Volume 1, Number 1 of “The Chicago Chemical Bulletin,” published 105 years ago this month. In October 1914 the cost of the bulletin was “Free to members” and “2 cents a copy to others.” Our Section Historian, Josh Kurutz, has made available links to many of the past bulletin issues. To get started reading, see: Let me know if you find a humorous or edifying gem so that we can share it with others in a future issue.

    Take note also of this month’s chemistry-themed crossword puzzle, the first in an occasional series. Future bulletin issues will feature more puzzles created by Ronald A. Schneider, originally published in the Journal of Chemical Education, as well as by Sr. Mary Virginia Orna (The College of New Rochelle) and Robert Pike (The College of William & Mary in Virginia).

    The first known crossword puzzle was called a “word-cross” by Arthur Wynne, a journalist from Liverpool, UK (Wikipedia). He published his invention in the New York World on December 21, 1913 along with instructions to “Fill in the small squares with words which agree with the following definitions.”

    Your editor looks forward to introducing more mind-benders of this sort in the future as space permits. Let me know how you like this feature!

    My thanks go to Irene Cesa, Barbara Moriarty, Sherri Rukes, Josh Kurutz, Rebecca Weiner, Sidney Harris, and Professor Kim Dunbar for their contributions to this issue.  Enjoy reading!                                                                                                                                 ~M.E.S.~

    A hint to this month’s puzzle:  masurium = technetium.

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    Special Feature

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    Who Is This?

    Chemistry Day, 1994 at the Adler Planetarium         

    National Chemistry Week has been celebrated by ACS every year since 1989, and the Chicago Section has virtually always participated by hosting special events that engage public with chemistry. Most often, high school students and teachers have been recruited to participate in demonstrations, competitive lab exercises, and general hands-on chemistry fun.

    This year, we will hold Chemistry Day at Northwestern University’s Technological Institute on Saturday, October 19 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. This year’s event, themed “Marvelous Metals”, will feature a variety of presentations, hands-on activities, and tours of Northwestern’s chemistry facilities; see our page for details:

    Our celebration in 1994 drew hundreds of participants to the Adler Planetarium, according to our photo archive. The pictures, date-stamped to indicate November 5, 1994, show a variety of exhibits, posters, interactive activities, and stage demonstrations. Some were annotated on the back with descriptive information, but few bear identifications of people. Here is the online gallery:

    WE NEED YOUR HELP IDENTIFYING THE PEOPLE SHOWN IN THESE PHOTOS! If you know anyone depicted, please write to [email protected]

    • The people identified here as 9411-A and -B represented “Science Alliance”, according to a note on the back of the photo. Your historian doesn’t know anything about this organization, and wwould appreciate learning what it was and who these people are.
    • The person 9411-C demonstrating computational chemistry on a very expensive Silicon Graphics computer is noted as “Abbott Labs”, which had quite a presence at this event.
    • Person 9411-D, representing Argonne National Labs, appears in other Section events, but we have not yet identified him. Help is appreciated.
    • For 9411-E, note the nearby Loyola sweatshirt; perhaps the central person here was faculty or staff there.
    • 9411-F: Anyone know this flamboyant chem-demo guy?
    • 9411-G seems to be a teacher, who probably brought their class to the event.

    Thank you for your help!

    Josh Kurutz, Section Historian

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    Community Activities


    November 8, 2019 @ 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm 

    Hubble Middle School, 3S600 Herrick Road, Warrenville, IL 60555

    Bring the family out for a fun night of STEM activities!

    Students will have the opportunity participate in hands-on STEM experiments. We are collaborating with the Wheaton-Warrenville Special Needs PTA to open the exhibits at 5:30 pm for families with children with special needs to attend and explore. The quieter exhibits will be in the commons area as well as the large gym. Robotics will be in the small gym.  The STEM Expo will open to the general public at 6:00 pm. Suggested contribution $5 per participant.

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    Upcoming Events


    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18 – Basolo Medal and Lecture

    Professor Kim R. Dunbar (Texas A&M University)
    Lecture at 4:30 pm – Northwestern University (Tech LR3)
    Dinner at 6:00 pm – Hilton Orrington / See enclosed details


    Northwestern University / Technological Institute (see enclosed flyer)

    If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sherri Rukes at [email protected]

    WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20 – Monthly Meeting

    Presentation by Author Sam Kean - NOTE CHANGE OF LOCATION
    Joint Meeting with the Joliet Section to be held at Concordia University / River Forest

    FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13 – Monthly Meeting

    Holiday Meeting to be held at Benedictine University
    Presentation by Melissa Tisonchik on Chocolate Science & Technology



    Midwestern Association of Chemistry Teachers in Liberal Arts Colleges


    Illinois Science Teachers Association


    Association of Laboratory Managers

    OCTOBER 23 (aka 10/23) – Celebrate Mole Day at 6:02 am or 6:02 pm


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    September 2019, Vol. 106, No. 7 Published by the Chicago Section of The American Chemical Society

    Editor: Margaret E. Schott, [email protected]
    Proofreader: Helen Dickinson
    Online version: Josh Kurutz

    ACS Chicago Section Office
    Address: 1400 Renaissance Drive Suite 312, Park Ridge, IL 60068 (847) 391-9091
    [email protected] 

    Monthly:  September – June Subscription rates: $15 per year

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