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Chicago teachers approve contract deal that ended strike

Chicago teachers approve contract deal that ended strike

CHICAGO — Chicago teachers on Friday approved the contract deal that ended an 11-day strike and includes pay raises, $35 million to enforce limits on class sizes and a pledge to supply each school with a nurse and a social worker.

The Chicago Teachers Union’s 25,000 members went on strike Oct. 17 following months of unsuccessful negotiations with the school district and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration.


Teachers held marches and rallies across the city; the district kept school buildings open but canceled two weeks of classes. More than 300,000 students and their families were affected.

Teachers said they were striking for “social justice,’� with the aim of increasing resources such as nurses and social workers for students, and reducing class sizes, which teachers said exceed 30 or 40 students in some schools.

Union leaders said the strike forced the city to negotiate on issues they initially deemed out of bounds, including support for homeless students.

Lightfoot, who took office this year, said the strike was unnecessary and dubbed the city’s offer of a 16% raise for teachers over a five-year contract and other commitments on educators’ priorities ‘œhistoric.’�

Once the strike ended, Lightfoot said the entire city would benefit from the negotiated deal.

The district also committed $35 million to enforce class size limits and agreed to put nurses and social workers in every school by 2023.


‘œOur contract fight was about the larger movement to shift values and priorities in Chicago,’� said CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates in the union’s release Friday. ‘œWorking class taxpayers in Chicago have paid for skyscrapers that most will never visit – but a school nurse is someone their child in need can see on any day. In a city with immense wealth, corporations have the ability to pay to support the common good.’�

Teachers suspended the strike on Oct. 31 after more than half of the union’s elected delegates tentatively approved the agreement.

Union leaders have said the agreement would create ‘œreal and lasting change’� for students. But some members wanted to hold out for more concessions on classroom conditions.

With 80% of schools reporting, 81% of members had voted yes to ratify the new contract, a late Friday tweet from the union said.

‘œThis contract is a powerful advance for our city and our movement for real equity and educational justice for our school communities and the children we serve,’� the union’s president, Jesse Sharkey, said in the release.

The contract now must be approved by the Chicago Board of Education, which is scheduled to meet Nov. 20. The mayor appoints all the board’s members.

In a joint statement, Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice K. Jackson said they were happy with the teachers’ vote and ‘œproud’� of the benefits the agreement provides.

‘œThis historic, fiscally-responsible agreement includes investments and initiatives that will build on the incredible progress our schools have made and support our commitment to equity,’� the statement said.

Lightfoot and union leaders have agreed to make up five of the school days lost to the strike.

Published at Sat, 16 Nov 2019 13:47:00 +0000

Why Garrett’s Helmet Attack Likely Won’t Result in Charges

Why Garrett’s Helmet Attack Likely Won’t Result in Charges

The attack was stunning even for a sport known for its violence: With eight seconds left in Thursday’s game, Cleveland Browns star Myles Garrett tore off Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mason Rudolph’s helmet, then hit Rudolph’s head with it in a fit of rage.

Had the brawl happened on a street corner, Garrett very well could have been charged with assault. But on a football field — where athletes play knowing there is a risk they will get hurt — the lines are blurry, experts told NBC News. 

“If we’re going to be very technical, every single thing that takes place on a football field is assault,” said Tammi Gaw, an attorney and athletic trainer based in Washington, D.C., who is the founder of Advantage Rule, a consulting firm that works on sports policy. “But sports, especially contact sports, exist thanks to a doctrine of assumption of risk.” 

As part of the doctrine, athletes consent to the risk of injury that comes along with physical contact and are paid to consent to that. That means they are generally barred from taking legal action against their league or other players if they, for example, get hurt after being tackled because they have voluntarily exposed themselves to that possibility.

Published at Sat, 16 Nov 2019 10:49:04 +0000

Aurora group aims to turn Buffalo Wild Wings incident into ‘teachable moment’

Aurora group aims to turn Buffalo Wild Wings incident into ‘teachable moment’

The Aurora-based fraternal organization Boys II Men will host two conversation sessions this weekend to turn a race-related incident Oct. 26 at Buffalo Wild Wings in Naperville into a “teachable moment.”

The sessions come three weeks after a multiracial group of 18 children and adults — originally seated next to two white customers who were known to have made inappropriate race-related comments in the past — was asked to move, then chose to leave.


Justin Vahl, one of the adults in the group of 18, will speak during the sessions, called “When They See Us Part 1: A Conversation with Young Men about Race, Reactions & Lessons Learned.” Vahl’s son, Ethan, is involved with Boys II Men as a member of its Juniors group.

The conversations are scheduled for 10:02 a.m. Saturday at the Aurora Public Library 150 S. River St., directed toward boys in elementary and middle school; and 6:02 p.m. Sunday at Aurora police headquarters, 1200 E. Indian Trail, for young men in high school and college. The events are open to all boys, young men and their parents.

The first two “When They See Us” conversations are planned to become part of a larger communitywide discussion series, Boys II Men said in an email promoting this weekend’s events.

The events come days after police released a report containing interviews with several Buffalo Wild Wings employees and the white couple involved.

An attorney for the families in the group of 18 is working to address diversity, sensitivity, hiring, training and tolerance issues with Buffalo Wild Wings corporate leadership.

Published at Fri, 15 Nov 2019 17:08:06 +0000

Browns’ Myles Garrett Decried for Helmet Hit on Steelers’ QB

Browns’ Myles Garrett Decried for Helmet Hit on Steelers’ QB

An otherwise unremarkable game between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers descended into chaos Thursday night when, with the game long decided, the Browns’ Myles Garrett ripped the helmet off Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and hit him in the head with it, NBC News reported.

“It’s inexcusable,” Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield — Garrett’s own teammate — told Fox Sports after the game, which the Browns won, 21-7, in Cleveland. “I don’t care, rivalry or not. We can’t do that.”

Garrett and two other players, Cleveland defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey, were ejected — Ogunjobi and Pouncey for their roles in the melee that ensued upon Garrett’s attack, which came with just eight seconds left in the game. During the brawl, Pouncey appeared to throw at least two punches and to kick Garrett in the helmet while he was on the ground., the National Football League’s official website, reported that Garrett and the other participants in the fight would be under review for possibly lengthy suspensions. Garrett wasn’t immediately made available for comment.

Published at Fri, 15 Nov 2019 06:43:38 +0000

Rod Stewart Reveals Railway Modeling Side Passion

Rod Stewart Reveals Railway Modeling Side Passion

For nearly 60 years rocker Rod Stewart has entertained music lovers across the globe, hauling in a Grammy and numerous other awards in a career that has spanned generations.

Now, the singer is showing the world his other passion, building a railway models. 

For more than two decades, Stewart reportedly spent long hours working on his 124ft long x 23ft wide railway city model that shows a vivid image of an American city during the 1940s. The masterpiece has hundreds of buildings, skyscrapers, cars in traffic, people walking and railroads.

Stewart told “Railway Modeller” magazine in a exclusive interview that his inspiration to create this epic model came from American railways and memories of his childhood home view. Stewart’s house overlooked train tracks, Daily Mail UK write-up of the interview said. The magazine is only available to subscribers and the print edition is sold out on its website.  

As his side passion, the rock star took the project very seriously. During concert tours he would take his painting tools and book an extra room to work on his model in between concerts. 

When home in Los Angeles, Stewart worked on his masterpiece in his house attic, where his masterpiece reportedly lives.

During the time he was building the model, Stewart released 13 studio albums and had 19 tours, BBC reported. “A lot of people laugh at it being a silly hobby, but it’s a wonderful hobby,” he said.

Published at Thu, 14 Nov 2019 21:16:13 +0000

Suburban college students named Lincoln Student Laureates

Suburban college students named Lincoln Student Laureates

A dozen suburban college students are among 56 Lincoln Academy Student Laureates to be recognized for their leadership, service and overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities Saturday.

Each fall, an outstanding senior from each of the state’s four-year colleges and universities and a student from Illinois community colleges is awarded the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award.


Each student will be presented with a certificate of merit signed by the governor, a Lincoln medallion, and a $1,000 check during the annual Student Laureate Convocation at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site in Springfield.

It’s the 45th year The Lincoln Academy of Illinois has celebrated students’ excellence. This year’s honorees include:

•Rhome Apton, of Libertyville, Bradley University

•Stephany Starks, of Downers Grove, East-West University

•Kayley Lyn Rettberg, of Carol Stream, Illinois Wesleyan University

•Anali Cisneros, of Elgin, Judson University

•Adrian De La Cruz, of Hoffman Estates, Loyola University Chicago

•Noah Daniel Cordoba, of West Chicago, North Central College

•Lillian Guo, of Naperville, Northwestern University


•Shriram Chennakesavalu, of Schaumburg, University of Chicago

•Indira Escalante, of Hoffman Estates, Trinity Christian College

•Leigha Elizabeth Sommer, of Geneva, University of Illinois at Chicago

•Rachel Nesti, of Geneva, VanderCook College of Music

•Amna Razi, of Chicago, College of DuPage

Proceeds from the spring convocation support the Student Laureate program each fall.

The Lincoln Academy of Illinois also confers current or former residents who have made outstanding contributions toward the progress and betterment of humanity with the “Order of Lincoln,” the state’s highest honor presented by the governor.

For more information, visit

Published at Thu, 14 Nov 2019 15:04:02 +0000

Chicago records second cold-related death of season

Chicago records second cold-related death of season

CHICAGO — Officials say the death of an 80-year-old Chicago man whose body was found on the floor of the garage is the second cold-related death of the season.

In a statement, a spokesman for Cook County says the county medical examiner’s office determined that the man died of heart disease but that exposure to the cold contributed to his death.


The man was identified by the medical examiner’s office as Curtis Matthews. The Chicago Tribune reports that he lived at the address on the city’s West Side where his body was found. The man’s death came on Monday when the low of 14 degrees made that day the coldest Nov. 11 on record.

Chicago’s first cold-related death of the fall and winter season was that of another man on Nov. 1.

Published at Wed, 13 Nov 2019 17:20:00 +0000

No ice rink in Elgin’s Civic Center Plaza this year, officials say

No ice rink in Elgin’s Civic Center Plaza this year, officials say

After uncertainty last month, city officials confirmed there will be no ice skating rink this year in Elgin but clarified that the winter attraction could return to its traditional spot at Civic Center Plaza in the future.

The ice rink can’t be set up at the plaza this winter because of upcoming construction, including water main relocation, HVAC upgrades for city hall and improvements at the plaza. The annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony was moved to Festival Park for the same reason.


The city council gave the initial thumbs-up last month to a $1.7 million renovation for the 46,000-square-foot plaza that would include new concrete and sidewalks, upgraded lighting and landscaping, and a bike station. There are additional, more expensive features on the table, such as an outdoor performance space. The council is expected to evaluate a final design in December. The work would start early next year and finish before 2021 if all goes smoothly.

There is nothing that would preclude the ice rink at Civic Center Plaza in future years, even with the redesign, Assistant City Manager Laura Valdez said Wednesday. “Proposed new chillers on city hall’s HVAC and the new surface at the Civic Plaza will be able to accommodate an ice-skating rink,” she said.

However, the city might have to consider getting another ice rink because the current one is aging and replacement parts and chemicals that assist with the freezing process are difficult to find, Valdez said.

Mayor David Kaptain said he would have liked to discuss potentially relocating the ice rink before a decision was made not to bring it back this winter. “It kind of came as a surprise to me,” he said.


Residents value the amenity, Kaptain said. “Back when we did budget cuts (in 2011) one of the things cut was the skating rink (for one season), and that was one of the two top items the public wanted back. The other was the fireworks,” he said.

Councilwoman Carol Rauschenberger said it’s important to preserve the outdoor sporting tradition in Elgin.

“Many of us grew up skating on the Lords Park lagoon or at a rink at Wing Park. We need to encourage outdoor recreation all year, and this is a favorite and cost-effective option for many.”

In the last six years, the ice rink had an average 3,575 visits, operating at a loss of $9,156 yearly plus costs for energy and staff time, Valdez said. Moving it to a different location would cost about $35,000 because it would require a chiller, plus the cost of a crane, landscape and site restoration if needed, she said.

Councilman Toby Shaw said it made sense to pause the ice skating program this winter. “In future years, we have the opportunity to pursue other options based on resident feedback.”

Councilwoman Rose Martinez said she feels bad that the city can’t provide an ice rink this year, but it’s important to consider costs. “I realize many people enjoy that. It’s something that you don’t find in many places.”

Published at Thu, 14 Nov 2019 01:08:29 +0000

Could Illinois go to permanent Daylight Saving Time? Some lawmakers are trying to make it happen.

Could Illinois go to permanent Daylight Saving Time? Some lawmakers are trying to make it happen.

SPRINGFIELD — A bill that would put Illinois permanently in Central Daylight Time passed the Senate with broad support Tuesday, but its sponsor said the bill couldn’t take effect without further action from the federal government.

State Sen. Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and sponsor of Senate Bill 533, said the measure “would require, of course, a change in federal law, or an exemption from Congress, neither of which exists today.”


The bill, which passed with 44 votes in favor, two against and two voting present, calls for setting clocks ahead one hour to daylight saving time on Sunday, March 8, 2020, then leaving the state on Central Daylight Time permanently.

Manar said the bill “is not being proposed so that we would be an island among ourselves in terms of how time is recognized.”

“But the only way it would change for Illinois by itself is what Arizona has done, and Congress has given them an exemption from federal law. This doesn’t seek that. This just says one of two things should happen: There should be a national change or, if Congress were to begin to give states exemptions, that obviously would be a different conversation here on this floor,” he said. “This doesn’t say that we should ignore federal law.”

Sen. Linda Holmes, an Aurora Democrat, said the bill would work better if it went to standard time year-round, instead of daylight time. She cited a study which said daylight time eliminates bright morning light which is crucial to “synchronizing your biological clock.”

“We really need the maximum amount of daylight to be functioning,” she said. Going to year-around standard time can be done without action by Congress.

Year-around daylight saving time in 1974 and 1975 was meant to save fuel, but met strong opposition from people concerned about children going to school in the dark in the mornings.

Published at Wed, 13 Nov 2019 16:16:04 +0000

NFL Sets Up Kaepernick Workout, Invites All Teams

NFL Sets Up Kaepernick Workout, Invites All Teams

The NFL is setting up a private workout with scouting combine personnel for Colin Kaepernick and has invited all teams to attend, according to a report.

The workout, which will also be run by former NFL coaches, held on Saturday in Atlanta will include on-field work and an interview, NFL Network reports.

The NFL had received several inquiries from teams about Kaepernick’s readiness to play. The league also spoke with Kaepernick’s representatives, who said the quarterback was prepared to workout and interview.

Kaepernick shared his enthusiasm about the development on Twitter.

Kaepernick last played league football in the 2016 season. In 2017, he filed a collusion lawsuit against the NFL before it was settled out of court earlier this year.

Published at Wed, 13 Nov 2019 01:37:55 +0000