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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 81,309

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

30 public schools in Chicago are named for slaveholders; surprised CPS promises changes

John Marshall Metropolitan High School is a West Side institution.

One of the city’s oldest public high schools, once heavily Jewish, for decades home to a nearly all-Black student body, it boasts fiercely proud alumni and a reputation for powerhouse athletics.

It’s named for the fourth chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, widely regarded as the most influential leader of the nation’s highest court, honored with his face on postage stamps and his name on law schools in Chicago and elsewhere.

Marshall also was a slaveholder his entire adult life, with at least 200 Black slaves on his Virginia plantations.

Read more: https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/12/30/22189499/cps-school-names-slaveholders-chicago-public-schools-maurice-swinney-john-marshall-agassiz-acero

Obama Presidential Center supporters 'see a light at the end of the tunnel,' while opponents say

Obama Presidential Center supporters ‘see a light at the end of the tunnel,’ while opponents say it’s not over yet

When Pastor Byron Brazier passes by the future site of the Obama Presidential Center, he already sees the glory of the South Side, he said.

There’s the palace-like Museum of Science and Industry building, its lofty Greek columns and jade-colored dome reflecting in the lagoon. The gothic towers of the University of Chicago’s leafy campus. And the 550 acres of Jackson Park teeming with wildlife and green land — and where he is patiently waiting for the 235-tall, sprawling Obama center complex to one day stand.

“The assets that are on the South Side that had been overlooked will now be recognized,” Brazier said about one of the significances of the center.

Not so fast, say opponents such as Herb Caplan, president and founder of the Protect Our Parks nonprofit that sued to try to block the center.

Read more: https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-obama-center-jackson-park-future-20201227-cj55fphdljckjeeeosqeuaeyqy-story.html

Illinois weed sales on pace to top $1 billion in year one of recreational sales, with plenty of room

Illinois weed sales on pace to top $1 billion in year one of recreational sales, with plenty of room to grow

The year 2020 dawned with thousands of people lined up, some overnight, waiting to be among the first to buy legal recreational marijuana in Illinois.

As the long, strange year comes to an end, people are lined up at food banks, to get coronavirus nasal swabs and in some cases, to be among the first to receive a vaccine that may mark the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And people are still buying weed. Lots of it.

Despite the massive economic disruption wrought by the pandemic, 80 recreational cannabis dispensaries have opened in Illinois and business is on pace to top $1 billion in 2020, including medical marijuana sales.

Read more: https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-weed-illinois-growth-outlook-20201229-4jtr4bhmrncr7mfo2boxyp2s5u-story.html

CPS denies COVID-19 accommodations to hundreds of teachers and staff who are due to return to school

CPS denies COVID-19 accommodations to hundreds of teachers and staff who are due to return to schools Monday

About 7,000 teachers and staff are due to report to Chicago Public Schools buildings on Monday, but the district has denied accommodations or leave to the majority of educators who applied — particularly those who said a household member is vulnerable to COVID-19.

In a news release issued Tuesday, CPS spokeswoman Emily Bolton said the district will provide weekly COVID-19 testing for those who live with high-risk household members and is working to provide exemptions to employees who serve as primary caregivers for individuals with a medical condition.

“Health and safety are the district’s highest priorities and accommodations for remote work have been granted to all teachers and staff who have documented medical conditions as defined by the CDC,” the statement says. “Where possible, accommodations were also granted to staff who live with someone with a high-risk medical condition, or who face child care challenges.”

But a lawyer for the Chicago Teachers Union, which has repeatedly criticized the district’s reopening plan and threatened “collective action,” said the numbers show that educators are being forced to choose between their safety and livelihood and that many cannot afford to sacrifice their jobs. Most of those permitted to take leave are doing so without pay, CTU Deputy General Counsel Thad Goodchild said.

Read more: https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-covid-19-illinois-chicago-public-school-teachers-20201229-mncckgdyvfcl3atk7jfk3vwama-story.html

New year brings new laws, including insulin price limit, while minimum wage goes up another dollar

One of the side effects of the coronavirus pandemic was a drastically shortened spring session of the General Assembly, which means far fewer laws taking effect on New Year’s Day than in a typical year.

Only about a half-dozen new state laws and policies take effect Jan. 1. A year earlier, more than 250 new laws took effect, including the landmark legalization of recreational marijuana.

Nonetheless, some of the new laws will have a significant effect on people’s lives. Here’s a look at what’s new as of Friday.

Minimum wage increase

Low-wage workers across Illinois are getting their third raise in 12 months, with the minimum wage increasing by $1, to $11 per hour, following a $1 increase on Jan. 1, 2020, and a 75 cent raise on July 1.

Read more: https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-2021-illinois-new-laws-20201230-vsy4geh6tvcsfmf2yfl52ep2zi-story.html

Peoria homeless advocates try to empty under-the-bridge camp to move residents into warm housing

PEORIA — The effort to move people out of a homeless enclave under the Murray Baker Bridge and into warm, semi-permanent housing is "exciting" and something that hasn't been seen before here in the Peoria area.

That's the word from Kate Green, the head of the Home for All Continuum of Care, which is the clearinghouse agency for groups that help those who live on the street or in the area's shelters.

By the end of the the day Monday, more than a dozen of the 20 or so people who made the encampment their home had been moved to an area hotel which had agreed to accept the camp denizens. There are a handful of people left at the settlement who will likely be moved within a day.

Green didn't give the name of the hotel, but said they had agreed to partner with the Continuum and that she hoped the contract would continue until all the camp dwellers were placed in permanent housing.

Read more: https://www.pjstar.com/story/news/2020/12/28/peoria-area-groups-move-homeless-under-highway-bridge-hotel/4065949001/
(Peoria Journal Star)

'We've soiled our pants': Westfield City Council meeting turns contentious

A cost-saving plan to downsize the ambitious Grand Junction Plaza project in Westfield has left some city council members frustrated and ignited a war of words between the mayor and a council member, punctuated by a vivid scatological reference.

The kerfuffle was set off at a Dec. 17 City Council meeting when the city disclosed that nearly $17 million in cuts to park amenities would be needed to keep construction under its $31.5 million budget.

Those reductions include nixing – for now -- the band shell at the amphitheater and a trailhead building, and replacing the permanent ice rink with a temporary one. City officials blamed rising construction costs and a low preliminary budget estimate.


After Public Works Director Jeremy Lollarhad delivered the news at the meeting about the plans for “value engineering,” Councilor Troy Patton expressed his displeasure.

“Value engineering, is that another word for overbudget?” Patton asked. “We promised something to the people of Westfield and frankly we’ve soiled our pants and have to smell it.”

Read more: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/local/hamilton-county/2020/12/29/grand-junction-plaza-meeting-turns-westfield-meeting-contentious/4064900001/

Indianapolis Gives Notice To Those Camping Around Monument Circle

The city of Indianapolis plans to close Monument Circle to camping and storage of personal belongings for people experiencing homelessness.

The notice from the city’s Office of Health and Public Safety was posted Monday in windows around the Circle. City policy is to provide 15 days notice before evacuating homeless camps. The letter says people have until noon on Tuesday, Jan. 12 to find alternate shelter and a place for their belongings.

The notice says the sidewalk is public property and the encampments and belongings are disrupting pedestrian and business traffic.

In a written statement, Deputy Communications Director Mark Bode said public and private stakeholders have been notified, “and are working with us to ensure any person who has been camping in the area is offered alternative temporary housing options and a connection to a permanent housing solution whenever possible.

Read more: https://www.wfyi.org/news/articles/notice-to-vacate-monument-circle-given

Indiana short on money for teacher pay hike

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s teachers are paid too little for the work they do but raising their salaries to be competitive will cost an estimated $600 million, according to the state’s highly anticipated Teacher Compensation Report.

“There’s a sizable gap between what Indiana teachers are currently being paid and what we have deemed to be a target for competitive pay,” said Michael Smith, chairperson of the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission. “Closing this pay gap will require both state government and local school corporations to act.”

Teachers likely won’t get help in the next biennial budget, which lawmakers will begin drafting during the 2021 legislative session.

The state’s reserves helped Indiana weather the worst of the economic fallout from COVID-19. But increased Medicaid costs might eat up slight revenue gains for the upcoming year, meaning no extra money for teachers.

Read more: https://www.kokomotribune.com/indiana/news/indiana-short-on-money-for-teacher-pay-hike/article_4936e6da-83b8-5b92-b284-18204961e442.html

Wisconsin prosecutors add curfew charge against Rittenhouse

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a 17-year-old Illinois teen accused of shooting three people during a protest in southeastern Wisconsin this summer with violating curfew that night.

Kyle Rittenhouse was charged in August with multiple counts, including reckless and intentional homicide, endangerment and being a minor in possession of a firearm. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that prosecutors added violating curfew the night of the shootings to the list of charges on Monday. The offense is a civil citation punishable by forfeiture.

Prosecutors allege Rittenhouse, who is white, left his home in Antioch, Illinois, and traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, after learning of a call for militia to protect businesses in that city on Aug. 25. Kenosha was in the throes of several nights of chaotic street demonstrations after a white officer shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, in the back during domestic disturbance, leaving Blake paralyzed.

Rittenhouse opened fire with an assault-style rifle during the protest that night, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz. Rittenhouse has argued he fired in self-defense. Conservatives have rallied around him, generating enough money to make his $2 million cash bail.

Read more: https://www.nwitimes.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/wisconsin-prosecutors-add-curfew-charge-against-rittenhouse/article_25fef8c8-9fee-55ab-9ffc-d5272f940ba7.html
(Northwest Indiana Times)
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