There are preliminary reports of a successful and ongoing Ukrainian counter-offensive near Kherson (A); The only major city the Russians have taken thus far on their only route to the port of Odesa (B) on the Black Sea.
Overstretched, low on morale and supplies, Russian forces have taken heavy losses in recent battles to take Mykolayiv (C) on their offensive towards Odesa (B), leaving behind large quantities of equipment and supplies, as they are routed by Ukrainian forces back towards Kherson, where Russian forces are likely regrouping.
In this grainy video you can see a Russian convoy retreating at high speed back towards Kherson or further south into Crimea, with each vehicle struggling to overtake the position of the vehicle in front of them to put distance between themselves and advancing Ukrainian forces; there are many more videos of this withdraw but this is by far the most informative. Clearly things are not going well.
“In this video from the #Kherson city area, southern #Ukraine you can see the Russian military vehicles driving away on a high speed. Possibly, they’re escaping from the #Mykolayiv area the Russian Army planned to capture days ago.” – Victor Kovalenko, Ukrainian Journalist https://lnkd.in/eZSBQAYD
As I stated over a week ago, the Russian advance has stalled, and unless their situation improves in the following week (this week), they will have lost the initiative to Ukrainian forces. Should the Ukrainian’s retake Kherson, it would be a huge blow to Russian morale, which has likely become the primary military objective of limited Ukrainian counter-attacks occurring in several locations across Ukraine.
It’s still too early to tell what the outcome of this unfolding event will be, but if the Ukrainians can retake Kherson, it may mark a turning point in the war, having secured their western flank on the Black Sea, making it impossible for the Russian’s to take Odesa by land or sea. If lost, the Russians will be unlikely to retake the city, without stripping forces and equipment from the Donbas region, the only area Russian forces are still making painfully slow progress.
A brilliant strategic move by Ukrainian forces, if they manage to succeed. We will have to wait and see how the battle develops, and if this counteroffensive is more than superficial reports and rumors.
This is a copy of correspondence that I have sent to the Leyden School District 212 attorney with copies to the Assistant Superintendent of Special Education, Dr. Brian Mahoney and the Leyden High Schools Athletic Director, Rick Mason.:
I am writing this because of the extensive number of families I consult with in the District who have students on the Autism Spectrum, as well as being a member of the Leyden community as a whole.
Dr. Mahoney advised me that throughout this past academic year swimming was not in the adaptive physical education curriculum because of COVID protocols. With the dropping of the masking requirement which seemed according to Dr. Mahoney’s communication the major barrier in instituting swimming in the curriculum, I am urging that the District look at re-instituting swimming in the Adaptive PE Curriculum.
Drowning is the leading cause of death among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, 2014). According to the National Autism Association, accidental drowning accounted for approximately 90% of total deaths (US) reported in children with ASD ages 14 and younger in 2009 to 2011.
As of last month, further statistics have come to light (American Journal of Public Health), outlining that drowning accounts for 46% of all injury deaths among children with autism, which translates to 160 times the chance of dying from drowning compared to other children. Individuals 14 years and younger are 40 times more likely to die from injury than the general pediatric population. Swimming isn’t just a workout for the body; it also works the mind, and its benefits outlast the time in the pool.
Day-to-day challenges faced by autistic children like anxiety, concentration, overstimulation, and social interaction can all be improved. The statistics of drowning for those children with Downs Syndrome and other disabilities mirror the ASD statistics.
I am going to be requesting that the SD 212 Board of Education undertake this as an initiative in their role of Curriculum approval and COVID protocol adoption move forward to direct the reinstatement of swimming in the Adaptive PE Curriculum this Spring, 2022.
I have to assume that every administrator, faculty member and board member would be greatly distressed to hear of a Leyden High School disabled student who wandered or engages in some water activities this summer drowning, knowing that they may have been saved if the District had reinstated swimming in their curriculum as soon as they were able to do so.
I would appreciate the support of the District in this initiative.
Roy F. McCampbell, Esq
Leyden High School District 212 spent millions of dollars on a new aquatic’s center at East Leyden which was built with the intention of supporting a Water Polo Team but not taking into consideration the utility of purpose for children with disabilities nor the community in general.
The main pool is uniformly 7 feet in depth which is necessary for water polo competition. But this uniform depth of 7 feet deprives many disabled students from utilizing the pool as well as it is not a safe facility for community recreational swimming in the evenings or on weekends.
The West Leyden pool has similar deficient design issues making it difficult for the usage by handicapped students.
Children with autism, and even Down syndrome, often wander, which can obviously be very unsafe if they get close to water unsupervised. Additionally, drowning can occur without making any sound. Children may also be unaware of things such as water depth, water temperature, or water currents. Not every child likes to be in the water, especially children that struggle with sensory issues. However, all children should still be aware of water safety in case of accidental slips or falls into a pool or lake.
Former House Speaker Michael Madigan has been indicted on criminal charges as part of an ongoing federal political corruption investigation, sources said.
Madigan is now one of the most significant politicians in Illinois history ever to face criminal charges, despite having left office more than a year ago. The news is the culmination of one of the most significant, expansive public corruption investigations Illinois has seen in years, already leaving an indelible mark on state politics by knocking Madigan out of power in January 2021.
The powerful Southwest Side Democrat had held his seat in the state House of Representatives since 1971 and served as speaker for all but two years between 1983 and 2020.
The Chicago Sun-Times first revealed in 2019 that the feds had recorded Madigan as early as 2014 at his private law firm, during a meeting with then-Ald. Danny Solis and a developer hoping to build a hotel in Chinatown. In a 2016 federal court affidavit exclusively obtained by the Sun-Times, an FBI agent alleged that Solis agreed to use his public office to provide “private benefits” to Madigan.
Solis later went on to become a secret government cooperator until his work with the feds was first revealed by the Sun-Times.
Still, it wasn’t until July 2020 that federal prosecutors finally implicated Madigan in a bribery scheme involving ComEd, giving him the moniker “Public Official A.” That development would eventually lead to the end of Madigan’s tenure as the longest-serving state House leader in U.S. history.The feds accused ComEd that month of a brazen, years-long Chicago-style bribery scheme, alleging that Madigan’s associates received $1.3 million over nearly a decade while doing little or no work for ComEd, all while ComEd hoped to land Madigan’s support for legislation in Springfield worth more than $150 million.
Lausch also said there’s more “work ahead of us,” as the investigation remains ongoing.
It’s unclear what the charges will mean for a separate indictment filed in November 2020 that accused McClain and others of trying to sway Madigan in favor of legislation beneficial to ComEd. Also charged in that case are ex-ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore,former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and onetime City Club President Jay Doherty.
They are set for trial Sept. 12.
ComEd was charged with bribery in July 2020, in a case that first implicated Madigan. ComEd agreed to pay a $200 million fine and entered into a so-called deferred-prosecution agreement with Lausch’s office. The three-year dealis already beyond its halfway point.
Similar to the November 2020 indictment of McClain and others, the indictment on Wednesday alleges that Madigan and McClain sought jobs, contractsand money for Madigan’s associates from ComEd between 2011 and 2019 and that Madigan took official action to help ComEd pass favorable legislation.
But it also reveals a new alleged scheme involving Solis in his final weeks as a secret government cooperator. The indictment alleges that Madigan agreed to help Solis land a spot on a state board paying at least $93,926 a year following his retirement from the City Council.
During a meeting Aug. 2, 2018, Madigan allegedly told Solis he would help Solis land the spot by going to Pritzker, who is identified in the indictment as “the future Governor of the State of Illinois.” Madigan allegedly told Solis, “you’d come in as [Pritzker’s] recommendation.”
Madigan allegedly told Solis, “just leave it in my hands” but then also asked Solis to help a relative of Madigan’s, as well as that person’s employer.
Later, on Oct. 26, 2018, after Solis told Madigan that an individual not named in the indictment had agreed to give business to Madigan’s law firm, Madigan allegedly told Solis he would induce the governor to appoint Solis to a state board.
In a Nov. 23, 2018, meeting, Solis told Madigan he would not run for re-election. Madigan allegedly thanked Solis, asked for Solis’ resume and said he wanted to let Pritzker “know what’s coming next.” By then Pritzker was governor-elect.
Madigan allegedly said his communication with Pritzker did not “need to be in writing. I can just verbally tell him.” Madigan and Pritzker then met on Dec. 4, 2018, according to the indictment.
Lausch stressed Wednesday that “there’s no allegation in this indictment against the governor or his staff.” Pritzker spokeswoman Emily Bittner said the governor “does not recall Michael Madigan ever asking him to consider Danny Solis for any position. In addition, the administration has no record of Solis being recommended by Madigan. In addition, he was never vetted, appointed or hired for any role in the administration.”
The Sun-Times revealed Solis was a federal informant seven weeks after the meeting mentioned in the indictment. Two months after that, the Sun-Times also reported on unsuccessful efforts supported by Solis to transfer a Chinatown property from the state to the city to clear the way for a developer’s proposal.
The new indictment alleges thatMadigan agreed to help make the transfer happen in exchange for business for his firm. For example, after Solis allegedly told McClain around Dec. 18, 2017, that, “in the past, I have been able to steer some work to Mike, and these guys will do the same thing,” McClain allegedly agreed that Madigan would assist with the parcel’s transfer.
And on March 27, 2018, after Solis told Madigan that a development group would “appreciate it” and send work to Madigan’s firm if Madigan could take care of the parcel’s transfer, Madigan allegedly said, “Okay, alright, very good.”
However, McClain told Solis on Nov. 21, 2018, that a “major hurdle” had come up in the form of petitions from people in the Chinatown business community opposed to the transfer. So two days later, Solis allegedly told Madigan it was best to wait until after the upcoming elections and try to pass the bill in May 2019. Madigan allegedly agreed.
By May 2019, Solis’ cooperation with the feds was well known.
Gerald Smith is the director of theEquity and Inclusion in Engineering Programat the University of Illinois Chicago College of Engineering. In this role, Smith oversees and conducts outreach to underrepresented students who might consider a UIC education, plans programs to support current students at UIC, and meets one-on-one with undergraduates to advise on topics such as major choice, course selection and career planning.
On Tuesday, an Illinois legislative panel voted unanimously to thwart a reissue of emergency rules by Gov. JB Pritzker that would have required K through 12 public and private schools throughout the state to enforce a mask mandate.
The emergency rules were put into place by the governor on Sept. 17 and expired Sunday. The Illinois Department of Public Health and the governor’s administration moved to reinstate the emergency orders, but Pritzker clarified Monday, at an appearance at Lincoln Land Community College, that IDPH filed the rule renewal with the JCAR on Monday as a “procedural step.” Pritzker said he has not considered what, if any, new rules will be proposed to JCAR by IDPH.
As a result of that action, the Illinois Fourth District Appeals Court ruled, “None of the rules found by the circuit court to be null and void are currently in effect…Accordingly, for the following reasons, we dismiss defendant’s appeal because the expiration of the emergency rules renders this appeal moot.”
The ruling posed late Thursday night is a setback for Governor Pritzker, who sought to keep the mask mandates in place inside schools despite his plan to loosen mask restrictions in the state come February 28.
The dismissal comes after a downstate judge ruled at the beginning of February in favor of a group of parents from across the state who sued over the mask requirement.
The governor then appealed that ruling, but in the meantime, a legislative committee made up of Republicans and Democrats voted Tuesday against extending the mask mandate in schools as the state waited for guidance from the appellate court.
So what does all of this mean regarding the school districts in Leyden Township ?
As of Thursday, February 17, 2022, Schiller Park School District 81 revised their rules and now masks are only recommended by not required for all students, staff and visitors; masks will be still be required on buses due to the federal CDC order that is set to expire on March 18, 2022. For the complete information on the masks and COVID requirements go to this link :
Franklin Park School District 84 is now mask optional; while River Grove 85.5, Elmwood Park School District , Rhodes School District and Mannheim School District continue to maintain a mask mandatory rule. On Thursday, February 9, 2022, the Leyden High School Board of Education voted a resolution without discussion to maintain the mask mandatory rule.
Cheslie led both a public and a private life. In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone — including me, her closest confidant — until very shortly before her death.”
Students across Illinois are now able to take up to five excused mental health days. This started on January 1, 2022.
Under a bill signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in August, 2021, students who decide to take a mental health day will not be required to provide their school with a doctor’s note and will be able to make up any work that was missed on their day off.
“Having this now for all students across the state will be really beneficial, especially with what’s going on with COVID,” State Rep. Barbara Hernandez, who co-sponsored the bill, told the Journal-Courier. “Many students feel stressed, and have developed anxiety and depression because they’re not able to see teachers and friends, and may have lower grades due to remote learning.”
At Leyden High School District 212, several students have already taken advantage of this new law.
But a review of the Leyden SD 212 website https://www.leyden212.org/leyden reveals no reference to the new law nor any guidance to the students or parents regarding the implementation of the law. Unlike other Illinois school districts which notified students and parents regarding the new law in December and provided guidelines as well as information as how to access mental health and social work services, SD 212 has remained silent.
An inquiry with the administration of the District reveals an in-ability to provide an implementation policy. Currently Leyden students taking “mental health days” have received unexcused absences in contravention of the Illinois law. The deans of Leyden School District 212 have never been briefed by the administration or provided with an implementation plan.
Answers and advice to parents is not forthcoming to the parents of SD 212, nor for that matter any of the school districts in Leyden Township. Are the Superintendents not supportive of the mental health needs of their students or have the school districts over looked this important need for children to have a break when they are experiencing a significant decline in their mental health ?
Could your child use a break? Here are 10 mental health signs to look out for
Neither you nor your child has to experience a significant decline mental health in order to benefit from a mental health day. Taking a break to relax, rest, and play is a good idea for all of us.
But if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms in your kid, it could mean their mental health is suffering. Talk to your pediatrician if you’re worried about your child’s:
Persistent sadness (lasting for two weeks or more)
Withdrawal from social interactions
Discussions about death or suicide
Unusual or extreme irritability
Escalating, high risk behaviors
Drastic change in mood, personality, weight, and/or eating or sleeping habits
Frequent headaches or stomachaches
Sudden change in academic performance and/or truancy
If this can happen to Miss America we Ned to pay more attention to our students in Illinois as well as in Leyden Township . See the link:
Since 1887 in Punxsutawney, Groundhog Day has developed its own particular character. There is a Groundhog Club (originally made up of groundhog hunters. Shh! Don’t tell Phil!) The 15 members of the Club’s Inner Circle dress up in top hats and tails to lead a procession to Phil’s burrow on Groundhog Day. They pull him out and the legend says he gives his prediction to the Club president in “groundhogese”.
SPOILER ALERT! Of course, the 2022 event has to be socially distanced. And with a massive winter storm battering the east coast of the U.S., it was no surprise that Phil predicted #sixmoreweeks of winter. (Though it was a mystery how he saw his shadow as snow fell…)
The financial disclosures contain a wealth of previously unknown information. For example, the Fauci household’s net worth exceeds $10.4 million.
During the pandemic year of 2020, their household income, perks and benefits, and unrealized gains totaled $1,776,479 — including federal income and benefits of $868,812; outside royalties and travel perks totaling $113,298; and investment accounts increasing by $794,369.
Here are the numbers as compiled by the auditors at OpenTheBooks.com, an organization I lead. This analysis used previously known information plus the newly released disclosures.
Disclosures show $794,369 in gains in the Fauci stock, bond, and money market portfolio during 2020. The total value of Dr. Fauci’s investment account was $8.4 million and his wife’s investments totaled another $2.1 million.
Some on the right have speculated that Fauci may have profited off the pandemic. The disclosures show that he’s invested in fairly broadly targeted mutual funds, with no reported holdings of individual stocks.
Previously, NIH had released heavily redacted financial disclosures of Dr. Fauci. Redactions included the fund balances, so a net worth analysis was impossible until now.
Dr. Fauci is the director of the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and his wife Christine Grady is the chief bio-ethicist at the National Institutes of Health.
Background: Fauci earned $434,312 in cash compensation (FY2020) outearning all 4.3 million federal employees including the president and four-star generals in the U.S. military. Between 2010 and 2020, Dr. Fauci earned cash compensation of $3.7 million from his federal employer. Review Fauci’s ten-year salary history in my previous column published at Forbes.
Fauci’s wife, Christine Grady is the chief bio-ethicist at the National Institutes of Health and made $234,284 in FY2020, as disclosed by FOIA to OpenTheBooks.com in August 2021. Grady’s FY2019 pay was also $234,284 and since 2015, Grady made $1.3 million in cash compensation.
However, Fauci’s financial disclosures only show that Grady made $176,000 for FY2020.
NIH does still not disclose Fauci’s current salary (FY2022) or last year’s salary (FY2021), despite comment requests for the information. Therefore, Fauci earned an estimated total of roughly $900,000 during the period.
Perks And Pension Benefits: Est. $200,500
Federal employees have a lucrative amount of paid time off, subsidized healthcare, pension benefits and a myriad of other perquisites. For example, after just three-years, a rank-and-file federal employee receives 44 days of paid time off. Dr. Fauci has held a federal job for 55 years.
A good faith estimate of the taxpayer cost of those benefits is 30-percent multiplied by the salary amount for Dr. Fauci and his wife.
Background: The study — published at Forbes in December — showed that when Fauci retires he’ll reap a retirement pension estimated at $350,000 per year, the highest in federal history. With cost-of-living increases, Fauci would receive over $1 million during his first three years of retirement.
Royalties And Professional Reimbursements: $100,000
Disclosures show that Dr. Fauci edits the medical textbook, Harrison’s Principals of Internal Medicine and serves on the board of the publisher, McGraw Hill. In 2020, Fauci received $100,000 as an editor of the publication. In 2019, Fauci also received $100,000 from McGraw Hill for editing the same textbook, and in July 2019, Fauci also received travel reimbursement of $6,328 for a six-day trip to La Jolla, CA to attend a board meeting of McGraw Hill, the publisher.
An NIH spokesperson confirmed that Dr. Fauci has an editorial board position with McGraw Hill that is approved by NIH. When he receives reimbursements for out-of-pocket travel to attend meetings, it is on the same basis as other directors.
Background: OpenTheBooks filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to get a copy of all royalties paid to current and retired NIH scientists since 2005. When NIH would not release the information, a federal lawsuit was filed in October with Judicial Watch and production is scheduled to start on February 1st.
Gifts And Travel Reimbursements: $13,298
Galas: Fauci and his wife reported the fair market value of the $8,100 in tickets given to him to attend three virtual galas. Filers are instructed by Government-wide regulations that the “market value” of a ticketed event is the ticket’s face value. NIH gave prior written approval for Dr. Fauci to attend the events.
Here is the breakdown: $5,000 in for the Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) “Ripple of Hope” gala in December 2020 which also honored him as an award receipt. $1,600 to attend “An Evening Of Hope” virtual event in April 2020 and $1,500 to attend a “Prepared For Life” virtual gala in October 2020.
A spokesperson at NIH confirmed the details on the gala disclosures.
When Fauci was named Federal Employee Of The Year at the 2020 Samuael J. Heyman Service To America Medals awards program he was paid $5,198 for the virtual star-studded event.
Background: Fauci’s FY2021 disclosure is scheduled for release in May. The disclosure should contain interesting information. For example, in January 2021, as reported by NPR, Fauci received a $1 million prize for the prestigious Dan David Prize affiliated with Tel Aviv University for “speaking truth to power.”
Most likely Fauci kept $900,000 of that prize with 10-percent awarded to Fauci-picked scholarship winners.