EMPLOYERS: If you choose to “force” your employees to get vaccinated (or lose their job), and your employee has an adverse reaction… YOU CAN BE SUED!!!
The politicians never exempted you from liability
The date your new “mandatory mask/vaccine policy” goes into affect, will coincide with the date the required vaccine is administered, thus providing a timeline that is recordable, and used against you in court.
Suggestion: Make all vaccines & masks “optional” in the workplace. This way, should an:
employee choose to get vaccinated and become vaccine injured, the employer is not liable.
employer or co-worker catch Covid at work, they can’t fire or hold an un-masked & un-vaccinated employee liable.
Chicago releases 1,000 FERAL CATS onto its streets to deal with surging rodent problem after city was named the rat capital of the US for sixth year running
Animal shelter the Tree House Humane Society is behind the Cats at Work program, neutering the animals before they are returned to patrol the streets. The shelter has put 1,000 cats to work as pest control since 2012, WGN9 reports. Chicago was named the rat capital of the US for the sixth year running in 2020.
The shelter says: ‘Cats are placed two or three at a time into residential or commercial settings in order to provide environmentally friendly rodent control. ‘Property and business owners provide food, water, shelter, and wellness to the cats who work for them. In most cases, our Cats at Work become beloved members of the family or team and some even have their own Instagram pages.’
Shelter spokesperson, Sarah Liss, said: ‘We’ve had a lot of our clients tell us that before they had cats, they would step outside their house and rats would actually run across their feet.’ Rather than killing the rats Liss says the cats ‘are actually deterring them with their pheromones’ adding: ‘That’s enough to keep the rats away.’
Those living in Chicago can apply for a cat online.
The Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reaffirmed that a student may establish a claim for damages under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 if a school district violates Section 504 “intentionally or with deliberate indifference.” (Mark H. v. Hamamoto (9th Cir. 2010) ___ F.3d ____, 2010 WL 3349198.) This case serves as a reminder that, in addition to filing a due process complaint under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a student may be able to sue for damages under Section 504 if a school district fails to provide special education services and/or develop an appropriate IEP.
In Mark H.,the family of two students with autism prevailed in an administrative hearing against the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE). The hearing officer found that the DOE denied the students a Free Appropriate Public Education under the IDEA and that their IEPs were inadequate. Following the administrative hearing, the family sued the DOE in federal district court, seeking damages for alleged violations of Section 504. The district court held that there was no private right of action to enforce FAPE as required by Section 504. The court also held that the family failed to establish a Section 504 violation because the family did not demonstrate that the school district intentionally discriminated against the students solely by reason of their disabilities. The family appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Ninth Circuit held that there is a private right of action under Section 504. However, establishing a violation of the right to a FAPE under the IDEA is not sufficient to prevail on a claim for damages. Rather, to prevail on a claim for damages under Section 504, a student must establish that the school district violated Section 504 “intentionally or with deliberate indifference.” After clarifying the legal standard, the Ninth Circuit remanded the case to the district court to allow the family to amend their complaint.
The family then filed an amended complaint against the DOE and its Superintendent. The family alleged the DOE failed to provide the students with reasonable accommodation for their disabilities in the form of autism-specific special education services and that it failed to design their IEPs to meet the students’ needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students were met. The family further alleged that the DOE acted with deliberate indifference. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the DOE, finding that the family failed to present sufficient evidence to support their claim. The family appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit.
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment. It found that the family had presented evidence that raised a question regarding whether the DOE violated Section 504 with “deliberate indifference” by failing to adequately investigate whether autism-specific services that the students needed in order to access their education were available as a reasonable accommodation. In addition, the evidence also raised a question regarding whether the DOE knew that its failure to design the students’ IEPs to include autism-specific services was likely to result in a violation of their federally protected rights and whether it failed to act upon that likelihood. As a result, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment and remanded the case to be heard in the district court.
This case demonstrates that if a school district knows that a student requires certain special education services, but does not act upon that knowledge, it could be subject to a claim for damages under Section 504.
One of the biggest construction projects of 2021 on I-490 western access to O’Hare International Airport is firmly underway.
The concrete ramps stop abruptly, but it will eventually take shape in the long awaited I-490 western O’Hare corridor that will tie together I-90, Route 390 and the Tri-State Tollway.
This is a big deal because they are finally allowing people to connect from I-90 all the way down to the southern suburbs without having to go through the airport corridor, and that’s going to help in a lot of ways. It’s going to save congestion, it’s going to save fuel, it’s going to save money,
Local leaders got a tour of the I-490 progress Thursday, including the large amount of work that got done in the past year during the stay-at-home mandates and social distancing.
Along with the progress being made at the I-490/Route 390 Interchange, there is also construction in place at the I-490 Interchange with I-90, the Jane Addams Tollway and at the former site of the old Des Plaines Oasis. null
There are several years to go until the new corridor is complete. The ramps will open first.
While the project will make it easier to access O’Hare, there are also benefits to the surrounding suburbs.
This project is going to provide significant congestion relief. I mean there’s 86% of the roads in this area are considered congestion, that they experience severe congestion. This project is going to relieve a lot of that.
The project also includes local road improvements and wide-reaching economic development that is expected when it is completed. It is scheduled for completion in 2026.
There will be 15 ramps that make up the I-490 and Route 390 Interchange.
Last week I had the privilege of working with a British film crew that is filming a documentary for the Science Channel on the collapse of the Horizon in 1979. This will probably air early next year. The film will portray the how and why of the collapse, the emergency responders and that fateful day, how Mayor Stephens changed Illinois law to ensure public construction was built by credible construction companies and how Rosemont made a comeback from that horrible tragedy. As one of the producers termed it: “the little engine that could”. I will be doing some of the narration of the tragic days events and a tour of Rosemont today. Hopefully this will be an intro to the reopening of the Village and it’s venues. A special thank you to Mayor Stephens and the Village of Rosemont for embracing this British film crew and opening their doors to this worthwhile documentary for the Science Channel.
Memories of 80th and Belmont, and Lessons to be Learned
With the recent closing of St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois, this event has resurrected my memories of the closing of my high school, Holy Cross High School, in River Grove, Illinois, in June, 2004, and the consolidation of the remaining student body and some of its traditions and alum with the sister school on the same property, Mother Theodore Guerin, ultimately being renamed Guerin Prep, and sadly closing at the end of the school year in 2020.
For those not familiar with Holy Cross High School it was an all-boys, Roman Catholichigh school in River Grove, Illinois, United States that operated from August 1961 until June 2004. In December, 2003, the school announced that they no longer had enough funding or interest in enrollment to continue. Only 79 students took the entrance exam for the 2004-2005 school year, and at least 125 were necessary to keep the school open. In June, 2004, the neighboring all-girls high school Mother Theodore Guerin High School accepted all Holy Cross students, becoming coed and changing their name to Guerin College Preparatory High School. Students from Mother Guerin and Holy Cross had already been sharing each other’s facilities for certain classes, such as drama, music, and foreign languages.
At one point, Holy Cross’s enrollment was as high as 1,556 students. The school expanded its facilities in 1969 with the construction of a humanities learning center.
The Holy Cross had a close connection to the Chicago Cubs baseball team in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Third-baseman Ron Santo ran a baseball academy on the Holy Cross grounds, and the Cubs helped fund equipment for the school’s baseball team. The Cubs even held their workouts at the school in spring 1972, in the midst of a strike which had shut down all of the major league training camps
As Holy Cross, Mother Guerin and Guerin Prep alum, it was not about the “brick and mortar” but the classmates and instructors that we connected with during our journey at 80th and Belmont. That is what we should never forget. We can be sad that the institution is “never more”, but the memories, friendships and lessons learned live on.
It has become a recurring theme with the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago’s school system: mounting concern over declining enrollment and rising costs; parish leaders devising a strategy to address the problems; parents mobilizing to prevent their children’s schools from shutting their doors. And in the end, another round of school closings.
This bleak reality has become familiar for many of the nation’s Catholic school systems: hit with rising expenses and shrinking enrollment, many are fighting for survival.
The Archdiocese of Chicago, has been beset with similar troubles, with total enrollment dropping to about 65,000 this year from more than 95,000 nine years ago.
What will the next decade bring for Catholic education in Chicago and the rest of our country ?
First, we all who enjoyed that education in our lives, need to step forward and support efforts to reverse this trend and preserve such a system for tomorrow’s youth.
Despite its dwindling size, Chicago’s Catholic school system remains one of the largest private school systems in the country. And its schools have received more Blue Ribbon Awards, a distinction given by the U.S. Department of Education to school for academic excellence, than any other school system in the country.
Since 2009, the number of Catholic schools in the United States declined by more than 1,200, and there are roughly 400,000 fewer students attending Catholic schools, according to the National Catholic Educational Association.
The archdiocese’s school system does outpace Chicago Public Schools in many academic standards, although critics point out private schools are able to be selective about their students.
More than 98% of the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic schools’ students graduate from high school, compared to 77% of Chicago Public Schools students, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. And more than 96% of Catholic school students go on to attend a four-year college, according to the archdiocese.
According to the National Catholic Education Association‘s Annual Statistical Report on Schools, Enrollment and Staffing., “U. S. Catholic school enrollment reached its peak during the early 1960s when there were more than 5.2 million students in almost thirteen thousand schools across the nation. The 1970s and 1980s saw a steep decline in both the number of schools and students. By 1990, there were approximately 2.5 million students in 8,719 schools. From the mid 1990s though 2000, there was a steady enrollment increase (1.3%) despite continued closings of schools. Between the 2000 and the 2011 school years, 1,755 schools were reported closed or consolidated (21.5%). The number of students declined by 587,166 (22.1 %). The most seriously impacted have been elementary schools”
Personally, it saddens me to see any private school in decline. It is even worse to discover that schools have closed. But the sheer magnitude of these numbers is just plain scary. Let’s examine some of the reasons why Catholic education finds itself in this state across the country.
The economy has been a major factor in the decline in the number of Catholic schools. The Great Recession of 2008 cost millions of people their jobs. As a result, when parents have to struggle just to make ends meet, then a private school education becomes unaffordable and out of the question. Historically, Roman Catholic parochial and high school educations have been some of the most affordable private school educations available. Fewer students mean more seats available. More seats available means less tuition income. It is a vicious cycle not easily broken. Once the cycle starts, it becomes very difficult to turn around.
Back in the 1950s nuns staffed Catholic schools. These wonderful teachers were also paid very little. Consequently, schools could keep their tuition low. Unfortunately, as the number of nuns declined, schools had to hire lay teachers whose compensation was more than the religious they replaced.
Changing Social Customs
Church membership nationwide in just about every denomination has been on a decline for decades. The Catholic Church has been particularly hard hit as it faced changing demographics in thousands of parishes. Whereas 50 years ago, Sunday masses were well-attended and parishes seemed to flourish, nowadays the neighborhoods have changed, leaving small, aging congregations struggling to keep the doors of their beloved old church open. Soaring energy and maintenance costs, as well as a lack of priests, have further exacerbated the problem.
The Child Abuse Settlements
The scandals which have rocked the American Catholic Church from 2000-2018 effectively drained the coffers of dozens of Catholic dioceses, requiring enormous settlements to bring a conclusion to the legal process. Church property and other tangible assets were sold to raise money to fund the settlements. Hundreds of schools which had been kept afloat with diocesan support had their financial lifeline cut off. The diocesan and archdiocesan authorities had no other choice.
The Way Forward
I know that Catholic education will survive long term. But what will in look like in the next decade. In my opinion, what we have seen is a winnowing process in which schools which already had financial and enrollment issues have been forced to face up to those issues. If those schools found answers to their problems, they survived. If they didn’t, they closed their doors. In many cases, diocesan authorities consolidated several schools which had low student populations into one larger school. The schools which are left are the ones which have weathered all the economic and cultural onslaughts which have been thrown at them over the past decade. They will probably continue to survive and find new ways to thrive. Many catholic schools are proactively reaching out to their communities.
There are lessons to be learned from the closing of Holy Cross High School and Guerin Prep High Schools in River Grove, Illinois. But will we take it to heart and preserve Catholic educational institutions over the next decade. We as alum of Holy Cross, Mother Guerin and Guerin Prep know the value of catholic education, but does the world really understand it. We do know that the world is a better place because of those that chose to attend high school at 80th and Belmont in River Grove, Illinois.
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The IL House voted to move the use of heroin, cocaine, meth, and fentanyl from a FELONY to a class A misdemeanor. After a year of releasing prisoners into our communities and passing laws to make the job of law enforcement much more difficult, the IL House continues to make our neighborhoods more dangerous.
Illinois HB3447 hasn’t made the news much. It passed the house and is now going to the senate. It deals with a lot of changes to the drug possession and delivery statutes with simple possession amounts being changed from a class 4 felony to a class A misdemeanor. It also changes the drug delivery statutes and allows for “retroactive sentencing.”
Currently, possession of 15 grams or less of heroin or cocaine can result in a felony conviction that typically can’t be expunged from criminal records.
Foxx was asked whether she would advocate expunging convictions for possession of those harder drugs, Foxx answered “yes” — as long as it’s part of a larger, progressive approach to handling addiction.
On Thursday, the Foxx doubled down on that commitment.
“Substance use disorder is an addiction. It’s a public health crisis. There’s not been a leader in the public health space who has said otherwise. And yet, we used the criminal justice system to criminalize people who have addition issues,” Foxx said.
“These are conversations that are ongoing that we’re having with state legislature members, the governor’s office and otherwise to see what does it mean to meaningfully and adequately resource treatment as opposed to incarceration. It is a bold vision and one that we hope to have in place in the near-term.”
On April 25, 2019, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed an amendment (Ord. No. 19-2394) to § 42-38 of the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance (“Ordinance”) to
Prohibit housing discrimination based on an individual’s covered criminal history; and
Require landlords to perform an individualized assessment of an otherwise qualified individual’s criminal conviction history prior to denying them and application for housing.
Below are frequently asked questions for applicants and the general public to help navigate the Just Housing Amendment to the Human Rights Ordinance. PDFs of this FAQ and a FAQ for landlords, sample language for notices to applicants, definitions, and an outline of the processes and individualized assessment tool are available to download here:
Why did the Cook County Board of Commissioners pass the Just Housing Amendment (JHA) to the Human Rights Ordinance?
In most cities, people with any kind of criminal record, even just an arrest, can be unfairly denied housing. The JHA was passed to help these individuals access safe, stable and affordable housing.
Prohibits landlords from denying a housing application based on juvenile or adult arrest records; and
Requires landlords to perform an individualized assessment prior to denying any application for housing.
What is an individualized assessment?
An individualized assessment is a questionnaire that considers all relevant factors from an individual’s conviction in the previous three (3) years. The following list of factors can be considered. This list does not include all factors that a landlord can consider:
The nature and severity of the criminal offense and how recently it occurred.
The nature of the sentencing.
The number of criminal convictions in the past three (3) years.
The length of time that has passed since the applicant’s most recent convictions.
The age of the individual at the time the criminal offense occurred.
Evidence of rehabilitation.
The individual history as a tenant before and/or after the conviction.
Whether the criminal conviction(s) was related to the applicant’s disability.
If the applicant is a person with a disability, whether any reasonable accommodation could be provided to lessen any risk.
When does the JHA go into effect?
The JHA went into effect on January 1, 2020. However, the Cook County Board of Commissioners has delayed enforcement of the Amendment until February 1, 2020.
Who does the JHA apply to?
The JHA applies to real estate transactions. Real estate transactions include the sale, rental, lease, and sublease renewal of residential properties.
Can having a criminal background result in automatic denial of a housing application?
No. A landlord cannot consider criminal history that is more than three (3) years old, and a landlord mustconduct an individualized assessment of any criminal history that is less than three (3) years old.
Are there any exceptions to the Just Housing Amendment?
Yes. A landlord may deny an applicant for a new lease or lease renewal of residential properties based on any of the following:
The applicant or a household member is a current sex offender required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act (or similar law in another jurisdiction);
The applicant or a household member is a current child sex offender under residency restriction; or
The applicant or a household member has a criminal conviction from the past three years. Before denying the application, the landlord must first perform an individualized assessment, and show that denial based on a criminal conviction is necessary to protect against a clear risk to personal safety and/or property.
Are landlords required to conduct criminal background checks?
No, the JHA does not require landlords to conduct criminal background checks.
If an applicant was arrested but not convicted in the past three (3) years, can the arrest be a basis for denying the housing application?
No. Arrests and convictions are very different. An arrest without a conviction cannot be considered when evaluating rental applications.
What does the JHA tenant screening process require?
Once an application fee is accepted, the Just Housing Amendment requires landlords to engage in a two-step tenant screening process.
Step One: Prequalification
During this step, a landlord may screen a tenant to determine whether the tenant satisfies all the application criteria such as income, rental history, credit score, pets, etc. Criminal background checks cannot be performed during Step One.
When this first step is completed, the landlord must either 1) pre-qualify the applicant based on all criteria except those related to criminal history; or 2) deny the application based on failure to satisfy the prequalification criteria.
Step Two: Criminal Background Check
Only after the landlord prequalifies an applicant may a landlord conduct a criminal background check.
What happens if the criminal background check reveals a conviction from the last three (3) years?
The JHA requires the landlord to complete an individualized assessment before denying housing. Landlords cannot consider convictions more than three (3) years old.
Is the landlord required to consider evidence of rehabilitation when completing an individualized assessment?
Yes. The following are examples of evidence of rehabilitation:
Completion of a returning citizens program.
Job readiness training.
Supportive services that assist with the transition back to society.
Completion of a GED or other education programs.
Report from correctional facility.
May a landlord verify any evidence of rehabilitation?
Yes, however, a landlord must still complete the evaluation and then approve or deny a housing application within three (3) business days as required by the JHA.
Does an applicant who is denied housing have the right to dispute the information contained in the criminal background check?
Yes. The JHA includes Conviction Dispute Procedures as described below:
Within five (5) business days of receiving a criminal background check, the landlord must deliver a copy to the applicant. A copy of the background check can be delivered in person, by certified mail, or by text or email.
Once the applicant receives the results of the background check, the applicant has five (5) business days to provide evidence that disputes the accuracy or relevance of information related to the criminal background check.
The landlord than has three (3) business days from receipt of the dispute information to accept or deny the application.
Is a landlord required to hold a unit off the market while an applicant disputes the background check?
No, a landlord does not have to hold a unit off the market.
How does a landlord provide notice of its final decision?
The landlord has three (3) business days from receipt of the dispute information to accept or deny the application.
Any denial of a housing application or continued lease based on a conviction must be in writing and provide the applicant with an explanation of why the application denial was necessary to protect against a demonstrable risk of harm to personal safety and/or property.
What are the penalties for violating the JHA?
For complaints investigated by the Cook County Commission on Human Rights, the penalties for violating the Just Housing Amendment may include complainant’s compensatory damages and attorney fees and Commission fines.