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Archive for December 16th, 2015

Community Members Shut Down Intersection in Remembrance of Those Who’ve Fallen to Violence in Chicago, Demand Rahm’s Resignation

Posted by Admin On December - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on Community Members Shut Down Intersection in Remembrance of Those Who’ve Fallen to Violence in Chicago, Demand Rahm’s Resignation
Blockade expected to shut down intersection for an hour or more

CHICAGO, IL – Following the tradition of the Chicago Light Brigade’s annual artistic vigil for those who have fallen to violence in Chicago each year, community members, led by the direct action collective Lifted Voices, are shutting down the intersection of Congress and Clark with an artistic memorial blockade. This protest is being carried out as a memorial to Chicago’s fallen and to demand the resignations of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and States Attorney Anita Alvarez.

This blockade is composed of 16 individuals, representing the 16 shots that Laquan McDonald’s killer, Officer Jason Van Dyke, fired into the young man’s body as he attempted to walk away from police last year. The blockade’s imagery includes a shining light for each person who fell to violence in Chicago this year.

The tragic loss of life in Chicago in 2015, coupled with recent scandals around police violence, make clear that under Rahm Emanuel’s leadership, the Chicago police have not only failed to keep Chicagoans safe, but have also contributed to the culture of violence in our city. Emanuel has dodged responsibility for Chicago’s infamous crime rate at every turn, even going so far as to blame activists for the ineffectiveness of Chicago’s police force.

“Black and Indigenous people are the most likely groups to fall to police violence nationwide, and we are taking a stand, here and now, in a city that has been devastated by state violence,” says Lifted Voices organizer Kelly Hayes. “No one is free so long as they live in fear of armed agents of the state who are allowed to harm them with impunity. Chicago deserves better, and it’s time to demand better. This is how we pay our debt to the dead and fight for a better future,” says Hayes.

Given recent revelations about police misconduct, it is crucial that Emanuel be held accountable for his recent insistence that community copwatch efforts have actually compounded the city’s crime rate by causing police to “go fetal.”  Following the release of dashcam video of Laquan McDonald’s murder, Rahm Emanuel has backed off such claims, fired multiple officials, and offered public apologies, but these empty gestures are too little, too late for the 475 Chicagoans who have fallen to violence during the last year.

Irrefutable statistics have established that the brutal, racist tactics of Chicago’s police do nothing to keep our communities safe, and our mayor and states attorney have repeatedly demonstrated their complicity with a culture of police impunity.

This action, led by Indigenous and Black women, represents love of their communities, “respect for those we’ve lost, and our demand that Rahm Emanuel and Anita Alvarez accept responsibility for their failures as public servants and resign immediately.”

Clifford Law Offices Obtains Record Verdict in Med Mal Case

Posted by Admin On December - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on Clifford Law Offices Obtains Record Verdict in Med Mal Case

Keith A. Hebeisen and Sarah F. King, attorneys at Clifford Law Offices, late Friday (Dec. 11, 2015) obtained a record $950,000 verdict in Ford County in a medical malpractice case.

The verdict is a record involving a medical malpractice case in Ford County, according to John Kirkton of the Jury Verdict Reporter, who reported that the previous highest verdict or settlement in that county was $370,000 in 2007.

The verdict was reached following a two-week trial involving a 73-year-old man who was admitted to a local hospital in downstate Illinois complaining of chest pain.  Despite two previous visits to the emergency room and his primary care physician’s clinic that week with similar complaints, no cardiac testing or monitoring was ordered and no referral to a cardiologist was made.

He was admitted to the hospital still complaining of chest pains and still no proper tests were ordered.  Three days later, Dean Buhs of Gibson City, Illinois, was discharged only to return the following day with the same complaints.  He died that day leaving behind his wife, Judith, and two adult sons.

The jury reached the verdict in just over four hours against the primary care physician, Dr. David J. Hagan, and his clinic, Gibson City Clinic, S.C,

“It is a terrible tragedy that this man had to unnecessarily suffer as he did and then die,” Hebeisen said following the verdict.  “Following a reasonable standard of care would have saved this man’s life.  He had many good years ahead of him still.”

The five-man-seven-woman jury trial was before Judge Matthew Fitton.

For further information, please contact Clifford Law Offices Communications Partner Pamela S. Menaker at 837-721-0909.

Attorney for Defendants David J. Hagan, M.D. and Gibson City Clinbic:
Matthew J. Maddox and Christopher D. Galanos
Quinn, Johnston, Henderson, Pretorius & Cerulo
400 St. Ninth St., Suite 102
Springfield, IL 62701-1812

Attorney for Defendants Ignacio Orellana, M.D., and Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services:
Kevin J. Vedrine and Christopher Solfia
Cunningham, Meyere & Vedrine, P.C.
4200 Cantera Dr., Suite 112
Warrenville, IL 60555

Race & Justice News: Are Judges or Prosecutors Driving Racial Disparity in Post-Booker Sentencing?

Posted by Admin On December - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on Race & Justice News: Are Judges or Prosecutors Driving Racial Disparity in Post-Booker Sentencing?

From: The Sentencing Project

Federal Sentencing

While overall federal sentence lengths have decreased since United States v. Booker, blacks and Hispanics are sentenced more harshly than whites, according to Jeffrey S. Nowacki’s recent analysis in Crime & Delinquency. In the 2005 Booker decision, the United States Supreme Court enhanced judicial discretion in sentencing determinations by making the federal sentencing guidelines advisory, rather than mandatory (with a modest impact). Nowacki examines federal sentencing data between 2002 and 2008, controlling for factors such as offense severity and criminal history, and finds that greater judicial discretion increased racial disparity in post-Booker sentencing. He also shows that the effect of race and ethnicity varies across the distribution of sentence lengths: “Black offenders were sentenced for longer periods of time at all stages except the 10th and 25th percentiles, and Hispanics sentenced after Booker were only sentenced longer in the 10th and 25th percentiles.” A recent working paper prepared by Abt Associates for the Bureau of Justice Statistics also notes that “blacks have not benefited as much from the increased leniency afforded to whites,” and finds no racial disparity in women’s sentences.

Nowacki’s conclusions run counter to those which Sonja B. Starr and M. Marit Rehavi published in The Yale Law Journal. Starr and Rehavi’s analysis shows that the Booker decision did not increase racial disparity in judicial sentencing determinations; rather prosecutors’ charging decisions “appear to be the dominant procedural sources of disparity.” Byungbae Kim, Cassia Spohn, and E. C. Hedberg’s recent article in Criminology also underscores that prosecutors’ “discretionary decisions lead to sentencing disparities that are larger than those attributable to judges.”


Caddo Parish Elects First Black District Attorney

In a historic vote, former judge James E. Stewart became the first black district attorney ever elected in Caddo Parish, Louisiana – one of the top jurisdictions in the nation for sending people to death row. Stewart, a Democrat, received 55% of votes in a special election for the district attorney’s office. George Soros supported Stewart’s candidacy with over $900,000 in contributions to a super PAC.

Stewart’s predecessor, Dale Cox, recently told the Shreveport Times, “I think we need to kill more people,” sparking national media interest on the state’s aggressive use of the death penalty and systematic racial discrimination in jury selection. There has been greater nationwide scrutiny over the lack of diversity among elected prosecutors (whites represent 95% of elected prosecutors nationwide), especially since prosecutors play such a key role through their charging and plea negotiating decisions. Stewart’s supporters hope that the first black district attorney will address racial disparities and bring reform to the office.

Pretrial Detention

Pretrial Detention Based on Resources, Not Risk, Produces Racial Disparities and Fuels Mass Incarceration

Writing in the Huffingon Post, Professor Cynthia Jones and Nancy Gist of the Pretrial Racial Justice Initiative call attention to the country’s dysfunctional bail process and how it produces racial disparities throughout the justice system and fuels mass incarceration. Most pretrial defendants are in jail simply because they cannot afford to pay the money bond imposed by the court – not because they are a public safety or flight risk, explain Jones and Gist. Because poor people in the United States are more likely to be people of color, black and Latino defendants are more likely to experience pretrial detention.

Pretrial detention can result in job or housing loss and other dire collateral consequences. “This reality creates a strong incentive for pretrial detainees to plead guilty – regardless of their guilt or innocence – which starts a cycle of imprisonment that is a major driver of mass incarceration.”  People in pretrial detention are three times more likely to be sentenced to prison and receive longer prison sentences than people on pretrial release.

According to the authors, creating a bail system that is based on risk and not resources, like in Kentucky or the District of Columbia, will spare tens of thousands of people from pretrial detention and disrupt the cycle of mass incarceration.

Juvenile Justice

Deeper Justice-System Involvement Increases Youth Mortality

While previous studies have demonstrated that justice-involved youth have increased risks of early death, a new study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine finds that these risks increase with deeper involvement in the justice system. In “Mortality of Youth Offenders Along a Continuum of Justice System Involvement,” Matthew C. Aalsma and colleagues review mortality for nearly 50,000 Indianapolis-area youth over a 13-year period, 62% of whom had been arrested. In examining the 500 deaths among this group, the researchers find that deeper justice system involvement – arrest, detention, commitment, and transfer to adult court – was associated with a greater risk of death.

The most common causes of death were homicide (48%), overdose (15%), other accidents (14%), suicide (12%), and natural causes (12%). The likelihood of death for system-involved youth was higher for African Americans than for whites.

Minority Threat and Juvenile Court Outcomes

Michael Leiber, Jennifer Peck, and Nancy Rodriquez’s article in Crime and Delinquency examines the relationship between the “racial/ethnic threat thesis” and youth court outcomes for black and Latino children. The racial/ethnic threat thesis predicts that various forms of social control will expand as the economic status and political power of people of color increases in relation to whites. Building upon previous criminal justice research, the researchers hypothesized that communities with a large minority population and greater economic equality pose a greater threat to whites, and thus would have more severe youth court outcomes for children of color. Their analysis of youth court proceedings involving 37 counties in three states did not indicate that minority presence and economic status were related to increased youth punishment.

U.S. Army National Guard Soldier Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIL

Posted by Admin On December - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on U.S. Army National Guard Soldier Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIL
WASHINGTON, DC —A soldier in the U.S. Army National Guard pleaded guilty today to federal charges that he conspired with his cousin to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization in the Middle East.

Hasan R. Edmonds, 23, of Aurora, Illinois, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support to ISIL, a designated foreign terrorist organization, and one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIL.

The charge was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon of the Northern District of Illinois and Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Anderson of the FBI’s Chicago Division.

“Hasan and Jonas Edmonds conspired to provide material support to ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “They admitted planning to wage violence on behalf of ISIL in the Middle East and to conduct an attack on our soil. Thanks to the efforts of many prosecutors, agents and analysts, we were able to ensure these plotters did not attain their violent endgames, and with these guilty pleas, they will be held accountable. Counterterrorism remains the department’s highest priority, and we will continue use all available tools to combat ISIL, a foreign terrorist organization that rapes, murders and enslaves Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”

“The top priority of federal law enforcement is to protect the safety of our citizens, both here and abroad,” said U.S. Attorney Fardon. “We will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who align themselves with ISIL and its mission of brutal violence.”

According to the plea agreement, Hasan Edmonds and his cousin, Jonas M. Edmonds, devised a plan for Hasan Edmonds to travel to the Middle East for the purpose of waging violence on behalf of ISIL. Hasan Edmonds admitted that on March 25, 2015, Jonas Edmonds drove Hasan Edmonds to Midway International Airport in Chicago so that he could board a flight to the Middle East. According to the plea agreement, after dropping off Hasan Edmonds, Jonas Edmonds went to Hasan Edmonds’ residence and retrieved several of Hasan Edmonds’ National Guard uniforms, which Jonas Edmonds planned to wear as a disguise during a planned attack at the National Guard base in Joliet, Illinois.

Hasan Edmonds is a member of the Army National Guard and had trained at the Joliet installation.

Law enforcement agents on the FBI’s Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Hasan Edmonds at Midway Airport before he could board his flight. Shortly thereafter the agents arrested Jonas Edmonds at his home. The cousins are citizens of the United States.

The charges against Hasan Edmonds carry a combined maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and $500,000 fine. U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee of the Northern District of Illinois scheduled a sentencing hearing for March 18, 2016.

Jonas Edmonds, 30, of Aurora, pleaded guilty last week to one count of conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and one count of making a materially false statement to a law enforcement officer regarding an offense involving international terrorism. He faces a maximum sentence of 23 years in prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee on Jan. 27, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Illinois State Police, the Aurora Police Department and the Illinois National Guard provided significant assistance in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barry Jonas and John Kness of the Northern District of Illinois; and Trial Attorney Lolita Lukose of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

U.S. Department of Justice December 14, 2015
  • Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888

MilCon/VA Chairman Kirk Funds Veterans’ Care at Record Levels, Adds New Whistleblower Protections

Posted by Admin On December - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on MilCon/VA Chairman Kirk Funds Veterans’ Care at Record Levels, Adds New Whistleblower Protections


Bill Set to Head to President’s Desk as Part of Bipartisan Omnibus Agreement 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, released the following statement regarding his FY 2016 funding bill that is included in this year’s final omnibus package:

“My bill funds veterans’ care at record levels – $1.3 billion over the President’s request – and extends whistleblower protections to VA doctors and nurses who stand up against corruption to stop abuse of our heroes. I thank my Ranking Member, Senator Jon Tester, for working with me to craft this bipartisan bill that will take care of our men and women in uniform.”


In addition to funding veterans’ care at record levels, the bill extends whistleblower protections to VA doctors and nurses and includes serious construction reforms to prevent the VA from wasting taxpayer money on poorly managed projects. In total, the bill provides $71.4 billion in discretionary funding – an increase of $6.4 billion or 9.8 percent over last year.

The bill provides a record $163 billion in total discretionary and mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  Discretionary funding for the VA totals $71.4 billion, which is $6.5 billion or 9.8 percent over the FY 2015 enacted level, and $1.3 billion above the President’s request. The bill makes an additional $2.5 billion in FY 2016 available to improve patient access to care, and to support additional health care services including hepatitis C treatments, veterans’ caregiver services and homeless veterans’ assistance.  Overall VA funding will provide for health care, benefit claims processing, medical and prosthetic research, information technology and VA National Cemeteries.

The bill also provides $8.2 billion for military construction projects, $1.6 billion above the enacted FY 2015 level. The legislation recommends funds for construction and renovation projects to ensure military readiness and quality of life on military bases within the United States and around the globe, including military family housing, military family support services, hospital and health facilities construction and important overseas investments.

One Baltimore Family’s Outcry Against Police Misconduct and Their Civil Rights

Posted by Admin On December - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on One Baltimore Family’s Outcry Against Police Misconduct and Their Civil Rights

In light of the ordeal his family has been facing, Kashaka Olukayode and his wife, Sauda Olukayode, have put their frustrations to music via their newly released “Believe in Yourself” CD available on Amazon and iTunes
Believe in Yourself CD

Baltimore, MD (BlackNews.com) — #BlackLivesMatter, it’s an understatement, or rather a statement that should be rhetorical by now in this Post-Civil-Rights-Movement era. However, incidents such as those involving Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and adding to the tragedies, others including, Baltimores Freddie Gray, are proving to many African Americans that certain inalienable rights, can likely be violated.


Widespread and widely known cases of racial profiling and police brutality are calling attention to offending officers, meanwhile few have been subject to disciplinary action, an injustice that has been leaving victims, their families, and the community at large, unsatisfied. And while outrage had incited many to respond through various ways and means of protest, one family puts a different spin on peaceful protest.
“I am a family man. My wife and I have been married over 38 years. There are 13 people in my household. Not one is a convicted felon. Still, because we are black and have been living in Marylands more racially diverse neighborhoods, were all being stopped, questioned, and I would even say harassed, unnecessarily. We have our friends and speak openly to friends of all races. We see the pattern. We know the number of these instances are disproportionately higher for black people here in White Marsh,” says Kashaka Olukayode, resident of a town just outside of Baltimore.
Mr. Olukayode and his family have received well over 70 citations in the past few years, for both legitimate and superficial infractions. I might have been able to stomach all that, but when my granddaughter and a friend was rear-ended by a reckless driver in June, there was no investigation, at all. And that driver cause their vehicle to flip over and put them in grave danger. Her car was totaled. If the police insist on harassing and intimidating us, they should be just as zealous when we are the ones seeking justice.
Mr. Olukayode also explains how his Astro Van had been confiscated two days before Christmas in 2010 by Hartford County police, claiming an insurance violation. However, Mr. Olukayode said he had already produced evidence verifying that his insurance was, in actuality, in effect. And, perhaps the most shocking of all encounters happened during March of 2012. In a case of mistaken identity, his family was subjected to unlawful entry, as well as an illegal search and seizure. Mr. Olukayode shares, The police did not have a warrant, and we didnt even know the person they claimed to have been looking for. They (police) upset my family and destroyed our belongings. Now, what sense does that make?
In light of the ordeal his family has been facing, Kashaka Olukayode and his wife, Sauda Olukayode, have put their frustrations to music. They have taken their stage show to nursing homes, community centers, and weddings. We were all put on this earth for a reason and a purpose. Aside from our everyday jobs, we sing cover tunes and music from our “Believe in Yourself” CD, hoping to inspire folks in our community, reminding them each to stay encouraged, says Kashaka.
“It’s sad that police have my family on edge, feeling we have to look over our shoulders. We are not perfect, but we are good people,” says Kashaka. He continues, “And we are not hurting anybody else. We dont want any trouble. We just want to make it clear: Please don’t bother us. Were just trying to mind our own business and spread so much light and love in our community that the real bad guys stick out and become obvious.”
Available for sale online at Amazon.com and iTunes.com


For more information on Kashaka and Sauda Olukayode, and their live band performances, please visit their official website at www.kjsmusic.net and follow them on Twitter @kokjam43. Their inspirational CD, “Believe in Yourself” features 10 songs and is released by Tate Music Group, LLC.



Photo Caption: Kashaka and Sauda Olukayode and their “Believe in Yourself” CD cover

President Obama on the Selection of Adewale Adeyemo as Deputy National Security Advisor

Posted by Admin On December - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on President Obama on the Selection of Adewale Adeyemo as Deputy National Security Advisor

President Barak Obama’s Statement on selection of Adewale Adeyemo

For the past four years, I have relied on Caroline Atkinson, most recently as my Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, as we’ve navigated pressing challenges to the global economy. As my representative at the G-7 and G-20, she played a key role in coordinating our response to international financial crises, worked with our allies to devise and implement targeted economic sanctions to advance our national security goals, played a vital role in our economic engagements with China, and helped to achieve breakthrough agreements on climate that will strengthen our economy and our security. I’ve relied on, and benefited from, Caroline’s knowledge and judgment and, as she concludes her tenure on my national security team, I am deeply appreciative of her service.

I am grateful that Caroline’s work will be carried on by Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, who has served in my administration since 2009. At the Treasury Department, he was part of the team that helped coordinate our response to the global recession, laying the foundation for renewed growth at home and abroad. He helped establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and he’s been our point person on a range of international economic issues, including negotiations on strong currency agreements around the Trans Pacific Partnership. I will be calling on Wally’s intellect, judgment and dedication as we sustain America’s global economic leadership, which reinforces our national security, and as we work with allies and partners around the world to create jobs and opportunity for all our people.

Chicago’s First Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Will Speed up East-West Travel in Loop

Posted by Admin On December - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on Chicago’s First Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Will Speed up East-West Travel in Loop


Advocates urge city to add more features over time to further reduce travel times

CHICAGO, IL – Service will begin in the Loop Link corridor – Chicago’s first bus rapid transit project – on December 20, the City of Chicago announced.
The Active Transportation Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Ron Burke reacting to the news:

“The Loop Link is an exciting improvement for the thousands of Chicagoans who ride the bus, bike and walk across the Loop every day. The addition of dedicated bus lanes rightly gives transit riders priority downtown while freeing up space for protected bike lanes and people walking. We urge the city to continue to improve the corridor by adding more features like prepaid boarding that will further speed up service.”

In addition to red dedicated bus lanes on Madison St. and Washington Blvd. connecting Ogilvie and Union Stations to Michigan Ave., the project includes eight new downtown bus stations with better protection from weather for waiting passengers and raised platforms to ease the boarding process.

With the number of people biking downtown growing every year, new protected bike lanes will be added on Washington Blvd. and Randolph St., as well as a new two-way protected bike lane on Clinton St. that’s already being used. The city is installing its first protected intersections at five spots along the corridor, allowing people riding bikes to more safely travel through these high-conflict areas where crashes most often occur.

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) have said they are continuing to test technology that would allow riders to pay before they board the bus and speed up the boarding process.

Active Trans spoke with transit riders from neighborhoods throughout Chicago who are excited about the potential benefits of the new additions to corridor.

Courtney Cobbs, 24-year-old social worker from Edgewater:

“I ride the 20-Madison bus often and always add at least 20 to 30 minutes to the estimated travel time due to the congestion. The city needs to continue to invest more in transit to attract millennials, save money and improve access to jobs.”

Ian Adams, 29-year-old Ukrainian Village resident who works in the Loop:

“Getting to the Loop is pretty straightforward, but transit within the loop is really lacking. I’ll likely ride the bus more often with the new corridor and ride my bike in the new protected bike lanes when the weather is good. I’m in business school in Streeterville and need to get across the Loop in the evenings when the streets are totally jammed.”

John Aquilina, 64-year-old architecture and construction project manager:

“I often need to make east-west trips across the Loop on a tight schedule and will likely ride the bus more often with the new corridor. Sometimes I avoid the Loop during rush hour because the congestion is so bad.”

Curtis Kuhn, 36-year-old consultant from Edgewater:

“I never take the bus across the Loop because I can walk faster. If the bus was faster and more consistent, I’d be much more likely to consider it.”

Matt Carley, 27-year old Lakeview resident:

“I frequently travel to Ogilvie and Union Stations to ride Metra to the suburbs to visit family and friends, and the dedicated bus lanes will save me time. I don’t have a car and rely on public transit and my bicycle to get around and truly experience the city.”

Illinois State Board of Education Announces Board video-conference Meeting for Dec 16

Posted by Admin On December - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on Illinois State Board of Education Announces Board video-conference Meeting for Dec 16

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education has announced the following schedule for its regular business meeting via video-conference in Chicago, Springfield, and Marion on Wednesday, Dec 16.   

All State Board of Education meetings listed on this agenda will be accessible to persons with disabilities. Persons planning to attend who need special accommodations should contact the Board office no later than the date prior to the meeting. Contact the Superintendent’s office at the State Board of Education, Phone: 217-782-2221; TTY/TDD: 217-782-1900; Fax: 217-785-3972. 

Chairman Meeks may call for a break in the meeting as necessary in order for the Board to go into closed session.


State Board of Education Meeting

Dec. 16, 2015


Chicago Location:  ISBE Video Conference Room, 14th Floor,
100 W. Randolph St., Chicago


Springfield Location:  ISBE Video Conference Room, 3rd Floor,
100 N. First St., Springfield

Marion Location HFS Video Conference Room,
3419 Professional Park Drive, Marion


This meeting will also be audio cast on the Internet at:  www.isbe.net


Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015


9:00 a.m.




I.        Roll Call/Pledge of Allegiance

A.    Consideration of and Possible Actions on Any Requests for Participation in Meeting by Other Means                         

II.      Public Participation

III.   Presentations

  A. FY17 Budget Development

          1. FY17 Revenue Projections: Dan Long and Jim Muschinske, COGFA

          2. FY17 Budget Development: Robert Wolfe, CFO

IV.    Superintendent’s Report – Consent Agenda

All action consideration items listed with an asterisk (*) are considered to be routine and will be enacted in one motion and vote.  Any board member who wishes separate discussion on any item listed on the consent agenda may remove that item from the consent agenda, in which event, the item will be considered in its normal sequence.

A. *Approval of Minutes

1. Plenary Minutes: November 20, 2015

B. *Rules for Adoption

       1. Part 1 (Public Schools Evaluation, Recognition and Supervision) Proposes revisions to the Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science; identifies the assessment to be used for physical fitness, per P.A. 98-859, effective August 4, 2014; and addresses changes in requirements for the chief school business official endorsement and concussion policies (P.A. 99-58, effective July 16, 2015, and P.A. 99-245, effective August 3, 2015, respectively).  Five letters of public comment were received, and changes are being proposed in response.

       2. Part 30 (Programs for the Preparation of Principals in Illinois) In response to P.A. 99-58, eliminates a requirement for a principal preparation program offered by a not-for-profit entity to receive approval of its program from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, as well as the State Board of Education.

       3. Part 180 (Health/Life Safety for Public Schools) Makes numerous changes to Part 180, the most significant of which is to incorporate the 2015 International Building Code as the standards applicable to public schools, including charter schools, located outside of the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago. No public comment was received.

       4. Part 260 (Reading Improvement Program) Proposes two technical changes to update references to the State assessment system, per P.A. 98-972, effective August 15, 2015, and incorporate into the rules the most recent version of the American Educational Research Association’s standards for educational and psychological testing. No public comment was received.

       5. Part 675 (Providers of Supplemental Educational Services) Proposes two technical changes to update references to the State assessment system, per P.A. 98-972, effective August 15, 2015, and incorporate into the rules the most recent version of the American Educational Research Association’s standards for educational and psychological testing. No public comment was received.

C. *Contracts & Grants Over $1 Million

       1. Illinois Service Resource Center Grant: Will ensure that services can be delivered to provide continued support for children who are deaf and hard of hearing or visually impaired and exhibit behavioral, emotional, or mental health challenges.

       2. Illinois Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Grant will provide professional learning, technical assistance and coaching in data-informed processes for climate and culture instruction, intervention and assessment within a Multi-Tiered System of Support organizational framework. This will provide a more holistic approach to statewide professional learning and technical assistance around a prevention-focused, data-informed process within an MTSS framework.

       3. School Improvement Grant: This grant will assist the state’s lowest performing Title I schools and Title I eligible schools designated as “Priority Schools” demonstrating the greatest need for and the strongest commitment to provide adequate resources in order to substantially raise the achievement levels of their students, thereby enabling the schools to exit Priority status.

       4. Technical Assistant to Support the Education of English Learners–will establish a statewide system of technical assistance to support the education of English learners, including consultants with expertise in EL instruction, to promote the use of research based practices in EL education in Illinois schools, which will be provided at no cost to school districts. Under this contract, ISBE will also develop quality rubrics and other instruments for district to improve their services to English Learners.

       5. Professional Development to Support the Education of English Learners–will allow ISBE to continue to provide professional development and technical assistance resources, including consultants with expertise in English Learner instruction, to promote the use of research based practices in EL education in Illinois schools, which will be provided at no cost to school districts. Under this contract, ISBE will also convene the annual Bilingual Parent Summit, which offers parent education and networking opportunities to attendees to support the work of the Bilingual Parent Advisory Committees at the district level.

End of Consent Agenda

V.   Discussion Items

A. District Oversight – Monthly Update

B. Legislative Update

C. Other Items for Discussion                                 

VI. Announcements & Reports                                  

A. Superintendent’s/Senior Staff Announcements

B. Chairman’s Report

C. Member Reports

VII. Information Items

A.ISBE Fiscal & Administrative Monthly Reports (available online at http://isbe.net/board/fiscal_admin_rep.htm

B.  Anticipated Rulemakings: FY 2016 (December through June)

VIII. Closed Session

IX.    Adjourn

Eight Arrested as Federal Authorities Dismantle Violent Gang Members and Associates of the Zheng Organization

Posted by Admin On December - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on Eight Arrested as Federal Authorities Dismantle Violent Gang Members and Associates of the Zheng Organization
Charged with Soliciting Assaults, Narcotics Trafficking, Extortions, and Operating an Illegal Gambling Business 

A 13-count indictment was unsealed today in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging eight members and associates of the Zheng Organization with crimes including racketeering, narcotics trafficking, extortion offenses, illegal gambling, and soliciting assaults. The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn.

The charges were announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), William J. Bratton, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), and Christopher Shanahan, Field Office Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

“For years, Zheng and his associates committed violent acts to make money, protect their territory, and as retribution for perceived slights. Violent gangs are a blight on our neighborhoods, and we will do all in our power to prevent them from casting a shadow of violence over our streets,” stated United States Attorney Capers. “The arrests and charges announced today are a testament to our commitment to dismantling violent criminal organizations and making our communities safe.” Mr. Capers thanked the Joint Asian Organized Crime Taskforce, which is comprised of members of the FBI, NYPD, and ERO, for their help with the government’s investigation.

“The Zheng Organization used violence and an array of criminal activities to enhance their power and protect their territory. It’s gang related activity like this that infects our communities with an illness that kills our neighborhoods’ safety and growth. However, there is an antidote to this that is made of law enforcement working at both the federal and local level to get gangs like this off the street,” said Assistant Director-in-Charge, Diego Rodriguez.

“These arrests demonstrate our dedication to protecting our communities from the shake downs and intimidation this gang carried out across the city,” said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton. “This case is the latest example of the utility of the task force model in rooting out violence in all of its forms. I applaud the work of the prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District and the FBI agents and NYPD detectives on the Joint Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force for their dedication on this case and the many others.”

The Zheng Organization was based in and around the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn and the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. As alleged in the indictment and the government’s detention memorandum, the defendants participated in the affairs of the Zheng Organization through a variety of crimes. The charged crimes of violence included extortions and assaults for hire:

  • In or about August 2013, Qian Zheng hired two individuals to assault victims identified in the indictment as John Doe 3 and Jane Doe. Zheng sought to have one of the victim’s leg broken and the other victim’s face scarred.
  • In or about October 2013, Billy Chen and Jiang extorted a victim identified in the indictment as John Doe 1. In or about December 2013, Zheng conspired with Chen to further extort John Doe 1. Zheng hired two individuals to carry out the extortion and instructed them to beat John Doe 1 and fire shots into his restaurant so that he would pay an alleged debt.
  • In or about October 2014, Zheng and Guifu Gao solicited the assault of a victim identified in the indictment as John Doe 4. Gao made clear that John Doe 4 needed to be crippled and that he should be beaten until he was half dead. Zheng similarly instructed those hired to carry out the beating to beat John Doe 4 severely.
  • On May 28, 2015, Zheng sent his underlings, including Xin Lin, Kai Huan Huang, and Xue Jiang Gao, to collect money from a victim identified in the indictment as John Doe 2 at his gambling parlor. When John Doe 2 insisted that he did not owe any money, Lin, Huang, and Jiang Gao beat him with their fists and wooden stools, breaking a bone in John Doe 2’s hand.

The members and associates of the Zheng Organization also profited by narcotics trafficking and illegal gambling.

If convicted of the charges in the indictment, Zheng faces a maximum sentence of 164 years’ imprisonment; Hui Chen, Lin, Huang, and Jiang Gao each face a maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment; Billy Chen and Jiang face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment; and Gao faces a maximum sentence of 16 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by the office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorney Nadia E. Moore is in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants:

QIAN ZHENG, also known as “Cash” Age: 44

GUIFU GAO, also known as “Chicken Feather” Age: 35

XIN LIN, also known as “Blackie” Age: 33

ALLEN HUI CHEN, also known as “Yi Hui” Age: 43

KAI HUAN HUANG, also known as “Shen Shen” Age: 25

BILLY CHEN, also known as “Lo Di” Age: 42

JIAYO JIANG, also known as “Yi Qiang” Age: 45

XUE JIANG GAO, also known as “Xue Zhang” Age: 30

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 15, 2015
  • Eastern District of New York (718) 254-7000

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