‘Bloodbath?’ Huge Layoffs At Chicago Public Schools

The mayor of Chicago and the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced 1,400 layoffs and $200 million in cuts to meet a teachers’ pension deadline.   WLS writes that teachers and parents plan to protest at City Hall.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel delayed a $634 million pension payment until the eleventh-hour on Tuesday, waiting to see any relief would come from state lawmakers. It never came, writes ABC7 News in Chicago.

The mayor and Interim CPS CEO Jesse Ruiz outlined on Wednesday who would be laid off and where cuts would be made.

Ruiz said most of the 1,400 jobs cut were in administration and special education programs.

Supposedly very few teachers were laid off.

Funding for elementary sports teams was cut, and the facility maintenance budget was reduced 25 percent. Highs schools are starting 45 minutes later, writes ABC7. The mayor said schools will open on time in the fall and class sizes will not be affected.

“These cuts will hurt the most vulnerable students in the city of Chicago, who are the most vulnerable students in the state,” the Vice President of the Chicago Teachers Union Jesse Sharkey said, according to ABC7 News.

(Updated report)


Tornadoes In Chicago Area

At least five tornadoes were reported in north central Illinois on Monday night, writes WLS Chicago.

Those tornadoes were reported in Will, Kankakee, Lee, Grundy and LaSalle counties.

Three tornadoes have been confirmed by the National Weather Service, writes ABC7 Chicago.

The National Weather Service stated the towns of Coal City, Sublette and Mendota were among the hardest hit by Monday’s severe weather.

WLS Chicago writes that damage survey teams will be dispatched to the areas.

About 17,200 ComEd customers are without power as of 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.  Most of the outages are in Dixon, Sterling, Coal City and Joliet.  At the height of the storm, more than 55,000 customers were out of power.  ComEd aims to have power restored to all customers by around 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner declared Grundy and Lee counties disaster areas on Tuesday and made state resources available to help tornado victims.

Rauner activated the State Emergency Operations Center Monday night to make crews and equipment available to help local emergency responders.


South African Leaders Visit Cook County Jail, Have Odd Question

Sam Seder

NBC / The Chicago Tribune had an interesting account of a South African delegation’s reaction after touring a Cook County, IL, jail facility. (The account was buried towards the end of an article about the Cook County criminal justice system.)


Chicago Blackhawks’ Hockey Player Kane Has Been Skating ‘For Some Time Now’

Chicago Blackhawks player Patrick Kane had surgery on February 25th, and team doctor Michael Terry said at that time that it would take Kane 12 weeks to make a full recovery.

Kane suffered a broken left clavicle when he fell awkwardly into the boards after a cross-check from Florida’s Alex Petrovic on February 24th, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Originally, he was scheduled to return 12 weeks after the surgery, which meant his return would come in a potential conference final in mid-May.

However, Kane has been skating “for some time now,” according to CSNCHICAGO.com, obviously a good sign for the forward as well as for the Blackhawks.

Still, it comes down to medical clearance and coach Joel Quenneville still isn’t sure when that will be.

Patrick’s been skating solo while the Blackhawks continue to finish their regular-season schedule, and sources states he looks better every day.

Has that 12-weeks-out diagnosis changed?  Coach Quenneville’s answer was unclear.

“There’s been excellent progress,” said the coach prior to the Blackhawks-Kings game on Monday. “It could be good news. We’ll see.”

Kane was leading the NHL with 64 points when he was injured, and has missed 15 games, according to Sporting News.

Chicago is a point behind second-place St. Louis in the Central Division standings.

(Updated article)

Jets Haven’t Requested Interview With Ex-Denver Broncos Coach John Fox

ThatsGoodSports video.

According to NJ.com, there are conflicting reports as to whether the New York Jets have requested an interview with former Denver Broncos coach John Fox.  Some sources claim the Jets actually have not yet requested an interview with him.  Moreover, Fox would be willing to speak with the Jets if they do reach out, according to a source with knowledge of Fox’s thinking.


Former Denver coach John Fox has declined the Jets’ request to interview for their head coaching vacancy, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

It seemed likely that the Jets would at least try to contact Fox, who parted ways with the Broncos earlier Monday, because he is now the most experienced head coaching candidate available. However, sources say Fox said no thanks immediately.

Charley Casserly, the former NFL general manager who is consulting Jets owner Woody Johnson on his coach and GM searches, went on ESPN New York radio on Monday and said he was not surprised that Fox and the Broncos had a mutual split.

According to AJC.com, John Fox is out at Denver, but don’t expect him to be in with the Falcons. The team has no plans at this time to interview him.

That could be a mistake.  Fox has coached two franchises (Carolina, Denver) to Super Bowl appearances, and he’s the only proven veteran head coach on the market and he’s familiar with the NFC South from his years with the Panthers.

However, Fox is going to interview with the Chicago Bears.  They seem like a perfect match to some sources, and it would be surprising if they didn’t make a deal.

BP Oil Refinery Explosion

An explosion at a BP oil refinery in northwestern Indiana along Lake Michigan rattled nearby homes and sparked a fire that was later extinguished, but it didn’t cause any major injuries or halt production at the facility, a company official said Thursday.

The explosion Wednesday night at the Whiting, Indiana, refinery just east of Chicago was caused by a fire in a compressor on a processing unit, BP America spokesman Scott Dean said. It happened about 9 p.m. and was extinguished by the plant’s fire department within a couple of hours.

One employee was taken to a hospital as a precaution, but was later released, Dean said. Refinery operations were “minimally” affected by the fire, he said.

Indiana Department of Environmental Management spokesman Dan Goldblatt said a report is still being prepared, but nearby monitors showed sulfur dioxide levels remained well below maximum levels allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Sulphur dioxide is commonly caused by cars, diesel trucks and coal power plants and contributes to acid rain.

The refinery covers about 1,400 acres along the lake’s shoreline.

Oddly, wholesale gasoline prices surged in Chicago on Thursday after the fire.