Graduating senior from Round Lake Heights receives Hines Memorial Medal from Indiana State University

Samantha Desiron, a psychology major from Round Lake Heights, Illinois, is among the fall 2020 recipients of Hines Memorial Medal from Indiana State University.

The Hines Memorial Medal is awarded to students who entered Indiana State as first-time college freshmen and are completing their bachelor’s degrees with the highest cumulative grade point average. It is named after Linnaeus Hines, the university’s fourth president, from 1921-1933, and served two terms as Indiana superintendent of public instruction. The medal is awarded for the spring and fall semesters.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

Desiron plans to attend medical school after graduating. She said her time at State was a positive experience. “I enjoyed being exposed to many different viewpoints and further developing my knowledge and critical thinking abilities,” Desiron said.

Desiron is among six Hines medal recipients this fall.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

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Cleveland Heights-University Heights teachers to strike Wednesday

“We remain ready to return to the negotiations table,” says Board of Education President Jodi Sourini.

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — 500 educators in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District are set to begin their strike on Wednesday morning. 

The members of the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union (CHTU) say they are striking in response to the district’s unilateral imposition of a new contract that slashes retirement and health benefits, costing many members $3,000-5,000 a year in losses. 

“Union members are taking this step because lowering standards in the district will increase turnover and drive experienced, skilled educators out of the school district, impacting the quality of education for our students,” the CHTU wrote in its statement announcing the strike.

With the teachers set to strike, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District says state law, not the will of the Board, will mandate that those picketing will lose their health benefits. 

“Ohio R.C. 4117.15(C) prohibits the Board from providing “pay or compensation” — including health care benefits — to employees while they are on strike. It is not something the Board elected to do with malicious intent amid a pandemic. Rather, the Union, if it strikes, will do so knowing that the law requires the District to cease pay and benefits to those who choose not to work. All Ohio public school districts must follow this law,” wrote Board of Education President Jodi Sourini in a statement. 

“This outrageous move by our Board of Education is a heavy-handed attempt to quash our collective action by taking away our health insurance during the peak of a global pandemic,” CHTU President Karen Rego said. “We made the hard decision to plan for a strike to protect the quality health insurance that we have gained over the years by forgoing wage increases, and now the district is seeking to punish us by eliminating our healthcare altogether.”

The school district also noted that employees are eligible to continue their health benefits through COBRA during the strike, but will be responsible for paying for the coverage. The union, meanwhile, stated that its strike comes after “the district unilaterally imposed the terms of their final contract proposal, which will raise healthcare premiums to 250% of the current rate, while also reducing other compensation by 1%. For many CHTU members that adds up to a $3,000-$5,000 loss in total compensation.”

“It’s time Union leadership acknowledges that the days of 6% premiums and $0 deductibles are over. They must stop exploiting the pandemic and the real suffering of those who have lost their jobs, been furloughed or have fallen ill and instead admit that the modest increase in healthcare they are being asked to take is reasonable and best for the District, the teachers, students, families and the community. We welcome a spirited debate on substantive contract language reflecting current market conditions. We remain ready to return to the negotiations table,” Sourini added.

The first day of the strike will only include pickets at the Board of Education

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Cleveland-Heights University Heights School District threatens to halt health care benefits if teachers strike

On November 27, the Cleveland-Heights-University Heights School District (CH-UH) located just outside of Cleveland, Ohio announced it will stop the payment of health care benefits for the roughly 500 teachers and other school employees that are planning to strike on December 2. Teachers and other school employees have been working without a contract since June 30.

The strike threat by CH-UH teachers takes place as the COVID-19 pandemic is raging out of control in Ohio and across the US amid a continued push by the ruling class to re-start in person learning. Ohio is experiencing a daily average of 7,817 new cases and 42 daily deaths.

Dayton, Ohio (Photo: Nyttend/Wikipedia)

Elizabeth Kirby, superintendent of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, said in a statement, “When public school teachers choose to go on strike, they are knowingly walking away from wages and benefits.” She also called on the leadership of the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union (CHTU) American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 795 to inform members of the retaliatory measures planned by the school district.

The district’s threat to end payments for health care to roughly 500 teachers and other school employees in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is a brutal attempt to intimidate a growing wave of opposition by educators across the US and internationally to the homicidal school reopening policy of the ruling class. A similar attempt to intimidate school workers took place earlier this month, with a court granting a restraining order requested by local school officials against Dayton, Ohio school bus drivers, who organized a sickout over failed contract talks.

The action by CH-UH and Dayton school officials, expose the bipartisan attack on public education. Both Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland Heights is located, and Dayton are dominated by the Democratic Party.

Both areas have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Ohio Department of Health, there have been 9,737 COVID-19 cases in Cuyahoga County and 4,344 cases in Montgomery County—where Dayton is located—between November 11 and November 24. On November 18 the Centerville schools outside of Dayton announced they would return to remote only learning after a surge of COVID-19 cases.

The department of health has also labeled Cuyahoga a “Level 3 Public Emergency,” meaning the county has a “very high exposure and spread” of the virus. Montgomery County is a “Level 4 Public Emergency,” meaning it has “sever exposure and spread.”

According to the CH-UH reporting, between November 18 and 25 there have been seven new COVID-19 cases among staff and one case among students.

As part of previous negotiations between the CHTU and CH-UH officials, the district has insisted that teachers accept massive hikes in health care premiums. A proposed tentative agreement—which was voted down by the CHTU membership in late September—called for health care premiums to increase from 6 percent to 15 percent on top of new co-pays and deductibles. The CHTU has claimed that the increase in premiums would have cost between $3,000 and $5,000 for many teachers.

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Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District votes to strip healthcare benefits for striking teachers

The Board of Education for Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District (CH-UH) has voted to strip healthcare benefits from striking teachers, counselors, nurses, and other school support professionals, the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union (CHTU) revealed in a release on Friday.

RELATED: More local news from WKYC

Last week, the CHTU filed a notice to strike following months of negotiations between the union and school district on a new contract. The CHTU’s strike is set to begin on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

“This outrageous move by our Board of Education is a heavy-handed attempt to quash our collective action by taking away our health insurance during the peak of a global pandemic,” CHTU President Karen Rego said in a release. “We made the hard decision to plan for a strike to protect the quality health insurance that we have gained over the years by forgoing wage increases, and now the district is seeking to punish us by eliminating our healthcare altogether.”

In a statement, CH-UH City School District Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and CH-UH City School District Board of Education President Jodi Sourini said that the district remains committed to resolving its issues with the Union. They also noted “when public school teachers choose to go on strike, they are knowingly walking away from wages and benefits.”

“That is the definition of a strike – employees choose to walk away from their compensation in order to influence terms and conditions of employment,” the statement reads. “Ceasing wages and benefits is required for public sector employees in Ohio under state law. We sincerely hope Union leadership informed its members of this and what choosing to strike means.”

The school district also noted that employees are eligible to continue their health benefits through COBRA during the strike, but will be responsible for paying for the coverage. The union, meanwhile, stated that its strike comes after “the district unilaterally imposed the terms of their final contract proposal, which will raise healthcare premiums to 250% of the current rate, while also reducing other compensation by 1%. For many CHTU members that adds up to a $3,000-$5,000 loss in total compensation.”

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Patriots receiver Damiere Byrd reaches new heights with career day despite loss to Texans

Midway through the third quarter, Newton launched a deep shot to Byrd, who was able to track the ball and gain enough separation to make an over-the-shoulder grab right in front of the end zone. Upon crossing the goal line, Byrd immediately fired the ball into the stadium’s wall in excitement. He and Newton celebrated moments later by connecting their hands in the air to form a flying bird.

The impressive score was just one of Byrd’s big plays on the day. Five of his six receptions delivered gains of 15 yards or more. The only one that didn’t was an 8-yard, third-down play that still converted for a first down, thanks to his extra effort in fighting for yardage.

“Damiere has been doing a great job on those routes,” Newton said. “For him to keep coming downhill and for it to show up on game day, it just shows what he’s capable of doing.”

After the game, Byrd credited Newton for trusting in him. Both players are in their first seasons with the Patriots, though they were also previously teammates on the Carolina Panthers.

“I think I’m proving to myself that I can be consistent and that I can continue to improve week in and week out,” Byrd said. “My goal is just to continue to get better as the season progresses and play my best football in November and December and continue to find ways to help our team win games.”

While he’s pleased with his performance, Byrd insisted he would take the win over individual statistics.

“We lost the game, and that’s really what I’m there to play for, is to win,” he said. “If I had zero catches or if I had 15, it would still be about that for me.”

Bigger in Texas

Newton had a simple explanation.

“He’s J.J. Watt,’’ said the Patriots quarterback, asked if he could pinpoint a reason why the Texans’ defensive end was able to bat down four of his passes Sunday.

Reminded that Watt doesn’t always post those numbers, Newton doubled down.

“He’s J.J. Watt. He’s an All-Pro, perennial All-Pro,” said Newton. “He’s a defensive player of the year, one of the best players in this generation. So, for us, it is what it is — they get paid, too.

“So, for us to go against that, I’m not saying we fold up the tent, but at the same time, they’re going to make plays and we just can’t get bent out of shape when that happens. We’ve just got to move on and still be able to move the ball like we did show sometimes today, but that’s not enough.’’

Newton’s numbers were solid (26 of 40, 365 yards, 1 touchdown) but it was the pair of sacks and the four deflections that will be remembered.

Watt, who has not played up to his normal brilliant standards this season, had a pair of tackles (one for a loss) and labeled his day “all right.’’

Still, the 6-foot-5-inch,

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Woman forced at gunpoint to drive man to bank, make withdrawal: University Heights police blotter

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — Carjacking: Warrensville Center Road

At 11:45 a.m. Oct. 16, a Cleveland Heights woman, 36, reported that while she was in the parking lot of Macy’s, 2201 Warrensville Center Road, a man with a gun forced her to drive him to the Huntington Bank branch, at 14100 Cedar Road, and to withdraw money from her account.

The suspect approached the woman’s car after getting out of an older model green SUV. After leaving Huntington Bank, the woman was forced to drive the man to the PNC Bank branch at 2233 Warrensville Center Road, where she was told to get out of the car, run and not to yell or call 911. The suspect then drove the woman’s car back to the Macy’s lot. He got back into the SUV and drove away.

Police were unable to find the SUV. The incident is under investigation.

Theft: Claridge Oval

At 6:25 p.m. Oct. 12, a woman, 59, reported that someone used the mandoor to enter her detached garage and then steal a duffel bag containing about $100 in coins. It is unclear when the theft occurred.

Auto theft: Edgerton Road

At 7:10 a.m. Oct. 13, a woman, 32, reported that her 2019 Subaru was stolen from her property sometime during the previous evening. The woman’s boyfriend/roommate, 33, also reported that someone had entered his car, also parked on the property, and took from it a key to the Subaru.

Warrant arrest: Canterbury Road

At 1:55 a.m. Oct. 14, an officer stopped a bicycle rider as the bike did not have a light. It was subsequently found that the man riding the bike, 19, of Cleveland Heights, was wanted on a Willoughby Hills warrant involving a probation violation stemming from a weapons offense. The man was arrested and turned over to Willoughby Hills police.

Carrying a concealed weapon: Warrensville Center Road

At 11:55 a.m. Oct. 14, an officer stopped a car for a registration violation. During the traffic stop it was learned that the man had a gun in his car. The man was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and cited for driving with expired plates.

The man’s car was impounded and he was taken to the Solon jail.

Assault: Fairmount Boulevard

At 5:25 p.m. Oct. 14, a supervisor at Bellefaire JCB, 22001 Fairmount Blvd., went to the police station to report that a girl, 14, who lives at Bellefaire, assaulted five staff members. Police found that the girl was wanted on a Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office warrant.

Police arrested the girl and took her to the county’s juvenile detention facility.

See more Sun Press news here.

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University Heights firefighters agree to wage freeze as city deals with pandemic finances

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — The city and its firefighters union have come to a contract agreement in which the International Association of Firefighters Local 974 agreed to a wage freeze for the first year of the three-year deal. City Council agreed to the new contract during its Zoom meeting held Monday, Oct. 19.

With the city facing uncertainty as to its tax collections in a year in which COVID-19 has played havoc with communities’ budgets, Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan was grateful for the union’s consideration.

“Everybody is rising to the occasion during this pandemic,” Brennan said. “If we could give them raises, we would give them, but we can’t commit to that right now, and the fire union understands that. They look out for us every day in their capacity as firefighters, and they were looking out for us with this (agreement).

“It means the world to me. It’s not typical for a union not to seek a raise, but they understand it. They understand what’s going on in the community.”

The city and the union plan to get together next summer, by June 30, when the deal’s first year expires, and attempt to come up with a satisfactory amount for raises for the second and third year of the agreement. “We’ll pick it up again next year when we have a better idea of where we are (financially),” Brennan said.

It is the first of four contracts the city has to hammer out with its unions. Still to come are agreements with police officers and police administrators, and public service department workers. Brennan said he would not negotiate via the press and state whether he would ask the other unions to accept a wage freeze, but usually union agreements within a city are similar, which likely means that other unions will also be asked to accept a wage freeze for the first year of their deals.

“We’re appreciative of what the firefighters did and we hope the rest of our employees understand the situation,” Brennan said.

Meanwhile, council also approved Monday pay for city employees who were furloughed four hours per week, each Friday beginning in June, for 16 weeks, as the city attempted to save money. In all, council approved $44,682 for the employees. Brennan said he felt it was important that employees get paid for the time they missed due to something that was not their fault.

“They all worked fewer hours, but they all completed their work every week,” he said. “It’s important for us to stand by them, just as they stood by us and worked hard for us.”

Brennan said that firefighters were also prepared to take less, “to do something in solidarity” with their fellow, non-union employees. Firefighters were not furloughed, but Brennan said it was another example of the firefighters understanding of the city’s financial situation.

The firefighters did, as part of the new contract, receive a new vacation tier for those who have served with the department at least 24

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Florida couple arrested for stealing political yard signs: University Heights police blotter

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — Theft from private property: Hillbrook Road

At 10:15 p.m. Oct. 7, an officer watched as a pickup truck stopped in front of a house. The truck’s passenger got out, took a political yard sign from a lawn, and put it in the back of a truck. Police stopped the truck and found in its bed four yard signs.

Arrested for theft was a woman, 55, while her husband, 56, was arrested for complicity. The couple are residents of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Meanwhile, at 11:55 a.m. Oct. 7, a resident of Washington Boulevard reported the theft of political yard signs.

Traffic offense: Miramar Boulevard

At 11:35 p.m. Oct. 5, an officer saw a pickup truck being driven without registration. During the ensuing traffic stop, the driver, a Cleveland man, 46, told police that the truck’s registration had just been stolen a few minutes earlier. Police determined that the truck was not stolen.

The man was cited for operating a vehicle without license plates, driving with a suspended license and not wearing a seat belt.

Illegal use of credit cards: Cedar Road

At 2:30 p.m. Oct. 6, a University Heights woman, 51, reported that someone made a fraudulent charge on her credit card. The charge was in the amount of $618, and was made at Target, 14070 Cedar Road. The suspect is unknown. Police are investigating.

Traffic offenses: Warrensville Center Road

At 9:40 p.m. Oct. 6, an officer saw a Ford Explorer traveling at a high rate of speed northbound on Warrensville Center Road and attempted to make a traffic stop by activating his cruiser’s overhead emergency lights. The driver continued driving, but eventually came to a stop.

The driver, a Cleveland man, 43, was cited for multiple traffic violations and issued a criminal citation for fleeing and eluding before being released at the scene.

Theft from auto: Washington Boulevard

At 7:45 a.m. Oct. 7, a woman, 39, reported that someone stole $100 from her unlocked car, which had been parked on her property during the previous night.

Alleged patient abuse: Fairmount Boulevard

Police, as of Oct. 9, are investigating a claim made by a girl, who is currently in the custody of the Seneca County Juvenile Detention Facility, that she was allegedly abused by staff members while living at Bellefaire JCB, 22001 Fairmount Blvd.

Burglary: Milford Road

At 3:55 p.m. Oct. 10, a man, 34, reported that several items were stolen from his home. The man is renovating the home and the stolen items were being used to carry out the renovation work.

Drug paraphernalia possession: Cedar Road

At 1:30 a.m. Oct. 11, an officer stopped a car for not using a turn signal and for not having license plates properly displayed. The driver, a Cleveland man, 29, consented to a search of his car.

In the vehicle, officers found drug paraphernalia. The man was cited for the traffic violations, as well as drug paraphernalia possession and driving with a suspended license.

Theft by deception:

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