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U.S. attorney sues Cubs alleging disability law violations with Wrigley Field renovations

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U.s. Attorney Sues Cubs Alleging Disability Law Violations With Wrigley Field Renovations

The U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday alleging the recent overhaul of Wrigley Field violated federal law by failing to make the park “appropriately accessible” to fans who use wheelchairs or have other disabilities.

The 19-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court comes nearly three years after it was revealed that federal authorities had launched an investigation into whether the Cubs’ $1 billion, five-year renovation of the century-old ballpark met the standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The suit alleged that the extensive rebuild of the bleachers and lower grandstand, which was dubbed the “1060 Project,” failed to provide wheelchair users with adequate sightlines as compared to standing patrons.

In the lower grandstand, the suit says, “a wheelchair user can barely see any of the infield when spectators stand up—often during the most exciting parts of the game.”

In general admission areas, wheelchair seating is largely clustered in the last row of seating sections, according to the suit. The design also failed to remove architectural barriers to access in unaltered portions of the ballpark.

>>> Read the lawsuit: U.S. attorney sues Chicago Cubs alleging disability law violations

The Cubs also failed to incorporate wheelchair seating into new premium clubs and group seating areas, such as the Catalina Club in the upper deck and the Budweiser Patio in right field, the suit stated.

The lawsuit names as defendants the Cubs and other corporate owners and operators of the Wrigley Field facility. The suit seeks declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief to remedy the alleged ADA violations.

Cubs spokesman Julian Green said in an emailed statement the team had been cooperating with the federal probe and was “disappointed” with the Justice Department’s decision to sue.

“(We) hope the matter can be resolved amicably, but we will defend Wrigley Field and our position it meets accessibility requirements for fans,” the statement read. “The renovation of Wrigley Field greatly increased accessibility of the ballpark and was completed in accordance with applicable law and historic preservation standards consistent with the ballpark’s designation as a National and City of Chicago landmark.”

In response to the federal inquiry, Green said, the Cubs have “made several offers to voluntarily further enhance accessible features of the ballpark, including seating, restrooms, concessions and other key accessibility elements.”

The suit, meanwhile, includes photos of some of the worst alleged violations of federal law, singling out the overhaul of the bleachers as being particularly bad for wheelchair users.

“The Cubs’ decision to cluster wheelchair seats on the porches not only isolates wheelchair users from other fans and confines them to the worst seats in the bleachers, it also inhibits their ability to watch the game,” the suit stated. “This is because the wheelchair seats on the porches were not constructed to provide lines of sight to the field over standing spectators.”

Instead, the suit stated, the wheelchair seats rely on a policy that “discourages but does not preclude bleacher fans from sitting and standing in the two rows immediately in front of the wheelchair spaces.” Though the rows are roped off and ushers are supposed to enforce the rules, spectators still wander in front of the seats, according to the suit.

The “Batter’s Eye” area in dead centerfield, which is covered with a mesh tarp and gets abnormally hot in the summer, has also been the subject of numerous complaints from wheelchair users, the suit alleged.

The Cubs first filed notice of the federal review in December 2019 as part of a lawsuit brought by a wheelchair-bound fan alleging seating for those with disabilities was in fact worse than before the renovation.

At the time, a lawyer representing the team wrote a letter to the judge saying the Cubs believed the overhaul had “significantly increased the accessibility of the ballpark.”

The letter said compliance with the ADA “is of critical importance to the Cubs, as is ensuring the accessibility to all fans to Wrigley Field, a historic and aging ballpark with a limited physical footprint.”

In the statement released after the lawsuit was filed Thursday, the team said Wrigley Field “is now more accessible than ever in its 108-year history.”

“Wrigley Field has 11 more elevators than it did prior to the start of the renovation, more accessible restroom facilities, assistive listening technology for fans with hearing impairments, enhanced audio speakers and sound systems throughout the ballpark, and upgraded ticketing and online systems for purchase of seating, including accessible seating,” the statement read.

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What to know about the symptoms of E. coli and how to prevent infection

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What To Know About The Symptoms Of E. Coli And How To Prevent Infection

A “rapid” outbreak of E. coli disease has been reported in Michigan and Ohio. At least 29 people are sick and nine of them are hospitalized, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an urgent message on Wednesday.

The CDC said a source of infection has yet to be identified in this outbreak and no deaths have been reported.

Here’s everything you need to know about Escherichia coli — commonly known by its abbreviated name, E. coli.

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Joe Klecko knows better than to celebrate Hall of Fame induction too early

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Joe Klecko Knows Better Than To Celebrate Hall Of Fame Induction Too Early

Joe Klecko has been waiting for his moment since the former Jets defensive star was first eligible to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The moment finally came on Wednesday as Klecko, now 68, found out he was a finalist on the senior ballot and will likely be headed to Canton, Ohio as part of the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

But instead of being at home waiting for the official announcement, Klecko was getting a scheduled MRI done in the afternoon. He found out he had made the cut by checking his phone after the procedure.

“I never knew your phone could catch on fire,” Klecko joked when he talked to the media Thursday at Jets training camp. “I had 65 text messages on my phone and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in my life.”

Klecko, along with former Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley and former Bengals cornerback Ken Riley were announced as the three senior finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Wednesday.

Klecko will be elected to the Hall of Fame if he receives support from 80% of the voters in January, which is mostly a formality for senior candidates. Then he would then be enshrined next summer with the rest of the ‘23 class.

Klecko says he is excited about the possibility of being inducted, but he won’t become overjoyed by the moment until it becomes official.

“I’ve been in the construction business all my life and I have had times where I’ve had the job and I walked in the door to get the contract to sign and I get the excuse something went wrong and it is going another way,” Klecko said. “You learn to take the rejections in business and it is something I didn’t want to let myself get up for.

“I’ve learned not to get excited about anything unless the check is in the bank. This is kind of one of those situations, but not as negative. Everyone knows the last hurdle of this thing comes in January when you have to get 80% of the vote among 48 voters.

“That is a pretty tall mountain to climb. Until the check is in the bank, I’m going to maintain my civility about this and live my normal life.”

During his 11 seasons with the Jets, Klecko was a mainstay on the team’s defensive line as he dominated at three positions — defensive end, defensive tackle and nose tackle. He was an All-Pro twice, including in 1981, when he unofficially led the NFL with 20.5 sacks.

He finished second to Giants great Lawrence Taylor in the AP Defensive Player of the Year voting and won the Pro Football Writers of America Defensive Player of the Year. Sacks didn’t become an official stat until 1982.

During the 1980s, he teamed up with Mark Gastineau, Marty Lyons and Abdul Salaam to form the “New York Sack Exchange.”

Klecko ended his career with 78 sacks. That is good for second in Jets history, trailing only Gastineau’s 107.5.

After a season with the Indianapolis Colts in 1988, Klecko ended his 12-year career. At the time, some Jets fans might have thought Klecko would be in the Canton, Ohio shrine as early as the minimum five seasons after he retired. However, that proved not to be the case.

A Hall of Fame snub for years, Klecko was a Modern-Era candidate before becoming a senior candidate. He had never advanced to the finalist stage until this year.

“[Hall of Fame offensive guard] Joe DeLamielleure makes a great case for me,” Klecko told the Daily News earlier this year. “He said if I just stayed at one position I’d be in the Hall. But what’s the difference? I still dominated at every position.”

On Thursday, Klecko — who has his No. 73 retired by the Jets and is a member of team’s Ring of Honor — also talked about the joy he got from playing in the biggest media market in the country.

“Playing in New York is one of the greatest things you can do,” Klecko said. “Winning in New York is the next best thing. I remember when we were the Sack Exchange and we were doing this photo shoot down at Wall Street and we drove down there and we turned the corner and it was mobs of people.

“It was that exciting. It is New York, they do everything big. When we got out of the car, it was a surreal moment but a long-lasting moment.”

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Women Defend Ukrainian First Lady’s ‘Vogue’ Cover With Hashtag #SitLikeAGirl: NPR

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Women Defend Ukrainian First Lady'S 'Vogue' Cover With Hashtag #Sitlikeagirl: Npr

Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska on the cover of vogue, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Titled “Portrait of Bravery”, the broadcast and accompanying interview depict Zelenska as a woman rising to the challenge of her many roles in this war.

Screenshot by NPR/Annie Leibovitz/Vogue


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Screenshot by NPR/Annie Leibovitz/Vogue

Women Defend Ukrainian First Lady's 'Vogue' Cover With Hashtag #Sitlikeagirl: Npr

Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska on the cover of vogue, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Titled “Portrait of Bravery”, the broadcast and accompanying interview depict Zelenska as a woman rising to the challenge of her many roles in this war.

Screenshot by NPR/Annie Leibovitz/Vogue

LVIV, Ukraine — What does it mean to “sit like a girl”? The question arose after Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska appeared sitting on the cover of vogue last month. Some critics ridiculed her pose as unfeminine.

In the portrait, shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz in Kyiv, Zelenska is dressed in slacks and a shirt with rolled up sleeves, flat shoes and minimal makeup. She is seated on marble steps, propped up with her elbows on her knees – her legs not zipped together.

“‘Sit like a girl,’” recalled Polina Karabach, a 30-year-old Kyiv resident, who had read online while browsing through a deluge of criticism. “[They say] it’s inappropriate for the first lady, it’s inappropriate for women to sit like that.”

Karabach believes Zelenska sent an important message by appearing in the magazine: that even though Ukrainians are tired, they are “still holding on”. So she was surprised when so much criticism, including from fellow Ukrainians, focused on the first lady’s appearance.

Her hair? Too glamorous for war.

Their eyes? Too weary.

His stance? Too manly.

The media may have noticed that President Volodymyr Zelensky has looked exhausted since the war. But few people criticize him when he’s in the press, Karabach says, so the backlash against his wife is “a sign that it’s really about trying to humiliate women and Olena, in particular.”

Critics have taken issue with all sorts of aspects

Zelenska’s photo shoot drew other kinds of criticism, including from fellow Ukrainians who accused her of stealing the limelight from women working on the frontlines and promoting a cult of personality in the West around President Zelenskyy. . He appears kissing or holding hands with his wife in some of the photos.

Meanwhile, outside Ukraine, the photo shoot also drew criticism as war propaganda and shedding light on the conflict. “Does the magazine romanticize war, or does the first lady weaponize the brilliant?” asked for a reviewer’s notebook in The New York Times.

Peter Dickinson, editor of the Atlantic Council’s UkraineAlert service who runs a publishing business in Ukraine, says most of the criticism seems to come from Russia, Russian proxies and people who criticize their government’s support for Ukraine in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy.

“I think it was a good opportunity for people who are critical of the overwhelming support for Ukraine, to shout out to Ukraine and say, ‘Look, this country doesn’t need our help, they’re doing vogue photo shoots, they don’t need help, they don’t need support,” says Dickinson.

Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert shouted exactly that. As the United States sends billions in aid to Ukraine, it tweeted“Zelenskyy does photo shoots for Vogue Magazine. These people think we’re just a bunch of suckers.”

Jalisa Danielle, a Houston-based podcaster, also expressed skepticism about the seriousness of the conflict. “How serious is the war in Ukraine? she asked in a tweetwhich received a large number of retweets and likes.

Danielle told NPR that vogue just might not have been the right vehicle for the message Zelenska might be trying to send.

“To look at this and see, on the one hand, people say it’s very serious, there’s a lot of crazy conflict going on, and then seeing someone has time to do a high fashion photo shoot, even if it wasn’t high fashion clothes or stuff, that’s what it’s associated,” says Danielle.

When Zelenska was requested by the BBC on criticism that his appearance in vogue ‘glamorize war,’ first lady said, ‘I take every opportunity to talk about Ukraine – it was a huge opportunity, because millions of people read vogue. … And being able to talk to them directly was my duty.”

Dickinson agrees, writing in his blog:

“An eye-catching photo shoot with a global media brand is a smart move by Zelenska that leverages Ukraine’s strengths and bolsters the country’s ability to significantly exceed its weight in the information war against Russia. At a time when scenes of death and destruction in Ukraine have lost the power to shock, she offers a compelling personal perspective that brings home the reality of war to outside observers.”

It has become an important moment for Ukrainian women

A growing number of people have pushed back against criticism of her pose in particular.

Women are using the hashtag #SitLikeAGirl on social media with images of themselves sitting like the first lady’s cover photo, in a challenge against female stereotypes. Supporters have included people from all walks of life – soldiers, police, artists, singers – and this week, the Minister of Justice of Slovakia.

Valeria Voshchevska, a Ukrainian activist who works for Amnesty International in London, says this response is “incredible” and shows the “power of civil society in Ukraine, which is so nice to see in juxtaposition with, you know, Russia”.

This moment is important for Ukrainian women, she says, because not only is a woman leading the way for the country to be better seen and heard, but she stands up to criticism and stereotypes at a crucial time.

Back in Kyiv, Karabach recreated the photo of first lady Zalenska in her apartment. Her portrait was taken by her husband, Yuriy Karabach.

‘I think we should stop paying attention to this and start focusing on what’s important,’ she says – like doing what you can to support Ukraine in the war.

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Unemployment remains at record low in MN as state adds 19,100 jobs in July

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Unemployment Remains At Record Low In Mn As State Adds 19,100 Jobs In July

The unemployment rate in Minnesota last month remained at a record low as the state added 19,100 jobs, according to a state jobs report released on Thursday, Aug. 18.

New job numbers from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development show seasonally-adjusted unemployment held at 1.8% in July, holding at an all-time low reached in June. The state continues to outperform the national unemployment rate. In July, the national unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a percent to 3.5% — still nearly twice that of Minnesota’s.

July job growth significantly outpaced June, when the state economy saw 1,000 new jobs. At 0.7%, Minnesota’s job growth rate is more than double that of the national rate of 0.3%.

“Despite a very tight labor market, employers are hiring at a fast rate, and continue to offer ample opportunities for Minnesotans seeking good-paying jobs,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said in a statement about the new jobs numbers.

Leisure and hospitality was the leading growth sector in July, adding 6,700 jobs. Government added 4,500, professional and business services added 3,900 and construction added 1,100. Since the beginning of the year, leisure and hospitality has had the most growth of any sector, adding more than 23,000 jobs, state numbers show.

While Minnesota unemployment held steady at a record low last month, the size of the labor force declined for the first time this year. With 4,000 people no longer participating in the job market, the state’s labor force participation rate shrank by one-tenth of a percent to 68.4%. For much of 2022, the workforce participation rate had been on the rise but slowing, according to DEED. The U.S. labor force participation rate is 62.6%.

Minnesota has not completely recovered its workforce after the pandemic recession. In March 2020 Minnesota’s workforce participation was 70.2%. That dropped significantly as many workplaces shuttered to slow the spread of COVID-19, and has not returned to the same level since.

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US to increase supply of monkeypox vaccines

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Us To Increase Supply Of Monkeypox Vaccines

The White House announced Thursday that it will make an additional 1.8 million doses of monkeypox vaccine available for distribution starting next week.

At a press conference, White House national monkeypox response coordinator Bob Fenton said the additional doses will be available to US jurisdictions starting Monday, through the Department of Health. and Human Services (HHS).

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky and HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra also took part in the press conference.

Fenton said that in less than 10 days since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and CDC cleared the Jynneos vaccine for emergency use against monkeypox in people 18 and older, the HHS has delivered nearly one million doses to US states and cities, making it the largest such monkeypox vaccine program in the world.

Fenton said the additional doses are part of the National Monkeypox Response Team’s plan to control the outbreak of the viral illness in the United States and mitigate its spread.

He said HHS is working to launch a pilot program that will provide up to 50,000 doses from the national stockpile to be made available for events that will have a high attendance of gay and bisexual men.

Although monkeypox is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection or STI, it has been found to disproportionately affect men who have sex with men. The disease can be spread through close or intimate physical contact, such as hugging, kissing, and sex. It can also be transmitted by touching infected objects such as clothing, bedding or towels.

Fenton said the Biden administration has also dramatically increased the availability and convenience of monkeypox testing, increasing capacity from 6,000 tests per week to 80,000 tests per week.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press and Reuters.

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Starbucks must reinstate fired workers, federal judge rules

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Starbucks Must Reinstate Fired Workers, Federal Judge Rules

A federal judge is ordering Starbucks to reinstate seven employees in Memphis who were fired earlier this year after leading an effort to unionize their store.

In a decision issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sheryl Lipman agreed with the National Labor Relations Board, which had asked the court to intervene in May.

Lipman’s decision requires Starbucks to offer to reinstate the employees within five days. Starbucks will also be required to post the court order in the Memphis store.

The case has been among the most closely watched in the unionization effort at Starbucks, which began late last year. Since then, more than 220 U.S. Starbucks stores — including the Memphis store — have voted to unionize. Starbucks opposes the unionization effort.

Starbucks fired the seven employees in early February, citing safety. The Seattle coffee giant said the employees violated company policy by reopening a store after closing time and inviting non-employees — including a television crew — to come inside and move throughout the store.

The NLRB had begun administrative proceedings against Starbucks, saying the company was unlawfully interfering in workers’ right to organize. But those proceedings can take so long that the NLRB asked the federal court for an immediate injunction requiring Starbucks to reinstate the workers.

“Today’s federal court decision ordering Starbucks to reinstate the seven unlawfully fired Starbucks workers in Memphis is a crucial step in ensuring that these workers, and all Starbucks workers, can freely exercise their right to join together to improve their working conditions and form a union,” the labor board’s General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo said in a statement. “Starbucks, and other employers, should take note that the NLRB will continue to vigorously protect workers’ right to organize without interference from their employer.”

A message seeking comment from Starbucks was left by The Associated Press.

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