Little For Elementary School in Waukegan, IL partnered with Comcast for the 17th annual Comcast Cares Day. Volunteers gave the school some much needed TLC. They refreshed the classroom by refurbishing shelving units and painting. They also cleaned up grounds and planted flowers.
Comcast employees and community members gathered at the Elgin Salvation Army to spend day volunteering to spruce up the grounds, remodel the clothing closet, and move their food pantry to the first floor. Comcast has been partnering with the Elgin Salvation Army for 6 years.
Comcasters gathered at the Tinley Park office for Well Wish Note Project which included sorting through donations and writing notes for theCradlestoCrayonsorganization. Employee donations of clothing,toys, shoes, and basic essentials were sortedtobe included in care packages for local children living in low-income and homeless situations. Comcasters also wrotesupportive and enthusiastic messages, decorated with fun drawings, stickers & picturestosend words of encouragement and bring joytokids during the school year.
Foster children doing well at school are at risk because of financial issues and tuition costs. In the mid 90's, Illinois had the highest rated higher education. Now we are at the lowest. The Bridge Program is a mentor program that helps to keep students being lost to the summer melt. We will change this state by investing in higher education.
There needs to be a universal 72 hour waiting period for all gun purchases instead of the current 72 hours for hand guns and 48 hours for long guns. Lawmakers need to pass responsible legislature instead of just putting out there more guns. Also discussed is the need for more transparency at restaurants to help families with food allergies.
Illinois has a shortage of teachers. Other states offer a streamlined curriculum which specializes in your area of teaching. This cuts down on time and money spent on college costs and helps students who have financial difficulties.
"According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 15% of men and 30% of women in prison have a serious mental health condition. Sheriff Thomas Dart of Cook County, Illinois, discusses the importance of providing resources and support in communities as a preventative measure. As the largest mental health hospital in the U.S., Cook County jail's care for patients is one that other institutions can learn and benefit from.
Interview recorded November 30, 2017. Hosted by Robert Traynham.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Traynham: With 1/3 of its 9,000 inmates living with mental-health issues, Cook County Jail in Chicago is America's largest mental-health hospital. Recent reforms now put mental healthcare in reach for inmates in need. Hello, everyone, and welcome to ""Comcast Newsmakers."" I'm Robert Traynham. Joining me is Sheriff Thomas Dart of Cook County, Illinois. Sheriff Dart is designated as a 2017 Governing magazine Public Official of the Year. Sheriff Dart, welcome to the program.
Dart: Thanks so much for having me on.
Traynham: Let me start off by saying that I'm just a bit surprised to learn that the prison is that large. 9,000 inmates. That sounds like a very small city. Is it
Dart: Yeah. It is. Compared to other cities in the state of Illinois, we're, I think, the 20th largest city, if you want to call it that. We've been fortunate in we've had some bail reform -- a lot of it I pushed -- that has lowered the number somewhat dramatically, just in the last 2 or 3 months. But nonetheless, it's a lot of people incarcerated, and we're one of the largest jails in the country.
Traynham: I want to double down on something that I mentioned a few moments ago, Sheriff Dart, and read it again. "America's largest mental-health hospital is the Cook County Jail." What's wrong with that sentence
Dart: You know what's wrong with that is the fact that, literally, 100 years from now or even less, people are gonna look back at us in our era and say we were horrible people, that our method of dealing with people with an illness was we threw them in jails and prisons. And it's not just Chicago by any stretch. All around the country, I think it's 46 or 47 of the states -- their largest mental-health provider is a jail or a prison. And so this stain is upon all of us, and it's something that we really need to address in a thoughtful way, because it's just plain old wrong. It's immoral.
Traynham: What is the solution
Dart: The solutions are actually -- That's another thing that's so puzzling to me. The solutions are just so straightforward. You put resources in the community, and then people have no real need to interact with law enforcement, which gets them into the jails and the prisons. And it is an, actually, very logical thing. When you don't have those supports, people then have issues. They don't have medication. They don't have therapeutic programs to go into, and then they interact with law enforcement 'cause they're trying to survive on the street, and then they pour into our place. They aren't the ones that are shooting up people. They aren't the ones committing the horribly violent acts. They're people who are trying to survive, and our solution has been -- we dump them in prisons and jails.
Women make up more than half of the population but are a small number in government representatives. Anna Valencia, Office of the City Clerk, discusses the need to change the structure & support other women to become leaders.
Spoofing is a predatory practice where your cell phone is called from a local phone number. Penalties need to be created for companies who call under this pretense. Also discussed is Starved Rock, which boasts over 2.8 million visitors a year. There is a need for more funding to ensure public safety, manage crowds and traffic issues.