This is for all those that answered the Call of Duty for Our Great Country, America the Beautiful, the Home of the Brave and the Free, who gave all and didn’t get the chance to bring up their children, or grow old with their spouses, or have careers.
The flag shouldn’t stay at half-staff all day
Federal guidelines say the flag should be displayed at half-staff only until noon, then go up to full-staff until sundown.
Baby dies after being left in day care van
JACKSONVILLE, FL – After a 4-month-old baby found unconscious Wednesday afternoon in a van at a Westside day care died, the co-owner of the center was arrested, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.
Darryl Ewing, 56, was booked into the Duval County jail at 8:18 p.m. on a charge of child neglect, according to online jail records.
Police said the infant girl was found still in a child safety seat inside the van at Ewing’s Love and Hope Preschool on Lenox Avenue about 1 p.m, nearly five hours after the vehicle used to pick up children was parked out front.
Jacksonville firefighters tried to revive the baby and took her to Wolfson Children’s Hospital, but the child could not be saved.
“Tragically, today a family has just been notified of the gut-wrenching loss of their precious baby girl,” Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell said. “DCF immediately opened a joint child death and child care licensing investigation in coordination with law enforcement. We will continue to support this family as they mourn the loss of their baby girl.”
Police said the center cares for about 14 children and no other children were injured.
Investigators said they learned Darryl Ewing was the driver of the day care van that picked up the infant and other children earlier Wednesday morning and no other employees were on the van. According to detectives, the van arrived at the day care about 8:25 a.m., and children were off-loaded and taken into the center.
Investigators said Darryl Ewing then parked the van in front of the day care and left the vehicle unattended with the 4-month-old still strapped in her car seat in the third row of the van.
At 1:03 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office, the infant’s mother called to make after-school arrangements for all of her children and it was discovered the baby had never been checked into the day care. Police said day care employees went to the van and discovered the infant still strapped in her child seat, unresponsive, and called emergency services.
Throughout the afternoon, the building was surrounded by police tape, officers, evidence technicians and homicide detectives, including the JSO chief of investigations.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, further investigation revealed that Darryl Ewing was responsible for maintaining a separate driver’s log documenting all children that are placed onto the van, which was separate from the parental log signed by parents. Detectives viewed the driver’s log, which they said showed Darryl Ewing had logged in two of the infant’s siblings, but not the infant.
Police said they learned, based on interviews with other day care center employees, that it is the van driver’s responsibility to check and make sure children are offloaded from the van at the day care center.
“It was determined the suspect’s actions (and lack thereof) failed to provide the victim with the necessary supervision and provide services to protect the victim’s physical health, all which was essential to the victim’s well-being and contributed to the death of the victim,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Darryl Ewing refused to talk with detectives when he was taken to the police station to be interviewed and that’s when he was arrested. Police identified him as the co-owner of the day care center, though the day care’s website lists Darryl Ewing as the director.
Duval County jail records show he has been arrested at least four previous times.
The state said will be immediately suspending the day care center’s license because it wasn’t aware children were being transported.
While the center has a valid license with DCF since 2016 and inspectors have not found any Class I violations in its quarterly inspections, the agency said it didn’t know the day care center was transporting children, so it never monitored transportation standards.
The state said parents have already been contacted to let them know the center’s license is being pulled.
The other owner of the business, Gloryian Ewing was arrested 18 months ago on two counts of child abuse. While those charges involved her own teenage children — police said they were beaten with an extension cord — she was arrested at the day care center in December 2017.
After Gloryian Ewing, 51, completed a pretrial intervention, the charges were dropped.
DCF records show the center’s license was not affected by the owner’s legal troubles. The center had no violations in its last three quarterly inspections by the DCF — most recently on April 15.
The last time inspectors found any issues at the facility was last July when the report noted a lack of documentation of worker training and outdoor equipment, and field trip forms were not available for review. Since the center has been open, the facility has received two Class II and 13 Class II violations.
News4Jax meteorologists estimated that the temperature inside an enclosed vehicle parked in the sun at midday Wednesday could have reached 123 degrees.
A woman who lives in the neighborhood didn’t want to give her name but said her children used to attend this day care center and her heart breaks for the baby’s family.
“Luckily they were grade-school age, but they were left on that same day care van,” the woman told News4Jax. “It’s sad. I just wish that day care was shut down. It really, it’s not the best day care.”
Another woman who works at a different child care center calls it a tragedy.
“It’s just heartbreaking right now to know that a child has lost its life,” Lisa Brown said. “Just coming to day care and being taken care of and not returning home. I think about my own grandkids.”
The Sheriff’s Office and DCF continue to investigate the infant’s death.
Woman charged with sex trafficking of
girl, 11, on Las Vegas Strip
LAS VEGAS, NV – An 11-year-old girl boasted of smoking cigarettes and drinking booze on the Strip, and she told men she was a prostitute, according to police.
Now the 40-year-old woman prosecutors allege brought the girl to Las Vegas is charged with sex trafficking and child abuse.
In a brief court appearance Friday morning, Gigi Mitchell clasped her hands at her waist and choked back tears as Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Harmony Letizia told Mitchell she faces a preliminary hearing next month on seven felony charges.
The girl, who admitted to drinking and smoking with Mitchell in casinos, has been taken in by child protective services.
Metropolitan Police Department officers working at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in the early morning hours of March 2 spotted Mitchell and the girl approaching men in the casino, while the girl wore a “tight-fitting” white floral dress and black high heels, according to an arrest report.
When the two were initially questioned by police, they gave what officers believed were “rehearsed” answers, the report said.
Mitchell told investigators that she and the girl were “selling flower pens” and went to The Cosmopolitan for breakfast.
Mitchell initially told police she had just met the men. Later, she said they were cousins named Brandon and Justin, or Randy and Gary.
The girl, identified in the arrest report as “victim 1,” told police that she and Mitchell had driven to Las Vegas from Arizona around the time of the Super Bowl in early February and had stayed at various hotels along the Strip.
After Mitchell allowed police to review her phone, investigators found a photo of male genitals that she sent to the girl. She denied sending the photo.
Mitchell’s lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Mike Feliciano, declined to comment on the allegations.
On the girl’s cellphone, police found various messages with men that appeared to be “prostitution related.” In her purse, they found two condoms and three pens.
The report detailed various sexually explicit conversations the girl had with an unidentified man, with whom she apparently had engaged in sex acts.
In one, the man mentioned a desire to marry the girl.
“Tyna (thought you’d never ask) come on now I’m not marry type material,” she replied.
He responded: “Why u say that LMFAO”
The girl wrote back: “Cuz ima prostitute LMAO”
The messages appeared to indicate that Mitchell was aware that the girl had sex with the man.
One of the men, identified as “Tony” from San Francisco, messaged the girl about sex and she replied “Sorry hun, we are already done for the night.”
As of Friday, only Mitchell had been charged in the case.
When investigators tracked the man down, the report said, he immediately responded: “I did nothing with the young one.” He said he discussed sex acts for money with Mitchell before changing his story to say that they “only discussed her giving him a massage for money.”
He said he was first approached by the girl, who wanted to sell him flowers, before she introduced him to Mitchell. When investigators asked him about text messages he sent to the girl, he told them he had been joking.
Investigators later found records of Mitchell renting rooms along the Strip starting Feb. 3, the day of the Super Bowl. She paid cash for three nights at Treasure Island, and later that month the two were spotted on surveillance at the New York-New York, Stratosphere, Bellagio and Paris Las Vegas hotels. One of the men seen on video admitted to taking Mitchell to his room at Stratosphere, but said she “left abruptly” because she “must have thought he was a cop.”
The morning in early March that police found the girl and Mitchell inside The Cosmopolitan, they were seen approaching eight different men within 45 minutes. “Not one time did Gigi Mitchell or victim 1 approach a female guest,” the report said.
“Gigi Mitchell is seen holding flower pens and claimed she and (victim 1) were only trying to sell these pens. It appears to (police) that Gigi Mitchell and victim 1 are using the flower pens as a cover to hide the activity of prostitution.”
The girl later told investigators that she and Mitchell sold pens to men for “anywhere from $10 to $1,500,” according to the report.
She said she and Mitchell would sometimes go to hotel rooms with men “because they would have more money up there … Sometimes these men think they are going to do ‘bad stuff’ so they have more money but that she would never do that stuff … When these men would try to have them do stuff, they would just ‘ditch them’ and leave the room.”
Mitchell is being held at the Clark County Detention Center on $500,000 bail.
There are basic qualities and values needed to have and maintain a good family. These qualities and values are:
Honor, always truth and loyalty
The Future of this world
Children are the future of this world. As a good parent it is your responsibility to teach your children from birth, the above qualities and values, as these are handed down from generation-to-generation, and prepares them to be good family members, good friends, good neighbors, good employees, good leaders, and good citizens.
Good caring parents teach by example, always remembering that genuine praise, guidance, and understanding are the mark of a good parent. As your child grows, regular family quality time strengthens trust and mutual respect, forging a stronger family bond, where communication grows easier, and good memories are more easily made.
Maintaining A Good Family
The five “L’s” of a good, strong, family:
Love is at the heart of the family. All humans have the need to love and to be loved; the family is normally the place where love is expressed. Love is the close personal blending of physical and mental togetherness. It includes privacy, intimacy, sharing, belonging, and caring. The atmosphere of real love is one of honesty, understanding, patience, and forgiveness. Such love does not happen automatically; it requires constant daily effort by each family member. Loving families share activities and express a great deal of gratitude for one another. Love takes time, affection, and a positive attitude.
Learning – Families are where we learn values, skills, and behavior. Strong families manage and control their learning experiences. They establish a pattern of home life. They select appropriate television programs. They guide their children into the world outside the home. They do not let social forces rule their family life. They involve themselves in neighborhood, school, government, church, and business in ways that support their family values. Strong families teach by example and learn through experience as they explain and execute their values.
Loyalty – Strong families have a sense of loyalty and devotion toward family members. The family sticks together. They stand by each other during times of trouble. They stand up for each other when attacked by someone outside the family. Loyalty builds through sickness and health, want and good fortune, failure and success, and all the things the family faces. The family is a place of shelter for individual family members. In times of personal success or defeat, the family becomes a cheering section or a mourning bench. They also learn a sense of give and take in the family, which helps prepare them for the necessary negotiations in other relationships.
Laughter is good family medicine. Humor is an escape valve for family tension. Through laughter we learn to see ourselves honestly and objectively. Building a strong family is serious business, but if taken too seriously, family life can become very tense. Laughter balances our efforts and gives us a realistic view of things. To be helpful, family laughter must be positive in nature. Laughing together builds up a family. Laughing at each other divides a family. Families that learn to use laughter in a positive way can release tensions, gain a clearer view, and bond relationships.
Leadership is essential. Family members, usually the adults, must assume responsibility for leading the family. If no one accepts this vital role, the family will weaken. Each family needs its own special set of rules and guidelines. These rules are based on the family members’ greatest understanding of one another. The guidelines pass along from the adults to the children by example, with firmness and fairness. Strong families can work together to establish their way of life, allowing children to have a voice in decision making and enforcing rules. However, in the initial stages and in times of crisis, adult family members must get the family to work together.
State was notified of Child Abuse
allegations more than a year before
Waukegan school employee’s arrest
CHICAGO, IL – More than a year before a Waukegan school employee was charged with sexually abusing a girl for years, state education authorities were notified that he was fired by Chicago Public Schools on allegations of “child abuse,” records obtained by the Lake County News-Sun show.
Gabriel Valadez, 26, of Darien, was hired by Waukegan District 60 in August 2017, six months after he was suspended by Chicago Public Schools, where he was a special education classroom assistant. He was fired from CPS in December 2017 after his suspension the previous February.
A letter obtained from Chicago Public Schools shows the Illinois State Board of Education was notified of his termination the following month, in January 2018. A spokeswoman for the state agency said she could not comment on specific cases, but ISBE records show Valadez’s paraprofessional educators license remains valid.
Defense attorney John Deleon, who is representing Valadez, declined to comment due to the pending charges. He said his client also would not comment.
An internal Chicago Public Schools memo summarizing Valadez’s 2017 termination hearing concluded that he “exhibited all the classic signs of child grooming behavior,” which occurs when an adult attempts to gain the trust of the child, looks for opportunities to be alone with the child and gives gifts or money to the child.
Valadez, who pleaded not guilty earlier this month, was arrested Feb. 19 at Waukegan District 60’s administrative offices by Chicago police officers and charged with grooming and sexually abusing a girl for several years, when she was between the ages of 9 and 13, according to court records.
He is accused of taking the girl’s hand and having her touch him, of groping her bottom and of asking her to send sexually explicit and nude photographs of herself, according to preliminary complaints filed in Cook County court.
Waukegan District 60 has “not received any official communication” from either Chicago Public Schools or the Illinois State Board of Education regarding Valadez and his time at CPS, district spokesman Nick Alajakis said.
A bill approved by the Illinois House and awaiting action in the Illinois Senate would give the State Board of Education the ability to suspend the licenses of educators under investigation, a change that might have helped Waukegan District 60 learn about Valadez’s history sooner.
Valadez joined Chicago Public Schools in May 2014 in office support for the district’s Network 7, according to personnel records obtained from CPS.
Seven months later, in December 2014, he took a job as a special education classroom assistant at Infinity Math, Science and Tech High School in Chicago’s South Lawndale neighborhood, according to personnel records. A year later, he moved to Jungman Elementary School.
It was at Jungman that questions arose about Valadez’s contact with a student.
Valadez was suspended Feb. 16, 2017, after giving a student a chocolate Valentine’s Day present despite being warned verbally and in writing to have no contact with that student, according to a letter from Chicago Public Schools to Valadez.
Valadez was never the student’s teacher, he told an investigator. He said during the 2016-17 school year, one of his assignments included taking another student from one classroom to the science lab, where the girl was also assigned during that period.
Valadez was told not to contact the student following a March 2016 incident where he was speaking to the student outside someone’s house after school until the father came home, according to a November 2017 internal memo.
According to the report, Valadez had been reminded of the no-contact order in September 2016 after staff members saw him playing basketball with the student after school hours. Valadez denied that he had played basketball with the student.
Valadez told Jungman’s principal that he thought it was OK to give the student the chocolates because two other adults were present at the time, according to a redacted copy of the investigative report. The principal said Valadez told her he had been asked by another special education classroom aide to bring the chocolates for the student.
The other employee told the investigator that she never told Valadez to get chocolates for the students, according to the report.
Valadez later told an investigator that he had brought chocolates and red roses to give to staff, and decided to give the chocolates to the student after he realized he had some left over, according to the report. He said the student had followed him into the classroom and he gave the student the chocolates and told her, “Get outta here.”
The student told the investigator that she did not know Valadez was not supposed to talk to her, according to the report. The student said she would often speak to Valadez before and after school, at least once a week, which Valadez denied when interviewed by the investigator.
A union representative who testified on Valadez’s behalf at his termination hearing denied Valadez was engaged in grooming behavior, and said Valadez did not communicate with the student through social media or text messaging.
According to an internal memo, Valadez did not testify at the hearing.
Valadez had previously been investigated in 2015 for alleging staring at student-athletes during practice and making them uncomfortable, for making an inappropriate comment to a former student, and for staring at a student who was in detention, according to the investigative report.
The investigator, who spoke to the students involved as well as staff, found none of the allegations were supported by evidence, according to the report.
Termination and notification
Following the Feb. 16, 2017, suspension by Chicago Public Schools, Valadez was sometimes paid and sometimes unpaid throughout the course of an investigation and subsequent proceedings, CPS records show.
He was fired in December 2017 and placed on the district’s do-not-hire list, according to a letter from the district to Valadez.
A month later, Chicago Public Schools sent a letter to the Illinois State Board of Education, notifying the agency it had “reasonable cause” to believe he had been fired after “committing an intentional act of child abuse.”
By this time, Valadez had already been hired by Waukegan District 60 as an administrative assistant at its district offices, records show. Valadez resigned in February, the week after his arrest.
His application with Waukegan, submitted in July 2017, said he was still employed by Chicago Public Schools and had never been fired, which was all true at that point. On a form completed in August, he denied that he had ever been investigated for misconduct, which was not true.
Valadez wasn’t the district’s first pick, according to text messages sent by Superintendent Theresa Plascencia to a school board member following Valadez’s arrest. Three other applicants, including an internal candidate, received offers but declined the job.
Plascencia did know Valadez from her time at CPS, but she was not involved in his hiring at Waukegan, Alajakis said.
Plascencia was the chief of Network 7 from November 2013 to August 2015 when she took a new role with CPS as executive director for high school design, programs and support. She left CPS in April 2016 prior to the start of the internal investigation into Valadez’s conduct at Jungman.
Notifications like Chicago Public Schools’ letter to ISBE, which are required under state law, can trigger an investigation by the Illinois State Board of Education and ultimately the suspension or revocation of an educator’s license, ISBE spokeswoman Jackie Matthews said.
Matthews, who declined to comment on any particular case, said there is no way to predict how long any single case will take to resolve because each comes with its own set of circumstances.
Valadez still had an active paraprofessional educator license as of Friday, Illinois State Board of Education records show.
ISBE will hold off on an investigation, for example, if the police or Department of Child and Family Services are conducting their own investigations, Matthews said. The amount of time it takes for those investigations and criminal proceedings to conclude “varies significantly.”
That means an educator’s license can remain valid and, if they’ve since moved on to another district, no one there may know they’re under investigation.
ISBE does not have the ability to suspend educators’ licenses while they are being investigated for serious alleged crimes involving physical and sexual abuse, though it would want that authority, ISBE’s general counsel, Stephanie Jones, testified before the General Assembly last year.
A bill that would give ISBE that power passed the Illinois Senate in a 57-0 vote April 11. It is now being considered by the House.
May 2014: Gabriel Valadez joins Chicago Public Schools in Network 7 office support.
December 2014: Valadez takes a special education classroom assistant position at Infinity Math, Science and Tech High School.
December 2015: Valadez moves to Jungman Elementary School.
March 2016: Valadez told to have no contact with a student at Jungman.
February 2017: Valadez was suspended after giving Valentine’s Day chocolates to the student with whom he had been ordered to have no contact.
August 2017: Valadez is hired at Waukegan District 60 as an administrative assistant at its district offices.
December 2017: Valadez is fired from Chicago Public Schools.
January 2018: Chicago Public Schools notifies the Illinois State Board of Education that it fired Valadez over allegations of child abuse.
February 2019: Valadez is arrested at Waukegan District 60’s administrative office on charges of child sexual abuse and grooming. He voluntarily resigns the following week.