Cleveland Heights-University Heights teachers union declines ‘last, best, final’ contract offer, with more talks set

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UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education and district teachers are set to return to the bargaining table Nov. 5 after the union overwhelmingly rejected the latest contract offer last week.

What was implemented by the school board on Sept. 29 as the district’s “last, best and final offer” was voted down by the nearly 500-member Cleveland Heights Teachers Union by a tally of 437 to 11, with one abstention.

There were also 41 members who either did not return their ballots or turned them in late. Factoring them in as well, that worked out to 89 percent of the membership voting to decline the board’s offer, CHTU President Karen Rego said.

“Of the ones who voted, it was 97.5 percent” rejecting the contract offer and further authorizing the American Federation of Teachers Local 795 executive board to strike.

That, in turn, would require a 10-day advance notice of intent to strike being presented to the school board, which has not happened. Another round of negotiations has been scheduled.

“We are planning to negotiate Nov. 5, so that is positive movement,” Rego said. “We always want to stay at the table until we come to an agreement.”

While the school board voted to implement the one-year contract so that it would otherwise go into effect on Jan. 1, board President Jodi Sourini said earlier that the district remains under a “continued duty” to negotiate.

“We will also meet any continuing bargaining obligation in the event the union shows a willingness to make meaningful change,” Sourini said on Oct. 2.

The teachers union remains receptive to surmounting the impasse that the school board cited in its Sept. 29 contract vote.

“In order to come together, both sides are going to have to come up with a creative


Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal: Career Stats, Prediction for 2020 Men’s Final | Bleacher Report

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Spain's Rafael Nadal plays a shot against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman in the semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Nobody is more dominant at Roland Garros than Rafael Nadal. He’s won 12 French Open championships, four more than anybody else. And at 34, the Spaniard isn’t slowing down, having won the tournament each of the previous three years.

On Sunday, Nadal could potentially make it four in a row and win his 20th career Grand Slam title. But it’s never an easy task when he has to take on Novak Djokovic.

It’s not much of a surprise that Djokovic and Nadal, the top two seeds in the tournament, are in the men’s singles final at the French Open, which is set to take place at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday on NBC. Djokovic has 17 career Grand Slam titles and is always a contender at major tournaments, even though he only has one French Open victory (2016).

But that’s mainly because of Nadal’s dominance at the tournament. He’s won the French Open eight of the past 10 years and has a 99-2 career record at Roland Garros, per ATPTour.com. His only two losses came in the fourth round in 2009 to Robin Soderling and the quarterfinals in 2015 against Djokovic, whose 74 career wins at Roland Garros rank second behind Nadal.

When Djokovic won the French Open in 2016, Nadal withdrew from the tournament prior to his third-round match due to a wrist injury.

Djokovic leads the all-time series against Nadal 29-26, which includes victories in 10 of their past 13 meetings. They’ve only played each other once in 2020, a match that Djokovic won 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) at the ATP Cup on Jan. 12. And although Djokovic won their last meeting at Roland Garros in 2015, Nadal won the six previous French Open matchups between the two.

Djokovic may be one of only two men


Cleveland Heights-University Heights teachers wrapping up vote on “last, best, final offer” from school board

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UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — Votes from the teachers’ union were still being collected this week on a “last, best and final” contract offer the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school board authorized Sept. 29, citing an impasse in negotiations dating back to August.

a person holding a sign: Scott Gainer, CFO and treasurer of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, and Board of Education President Jodi Sourini are shown in this file photo from discussions of the continuing financial drain from EdChoice private tuition vouchers, and the need for an operating levy in the spring that wound up losing by 600 votes, leading to a smaller version appearing on the November ballot.

© Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer/cleveland.com/TNS
Scott Gainer, CFO and treasurer of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, and Board of Education President Jodi Sourini are shown in this file photo from discussions of the continuing financial drain from EdChoice private tuition vouchers, and the need for an operating levy in the spring that wound up losing by 600 votes, leading to a smaller version appearing on the November ballot.

Cleveland Heights Teachers Union President Karen Rego said Saturday (Oct. 4) that the roughly 500 members were still voting on whether to accept that offer or reject it and authorize the AFT-Local 795 executive board to strike.

“We won’t have a tally of our contract vote until Oct. 6 after all the ballots have been counted,” Rego explained earlier. “Until we have that final count we do not have any further action.”

School district officials pointed out that a formal 10-day notice of intent to strike must be provided in advance by the union.

At the same time, both sides have already shown willingness to return to negotiations.

“We are under a continued duty to bargain,” CH-UH school board president Jodi Sourini said Friday after tearfully introducing earlier in the week the resolution declaring an “ultimate impasse” in negotiations and authorizing the district to implement the one-year contract.

District officials said they already met with teachers’ union representatives to discuss the implications after the school board vote.

“At the union’s request, the district has also indicated it is willing to meet with the bargaining teams and federal 


New space toilet reaches the final frontier

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A robotic Cygnus spacecraft successfully blasted off from Virginia late Friday (Oct. 2) carrying nearly 4 tons of gear, including a new space toilet, to the International Space Station. 

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket lit up the night sky alongside a nearly full moon at 9:16 p.m. EDT (0116 GMT on Oct. 3) as it launched the Cygnus NG-14 mission to the space station from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. 

The craft is hauling 7,624 lbs. (3,458 kilograms) of cargo that includes scientific equipment, an experimental space toilet, food, hardware and other supplies for the Expedition 63/64 astronauts living and working on the space station. 

The launch came after a series of delays due to weather this week and less than 24 hours after a launch abort late Thursday (Oct. 1) due to a ground support equipment issue.

Related: See amazing launch photos of Antares and Cygnus NG-13!

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus NG-14 cargo ship launches toward the International Space Station from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia on Oct. 2, 2020. (Image credit: NASA TV)

Launching science to space

Along with crew supplies and hardware, the launch today sent a number of exciting scientific investigations and equipment to the space station. One of the most anticipated items onboard is a new space toilet, formally known as the Universal Waste Management System. The astronauts on the space station will test the $23 million commode for future use on station and by future crews on missions to the moon. 

The Cygnus is carrying a number of other investigations as well. For example, the radish-growing experiment Plant Habitat-02 aims to expand our knowledge of growing plants and food in space. With this experiment, researchers will test how


College Football Rankings 2020: Final NCAA Overview of Week 5 Standings | Bleacher Report

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Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith runs the ball during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Missouri Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

One of the benefits of the SEC’s conference-only schedule is that we should be treated to at least one ranked matchup each week.

On Saturday, there are two Top 25 meetings in the SEC that could shake up the complexion of both divisions. 

Alabama hosts Texas A&M in the first of those two games, but it will serve as the appetizer to the main event between Auburn and Georgia.

The “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” will be contested under the lights at Sanford Stadium and will serve as an early measuring stick for each team’s championship hopes. 

Georgia is in a much more favorable position to make a title run from the SEC East, but Auburn might be able to lay claim to the title of second-best squad in the SEC West if it comes out of Athens, Georgia, with a victory.


Week 5 Rankings

AP Top 25

1. Clemson (2-0)

2. Alabama (1-0)

3. Florida (1-0)

4. Georgia (1-0)

5. Notre Dame (2-0)

6. Ohio State

7. Auburn (1-0)

8. Miami (3-0)

9. Texas (2-0)

10. Penn State 

11. UCF (2-0)

12. North Carolina (1-0)

13. Texas A&M (1-0)

14. Oregon

15. Cincinnati (2-0)

16. Mississippi State (1-0)

17. Oklahoma State (2-0)

18. Oklahoma (1-1)

19. Wisconsin

20. LSU (0-1)

21. Tennessee (1-0)

22. BYU (2-0)

23. Michigan 

24. Pittsburgh (3-0)

25. Memphis (1-0)


The four SEC teams in the Top 25 matchups will be under the biggest spotlights Saturday. 

Alabama looked like the most impressive of the four squads in the opening week of SEC play by beating Missouri by 19 points. 

Auburn was frustrated by Kentucky, Georgia struggled in the first half against Arkansas, and Texas A&M failed to pull away from Vanderbilt. 

Georgia could be in the best position to improve out of the

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