By: Elsie Sy-Niebar


*AMERICA mourns over the death of President GEORGE W.H. BUSH, 94, a wellloved and very distinguished President!

*Gov. Bruce Rauner celebrates a Star-studded Illinois’ Grand Bicentennial 200th Birthday Party at Chicago’s Navy Pier.

*17 Hopefuls for ‘MAYOR of CHICAGO MAYOR’

*WILLIAM ‘BILL’ DALEY for MAYOR — gets standing ovation as speaker at Chicago City Club!

*CHICAGO MAGNIFiCENT LIONS Pres. JR Roque’ brings Christmas Cheers to the Orphanages in Batangas and Quezon City



Wednesday, December 5, the Washington National Cathedral was bursting with world’s government dignitaries. It was the day that America witnessed the state funeral of one of her most respected presidents: the late PRESIDENT GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, who passed away last November 30, 2018, in Houston, Texas. Seated on one of the front pews were — President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, the former presidents Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama; Bill Clinton and Mrs. Hilary Clinton; and Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Luz Carter. President Trump declared Wednesday, December 5th as a National Day of Mourning to honor the life of President George H. W. Bush.

Former President George W. Bush delivers a eulogy for his father: At the state funeral, former president George W. Bush delivered a short eulogy saying: “Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died. He was a man of the highest character and the best Dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life (41st US President) love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens. He looked for the good in each person, and he usually found it. Dad taught us that public service is noble and necessary, that one can serve with integrity and hold true to the important values like faith and family.” He concluded his eulogy with a message addressed to his father. “We’re going to miss you,” America’s 43rd President told his Dad, the 41st President. “Your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever.”

Vice President Pence was quoted saying: “When President George Herbert Walker Bush left his office, he left America and the world more peaceful, prosperous, and secure.”

George Herbert Walker Bush in capsule: Born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, ultimately serving two terms. He was chosen as Reagan’s vice-presidential running mate; served as vice president to Pres. Reagan; was elected president of the USA in 1989. During his presidency, Bush skillfully handled foreign affairs during a tumultuous time for the nation. Despite his global successes, Bush’s inability to handle economic problems at home were blamed for his re-election bid failure in 1992.When his eldest son, George W. Bush, was elected president in 2000, George Bush, Sr. made many public appearances, frequently to speak in support of his son. In 2011, Bush was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Statement from President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on the Passing of Former President George H.W. Bush: “Melania and I join with a grieving Nation to mourn the loss of former President George H.W. Bush, who passed away last night. Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service to be — in his words, ‘a thousand points of light’ illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world. President Bush always found a way to set the bar higher. As a young man, he captained the Yale baseball team and served as the youngest aviator in the United States Navy during the Second World War. Later in life, he rose to the pinnacle of American politics as a Congressman from Texas, envoy to China, Director of Central Intelligence, Vice President for eight years to President Ronald Reagan, and finally President of the United States.”

“With sound judgment, common sense, and unflappable leadership, President Bush guided our Nation, and the world, to a peaceful and victorious conclusion of the Cold War. As President, he set the stage for the decades of prosperity that have followed. And through all that he had accomplished — he remained humble, following the quiet call to service that gave him a clear sense of direction. Along with his full life of service to our country, we will remember President Bush for his devotion to family — especially the love of his life, Barbara. His example lives on, and will continue to stir future Americans to pursue a greater cause. Our hearts ache with his loss, and we, with the American people, send our prayers to the entire Bush family, as we honor the life and legacy of 41.” (41 as 41st president.)

Some close friends of the late President George W. H. Bush believe that the death of the late Mrs. Barbara Bush last April, affected him so much. “They were so in love,” commented a family close friend.

OUTGOING GOV. BRUCE RAUNER CELEBRATES ILLINOIS BICENTENNIAL: A nostalgic look back about Illinois Bicentennial celebration: IN CHICAGO, 200 years ago, on December 3, 1818, Illinois became the Union’s 21st state! The Illinois Bicentennial is a yearlong celebration of what has been BORN, BUILT & GROWN in the state and a reminder of why we are Illinois Proud.

Last December 3, outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner invited some of Illinois’ celebrities, dignitaries, veterans and citizens to celebrate Illinois’ Bicentennial Birthday Party at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Hosted by the legendary journalist Bill Kurtis, the program opened with Wayne Messmer belting out the national anthem, followed by the heartwarming speech of Gov. Bruce Rauner, welcoming a crowd of more than 2300! “Tonight, we recognize some of the great contributions Illinois has made to society and the world,”the governor told the crowd. “The milestones featured during our 200th birthday represent opportunities to reflect on our past and understand the great assets our state has to build on for the future. We have a lot to be proud of and lot to build on.”

Rauner recognized the contributions of Bicentennial sponsors who made it possible to conduct a year’s worth of Bicentennial activities without spending taxpayers’ money. The key sponsors included Wintrust, which served as the Official Bank of the Bicentennial, Walgreens, Abbott, Boeing, BMO Harris, Illinois Office of Tourism, Comcast and United Airlines.

The programs reflecting various stages of Illinois history, started with the Bicentennial theme Born, Built and Grown in Illinois. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed Happy Birthday, while Gov. Rauner joined Mark Schulman of Eli Cheesecake to cut a 1,000-pound Honest Abe Apple Cheesecake, shaped like the Illinois State Capitol. Chicago vocalist Simone Green sang a stirring rendition of the Illinois state song. Governor- elect JB Pritzker also addressed the crowd, saying, “we are celebrating our bicentennial as One Illinois, ringing in our third century with hope and optimism to build on the progress of our first 200 years.”

Act 5 focused on History and Culture, showing video tributes to the men from Illinois who became US Presidents; Broadway’s Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton in Chicago) performed the “Gettysburg Rap; migration of Jazz and Blues from the Deep South to East St. Louis to Chicago; capped by Buddy Guy, and his band performing Guy’s ‘Sweet Home Chicago” finale.

Latest Count is 17 Candidates are hitting the road for Chicago Mayor. At press time, less than two months before the February 2019 Chicago Mayoral election the following 17 Candidates are up for grabs whomever you believe are capable of leading Chicago away from what she is in today, earning a name “the city having the highest Crime Count in the United States of America”. These candidates are as follows: 1) Bill Daley 2) Paul Vallas 3) Gary Chico 4) Amara Enyia 5) Robert “Bob” Fioretti 6) La Shawn Ford 7) Willie Wilson 8) Ja’Mal Green 9) Dorothy Brown 10) Susana Mendoza 11) Jerry Joyce 12) Lori Lightfoot 13) Toni Preckwinkle 14) Garry McCarthy 15) Neal Sales-Griffin 16) John Kenneth Kozlar 17) Roger L. Washington.

So far, only two candidates have reached out to Via Times, the first one is Mr. Jerry Joyce , who is married to a Filipino American, and then, Mr. Bill Daley, asking me to reach out to the ASIAN AMERICANS in Chicago. Of course, I highly respect Bill’s great government service credentials, plus the fact that he came from a family who served Chicago! Last Nov. 27, Bill Daley received a standing ovation as guest speaker at the City Club of Chicago, held at the Maggiano’s Little Italy banquet hall, with over 300 guests. (Founded in 1903, the City Club of Chicago was established as a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization to investigate and improve urban conditions and affairs in Chicago.)

In capsule, here’s “Who is William ‘Bill’ Daley”: He was born on August 9, 1948; a lawyer and former banker. He served as White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama from January 2011 to January 2012. He also served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 1997 to 2000 under President Bill Clinton. His private-sector positions included membership on the Executive Committee of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Mr. Bill Daley is equipped with the experience how to run the government from the higher level. A big plus is – he is a Chicago native whose late father was an icon Mayor of Chicago, followed by his brother, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, who chose to retire after serving for several years. In his speech, he shared his vision firstly, how to solve the crimes, employment and to make Chicago greater where people should come and stay and not leave like what’s going on today. With his experience in the higher office in government, Bill Daley has the tools and nails to “repair” Chicago’s near-collapse governance today. Following is an excerpt from his speech at the Chicago City Club where he received a standing ovation:

“Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my thoughts about Chicago and our future. Let me begin by saying that I think it’s a bright future with unlimited potential. But I admit I’m a little biased because I love this city and never wanted to live anywhere else. I believe it is the greatest city in the world… city full of neighborhoods with this much diversity and character; unique blend of beauty. We’re living in a special moment for the City of Chicago. It is a moment of great promise and a moment of equally great uncertainty. In this critical moment, one path could take us forward. Another path could lead to drift and decline. While there is much to celebrate, there’s a lot of frustration out there — disappointment— even anger. People are tired of excuses. They’re giving up on Chicago — just when we need them most. And there are troubling trends that could divide us—both economically and socially.”

“The economic and social costs of crime and violence impede our ability to invest and improve our quality of life across the city. Just nine days ago, a domestic dispute turned violent and left four people dead. They include a doctor, a pharmacist and a young Chicago police officer who left behind a wife and three young children. We’re gonna’ hit 500 murders this year. We may have three thousand shootings. Today, our murder rate is four times higher than L.A. and seven times higher than New York. We have more killings than both cities combined. My goal is a 75 percent reduction in shootings over four years and a comparable reduction in murders.”

“Second — we need to focus on putting gangs out of business for good — with better policing and more technology. First of all, we need leadership at every level that is committed to changing the culture in the department. We need a major shake-up. But we also know that the vast majority of the men and women in the Chicago Police Department are good, honest, decent people who protect us every day. We need to support them and give them the tools to do their jobs. Police can’t do it alone. They need partners in the community – organizations that intervene in gang disputes – and organizations that help young people stay out of gangs and give them a path to a better future. I will commit $50 million dollars a year for violence prevention. It worked in New York. It worked in Los Angeles. And it will work here.”

“As I have said many times, I am running for mayor because I love this city and I want to see it grow. I have spent the last 10 weeks in living rooms all across Chicago. I have talked with small business owners and faith leaders. I have talked with parents. I met young parents who want to stay in their neighborhood but they’re worried about school quality. If they have to pay for private school, they will likely move to the suburbs. I heard from a businessman who wants to reopen a factory on the Southwest Side and put people to work. He is ready to invest but the city is holding him up. Saddest of all–a few weeks ago I met a mom who lost her son to gun violence. I sat with her as she cried and talked about him. He died at the age of 28 — but she still calls him her “baby.” She said he wasn’t an angel. She admits he made mistakes. But he was trying to turn his life around and had even moved out of the city. He came back just to pick up something at his mother’s house when a bullet found him and took his life I have lived here my whole life. My wife and I, my children and grand-children are here. I want what every parent wants: A better life for their kids. This is our moment and our chance to fulfill our destiny as a proud, diverse, livable, thriving, growing city of neighborhoods. That is who we are. That is why we’re special. That is why I love Chicago. And that is why I’m running for Mayor. Thank you.”

MAGNIFICENT LIONS CLUB BRINGS CHRISTMAS CHEERS to the orphanages in Quezon City and Batangas: Inspired by the success of last year’s Christmas Cheer which brought awesome Joy to the orphans in the Philippines by the Magnificent Lions Club, then under its founding president, JetJet Gruezo, current Magnificent Lions president JR Roque and JetJet are spending their Christmas this year in the Philippines to continue bringing Christmas Joy to the orphanages in Batangas and Quezon provinces.

“I could never forget the happiness of the children and the nuns as we handed them our humble Christmas gifts last year,” JR told me. “It was so touching and inspiring. That’s why are going back this year. Included in our Christmas program is health-o-Rama, hence, we thank all the donors for the medicine and gifts for the children The two orphanages they will be serving are the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Children’s Home and the Sisters Oblates of the Holy Spirit, Casasay’s Children’s Home. The children’s home is run by five nuns who take care of 30 children ages 2 to 14 who do not receive NGO or government assistance.”

Rita Neri serves as the Event Planner. For 50-plus years the tireless sisters, headed by Sister Maria Mely Piella continue to take care of the children. They are the dedicated Sister Oblates of the Holy Spirit who run the facility with Ms. Jojie Casabal of the Philippine government Dept. of Social Services. The Caysasay Childrens’ home is the temporary shelter for the children while their mother or father or both to work for a living for their survival. These are very poor families who at times do not have food and a roof over their heads. These amazing Sisters of Caysasay help take care of the children until their parents can afford to take them back. Located in Labac, Taal, Batangas, the Children’s Home is tucked behind a beautiful miraculous century old church called Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

“On behalf of the Magnificent Lions, I heartily thank all the donors to our Christmas Cheers project which include Dental Mission and Christmas party for the orphanages,” Magnificent Lion president JR Roque concluded.



The late President George W. H. Bush and his beloved wife for 72 years, Mrs. Barbara Bush. (AP photo)


Happy times of outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner and First Lady Diana Rauner. We’re going to miss him, too.


William “Bill” Daley FOR MAYOR, received a standing ovation for his speech at the Chicago City Club, recently, attended by 300+ guests. Next photo is with this columnist (Elsie Sy-Niebar) who was elated with his response to her question during the Q & A forum. (Photo by Chicago City Club)


Group of Children at the OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP CHILDREN’s HOME in Taal, Batangas, Philippines, during a Christmas party and gift-giving in 2017 by the MAGNIFICENT LIONS CLUB in Chicago, then with JetJet Gruezo as president.

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