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Family refused entry onto Southwest flight after autistic son couldn’t wear face mask

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A Iowa family was refused entry onto a Southwest Airlines flight because their autistic 5-year-old son could not wear a face mask, a report said.

Cody and Paige Petek and their two children were in St. Louis for a connecting flight home to the Des Moines International Airport on Sunday when they were turned away, KCCI reported.

Before boarding the plane, the family’s son, who is non-verbal, has autism and a sensory processing disorder, was having issues with his face mask, the family told the outlet.

Another traveler boarding the same flight who witnessed the ordeal said other passengers were encouraging the flight crew to let the boy board. But the staff refused.

“He just wasn’t having it and throwing a fit,” Dr. Vince Hassel told the news station. “Just to watch this play out was absolutely horrible.”

Southwest Airlines, in a statement to the outlet, said federal law requires passengers ages 2 and up to wear a mask while traveling.

Cody and Paige Petek said their 5-year-old son, who has autism and a sensory processing disorder, couldn't wear a mask.
Cody and Paige Petek’s 5-year-old son.
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Under Transportation Security Administration policy, travelers with disabilities who cannot wear a mask due to their condition are not required to, according to the report.

The airline said the child did not have a face mask exemption.

“Southwest Airlines considers applications for exemptions from this mask requirement from passengers with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or who cannot safely wear a mask because of the disability,” the company said in its statement to KCCI.

“In this case, a traveler was not wearing a face covering prior to boarding and did not have an exemption to the federal mask mandate,” the statement said.

The airline said it offered to put the family in a hotel Sunday night with a new flight Monday “to allow them additional time to comply.”

But the family accepted a refund and opted to drive home instead, the report said.

The family’s lawyer, Anthony Marchetti Jr, said the airline may have violated the the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“There’s clear guidance from the department of transportation about what the airline should do,” Marchetti told the outlet. “None of that happened here.”

Cody and Paige Petek said their 5-year-old son, who has autism and a sensory processing disorder, was having trouble with his face mask on a Southwest flight.

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Southwest said the child did not have a face mask exemption.

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Penn State to replace ‘sexist and classist’ words like freshman

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Penn State to replace 'sexist and classist' words like freshman

Pigskin powerhouse Penn State has jumped on the woke wagon.

The sprawling public university will replace pronouns such as he/him/hers with they/them/theirs; replace traditional student designations such as freshman and sophomore with “first year” and “second year” and; replace “underclassmen” and “upperclassmen” with “lower division” and “upper division,” according to Penn State News.

The Preferred Name and Gender Identity Policy was passed by Pennsylvania State University’s Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs on April 27.

“Terms such as ‘freshmen’ are decidedly male-specific, while terms such as ‘upperclassmen’ can be interpreted as both sexist and classist. Terms such as ‘junior’ and ‘senior’ are parallel to western male father-son naming conventions, and much of our written documentation uses he/she pronouns,” states the resolution. 

“It is time to close the loop and ensure that all people are not only able to choose their name & gender identity within our systems, but that these documents and systems are also structured to be inclusive from the start.”

The decision was mocked by some people on social media.

“I am at my wit’s end with all of this stupidity,” said one Penn State parent on Twitter.

Asked Bill Bressier on Twitter, referencing the school’s sports teams’ nickname: “How long is that until the ‘Nittany Lion,’ which is a male term, is replaced by the gender neutral, correct subspecies ‘Eastern Cougar?’”

Penn State will also no longer use the phrase “super senior” to denote those students whose studies last beyond the traditional four years. They will instead be called fifth-year (or beyond) students.

The term super seniors “does often carry a slightly negative connotation,” the resolution noted.

Penn State announced in 2018 that it was dropping the titles homecoming “king” and “queen.”

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New book reveals how to win friends and influence post-COVID

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New book reveals how to win friends and influence post-COVID

Prior to the pandemic, Jon Levy was best known as the founder of the Influencers Dinner, a regular roving dinner party of A-listers — strangers to each other — pulled from different industries. The location would be revealed shortly before the event, and there were a few ground rules: Everyone would cook dinner together, and no one could reveal their last name or where they worked. 

It was all very mysterious. 

“There would always be this moment where people arrive for the cocktail hour,” says Levy, a behavioral scientist and author of the new book, “You’re Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence.” “And they invariably say, ‘Do you mind if I call my wife? I just want to tell her I still have my kidneys.’ ” Past guests have included Nobel laureates, Olympic athletes, executives, scientists, and the Grammy-winning voice of the bark from “Who Let the Dogs Out.” 

This past year, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to their Zoom squares to socialize digitally, Levy realized that virtual events can be rewarding — they just have to be planned differently. 

“When TV came out, the answer to programming wasn’t to have people reading soap operas. The new platform created a new way to engage, and that’s the same with digital,” he explains. “When we design our events, we design the experiences to focus on you, the individual, so you feel you’re connecting with people. We start off by putting people in breakout rooms to meet each other. The key is not to leave people to interview each other. Humans do best when there’s a shared effort or activity. If I give you a puzzle to figure out or an icebreaker game, that’s really important. These games cause a shared investment of effort. Now you’re a team.” 

Levy’s work as a behavioral scientist focuses on influence and human connection, never more important than in the current times. 

“I really value bringing people together. And when you look at the research, people are getting lonelier and more isolated,” says Levy. “I’m all for people earning more money and having nice things, but it just doesn’t carry the day. And [by writing this], I was hoping that if I worked hard enough, we can begin to shift the cultural conversation about what gives people a higher quality of life.” 

Check out jonlevytlb.com/games for several different examples of activities to be played at virtual events. 

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Body of missing KPMG executive Alan White found in Texas

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Body of missing KPMG executive Alan White found in Texas

The body of a Dallas businessman who has been missing since October was found in a wooded area of the Texas city.

A survey crew working for Paul Quinn College found human remains near the campus Thursday, police said.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner identified the remains as Alan White, an executive at accounting firm KPMG who was last seen gassing up his Porsche after a gym visit on Oct. 22.

The 55-year-old’s vehicle was found about a week later, and there were no signs of a struggle or accident.

“Your mind goes through all these scenarios of what could’ve happened,” White’s husband Rusty Jenkins said at the time. “But it’s all just kind of guesses until we get some facts or some leads. But your mind plays games all day of what did happen, what could’ve happened.”

There is a $10,000 reward for information related to the case.

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