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SNEED: Mayo Clinic stay could mean post-Labor Day return for Jesse Jackson Jr.

Congressional ethics investigators suspended its inquiry in U.S. Rep. Jesse Jacksregarding his entanglement with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich request authorities.

Congressional ethics investigators suspended its inquiry into U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson regarding his entanglement with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich at the request of authorities.

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Updated: August 30, 2012 6:18AM

The Jackson story...

Sneed has learned U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was eyeing a return to Congress before Labor Day.

But things may have changed now that he’s at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Sneed reported exclusively Friday night that Jackson, who was being treated in Tucson for a “mood disorder” since early June, was transported by private plane to the famed clinic in Rochester, Minn., late Wednesday night.

Sneed is also told the congressman was accompanied by his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson, who had told close friends her husband’s duodenal bypass surgery for weight loss years ago might be the source of his mental problems. His staff initially said he was being treated for exhaustion.

“The plan was for Jesse to receive treatment in Tucson and then go back to work,” said a source. “But after weeks of treatment in Tucson, it was felt maybe his mental condition had been aggravated or caused by effects of the stomach surgery.”

Ironically, a call to Jackson’s office Friday afternoon claimed the Congressman was still in treatment in Tucson.

“There are no updates and we don’t anticipate one,” said Frank Watkins, the congressman’s spokesman. “He is still in Arizona, but there’s nothing to say on or off the record about his status. There is no date set for his return.”

But the Mayo Clinic later in the day confirmed Jackson was at Mayo “for extensive inpatient evaluation for depression and for gastrointestinal issues.”

“Congressman Jackson and his family are grateful for the outpouring of support and prayers that have been received throughout his care,” the statement said.

A source said: “Being treated at Mayo Clinic sheds new light on the possible seriousness of the situation.”

But does it?

Congressman Jackson, whose political star power has faded, was also suffering from a case of political jeopardy ever since federal prosecutors alleged his businessman buddy Raguveer Nayak conducted a pay-for-play scheme in an attempt by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s to sell President Barack Obama’s senate seat. Nayak’s recent indictdment on federal charges unrelated to the Blago trial was followed by Jackson entering a treatment facility in Tucson.

Word is he was also upset by his nearly non-existent relationship to Obama, whom he had once considered a good friend.

“Who knows what’s going to happen,” said a Sneed source. “Jesse Jr. is in a world of hurt and he’s got an election coming up in November.

“But his wife and family are standing by him and that’s a big deal when you’re in a physical and political pickle.”

Hero’s story...

It wasn’t the face of fear Chicago firefighter Clarence Norwood III encountered Monday afternoon dangling from a railing at the Bloomingdale’s building.

It was the face of anger and despair; the palpable desire of a man to jump from a sixth-floor shopping court atrium ledge in front of a crowd.

In the end, it was a last second bear hug from Norwood that caught the leaper in mid-air.

The man, who was heavyset and in his 50s, kept skimming the narrow atrium ledge looking for a way to avoid the two giant inflatable “jump bags” rescuers had erected to break his fall.

“He was saying something under his breath, it seemed like a prayer, or that maybe he was counting down,” said Norwood, who was tethered to a line tied to a nearby bench.

“He was angry about a recent hospital stay…so his doctor was summoned; his sister was put on speaker phone; and his wife was en route.”

Norwood’s dad, who’s also a firefighter, was at the scene and saw his son save the man’s life.

“My father, who has been a fireman for 36 years, is retiring in November, so it was pretty cool he was there,” said Norwood.

∞ The dad’s side: “It was the first time my son and I ever worked that close together. I’m so very proud of him.

“I’m retiring in November, I’m turning it over to him. Every day we work together is a blessing.”


Gay-owned and gay-friendly restaurants are taking advantage of the Chick-fil-A brouhaha for the eatery CEO’s anti-gay marriage stance. The gay-owned Hearty restaurant in Lake View will be holding Chick-fil-Gay Appreciation Day serving fried chicken sandwiches and fries for $10, with all proceeds benefiting Equality Illinois, Grubstreet Chicago reports.


Saturday’s birthdays: Dia Weil, Howard Carroll, Warner Saunders, Elizabeth Barkley, Bill Bradley and Walter Jacobson. Sunday’s birthdays: Wil Wheaton, 40; Martina McBride, 46; Elizabeth Dole, 76; Geddy Lee, 59; Stephen Dorff, 39, and Marilyn Quayle, 63.

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