Thumbs up: To the Sycamore City Council for its action this week to entice more residents to participate in the city’s sidewalk replacement program. Council members unanimously supported increasing the city’s contribution to the program from $3 a square foot to $4 a square foot to replace sidewalks, leaving residents responsible for less than half the total cost. It costs $7 to remove and replace a square foot of sidewalk.
The program provides $25,000 annually, so the increase would not affect the budget. This move will not only help residents save money but also address safety in the city.
Thumbs up: To the partnership between DeKalb High School and 3M. DHS students designed and built more than 50 convenience trays in which 3M employees can place their phones, personal computers and other small items while operating forklifts.
Industrial arts teacher David Elliott said eight to 10 students went through the entire production process.
“I think it was good exposure for everybody,” Elliott said. “They went from sales to delivery – the whole 360-degree process of the production cycle.”
3M does have convenience trays, but the stock models that are available did not have compartments for items such as phones or pencils, said John Geraci, warehouse operations manager at 3M’s distribution center in DeKalb. Instead of contracting out for new trays, the company wanted to see whether this was a project it could work on with the high school, Geraci said.
“3M always likes to partner with the community to see what we can do to further develop our core communications and community involvement,” Geraci said. We applaud the effort to give DHS students an opportunity for hands-on, real-world experience.
Thumbs down: To the news-outsourcing firm Journatic and its part owner, Chicago-based Tribune Co. A Journatic employee revealed on National Public Radio’s “This American Life” this week that Journatic had been using writers based in the Philippines and other overseas locations to write stories under phony bylines that appeared in newspapers across the country, including in the Chicago Tribune. Philippines-based writers earn between 35 and 40 cents a story.
No matter how far technology advances, journalism remains a human process. Local news should be reported by people who have seen the community they are writing about, know its people, and submit their stories under their real names.
Thumbs up: To those who celebrated the Fourth of July safely and responsibly. The hot, dry weather made the perfect conditions for fires or careless use of fireworks to get quickly out of control, but the holiday seemed to go off without any major incidents.
A thumbs up, too, to the Sandwich Park District, for making the hard decision to postpone its fireworks display after deciding the field set for the event was too dry to set them off safely. It’s not easy for festival organizers to make the decision to disappoint people, but they deserve a pat on the back for seeing the big picture.
Thumbs up: To the November change in Illinois law that allowed people given up for adoption as children to access copies of their birth certificates, including the names of their biological parents. Before the change, adoptees needed the consent of their birth parents to access the records.
The change in the law made it possible for Barbara Buck, whose birth mother gave her up for adoption in 1949, to meet her siblings for the first time at Parkway Restaurant in Sycamore this week. For many adult adoptees, learning about their biological family members not only can satisfy curiosity, but also can provide critical information about family medical history. It also does little to diminish the role of adoptive parents.