Thumbs up: To all the hard-working people on this Labor Day weekend, and to those who came before who helped make the American workforce what it is today. In the wake of the Great Recession, some of us are working in lower-paying jobs, others are not working at all. But the American workforce is a driven one, and as a people we work as hard or harder than any other country in the world.
Those of us still lucky enough to keep plugging away also benefit from such conventions as the weekend, a minimum wage, child labor laws, and basic regulations for workplace safety in part because of the struggles of those who came before us.
Thumbs down: To Hurricane Isaac, which later became Tropical Storm Isaac after making landfall Wednesday on the Gulf Coast. The storm has once again proved a powerful reminder that forces of nature still can be great enough to overpower anything people put in their path, flooding neighborhoods and knocking out power in Louisiana and Mississippi, and killing at least five people.
Although we’re lucky nothing so extreme has been felt here in DeKalb County, we certainly didn’t need the roughly 16-cent overnight increase in gas prices this week that followed the shutdown of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s hoping that everything soon can get back to normal, especially for those whose lives have been most directly affected by the storm.
Thumbs up: To the Northern Illinois University football team, which carries the longest active winning streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision – nine in a row – into a matchup with Iowa, a powerful Big Ten foe, at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon at Soldier Field in Chicago. The game will be televised on ESPNU. There are many new faces in starting roles for the defending Mid-American Conference champions this season, and we wish them well as they set out on a difficult road to defend their conference title. Let’s hope they run that streak well into double-digits.
Thumbs up: To two DeKalb businesses that celebrated milestones this week. Ocie Inboden opened Inboden’s Meat Market in 1962 near the corner of First Street and Hillcrest Drive. Fifty years later, his son Tom and his family are running the market in the same spot, but the business has progressed. “Evolving is part of what has kept us successful,” Tom said. Here’s to another 50 years. On Thursday, Wright’s Jewelry closed its doors in downtown DeKalb after 27 years. Although it’s a sad day for customers, owner John Wright plans to enjoy retirement and keep working on his celebrated collection of World War II posters. A book about the collection could be on the horizon. We wish him well.
Thumbs up: To the Boosting Girls’ Interest in Engineering seminar. The event reached out to 75 educators, Girl Scout leaders and businesspeople, sharing ways they can help girls parlay an interest in science into a future career. Research indicates that many girls who express an early interest in science later abandon it because of perceived social pressures, which may have caused lack of women in science and technology fields. As the U.S. struggles to compete in a global marketplace that is increasingly focused on technology, all children with an interest in the field should be encouraged to pursue it.