Thumbs up: To DeKalb County for completing a much needed website revamp. Although the new site, still at www.dekalbcounty.org, does not have any new information, it is more thoughtfully laid out so that information and documents are easier to find. The new “I Want To ...” tab makes it easy to take action, from volunteering to registering to vote to reserving a forest preserve shelter. Links to financial information – such as labor contracts, vendor payments and audits – are helpful for citizen watchdogs keeping an eye on their government.
Thumbs up: To Genoa Main Street, which received a 2012 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Downtown Revitalization this week. The award recognizes Illinois Main Street groups that excel either in design, organization, promotion or economic restructuring. Genoa received the award for transforming its usually dull annual partner and volunteer appreciation dinner into a festive event that inspires volunteers and recruits new members. Executive Director Mim Evans said the dinner now is hosted at a local restaurant at no cost to attendees because expenses are covered by holding a dessert auction at the end of the night, which is the biggest attraction. It’s not always easy to come up with ways to spice up the same old events, but Genoa Main Street has shown it is possible.
Thumbs up: To the TAILS Humane Society, Midwest Museum of Natural History and Sycamore schools for joining together to create a fun way to teach students about the electoral process. What began as an inside joke at the museum touting a 10-year-old tortoise named Hercules for president has now become a way to teach schoolchildren about democracy. Hercules and his opponent in the race, Athena the rabbit, will be used to illustrate how a campaign works. The fact they are cute animals should help hold students’ attention, too.
Thumbs down: To the still growing obesity problem in America. Federal health officials project 42 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030, and a report this week from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation predicts it could be even worse, with more than half of all Americans obese in less than 20 years. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or more. The BMI is a measure of appropriate weight for one’s height. Our nation’s health depends on us not allowing these predictions to come true.
Thumbs up: To Kishwaukee Community Hospital, where employee injuries have been reduced 95 percent over the past three years, thanks in part to the use of devices that make it easier for nurses and other hospital staff to move patients and lift them onto beds. The changes took place through a partnership with an Addison company. Not only has the hospital drastically reduced the costs of injuries and the lost productivity they cause but it also means fewer nurses and others are being hurt at work, another big plus.