Thumbs up: To all the local people working to minimize bullying behavior in our communities. This week, the Daily Chronicle – and several of its sister papers – concluded a four-day special project on bullying. The purpose of the project was to shed light on the issue and provide information that could lead to solutions. One thing our reporting made clear is that it will take various groups of people to stop bullying. The solution starts with parents, teachers, school administrators, coaches and experts who have studied bullying. It also includes children and teens. Those who are being bullied need to tell an authority figure what is happening to them. And they need to stand up for themselves when it is safe to do so. Many of our schools are now working to address the bullying problem more aggressively than in the past. Although the prevalence of social networking sites makes it easier than ever for bullies to target their victims, by raising awareness we can work together to keep children from experiencing the hardship of being a bully victim or the regret that can follow when one realizes they have been a bully.
Thumbs up: To The House Cafe and Riccardi’s Red Hots & Soda Fountain, two local eateries helping out with the Feed’em Soup Community Project. Feed’em Soup offers free community meals two to three times a month in which patrons are encouraged to pay what they can. If they can’t afford a meal, they eat for free. If you can throw a few dollars in the collection can, you cover your meal and the cost of someone else’s. Now the nonprofit is reaching out on a daily basis through the two restaurants. Feed’em Soup will provide the restaurants with homemade soups, which will be served according to the same pay-what-you-can principle. The restaurants expect to begin serving the soups in mid-October.
Thumbs down: To both candidates for president. Polling data this week showed President Barack Obama, who appears to have opened a slight lead, has a job-approval rating below 50 percent, possibly owing to the slow economy and national unemployment rate of more than 8 percent. Meanwhile, Republican challenger Mitt Romney also is viewed negatively by more voters than those who think positively about him. Hopefully things will change after debates this month. Otherwise, it looks like much of the county will be casting a clothespin vote – or maybe no vote at all.
Thumbs up: To the DeKalb Police Department for its participation in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. A collection tent will be set up today outside the DeKalb Police Department, 700 Pine St., to drop off unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs. The department has participated in the event for the past five years. Collecting the medication allows for the proper disposal of prescription drugs, rather than flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the garbage. This is a great opportunity for residents to clear out their medicine cabinets safely and anonymously.
Thumbs up: To Mark Salerno of Maple Park, who donated $6,000 to kick-start a drive for a memorial statue to Wally “Mr. Pumpkin” Thurow. Fundraisers plan to commission a life-sized bronze statue of Thurow on his trademark penny-farthing bicycle, although the design could change. It will cost an estimated $75,000 to erect a bronze statue of Thurow, and the fundraising committee hopes to have the statue in place in time for the 2014 festival, with a donation drive planned during this year’s fest. The city of Sycamore already has agreed to allow a statue to be placed near the intersection of Somonauk and Elm streets. Salerno’s family owns Windy City Amusements, which has operated carnival rides at the festival since 1989. It’s great to see him giving back to the community in this effort to create a memorial to a beloved local figure.