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Our View: Thumbs up: To this year's Tribute to Heroes

Published: Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

Thumbs up: To this year’s Tribute to Heroes honorees – Robert Coulter of DeKalb, Ken Doubler of DeKalb, Denny Rehn of Kirkland and Michael and Jenelle Muzzillo of Sandwich. They were honored Thursday by the Three Fires Council Boy Scouts of America for their lifelong dedication to community service and local leadership. “None of them ever think they deserve it because they are all very humble,” event organizer Cohen Barnes said. “But it is important we take a moment to pause and recognize them for what they have done.” Indeed.

Thumbs up: To TAILS Humane Society and Petco, who are partnering to save the lives of up to 150 dogs from overcrowded shelters in Oklahoma. Petco has provided space for TAILS to have two adoption events, but the dogs must be cared for from the day they arrive Friday through the last day of the event Oct. 28.

TAILS is looking for local residents to provide foster homes for these dogs. Beth Drake, executive director for TAILS, said this is the first adoption event of this size the organization has undertaken, but she has worked with the Oklahoma shelters for about three years.

“It’s a pretty groundbreaking event,” she said. “The more foster homes we can find, the more lives we can save.” TAILS veterinarians will perform health exams on each animal when they arrive. The Petco Foundation will provide a crate, two-week supply of food, blankets, towels and newspapers to all foster volunteers. Dogs will get a behavior assessment before fostering and will be vaccinated, micro-chipped, flea and tick treated, de-wormed and heart-worm tested. Volunteers are asked to transport their foster animal to the adoption events Oct. 27 or 28 and stay with the pet during the event if possible, as it gives the dog a better chance of adoption.

Thumbs up: To getting educated about local political races. The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce hosted a candidates’ night this week, where those running for local office could answer questions and share their platforms. Only about 100 people turned out for the event; it’s possible some skipped it because they were worried about missing the televised presidential debate later that night. Although the person in the Oval Office certainly affects life in these United States, the people making decisions at the local level have, arguably, as great or greater impact on the day-to-day lives of residents. Those who missed the forum will have another chance Oct. 17, when the League of Women Voters of DeKalb County will host a second candidates’ night at the DeKalb City Council Chambers. That forum will be broadcast live on DeKalb’s public access channel and streamed live on the city of DeKalb website for those unable to attend.

Thumbs up: To those who organized and contributed to NIU Engineers Without Borders’ “A Day Without Shoes” shoe-collection drive Thursday. The collection drive’s goal was to collect shoes for people in developing countries who might not otherwise have them. Some people simply walked up to the collection point outside the Holmes Student Center, took off their shoes, and walked away barefoot. It’s good to see students helping make a difference in the lives of people whom they might never meet, but whose struggles are real. Anyone who still would like to donate shoes to the cause can contact Soles 4 Souls, the agency that worked with Engineers Without Borders on the project, online at soles4souls.org, or by phone at 615-391-5723.

Thumbs up: To job growth. For the first time since January 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate fell below 8 percent, clocking in at 7.8 percent. The number of Americans who said they were employed in September grew by 873,000, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday. Supporters of President Obama will point to the numbers and say they’re proof his economic policies are working. Supporters of Republican challenger Mitt Romney will say this has happened in spite of those policies. Others will tell you that the economy is cyclical and it really doesn’t have much to do with who’s in the White House.

Spin games aside, there are more Americans employed today than in August. If the rate of unemployment continues to shrink and people have more money to spend, we’ll all be better off. The sooner this country snaps out of its economic malaise, the better.

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