Thumbs up: To DeKalb’s public works and police officials for making sensible cuts when it comes to the construction of a new police station. To keep the project on budget, aesthetic features such as picnic tables in an outdoor break area and a planter wall were eliminated. The focus is on spending the money where it’s needed, for things such as evidence-handling facilities. We hope city departments show the same sensible restraint when it comes to renovating the municipal building once the police department moves out. When spending taxpayer money, function should supersede form.
Thumbs down: To still shrinking property values. On Tuesday at the Sycamore School District 427 board meeting, district officials said they expect the value of all property in the district to decline by 9 percent from the year before, making it three years in a row the value has declined. The district expects to collect about $800,000 more in property tax revenue, which will likely make it difficult for the schools to keep up with year-to-year cost increases. It also means that as the assessed value of homes declines, the rate of tax they pay will increase. We doubt that the situation is unique to Sycamore, but we hope the trend of declining property value ends as soon as possible.
Thumbs up: To the DeKalb Police Benevolent & Protective Association. The organization announced that this year’s “Shop With a Cop” program will be held Dec. 9 at the Target store on Sycamore Road in DeKalb. The program offers children whose families are experiencing difficult times the opportunity to buy $100 worth of Christmas presents for themselves and their families with the help of a DeKalb police officer. The presents then will be wrapped by Target’s staff and delivered to the police department, where Santa’s helpers will pick them up and deliver them to the children’s homes the week before Christmas. Last year’s program helped 10 children and their families. This year the program, with financial help from Target, the police association and donations, will help 12 children and their families. To learn more about the program, nominate a child to participate or for information on how to donate, contact Angel Reyes at 815-748-8444.
Thumbs down: To street gangs and their attempts to influence our community. On Thursday, Mario Vega, 19, of Sycamore pleaded guilty to intimidating children, who he wanted to join a gang. Vega also was accused of forcing a child under 18 to snort cocaine and tattooing that child. He received probation in the case, although there is an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold on him, and he could be deported. We abhor gangs and the violence and drug trade that accompany them, not to mention the corrupting influence they have on young people.
Thumbs up: To the overwhelming participation in this year’s Sycamore Pumpkin Festival display contest. The Sycamore Lions Club saw 1,146 entries displayed on the courthouse lawn Wednesday. Ed Kuhn, who chaired the pumpkin contest with fellow Lions Club member Tom Moline, believes the contest has topped 1,000 entries only once before in its history. Awards were issued in more than 30 categories to adults and children of all different ages. What a great community event. Wally “Mr. Pumpkin” Thurow would be proud.