Thumbs up: To Laura Vazquez, a Northern Illinois University professor and documentary filmmaker, for her work highlighting the plight of homeless women and children around the country. Vazquez recently received an award from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth for her body of work, which includes three documentaries she’s produced. Telling stories about homeless people can help promote understanding, and problems we understand are much more solvable than those we do not understand. Vazquez says her next project will be about sexual assault on college campuses, another social ill about which she can raise awareness and understanding.
Thumbs up: To a new beginning for an old building. The DeKalb County Community Foundation is settling into Sycamore’s historical train depot after private donations and public tax increment financing district dollars helped renovate the space. The city paid for exterior improvements with tax increment financing funds before donating the space to the foundation, whose leaders raised money to renovate the inside of the building. The building fundraising was separate from the endowment the organization manages, and we hope both the building and the organization thrive.
Thumbs down: To State’s Attorney Clay Campbell. Campbell, a Republican, was ousted in Tuesday’s election by Richard Schmack, his Democratic challenger. After a narrow loss in the most closely contested local race of the season, Campbell hasn’t spoken either to his successor or to reporters since Tuesday, despite several attempts to contact him. It’s understandable that losing a close race would be difficult to swallow. But the thousands of people around the area who did support Campbell would like to hear from him. Eventually he should talk to Schmack, too, given that Schmack will be taking over Dec. 3, the day before William “Billy” Curl’s murder trial is set to begin. The office needs to move forward, and we hope Campbell comes out of his shell soon to help in the transition.
Thumbs up: To the end of the election season. Although electing our public officials is one of the most important things we do as citizens, campaigns have become increasingly long and arduous. Although its not something we should legislate, it would be great if the two major parties would self-regulate and reduce the time we all have to endure the bombardment of campaign messages.
Thumbs up: To community support. Less than 24 hours after a fire made a Waterman police officer’s home unlivable – even before the insurance adjuster arrived – people in the community had already delivered clothes to the family, set up a site to accept donations, and offered material and moral support. Officer Jason Swanson said when he was first offered the job in Waterman, he was told it was “a community like no other,” and residents have risen to the chance to prove it.