Thumbs up: To Illinois U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who climbed the Capitol steps Thursday on the first day of the 113th Congress. Kirk, a Republican, suffered a debilitating stroke almost a year ago and completed intensive rehabilitation while keeping constituents updated through video messages. The 45 steps in front of the Capitol were perhaps the least difficult of his rehabilitation, but there are plenty of new challenges awaiting him (and other senators) in the New Year. We wish him the best.
Thumbs up: To the Marching Barbs, who were the grand champions of a marching band competition Monday in New Orleans. Their championship earned them the privilege of participating in the pregame ceremony at the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday; they already were scheduled to perform with 11 other marching bands in the halftime show. The DeKalb High School marching band parents and supporters showed their pride with signs and a warm welcome home Thursday night. We join them in congratulating the 93 students who represented their school and community so well.
Thumbs down: To poor appearances. The Indian Creek School Board’s decision to hold a meeting at 8 a.m. the day after Christmas to approve a generous extension to its superintendent’s contract raised eyebrows among some district residents, and rightly so. The lack of explanation and board members’ silence on the issue does not help to dispel the appearance of something fishy going on, nor does the district office’s refusal to say who has filed petitions to run in the school board election. There may be very good reasons for both the extension and the timing of the meeting; if so, district residents deserve to know them.
Thumbs up: To the the dozens of Huskies fans who waited in subfreezing weather Wednesday to welcome the Northern Illinois University football team back to town after their historic run to the Orange Bowl in Miami. The fans lined the Convocation Center drive as the players’ buses approached and even the DeKalb Fire Department made an appearance. It was great to see such community support for the team.
Thumbs up: To lawmakers in Washington striking a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff.” Although the compromise reached was hardly a comprehensive solution to our nation’s debt problems, at least lawmakers were able to reach some kind of budget agreement to prevent the sweeping tax increases and spending cuts likely to force our economy into recession that were to begin Tuesday. More remains to be done, but if this is only a first step, it’s a positive.