Thumbs up: To plans to restore the Nature Trail in DeKalb. The panel that will work toward restoring vegetation along the trail, which was cleared last month by ComEd, includes representatives from the utility, the park district that maintains the trail and the public that enjoys it. In a letter to the park district, a ComEd official said the utility will “work with the panel to create a long-term sustainable plan for the trail” that will take into consideration aesthetics, wildlife, erosion and the still-present high-voltage lines. By replacing invasive species with native ones and considering plants that are less likely to interfere with the lines – thereby reducing or eliminating the need to trim or clear them in the future – the trail could come back better than ever. But what’s really great is seeing all three stakeholders collaborating to make it happen.
Thumbs down: To Michael Madigan’s re-election to another term as speaker of the Illinois House. Madigan is a Chicago Democrat who has held the position of House speaker almost continuously since 1983. The exception was a two-year period in the 1990s when Republicans had control of the House. Madigan is arguably the most powerful Democrat in Illinois. He also serves as chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. We know it was never a thought to the Democrats that replacing Madigan might be a good idea, but Madigan’s iron-fisted control over the business of the Illinois House is bad for the citizens of Illinois. Illinois government is a mess and new leadership is needed. But doing things differently does not appear to be of any real importance to our state leaders.
Thumbs up: To the parishioners at Mayfield Congregational Church, who worshiped at their church for the first time in nine months on Sunday. The interior ceiling of the 150-year-old church at 28405 Church Road in Sycamore collapsed in March. Longtime member Joan Berger coordinated work with insurance agencies, contractors and interior designers and local volunteers helped make the main cross in the sanctuary and new offering plates from the original wooden beams. First Congregational United Church of Christ in DeKalb allowed the members to use their chapel as its church during the rebuilding. What a wonderful story of faith, generosity and overcoming adversity.
Thumbs up: To cheaper gasoline in 2013. According to an Associated Press story this week, forecasters say a plentiful oil supply and weak demand here at home should cause the average price of a gallon of gas to fall 5 percent in the year ahead. At a time when predictions are for increases in other areas, such as food and health care, at least one staple of daily life should be cheaper this year, barring a natural disaster or more trouble in the Middle East.
Thumbs up: To Raven’s Husky Haven and Rescue. The new animal shelter at 27779 Five Points Road outside Sycamore is dedicated to giving these dogs training and care tailored to the unique needs of the high-energy breed. The center is named for shelter President Kelly Lambert’s first husky, which was rescued from Indiana in 2008. They will host an open house from 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 10. What a wonderful addition to a community that already celebrates the husky as Northern Illinois University’s mascot.