Thumbs up: To the return of NHL hockey. A monthslong lockout initiated by owners finally was settled, leaving the league with a shortened, 48-game season. It’s the second time in 20 years a season has been cut short because players and owners couldn’t come to a contract agreement, and the league is the only major sports league in North America to have an entire season lost to a work stoppage, in 2004-05. The hope is the NHL and its players union have finally gotten things worked out – this might be the last labor stoppage the league can survive. That said, many hockey fans will be watching at 2 p.m. today when the Blackhawks start their season at the Staples Center, facing the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in a nationally televised game on NBC.
Thumbs up: To zero waste. County Board member Ken Andersen, R-Sycamore, has suggested board committees look at ways to draft progressive waste-reduction policies to reduce the amount of trash going to the county landfill. Regardless of whether or not the county’s proposed expansion of the landfill goes through, everyone stands to benefit from the environmental upside of less trash.
Thumbs down: To the loss of life among foreign energy workers taken hostage by Islamic militants in Algeria this week. After a militant group seized the refinery complex in the Sahara Desert on Wednesday, an Algerian military raid Thursday resulted in the killing of 18 militants and at least 12 hostages, including one American, Frederick Buttaccio of Texas. Others still were being held captive Friday. Although terrorists should not be coddled, the casualties that resulted from the government counterattack have led many to question whether enough regard was shown for protecting innocent life.
Thumbs up: To local nonprofit organizers who help those living in or near poverty. A study released this week by Chicago-based Social IMPACT Research Center shows about 1 in 3 Illinois residents live in or near poverty, with poverty defined as an annual income of $23,021 or less for a family of four. The statistics may be sobering, but they likely are not surprising to those who help feed and house the poor or help people cope with substance abuse, domestic violence and other problems that can be exacerbated by poverty. We hope the study serves as a reminder of the importance of the work you do and encourages you to forge ahead.
Thumbs up: To Live Healthy DeKalb County for securing a $14,000 grant to implement the CATCH program at all five of Sycamore’s elementary schools. CATCH, which stands for Coordinated Approach To Child Health, will be featured in after-school programs. The program is aimed at fighting childhood obesity and instilling proper nutrition and exercise habits in young students. The grant will pay for the curriculum and equipment such as jump ropes, balls, Hula-Hoops and scooters. It’s great to see this positive initiative move forward.