Thumbs up: To more efficient and effective water treatment. The City of Sycamore is planning a $10 million update to its wastewater treatment plant that will give the facility on North Cross Street more capacity and make the quality of water discharged into the Kishwaukee River cleaner. When the project is complete, it should be a substantial upgrade from the city’s current system, which uses equipment that is 35 years old and relies more heavily on chemical agents to kill bacteria. Although most of us don’t give a lot of thought to where the water goes after it runs down the drain, making it safe for the environment again is a complex and important process.
Thumbs up: To the DeKalb County Housing Authority’s plans to make its properties smoke-free by June 1, 2014. The policy will protect the health of nonsmokers – when multiple apartments in the same complex share a ventilation system, there is no way to prevent secondhand smoke from entering the apartments of nonsmokers. It should also save the housing authority money, as it will no longer have to repair smoke damage to units when the smokers move out. Finally, there is hope the new policy will encourage smokers to give up the habit, both improving their health and saving them considerable money in the long term.
Thumbs down: To wild winter weather in DeKalb County this week. On Tuesday, residents were golfing and playing basketball in their shirtsleeves with high temperatures in the 60s and a flood watch in effect. On Wednesday, the rain changed to snow and icy roads imperiled drivers on their way home from work. By Thursday, wind chills dropped to life-threatening lows and Friday was another day of the deep freeze. Although temperatures should moderate in the days ahead, it looks like it could be a while before we see the 60s again.
Thumbs up: To this year’s Forward, Together Forward scholarship winners: Taylor Bogan, Caitlin Cavannaugh, Guadalupe Lopez, Sarah Pollack and Evan Wittke. The five winners were chosen from among 37 applicants who wrote essays about what it means to be an NIU Huskie, about character and about goals for helping the community. They also described how they would honor the memories of the five students who died in the Feb. 14, 2008, campus shooting. We wish these scholars the best of luck and congratulate them on their success.
Thumbs up: To the Lincoln Inn in DeKalb for being awarded DeKalb Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Business of the Year. The award was presented at the annual chamber dinner Thursday. Bill and Joy McMahon were two young Northern Illinois University graduates when they bought the restaurant in 1994. The eatery has remained an anchor in downtown DeKalb over the years, which Bill credits to his dedicated staff and the support of the community. He was quite surprised by the recognition. “This is quite an honor,” he said. “We are truly humbled.” Good luck to the McMahons in the future.