Thumbs up: To Roger Nelson, who took note of a program offered by Monsanto and seized the opportunity to donate $2,500 each to the Malta Township Public Library and the all-volunteer Malta Fire Department. Nelson, who raises corn, soybeans and hogs with his brother on a farm southwest of Malta, nominated the two local agencies for the Monsanto Fund’s Farmers Grow America program online. His neighbors and the community will benefit from the donations.
Thumbs up: To Rick Mamoser of Prairie State Winery in Genoa. He was recently named Winemaker of the Year by the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association. Mamoser, a former high school science teacher, started making wine at home. He and his wife, Maria, gave up their teaching careers to open the winery in 1999 and have achieved much success with their award-winning wines. This the second time Rick has won the Winemaker of the Year Award. Congratulations to these two local entrepreneurs.
Thumbs down: To making Illinois’ 67 percent income tax increase approved in late 2010 permanent. That’s part of a proposal from State Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat who put forth a plan to fix the pension mess this week. Although it’s a positive sign that lawmakers are putting forth proposals, the tax increase was supposed to expire in 2014 and it’s clear that government’s taking more money from working families and businesses will do little to help residents or create jobs in our state. A tax hike wasn’t the solution in 2010, and making it last even longer isn’t a good idea, either.
Thumbs up: And good luck to Enharmonic Fusion, DeKalb High School’s co-ed a cappella group, which will try today for its third trip to the national high school a cappella competition in New York City. Enharmonic Fusion won the Midwest title and one of the 10 slots at nationals in 2010 and 2012, and tonight will compete against other high schools from the region in semifinals at DHS. Coming on the heels of the Marching Barbs’ appearance at the Sugar Bowl in January, it seems music programs at DHS are out to make a national name for themselves.
Thumbs up: To Northern Illinois University professor Kurt Thurmaier and his wife, Jeanine, who founded Tanzanian Development Support. They travel to Nyegina, Tanzania, and plan trips in which NIU students and area residents can travel to the area to perform community service. The girls’ dormitory that Thurmaier and his cadre of students and volunteers helped build were the first buildings in the village to feature showers and toilets. This year, he hopes to lay the foundation for a library that will serve the village’s schools. It’s interesting and hard work that enhances not only the Tanzanian village, but the local residents who participate.
Thumbs up: And good luck to the more than 20 students who will compete in the annual spelling bee today sponsored by the Daily Chronicle and the DeKalb County Regional Office of Education. The spelling bee for students in third- through eighth-grade will begin at 10 a.m. at Kishwaukee College, Theatre B211, 21193 Malta Road, Malta. The winner will receive an all-expense-paid trip to National Harbor, Md., to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. The spelling bee is a great tradition and the participating students work hard for their chance to represent our region at the national spelling bee.