Thumbs up: To John "Doc" Ovitz, whom the Sycamore Rotary Club honored this week for his lifetime of service to the club and community by giving him the Rotary Foundation District Service Award. Rotary Club members complimented the 99-year-old retired physician for his philanthropy with community causes such as Sycamore’s log cabin project and Pumpkin Festival. In addition to the Sycamore Rotary, he was a member of the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the local school board. The Rotary Club also designated its award for Rotarian of the Year as the John W. Ovitz Rotarian of the Year award. Such recognition seems beyond appropriate for his contributions, and we tip our hats to him as well.
Thumbs down: To our "boy who cried wolf" federal government. We've endured years of inaction, months of talk about the fiscal cliff, sequestration and the possibility of a government shutdown. Enough is enough. Everyone in this mess needs to stop campaigning, get off the talk show circuit and get real work done. The United States is a great country being turned into a laughingstock by a government so collectively inept it defies explanation.
Thumbs up: To 12-year-old Matthew Rogers who correctly spelled "megalopolis" to win the DeKalb County Spelling Bee last Saturday at Kishwaukee College. This year's competition included 21 third- through eighth-grade students from DeKalb County schools and lasted 14 grueling rounds. Matthew, a seventh-grader at Sycamore Middle School, will travel to Washington D.C. for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. Way to go Matthew. Good luck in D.C.
Thumbs down: To fewer places to shop. In the shadow of the shuttered Old Navy store on Sycamore Road, the Hallmark store and Caribou Coffee closed their doors recently, and Deals is slated to close March 17. As the sluggish economic recovery drags on, it's a tough climate for doing business. There is always concern over empty downtown storefronts, but judging by the number of empty spots along the Route 23 business corridor, it's hard to maintain the old argument that Sycamore Road is stealing businesses from downtown DeKalb.
Thumbs down: To the lost opportunity to bring Olive Garden to Sycamore Road in DeKalb. Darden Restaurants, the corporation that operates Olive Garden, announced this week it was halting plans to open a new location at 2211 Sycamore Road, on the site of the now-closed Small's Furniture City. The City of DeKalb had offered Darden a $900,000 tax increment financing loan to demolish the old building and make the site suitable for a restaurant location. Olive Garden is the restaurant that most residents said they would like to see in the city in a 2011 survey.