Thumbs up: To news this week that Northern Illinois University already has had more than 18,000 would-be freshmen apply for admission for the fall semester. As the area’s largest employer, the university is a major economic driver, and anything that helps NIU thrive and succeed helps the area at large.
Thumbs down: On two separate incidents this week involving adults allegedly behaving inappropriately with children. In one case, police said a DeKalb man had hung two young girls from his ceiling by their bound wrists, placed duct tape over their mouths, and photographed them. Another man was charged this week with possession and distribution of child pornography. The allegations are disturbing, but also serve as a reminder to parents and others that there are people in the community from whom children must be protected.
Thumbs up: To the nonprofit Tanzania Development Support organization, which hosted a fundraiser this week illustrating some of the struggles facing girls in this country in southeast Africa. Walk with Water participants carried gallons of water as they circled Martin Luther King Jr. Commons on the NIU campus Thursday to represent the long walks many girls take in Tanzania to collect water. We applaud this group’s philanthropy, as well as the education and empathy offered by this event.
Thumbs up: To informed voters. In the final week before Tuesday’s election, voters in school districts 425 and 428 heard from candidates running for their respective school boards. Over the past weeks, similar forums have allowed candidates in Cortland, DeKalb, DeKalb Township, Kirkland and Genoa to meet face-to-face with interested voters. Events such as candidate forums can be very valuable to voters by allowing them to hear candidates’ positions firsthand. In the final days before the election, we hope voters who still are undecided take the time to become educated about candidates in their local races.
Thumbs up: To the Matthew Ranken benefit at Culver’s in Sycamore this week. From the hundreds of people who waited in line – some for more than an hour – for food, to the employees and volunteers who served them, to the restaurant itself that collected donations all day long, it was a great success. The restaurant set aside 50 percent of total sales on the day for the family of Matthew Ranken, a Sycamore boy who died Feb. 27 in a car crash on Route 64 in Kane County. What a showing of community spirit.