Thumbs up: To the DeKalb Park District board for making the responsible decision to table any further decisions on the Hopkins Pool rehabilitation until new commissioners are seated. Park officials were scheduled to vote Thursday on approving a construction firm to build the new pool, but commissioners instead voted to table the topic until May, when three new commissioners will take their seats on the board. In state and federal government, lame duck sessions can be a time for elected officials to quickly vote on long-term changes without having to deal with the repercussions. This decision gives the new commissioners a voice from the start in what will likely be the biggest project of their terms.
Thumbs down: To the ever-shrinking pool of state resources and the effects it is having on services. This week, state Human Services Secretary Michelle Saddler told lawmakers that caseworkers with the Illinois Department of Human Services spend an average of only 42 minutes a year with each family the agency serves. The number of caseworkers at the agency, which provides social services to those in need, and those who are seeking to go from welfare to work, has shrunk almost 20 percent over the past seven years, while the number seeking assistance has grown by 47 percent. Although there is a push for more workers for the agency, the state first should get its finances in order before it adds to its budget.
Thumbs up: To new DeKalb City Clerk Liz Peerboom, who won Tuesday’s write-in election clerk and plans to keep her part-time job as Maple Park’s village clerk. The DeKalb position has been a source of headaches for city leaders in recent years, with former clerk Steve Kapitan failing to complete closed-session minutes within the appropriate time frame. Aldermen slashed the salary for the position, but Peerboom told reporter David Thomas she intends to take on the full duties of the office. “I’m going to be doing it because I care about the city, not because of the money,” Peerboom said. “It’s a very important role in the city. I do believe it is worth more than what it’s being paid now.” That’s the sort of attitude we need in public officials.
Thumbs up: To the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Officials there arranged for “At Any Price,” the Ramin Bahrani film that brought actors Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid to the area for filming in 2011, to be shown locally. Quaid plays a third-generation farmer who wants his son, played by Efron, to carry on the family business. The son, however, has aspirations of becoming a race car driver. Scenes for the movie were shot at Sycamore Speedway, First Lutheran Church in DeKalb and rural locations around the county. The movie will be shown in DeKalb at Carmike Market Square Cinema on May 10. We’re sure there are plenty of extras – as well as their family and friends – who will enjoy seeing them on the big screen.
Thumbs up: To the DeKalb County KEYS (Keep Encouraging Youth to Succeed) and Kishwaukee United Way for co-hosting the Care or Be Square Youth & Family Volunteer Fair. The event, scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Hopkins Park Community Center in DeKalb, is designed to connect middle school and high school students with the many volunteer opportunities in the community and help kindle the volunteer spirit. This is a great way for youth to learn about community organizations and it shows them that volunteering is not just for adults.