Thumbs up: To DeKalb County Community Gardens, which is expanding this year. The group’s projects include a new, 30-bed garden near the DeKalb County Community Service Department, 2550 N. Annie Glidden Road. Volunteers are working on the garden today after leaders received $1,500 in federal grants for it. The garden will include a winding walking path, a circular bed with herbs, and wildflowers, prairie grass and picnic tables. The vegetables that grow there will serve the Women, Infants & Children program, Veterans Assistance Commission, residents at Heritage Woods and families enrolled in Head Start. The garden likely will provide a parklike atmosphere for the community, as well as produce for local people in need.
Thumbs down: To The Associated Press and the vulnerability of social media to hacking. On Tuesday, hackers took over the AP’s Twitter feed, posting a bogus news alert saying that there had been explosions at the White House and President Barack Obama had been injured. AP quickly disavowed the information, but in only two minutes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 143 points. Although the loss was quickly recovered, our country’s news organizations must be vigilant about securing their channels of communication. Likewise, the increasing incidents of “hacking” of Twitter accounts show that the social media service must become more secure if it is to continue to be relied upon for news, as it is today by many.
Thumbs up: To the Genoa-Kingston High School football team. The team presented the Genoa-Kingston United Way with a $250 check Monday after raising more money than they needed at a fundraiser. The football players figured they should return the extra funds to the community after it offered them so much support. We applaud the initiative the team members took in hosting the fundraiser and the thoughtfulness behind the decision to make a donation themselves.
Thumbs down: To continuing high unemployment. According to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the unemployment rate in DeKalb County was 8.9 percent in March, compared with 8.5 percent in March 2012. With two out-of-state governors making overtures to Illinois business owners in the past week, perhaps it is time that legislators in our state to stop thinking of new ways to tax businesses and shift focus to encouraging badly needed economic growth and job creation.
Thumbs up: To another successful NIU Cares Day. Hundreds of Northern Illinois University students were sent to local schools, libraries, animal shelters and community agencies last Saturday to lend a hand however they could. They spent the day planting, painting, cleaning, sorting and assisting with events at sites around the community. This annual event is in its seventh year. It’s great to see so many students giving back to the community.
Thumbs up: To DeKalb High School. DHS ranked among the top 100 high schools in Illinois and the top 10 percent of high schools nationwide, according to a list in U.S. News and World Report. The magazine ranked schools based on reading and math scores, taking into account the percentage of minority and low-income students who performed well on state tests, and on test scores for college-level courses offered through Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. Like almost every public institution, DHS has its share of detractors, and has had its struggles. Hopefully this bit of recognition inspires faculty, administrators and students to keep working hard and gives the community a sense of pride in its school.