Thumbs up: To the five members of the Choosing Life and Ending Abuse Now (CLEAN) Slate Alumni Association who last week visited DeKalb High School to share their stories with the students there. The five people, whose previous struggles with drugs and alcohol eventually led them into drug court programs, were courageous to openly share their stories. It is wonderful that they are working to change their paths, and we can only hope that students will take their real-life stories to heart and will think twice about their own choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol.
Thumbs down: To the U.S. military’s continuing crisis over how to manage relations between the sexes within its ranks. A Pentagon report last week estimated that as many as 26,000 military members may have been sexually assaulted last year, and people charged with preventing it have been guilty as well. On Thursday, an officer in charge of the sexual assault response program at Fort Campbell, Ky., became the latest arrested after a domestic dispute with his ex-wife. President Obama has called the problem “shameful,” and we agree. The modern military is made up of men and women, and military leaders must protect all who serve as best they can.
Thumbs up: To all of our local graduates. Whether they are moving on from high school or college, or completing technical degrees or GEDs, graduation is a time to celebrate accomplishments. An extra thumbs up to those graduates for whom the road wasn’t easy, and who struggled to make it this far. As they move forward in an uncertain economy, may that dedication and perseverance continue to serve them well.
Thumbs up: To Savanna Dean, 7, a first-grader at North Grove Elementary School in Sycamore. Savanna won this year’s theme contest for the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival with her theme suggestion of “Pumpkin Adventures.” The committee honored her and two runners-up Tuesday and in announcing the theme for the 52nd annual festival from Oct. 23 to 27. The festival has been part of the fabric of the community for more than five decades, and we applaud the committee for continuing this homegrown tradition and Dean for her wonderful theme idea.
Thumbs up: To the DeKalb Police Department for developing a new way to establish more contact with the community through its new app, iWatch DeKalb. The app allows users to submit anonymous tips to DeKalb police. In the month since iWatch DeKalb went live, the DeKalb police have received at least 15 tips from the public. The app is available for free at the App Store for Apple and the Play Store for Google.