Thumbs up: To the DeKalb Public Library for securing its seventh consecutive Big Read grant. The $15,000 award from the National Endowment for the Arts will fund a series of events surrounding “True Grit” by Charles Portis. The1968 novel is about a young girl seeking revenge for her father’s murder. We can’t wait to see what fun the library and the other members of the steering committee (Altrusa International of Sycamore/DeKalb, Kishwaukee College Family Literacy program, DeKalb School District 428 and Northern Illinois University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) have in store for us.
Thumbs up: To everyone who raised money, walked laps and provided support for the DeKalb County Relay For Life at Sycamore High School on Friday evening and this morning. In the past 17 years, Relay For Life events have raised more than $1.5 million in DeKalb County for the American Cancer Society. Cancer is such a destructive, pervasive disease that we’re glad events such as these recognize the survivors and caregivers and remember those who lost their battle.
Thumbs down: To the DeKalb Park District commissioners for not being more forthcoming on who is leading this large and important local taxing body. This week, park commissioners spent 45 minutes discussing personnel behind closed doors but declined to comment on the status of park district Executive Director Cindy Capek. Her office is devoid of personal items, and her phone extension no longer works there. Questions about Capek’s status have lingered for weeks, and we’d like to see the people elected to do the people’s work be a little more forthcoming with constituents.
Thumbs up: To the great teachers in our area. One such teacher, Dave Meyer at Sycamore Middle School, was recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education this week. Meyer, who teaches technology and has been in the field for 25 years, received the Star in the Classroom award. Sycamore Middle School Principal Jim Cleven said Meyer relates well to his students. “He has a wealth of knowledge and gets things across to them that are pertinent to their lives,” Cleven said. Congratulations, Mr. Meyer.
Thumbs up: To healthy eating. Thanks to a voucher program underwritten by KishHealth System in coordination with the Family Service Agency and the county health department’s WIC program, more than 400 families last year were able to buy fresh produce at DeKalb and Sycamore farmers markets. In its first year, $6,000 worth of vouchers were available; last year, $7,000 and this year, $10,000. Vendors at the markets benefit from customers they would not otherwise have had and low-income seniors and families benefit from access to fresh, healthy food that might otherwise be priced out of reach.