Thumbs up: To the roughly 270 volunteers who participated in Day of Caring through the Kishwaukee United Way on Thursday. Volunteers helped out on a variety of projects around the area, including delivering meals, cleaning cars, painting stairways and weeding gardens. This year’s event also included 40 youth volunteers, about twice as many as last year. The Day of Caring is a great way for people to contribute a small amount of their time and collectively make a big difference.
Thumbs down: To high unemployment in Illinois. Although the state’s unemployment rate fell to 9.1 percent for May, that’s still well above the national average of 7.6 percent. The Illinois jobless rate is among the highest in the country, and the uncertainty surrounding the state’s pension system, its preference for taxation over cutting spending, and slowdowns in the retail and manufacturing sectors are all possible reasons. What’s clear is that Illinois has yet to get its act together and continues to lag the rest of the country in providing jobs for its citizens.
Thumbs up: To local contractors doing local work. On Monday, the Sycamore City Council awarded a $58,000 sidewalk construction contract to RT Ericson Builders of Sycamore. Although the company’s original bid for the work was about $800 more than one from an out-of-town contractor, the city showed preference for the local firm and gave them the opportunity to match the low bid, which RT Ericson agreed to do. Whenever possible, local government – indeed, all local institutions – should show preference to local firms, whose employees and owners are more likely to spend their money here than elsewhere. Just as consumers should “shop local” when they can, so, too, should government.
Thumbs up: To keeping fit. Certified Zumba instructor Myisha Hill is offering two free Zumba classes each week until August at her church, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in DeKalb. Hill said the classes are free because not everyone can afford to go the gym. Thumbs up to offering a fun, affordable way for local residents to get in shape.
Thumbs up: To the volunteers planning for DeKalb to host the Illinois High School Association state football championships for the first time in November. Ultimately, they will be seeking $225,000 in donations and more than 200 volunteers to support the local event, but they expect the championship series to draw at least 30,000 fans and have a $1 million economic impact on the county. It’s a lot of work, but we appreciate those who are working to make this a reality for DeKalb County.