Thumbs up: To DeKalb Public Library leaders for hiring a professional fundraising firm to raise the $2.8 million the library is borrowing from local banks for the library’s $24 million expansion. The library has three years to repay those loans, but we’re glad to see library leaders are taking firm steps to keep this massive process moving forward.
Thumbs down: To another prominent Illinois political scandal. On Wednesday it was former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, former Chicago Alderman Sandra Jackson who were sentenced to prison for for misusing $750,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses including a pair of mounted elk heads and a fedora worn by “King of Pop” Michael Jackson. A federal judge in Washington sentenced Jackson Jr. to 2½ years in prison; Sandra received a yearlong sentence. The Jacksons had been among the state’s most politically powerful families – and perhaps they thought themselves above the law. They were wrong, and they deserve the punishment they received.
Thumbs up: To U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, for visiting DeKalb and talking with constituents Wednesday. Whether you agree with Kinzinger on issues including border security, the effects of the Affordable Care Act and the state of the job market, at least he is making the rounds and talking to the people he represents in Washington. Congress has been criticized for taking a vacation with so much left undone – but if they never take a break, how can they actually hear from the people they’re supposed to be representing? Too many federal elected officials become full-time residents of Washington who lose connection with the communities they serve. We are glad to see Kinzinger can find DeKalb on a map and is listening to what people in our community have to say.
Thumbs up: To bringing an unused space back to life. Local artists Georgia Alderson and Andrew Venko are slowly restoring the second-floor ballroom in the 1920s-era Knights of Columbus building in DeKalb. The artists have been using their own funds and labor to work on the space, but are having their first fundraiser at 6 p.m. tonight to help offset the costs. When all is said and done, the pair hope to make the space available as a performance venue and work/display space for the local art community.
Thumbs up: To the DeKalb Municipal Band for another great season – its 159th. The all-volunteer band has once again provided a summer of great entertainment in a great setting. The concerts in the park are a wonderful tradition. We applaud the musicians for their talent and dedication. The band will play its last concert of the summer at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Hopkins Park band shell. Don’t miss it.