Thumbs up: To two generous donors who gave large contributions this week to the DeKalb Public Library to help fund their current expansion project. Castle Bank contributed $120,000, and Barbara Yusunas of Sycamore donated $75,000 on behalf of her late sister, Helen Yusunas. “We were totally taken by surprise,” said library spokeswoman Edith Craig. Nearly $1 million has now been raised for the project from donations alone.
Thumbs up: To cooperation. DeKalb’s new mayor and Northern Illinois University’s new president have both presented visions of greater collaboration between the city and the university, which can sometimes seem like an island within the larger community. Both Mayor John Rey and President Douglas Baker have expressed interest in bridging the gap between the two communities, and are taking steps to make those bridges a reality.
Thumbs up: To a fun homecoming game at Northern Illinois University with a happy result. The paid attendance announced at the game was more than 23,000, many of whom were still there by the end of the game, stomping their feet and shouting as the NIU defense stopped Akron on its last drive. The cannon was missing because of the government shutdown, but otherwise it was a beautiful day and a great display of spirit by the NIU community past and present, as the Huskies extended their winning streak in DeKalb to a longest-in-the-nation 23 games.
Thumbs up: For another Pumpkin Festival coming to Sycamore. It’s the 52nd annual festival, and there are obvious signs of excitement, from the pumpkin flags flying outside houses and the big delivery of free pumpkins scheduled for today in downtown Sycamore. We’re ready for the big celebration.
Thumbs down: To a Social Security increase expected to be the skimpiest in almost 40 years. The Associated Press reported this week that the benefit increase for millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees will be about 1.5 percent this year. Last year’s increase was only 1.7 percent. Increases are based on the consumer price index, which doesn’t accurately reflect the things most likely to consume much of the budgets of senior citizens. It can be a struggle for people on fixed incomes to make ends meet, and back-to-back years of paltry increases will not make it any easier.
Thumbs up: To DeKalb High School students, teachers and parents for promoting awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Sponsored by State Farm, Celebrate My Drive rewards schools who gather the highest number of online pledges with monetary grants. One school will win a free concert with Kelly Clarkson, the first winner of “American Idol.” The online pledge period continues through Oct. 26 at celebratemydrive.com. We congratulate the local students who have been promoting this initiative and encourage DeKalb County residents to pledge online. One pledge per email address is allowed each day.