Thumbs up: To taking a proactive approach. The DeKalb County Health Department received a state grant earlier this year to train its staff on the Health Insurance Marketplace through the Affordable Care Act and to help people enroll in insurance plans through the marketplace. But rather than sit in their office and wait for people to come to them, health department staffers are going out and finding people who may be eligible for health insurance under the act. On Wednesday, they visited Feed’em Soup to answer questions about the program and schedule appointments with people who want to know more about their options. There is a lot of confusion about the program, and by taking a proactive approach, the health department is probably reaching people who would never take the initiative to contact their office themselves.
Thumbs down: To reliving battles of a generation ago. On Monday in Tehran, Iran, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the former site of the U.S. Embassy to chant slogans such as “Death to America” and burn American flags. International negotiations with Iran to end its nuclear program must be a priority. But simply because Iran’s new president has decided to launch a “charm offensive,” we should not presume that the people he represents do not wish us ill to this day. Our leaders should not be fooled by any attempt by Iranian politicians to spin it any other way, and deal with them with this in mind.
Thumbs up: To Collins Dental Group for providing free dentistry service to veterans and their immediate family members today. The staff there is offering this day of free services again after trying it for the first time last year. They are offering cleaning, examinations, oral cancer screenings, extractions and fillings from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at their office at 2025 Aberdeen Court in Sycamore. We appreciate their creative yet practical way to give back to those whose served us all in the military. For more information, call 815-758-3666.
Thumbs down: To hidden poverty. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, work-related expenses such as commuting costs and out-of-pocket medical charges push an additional 3 million Americans into living in poverty, putting the number at 49.7 million. The government does not officially recognize this revised formula, which puts more senior citizens – who have to pay expenses such as Medicare premiums from their fixed incomes – into the poverty category. The official poverty number is 46.5 million.
Thumbs up: To DeKalb High School graduate and Northern Illinois University student Sarah Stuebing, who received Illinois’ highest honor, Student Lincoln Laureate, last weekend in Springfield. The honor is given annually to one senior at each university in the state for excellence both inside and outside the classroom. Stuebing’s list of accomplishments and accolades during her time at NIU is extensive. Her psychology professor, Doug Wallace, said he has yet to meet an undergraduate student who approaches Stuebing’s level of engagement in curricular and co-curricular activities. We look forward to hearing lots from her in the future. Congratulations.