Thumbs up: To a glimmer of hope for a vote on pension reform. Illinois lawmakers have been told by an aide to Speaker Michael Madigan to be ready for a special session on Dec. 3, when they potentially could take a vote on a plan to address the state’s $100 billion pension crisis. We have persistently called on legislators to address this issue, which has sapped state resources and left it with the lowest credit rating of any state in the union. Although lawmakers still appear far from voting on a resolution on the matter, signs of progress are better than nothing.
Thumbs up: To a big day at Northern Illinois University. On Wednesday afternoon, new President Douglas Baker was inaugurated, giving the new president a chance to address changes already underway and talk about his plans to focus on students’ future career success as a way of showing that the substantial investment in a college education is worth it. Then that evening, focus shifted to Huskie Stadium, where the football team notched a big 48-27 win against Ball State before an announced crowd of 18,290 and 1 million viewers who watched on ESPN2.
Thumbs up: To holiday giving. The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign kicked off in DeKalb and Sycamore this week with a goal of raising $70,000. Although most of the fundraising is done in November and December, the funds support the organization all year long. Capt. Michael Cho said the funds are crucial and the need continues to increase. There are several ways to help out, including bell ringing, donating food and helping with distribution. Call 815-756-4308 for more information.
Thumbs up: To giving those in uniform the recognition they deserve. Veterans Day was Monday, but the week was filled with examples of our local community thanking those who serve. In addition to the usual observances held every year at schools and colleges, there was a small motorcade of volunteers who visited four local retirement centers to bring services and recognition to elderly veterans unable to attend off-site events, and Wednesday’s Northern Illinois University Huskies game was dedicated to men and women in the service. Veterans were recognized, players wore special Heroes jerseys that are being auctioned off to support a veterans charity, and firefighters who have been raising funds for months saw their efforts come to fruition when they presented a truck to a wounded veteran.
Thumbs down: To street crime. DeKalb police charged Benjamin Evans, 27, of DeKalb, with shooting a gun Wednesday afternoon during a fight in an apartment complex parking lot, about a week after a gas station clerk was robbed at gunpoint and about two weeks after a dozen people were charged in connection with a fight in the Travel Inn parking lot. Our community has so many business leaders, volunteers, teachers, police officers and others who work hard to make this a pleasant, prosperous place to live. It should go without saying that we don’t welcome those who engage in violence, but we also applaud increased cooperation between DeKalb and NIU police and hope their tactics minimize these types of crimes in the future.