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Our View: Thumbs up to tornado relief volunteers

Published: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Thumbs up: To all those who have pitched in to help tornado victims in Washington. This week, representatives of the DeKalb police delivered supplies and gift cards to residents of the town about 110 miles south of DeKalb. The donations were collected through a joint drive by the DeKalb and Sycamore police departments, and those in the town who received them were grateful. Accounts from those who visited the site this week were that much work remains to be done, and it is good to see local law enforcement living up to the billing as DeKalb and Sycamore’s “finest.”

Thumbs up: To a legitimate proposal on pension reform being put forth by state legislative leaders. Illinois’ unfunded pension obligations are estimated at around $100 billion, and the current, unsustainable system is affecting everything state government does, as funding for K-12 education, state universities, road and bridge funding and more have all been reduced to try to prop up the pension system. We have clamored for the legislature to address this problem, and now it appears something could finally happen. But …

Thumbs down: To the relative secrecy surrounding the negotiations and the late distribution of details on the proposal. The actual written bill itself still was not ready on Friday afternoon, although legislators had received a summary by Friday. A plan of this magnitude, which likely will be the subject of a court challenge, should be openly and reasonably debated by the public and all of their representatives.

Thumbs up: To the Sycamore High School football team, whose dreams of state title fell just short after a loss to Montini in the semifinals last weekend. Although we would have loved to see a hometown team playing in this weekend’s games, the Spartans had their best season in recent memory, which included their first Northern Illinois Big 12 East Division title, a perfect 9-0 regular season record, and some exhilarating wins before big crowds – including the comeback win against Kaneland on homecoming.  Thanks to all the local teams for an entertaining season. We can’t wait to watch again next year.

Thumbs up: To the many volunteers who helped cook and serve community dinners this Thanksgiving. Meals offered at Feed’em Soup, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Barb City Manor Retirement Home and Kingston Friendship Center all needed volunteers to make the dinners a success. Tricia Maxwell, who was at Feed’em Soup in DeKalb, said volunteering is what she should be doing on Thanksgiving. “We wanted to spend Thanksgiving for what it was meant to be,” she said. “Having the opportunity to teach the kids about giving back is really compelling.” We agree.

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