Thumbs up: To volunteers with the Morton Public Library in Tazewell County, who are collecting, cataloging and storing documents and personal belongings found scattered among the debris in the aftermath of the central Illinois tornadoes. The library is acting as a repository for photos, letters, family and military documents and more, and is making an effort to return lost items to their owners.
Thumbs down: To the South African government, which in its haste to arrange a giant memorial service featuring leaders from around the world, including President Barack Obama, neglected to check the background of the sign language interpreter standing feet away from them. The man, Thamsanqa Jantjie, was signing gibberish and has since said that he was hallucinating and hearing voices during the ceremony. Jantjie said he suffers from schizophrenia, and there are reports he has a violent past that could include a murder charge. This was an obvious security failure, and the world is fortunate that the damage did not go beyond embarrassment.
Thumbs up: To local police officers who took part in the Heroes and Helpers event at Target last Sunday. Forty-two DeKalb students were chosen to shop with the officers and spend $100 on gifts. Officers volunteered to partner with each child to pick out items at the store. This is the third year for the event organized by the DeKalb Police Benevolent and Protective Association, which doubled in participation this year. What a way to spread some holiday cheer.
Thumbs up: To “Acres of Change,” the new local history book delivered this week. A committee of more than 20 community members and leaders, formed by the DeKalb County Historical-Genealogical Society, wrote the 304-page book on local history from 1963 to 2012. The committee is hosting a book signing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Little Theater at Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center, 2944 Greenwood Acres Drive in DeKalb.