Thumbs up: To bowling for a good cause. Teams of volunteers took to the lanes in DeKalb last weekend for Big Brothers Big Sisters of DeKalb County’s major fundraiser of the year, Bowl for Kids’ Sake.
Despite a snowy weather forecast, last weekend’s event at Mardi Gras Lanes had a great turnout of participants. One more event date remains – Sunday at Idle Hour Lanes in Sandwich. Strike one for the kids of DeKalb County.
Thumbs down: To lobbying for higher taxes. Presidents of the state’s nine public universities were in Springfield on Thursday lobbying for the state not to roll back the income tax increase as scheduled. They reason that the accompanying revenue loss would cut into the $3.3 billion Illinois spends on higher education, with disastrous consequences for the course offerings, students, and the institutions in general.
Rather than arguing for continued higher taxes on the state’s residents, perhaps they could lend more of their institutions’ expertise to solving the real problems plaguing the state – mainly its underfunded pension system, a problem that directly affects the employees of the schools themselves.
Thumbs up: To buddies. A buddy program pioneered at Northwestern University and adopted by a handful of other medical schools pairs patients in the early stages of dementia with first-year medical students.
As their relationship develops, the students get an up-close, human look at an illness they are likely to encounter in their career in a way they can’t learn in a classroom or lab. The program also keeps the patients socially engaged before their illness robs them of their minds, and gives them a sense of purpose in helping to develop the next generation of doctors who will fight these diseases.
Thumbs down: To sex-change insurance for college students. The University of Illinois Board of Trustees voted Thursday to add coverage for sex-change surgery to its health insurance plan for students. More than 28,000 students – most of whom presumably will not seek gender reassignment – use the plan, and all will face higher premiums as a result. It’s questionable whether college-age students are mature enough to seek such irreversible surgery while pursuing a degree.
Even assuming they were, it seems unfair that all students should have to pay more to support a procedure that is both rare and not essential for maintaining health.
Thumbs up: To taking church outside the church. The Rev. Amy Fallon and the Rev. Stacy Walker-Frontje offered “Ashes on the Go” at a corner of Normal Road and Lucinda Avenue on Ash Wednesday. As Walker-Frontje explained it, they were extending the church’s hospitality and the demonstration of God’s love outside church walls. As long as it is done as respectfully as they did it, this sort of religious extension strengthens a community no matter what religion is celebrated.