Thumbs up: Malta High School graduate Justin Allen for sharing his inspirational story with the students at Shabbona Elementary School on Thursday. Allen, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was a college freshman, has written a children’s book titled, “No You Can’t, Yes I Can.” He talked to the students about determination and following their dreams. “You need to chase your passion, your dream – whatever it is,” Allen told the students. “The stuff that happens to you along the way makes you who you are.”
Thumbs up: To a smooth Election Night. DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder Doug Johnson was overseeing his first election since being appointed to the office in September. The polls closed at 7 p.m., and all election results were posted online within two hours. Congratulations are due to Johnson and his staff for maintaining well one of the cornerstones of our democracy. But ...
Thumbs down: To the low voter turnout in the election in DeKalb County. Only 14.9 percent of the county’s 57,903 registered voters exercised their right to weigh in on candidates in Tuesday’s election. The majority of people who stayed home missed a chance to affect statewide races for gubernatorial nominations in both parties, and the U.S. Senate, state treasurer, and 16th District U.S. House nominations in the Republican Party. If more people had participated, the candidates on the ballot in November would have a better claim to representing the will of the people – and the results Tuesday might even have been different.
Thumbs up: To expanding the definition of “communiversity.” Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker has made significant steps toward strengthening ties between NIU and the city of DeKalb, and this week he reached out to the city of Sycamore, giving a presentation to the Sycamore city council about his vision for NIU. DeKalb and Sycamore are close enough that there is a sense of shared community in some aspects, particularly in the business community that could provide internships and experience to NIU students and in the nonprofit arena that could benefit from student volunteers.
Thumbs up: To continuing efforts to bring a statue honoring Wally “Mr. Pumpkin” Thurow to the Pumpkin Festival parade route. The Wally Thurow Tribute Committee is a little less than 30 percent shy of its fundraising goal to erect a life-size bronze statue of Thurow, who unofficially founded the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival in 1956,. Thurow died in 2012, and committee members want to build a statue of Thurow standing next to his trademark penny farthing bicycle in a top hat. The statue would sit at the northwest corner of Somonauk and Elm street. Contact the committee at MrPumpkinStatue@gmail.com or call 815-895-3551 to arrange a donation.