Thumbs-up: To Honor Flight Chicago for taking two local World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., Wednesday to visit veterans’ memorials. Joe Bussone of Sycamore and Pete Johnson of DeKalb were among the 86 veterans who made the all-expenses-paid trip. The group toured the National World War II Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. They also got a warm welcome back home at Midway Airport, which they appreciated. “I would go again just for this reception right here,” Joe Bussone said. “People giving thanks and appreciation.”
Thumbs-down: To an uncomfortable safety reminder. Police are looking for information on three car burglaries in a rural neighborhood on the north side of Sycamore. Multiple vehicles were broken into, and from the three burglarized, thieves took purses, money and electronics. The message to take from this is to lock your car, no matter the neighborhood, and not to leave any valuable items – including purses, cash, electronics or ID – in your car unattended.
Thumbs-down: To the deepening scandal surrounding veterans’ health care. On Thursday, Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said that 18 other veterans who were kept off an appointment waiting list in Arizona had died, adding to the 17 who also had died while waiting for appointments. It’s not clear how many, if any, might have died because of long wait times, but it is clear that further change is needed to better serve America’s veterans. Leaders in Washington are reaching consensus about a plan to make it easier for veterans to receive care from doctors outside the VA system, and we hope that a bipartisan effort will create effective solutions.
Thumbs-down: To feel-good statistics. News stories about Friday’s employment report from the U.S. Department of Labor contained some reasonably good news: The economy added 217,000 new jobs in May. They also noted that we had reached a “significant milestone” of regaining all of the jobs lost in the Great Recession, which officially ended in June 2009. Although better late than never, all it means is that we have only now returned to where we were five years ago. The country’s population has grown by almost 7 percent since then, wage growth has been feeble, and much of the country has been waiting in vain for the economic bounce-back that has followed many past recessions.
Thumbs-up: To making a playoff run. Two local teams will be vying for sectional titles in the IHSA playoffs today. The Sycamore baseball team will face Rockford Boylan at 11 a.m. in the Class 3A Rochelle Sectional final, and the DeKalb softball team – after their graduation ceremony – will face Barrington at 3 p.m. in the Class 4A Jacobs Sectional final. Both teams already have earned regional titles thanks to some great team and individual performances, and are now only two wins from the state tournament next week. Good luck, Spartans and Barbs.