Thumbs-down: To poking bears, in an almost literal way. On Wednesday, the same male bear who was spotted in DeKalb County was surrounded by onlookers on a farm in Mt. Morris in nearby Ogle County this week. Yes, the animal is a source of great curiosity, but he’s also a bear, and it’s not a good idea to surround him and gawk. Officials from the Illinois Department of Human Resources say the bear’s best chance of survival is if people keep their distance and don’t feed him. Hopefully, people will heed their words in the future.
Thumbs-up: To DeKalb Park District board members for giving added scrutiny to ComEd’s plans to trim trees near Hopkins Park. The trees are on the property of the Parkside Drive Apartments, but form a buffer between the park and the apartments. A ComEd representative this week was adamant that no trees would be removed and park-owned trees would not be affected. However, park board members including Keith Nyquist showed this week that they have not forgotten the 2012 clear-cutting along the district-owned Nature Trail, which came with little warning and moved some to tears. In light of that, they’re right to pay close attention to ComEd’s plans, and workers no doubt will take care knowing that the trimming work is being closely watched.
Thumbs-up: To Camp Power at University Village. Children living in poverty are typically more than financially poor; they also have what experts call a poverty of experiences. This free summer camp will give some children who otherwise would not have had the chance to go to camp an experience like their peers. At the same time, the camp is designed to provide nutrition to children who may be in food-insecure households, provide tutoring to children who are academically behind, and show kids from an area disproportionately affected by crime what kind of opportunities their futures may hold.
Thumbs-up: To lots and lots of swimmers. More than 100 summer campers at Kishwaukee Family YMCA jumped in the pool Friday in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record as part of the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. More than 40,000 people from around the world were expected to participate in the event meant to promote swimming safety. According to the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson organization, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional, injury-related death among children ages one to 14. It’s a good lesson.
Thumbs-down: To Donald Trump, who has done a spot-on job of embodying things that Midwesterners and Chicagoans don’t like about New Yorkers this week. Trump, who to his credit invested millions on an attractive building on the Chicago River, put his name on the building in huge, radiant letters. The sign has disrupted one of Chicago’s iconic views. Trump’s response to the criticism has been to personally attack his critics while insisting, in his signature way, that his sign is fantastic and that the locals are lightweights and yokels. And still he keeps talking.