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Local Column

Olson: DeKalb’s nuggets deserve more fame

Springfield has the horseshoe. Chicago has deep-dish pizza.

DeKalb has nuggets.

If you haven’t read reporter Jessi Haish’s story about beer nuggets – well, then chances are you’re reading this online because it’s right there on the front page.

I love the story of beer nuggets, or dough nuggets, or whatever people choose to call their nuggets at our various local eateries.

Who invented them? Hard to say. Pizza Villa has been serving them since the mid-1980s, but some other businesses that long since have folded were advertising them around the same time.

But then, the history of the food isn’t really as important as how it tastes today.

And today, nuggets are a DeKalb thing. They come in different flavors and sizes, and we love them.

“We sell lots and lots and lots of nuggets,” says Pizza Villa co-owner Larry Finn in a video made by Danielle Guerra.

Like Cheez Whiz on a Philly cheese­steak, eating scraps of fried dough doesn’t seem like it’d be particularly good – but it is.

So we wanted to bring you some of the story behind beer nuggets today. They’re tasty, they’re unique to our area, and in my mind they’re underappreciated.

Perhaps we need to raise their profile.

Maybe we could organize a charity contest to determine who has the best nuggets in the DeKalb-Sycamore metroplex? I guess we could open it up to the entire region, if we wanted more variety.

Or we could just have a big, nugget-themed street party, a celebration of all things nugget. It wouldn’t have to be a big production. Something less than Corn Fest and slightly more than Greek Fest. Although now that I’m thinking about it, the loukoumades I had at Greek Fest this year were delicious and might almost qualify as nuggets themselves.

I’d love to see a celebration of the nugget. It’s our food, and it’s fun food. You grab it, dip it in something, shove it in your mouth. Can’t beat that.

“Nugget Fest.” Google says no one else is using that name at the moment.

Child immigrants: We should do something to address our laws on illegal immigration in America. Although America’s strength has long been its willingness to provide opportunity for the rest of the world’s poor, huddled masses, we also can’t tolerate the kind of scenes we’re seeing along our country’s southern border.

At the same time, shaping up our immigration laws won’t stop the root cause of the problem, which is that conditions in these countries that children are coming from are horrible.

Imagine being a 14-year-old who’s never left home, deciding to travel more than 1,000 miles alone through a foreign country, with your end plan being to surrender to law enforcement in another foreign country where you don’t speak the language.

That’s what these child immigrants are doing. That’s how desperate they are. And more than 50,000 of them have come here since fall 2013.

The humanitarian crisis on our borders is but a symptom of the greater problems in Central America. These are desperate people. Desperate people don’t care about the laws of a foreign country. They’re going to do whatever is necessary to survive and help their families.

Many of the unaccompanied minors coming to the U.S. today aren’t from Mexico. They’re from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, countries in Central America where poverty reigns, and violence against children is common.

Violence perpetrated by cocaine cartels has gave Honduras the highest per capita murder rate in the world in 2012; its city of San Pedro Sula has been called “the world’s most lawless city.”

Most people don’t pay much attention to news from Honduras – we’ve got a huge country of our own to worry about. But that’s also why so many of us are surprised at this child immigrant phenomenon, too.

Maybe if we as a country spent more energy helping our neighbors to the south and less on frenemies such as Iraq and Afghanistan, we’d be better off in the long run.

New sports editor: The Daily Chronicle has a new sports editor. His name is Eddie Carifio, and he comes to us from the Yuma Sun in Yuma, Arizona, just a few miles from that very same border.

Eddie is a veteran journalist and he’s already started preparing for the start of football season. Northern Illinois will kick off their season in 47 days against the Presbyterian Blue Hose, so Eddie’s arrived in the nick of time.  

We’re excited to have him join our team and our community.

Don’t cheer the cold: They say more arctic air is going to hit the Midwest early next week, and I think some people were actually cheering it on.

You guys are nuts. We get plenty of cold weather six months out of the year.

Please do not encourage the arctic air mass. Have you forgotten last winter already?

• Eric Olson is the editor of the Daily Chronicle. Reach him at 815-756-4841, ext. 2257, email, or follow him on Twitter @DC_Editor.

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