Thumbs-up: To preserving a slice of Americana. Ron Magnoni Jr. has raised about a third of the money he needs to replace the film projectors at the Route 34 Drive-In in Earlville with new digital projectors. Movie studios are rapidly phasing out the use of film, leaving small businesses like Magnoni’s scrambling to stay in business. He hopes to raise the roughly $50,000 he still needs to take the drive-in digital through fundraisers. There are fewer than 350 drive-in theaters left in the nation, and it would be shame to see this one disappear.
Thumbs-up: To sharing. Members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in DeKalb are growing vegetables, fruit and herbs in a garden plot at what the church and offering their harvest to the community. The gardeners sell their produce at they are calling the Thrive Neighborhood Market for whatever people can afford to pay. The proceeds from the sales go to DeKalb County Community Gardens. The market is held the fourth Saturday of the month outside the church at 900 Normal Road. Hours today are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Thumbs-up: To good economic news. DeKalb County’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent in June, a 3.1 percentage point drop from the same month last year, according to data the Illinois Department of Employment Security issued Thursday. In the same time period, the city of DeKalb’s rate fell from 10 percent in June 2013 to 6.9 percent last month, data shows. Employment experts are cautiously optimistic because summer typically is not a time of economic growth, but for those struggling to find work, even cautious optimism is a reason to celebrate.
Thumbs-up: To 66 forever homes. Raven’s Husky Haven and Rescue, at 27779 Five Points Road near Sycamore, has rescued 66 Siberian huskies in the past 18 months or so. Volunteers there focus just on the needs of that breed, receiving dogs in need from crowded shelters and other rescues. Congratulations on a new venture that clearly has made a difference.
Thumbs-down: To trying to silence whistle-blowers. A report released Monday by the Project on Government Oversight, a group that conducts its own investigations and works with whistle-blowers, indicates medical professionals who complained about problems at the troubled VA suffered retaliation from supervisors. The report, based on comments and complaints from almost 800 current and former VA employees, details another stumbling block to meaningful reform.