Thumbs-down: To suspect uses for state funds. State Sen. Tim Bivins, a Dixon Republican whose district includes part of DeKalb County, called this week for an audit of a publicly funded Chicago community center. Bivins said that The Center on Halsted in Chicago has hosted events including highlighting top gay erotic film actors and rubber fetishes. The center has received more than $2 million from state government from 2012 to 2014. The state’s financial situation being what it is, it is hard to justify spending money on such events while local schools struggle to make ends meet.
Thumbs-up: To blood donors. About one in five people who go to the hospital need blood, according to Heartland Blood Centers marketing representative Camille Piazza, and donating can take as little as half an hour every eight weeks. Yet we regularly hear about shortages in the nation’s blood supply. Donations even among regular donors tend to drop off in the summer, straining the supply even further. If you are eligible to donate and you haven’t in a while, consider stopping by a blood drive or by the Heartland center in DeKalb to save a life.
Thumbs-up: To strong progress on DeKalb Public Library fundraising. So far, the team trying to raise $3 million has received $1.3 million in cash and signed pledges to support the massive expansion that started July 26. The money they raise will repay the loans library leaders took out from three local banks to support the $24 million expansion. Other funding for the project is an $11.6 million state Public Library Construction grant, $6.5 million in funds the City of DeKalb borrowed for the effort, $2 million in tax increment financing funds contributed by the city, and $1 million from the library’s reserve fund. More information about donations, including pledge forms, is available at supportdkpl.org.
Thumbs-up: To 100 years of the Panama Canal. The canal connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, opened Aug. 15, 1914, and remains one of the wonders of the modern world. First France, and then the United States undertook this project at a cost of almost $640 million – more than $15 billion in today’s dollars – and more than 27,000 workers’ lives, many of whom perished of tropical diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. This remarkable feat of engineering revolutionized world trade, but a planned expansion project by the Panamanian government (which took control of the canal from the United States in 1999) has taken longer than hoped.
Thumbs-up: To the DeKalb Municipal Band for another great season – its 160th. The all-volunteer band has once again provided a summer of great entertainment in a great setting. The concerts in the park are a wonderful community tradition. We applaud the musicians for their talent and dedication. The band will play its last concert of the summer at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Dee Palmer Band Shell at Hopkins Park. Don’t miss it!