Thumbs-up: To community support. Jan Wahlgren’s Stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis in May was a “slap in the face to someone who never smoked.” But Wahlgren, co-owner of the Dairy Joy in Hinckley, continues to go to work every day, buoyed in part by the support of her customers and the community. While she was hospitalized in June, she received a letter of support from an 8-year-old customer with lung disease; she now has letters taped to the cooler at work and more than a hundred cards from well-wishers at home.
Thumbs-up: To beating Ebola. An American doctor and nurse who contracted the Ebola virus while working to help people in Liberia both were released from Emory Hospital in Atlanta this week. Their blood showed no signs of the virus before their discharge, medical officials said. The two may have been helped by an experimental drug they were given, raising hopes that the virus, which has sickened about 2,500 and killed more than 1,300 people in western Africa, can be stopped.
Thumbs-down: To the ongoing drought in California, which has affected almost all of the state. California farmers grow crops that feed people around the country, and the problem has hurt food production and can affect food prices. As the west endures the dry spell, reservoirs and lakes are being drained and the situation is becoming more dire.
Thumbs-up: To the return of students to Northern Illinois University. The annual move-in day, shifted from Thursday to Friday with family friendly welcome activities added at the Convocation Center, means the start of another school year. Things are different in DeKalb when the students are away, and their return will bring added energy to the area. Good luck to all this year.
Thumbs-up: To an improving employment picture. DeKalb County is making its way back from the Great Recession. Each month of this year, the county has seen year-over-year declines in its unemployment rate. This month, unemployment declined to 6.1 percent, and the labor force increased slightly to 59,915. Our area is outperforming the state as a whole, which had 6.8 percent unemployment and saw 17,000 people leave the labor force in July.
Thumbs-up: To sowing a good deed. For the second year, Sycamore farmer Ben Drake has been growing and selling ears of sweet corn and donating all the profits to the Feed’em Soup Community Project. Last year he raised $1,500 for the organization. This year sales have been slower. Help the cause by visiting his farm at 9525 N. Grove Road, Sycamore, and buying a couple dozen ears of fresh corn.