Thumbs-up: To a new business proposed for Sycamore. Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer Meijer has proposed building a new store and gas station on 18 acres of land northwest of the intersection of Peace Road and DeKalb Avenue in Sycamore. The store would go on land that was annexed to Sycamore in 2006 but has been vacant. We’re excited at the prospect of a new employer that would add jobs, increase local property values without adding students to local schools, generate sales tax revenue and provide another grocery option for the area.
Thumbs-down: To February tornadoes. The severe weather that brought hail and heavy rain to the DeKalb area Tuesday also spawned an EF3 tornado with winds faster than 130 mph. The twister uprooted a tree, which fell on and killed 31-year-old David A. Johnson and his 76-year-old father-in-law, Wayne Tuntland, in Ottawa. Another man was killed in Crossville, in southern Illinois, in another tornado. While these winter-season storms aren’t unprecedented, they’re not common either. These storms are a fact of life this time of year, and we hope that all will take precautions if they find themselves in the path of a storm.
Thumbs-up: To highlighting the importance of reading. Children have so many digital options for entertaining themselves, but sometimes the analog experience of reading words on paper is just as fulfilling. At Clinton Rosette Middle School in DeKalb on Thursday, local volunteers came forward to read with students and share how reading had been an important part of their lives. Reading is a critical skill for being a lifelong learner, and it’s encouraging to see adults modeling positive behavior for local students.
Thumbs-down: To another false start in Springfield budget negotiations. This week, negotiations on a so-called “grand bargain” – which would include a big tax increase on Illinois’ working families – came to a stop yet again. Senate President John Cullteron, D-Chicago, this time accuses Gov. Bruce Rauner of insincerity in negotiations and being unwilling to compromise. Meanwhile, our state continues on, its financial woes only growing worse, and two years gone by without a spending plan. Good grief.