Thumbs-up: To Women’s History Month. Women from many different backgrounds have helped to shape our society, and it seems only now are we waking up to the contributions that many made behind the scenes. This year, the theme for Women’s History Month is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.” Our area already has a great tradition of honoring women in business, including the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce’s 27-year-old Athena Award program. On Wednesday, there was a march from the Northern Illinois University campus to downtown DeKalb – where people chanted “hey-hey, ho-ho” slogans against inequality. That’s one way to stand with women. Another way is to honor their contributions to our society and resolve to do what we can to ensure women are treated with the respect and fairness they deserve, not just in March, but year-round.
Thumbs-up: To those who participated in Bowl for Kids’ Sake. This annual fundraiser is the largest of the year for DeKalb County Big Brothers Big Sisters, and had a fundraising goal of about $60,000. Teams made up of local fire and police departments, area businesses, nonprofit groups and community members all bowled one game while raising money for the organization, which pairs adult mentors with elementary, middle school or high school students of the same gender. The pair meets once a week after school or on weekends to relax, have fun and develop a special bond that makes a positive difference in the child’s life. The organization has about 85 matches and will serve about 150 kids by the end of the year.
Thumbs-up: To political candidates sharing their views. This week at the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, candidates for City Council and the DeKalb School District 428 Board spent time talking about their vision and answering questions from the public. There were two forums organized by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce during which the candidates spent time answering questions on stage and mingling with voters afterward. There still are a few weeks until Election Day on April 4, but the quality of discourse has already markedly improved from some of the earlier events, as candidates seem to have become more in touch with the public’s concerns. We’re glad to see the public engaging with those who seek to lead its institutions and hope that carries over into a good turnout in the upcoming election.
Thumbs-down: To gambling expansion as yet another nonsolution to Illinois budget woes. There certainly are problems with what’s been described as a grand bargain, particularly a massive income tax hike, but it looked for a moment as if a solution to the lack of a state budget was at least on the horizon. Instead, the shiny object was new gambling licenses for Chicago, Lake County, Rockford and other locations around the state, which were approved by the Illinois Senate. This is no jackpot for weary Illinois taxpayers.