Thumbs-up: To the community members honored at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA’s fourth annual Community Awards Dinner on Thursday. During the program at Faranda’s in DeKalb, Sycamore High School student Libby Swedberg was recognized with the Youth Award for her participation in various service-oriented activities. Jim Lehan of Lehan Drugs was recognized with the Emerging Leader Award, and the Outstanding Community Leader Award went to Keith Foster of the Foster and Buick Law Group. Congratulations to the Y for taking initiative to recognize people working to make a difference, bringing inspiring speakers such as Robert Watts to DeKalb and continuing to remind us that the local YMCA is “more than just a gym.”
Thumbs-down: To layoffs at Northern Illinois University. Though it seemed inevitable given the declining enrollment and the state budget crisis that has led to multimillion-dollar funding reductions for public universities around Illinois, we are troubled to see people losing their jobs at our county’s largest employer. It’s fair to ask why administrators earning six-figure salaries are not being affected, or whether the institution has spent its money wisely in recent years. The cuts will lead to 150 position eliminations at NIU, including about 30 active employees, NIU President Doug Baker said this week.
Thumbs-down: To a false alarm at Sycamore High School. On Thursday, the blue point alarm system, designed to alert police to emergencies that are not fire-related at the school, was activated. Police officials say it appears to have been a malfunction, which was disruptive to the school day and sent some students running from the building in multiple directions. Others barricaded themselves inside the school. It certainly was disruptive to the school day and clearly alarmed many students, teachers and parents. We hope that the response inside the school will be evaluated and any issues that arose can be addressed in the future – though, of course, we hope the only time this system is used is for a drill or a malfunction.
Thumbs-up: To a local woman for breaking a world record – hopefully. Guinness World Records is still approving the event. Ali Alsup of Genoa was one of 48 women to team up and break the record for most ballet water-skiers pulled by a single boat last month on Lake Ariana in Auburndale, Florida. The previous number was 40. “It felt so surreal to break a record on first try, to ski with the best of the best,” she said. We congratulate Ali on her achievement.