Thumbs-down: To an income tax hike on the horizon. While it's good to see a budget deal starting to materialize in Springfield – not in time to avoid a third straight start to a budgetless fiscal year, but hopefully close enough – no one's going to be excited about paying hundreds or thousands more a year to prop up state government. The crisis that was created by intransigence in Springfield has made solving its problems more expensive for everyone. Will the money be spent wisely? Given the track record in the Statehouse, we're not holding our breath.
Thumbs-up: To work on a sustainable restoration plan for the DeKalb Park District's Nature Trail. The 1.3-mile trail is a well-traveled pedestrian shortcut from First Street to Sycamore Road in DeKalb. In 2012, much of the vegetation along the path was clear-cut by ComEd contractors because it was growing too close to electric transmission lines. The DeKalb Rotary Club held an event to raise money to restore the trail this spring, and the park district is working on a plan for sustainable reforestation of the area. We hope the district's plan will be the next step toward a full recovery for the trail.
Thumbs-up: To a new business that helps people keep their pets during life events. The Barn on Baseline animal shelter's new Family Pet Care Center helps seniors, service members and others find accommodations for their pets while dealing with issues such as displacement because of illness, deployment or disaster recovery. The new 5,000-square-foot building behind the shelter has been open about a month and features 4-by-8-foot suites for cats and 8-by-8-foot suites for dogs. Pets are an important part of many families, and hopefully this local business can help people solve the worrisome issue of how to accommodate animals when circumstances force them from their homes.
Thumbs-up: To wild turkeys. People have been spotting these big birds – and sometimes their babies – around DeKalb and Sycamore in recent months. They've taken a lot of photos, too, probably because we're not used to seeing them here. The turkeys seem to be making themselves at home – they've been spotted walking down the sidewalk and through parking lots, running through intersections and also in more predictable habitats like in tall grass along roadsides. The birds seem to be more visible this year than in the past, and that's just fine with us. So long as they don't become so ubiquitous as the herds of traffic-stopping Canada geese.