Thumbs-up: To the third consecutive year of postseason baseball for the Cubs. The team we used to call “lovable losers” has been the biggest winner in Chicago sports of late, with this season marking the first time since 1906-’08 that the team has reached the postseason three years in a row. It bears noting that in the past two years of that stretch, the Cubs also won the World Series. Can history repeat itself, and a franchise that set a national record for pro-sports futility win back-to-back titles? We’ll find out. Go Cubs!
Thumbs-down: To roadwork dragging on along Sycamore Road and DeKalb Avenue. This week, we learned that repaving work paid for by the Illinois Department of Transportation and scheduled to be completed this fall was not expected to be finished until next summer. It could be worse – officials said the exposed manhole covers that have made the road a minefield for drivers should be leveled out before the snow starts to fall – but the delays in Illinois passing a state budget and the poor condition of pavement closer to Coltonville Road have made the project one that’s going to go on for many months yet, officials said. Let’s hope it proves to be nothing more than a minor inconvenience.
Thumbs-up: To what we hope will be the last time the case against William Curl is considered in court. This week, DeKalb County Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert rejected Curl’s appeal to withdraw his guilty plea and face a trial for the 2010 killing of 18-year-old Northern Illinois University freshman Antinette “Toni” Keller. Keller had just arrived in town, ready to begin her college career when her life was taken in despicable fashion. The state has convincing evidence against Curl – including his changing and unconvincing story about what had happened, his behavior clearly meant to conceal what he had done, his decision to flee the country in his mother’s car – but it never was laid out publicly because there never was a trial. There does not need to be one, however. Curl pleaded guilty of his own accord and needs to stay in prison now, and spare Keller’s family and the community from having to rehash this terrible crime.
Thumbs-up: To 111 years of homecoming at Northern Illinois University. The homecoming celebrations already have begun for NIU, and will continue Saturday with the homecoming football game against Kent State at 2:30 p.m. at Huskie Stadium. As longtime NIU Sports information director Mike Korcek said this week, “NIU was one of the first schools that had homecoming, and we should be proud. Celebrating the 111th homecoming is tremendous in a world where things change every day, and many people don’t care about tradition.” We agree. Go Huskies!