Thumbs-up: To the grand opening of a new community resource. The Sycamore Park District will host a grand opening event from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday for the new 40,000-square-foot community center building at 480 Airport Road. The building was paid for as a result of Park District residents approving a property tax increase referendum, as well as grants and community fundraising.
The new community center includes a gymnasium, running track and 24-hour fitness center, as well as ample space for park programs, some of which have been held at local school buildings. The center is one of several improvements to the Park District’s holdings that donors and voters wanted to enhance their community. It looks like it will do exactly that.
Thumbs-down: To stores selling synthetic marijuana. Since March, the Illinois Department of Public Health has learned of more than 110 people who have suffered severe bleeding after using a product designed to imitate the effects of marijuana. Three people have died, the most recent coming this week. Synthetic marijuana, often called K2, spice or fake weed, is illegal in Illinois, and the substance sickening people now is believed to be contaminated with rat poison, officials said. Don’t buy or use synthetic pot, and if you see any stores selling it, call the police.
Thumbs-down: To the lack of a local buyer for a historical home. The home of former DeKalb Mayor Hiram Ellwood, brother of barbed wire baron Isaac Ellwood, went up for auction this week, but a bank was the highest bidder, taking the historical home at 329 N. Third St. with its opening credit bid of $366,000.
The Victorian-style home was built in 1884 for Hiram Ellwood and his wife. It most recently was owned by James Hovis, who said he spent about $1 million restoring it before financial hardship left him unable to keep up with the mortgage. Although the property now is bank-owned, we hope that a local buyer will come forward at some point and that the property will not be demolished to make way for future development.
Thumbs-down: To clueless congressmen. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified for two days on Capitol Hill this week about how his company had been duped into allowing third parties to access people’s personal information without their consent and not noticing as Russian actors sought to influence U.S. elections. Several of the country’s senators and House representatives seemed clueless at times about how Facebook – a service used free by about two-thirds of American adults – actually works.
Zuckerberg’s answers seemed scripted and pre-determined – his crib notes actually were photographed – and the whole affair seemed unlikely to lead to any real change. “I’ve just seen it over and over again – that we have the hearings, and nothing happens,” New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone said. On a topic like this, where so many lawmakers appear out of their element, that seems a likely scenario. We hope Facebook will realize that it has slipped in public perception and take better care of Americans’ personal information.