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Local Column

Olson: Downtime before big second half of 2018

Eric Olson
Eric Olson

It’s summertime and too hot to do much of anything outside except sit on the deck and yell at the children periodically.

It’s good to have a little down time. It gives you time to think, read a few books and make self-improvement resolutions you’re unlikely to keep. Personally, I’ve been trying to identify that odd screeching/squeaking sound I hear in my backyard when it’s quiet. I think it might be industrial a/c units or something. Other people say they’ve heard it, too, so I know I’m not nuts.

But I digress. Already we’re past the halfway point of 2018, believe it or not, and headed for an eventful second half.

There will be a new school year, and probably more fretting about enrollment declines at Northern Illinois University and Kishwaukee College. They’re hardly the only places dealing with these issues, and it’s not just an Illinois problem. In Wisconsin, they’ve consolidated many of their two-year college campuses with larger ones to keep them open. Nobody’s talking about that here yet, but we all know the arrow can’t point down forever.

A new football season will get started, too.

This year, the Bears have a new coach in Matt Nagy and high hopes for a sophomore quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, and the NIU Huskies face what might be their toughest schedule in program history. This will be the last season (for a while, anyway) that DeKalb and Sycamore play in the same conference. Depending on where DeKalb lands, it could be the last time the Barbs and Spartans play a football game against each other for some time.

It would be a shame to lose that game, which always brings so many people from the community to Huskie Stadium and raises money for booster clubs through the First National Challenge. Unless the IHSA intervenes in setting conferences, however, we’re going to be stuck with this bad system and ever-shifting conference alignments.

Oh, yes, we’ll have an election in November. The knives are being sharpened.

Locally, we’ll elect a new state representative for the first time in 15 years, when Republican Jeff Keicher of Sycamore faces Democrat Paul Stoddard of DeKalb in the race for former Rep. Bob Pritchard’s seat.

Also, the city of DeKalb eventually should hire a new city manager. They’re already on their second interim manager since March. The first, Patty Hoppenstedt, moved to Tennessee.

Just another person leaving Illinois you hear so much about these days. But not me. I’m planning to stick around, figure out what that mysterious squealing is and see how the rest of 2018 turns out.

Join me, won’t you?

• Eric Olson is general manager of the Daily Chronicle. Reach him at 815-756-4841 ext. 2257, email eolson@shawmedia.com, or follow him on Twitter @DC_Editor.

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