Thumbs-up: To reaching the end of a long delayed building project. Construction work on the Stevens Building at NIU began in April 2014. But two years without a state budget cost added
$3 million to what was supposed to be a $27 million project, and delayed the timeline as work halted. The building, which will include new performance spaces for the School of Theatre and Dance and new classroom space for the Department of Anthropology, is set to open for students in the fall. We hope students will enjoy the new performance space and that local patrons of the arts will have more opportunities to see them perform there.
Thumbs-up: To the FBI reopening the investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till. Till was a 14-year-old boy from Chicago who was visiting relatives in Mississippi when a white woman, now known as Carolyn Donham, told her then-husband that the boy had whistled at her and made sexual advances in a store. Till was killed by the husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother J.W. Milam. They were acquitted by an all-white, all-male jury, but later admitted their role. Although the killers are now dead, Donham admitted in a recent book, “The Blood of Emmett Till” that she had lied when she testified that Till had touched her. Donham is now 84 and living in Raleigh, North Carolina. We hope that investigators will find a way she can be held accountable for her role in this infamous crime.
Thumbs-down: To a shot clock in high school basketball. Coaches across the state are split on the idea of giving prep basketball teams 35 seconds to take a shot on each possession. Although some teams will try to take the air out of the ball from the jump, most of them seem to want to take shots and push the pace. Requiring the area’s many small schools to invest thousands of dollars to install shot timers doesn’t seem worth the benefits that would be seen in quality of high school games. We suspect it would lead to more missed, rushed shots a game. It looks as if it will be at least another year before this idea resurfaces, although, as it was not adopted in time for this season in Illinois.
Thumbs-up: To the return of church bells at Sycamore’s Salem Lutheran Church. The carillon at the church at 1145 DeKalb Ave., near Sycamore High School, had been silent since the early 2000s. A new digital sound system has been installed and plays the sound of chimes every hour with short melodies at noon and 6 p.m. daily. On Sunday, about 75 people gathered to hear the bells play once again. The sound of bells is a pleasant contribution to the sounds of a neighborhood, and we’re glad Salem Lutheran is sounding its virtual chimes.