Thumbs-up: To new hotel proposals in DeKalb. The city has some good options now, but could use more. Search “DeKalb hotels” on a popular travel site like Expedia.com, and you’ll inevitably come up with a lot of entries. Some of them will be in Sycamore, while others are in Aurora or St. Charles. Will the hotel proposals actually work? We’re not sure. Plans to convert the old St. Mary’s Hospital building at 145 Fisk Ave. north of downtown would require a $2 million investment of public funds and the area's not exactly where we'd expect to find a hotel. Some neighbors of the proposed Home2Suites Hotel at Knolls Avenue South and South Annie Glidden Road aren’t excited about having a four-story structure near their homes, although the property is zoned to allow such a use. Even so, the area lacks other things that appeal to hotel lodgers – such as convenient gas stations and walkable restaurants. The proposals are intriguing, but not tailor-made. We’ll await more details.
Thumbs-down: To mixing a cash giveaway with a campaign for office. Willie Wilson, an independent candidate for Chicago mayor, passed out a reported $200,000 in cash to people at a church service on Chicago's South Side over the weekend. Video from WGN-TV showed Wilson doling out cash to people who filed past. The money was supposed to help them pay their property tax bills. Gov. Bruce Rauner, who also appeared at the event, has contributed $200,000 to Wilson's foundation, which was the source of the money. The Illinois State Board of Elections says it's not a campaign finance violation because the money came from Wilson's foundation, not his campaign fund. Rauner says if any of his money was used in the handout, he will demand it back, and adds he will not contribute any more money to Wilson's foundation, which is undoubtedly the right move in light of this crass way of campaigning.
Thumbs-up: To new leaders at DeKalb elementary schools. This week, District 428 board members approved contracts making Andria Mitchell principal of Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary School, Lissette Jacobson as principal of Tyler Elementary School, and Emily Hefner as assistant principal of Cortland Elementary School. The leadership principals provide can be a key factor not only in the day-to-day function of their schools, but also how parents interact with them. We hope that the new leaders will enjoy getting to know the teachers, parents and students in their buildings and have a great year.
Thumbs-up: To the looming return of football season. The Bears have started training camp in Bourbonnais, the Northern Illinois team was picked to win the MAC West in the league media poll this week, and the first high school practices will begin Aug. 6. We're ready.