Thumbs-up: To the new robots on staff at Kishwaukee College. This school year, students at the college will have the opportunity to learn about robotics with access to two robots, which have been named Rachel and Richard. It’s the first step toward the college being able to certify students in industrial automation. With more and more employers – including local ones – making greater use of robotic machinery, this looks like a great addition that can prepare local students to join the modern workforce.
Thumbs-up: To helping families in need before a new school year. In what has become an annual event, volunteers from DeKalb’s New Hope Baptist Church will give away backpacks stuffed with school supplies from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Sports and Rec Center, 1765 S. Fourth St. in DeKalb. The back-to-school bash helps hundreds of children be ready for school to begin, no questions asked. This is a truly commendable effort, and a fine example of the people and programs that make our community a welcoming place.
Thumbs-down: To the continuing carnage in Chicago neighborhoods. Last weekend, at least 11 people were killed and about 70 wounded. The victims ranged in age from 11 to 63. The shootings took place in highly public places, including on city streets, at a block party and at a funeral. Police blamed street gangs and illegal guns for the violence, and politicians attempted to use the violence for political gain, while residents remain in neighborhoods under siege, trapped between gang members they fear and police who many don’t trust. Among the dozens of shootings, police had not made any arrests. Now, Chicago will flood these neighborhoods with police, which may save some lives. Unfortunately, if it follows the pattern we have seen before, the respite will be temporary.
Thumbs-up: To purchasing new wastewater pumps in Sycamore. The City Council’s decision this week to spend $350,000 to buy new pumps and connection equipment for its wastewater treatment system is essential for keeping wastewater in the sewer system – and out of neighborhoods. Maintaining infrastructure is a key function of local government, and it’s a good thing that the city is solvent enough to take the steps needed to keep neighborhoods safe and livable.
Thumbs-up: To the start of a new school year. Students at public school districts, including in Sycamore, DeKalb, and Genoa, will start a new school year next week. Like most parents, we’re ready to have our young people back in school learning. We hope everyone has a great school year.