Thumbs-up: To honoring distinguished Sycamore High School grads. The Sycamore Education Foundation, in conjunction with District 427 and the Sycamore Alumni Committee, has announced three recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards. This year’s inductees are former Sycamore High coach and instructor Rich Kearney, Class of 1965; Rob Olson, class of 1988, manager of Global Real Estate Operations for IKEA; and Chuck Criswell , class of 1967, posthumous, a distinguished local business owner and well-known community member. The recipients will be honored at a reception Sept. 22 at Sycamore High School. We’re pleased to see the groups carry on the tradition of recognizing hometown people for the mark they have made on the world.
Thumbs-up: For a new way for farmers and landowners to make charitable contributions. A partnership between the DeKalb County Community Foundation and DeKalb Farm Bureau Foundation is the Give a Gift of Grain program. The program allows crop producers to donate grain, with its corresponding value being donated to local charitable organizations. Farmers and landowners save by not including the grain’s value in their farm income, and local nonprofits benefit from the donation. Hopefully, this initiative will make it easier for local agricultural interests to support nonprofits even if they are not in a cash-rich position.
Thumbs-up: To renovations at a Sycamore apartment complex. Sycamore officials received a tour of the newly renovated and renamed Carriage House Apartments at 471 and 477 E. State St. this week. Tenants were ordered to leave the apartment complex at the end of May so that work could begin to refurbish the 20 apartment units and the buildings. New owners Tim Royer and Scott Carlson received $10,000 from the city to help with renovations that were expected to cost about $300,000. A walk-through of one of the units showed new cabinets, new carpet, remodeled bathrooms and freshly painted walls. Conditions at the complex should be much improved from before, when complaints about insect infestations, no working heat and hot water, and no working smoke detectors were among the complaints. With rent expected to be about $710 a month for a two-bedroom unit, it’s still among the more affordable options in the city.
Thumbs-down: To missing the point. In public remarks last week expressing frustration with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to veto a bill that would have raised the smoking age to 21 in Illinois, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, implied concerns about how the change would affect retailers in border communities shouldn’t be a deciding factor since Illinois eventually could help those other states pass similar laws. “When we pass a good bill and other states don’t have this law they try to pass it themselves and we help them lead the way,” Cullerton told reporters. While the existence of a nationwide movement to increase the legal age means Cullerton isn’t entirely blowing smoke, the idea that what happens in Springfield is going to inspire copycats in Des Moines, Madison, Indianapolis and Jefferson City isn’t that much more than wishful thinking, at least when it comes to the concerns of folks whose business depends on tobacco sales.