Thumbs-up: To movement on plans for a new Meijer store in Sycamore. City officials this week said they had received plans for the development at the northwest corner of Peace Road and Route 23. The new store, which has been discussed since at least 2017, would be built on 16 acres, with space for three other businesses. A gas station is planned for two acres of land nearby. Although our community already has several great grocers, we welcome new businesses to town. New commercial development is a big plus for the community and we suspect residents in the area will be interested in checking it out once it opens. Be patient, though: Construction won’t begin until spring and the store wouldn’t open until 2020.
Thumbs-down: To choosing the greater of two evils. Last month, the state of Michigan offered Illinois $8 million to go toward the team effort of keeping Asian carp from infesting Lake Michigan, a legitimate threat as the invasive species continues to thrive in the Illinois River. The money would be on hold until 2028, and a drop in the bucket considering the prevention efforts could exceed $1 billion by the time everything is installed, but urged Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois and his Michigan counterpart, Rick Snyder, both outgoing Republicans, to continue the dialogue. Instead, Rauner effectively said thanks but no thanks, and told Snyder to keep the change.
Thumbs-up: To a decline in overdose deaths since 2017 in McHenry county. This week Executive Director of the McHenry County Mental Health Board Scott Block said the number of fatal overdoses reached 78 in 2017 and dropped to 51 in 2018. Narcan, which became available without a prescription in 2016, was a large contributor to the number going down, Block said. Other factors include charging more drug dealers whose sale resulted in another’s death with drug-induced homicide and starting the “A Way Out” program, according to McHenry county State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally. We hope county partners continue to find ways to bring down the number of overdose deaths. As Kenneally said, “There still is much to be done.”
Thumbs-down: To staggering statistics. Whereas the idea of safer roads brings optimism, there is deep pessimism stemming from the numbers linked to a federal lawsuit accusing the Illinois Department of Corrections of having such an inadequate health care system that several inmates died in custody over the past decade. On Thursday the state moved closer to a settlement with lawyers representing about 40,000 inmates who first sued eight years ago. According to The Association Press, the latest report form plaintiffs’ lawyers showed experts examined 33 deaths and determined 12 were clearly preventable with better care, seven might have been preventable and in five cases, records were so poorly kept they could not make a determination.
Thumbs-up: To stepping up to help law enforcement. On Friday, DeKalb County Sheriff's officials announced that they would be training deputies at the Aurora Sportsmen's Club shooting range in Waterman, possibly as soon as February. The announcement also meant that the Sheriff no longer needed to build a shooting range near the DeKalb County landfill, a proposal that would have cost about $60,000 and led to some concerns from the public. Fortunately, David Lombardo, president of the sportsmen's club, stepped forward to help police and eliminate the need for a new shooting range. Seems like a good solution for all.