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Editorials

Our View: Thumbs-down to unsolved pension problem

Jim Walter of Whiskey Acres Distilling Co. accepts the 2018 Business of the Year Award during the 2019 DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Annual Celebration Dinner on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in DeKalb.
Jim Walter of Whiskey Acres Distilling Co. accepts the 2018 Business of the Year Award during the 2019 DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Annual Celebration Dinner on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in DeKalb.

Thumbs-up: To a temporary reprieve from the partial shutdown of the federal government. President Donald Trump on Friday announced he would support and sign a provision to reopen the government until Feb. 15, which should relieve some pressure on about 800,000 federal employees who had not received a paycheck since December. But this is just a short-term fix. The president and members of Congress have an obligation to reach a compromise to address the immigration issue. They now have a few weeks to do so. Both Democrats and Republicans must find a way to get past the intransigence that led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Thumbs-up: To Whiskey Acres, the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Business of the Year. The local distillery, which was founded by Jim Walter, his son, Jamie, and friend Nick Nagele, has made a big splash since it first opened on the Walter family farm south of DeKalb in 2014. Since then, it has hosted more than 16,000 visitors from 40 states, and in December opened a rustic-themed 4,200-square-foot visitors center on its site at 11504 Keslinger Road. It’s good to see local entrepreneurs have success, and we hope they continue to bring connoisseurs and the curious to DeKalb County for years to come.

Thumbs-up: To a new enrollment plan at Northern Illinois University. President Lisa Freeman’s administration has set a goal of having 18,000 students enrolled at NIU by 2023. Their strategies to reach that goal include adding online students, appealing more to minority students including Hispanic students, and increasing recruitment and retention efforts, among others. The downward trend in enrollment at NIU, particularly in resident student enrollment, has had a tremendous economic impact on DeKalb County. Although this plan doesn’t promise a return to the days when there were 25,000 students enrolled, at least it sets expectations and gives a target. Enrollment may well drop even more before it ticks up again, as larger classes graduate and smaller ones take their place, but we wish NIU officials success in pursuing their long-range goal.

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