Thumbs-up: To a Super Bowl champion from Sycamore. Congratulations to Ben Niemann, who came out a winner in Super Bowl LIV as a linebacker and special-teamer with the Kansas City Chiefs. Niemann, a Sycamore High School graduate who played on the Spartans’ football team, made the hometown fans proud when he put a big hit on San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to help force an incompletion on a fourth-down play late in the game. Congratulations to Ben for reaching such an elite level.
Thumbs-down: To unacceptable backlogs. The 2010s in Illinois government were largely characterized by fiscal uncertainly – including more than a full year without an actual operating budget – resulting in backlogs of bills and administrative duties that left state agencies often unable to do even the bare minimum in terms of public service. Things are slowly trending the right direction, but repercussions continue to reverberate, as evidenced by a recent lawsuit in which plaintiffs say they have had to wait three years for Firearm Owner Identification and gun licenses to be processed. No government service should take that long to administer, from a gun license to a boating license to a Freedom of Information Act request to a deed recording and so on. The courts will decide the merits of the case. The plaintiffs put the blame on allegedly illegal fund sweeps, the defendant agencies say they don’t have the authority to reallocate the money in question and shouldn’t be held liable. Regardless of the outcome we’re frustrated at the continued consequences of gross legislative and administrative incompetence.
Thumbs-up: To a new restaurant coming to DeKalb. On Thursday, city officials confirmed that Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers will be opening a location on the site of the former Applebee’s restaurant at 2411 Sycamore Road. The new location is part of a push into the region by the fast-food chain, which specializes in southern-style meals featuring chicken fingers, coleslaw and fries. We’re pleased to see a space being re-used as a restaurant, and it’s clear that there’s a fair amount of excitement for a new restaurant in the area.
Thumbs down: To another programming error, this time in an app that caused chaos in the counting of votes in Monday’s Iowa caucuses and threw the results into doubt for much longer than is acceptable. Election technology has backfired before, but the Iowa Democratic Party has some major explaining to do. There’s a right way conduct statewide caucuses, and a wrong way. Iowans need to find the right way once again.