THUMBS UP! To the Kacey Derbort Foundation, which is supplying new books to young children. The foundation was established by Jackie Goeppinger, Kacey’s grandmother. Kacey loved to read until her death at age 5 due to a blood transfusion. Since her 2009 death, Goeppinger has collected funds and uses them to supply books to all children, but primarily pre-schoolers. The foundation gives away hundreds of books, sometimes 500 in one day.

THUMBS UP! To some new procedures for public comments at Decatur City Council meetings. Going forward, public comments will be taken at the beginning of the meeting. That serves two purposes. First, it will allow the public to comment on any agenda items before the council potentially makes any decisions. Second, it will allow the public to make their comments and then leave the meeting, if they wish. In the past, when comments were at the end of the meeting, some commenters gave up and left because of a lengthy meeting.

THUMBS UP! To the annual Martin Luther King Jr. march and other activities surrounding Monday’s remembrance of the great leader. Monday’s march was well-attended, despite temperatures in the single digits. The annual activities are a reminder of something we should remember every day: Although we’ve made great progress in many areas, there is still much to do to realize Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.

THUMBS DOWN! By legislators in some states, most notably Virginia and Missouri, to limit the media’s access. In both cases, the media are being moved from the legislative floor to the balcony. One of the reasons is that some media members have tweeted private conversations between legislators. Let’s see, publicly elected and paid legislators having a conversation in a public building. Shouldn’t everyone know what they’re talking about?

THUMBS UP! To the UCP Miller Lite Barstool Open, which once again showed why it’s the largest such event in the nation. The annual event, which has teams of players participating in miniature golf holes at different watering holes, included 53 locations organized into seven courses. In its 15th year, this year’s open attracted 2,248 players on 562 teams and raised about $95,000 that will go directly to the UCP Land of Lincoln’s Decatur office.

THUMBS UP! To the Decatur Family YMCA for the unveiling of a new Ronald McDonald Youth Wellness Center. The center features seven pieces of exercise equipment for children and a fun wall. Most of the equipment was purchased with a grant from the Ronald McDonald House charities. The center will fit in well with the YMCA’s Motion Fitness Initiative, which integrates technology and entertainment as a way to fight childhood obesity.

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