THUMBS UP! To our overwhelming community. The WSOY Community Food Drive surpassed its goal of 1.5 million pounds. What's overwhelming is how both the announcement of the goal and reaching the goal is so overwhelming. This year’s achievement is almost four times the 400,000 pounds collected as recently as 2010. Such a feat truly cannot be accomplished without a caring and dedicated community. An overwhelmingly caring and dedicated community.
THUMBS UP! To the sign identifying Sheriff Roger E. Walker Jr. Memorial Road. The sign isn't a way to remind those who knew the man. The first black sheriff elected in Illinois history and director of the Illinois Department of Corrections from 2003 to 2009 was memorable to all fortunate enough to meet him. Perhaps the best part of the dedication and the sign is the ability to extend Walker's legacy by reminding all observers of an example of our community at its best. A public celebration of the signage is Friday, Nov. 3.
THUMBS DOWN! To the ongoing reports of unpaid bills, still attributable to the state's budget crisis. We have likely only heard the most recent of the horror stories. This week's report says there are $7.5 billion worth of unpaid bills, and that's in addition to $9 billion worth of checks that are at the comptroller's office but are being delayed because the state lacks the money to pay them. If not for concerned citizens like Howard Buffett, whose Howard G. Buffett Foundation gave a $1 million grant to the Dove, Inc., domestic violence shelter, we'd be hearing more stories about the fallout from the state not paying its bills. There are already too many.
THUMBS UP! To the discussion about moving a northside fire station. Members of the public had a chance to say their piece about moving Station 5, the fire station currently just north of Brettwood Village Shopping Center. For almost 20 years, there's been a desire and a reason to move the station as the city has expanded to the north. But as happened in 2015 with the proposal to build a new Aldi on Ash Avenue near Walmart, neighborhood dissent is present and accounted for. It's good to have the discussion passionately and in public.
THUMBS UP! To Millikin University's coming Center for Theatre and Dance. A $25 million project, plans are to break ground next year and have the center open in fall of 2020. Millikin's theater department is expanding its excellent nationwide reputation. The school's bachelor of fine arts in acting degree program was recognized as one of the top 10 in the country last month in a survey published by the theater news and review blog OnStage. Last year, OnStage named Millikin as one of the best institutions to earn a bachelor's degree in musical theater. Graduates go to stages, or behind the scenes on stages, all over the world. The new building should turn into a campus jewel.
THUMBS DOWN! To Twitter. Among the strangest fallout from allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against film mogul Harvey Weinstein is the temporary suspension of actress Rose McGowan. With all the high-profile filth crowding Twitter on a daily basis, what on earth could an actress post that would result in suspension of an account?
THUMBS UP! To Decatur's Stephen Clevenger. In his first marathon, he finished 46th. Finishing a marathon is impressive enough. Finishing the Chicago Marathon is impressive enough. But finishing 46th out of more than 40,000 runners in the race? That's remarkable. We're tired just thinking about it.
THUMBS UP! To Decatur’s Smokin’ BBQ Festival. The national competition, in its first year here, was held at Progress City. It drew 32 teams, 42 judges and a crowd interested in checking out exactly what the event was all about. Here's to the two-day event making a return.