THUMBS DOWN! To excuse-making for developers. The north-side site which was re-zoned to allow a Chipotle restaurant to be part of shopping center. That vote was conducted in January, but construction has yet to begin. This week, a spokesman for the developer said the site will not open until 2019. Most disappointing is the developing company's public face, present during the lead-up to the City Council's vote on the rezoning, has not spoken publicly since the vote, and is not answering or returning phone calls. That's not a good neighbor, and we don't need to hear that this is nothing unusual. This project has been far from usual.
THUMBS DOWN! To the increased sexually transmitted diseases rate in Macon County. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis diagnosed in the United States in 2017 was a record, and marked the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases in STDs. Macon County had the state's eighth-highest chlamydia rate in 2017 and the third-highest rate of gonorrhea in the state. For the first six months of this year, the Macon County STD rate was up 2 percent. Some officials say the numbers are up because more people are seeking treatment, which is a good thing. Another good thing is education. Because cures are available, there's a more casual attitude about STDs. We must continue to make efforts to reach the places not being reached with testing, treatment and education. This is a public health matter, however much some of us may not want to talk about it.
THUMBS UP! And keep it up to Cape Air. Decatur's air service has a goal of 10,000 passengers for 2018. Reaching that goal – something Decatur has not done for more than a decade – would result in federal Essential Air Service subsidies. Cape Air's numbers are up 15 percent, but for commercial air service in rural communities. Under the federal program, airports with 10,000 enplanements, or people flying out, by Dec. 31 will receive additional funds for airport improvements — a goal which Decatur has not met in more than a decade. Its current pace is a shade short of the goal, so Cape Air is adding a Saturday flight to St. Louis, and outlined some additional ideas at this week's Decatur Park District meeting. We look forward to the follow-through.
THUMBS UP! To the Rock Springs Ground Squirrels. The “Vintage Base Ball Club,” Illinois’ first playing with the rules, uniform and equipment of the 1860-era, is looking for new players. The club conducts tryouts the next two Saturdays, Sept. 8 and 15, at 10:30 a.m. at the Rock Springs Conservation Area. Vintage ball as played by the Rock Springs team and a number of others through Illinois and into St. Louis, is a fascinating athletic show and theater.
THUMBS DOWN! To an injury again felling Mikey Dudek. The University of Illinois receiver had his 2015 and 2016 seasons wiped out by knee injuries, and his 2018 campaign concluded prematurely in Illinois' first game Saturday. He was a Freshman All-American in 2014. While the miserable fortune he's had with his knees might break the spirit of others, Dudek remained upbeat and inspirational even the day after his final season ended. He may not make the list of Illini legends, but anyone who came across Dudek and his story will have memories of him.