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THUMBS UP! To generous Taylorville citizens. A month after a December tornado struck the town, relief efforts are ongoing. Relief efforts are ongoing. The U.S. Small Business Administration will have an office in Taylorville through Jan. 17 to offer low-interest loans. Homeowners may apply for loans up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed residences. The city warehouse is distributing building supplies for free, including panels of drywall, shovels, nails and more. One of the city's issues is people not being willing to accept free items. Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce director Patty Hornbuckle pointed out, "They say, 'There are people so much worse off than me that need that.' Yes, that's good, but we want to help everyone we possibly can."

THUMBS DOWN! To Michael Madigan. This time, the longest-serving state House speaker in U.S. history praised his fellow Democrats for persevering in an "epic struggle" over state spending with outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner. Rauner's response was, "The folks that created the massive problems in our state certainly are resistant to change. That doesn't mean that our recommendations are somehow wrong or flawed. It means it's going to take time to communicate with the voters and get the changes done." Madigan should take no pride in the state being driven to a stalemate, with thousands of voters and thousands of children suffered while politicians played games with their lives and much-needed services. Rauner is right about one fact – we still need to “get the changes done.” All Madigan is doing with his statement and position is taking bows for not doing his job.

THUMBS UP! To young adults willing to wait to acquire their driver's licenses. The percentage of high school seniors with a driver's license dropped from 85.3 percent in 1996 to 71.5 percent in 2015. The largest drop was in southern states, and the region with the highest percentage of high school seniors with licenses was the Midwest. There are still young adult drivers in Decatur who are biding their time before testing. That's encouraging. The reasons range from capability to desire to even the need for a license if there's no car available or no job to drive to. It's a sign of maturity to recognize when you don't need to do something just because almost everyone else is. That's particularly the case with driving, which we often view as a key step to adulthood.

THUMBS DOWN! To extensive medical marketing. We all see the advertisements whenever we're viewing programming. We watch the ads that tell us we should not take the drug being advertised if we are allergic to it. (That we have to be reminded of this is a subject for another day.) There are enough of us who see the ads and then ask our physician, and our physician will sometimes pass along the prescription, sometimes to get rid of a pesky patient. Not all drugs are for all people, and the direct marketing to a general public that doesn't know one treatment from another is an outrageous violation of trust and an outrageous abuse of capitalism.

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