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OUR VIEW: Thumbs up! Thumbs down!

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THUMBS UP! To Illinois' Fall Color Report. The annual report offers information on peak fall foliage time. The forecast for Central Illinois says the peak time will be the middle of the month, so there's still time to prepare and enjoy. For the full color report, see

THUMBS UP! To sewer work. We'll always be pleased by infrastructure investment. When it comes to working on the things we use daily but really only recognize when things go wrong, we thoroughly endorse improvement.

THUMBS DOWN! To battling billionaires. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and fellow billionaire Ken Griffin are in a war of words over crime in Illinois and have thrown in a little name-calling for good measure. The citizenry would be better served by the two working together for the common good rather than fight one another on levels most people can't possibly understand.

THUMBS UP! To Kofi Cockburn and Decatur's T/CCI Manufacturing. The hashtag is #CoolLikeKofi." The Decatur company kicked off Manufacturing Month by partnering with Jamaica native Cockburn, as well as more than 20 student-athletes across a variety of sports at Illinois. The athletes and company will promote manufacturing jobs and products, such as the company's compressor technology that is often used to keep vehicles cool.

THUMBS DOWN! To worldwide water issues. If a person wanted to seek them out, dozens of water issues around the world could be found daily. The United Nations' weather agency reports a majority of the world needs improved forecasting systems to help prevent devastation. In addition, billions of people already have inadequate access to water, and that number will reach 5 billion by 2050. Around 25% of the world's cities are already experiencing water shortages. Imagine the measures we have to occasionally take in Decatur, and multiply them past the point of water rationing. Addressing the issue is vital.

THUMBS UP! To a smart traffic light system. The Decatur City Council has OK'd the purchase of Opticom traffic preemption devices. While that might sound like something out of science fiction, it's very basic, and an idea so sensible that you have to wonder what took so long. The devices allow emergency personnel to communicate with traffic signals and potentially provide a speedy path to where they're going, even as far as changing the lights. That will further reduce the chances of traffic tangles and accidents.

THUMBS DOWN! To chip shortages. In just one of the number of shortages in the aftermath of COVID, the automotive industry is battling through a period of struggle as they wait for manufacturing to catch up. Chip production shifted to personal electronic devices as their popularity increased during the pandemic. Automotive industry officials are optimistic about the final quarter of 2021, and there are thousands of consumers who hope they're correct.


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