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THUMBS UP! To Splash Cove. Thanks to uncooperative weather, the new water park in Nelson Park will not open until next year. (May is the current projection.) But media members got a glimpse of the 6.28-acre complex, which will feature four water slides ranging in length from 228 feet to 358 feet, three pools, rock-climbing and zip-lining. All appearances indicate the the new venue will be worth the wait.

THUMBS UP! To a change of scenery. The University of Illinois football team will play Nebraska in its season opener in 2021, but they're playing the game in Dublin, Ireland. The early start will shine a light on the school's program during its first game outside the United States.

THUMBS DOWN! To a too-early exit. We were hoping for at least another week or two of baseball playoff excitement with the St. Louis Cardinals. Unfortunately, the Washington Nationals swept the Cardinals, and the victors will play in their first World Series. The Cardinals gave us plenty of excitement for the summer.

THUMBS UP! And best wishes to our farming friends. Wet weather dating back to early spring kept Central Illinois farmers out of the fields long enough to delay harvest. Corn and soybean harvests so far are well behind the average, and this coming week will make a huge difference assuming precipitation stays away. We wish them good fortune and good harvests.

THUMBS UP! To the University of Illinois. The school unveiled a statue of football legend Dick Butkus, located outside the main entrance of the new football center. He joins Red Grange as the only athletes from the school so honored. Having a reminder of one of the best to play the game is appreciated.

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