(NOTE: Due to a production error, the "Thumbs Up!" that appeared in the Friday, Feb. 7, edition was a reprint from Jan. 31. Here is this week's "Thumbs Up!")
THUMBS UP! For the upcoming Amtrak connection for Decatur. City officials are working with Illinois Charter to provide shuttle service to Champaign and Springfield as regional connections to and from Decatur for Amtrak service. Decatur has not had direct Amtrak access for a long time, and right now, that appears to be permanent. Here's hoping the scheduling issue is solved quickly. The shuttle option gives citizens another means of access.
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THUMBS UP! To Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The governor reminded us all of the importance of broadband expansion. In announcing that the state is taking applications for a grant program aimed at increasing internet access, Pritzker said, “This isn't about a person's ability to go online and just look at their Facebook page. This is about a small business owner having the tools that she needs to reach new customers. This is about an elderly couple’s ability to get access to medical experts anywhere in the nation, even if they live in a rural community. This is about giving children … the ability to research their homework assignments online.” That’s worth remembering if we ever think internet access is a luxury.
THUMBS DOWN! To complaints about the Super Bowl halftime show. Shakira and Jennifer Lopez certainly performed in styles that exemplified their heritage. If you’re also complaining about the extensive contact and injury potential that is part of the game itself, then go ahead with your complaints about all of it. The rest of us will wait for the NCAA basketball tournament.
THUMBS UP! And thanks to first responders, paid and volunteer. Sunday, we presented a look at ambulance service in smaller Central Illinois towns. Volunteers are helping make sure shifts are covered, but the efforts are often a scramble. We appreciate their efforts.
THUMBS DOWN! On efforts to split Chicago from the rest of the state of Illinois. The idea isn’t a new one. There are also arguments to divide California from the United States. Both ideas have their merits. Both also are difficult and slippery mine fields to maneuver. Better to take care of more pressing matters than to expend effort on long shots.