THUMBS UP! To Let’s Keep Decatur Bee-utiful award winners and contestants. The Beautify Decatur Coalition handed out the 11th annual edition of the awards this week. Winners included Northgate Pet Clinic (most popular Facebook vote), Billingsley 66 Car Wash (most litter free), HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Cancer Center (best landscaping), the Decatur Commodore Yacht Club (best signage) and the Decatur Public Library (best use of flowers).
THUMBS UP! To Kofi Cockburn. The University of Illinois basketball second team All-American announced his return to school after a flirtation with the National Basketball Association and the NCAA's transfer portal. His return immediately raises expectations and possibilities for the team.
THUMBS DOWN! To sad news from the University of Illinois football family. Bobby Roundtree was a rising star in the university's program when, in May 2019, he suffered a severe spinal injury from a boating and swimming accident in Florida. Roundtree remained in contact with the program and served as an inspiration. He died Friday at age 23.
THUMBS UP! To the return of the annual First Gig Rock and Roll Camp. At First Gig, students ages 10 to 17, supplying their own instruments, get together to form bands and learn the basics of performing, marketing and working together. The camp ends with a performance on Saturday, July 24, in Kirkland Fine Arts Center. Doors open at 11 a.m. See you there.
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THUMBS DOWN! To rejecting a proposal to strengthen Internal Revenue Service enforcement. U.S. Senators are concerned over the extensive costs of programs proposed by the Biden administration. Yet they've decided against giving more power to the organization in charge of collecting money. This cannot be considered progress.
THUMBS UP! To Decatur keeping its "metro" status. Federal decision-makers pondered changing designations for MSA, Metropolitan Statistical Area. The government warned it was thinking of upping the population needed to qualify as an MSA from 50,000 to at least 100,000. Many federal programs dispense tax dollars based on recognition of communities designated as MSAs. Decatur was among 144 cities at risk of getting the new label. The current standards will remain in place until at least 2030.