THUMBS UP! To Decatur’s amnesty on late parking fees. Scofflaws with outstanding and unpaid tickets will be contacted with a Feb. 1 mailing. The program ends May 1. City officials says hundreds of thousands of dollars of fines are outstanding. Here’s a chance to get some of that cash in the coffers.
THUMBS DOWN! To Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The governor declined to suspend the Illinois automatic voter registration program, even in the aftermath of people being registered mistakenly. Pritzker declared the glitch’s discovery and fix was enough for him. The decision leaves open the door for more questioning of the voting process. In the current climate, that is not what we need.
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THUMBS DOWN! To the Decatur Public Schools administration and school board. The problems with the public schools district are numerous. Some are bad fortune, some are unanticipated, but others come from a lack of forethought. The ongoing tone deaf responses from the administrators and board show an utter lack of awareness of the perceived chaos surrounding them. These complaints are widespread. They’re not just coming from a couple of malcontents. A vote of no confidence in Assistant Superintendent Jeff Dase by several speakers, including Decatur Education Association president Chrissy Pettit and Decatur Federation of Teaching Assistants president Paula Busboom appears to have been given no consideration. The failure to allow public comment on the Montessori school discussion was questionable. The apparent desire to deal with (or ignore) public questions by insisting on email communication hinders communications.
THUMBS UP! To Decatur native Andrew Craig Brown. The Cerro Gordo High School and Millikin University graduate received a Grammy for his contribution to the Best Opera Recording of “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” The release of the recording came after Brown stopped singing professionally to work as a mechanic. The winning recording was done in 2014, and Brown had almost forgotten about it.
THUMBS DOWN! To more virus news that sounds like it comes from a horror film but is, in fact, real. Fallout continues over the Wuhan coronavirus that has hit China and circulated around the word. Numbers of those infected and those who have perished continue to escalate. We have to trust medicine and science to lead us through this. We also have to realize this isn’t the last time we’ll see this kind of transmittable terror.
THUMBS UP! To the idea of keeping Bagelfest. Mattoon’s Lender’s Bagels and its baking factory has been acquired by Bimbo Bakeries USA. While the company has released no information about its plans in Mattoon, we’ll cast a vote in favor of keeping Bagelfest around. Bagelfest was created in 1986 by Mattoon community leaders to introduce the newly open Lender’s to the city.