THUMBS DOWN! To a canceled Illinois Legislature veto session. The official blame goes to the COVID-19 outbreak. Unofficially, Rep. Steve Reick, R-Woodstock, suggested it might be more to do with political unrest within the House Democratic caucus." Even Gov. J.B. Pritzker was critical of the cancellation. He wanted to get legislative approval for significant budget cuts. All that's happening in Springfield is only putting off the ultimate fireworks show that will inevitably come.
THUMBS UP! To some good sports news from Champaign. While the University of Illinois football team is a winless disappointment, the men’s basketball team gave Central Illinois reason to smile this week. First came the announcement that the Braggin’ Rights basketball game with Missouri will be played, with the site to be determined by an upcoming coin flip. Part of what made the contest so spectacular has been the crowds, whose enthusiasm has made this one of the country’s greatest basketball rivalries. The previous day, the first Associated Press basketball poll was released, and the Illini were ranked No. 8 in the nation.
THUMBS UP! To the golf scramble at South Side Country Club in honor of member Todd Garner. Garner, the president of the Mount Zion school board and vice-president of Peerless Cleaners, died in October after contracting COVID-19. His friends shared fellowship and commemoration along with a better understanding of the realities of the epidemic.
THUMBS DOWN! To the depressing results of a survey of Illinois teachers. The Illinois Education Association revealed nearly one in three Illinois teachers surveyed said they’ve considered leaving the profession amid the safety concerns and debilitating stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. That's on top of ongoing shortages and impending retirements. As is the case with multiple businesses and career paths amid the COVID-19 epidemic, changes have made teaching more stressful and has removed some of the aspects of the job teachers found most enjoyable. This is one of hundreds of lit fuses that will devastate society at some point.
THUMBS UP! To a new tool for keeping track of the pandemic. Memorial Health System, which includes Decatur Memorial Hospital, is providing online daily updates regarding COVID-19 trends at its facilities. Data includes information on how many of those hospitalized patients are in intensive care, and how many patients at all Memorial Health System locations, including outpatient clinics, have tested positive for COVID-19. This kind of transparency is vital to not only reinforce the dangers of the virus, but also to keep us as fully informed as possible. The dashboard is available at ChooseMemorial.org and clicking on the COVID-19 tab at the top of the page, as well as the system's Facebook page. One of the most reliable world total websites is at www.worldometers.info/coronavirus.
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