THUMBS UP! To the report revising the blood pressure standards. No, we're not pleased to note that 30 million more Americans have been classified as having blood pressure issues today than did last week, according to new guidelines issued by heart doctors. The good news, though, is the raised profile of the risks of high blood pressure. Getting that news out is important. The other good news is not everyone with high blood pressure needs medication. For a significant number of people, the numbers can improve if we only do what we're supposed to – be careful with what we put into our bodies and exercise. Perhaps the reminder could have been timed better than just before the holiday season. But maybe this is the best possible time to be reminded.
THUMBS UP! To participants in Saturday's Boots on the Ground 5K. The race was organized by the Heroes Helping Heroes Foundation (H3F). The foundation was organized by local residents to support Central Illinois veterans. The event raises funds and the profile of the year-old foundation, which organized in response to residents' desires to see money and resources staying in the community and supporting local veterans.
THUMBS DOWN! To Moweaqua village officials. They continue to bafflingly insist on refusing comment on the suspension of former Police Chief Rob Maynard prior to his resignation after 15 years with the department. As the saga approaches its fourth week, village officials continue to say Maynard “hasn't signed a release.” But the former chief requested and received his personnel file from the village, and turned the over to the Herald & Review, where they can be viewed online. If there's a good reason they're not talking, officials need to share it with their constituency. The release excuse is invalid with Maynard's personnel file available to anyone.
THUMBS UP! To adventurous Millikin University students. The eighth annual Box City event last weekend gave some of them the challenge of living in the elements overnight, protected from the elements only by a cardboard box. Some mock the effort, saying the overnight effort is easy to survive when you know you have a warm bed waiting for you when the sun comes up. But the experience can be valuable if only by teaching a bit of humility and a smidgen of compassion. And it probably produces much more for some of its participants.
THUMBS UP! To Illinois state Sens. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Kimberly A. Lightford and Andy Manar. They've urged Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration to expedite its study of the statewide teacher shortage and report its findings to the General Assembly by March 1. While praising the administration's effort, the trio noted “this is a crisis that deserves even more urgent attention and swift action to provide crucial support to students, administrators, and teachers.” The shortage is attributed to the difficulty and expense of getting licensed in Illinois and the challenge of attracting teachers to high-poverty, high-needs classrooms of urban districts. In this case, the use of the word “crisis” is not hyperbole. This is an issue that must be addressed.