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Our View: Thumbs up to kindness in McHenry

Published: Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down:

Thumbs up: To former McHenry City Council member Bill Bolger, whose “Practice simple acts of kindness” bumper stickers have been a hit. Bolger had about 100 of the bumper stickers printed, and they were distributed by the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce. The bumper stickers were well received during the Fiesta Days parade, when they were displayed on cars that city officials rode in. And McHenry West High School is considering incorporating the idea into student activities.

Thumbs down: To Illinois’ ethics law, which has been deemed “toothless” by the state Legislature’s own ethics chief. The law was enacted in 1967 and is too vague on what constitutes a conflict of interest or other ethical violation. It also lacks tough penalties and, in most cases, it prevents the state’s ethics commission from reporting its findings publicly. The law needs to be updated to better define ethics breaches, include stiff penalties for breaches and require public disclosure of findings.

Thumbs up: To Daisy the reading therapy dog for Hilltop Elementary School. Daisy started as a reading dog in 2005 in the classroom of Maureen Adams-Durkin, Daisy’s owner and Hilltop’s learning disabilities teacher. Adams-Durkin thought her students would enjoy reading if the dog was present, and Adams-Durkin and learning disabilities assistant Barb Szamlewski also thought Daisy could get through to the students in a different way During Daisy’s eight years of service, she helped more than 175 students. She retired in May and died July 26. Engaging children in reading is a vital part of their development, and we thank Adams-Durkin for sharing her beloved pet with her students.

Thumbs down: To the Crystal Lake School District 47 board for approving a tentative budget that is expected to lead to deficit spending of $234,221. Five-year projections have it draining fund balances by $1.8 million. The district, and all governments, should find a way to balance its budget by spending less and avoid creating more, less-surmountable financial issues in the future.

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