The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down:
Thumbs up: To Eitel Heineman Mechanical Services in Buffalo Grove and to everyone who contributed to fundraisers and rallied to obtain a van outfitted with a wheelchair ramp for the Behof family of Cary. Bob, Cathy, Heather and Andrew Behof had a difficult time getting around as a family with Andrew’s wheelchair weighing 100 pounds. Andrew has cerebral palsy and is blind. Great things can happen when a large burden for one family can be shared by a community who gathers to solve it.
Thumbs down: To a lack of focus on the needs of the mentally ill. There was no gun involved, but there appears to be a common denominator between the woman who tried to breach security in Washington, D.C., on Thursday and recent mass shootings. Initial reports indicate the woman has a history of mental health challenges. Our world is increasingly complex and difficult to manage for the healthiest among us, but oftentimes a confusing and unmanageable place for those suffering from moderate to severe mental illness. There are no easy answers, but finding effective answers should be a priority throughout our various government entities, and viewed as worthwhile to society as a whole. Most people who face mental illness can be helped and live productive lives, but many need more help and resources than are available today.
Thumbs up: To the Northern Illinois University football team for inviting 6-year-old Zach Dacy (his birthday is Saturday) of Harvard to a practice and the team’s game against Eastern Illinois. Zach, who was diagnosed with leukemia in May 2011, even lined up for a play after practice. On the play, he knocked NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch to the ground. For sure, it was an experience that Dacy will remember. And it happened because the NIU football team took the time to care.
Thumbs down: To news that a state pension-reform plan could fall apart in the fall veto session because of bipartisan bickering. It’s the same old song and dance from lawmakers in Springfield, who keep pushing down the road the largest crisis facing our state. If there is a positive to a possible stall, it’s that the plan being kicked around now is flawed since it ties cost-of-living adjustments to inflation and has public employees contributing less to their pensions than they do now.