Thumbs up: To the McHenry City Council and others involved in plans to renovate and reopen the McHenry downtown theater, which has been closed since 2014. The City Council earlier this week unanimously approved plans to grant a conditional use permit for an expanded site plan to allow a theater, a restaurant serving alcohol, outdoor seating, outdoor entertainment and any other variances needed to develop the property at Walsh Park. The project was proposed by Boone Creek Crossing LLC. As part of the project, the west facade of the existing building will be renovated. “This is one of the most exciting projects that’s coming along in a very long time,” Mayor Susan Low said. We couldn’t agree more.
Thumbs up: To Jacob Matthaei of Lakewood and his family for collecting 1 million pop tabs from aluminum cans in just seven months for Ronald McDonald House, which recycles them and puts the funds toward families in need. Ronald McDonald House provides care for families such as the Matthaeis, whose children have complex medical needs. Jacob was diagnosed with leukemia in November 2015, when he was three years old, and receives treatment every month at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Last year, such aluminum tabs raised more than $40,000 to provide lodging and food for families during treatments. “We did this not just because Jacob has cancer, but because it’ll help all kids who have cancer,” said Jacob’s mom, Jennifer. We wish them luck on reaching their next goal: 2 million aluminum tabs.
Thumbs up: To the students in Fox River Grove School District 3 for starting a kindness club and hosting The Great Kindness Challenge for the first time in the district. Taking a cue from the Second Step curriculum, a social and emotional learning curriculum, these kids are working to make positive changes in their environment.
Thumbs up: To Harvard School District 50 for hosting an event honoring local veterans this week at Harvard High School and for hosting similar events throughout the year, including around Veterans Day. Many McHenry County schools go out of their way to honor those in our community who’ve made tremendous sacrifices for this nation. These school traditions have enormous educational merit in teaching students the values of those who have served to preserve our freedoms, and that should be honored and respected.