Thumbs-down: To gambling expansion is yet another nonsolution to Illinois budget woes. There certainly are problems with what’s been described as a grand bargain, particularly a massive income tax hike, but it looked for a moment as if a solution to the lack of a state budget was at least on the horizon. Instead, the shiny object was new gambling licenses for Chicago, Lake County, Rockford and other locations around the state, which were approved by the Illinois Senate. This is no jackpot for weary Illinois taxpayers.
Thumbs-up: To Algonquin resident Greg Freund and all of those who will be participating in the St. Baldrick’s Foundation shave this year. This year will be different for Freund, as he is raising money to benefit his 14-year-old daughter, Talia Freund, who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in July, as we documented this week. This also is an event that is personal to so many people. In March, organizations throughout the country hold head shavings to benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and other local causes. The events raise money for childhood cancer research and show children who have lost their hair because of treatments that others stand proudly with them, according to the foundation’s website.
Thumbs-up: To Serena Huberty, the Richard Bernotas Middle School eighth-grader who won the 2017 McHenry County Spelling Bee. Spelling is difficult, especially on stage in front of a crowd with so much at stake. So, congratulations to Serena and all of those who competed Wednesday night, including first runner-up Tagan Gizel of Parkland School in McHenry and second runner-up Giuliana Ramirez from Heineman Middle School in Algonquin. Serena, 13, goes on to compete in the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will be from May 28 to June 3. We wish Huberty the best of luck at the national bee.
Thumbs-down: To the election tradition of anonymous mailers attacking candidates who are seeking local office. Whether you support him as a candidate or not, Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka has been smeared for a few years with a packet of half-true information seeking to discredit him. He isn’t alone and many candidates find themselves victims of cowardly character attacks. It should be a good hint to residents that when the source of the unverified information won’t show its face, there’s likely more to the story. It’s hard enough to run for office without facing illegitimate attacks.