Thumbs-up: To Marengo’s residents, city officials and businesses, who gathered over the weekend to rebuild a playground at Indian Oaks Park. The new equipment was the result of a yearlong fundraising campaign initiated by a partnership between the park district and City Council. Donations from residents and local businesses, as well as fundraising events throughout the year, collected the $35,000 to buy the playground, and the structure was built by volunteers. The park district has been in a financial crisis for years, shedding community amenities after a decade of financial mismanagement and revenue problems. In the past few years, the district has closed its day care facility, the public pool and a skate park. The aging playground at Indian Oaks Park was taken down last summer because of safety concerns, and the district was unable to fix or replace the structure. The park district has taken steps to right its finances, but until it is able to resume its upkeep of community amenities, we are glad to see officials and private citizens coming together to restore a fun, safe public space for children and families.
Thumbs-down: To the state’s inaction on approving new medical marijuana dispensaries. Four years into the state’s medical marijuana pilot program, McHenry County residents who use the medicine still have to drive out of the county to get it. At a public hearing this week for a proposed dispensary in McHenry, Amie and Lance Kennedy told local officials that they have to drive an hour to Addison to get medicine for Lance Kennedy’s chronic pain from multiple sclerosis. “My husband suffers from chronic pain and has been one of those people who has taken many, many medications over the years with little success,” Amie Kennedy said. Medical marijuana helps Lance Kennedy live a better life, she said. We hope to see a dispensary in McHenry County to make life easier for patients who need this medicine.
Thumbs-up: To Huntley baseball pitcher Cole Raines, who continues to impress as he works his way back after being struck in the head by a line drive in May 2016. Raines was fortunate to avoid any long-term physical effects but was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Still, the senior didn’t allow the issue to keep him away from the field. With some help from psychiatrist Dr. Steven Johnson, Raines has felt increasingly comfortable on the mound this spring, and he’s settled into a key role in Huntley’s bullpen as the Red Raiders prepare to start the postseason next week.
Thumbs-up: To the McHenry County Board for finally approving electronic voting after six months of delay and discussion. There are many more important matters to deal with, but this should have been a no-brainer. Welcome to the 21st century.