Thumbs-up: To local residents, businesses, churches and charitable organizations who are answering the call to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. After dealing with our own flooding issues this summer in the McHenry County area, it’s uplifting to see so many turn their attention to helping the victims of this terrible storm. We applaud residents such as Marengo’s Rebecca Hickey and Wonder Lake’s Kyle Mai, who both are headed to the Houston area to help. Countless more are making donations of money, food, clothing and other essentials. Every little bit helps.
Thumbs-down: To the Big Foot garage fire that sent two people to the hospital Sunday. Harvard Fire Department and the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office still are investigating what caused a fire that destroyed a garage next to a house at 20205 State Line Road, north of Harvard. Police determined Tuesday there was no evidence of explosives around the garage. The original dispatch call came out for a possible suicide attempt involving explosives. The fire caused about $250,000 in damage, officials said. Charred toolboxes, work benches, desks, tools, a lawn mower and several vehicles were among the damaged items. The siding of the multiunit home melted, but the house was still habitable. A man who was in the garage also suffered from severe burns. We hope he recovers soon, and all the residents affected can replace their damaged property.
Thumbs-down: To smoke from forest fires in Canada that settled across northern Illinois earlier this week. A spokesperson from the National Weather Service said the smoke was coming from forest fires in Canada because of the direction of air flow, causing difficulties for area residents with chronic lung diseases. Dr. Daniel Nepomuceno, a Barrington-based pulmonologist, said people with asthma or emphysema, for example, were at risk for worsening their conditions and urged them to stay inside in air conditioning – not great news for those hoping to embrace the last gasp of summer.
Thumbs-down: To further delays in plans for a $250 million development plan that would add hundreds of new apartments in and around downtown Fox River Grove. Extending deadlines only works for so long. Eventually, Grove Residences LLC either needs to come up with the financing or move on. In the meantime, Fox River Grove officials should be studying backup plans. To be clear, we support local governments working productively with businesses on transformative redevelopment projects. However, these agreements have deadlines for a reason. If this project isn’t going to work, it’s time to start looking at another plan.