Thumbs-up: To Harvard School District 50 Superintendent Corey Tafoya for addressing the district’s low test scores in a letter to parents. The Illinois State Board of Education released its 2017 Report Card data Tuesday. District 50 students performed the worst in McHenry County, with 13.9 percent of its students considered meeting or exceeding state standards, a nearly 2 percent drop since 2016. Tafoya, who is a first-year superintendent in the district, said the report cards were unacceptable and need to be fixed. He listed the strategic plan as a way to help this, and encouraged parents to attend school board meetings and reach out to him and school staff. His transparency with parents and his drive to do better makes us hopeful he will help the district improve.
Thumbs-down: To the increase in gas prices. This week, McHenry County has seen prices jump at the pump. Experts blame low gasoline inventories and reduced refinery output because of maintenance, some of which was put off as a result of hurricanes earlier this year. The possibility exists that prices will increase before they start to come down again, and they could reach their highest levels since 2015. Although it still is not nearly as bad as the pre-recession days, when gas was selling for more than
$3 a gallon, those of us who still haven’t bought electric vehicles have grown accustomed to cheaper prices, and spending more on energy always takes a bite out of the household budget.
Thumbs-up: To Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller. First off, let’s set aside the fact that Miller was robbed of a touchdown reception by NFL officials during Sunday’s game in New Orleans. We’re just happy to see the veteran on the mend after suffering a horrific knee injury on a play that led to fears that his left leg might need to be amputated. Miller has a history of season-ending injuries, and he has proved his ability to work his way back. We hope to see him return to the football field next season.
Thumbs-up: To the thoughtful and transparent building and zoning process underway in Crystal Lake. Developer Kenneth Rawson is pitching plans for a 62-acre, all-residential development off Main Street that would include a mix of New England-style row houses, townhouses and single-family homes. The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission has raised concerns about the density of the proposed 360-unit development and the traffic that would come with it. After a decade without a new subdivision being built in Crystal Lake, we’re glad to see interest in further development. We also appreciate the deliberate and transparent way the city has gone about evaluating this proposal.