Thumbs-down: To bomb threats sent Thursday that caused fear and confusion across the country. The threats, which were later found to not be credible, were sent to schools, businesses and offices across the country, including in McHenry County. The emailed threats were sent from a spoofed address, with a sender who claimed to have had an associate plant a small bomb in the recipient’s building and that the only way to stop him from setting it off was by making an online payment of $20,000 in Bitcoin, according to The Associated Press. The threats caused some McHenry County schools and businesses to be placed on soft lockdowns or evacuated.
Thumbs-up: To some hope of progress and development at the former Huntley Outlet Center. Representatives of the property’s owners submitted rezoning applications and architectural plans for the site – at Route 47 and Interstate 90 – last week. The plan calls for the vacant site to be made into a warehouse distribution hub. While that use wouldn’t generate sales tax for the village, part of the property also was sold to General RV for an expansion, and another 6 acres are up for sale, a developer said. The last store closed at the center in May 2017, and the property fell into disrepair before being torn down. It will be good to see new development at the south entrance to the village.
Thumbs-down: To dropping the ball. There’s an abundance of reasons to criticize the federal government, but one of the most consistently frustrating aspects is the seeming inability to adequately care for veterans, the people who literally put their lives on the line in the name of national defense. U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and herself a veteran living with a permanent combat injury, is trying to get the Veterans Affairs department to fully repay veterans owed benefits and interest under the Forever GI Bill, a measure that took effect after Sept. 11, 2001.
In a letter to the VA, Duckworth noted student veterans are incurring financial penalties and the inability to pay rent, tuition and buy books – some even being evicted – because they’re not getting payments on time, and she also expressed concern about how such situations might affect veterans’ credit ratings.
“VA was still unprepared even though they were given more than $4 billion a year for information technology improvements and had over a year to prepare for the changes required under the law,” Duckworth wrote. “It is critical that the VA make veterans whole for any missed or underpaid benefits to which they are legally entitled, regardless of the burden it may place on the VA.”
We hope to see swift action on this front.