Thumbs-up: To the Woodstock Square being back in the spotlight. It was pretty exciting to see Bill Murray and other cast members back on the Square last weekend. We’ve learned they were filming a commercial for Jeep, and it’s pretty clear the storyline will harken back to the 1993 film “Groundhog Day.” The company that owns Jeep has since said it plans to debut a minutelong commercial during the Super Bowl LIV broadcast Sunday – Groundhog Day. Murray’s return to the Square certainly was cause for excitement. We don’t know when the Jeep commercial will air, but we’ll be watching closely.
Thumbs-up: To continuing the Groundhog Day tradition. Woodstock’s Groundhog Days festival continues Saturday and Sunday with lots of free events, and the buzz after the commercial may increase attendance from last year’s mark of 4,000. We’re glad to see Woodstock still seizing the chance to show off what makes it special and give people opportunities for some wintertime fun. Will Woodstock Willie see his shadow at 7:07 a.m. Sunday? The forecast calls for sun, which, according to tradition, means six more weeks of winter. Well, you can’t win ’em all.
Thumbs-up: To Ralph Dawson’s decades of service to the city of Crystal Lake. Dawson died this week at age 90, less than two weeks after he stepped down from his seat on the City Council after almost 23 years of service to city government. Dawson was a lifelong Crystal Lake resident who, after his career as a carpenter and contractor, made public service his new occupation. He played an important role in projects including the Three Oaks Recreation Area, which was one of his areas of concern when he was first elected in 1999. He was well-known as a levelheaded and approachable public representative who was dedicated to preserving the quality of life in the city, and he devoted more than two decades of his retirement years to that cause. Dawson’s service is admired and appreciated, and he will be missed.
Thumbs-down: To the programming error in the Illinois Secretary of State’s new automatic voter registration system that allowed more than 500 noncitizens to become registered to vote. Although we support efforts to improve voter participation in elections – and making it easier to register to vote is one of them – the sanctity of the election process must be preserved at all costs. In this instance, it wasn’t. According to the Illinois Board of Elections office, 15 people who were not U.S. citizens voted in the 2018 and 2019 elections. A small number, to be sure, but every vote counts. State officials said the problem has been fixed, but they also said this wouldn’t happen in the first place. This program should be suspended until a thorough investigation is conducted and reviewed by state legislators.