Thumbs up: To Lake County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit Deputy Jonathan Levin, who was recently honored for his life-saving actions during a Fox Lake crash this past July. Levin used his own vehicle to block traffic and protect the victims before pulling two motorcyclists away from a fire and administering first aid. One of the motorcyclists survived because of Levin’s efforts. “Deputy Levin’s actions were brave and heroic,” Undersheriff Ray Rose said. “They went above and beyond the call of duty, which resulted in a life being saved.”
Thumbs up: To Bob Hudgins, the location manager for Columbia Pictures who was instrumental in bringing “Groundhog Day” to Woodstock. Hudgins has returned to the city each year to lead walking tours of some of the film’s most memorable sites and share behind-the-scenes stories during the annual festival that was inspired by the movie. This will be Hudgins’ last year at Woodstock’s Groundhog Days. “To have a town like Woodstock actually invite us back just to be a part of the day… I feel very lucky I’ve had that in my life,” he said. We wish him well in his retirement, and thank him for helping to keep the magic of the movie alive in Woodstock.
Thumbs up: To the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office for expanding its first offender program to now include misdemeanor offenses. The program, designed for nonviolent first-time offenders, offers those who qualify a chance to appear before a panel of residents who are informed of the offense. The panel recommends requirements for the offender that must be completed within a certain period of time. These tasks could include restitution to the victim, writing a letter of apology, performing community service, obtaining a high school diploma or undergoing counseling. Once the offender completes the requirements, the case is dismissed. If they are not completed successfully, the case is returned to the courts to be prosecuted. The program previously was available only to first-time felony offenders.
Thumbs down: To homelessness, but thumbs up to those in McHenry County who help those who are homeless. For the 16th consecutive year, the McHenry County Continuum of Care to End Homelessness participated this week in the National Street and Shelter Point-in-Time Count. Over a 24-hour time period, volunteers count homeless individuals on the street and in shelters. During the 2016 McHenry County survey, 195 homeless people were counted on the street and in shelters, and the number hovered near the low 200s in the six years before that, according to survey records.