Thumbs-up: To catching “Chance the Snapper.” The alligator in Chicago’s Humboldt Park Lagoon that captured the public’s imagination was captured himself this week, after a Florida gator expert was imported for the task. It was no monster gator – mature males reach about 11 feet long, this one was only 5 feet, 3 inches – but it certainly caused a stir. Chicago authorities said the animal won’t be harmed and will probably find a new home in a wildlife santuary or a zoo, a plus considering it probably wouldn’t have survived the winter.
Thumbs-down: To Harrison School District 36 for voting on a new contract for superintendent Susan Wings at its June meeting without first notifying the public by specifying that it would vote on the matter at the meeting. After being reached by the Northwest Herald on the matter, however, Harrison has adjusted its agenda process moving forward, putting it in line with the Open Meetings Act. Harrison voted on Wings’ contract again at its July meeting and specificity on its personnel moves – something required by the OMA – to its agenda packet. We certainly applaud those moves. School districts and public entities should make it a priority to tell the public with specificity what they plan to vote on at their meetings before the meeting happens. Plenty of local entities could still use work on transparency regarding agendas.
Thumbs-up: To 50 years since the U.S. first put a man on the moon. On July 20, 1969, Cmdr. Neil Armstrong became the first man to step onto the lunar surface. The landing remains a triumph of the human spirit, of bravery and technical know-how. Over the decades, President John F. Kennedy’s vow in 1962 that the country would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade – and NASA’s hard work to reach that seemingly impossible goal – remain an example of what can be achieved when we set audacious goals and work hard to achieve them.
Thumbs-down: To a significant spike. Recently, Shaw Media wrote a feature on the price of insulin in America, including American Diabetes Association data showing the cost nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013 and a Pew Research Center 2018 survey that said 83% of Americans believe the cost of such treatments make quality care unaffordable. Some people have launched charity efforts to pay for their medicine. Insulin manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers have made recent attempts to lower costs, and local pharmacies have made efforts to lower costs for the uninsured. Yet too many people still rely on strategies such as rationing the supplies they can afford to make each dose last longer, something no doctor recommends and often leads to severe illness or death.
Obviously companies shouldn’t be forced to give away their products. But if the consumer cost has tripled in about a decade, and the manufacturing and distribution costs haven’t increased by the same amount, then something is being lost along the way. The people who pay for this situation are those already suffering from a serious condition. Perhaps Illinois lawmakers should look to Colorado, which passed a bill in May ensuring no patient will pay more than $100 a month. There’s a bill in Congress that would establish state insulin assistance programs that might have merit, although it certainly requires more study and debate. Whatever the eventual outcome, we’re glad to see people taking the problem seriously and hope they work as quickly as possible toward real solutions.