Thumbs-up: To the first responders who have braved the cold to help residents in distress during this recent spate of tough winter weather. Whether it be aiding those injured or stranded by vehicle crashes, responding to fires in houses, barns and other buildings, or just helping those who might not have anywhere to go, we appreciate the efforts of those who have answered distress calls from the public even in the most challenging conditions.
Thumbs-down: To the state of Illinois failing to prevent Legionnaires’ disease at the state-run Quincy Veterans Home. In all, Legionnaires’ has killed 13 veterans since 2015. Legionella bacteria, which cause a severe form of pneumonia, multiply in warm water, and people contract the disease by inhaling the bacteria. About 400 veterans and their spouses live in the home, where last fall the bacteria sickened three people and another died. The state spent millions upgrading the water system in 2015, when the outbreak was most severe, but illnesses have persisted. Gov. Bruce Rauner moved into the home this week with a plan to stay several days. We hope Rauner, or someone, can glean whatever information they need to keep future residents of the facility safe – if the facility continues to operate at all.
Thumbs-up: To the DeKalb High School wrestling team on clinching the Northern Illinois Big 12 East Division title this week with a 60-8 win against Kaneland. The Barbs have had success all season, but now are gearing up for the conference tournament in two weeks at Geneseo. Last year, the Barbs wrestlers won their division title but lost the tournament to Yorkville. This year’s team, which is led by wrestlers including senior Jacobe Schmerbach and sophomore Fabian Lopez, has its sights set on a tournament title as its next goal.
Thumbs-up: To the Bears for parting ways with John Fox after he led the team to a 14-34 record in three seasons as head coach. Fox was well-liked in the locker room, as his players testified to after last Sunday’s season-ending loss in Minnesota, but his relationship with his players didn’t translate to much success on the field. Here’s to hoping the Bears’ next head coach finally can lead the franchise back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.