Thumbs-down: To a scandalous end to a local mayor’s tenure. Sandwich Mayor Rick Olson resigned Monday, days after the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office announced he had been charged in connection with an undercover prostitution sting operation. Olson, 66, had been mayor since 2013, and earlier had been the city’s police chief for 16 years. Sandwich made progress under Olson’s leadership, attracting new business and working to build a new police station. It’s regrettable that his tenure ended abruptly, with his second term not set to expire until 2021. In his resignation letter, which was read at the Sandwich City Council meeting this week, Olson expressed regret for the shame he caused the city. The entire situation is regrettable. The charges against him are relatively minor, and he is presumed innocent until proved guilty. Still, his decision to step down as mayor in light of the news is for the best.
Thumbs-up: To recognizing local leaders. On Thursday, the Kishwaukee Family YMCA recognized three local women for their contributions and work in the community. High school student Jasmine Jackson was named Outstanding Youth Leader; the Northern Illinois University Foundation’s Kristin Miller received the Emerging Leader award, and First State Bank’s Sheela Prahlad was named the Outstanding Community Leader. Through volunteerism and fundraising for local nonprofits, including the YMCA, all three have made important contributions to helping make DeKalb County a better place to live. We hope they will continue to do so for years to come.
Thumbs-up: To taking the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival to the Wild West. There should be a lot of rootin’ tootin’ decorated pumpkins for the 58th annual festival in keeping with this year’s Wild West theme, which was suggested by 7-year-old Hannah Anderson. Students have been suggesting themes for the festival’s pumpkin-decorating display on the courthouse lawn since 1976, and this one seems like it will be a lot of fun. Congratulations to Hannah on her suggestion being named. This should be a fun theme for the area’s pumpkin decorators to take on, and we look forward to seeing lots of pumpkin cowgirls come late October.
Thumbs-up: To remembering fallen law enforcement officers. On Wednesday, dozens of people gathered in front of the courthouse in Sycamore for a ceremony to remember police officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2018, including four Illinois officers, all of whom served with the Chicago police. Also mentioned was McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Keltner, who was killed in March while trying to apprehend a fugitive at a Rockford hotel. It is important that we remember that police officers around the country put their lives at risk in order to protect others. We regret that any have to make the ultimate sacrifice, and those who do deserve our respect and gratitude.