Thumbs up: To DeKalb County Presiding Judge Robbin Stuckert, who decided Friday to remove herself from the murder trial of Jack D. McCullough.
Stuckert already found McCullough not guilty in April of rape and indecent liberties with a child in a separate case. DeKalb County State’s Attorney Clay Campbell criticized Stuckert’s decision, which he called a “miscarriage of justice.”
We doubt that a veteran judge such as Stuckert would let personal feelings about the state’s attorney cloud her judgment, especially in such an important case. However, her decision to remove herself was wise. No matter how Stuckert eventually ruled in McCullough’s murder trial, either side could claim she was influenced by previous events.
Maria Ridulph, the victim in the case, was abducted from her Sycamore neighborhood in 1957; this trial is too important to be tainted by any possible source of intrigue.
Thumbs up: To administrators in Sycamore School District 427, who have asked school staff to keep a close eye on the 86 Sycamore students who live in Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park.
The county is buying the flood prone park and intends to move the residents out over a two-year period. Residents will be relocated to safer homes and the park returned to the floodplain, which is all well and good. But that kind of upheaval and uncertainty in living situations can be stressful for students.
Kudos to the district for anticipating this problem by planning to offer whatever help students and their families need as they resettle.
Thumbs down: To the politicians across the country – including in Chicago, Boston and San Francisco – who have suggested they would keep a Chick-fil-A restaurant out of their area because of the stated political views of Dan
Cathy, whose family owns the restaurant chain.
Cathy – whose family never has hidden their Christian beliefs, including closing their stores Sundays so employees can go to church – says he endorses “the biblical definition of the family unit,” which leaves out same-sex couples.
Is it risky for a restaurateur to publicly take a position on a controversial political issue? Yes.
But no politician in America should be able to decide who can do business and who can’t based on their political beliefs. If Cathy or any other business owner chooses to advertise their beliefs, they should have the right to do so without fear of the government shutting them out or trying to close them down. If their political views are that unpopular, free-market economics will work things out
Thumbs up: To part-time art teacher Heather Havlicek, who spent part of her summer vacation painting a mural on a main wall at West Elementary School in Sycamore.
The mural shows a young girl blowing bubbles that contain scenes portraying the school’s core values: responsibility, loyalty, caring, cooperation and respect.
“Visuals help [students] make more connections,” she said. “I just tried to think of a [mural] that would help them understand a little better and make that connection.” Havlicek is a great example for the students at West Elementary School.
Thumbs up: To DeKalb Boy Scout Troop 33 for continuing its longtime tradition of refurbishing donated bikes and giving them to a local organization, typically Hope Haven.
Scoutmaster Cliff Golden said the project started in 1996 when a Scout named Patrick McLinden put the idea in motion as part of an Eagle Scout Service Project.
“We thought that was a real good project, so we kept it going,” Golden said.
After lubricating a few bike chains, repairing tires and checking the brakes, the Scouts donated 13 bikes last week. Michael Newman, emergency coordinator at Hope Haven, said almost all of the bikes have been given away. He said the bikes are given to children and to people who need them for transportation.
“We’re so grateful for the donated bikes and grateful that we have such a great community that supports what we do over here at Hope Haven,” he said. In our view, projects such as these are a great experience for the Scouts and provide real assistance to people in need.