Thumbs-up: To the removal of a pair of decrepit buildings along Sycamore Road in DeKalb this week. Property owner First Rockford Group bought the land and buildings in January. One of them had been a veterinary clinic many years ago. The company decided to tear them down in order to allow potential users of the property to better envision ways they could use it. The buildings were an eyesore along the city’s main commercial strip, and their demolition was long overdue.
Thumbs-down: To stagnant wages despite falling unemployment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for non-management workers has been $20.67 for the past two months and has risen only 2.3 percent year over year, just more than the rate of inflation, The Associated Press reported. Wage growth is important so that consumers have more money to spend and a sign of a healthy labor market. Like so many other things in this post-Great Recession recovery, wages are not bouncing back as quickly as many of us might hope.
Thumbs-up: To DeKalb football coach Matt Weckler being named the Chicago Bears High School Coach of the Week. In his second year as the Barbs’ coach, Weckler has led the team to its best start in years. Excitement is beginning to grow in DeKalb and the Barbs success is drawing notice from those outside DeKalb County, always a positive sign. Congratulations to the coach, his assistants, and the student-athletes who are having such success this season.
Thumbs-up: To local heroes. The 2014 Tribute to Heroes Award was presented Thursday to Franklin and Peg Mall of Sandwich, Les Bellah of Kirkland, Greg and Sherri Howells of Sycamore and Pete Johnson of Sycamore. The award began 12 years ago and is managed by the Boy Scouts’ Three Fires Council. The Tribute to Heroes committee annually selects DeKalb County residents who engage, volunteer and lead in their communities. The award is an excellent way to honor people who are not always in the spotlight, but still make a difference in other people’s lives. Congratulations to the award recipients.
Thumbs-up: To a successful charity Northern Illinois University jersey auction. Corn Fest organizers auctioned off specially designed jerseys that NIU players wore during their first home game, which was the day before Corn Fest started. More than $8,000 was raised through the sale of all 99 jerseys, so the Canaday family, Voluntary Action Center and Boy Scout Troop 33 each received a check for more than $2,600 this week. It was a great way to emphasize the connection between NIU and the community and to raise money for three great causes.