Thumbs-up: To neighbors working things out among themselves. Owners of Jonamac Orchard want DeKalb County’s permission to expand their popular apple orchard-based agribusiness in rural Malta, but neighbors have some concerns about their latest plans for expansion, which include adding buildings and using existing buildings to host events. A public hearing scheduled for this week was postponed until Oct. 5 so that the orchard owners could work out an agreement with neighboring property owners. We hope that they can negotiate something that is mutually agreeable for both sides, and a popular area business can continue to grow.
Thumbs-up: To new businesses bound for Genoa. City officials said a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise is one of the tenants slated for a two-unit commercial building planned near the intersection of Prairie Street and Route 72, and a Mexican restaurant called Rivers Mexican Cantina & Grill is planned for the Ridge Point Shopping Center along Route 23 in a suite formerly occupied by a Rosati’s franchise. Local barber Scott Herron plans to open a shop as well. It’s good to see businesses opening in the area, and we’re sure the residents of the Cog City will be pleased to have more options.
Thumbs-down: To more hazing in the news. Our area has firsthand experience with the tragic way hazing rituals can end, particularly when the wrong people are the ones with the power. This week, five football players at Wheaton College – the school whose motto is “for Christ and his kingdom” – were charged with aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint in connection with a hazing-motivated attack that occurred in March 2016. Our community remembers well the tragic death of Northern Illinois University freshman David Bogenberger, who died with a blood-alcohol content of 0.351 percent in November 2012 after a fraternity initiation party. Colleges – and high schools – are doing more to try to stop this behavior, but it is clear that more must be done.
Thumbs-up: To remembering a community leader. On Monday, friends and former employees remembered Hollis R. “Pete” Hilstrom, longtime owner of Driv-Lok Inc. in Sycamore and an important figure in Sycamore’s history. Hilstrom died in 1993, but his friends, family and longtime employees gathered Thursday to remember him at the museum where his portrait now will hang. Hilstrom’s importance to the community was best summed up by Jim Atwell, a Driv-Lok employee of 29 years. “He built a company from the ground up and treated all of his employees like family,” Atwell said. “It was a privilege to work with him and to know him. His business is still around and it’s a tribute to him and all he did.”