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Thumbs-up: To the 58th annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival. The annual display of decorated pumpkins is once again on the courthouse lawn, the carnival rides are up around downtown Sycamore, and the city is once again ready to show people from around the region why it’s the place where “life offers more.” This weekend will feature craft shows, a Saturday pie-eating contest, the Sunday morning 10K Pumpkin Run and the Pumpkin Parade starting at 1 p.m. Sunday. There’s something for everyone at Sycamore’s signature festival – come check it out this weekend.
Thumbs-up: To helping a Malta family rebuild. An Oct. 17 fire destroyed the Malta home of the Isom family, which happened to include a Malta volunteer firefighter, Mike Isom, his wife, Jill, and son, Mason. The family spoke to reporter Matthew Wells this week and offered some good advice, including to sleep with bedroom doors closed in order to prevent smoke intrusion and damage to rooms. A GoFundMe campaign for the familiy has raised more than $23,000 to help them rebuild, and a family of friends has allowed them to stay in their home while they put the pieces back together. This great display of generosity is part of what makes DeKalb County communities so great, and we hope that the family is able to put their lives back together in due time.
Thumbs-down: To insufficient cost-cutting. DeKalb’s city government absorbed some substantial personnel losses at the start of the year, with the city eliminating four of its department-head positions, and seven in all, in an effort to trim its budget by $1.1 million. The problem: The people in eliminated positions had accumulated so much leave time that the savings to the city was only $580,000 – a little more than half what was anticipated. It’s another example of how government employees get a better deal than most private-sector workers, whose employers typically take steps to limit the amount of leave time they pay out when employment ends. If making such difficult decisions can’t deliver enough savings, it leaves us to wonder what more has to be done.
Thumbs-up: To this year’s Athena Award nominees and the two newest local women of distinction, Susan Doubler and Margaret Phillips. The Athena, which is awarded each year to an outstanding local woman leader, this year went to Debra Boughton, senior associate athletic director at Northern Illinois University. Boughton and the other five nominees, Amanda Christensen, Tynisha Clegg, Amy Doll, Terri Goodman and Kim Launer, all were lauded for their work serving as role models and helping to empower other local women to reach their potential. We’re pleased to have these and other women showing leadership and helping others.