The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down:
Thumbs down: To no cameras being allowed in McHenry County courtrooms. The second trial of Mario Casciaro ended this week with a guilty verdict of first-degree murder in the Brian Carrick case. This trial had huge community interest. Unfortunately, it was held, essentially, behind closed doors. Yes, the courtroom is open to the public, but not allowing cameras in the courtroom severely limits the public’s access to our judicial system. While other counties around the state participate – without incident – in the pilot program allowing cameras in the courtroom, McHenry County continues to lag behind.
Thumbs up: To the McHenry County Board for spending less than anticipated in 2012. Expenses came in almost $7 million under budget, according to preliminary, unaudited figures. The county spent $1.46 million less than projected on personnel, about $2.4 million less on contractual services and almost $2 million less on capital outlay. During a time of economic and financial uncertainty, it’s gratifying to see a local government taking its role as steward of taxpayer dollars seriously.
Thumbs up: To Huntley High School for bringing in Holocaust survivor Lisl Bogart this week to speak to students about her experiences in the former Czechoslovakia in the 1940s. While students can and should read about the most significant events of the past century, there is no substitute for hearing history from eyewitnesses while we’re still fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do so. Just like the remaining WWII vets whom we treasure, the number of those who can provide such valuable firsthand testimony is dwindling.
Thumbs down: To the Algonquin Village Board for caving to the allure of gambling revenue. The board voted, 5-2, this week to allow video gambling machines at local restaurants and taverns. Video gambling does more harm to communities than good. It’s the most addictive form of gaming, and it’s too close to potential addicts’ homes. Cheers to Trustee Brian Dianis and Village President John Schmitt for being the lone holdouts.
Thumbs up: To Kolze’s Corner Gardens of Woodstock for starting the Plant a Row for the Hungry project. The group is encouraging area gardeners to plant an extra row of vegetables in their garden for distribution to area food pantries, providing them more healthy and fresh options. There are plenty in need, and this is a way to help. The Crystal Lake pantry, for example, assists about 4,300 people each month.