The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down:
Thumbs down: To the Illinois Senate, which chose the last day of the legislative session to block an executive order from Gov. Pat Quinn to eliminate or consolidate 75 government panels. The Senate says the governor doesn’t have the authority to eliminate those panels and wanted the governor to introduce legislation to ax them, according to story by the Better Government Association. If that’s the case, pushing the governor to do that before May 31 would have been more appropriate, since Quinn made his request in March.
Thumbs up: To the Chicago Cubs, for inviting Crystal Lake 9-year-old Brandon Bruski to throw out a ceremonial first pitch before Sunday’s game. Bruski’s life was saved after two hours of surgery at Advocate Children’s Hospital after he accidentally swallowed a pair of powerful magnetic marble-sized balls.
Thumbs down: To the countless motorists who chatter away on their hand-held cell phones while driving, often during rush-hour traffic and in construction zones. Talking on hand-held cell phones already is banned in construction zones, but many folks choose to ignore the law. It’s distracting for the driver, who should be paying attention to the road and other traffic. Assuming Gov. Pat Quinn signs a bill sent to him by the General Assembly, talking on hand-held cell phones while driving on any Illinois roadway soon will be against the law. Put the phone down and drive carefully.
Thumbs up: For renewed interest in widening Route 47 from Reed Road in Huntley to Charles Road in the north end of Woodstock. Efforts seemed dormant, which is maddening for anyone who drives through Woodstock – particularly from Route 14 to Route 120 in the summer as drivers cut through town for the Wisconsin border. The project is still a long way off, but at least it’s back on the Illinois Department of Transportation’s schedule. IDOT has included $1 million for engineering in next year’s budget.
Thumbs up: To some positive housing news. Closed home sales in McHenry County were up 45.3 percent from May 2012. The median sales price for single-family homes increased 5.3 percent, and the median price of all homes was up 1 percent. Hopefully, these numbers are signs that the housing market is starting to rebound.