Thumbs down to a cyberattack on the statewide Illinois Voter Registration System, which occurred on July 12. A representative of the Illinois Election Board said the board is confident that no voter information was altered. The board also plans to properly notify voters if any personal information was compromised. Attacks on governmental databases are not rare. But our governmental agencies need to make cybersecurity the highest priority, especially as more personal data is transmitted and stored online.
Thumbs up to two companion bills in the U.S. House and Senate that aim to add Jonesboro to the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. When the heritage area was formed in 2008, Jonesboro was left out, even though it was the site of one of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858. If Jonesboro is added to the network, it would be eligible for grants awarded to sites in the federally designated heritage area, and its addition to brochures and informational materials around the state would hopefully provide a boost of tourists and history buffs to Southern Illinois.
Thumbs down to the never-ending state-level political drama. After a judge ruled last week against a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would change how political districts are drawn, Rauner urged lawmakers to vote on term limits. This is just more political pandering. In a Tuesday story in The Southern, Chris Mooney, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, said, “It’s not just Illinois. Legislatures do not pass these laws.” It should come as no surprise that lawmakers don’t usually vote for measures that would kick them out of office. This is another one of those things that promises to continue the endless tug-of-war in Springfield, while the people of Illinois (and the more than 560,000 voters who signed the position to get the redistricting amendment on the ballot) yearn for common sense political reform and meaningful change.
Thumbs up to Joe McFarland’s planned information shop for the Makanda Boardwalk. And to Bob and Pam Barker, who are collaborating with McFarland to add an eatery to the info shop. Southern Illinois — and its smaller communities like Makanda — is in a unique position as the crossroads of two full solar eclipses, one in 2017 and one in 2024. The 2017 eclipse will be the first full solar eclipse to touch any of the 50 states since 1991. Many eclipse enthusiasts and the casually curious will be staking a spot to get a good glimpse. Southern Illinois should see this as an opportunity to introduce ourselves to many people who haven’t visited us before. Let’s help them fall in love with our region. Shops like McFarland’s are a viable means toward that end.
Thumbs up to the Marion City Council for continuing to grow the city by entering into tax increment financing redevelopment agreements with Buffalo Wild Wings and Mach 1 gas station. This is another example of the council working to add businesses and taking advantage of its position next to Interstate 57. Several other businesses, including Culver’s, IHOP and Jimmy John’s, are setting up shop in town, too. One thing is for sure — if you are in Marion, there is no shortage of places to eat.