Thumbs up to volunteers in Herrin who keep up the tradition of sharing Thanksgiving dinner with its residents and neighbors. The longtime organizer of the meal, Bart Mann, died in an accident in August, leaving a void in the city. That’s where the volunteers stepped up. Darlene Floyd, who worked with Mann for 10 years, filled the role of chairman, but said Mann did more than most people knew. “He was such a good guy. He will be greatly missed. He didn’t only do Thanksgiving. Bart cared about the community in a lot of ways people did not realize,” Floyd said in a story this week. Floyd said it takes more than 100 volunteers working all week to prepare, set up, serve, deliver and clean up the meal, and also said the meal would not be possible without the generous donations of different organizations, churches, businesses and individuals in the community.
Thumbs up to the Gen. John A. Logan Museum in Murphysboro, which is preparing exhibits for 2018 when it will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day. The museum is a hidden gem in Southern Illinois, but museum director P. Michael Jones says the museum gets one to five visitors per day — not including school groups that sometimes come in or special events. "When a small community … can boast a man who could have been president — and had he not died, quite possibly would have been president — I think that’s a failing on our part (not to honor his legacy more)," Jones said. We agree, and here’s hoping the next year and the events that come with it celebrating Memorial Day bring more visitors to the museum.
Thumbs down to the ongoing situation in Cairo. Last week, public housing residents in Cairo received a letter from a HUD official stating that they “must relocate from Elmwood and McBride immediately” even though they were previously told that there is not a deadline by which they must vacate their complexes slated for demolition. That’s really a confusing message to be sending. HUD spokesman Jereon Brown said the federal housing agency has no intentions of asking people to leave Elmwood and McBride before the New Year, and added, “Ideally, we’d like to relocate all the residents to better housing by the summer of 2018.” That’s all fine and well, but if that’s true, why send a letter out saying residents must relocate “immediately?” And why send it out now – right before Thanksgiving?
Thumbs down to the announcement this week that Honeywell in Metropolis is laying off 170 full-time and 105 contract workers. In announcing plans to indefinitely close its plant and reduce its workforce, Honeywell cited “significant challenges” facing the nuclear industry, which the company says is oversupplied with uranium hexafluoride, or UF6. It’s just another blow to the region’s workforce, which has seen way too many tough breaks over the past 15 or 20 years. Sooner or later, all this must end. If not, Southern Illinois is going to be in real trouble.
Thumbs up to the Special Olympics local flag football teams, who participated this past weekend at a tournament at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale. There are two teams — the Lightning Bugs, which is a girls team, and the Lightning Bolts, a boys team. In fact, the Lightning Bugs also recently participated in a tournament in Nebraska, where a mix-up placed them in the boys division. “Our seven girls had to play a series of male teams that were high level male teams. We played four games and did not win any. But, we never lose,” said Rich Henley, who coaches the team with Jane Henley.