Thumbs up to Anna-Jonesboro High School junior Kyle McMahan and his act of bravery that earned him a Life Saver's Award from Union County Sheriff Scott Harvel. On Christmas Eve, McMahan, 16, helped rescue a 71-year-old man from a pickup truck that had wrecked near the southbound Interstate 57 exit into Anna. "I absolutely believe that Kyle’s actions saved this gentleman’s life," Harvel said this week. "If Kyle had not checked on the vehicle when he (saw) the lights of the vehicle off in the ravine who knows how long the gentleman would have remained trapped.” McMahan credits his brother, an emergency medical technician in the area, for helping him though the situation. We commend McMahan on his actions, It’s always nice to hear about a story such as this.

Thumbs down to what’s happening financially with the state’s governor race. According to the Associated Press, the race cost more than $28 million just in the last three months of 2017. Plus, campaign finance disclosures filed this week show $9 of every $10 was spent by just two candidates — Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker, a Chicago businessman. Want another astonishing fact? There were $30 million spent in the first nine months of 2017, and this race could easily surpass the record $112 million spent in Illinois and could approach the national record. Is this the way we want our elections? Is it even fair? Elections in this state are turning into bidding wars — and that’s not right. Campaign finance reform is something we all should be screaming for.

Thumbs up to the work being done to re-establish the prairie near the Maurice Webb Trail in the Chautauqua Bottoms Nature Preserve in Carbondale. The work that Green Earth is doing right now is excellent. On Wednesday, Long Forestry, a local forestry consultation group, started clearing land. Then Green Earth will come in behind the work and do some cleanup. Over time, Green Earth Director Stephanie Eichholz said, there has been a natural succession that has filled in the prairie with trees. She said if constant maintenance is performed on the land, the seeds from existing trees are spread across the land, which will cause additional growth. Good for Green Earth on this wonderful clean-up, as well as of its other endeavors.

Thumbs down to the Alexander County Housing Authority for being ranked the worst rated public housing authority in America, according to the latest assessment scores from Housing and Urban Development. To put that to scale, there are about 3,400 public housing authorities in the country. In 2016, the latest year available, the ACHA received a score of 19, which was the lowest score among the housing authorities assessed by HUD in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. Any housing authority with a score below 60 is designated as “troubled," and about 65 housing authorities received that designation. Such failing scores trigger enhanced oversight activities. To put it bluntly, that’s bad. We all knew that things were bad, but this just shows how bad it really is.

Thumbs down to the icy, snowy weather that’s hit Southern Illinois over the past week. A good portion of schools have been closed because of cold, and getting around — especially on side roads — has been a mess since the ice hit last Friday. Oh, and did we mention that it has been rather cold? Luckily, most of the ice and snow should melt away soon as temperatures will climb through the weekend. That should make things easier.

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