Thumbs up to incoming Southern Illinois University Carbondale chancellor Carlo Montemagno. At his first news conference since being officially named chancellor, Montemagno said all the right things. He said the Carbondale campus needs to define a vision in order to overcome the hardship caused by the state budget impasse, and also stressed the need for “shared governance” in decision-making. This, he said, means engaging with faculty, staff, students and alumni. “I look at the infrastructure associated with it, I look at the town and the community that’s here, I look at how it’s positioned itself within the landscape of higher education, and I saw a distinct opportunity for advancing the institution, to dust off that jewel and make it a bright maroon jewel in the crown of higher education, not only in Illinois but the nation,” Montemagno said. Come Aug. 15, when he officially takes the reins, it’s time to work toward those goals. “Money, resources, do not define your vision, they don’t define your success. They define that you have to take to achieve it, and I have led organizations that have faced just as dire of financial circumstances, and we were able to make them successful,” he said.
Thumbs down to the heat. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know — it gets like this every year. But it doesn’t have to mean we have to like it. Since Wednesday morning, the region has been under a heat advisory — and it will continue until Sunday. And, quite frankly, heat advisory is really an understatement. It’s just plain miserable out there. If you do have to be outside for work or fun, make sure plenty of fluids are around. Hopefully, it will cool off soon, but past summers suggest that there’s probably more heat coming to our future.
Thumbs up to the NubAbility camp, which convened this past week in Du Quoin. The yearly event, which began in 2011, is a camp dedicated to coaching limb-different youth athletes in organized sports during a three-day athletics oriented camp. Co-founder Sam Kuhnert, a Du Quoin native, came up with the idea while attending a camp in Missouri. “This is a year-round mentor program. All of our coaches give out their personal contact information to the parents and to the kids. The point in coaching is to show these kids that they were created perfectly in God’s image and they can do anything they put their mind to. There are no excuses in life,” Kuhnert said. Good for Kuhnert and good for the organization. All children should be able to play whatever sport they want — no matter what. This camp — and organization — does a great job of that, and then some.
Thumbs up to Nadine Lacy of Elkville and her new home. Lacy lost her home in the Feb. 28 tornado that hit the region, and The Southern has chronicled her move since. She said that day that she would rebuild, and now, only about four months later, she’s moving into that new home. Lacy admits it has been a hard few months — “It’s really been a stressful time,” she said. “For the first four or five nights, I couldn’t sleep. Every time I shut my eyes, I could hear the roar of the tornado and I could feel the force of it.” — but it’s all worth it now that she’s a new home. And not only that, Lacy said she is happy to see some of her neighbors making their way back to the block. Her son and two other neighbors are also looking to return.