Thumbs down to another senseless school shooting, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. At least 17 people are dead as result of this latest shooting — a majority of them high school students. We believe that we speak for everybody when we say that this is getting old. Students, teachers and parents should not have to live in fear just by going to school. But, unfortunately, that’s where things are. Somebody — anybody — needs to step and come up with a solution that is going to end this slide. And, it all starts with a simple, level-headed conversation. We need to put our differences aside, and come up with answers that truly help. No more finger-pointing. No more name-calling. Just solutions. An R or a D after somebody’s name shouldn’t matter when it comes to the safety of our children — and the safety of everybody.
Thumbs up to the reopening of University Museum on the campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The museum’s 70,000 artifacts have been inaccessible to the region since the facility shuttered in July because of the budget impasse, and its closure prompted an outcry from the university community. Now, it’s back and mostly running — the museum’s South Gallery is currently under construction. “Right now we’re trying to just be open and available to campus and the community. Once we get some more staff in place, especially a director, that will be the person who sort of creates a vision for where the museum will move, what kinds of things we want to do in the future,” said curator of collections Susannah Munson.
Thumbs down to the death of Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer. Bauer was shot and killed in downtown Chicago on Tuesday after a chase. Shomari Legghette, 44, has been charged with first-degree murder, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of narcotics in Bauer's death. "When Paul heard the radio call, he didn't turn the other way to let someone else worry about it. He didn't worry about his rank or the fact that he wasn't in his own district. He just ran towards where he was needed without hesitation,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson in an AP story this week. Bauer is a true hero, and deserves to be recognized as such.
Thumbs up to the City of Murphysboro after officials there announced this week that ground will be broken on a new hotel this spring. The Holiday Inn Express will be located on the site of the former Apple Tree Inn, which was demolished about two years ago. Site developer Joe Koppeis is working with a fast-food partner for the site, as well as a couple of other business partners, according to Mayor Will Stephens. "This multimillion-dollar investment in our community will be a great step forward toward making Murphysboro all we know it can be,” Stephens said. Anytime a business opens in the region means good things for all of us. This is great news for Murphysboro, and great news for Southern Illinois.
Thumbs up to Steve Rogers and the news that El Greco in Carbondale will be reopening as early as March 1. Rogers, who purchased the restaurant recently, said most of the business will remain the same, except the addition of beer and wine sales and the end of delivery service. That sounds good to us. What sounds even better is that a Carbondale mainstay is coming back. “We are going to keep a landmark going. … There are some places in Carbondale that should not close and this is one of them. It just keeps the flavor of the town,” Rogers said in a story from Sunday. El Greco has been a longtime favorite in Southern Illinois, and it would’ve been a shame to see the restaurant shuttered forever — after all, we all know how hard it is to find a good gyro.