Thumbs down to state government once again. By now you’d think the legislature and Gov. Rauner would understand the damage they are inflicting on the state, its people and its institutions. The governor used poor judgment in wielding such a heavy hand in his amendatory veto of SB 1, the legislation that provides the framework for school funding. The Senate quickly overrode the veto, but the House override is still pending. As an editorial in this space earlier this week noted, house Republicans must decide whether to stand with the governor or the school children of Illinois. In the meantime, there have been some whispers of behind the scenes negotiations that could clean up this self-inflicted mess, but it should never have come to this. This is truly one of the darkest chapters in Illinois’ political history.

Thumbs up to the start of prep football. Beginning tonight, fans can flock to the gridiron to cheer on good ol’ hometown high. The highlight of tonight’s schedule is the 100th meeting in the storied rivalry between Carbondale and Murphysboro. Officials from the two schools have gone all out to make this a special occasion. Ten former coaches from each school will be on hand. Murphysboro High School will host a post-game concert, giving former players, coaches and fans a chance to reminisce and renew old acquaintances. Sharing the common experience and enjoying the camaraderie of competition is the essence of sport.

Thumbs down to the news of Dick Gregory’s passing, but thumbs up to the life of the comedian and civil rights icon. He attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale in the 1950s on a track scholarship. After launching a successful career as an entertainer, Gregory became an important voice in the Civil Rights movement. He mounted an unsuccessful campaign in the Chicago mayoral race and ran for president on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket in 1968.

Thumbs up to the opening of another Du Quoin State Fair. Nothing proclaims the American experience like eating unhealthy food, especially off a stick, blue ribbons, carnival rides, auto racing, canned pickles and concerts. On a more serious note, the Du Quoin State Fair is an important economic engine for the region that also provides outstanding entertainment options.

Thumbs up to Glenda Zanders of Evansville who has been inducted into the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s Hall of Fame. Zanders, the owner of Zanders Sporting Goods in Sparta, has been a long-time supporter of youth and women’s activities sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Thumbs up to Shawnee High School social studies teacher Jamie Nash-Mayberry for being nominated for Illinois Teacher of the Year honors. Nash-Mayberry was nominated by Shawnee superintendent Shelly Clover-Hill because of the innovative teaching methods Nash-Mayberry incorporates in her classroom. The state winner will be announced Oct. 28.

Thumbs up to Com-Pac International, Inc., a Carbondale-based firm, that will see its products being used by NASA. The business manufactures flexible packaging products for the medical and laboratory specimen-handling industries, was notified by NASA earlier this month that scientists will be using the company’s BITRAN leak-proof specimen bags for a research project aboard the International Space Station. The products were included on SpaceX’s 12th cargo resupply mission, which launched Aug. 14 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The cargo ship docked at the ISS on Aug. 16. The bags will be used to carry proteins connected to Parkinson’s Disease research back to earth.

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