Thumbs up to the memorial Wednesday held for the five Southern Illinois University Carbondale students killed in a fire 25 years ago. On Dec. 6, 1992, the five students died in a fire in the Pyramid Apartments on South Rawlings Street in Carbondale. Authorities believed the fire was the result of arson, but a suspect was never identified, and the Carbondale Police Department currently lists the fire as a cold case. “One of the most important purposes of this memorial services is to remember not only those students who died in the fire, but to also reflect on the lives of our students, their parents, and those within communities around the world whose lives were forever changed that morning 25 years ago today,” Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry said during the memorial service this week. He’s right, we should never forget what happened 25 years ago. And we also hope that something breaks in the case, and authorities can find out exactly what happened that fateful morning.
Thumbs down to Gov. Bruce Rauner, who this week said that he’s “not in charge,” saying that House Speaker Mike Madigan is the one in charge. According to a story in the Chicago Tribune, the governor said this after an appearance at an Illinois Farm Bureau conference in Chicago. Rauner said in the Chicago Tribune story that if he were charge “(w)e would have our problems fixed. Illinois would be on a great future. We’d have 200,000 more jobs in this state, we would have lower property taxes in this state, we would have term limits in this state, if I was in charge. I am not in charge. I’m trying to get to be in charge.” Here’s the problem: Rauner is the governor of our state. He is the one in charge. No matter how you feel about Rauner or Madigan, one thing is certain -- the people of Illinois elected Rauner to be charge.
Thumbs up to Crain Funeral Homes and Black Diamond Harley-Davidson, who have teamed with volunteers from 17 veterans groups in Southern Illinois and others to raise $30,000 to be split by local veteran honor guards. About 558,000 World War II veterans survive today, but they are dying at a rate of 362 per day, and one we honor these American heroes is with military services by American Legion and VFW honor guards as they are laid to rest. But, as John Metzger of the Benton American Legion told us this week, members of the honor guard age, and some posts have had trouble filling their spots. He said some of the guys are getting too old to perform the duties of an honor guard member. The money raised will go directly to the honor guard or ritual teams, including expenses for uniforms, travel, ammunition and other items. That sounds like a great idea to us, veterans should get every recognition they deserve – which is priceless.
Thumbs up to local UPS driver Tyler Slomka for stopping his route and helping with a fire in rural Jonesboro this week. On Monday afternoon, Slomka was making his deliveries on Springville Hill Road when he saw a cloud of smoke and saw things burning. Slomka and Judy Sims, a woman who lived near the area, alerted authorities to the fire, which apparently started from trash being burned by the owner of the home at the foot of a steep driveway off of the main road.
“It was up in the trees. It burned, I’m gonna say, probably two or three acres of the ground, the tractor, a lot of stuff in the front yard,” Sims said in a story this week. Firefighters from the Jonesboro Fire Department put out the fire, assisted by firefighters from the Shawnee National Forest, and other UPS drivers were dispatched to help Slomka deliver the rest of his packages. It’s stories like this that really warm the heart, and kudos go out to Slomka and Sims.