Thumbs up to the Carterville girls basketball team for finishing third in the state last weekend in the Class 2A playoffs. On Friday night, the Lions fell to Chicago Marshall, dashing any dreams of a state title. But, the Lions didn’t give up there. The very next night, Carterville came out on fire to take down Port Byron Riverdale in the third-place game. “They’ve been waiting for this. I’m going to miss them. I’ve been part of them for this weekend here. I was hard on them, but they always came back, even when they were their maddest at me,” said head coach Matt Crain after the win. Kudos to Crain and all of the girls, we’re all proud of you.
Thumbs up to SIU basketball player Marcus Domask for becoming the first Saluki since Kent Williams to win the Missouri Valley Conference's Freshman of the Year Award and Newcomer of the Year Award. Domask, a freshman guard from Waupun, Wisconsin, was the Salukis' leading scorer (13.6 points per game) and second-leading rebounder (5.7 boards a game) during Valley play. He’s going to be fun to watch at Banterra Center for years to come. Also, we thought we’d be giving another thumbs up to head coach Bryan Mullins for winning the Valley’s Coach of the Year honor, but that instead went to UNI coach Ben Jacobson. It doesn’t matter, we’re still proud of Mullins’ accomplishments during his first year at the helm in Carbondale. Good luck to the Salukis this weekend, and we hope they bring home a Valley title from the conference tournament in St. Louis.
Thumbs up to Dan Mahony beginning his tenure as president of Southern Illinois University. Mahony took his role officially Monday, becoming the permanent replacement for former president Randy Dunn, who resigned amid significant outcry over his involvement in a drafted piece of legislation that would have split the SIU System. J. Kevin Dorsey, a former dean of SIU School of Medicine, had been serving as interim president since July 2018. Mahony said this week that part of his role is to unify the divided system. “A big part of my job is working with the politicians trying to get as much support for the system as we can. You know, again, as we talk about resource allocation between the campuses, part of this the issue is do we get enough allocation from the state to start with,” he said.
Thumbs down to something that we’ve suspected for years — the area known as Tornado Alley is shifting east. Trent Ford, the Illinois state climatologist, said this week that where once the majority of tornado activity was relegated to places like Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, tornado activity has shifted over to Southern Illinois and northern Mississippi. That’s evident from the rash of tornadoes we’ve seen in the past 15 years. “The observations of tornadoes — most of the good observations going back to the late '80s, they are showing that trend,” Ford said. It also brings about another point: Be prepared. “I would remind everyone that Mother Nature does not discriminate with severe weather,” said Rebecca Clark, communications manager for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Thumbs up to SIU Carbondale being named the Illinois’ third simulation training center for front-line child protective investigators. Southern Illinois has the highest rates of child abuse and neglect cases in the state. Officials made the announcement last week when Gov. J.B. Pritzker visited the region, and plan to stage the training center to resemble a home, and utilize “standardized patients” trained by the SIU School of Medicine to act out the details of real-life Southern Illinois case files. “What we’re aiming to do is have the best trained staff in the nation. That’s what we want,” Pritzker said. Illinois’ first simulation lab opened in 2016 in Springfield on the campus of University of Illinois Springfield. A second location opened in Chicago last April, and a fourth location is slated to open soon, also in northern Illinois.
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