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Opinion | Voice of The Southern

Voice of The Southern: Thumbs up to Lasse Sorensen, thumbs down to no masks
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Voice of The Southern

Voice of The Southern: Thumbs up to Lasse Sorensen, thumbs down to no masks

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Thumbs up to local chef Lasse Sorensen, who later this month will have his new television show, “Food is Love,” premiere on Nine PBS out of St. Louis. Sorensen, who owns and operates Tom's Place in De Soto with his wife, Maryjane, said the real stars of the show are the people he interviews. “They are chefs and I’m a chef. Being in the food business, we kind of speak the same language,” he said. The 13-episode series is written and produced by Southern Illinois native Jason Pinkston, and it will have support from Executive Producer Julie Chen Moonves, who happens to be host of “Big Brother” and “The Talk” on CBS. “Food is Love” will air at 7:30 p.m. July 13 on the 9 Network PBS St. Louis following “Living St Louis.”

Thumbs down to people — in Southern Illinois and beyond — not practicing social distancing measures and not wearing masks. The growing number of COVID-19 cases in the region, state and country should be a big enough sign that we are not yet through this pandemic. Heck, the numbers show we’re aren’t as close to being at the end of this as many had thought. In a story this week in The Southern, local health department officials all said that we’re not out of the woods yet. We all must do our parts to be careful so that things don't get worse. “It does become difficult to continue to stress to people that they need to take precautions when the numbers are currently low for us,” said Bart Hagston, administrator for the Jackson County Health Department, adding that Jackson County, or other places, are “a heartbeat away” from another outbreak. That’s so true. So let’s heed their warnings. Use social distancing measures, be careful out there, and please wear a mask.

Thumbs up to a good early peach harvest in Southern Illinois. It’s good news for Southern Illinois, as Michelle Sirles, vice president of Rendleman Orchards in Alto Pass, said it’s because the region has had perfect soil and weather for peaches. Other states that produce peaches, such as Michigan and Georgia, have lost some of the crops because of poor weather. A good peach crop this year is great news for a region that could definitely use some right now.

Thumbs up to the fact that Saluki Athletics reported no positive tests for COVID-19 in its first wave of athletes that returned to campus in June. SIU invited 50 athletes, all football or men's and women's basketball players, back on June 20, and were scheduled to undergo daily temperature checks, COVID-19 tests and physicals. After their quarantine, they were scheduled to begin voluntary workouts with the Salukis' strength and conditioning staff. A second wave of athletes began coming to campus this week. SIU athletic director Liz Jarnigan said the results prove a lot of the athletes took the coronavirus pandemic very seriously even before they arrived on campus. And that’s good, because in order for us to enjoy Saluki games this fall and winter, everything has to go well with this. Good on SIU and its athletes for taking this seriously.

Thumbs up to rural Southern Illinois mail carrier James Arbeiter, who retired this week after 40 years with the U.S. Postal Service in Gorham. The highlight here is that Arbeiter finished that career without a single accident — and that’s driving close to 1.2 million miles. “I’ve been very fortunate, even in the snow ... When you get along with your co-workers and respect each other, you enjoy your work. It’s so important,” he said Wednesday after his final shift during a party in the basement of Christ Lutheran Church. So, cheers, to Mr. Arbeiter, enjoy your retirement.

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