Thumbs up to Rep. Mike Bost for introducing a bill that would give Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site status as a national park. The national park designation would afford the site with more protection and more status under the law. It is believed that about 20,000 people inhabited the site around 1100 A.D. It has already been designated a World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark. “Making Cahokia Mounds and associated mounds sites in the region part of our national park system will help elevate this resource in our nation’s consciousness and deepen our understanding of the peoples and cultures of the past,” Bost said. We couldn’t agree more. There isn’t a site in Illinois more deserving of the recognition and protection national park status affords.
Thumbs up to former Saluki Deanna Price for yet another championship in the hammer throw. This weekend, Price broke her own American record in the event, winning the USA Track and Field championships at Des Moines. Her throw of 256-8 is the fourth-longest in history. Another former Saluki, Gwen Berry, finished second in the event. A former Olympian, Price remains an outstanding ambassador for Southern Illinois University. She was the 2016 NCAA champion in the event.
Thumbs up to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for signing a bill that makes student trustees full voting members of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees. If students are going to be afforded a place at the table in deliberations, they deserve to have a hand in decisions that will likely affect them for a lifetime. Someone who takes the time to run for a position, acquaint themselves with the issues and take part in meetings deserves to have more than a ceremonial role.
Thumbs down to the specter of fracking that still looms over Southern Illinois. During the fracking boom earlier this century, drilling contractors bought up leases throughout Southern Illinois. Fracking failed to become a reality in the region when oil prices bottomed out. However, issues remain. Vita Mastrangelo, attorney for Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment, appeared in Madison County Circuit Court this week to argue against a provision in Illinois law that would allow oil companies to drill on land despite opposition from the landowner, as long as the majority of owners with mineral rights agree to proceed. Mastrangelo said the latest drilling techniques allow extraction two to three miles from the wellhead, far exceeding the 1,500-foot radius that requires landowners to be notified of extraction procedures.
Thumbs up to the Nine Day Trail Ride, which has become a Southern Illinois tradition. The event is now in its 53rd year. The ride began as a summertime retreat for a couple families, and now draws about 3,000 guests and nearly 800 horses. The event includes concerts, cookouts, riding competitions and organized trail rides. However, last year the event also raised $10,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. “It’s a melting pot,” said J.D. Mathis, president of Associated Saddle Clubs of Southern Illinois. “All different kinds of people come out here. The rich. The poor. The religious. The non-religious. We try to include everybody. Usually, in society, you can’t get these people to get along.”
Thumbs up to the Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois, which completed its home schedule Monday night. The Wild, the Canadian national softball team, called Rent One Park home this summer, adding to the region’s entertainment options. The Wild, who will participate in the Pan Am games next week, showed the region’s young female athletes that there are competitive options for them beyond high school and college. The team signed a two-year agreement to play at Rent One Park last year.
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