Thumbs up to everyone staying home and doing their part during this COVID-19 outbreak. It’s not easy, but we’ll get through this. The experts, the professionals, the ones who know what they’re talking about — they’re all saying that we need to stay home and practice proper social distancing techniques. And, yes, it’s hard. Nobody wants to be cooped at home — especially as it looks like the weather is starting to turn to spring. But, it’s all for the greater good. And, it’s not like we can’t go outside. Take a walk. Sit on the porch. Enjoy the weather. But the sooner we all stay home, the sooner this nightmare will be behind us. And when it is, let’s all promise to get out and support local businesses. Let’s all promise to help those who need our help. Let’s promise to be kind to one another.
Thumbs up to the performers who in the last week or so have participated in #ClosedMicNight. Southern Illinois has a vibrant music scene, and the stay-home order has certainly been a bummer for music-lovers. More importantly, it's been a financial hit to performers and the staff at the venues that host them. To soften the blow, performers have hosted makeshift concerts from their homes live on Facebook, seeking donations to give to staff at Tres Hombres, PK's and Cristaudo's, which regularly host live music. While creatives are stuck at home, there's a wealth of fun virtual events to attend. We are particularly impressed with the #ClosedMicNight series because the performers are donating their skills for free, with money raised going directly to out-of-work bartenders and venue staff. We applaud all the Southern Illinois artists at home helping to lift our spirits with virtual events — they are helping us to remain connected to our communities while we're physically separated from one another. Plus, they're keeping our local music scene as vibrant as ever.
Thumbs up to the Saluki Food Pantry and the Saluki Cares Student Emergency Fund. Both of these programs are stepping in to fill urgent needs for Southern Illinois University students who have been impacted by the stay-at-home order and SIU's decision to move to distance learning for the rest of the semester. The Saluki Food Pantry on Tuesday gave out bags of food to students who are struggling to buy groceries right now due to the loss of work and wages. And thumbs up to the donor who gave 1,700 meals to the pantry to allow them to do so. Saluki Cares, meanwhile, is providing students with laptops and other equipment to allow learning to continue while students and teachers aren't on campus, and is helping students with housing costs. SIU Carbondale Interim Chancellor John Dunn on Tuesday asked donors to step up and give money to allow the programs to continue to serve students, as the unprecedented current situation means an even greater number of students find themselves in need of the services. We know SIU has a strong network of alumni who have in the past couple of years raised significant money for scholarships and other school programs. The power of online social networking has brought alumni together in a virtual community already, even before social distancing. SIU's assistance program is just one example of the many worthy causes those of us who are able can support right now. We are grateful for all the donors who are helping these and other services continue to help. And, we're grateful for the future donors who we are confident will also step up in this incredible time of need.
Thumbs up to the bear hunt going on in places throughout Southern Illinois. Don’t be alarmed — it’s a teddy bear hunt, and the teddy bears are set up in windows. Hannah Lane, of Elkville, thought this bear hunt would be a fun thing for her family, so she shared the idea on the Elkville Community Page on Facebook. Soon, stuffed bears began popping up all over town, in the windows of homes and at local businesses. Bears have been spotted at Murphy-Wall State Bank Elkville Banking Center, Elkville Christian Church and Rick Warren Memorial Public Library. “It’s crazy. We’re relatively new to the area. To see the community come together and do something for the kids is great,” she said. Now, they’re popping up everywhere. We love seeing this kind of thing grow in the region, and gives children stuff to do at very confusing time for them.
Thumbs up to former Salukis Brad Korn and Rodney Watson. This week, Korn was named head coach for the Southeast Missouri State men’s basketball team, and Watson retired from his post as the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Southern Indiana. "We need the type of workers, and players, that are more interested in a great Senior Night than a great Signing Day. I'm not going to be perfect, and neither will our staff, and neither will our players, but, together, we can bring that joy that SEMO Basketball deserves. It will not be easy, but I promise it will be worth it, and I look forward to the challenge," Korn said Tuesday after being introduced as the Redhawks coach. Korn played 121 games at SIU from 1999 to 2004. He was also an assistant coach at SIU under Chris Lowery. He also was an assistant at Missouri State and Kansas State. Watson leaves USI as the Screaming Eagles’ all-time winningest coach, and was a longtime assistant coach in Carbondale at SIU, helping the Salukis to 12 20-win seasons in 20 years.
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