Opinion | Voice of The Southern

The Southern’s editorial board members are: Terra Kerkemeyer, publisher; Tom English, executive editor; Les Winkeler, sports editor; and Alee Quick, local news editor

Voice of The Southern: Thumbs up to SIU research, thumbs down to COVID-19's effects
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Voice of The Southern

Voice of The Southern: Thumbs up to SIU research, thumbs down to COVID-19's effects

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Thumbs up to SIU Carbondale, which has signed on to continue to provide batches of a key ingredient for COVID-19 test kits. Last week, a team of SIU faculty, staff and students delivered the final shipment of Viral Transport Medium (VTM), which is a substance that plays a critical role in testing individuals for COVID-19. “This work confirms the recognition by the state of Illinois of the enormous potential for university research laboratories, and especially the research laboratories of SIU Carbondale, to help address the pandemic crisis,” said Gary Kinsel, vice chancellor for research at SIU. Kudos, SIU, keep up the great work in the battle against COVID-19.

Thumbs down to the inevitable, but yet still disappointing, cancellations and postponements to popular events in our region. Just this week, officials announced that Street Machine Nationals have been postponed to October. The bright side, at least, is that the wildly popular event in Du Quoin will at least go on. The same can’t be said about everything else. Also this week, the Carbondale Park District announced that the Splash Park will not open at all for the 2020 season. And, the city of Carbondale canceled its July 4 fireworks display. The Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest has also been called off for this year. Combine that with the fact many youth sports organizations have canceled upcoming seasons, and you have a lot of bummed-out kids and adults. Again, these decisions are the right call, it’s just not easy to stomach it. The weather is turning nice, and people want to get out.

Thumbs up to SIU men’s basketball coach Bryan Mullins for being named one of ESPN's "40 under 40," which honors the top 40 men's basketball coaches in the nation younger than 40 years old. "His profile and prospects were magnified when he served as the associate head coach under Porter Moser during Loyola Chicago's run to the Final Four in 2018," ESPN's Myron Medcalf wrote about Mullins. "His first season as the head coach at Southern Illinois this season included a respectable 16-16 mark and a 10-8 record in Missouri Valley Conference play." We’re happy to have Mullins back in Carbondale leading our Salukis. A bonus shoutout also goes to Tamms native Dana Ford, head coach at SIU-rival Missouri State, who was also recognized.

Thumbs up to Illinois lawmakers returning to Springfield to take up a state budget and other critical matters. The House and Senate will convene next week, May 20 through May 22, while following strict social distancing and public safety guidelines. The House will meet in the Bank of Springfield Center, a convention center a few blocks from the Statehouse, while the Senate plans to meet in the Senate chamber of the Capitol. “After two months of inaction, it is about time we get back to the job we were elected to do,” said House Minority Leader Jim Durkin. Lawmakers have not met since March 5.

Thumbs up to Harrisburg Principal Natalie Fry, who was chosen for a Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership. Fry, the principal of East Side Intermediate School within Harrisburg Community Unit School District No. 3, was selected among the six finalists named for the prestigious award. The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership honors exemplary performance in school leadership by a principal or head of school who has had a significant and sustained positive impact on the school, created a culture of inclusivity and delivered dramatic student growth. Congrats, Natalie, on the prestigious achievement, we’re all proud of you.

Coming together while we're apart: Southern Illinoisans show support, love from a distance

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