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A cycle of collaboration throughout Streator

THUMBS UP TO… a cycle of collaboration. Welding students at Streator High School have made a number of significant contributions to the community over the years, and the latest project is especially appealing: the students will fabricate bike racks for downtown streets, utilizing a design that incorporates the city’s proud industrial heritage with an S designed to evoke machine gears.

The Streator START committee introduced the plans at a City Council meeting last week, and in so doing heaped due praise on the student welders, as did council members who well know the value of such an in-house vocational program. START has some other great ideas that also will incorporate Bulldogs, such as Main Street planters students can help bring to fruition. These cooperative efforts are terrific ways to organically grow civic pride and we’re excited to see them become reality.

THUMB DOWN TO… stretching facts. Although the March 20 primary is settled, and we’re doubtful one piece of campaign mail swung the vote, it still seems important to raise concerns about a document that took a shot at La Salle County Board member Jill Bernal. Not long before the vote, the Springfield-based Illinois Nurses Association sent a mailer to local Democrats comparing Bernal, of Peru, to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. It said Bernal, “just like Bruce Rauner, slammed through a dangerous health care plan that cuts access to critical care and increases premiums, making coverage unaffordable for our families.”

Why was this problematic? It referenced a 2014 vote when the entire board approved union contracts and a resolution about health coverage eligibility for nonunion workers. To place blame on one person for a 4-year-old unanimous vote taken after a negotiated contract is unseemly at best. That the INA targeted Bernal — who has been a nurse for 42 years — is even more unsettling. And this was in support of another Democrat, so who knows what kind of dirty pool might be in store in general election season? As the campaign season opens in full, we pledge to research the claims being directed to voters and encourage everyone to enter the polling place with an open mind.

THUMBS UP TO… straight shooting. We’ve got a lot of stellar athletes in our coverage area, but this winter one stood above the rest. After a season in which he surpassed 1,000 career points scored, Sandwich junior Jimmy Braddish made an even bigger splash in Peoria. At Bradley University’s Carver Arena — site of the Illinois High School Association boys state basketball championships — Braddish hit 11 of 15 3-point attempts, winning the Country Financial Three-Point Showdown 3A finals over three other competitors.

He hit another 11 shots the next day to take the overall championship, besting competitors from the other three enrollment classes. Neither was his best showing of the tournament — that’d be the 13 straight he drained after missing the first two at the Pontiac sectional. Braddish also made plenty of headlines during team competition, scoring 41 in a win over Reed-Custer and making 22 of 23 free throws en route to beating Marian Central.  We look forward to the final season of his high school career, as well as whatever the future holds.

THUMB DOWN TO… sad realities. While we’re exceedingly glad CL Lindsay spoke at Ottawa High School’s Fine Arts Festival last week, the topic of his talk was sobering to say the least. Lindsay, a Philadelphia attorney, addressed nearly 200 adults and students about social media, the law and the careful but essential balance between discipline and student safety.

Lindsay, using true stories and stark images for emphasis, said parents and teachers must warn young people of the legal dangers of sharing explicit material online, including the ramifications of bragging about actions that might forever become part of their identity. Again, these are messages young people and responsible adults need to hear, but it remains a sad commentary on modern culture that these things must be said at all.

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