THUMBS UP TO… a nostalgic nod. Count us among those who absolutely love the Streator Park Board’s recommendation to bestow the name Twister Hill Park on the trailhead at Madison and Broadway streets. The name hearkens to an informal moniker for an old neighborhood south of Streator High School — most of the homes have been demolished — connected to an early form of glass blowing used in the city. Many of the German class blowers who settled in that part of town used the technique, and thus a nickname developed.
This praise is linked to the wise words of Park Board member Afton Caulkins, who made note of the importance of not just using the name, but of signs and other communication that explain the name’s historical significance. Although many locals know the city’s glass heritage, this specificity might take some time to become widely known. But once that’s the case, Streator will have yet another link to its storied past that helps those old stories come alive for future generations.
THUMBS DOWN TO… a gaping hole. Sometimes an uplifting news story is a brilliant silver lining that still can’t obscure the dark cloud. That’s kind of how we feel about tonight’s first session of Kaleidoscope, which runs from 5 to 7 p.m. at Church of the Open Bible, the former Oakland Park School in Streator. The group plans to meet on the second Monday of each month offering a free art therapy session to children ages 5 to 18 who have lost a loved one due to substance abuse.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re absolutely thrilled that Dusty Roads, a Streator group helping people and families struggling with addictions, is bringing in a therapist and an artist to deal with this specific kind of loss. Losing any loved one can be troubling, and the layered complexities of addiction, especially when dealing with survivors who are children, take a special touch to process. But when we think about how many families have already been affected that makes such a group necessary, we realize the far-reaching nature of these problems in our community and long for solutions that address the underlying root issues.
THUMBS UP TO… a Sutton succession. While it is indeed sad to learn the era of Seattle Sutton owning her eponymous healthy eating food distribution network, we trust the local legend’s instincts in choosing to sell her business to Rene Ficek, a registered dietitian who has been the Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating nutritionist for five years.
A registered nurse, Sutton was 53 years old when she started Diet Carry-Out in Marseilles 33 years ago. After a decade of remarkable growth, she changed the name — making sure to meat USDA requirements that prove her meals indeed are healthy. Along the way, Sutton became an inspiring home-business success story, proving that coming from a small town is no hindrance to someone with a great idea and a solid business plan, while also helping Ottawa’s profile as a good place for entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of Interstate 80 and a proximity to big city transportation hubs.
Ficek, who writes a monthly column for The Times, plans to keep everything people have come to love about SSHE while surely putting her own stamp on things. It’s a lot of responsibility to assume the mantle, but since Sutton has shown plenty of prudence over many years, we think this ultimate decision is going to mean good things for the long run while affording Sutton a well-deserved retirement.
THUMBS DOWN TO… losing perspective. We certainly understand Chicago Bears fans who were upset the team lost its opening round playoff game at home against Philadelphia earlier this month, but we have zero tolerance for fans who turned their frustration into rage against kicker Cody Parkey, who narrowly missed winning the game with a field goal attempt as time expired. We’re not going to go deep into football analysis here — although we’ll make note it’s awfully narrow to highlight just one play in a 60-minute game — and focus on the bigger picture.
Obviously everyone has a right to be upset. This was a fun season for a team with a lot of potential. And sure, boo to your heart’s content if you don’t like how the game ended. But there are far too many people — one is too many, actually — who turned their football frustration into rage directed squarely at Parkey, to the point where we’re surprised the guy has the courage to show his face in public. To get so mad about one football game that you’d threaten a player with physical harm reveals a deep disturbance and a complete lack of perspective for what things truly matter in life. Be sad your team lost, sure, but try to get channel those emotions properly, please.