Thumbs up: To the first media photos taken of court proceedings at the DeKalb County Courthouse in generations. On Tuesday, a Daily Chronicle photographer shot photographs from a hearing for those accused of hazing in the death of NIU freshman David Bogenberger. Reporters also captured audio and video recordings of the proceedings, all without compromising the dignity and order of the courtroom. Courts are public spaces, and public access to the state’s justice system will only increase the public’s familiarity with and trust in the system.
Thumbs down: To NHL referee Stephen Walkom, the official who gave Blackhawks fans fits Wednesday. Walkom called a phantom penalty on the Hawks’ Brandon Saad, which wiped away what would have been the game-winning goal with 1:48 left in Game 7 of the Hawks playoff series with the Detroit Red Wings. Hawks fans went from jubilation to anger and disbelief, then suffered through 3:35 of overtime. The Hawks prevailed, 2-1, on an overtime goal by Brent Seabrook, which should make the whole incident a footnote in Chicago sports history rather than a folly of Bartman-sized proportions.
Thumbs up: To the Wally Thurow Tribute Committee, which is raising money to erect a bronze statue of Mr. Pumpkin in downtown Sycamore. Thurow, who founded Sycamore’s annual Pumpkin Festival in 1962, died last year. The committee is dedicated to raising about $75,000 to build the statue of Thurow wearing his signature top hat and Lions Club vest and sitting on his high-wheel bicycle. Preliminary talks with the city of Sycamore have established the spot for the monument at the northwest corner of Elm and Somonauk streets. We applaud the committee and their dedication to a special community tradition. Tax-deductable donations can be made to the Wally Thurow Tribute Committee through the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, IL 60178.
Thumbs down: To the threat posed to the DeKalb County Marines’ Toys for Tots program. If no one volunteers by the end of June to coordinate the program, which distributes Christmas presents for 2,500 to 3,000 local children from poor families, it will have to go on hold this year. “No one wants to drop it, but it takes someone with the time and the – you need a certain amount of will involved,” DeKalb County Marines Treasurer Stefan Kristen said. “It’s a big job.” Our hats are off to all volunteers who invest incredible amounts of time and energy, at no pay, to make such programs work. Here’s hoping one of those amazing individuals comes forward soon.