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OUR VIEW: Benefits reveal caring communities, empower survivors

THUMBS UP TO… caring communities. Several times a year we have the opportunity to share information about events to raise money for various causes, often simply for individuals or families dealing with a specific need. Recently we put the spotlight on two such efforts — a benefit for Streator’s Jeff Wonders, who is battling appendix cancer after surviving testicular cancer in the late 1980s, and a fundraising walk for Everett Jamison, a 2-year-old Lostant boy living with a rare form of epilepsy that causes debilitating seizures.

No amount of money raised through these or other efforts will directly solve these families’ issues, but the contributions and participation help send a strong message of support that provides intangible benefits. Further, we salute the people suffering for taking the time to talk about the way medical challenges affect their lives. These folks help spread a message of suffering that reminds us all of our shared humanity while also letting others with similar struggles know they are not alone.

THUMBS DOWN TO… competing criminals? There is widespread disagreement about who ought to be elected governor of Illinois next month, but the leading candidates, incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner or Democrat challenger J.B. Pritzker, are busy campaigning but seemingly engaged in a concurrent battle over trying to pin criminal charges onto their opponent. Rauner says Pritzker defrauded taxpayers by removing toilets from one of his homes in order to drastically undercut its assessed value and therefore his property tax bIL Pritzker said Rauner was criminally neglect in the way his administration handled the Legionnaire’s disease outbreak at the Quincy veterans home.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is just announced she’d be investigating the Quincy situation. Rauner is calling on Cook County State’s Attorney to investigate and potential prosecute Pritzker. In reality, each candidate has something to answer for with their respective situations, and if crimes have been committed they should be prosecuted. But it’s hard to see how having this discussion now adequately serves the need of convincing voters which is the better option to run the state. It’s fair game to point out how your opponent has shown himself lacking, but the enhanced rhetoric is only likely to muddy the message.

THUMBS UP TO… visitors — fresh off the boat. Last week Reddick Mansion Association President Lorraine McCallister talked about two major influxes to the Ottawa landmark over the summer, both tied to cruise vessels docking along the downtown riverfront. In August, the 166-passenger American Duchess came to down, and in September the 400-passenger American Queen arrived. Although not everyone from each boat took a mansion tour, the ships still delivered about 400 visitors to one of the city’s signature attractions, yielding roughly $4,000 for the Association.

The city is positioned to host return trips or stops for other big boats, and reports from these two experiences show the interest in local historical attractions, while also indicating the business community will need to adapt if it wants to profit from the city being an occasional port of call. While it’s unclear when the next cruise ship will visit Ottawa, it’s great to have these recent stops as building blocks and learning experiences.

THUMBS DOWN TO… “presidential” panic. We see a few people missed our advice in advance of last week’s test of the new national emergency alert system, which is designed to communicate important information by sending alerts to cellphones and other mobile devices. Once the “Presidential Alert” went out Wednesday afternoon, the predictable responses dominated social media, the most aggravating of which were those objecting to the idea of the White House being able to send unavoidable text messages.

Once more, for the people in the back: this message was no different from alerts sent through the television and radio Emergency Broadcast System or the monthly tests of your local weather siren. Perhaps the government could or should have used a phrase like “FEMA Alert” or “Emergency Test” instead of “Presidential Alert.” But they didn’t. And really, it doesn’t matter. If there is a national emergency, Americans expect to hear from the president, whoever might be holding the office at the time, and there’s no reason to see this test as anything other than standard operating procedure. Get used to it.

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