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Local Editorials

OUR VIEW: Lots of positives as year winds down

THUMBS UP TO… high-end heart help. As last week’s Streator City Council meeting, Fire Chief Gary Bird gave a presentation on the options for his department’s purchase of new robotic cardiopulmonary resuscitation device and heart monitor. The robotic device will be able to ensure the proper depth and rate of chest compressions as well as performing CPR while people are moving the patient, something that can’t really be done with humans only. The heart monitor can give immediate feedback to medical personnel with regard to whether they are pushing hard enough or fast enough.

While we sincerely hope Streator firefighters never need to use the devices, in reality it’s clear this technology will be put into regular service. Seconds matter in medical emergencies, and given the way hospital access and health care are changing rapidly in the region, investing in this equipment represents a sincere commitment to saving lives in Streator and beyond.

THUMBS UP TO… rolling along. In reporting a recent story about Meals on Wheels volunteers, folks from the Sycamore-base Voluntary Action Center told us that in November alone the program distributed 5,402 meals in La Salle County. On top of efforts in DeKalb, Bureau, Putnam and Kendall, this represents a remarkable dedication to feeding folks with issues getting out and about, to say nothing of the relationships that develop between delivery drivers and people who participate in the program.

We’re trying to keep things positive here in a season of giving, so rather than a thumbs down for the VAC’s request for extra vehicles to keep things running in Streator, La Salle and especially Ottawa, we'll give a pre-emptive thanks to those who find a way to donate either money or vehicles, and then the time to operate those rides and make these very important deliveries. To make donations or volunteer to drive, call Barbara Nadeau, of VAC’s Yorkville office, at 630-388-9706 or 815-434-0110.

THUMBS UP TO… going forward — and backward. We’ve written at length about the importance of practically preserving Ottawa’s Reddick Mansion, and as such it was encouraging to see the City Council last week approve local landmark designation, which hopefully nudges the civic treasure toward acceptance as a national landmark. Good things have been happening since the Reddick Mansion Association formally took possession in August 2017 and we suspect most folks will start to notice when an exterior renovation begins in the spring.

The two key aspects of keeping the Mansion important are investing in its physical infrastructure without robbing it of historical significance. Designations such as these are key components in advancing both goals. Further, they increase the likelihood the hard work of preservation can be done without completely breaking the bank. Ottawa would survive without the mansion, but it would never be the same. We salute everyone working to keep it relevant and redolent.

THUMBS UP TO… the right kind of problem. Last week we heard a few folks in Streator say something that hasn’t been uttered too often of late: it’s getting hard to find parking places downtown. This is exactly the type of problem a business district like Streator’s wants to experience, as it means customers and patrons are coming around in increasing numbers. Storefronts are populated and people — many people, throughout the day — have a reason to be downtown.

That said, it’s also the type of problem that needs to be tackled head on before anything gets out of hand and shoppers start avoiding downtown because of the hassle. We’ve explored the issue in Ottawa, where the issue is more so the right amount of parking spaces but that they’re not all conveniently located. Solving these challenges can be tricky, and it’s almost certain some feathers will be ruffled. But growing pains are a welcome alternative to atrophied interest and abundant vacancies.

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