Thumbs-up: To Lauren Opryszek, who plans to bike more than 300 miles to raise money for a cause that was important to her stepfather, McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Maness. Maness died in 2015 nearly a year after he was shot responding to call in Holiday Hills. Opryszek is gearing up to participate in the 13th annual Cycle Across Illinois, a bike ride that recognizes law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. Riders will begin the four-day bike ride July 13 in Alton, near St. Louis, and end July 16 in Maywood. The 24-year-old McHenry resident is riding for Chester police officer James Brockmeyer and in Maness’ honor. Brockmeyer, 22, was killed in October 2016 in a crash during a high-speed chase. He is one of six officers for whom cyclists will ride this year.
Thumbs-down: To Senate Bill 9, what’s known as the Netflix tax on streaming video services rightly opposed in a resolution by Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, which is among the proposals in the so-called grand bargain budget discussions in Springfield. Much of what we hear about this grand bargain simply is a collection of finding new ways to tax Illinois residents who already are beyond their limits. Without significant property tax reform, more taxes of any kind for Illinois residents is no bargain whatsoever.
Thumbs-up: To Voices in Harmony. The choir will be celebrating its 30th anniversary with a concert April 9, premiering a song written in its honor. Forming as the Crystal Lake Community Choir in 1987 to take part in the Crystal Lake Fourth of July Gala, the members caught the performance bug, and many of them have continued on with the choir, which became Voices in Harmony in 2007. Through the years, the choir has performed at Carnegie Hall and regularly at the Raue Center for the Arts, as well as community events for Memorial Day and other holidays and hosted several fundraisers. “The word ‘community’ is very important to the community choir, even though it’s not really part of our name anymore,” said Steven Szalaj, the founding and current artistic director of the group. The anniversary concert, titled “Reflections,” will be at 4 p.m. April 9 at the Raue, 26 N. Williams St., and also will feature the Winds Off The Lake Woodwind Quintet.
Thumbs-up: To all of the McHenry County candidates who put themselves out there seeking positions in cities, villages, school boards, townships, fire districts and library boards, among others. Not everyone can win, and competition is healthy, but we first need people willing to do the legwork. That’s something we should appreciate regardless of whom we personally supported.