Thumbs-up: To Crystal Lake Army veteran and 9/11 survivor Ryan Yantis. Yantis spoke to students in Crystal Lake High School District 155 on Monday to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Many students Yantis spoke with weren’t born at the time of the attacks, or were too young to remember them, so we’re appreciative that he was able to share that history with a younger generation. Yantis’ story also showed his dedication to our country.
Despite narrowly avoiding getting injured or killed when the plane hit the Pentagon, where Yantis worked at the time, Yantis and others came into work the next day. We’re thankful to them for protecting our country during one of the nation’s most difficult times.
Thumbs-down: To the lingering effects of the state’s two-year budget stalemate. Although a budget has been passed, the outlook for the Land of Lincoln is far from rosy.
Most of the state’s public universities – with the exception of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – have seen enrollment declines. Public university officials said the budget battle in Springfield is a critical factor in the declines.
They said that although the budget crisis has been resolved for now, it will take years for schools to recover. The state’s public higher education system is a major economic engine for many regions.
Its decline doesn’t bode well for the state. We hope to see these important public institutions recover and see more students choose to stay in Illinois for college. Students who leave for college are more likely not to return.
Thumbs-up: To McHenry resident Tom Spasojevich on his qualification into next year’s Ironman World Championship at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
The 79-year-old needed to complete the Ironman 70.3 Wisconsin in less than
17 hours last Sunday in Madison, and he bested that mark by more than 30 minutes.
Spasojevich’s hard work and determination should be celebrated, and his story should be seen as an inspiration for athletes everywhere.