Thumbs-up: To the 11 good Samaritans who helped rescue a woman from her car that had crashed into a retention pond off Interstate 90 in Huntley. On Aug. 3, Joanna C. Girmscheid was exiting I-90 on the southbound Route 47 ramp when she lost control of her car and flipped into a retention pond, police said. Rescuers worked to call 911 and pull an unconscious Girmscheid out of the water.
The good Samaritans performed CPR before emergency responders came and took over. On Wednesday, she thanked the heroes who saved her as they were recognized by Illinois State Police. Those who helped were Derek A. Fivelson of Gilberts, Molly J. Fivelson of Gilberts, Jesus T. Flores of Round Lake, Patrick K. Gaughan of Marengo, Frankie R. Gonzalez of Sandwich, Ismael Gutierrez of Aurora, Donald J. Hataway of Machesney Park, Cpl. Nathan P. Jennings of Machesney Park, Nicholas B. Mason of Sycamore, Evelyn Pagan of Hampshire and Matthew J. Worden of Belvidere.
Thumbs-up: To doubling down on conservation. Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed a law intended to encourage use of solar farms to help stop the loss of monarch butterfly and honeybee habitats. The law creates standards allowing the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to identify and rank solar farms in areas friendly to pollinating insects and encourage them to use plants that support monarchs and honeybees, both of which are struggling in Illinois. This is an effort that long has been popular among environmentalists, and without throwing shade at backyard pollinator gardens, there’s something to be said about the relatively massive scale of multi-acre solar farms.
Incentives that lead to solar farm creation indirectly mean the state now might be better positioned to help nurture the pollinator population. The IDNR will focus on using native plants to create habitats beneficial to pollinators and birds while also reducing stormwater runoff and erosion. We salute those involved for devising this approach in the name of building a healthier ecosystem.
Thumbs-down: To a not-so-obvious side effect of Illinois’ sad financial situation – teacher shortages. Some education officials have said they are having difficulty attracting new teachers, particularly in specialized areas such as business, foreign language and the science, technology, engineering and math fields. New state laws aimed at making it easier for teachers with out-of-state credentials to be certified in Illinois might help, but the state’s precarious pension funding situation and general reputation for fiscal peril are leading educators to consider teaching in other states. It’s yet another indication the work must begin to repair Illinois’ reputation.