Thumbs-up: To the first team sport state title in Huntley history. On June 8, the Red Raiders softball team earned the IHSA Class 4A softball championship. They faced a hard road to get there, first toppling a powerhouse Marist squad that had won 35 games in a row and had not lost to an Illinois team all season. Then, behind the arm of sophomore pitcher Briana Bower, they shut down St. Charles East, 1-0, to win the championship. It’s a tremendous accomplishment, for which the community and all the girls who worked so hard this year should be proud. Congratulations!
Thumbs-down: To a leadership vacuum in Algonquin Township. Supervisor Charles Lutzow is out of action as he recovers from a stroke (perhaps brought on by the stress of leading the township), and board member Melissa Victor quit to take a seat on the Cary Park District board.
The township board has three members, no Freedom of Information Act officer and Clerk Karen Lukasik has sought a $65,000 settlement in exchange for her resignation. A special meeting of the township board Wednesday produced no movement on addressing any of these matters. Meanwhile, the township is beset by lawsuits and spending thousands of dollars paying lawyers. Is this what rock bottom looks like for local government?
Thumbs-up: To a new business coming to McHenry County. This week, the owners of Wauconda’s Small Town Brewery announced they plan to rename their business and open a brewpub in a vacant retail building at 3300 Three Oaks Road in Cary, near the Aldi grocery store.
The owners, Jagdish Chevli and Tim Kovac, found success in selling their Not Your Father’s Root Beer brand of hard sodas and flavored beers, along with the Small Town Brewery name, to Pabst Brewing Co. They say their new business will be called Spirit Water Brewery, and if their business wins approval from Cary officials, local beer enthusiasts will have a new place to check out.
Thumbs-up: To training students in more than one language. Among the graduates of Woodstock and Woodstock North high schools this year, 87 students earned the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy, certifying them as fluent in both English and another language. That represents about 20% of the graduating classes. Most of those students are products of the district’s dual language education program, and it is the most students to earn the certification in the past three years.
Being bilingual is a skill that gives students an edge in the workforce and in life, and it shows the long-term effect of Woodstock School District 200’s decision to implement a dual language program. If these programs were universally available in public schools, there is no doubt more students would take advantage of the opportunity, and perhaps all of us would understand each other a little better.