Thumbs Up ... to efforts by the nonprofit Nahant Marsh Education Center, which is restoring 40 acres at the preserve in west Davenport. The nonprofit purchased the land in 2018, and as Alma Gaul reported, it began excavating a piece of it earlier this year in order to create more wetland area.
The center then built a berm as the base for a raised walking trail expected to open to the public in October.
It's always encouraging to hear about these advancements at the 305-acre marsh, which serves to connect people to nature as well as absorb floodwaters.
Thumbs Up ... to local government and public health officials, who have been ramping up their pleas to Quad-Citians to wear masks in order to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rock Island and Scott County boards have both passed measures strongly encouraging face coverings. Rock Island County took action this week, and only two members voted against the measure, Robert Westphal and Rod Simmer. Their opposition is disappointing, but it comes in the face of overwhelming support on the board. In Scott County, the vote was unanimous.
(It's important to note that these are not mandates that people wear masks, but encouragement that coincides with the advice of public health officials that masks will contribute to slowing the spread of the disease.)
We know masks have been a subject of debate in this country for weeks, but we are pleased to see area health care providers and public health officials are upping their game as they encourage people to protect their neighbors and community.
Thumbs Down ... to economic clouds that threaten to worsen an already damaged U.S. economy. The Labor Department reported Thursday that 1.4 million Americans filed unemployment claims for the first time last week. That's the first time in four months that weekly initial claims rose. The new claims come as some states are backing off their reopening plans in the face of rising COVID-19 numbers.
Iowa and Illinois saw better news, as their initial jobless claims came in lower than the previous week. Still, 116,000 Iowans and 655,000 Illinoisans are on unemployment. Both are staggering figures. (We also saw that June unemployment in the Quad-Cities topped 11%. That's down from May, but it's still nearly three times what it was a year ago.)
Perspective is important here. As the Associated Press reported, last week was the 18th consecutive week that initial jobless claims had topped 1 million. Before the pandemic, that figure had never gone above 700,000.
All of this is to point out that a huge number of people are still suffering economically, even if it isn't as bad as the really, really bad news we saw this spring.
We see this data as a reminder to all of us to reach out to those in need — and to policymakers who must take steps to help Americans who are hurting.
Thumbs Up ... to the start of Major League baseball. Like many professional sports leagues, baseball has been on hiatus due to the pandemic. But on Thursday, teams took the field, first pitches were thrown and the 2020 season got underway.
It's not your regular regular season. This year, there will be only 60 games, not the usual 162. The stands won't be filled (except with some cardboard cutouts). Also, some of the rules are different (both leagues are using the designated hitter).
Still, with all the changes, what counts for us is that they are playing ball. So much of our daily routine has been surrendered in the fight against the coronavirus. We're happy to see that we don't have to go a summer without big league baseball.
Thumbs Up ... to the new "love locks" of Silvis.
As Jim Meenan reported this week, a group of people, including the town's mayor, got together to build a steel mesh structure in the shape of a heart at Phipps Prairie Park.
On that structure, they're placing padlocks — what they call, "love locks."
Girl Scout Troop 2716 of Silvis, along with a couple of parks employees and a United Township welding instructor, helped out.
"The idea is to put a lock on the heart with the person that carries a significant amount of emotional love," said Silvis Mayor Matt Carter, who was inspired by a similar practice he saw in Paris a decade ago. "It could be a friend, a loved one or a parent. And then you lock it on the heart and break the key off (or get rid of the key). The idea is that that love is locked forever on that heart, never to be removed."
We can't think of a better and more timely sentiment.
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