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Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
Editorial

Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

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Outdoor sculptures by Rachel Haynes, of Galesburg, were on display at the Riverssance Festival of Fine Arts in 2017 in Lindsay Park, Davenport. 

Thumbs Up ... to the news this week that Riverssance will return this September to Lindsay Park in the Village of East Davenport.

The longtime Quad-City favorite was rain-shortened in 2019 and the pandemic led to its cancellation last year. However, as Barb Ickes reported, the festival will return Sept. 18 and 19, with the help of Quad-City Arts.

The Riverssance news comes after the St. Patrick's Society of the Quad-Cities announced plans are being made to hold a parade this year, albeit later than it traditionally takes place.

Society President Joe Dooley said the parade is scheduled to take place Aug. 28. Last year's parade was called off because of Covid, and after a lot of work had already gone into the event.

"We should have a pretty clear picture by August and if we’re in the clear we’re going to have a parade on Aug. 28," Dooley said.

That plans are being made to hold both of these events should be greeted with enthusiasm by all of us who are eager to see a return to normalcy.

Thumbs Up ... to Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, who continues pushing her "no exit bonus" proposal to stop the practice of paying lawmakers a month's pay even if they don't work the whole stretch.

Mendoza's been on this issue since last year, but the parade of lawmakers representing the state's 22nd House District just last week shows just how ridiculous the pay practice is.

The week started with the resignation of former Speaker Mike Madigan, who was replaced by Edward Guerra Kodatt. But Kodatt then resigned after just a few days following allegations of inappropriate conduct. He, in turn, was replaced by Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar.

In other words, three legislators could claim a month's pay.

Mendoza called on Kodatt to give up the money, which he did, according to the Associated Press.

We hadn't heard whether Guerrero-Cuellar has agreed to do so.

You probably couldn't find a better example why lawmakers should act on Mendoza's proposal.

Relatively speaking, the amount of money at issue isn't big. But in a state that can't afford to toss any money aside, or give others a reason to laugh at their expense, something should be done about this flaw.

Thumbs Down ... to the continued trafficking in counterfeit masks. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized six boxes of counterfeit N95 medical masks at O’Hare International Airport last weekend after they noticed they were giving off a "chemical smell," the Chicago Tribune reported.

Officers seized 65,280 masks. If they’d been real, they would have had a domestic value of more than $400,000.

Over the course of the pandemic, criminals have been engaged in all sorts of fraud, including the sale of fake and unsafe personal protective equipment.

"These counterfeit masks are extremely dangerous and provide a false sense of security to American consumers,” Hans Leiterman, assistant area port director for Chicago, said, the Tribune reported. "Unfortunately, there is no shortage of bad actors out there trying to take advantage of consumers during a global pandemic."

Last month, there were 11 million counterfeit N95 masks seized over five states. At the time of the reports, officials wouldn’t say where the raids occurred but the federal government notified 6,000 potential victims in a dozen states, including hospitals and other medical facilities.

We hope the authorities come down hard on the counterfeiters. But this also should serve as a warning to all of us to be wary as we shop for masks and other gear, and to exercise due diligence to make sure what we are buying is the real thing.

Thumbs Up ... to the recognition being paid to the late Dale Owen by colleagues in the banking and finance business for his work raising money for Quad-City area cultural institutions.

Owen, who died last year, had been president and CEO of Bettendorf-based Ascentra Credit Union, and in early 2020 he was a tri-chair of the Quad-Cities Cultural Trust.

The trust provides funding to six cultural institutions.

Before his cancer diagnosis forced him to step away from his work, Owen got area banks and financial institutions to collaborate to raise money. Throughout 2020, the institutions he brought together raised $500,000 that the trust can use this year to leverage another $500,000.

In his honor, his colleagues renamed the initiative the "Dale Owen Art and Culture Match."

It is altogether fitting to honor Owen in his way.

"Dale had big ideas," Jen Dobrunz, executive director of the trust, said in a statement. "He wanted to bring his competitors together. The idea of lending and banking institutions coming together to invest in the future of art and culture in our region was one of those big ideas, and one of a kind."

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