Thumbs Up ... to the Illinois Supreme Court for selecting Robert Carter, an appellate judge, to replace the departing Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride, who lost his retention vote this month.
The high court voted 6-0 to appoint Carter, who is a Democrat. He will assume the job next month.
The court's decision angered Republicans and other high-rollers who ran a shameful, but successful, campaign to oust Kilbride from the bench. Kilbride, of Rock Island, got the support of a majority of voters in this month's election, but he could not reach the 60% bar required for retention.
Some of Kilbride's critics had hoped the three Republicans and three Democrats remaining on the bench wouldn't be able to agree on a replacement, leaving the court divided until 2022 when the public will elect a new justice.
Fortunately, the justices avoided this scheme. They voted unanimously, with Kilbride abstaining, to appoint Carter, who does not plan to run for the job in 2022.
We applaud the court for taking this step. The high court should have seven justices, even if that doesn't meet the partisan goals of those who have worked so hard to undermine its credibility.
Thumbs Down ... to the City of Moline for the loss of its health inspector. Andy Swartz, whose title was environmental health specialist, left the city in August, according to reporting by our Sarah Hayden.
Swartz said he departed for a number of reasons, among them that he was on a list of workers to be laid off. The Rock Island County Health Department, meanwhile, said it, Rock Island and East Moline have been helping out.
Moline Mayor Stephanie Acri said this week there will be no layoffs in 2021, and the discussion at the council suggests there may have been a lack of communication about possible layoffs.
Regardless, the end result is the city doesn't have a health inspector, a service it has provided for years.
Going without a health inspector in the midst of a pandemic is inexplicable. We're not sure why Swartz has not been replaced, but it sure seems like pretty bad timing.
Thumbs Up ... to the announcement this week on ending homelessness among veterans in the Quad-Cities.
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness notified Mayor Mike Matson last month that the bi-state region had "effectively ended homelessness" among veterans. This area is one of 80 communities across the country to meet this designation. The city announced the achievement this week.
This doesn't mean there aren't homeless veterans here, but that it is "a rare, brief and one-time experience," as the federal government puts it.
To earn this designation, the interagency says, communities must do such things as identify people at risk of becoming homeless, intervene to prevent the loss of housing, provide them with access to shelter and crisis services and connect veterans to services to help them achieve stable housing.
Over the past year and a half, the Quad-Cities saw a 53% reduction in veterans experiencing homelessness, going from 43 in March of 2019 to 22 as of this week. Over the past year, 80 veterans have gone into permanent housing and 22 have received vouchers.
Veterans rose to the challenge when this nation called on them. Their health and well-being is a national interest that should be a priority at all levels of government.
We're happy to see the Quad-Cities earned this designation and continues to dedicate itself to taking care of those who have served us.
Thumbs Up ... to the popularity of the Viking River Cruises dates that will take tourists through the Quad-Cities soon.
As Tom Barton reported this week, the international cruising giant Viking sold out its St. Louis to St. Paul, Minn., and New Orleans to St. Paul Mississippi River cruise dates scheduled for 2022. And as a result, the company opened additional 2023 sailing dates for booking, ahead of schedule.
Viking's first custom vessel, under construction in Louisiana, is scheduled to debut in August 2022, with three stops in Iowa, including in Davenport.
Viking has a global reach, and we're happy the company chose to add us to its itinerary. It can only improve the Quad-Cities' image.
Viking will join American Cruise Lines, which has had a long relationship with the city of Davenport, in docking at River Heritage Park, which is undergoing improvements.
American Cruise Lines plans to make more than 20 stops in Davenport in 2021, beginning next July.
We've long enjoyed our riverfront, and we're happy to share it with visitors. We look forward to their arrival.