... to all the many people who donated blood Dec. 22 during the annual holiday blood drive at Grossinger Motors Arena.
The Pantagraph is among several groups that co-sponsor the event that is designed to collect blood during a traditionally slow donation time of the year.
The gift of blood is the gift of life, even more precious because it is given to a stranger.
Thanks to all who rolled up their sleeves to help.
Food for thought
... with word last week that Miller Park Zoo would expand its gift shop with a concession stand came a warning that the zoo would limit food to that bought at the zoo — no more homemade picnics or outside snacks will be allowed during hours the concession stand is open.
Granted, it's hard to make money from concessions when outside food and beverages are allowed — any movie theater owner will tell you that — but the zoo is a city-owned facility near a park that encourages family get-togethers.
We hope Director Jay Tetzloff's plan is broad enough to continue encouragement of family outings without costing an arm and a leg.
... to the state of Illinois — yep, you read that right — for finding a way to resume the state's food stamp program that went belly up just before Christmas because of a computer problem.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program supplies a vital need to the state's hungry families. Yes, as with any program, there are people who cheat the system. But for the majority, the extra help means the difference between sustenance and going hungry.
... to the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, for its selection of Illinois State University President Larry Dietz as its Legacy of Excellence winner.
Dietz will be honored during the chamber gala next spring. He and First Lady Marlene Dietz have returned ISU to the active, visible Twin City neighbor it was under the leadership of Al Bowman and Vic Boschini. The university is a partner in dozens of local endeavors, and the Dietzes are front and center at all sorts of university- and community-led events.
Congratulations, President Dietz.
... to a new program at Normal Public Library that is seeking volunteers to mentor children who need help with their technology skills.
Not every child has a caring adult who has time to spend with a young tech wizard and, while that is unfortunate, there are many volunteers willing and able to step into that role.
Interested? Sign up at email@example.com.
... to Brandt Group of Companies, which hasn't let grass grow under its feet as it jumps full speed into joining the local economy.
Brandt, which bought the former Kongskilde manufacturing site near Hudson, has asked for rezoning help for adjoining properties that it hopes to buy for future expansion needs.