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Voice of The Southern: Thumbs up to possible Rend Lake revival, thumbs down to budget impasse — still

Carbondale Southern Illinoisan

Friday, June 16, 2017  |  Editorial  |  STAFF

Budget--State (8) , Natural resources (23) Cavaletto, John--State House, 107

Thumbs down to the 716 days that Illinois has been without a budget. The pressure is starting to mount to get a deal done, as July 1 would mark Year 3 without a budget. On Thursday, Gov. Bruce Rauner called state legislators back to the Capitol for a special session starting next week to hammer out a budget deal. "We have tough urgent choices to make and the Legislature must be present to make them. We have little time to change the direction of our state to come together around a budget compromise that creates a brighter future for all the families in Illinois,” Rauner said in a Facebook Live video. Maybe this is pressure that the General Assembly needs to come together and make deal. But, then again, maybe it’s not. There’s nothing that has happened in the past 716 days that provided much of anything close to hope, so why start now?

Thumbs up to the plans to get the Rend Lake Resort up and running again. On Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced it will take bids to find a new operator for the shuttered facility. Brent Krebs, the IDNR chief of staff, said the facility could reopen by fall. The IDNR closed the facility and terminated its lease with Rend Lake Resort Inc. in December, because the facility had mold, peeling paint and other health-related issues, as well as delinquent rent and lease payments. “We want to see this be a jewel for Southern Illinois, and we’re going to make that happen,” said State Rep. John Cavaletto, R-Salem. Southern Illinois is a better place with the resort operating.

Thumbs up to 12-year-old Josh Loyd, of Marion, who won the Food Network’s "Kids BBQ Championship" Father’s Day Feast episode. On Monday, more than 100 people attended an event at Mackie’s Pizza in Marion to watch and celebrate the event. With the win, Loyd received a $10,000 prize. “It’s in a trust. That will go a long way to a good future for Josh,” said Josh’s mom, DeShona. It’s always good to see a local child do well, especially when it is on a popular, nationally-televised show. As for the future, Josh and his dad, Anthony, plan to take a break before participating in the "Great Food Truck Race" on the Food Network.

Thumbs down to the fact that Chicago It Up, a storefront version of a popular local hot dog cart, won’t be opening. The eatery was slated to open in Murdale Shopping Center, and news came down last week that it won’t open at all. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office conducted a judicially authorized sale of the restaurant’s equipment on Tuesday, and John Clemons, the judgement creditor’s attorney, called it a “non-payment of rent situation.” The owner, Christine Miklosik, had missed her court dates and has been unreachable since last fall. It’s a shame the restaurant won’t open, because with more variety comes better business for all of Southern Illinois.

Thumbs up to the proposed four-lane highway that will make it easier to travel from our region to St. Louis. On Tuesday, the Murphysboro City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution supporting the highway. The intergovernmental agreement, which is among Jackson, Monroe, Perry and Randolph counties, has already been approved. About three months ago, a Randolph County Board member reached out to Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens, saying he was trying to reignite support for the project to create the highway. Everybody in Southern Illinois knows how difficult it can be sometimes to get from Murphysboro to Interstate 64 via Illinois 13/127, and a four-lane highway would definitely help.