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Opinion | Voice of The Southern: Thumbs up to chancellor decision, thumbs down to loss of senior program

Carbondale Southern Illinoisan

Friday, July 14, 2017  |  Editorial  |  STAFF

Budget--State (8) , Education--Higher (37) , Human Services (75)

Thumbs up to Southern Illinois University naming a chancellor for its Carbondale campus. On Thursday, the SIU Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Carlo Montemagno to fill the role of chancellor. This is welcomed news in the region as the position has had the word “interim” in front of it for some time. With the hire, SIU Carbondale can begin its trek into its new era with a new leader at the helm. With the budget mess, as well as declining enrollment in Carbondale, there’s no better time than now to get started with a new vision. Here’s hoping Montemagno can provide that now and for years to come.

Thumbs down to the fact that the Southern Illinois Center for Independent Living has to eliminate a program that serves elderly blind people. The center has to do this because the Illinois Department of Human Services failed to renew a grant that funded the services. “There are no blind services in Southern Illinois. You can go to an optometrist, but I don’t think they’re actually going to help you with the accommodations that you might need,” said SICIL Executive Director Bonnie Vaughn. Without the grant, the center will no longer be able to provide free equipment, training and low-vision assessments for individuals 55 and older who are blind or visually impaired. Vaughn said the grant was revoked without an explanation, and the grant had been awarded every year since 1997. It’s a sad situation because so many people — Vaughn said 137 people used the program this past year — rely on the service.

Thumbs up to the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, which has made space available in its office for safe exchange of internet purchases. “The front lobby of the Sheriff’s Office will be offered as a safe place for citizens to meet and pick up items that are purchased over the internet on Craigslist, Facebook and many other person to person internet shopping sites,” a Facebook post from last week read, also stating that the lobby is available 24 hours a day for deals. According to the Washington Post, there have been more than 100 murders connected to Craigslist alone, and Sheriff Shannon Wolff didn’t want to risk it in Randolph County. As for what can be sold, Wolff said, so long as the sale is legal, the sky's the limit, but his office is not permitting firearm transactions on the premises. We think this is a good idea that many other local office should look into in order to make these transactions much more safe.

Thumbs up to Ethan Gibbons, Craig Massey and John Werner of the Southern Illinois Miners. The trio was selected to represent the Miners at Wednesday night’s Frontier League All-Star game. And, all three got into the action for the Eastern Division. After a disappointing first half, the Miners open second half action tonight at Rent One Park.

Thumbs up to Christopher’s Madeline Gossett for being named The Southern Illinoisan’s Girls Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Gossett was valedictorian at Christopher while competing in volleyball, basketball and track. She will be attending Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, studying math. The boys Scholar-Athlete of the Year will be announced Sunday.