Cheers to Ava Ketter who retires this week after 31 years in service to knowledge, the last 14 as head of the Rock Island Library. "I accomplished everything I set out to do," she said recently. "It's just time to pass the torch." |
Before she did, Ms. Ketter and her contemporaries accomplished much, most recently helping connect 20 member libraries via RiverShare consortium, and instituting an online circulation and catalog system so that patrons can use any library with your card.
She has worked in libraries on both sides of the river, serving as reference librarian at the Davenport Public Library, managing the southeast branch of the Moline Public Library and as assistant library director and acting director in Moline before joining R.I. in 1998 as assistant director. She was promoted to director one year later. In her tenure, the bibliophile led the library through such projects as automating for the public Internet in 1998, managing the Vision 2000 capital campaign that resulted in four building projects, and multiple consortium and computer conversions. In the end, of course, her most important contribution was her service to words, thoughts and ideas.
"Libraries," the American Library Association tells us, "are the mind and soul of their communities, and librarians are the mind and soul of the library." Thank you, Ms. Ketter, for being the mind and soul of local libraries and feeding the minds of those whose thirst for knowledge lead them there.
Jeers to wealthy and influential journalism giants like NBC News, ABC News, USA Today who advocate government transparency, except when it concerns their own finances. According to the Seattle Times, even as the networks and conglomerates get ready to bank billions from political ads, they want to ensure voters get as little information as possible about those who purchase them.
The newspaper said, "The viewer is frequently unclear about who is paying for the ad, how much is being spent to enlighten a voter — or, more commonly, trash an opponent. Some campaigns hide behind benign-sounding political committees."
That's especially troublesome as so-called supercommittees ratchet up their broadcast broadsides. Yet the big media guns are lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to keep an electronic lid on it all. They object to a proposed FCC rule that says broadcasters must post online such information as timing of the ad, the cost, and who bought it. If you want that info now, you have to go to the station to get it. Few will do so.
What can such information tell us? Whether stations are charging the same rates to all, or favoring one candidate over another. Why does it matter? As Seattle Times suggests, "If viewers are going to endure a cacophony of ads this coming season, stations should err on the side of sunshine and make it easier for people to learn more about those who wish to influence elections. The FCC should stick to the idea of greater transparency." Agreed.
Cheers to the dedicated folks at Achieve Quad Cities whose program has been recognized with the first-ever International Award from United Way Worldwide for Advancing Education. The Common Good Awards were created as part of the 125th Anniversary of United Way. The Q-C program was selected from among 62 communities in 11 countries. The two-year-old Achieve got its start when a group of concerned Quad-Citians came together with a shared, ambitious goal: To slash the Q-C dropout rate by 5 percent in the next decade.
It's a mission we're happy to support and, led by United Way of the Quad Cities and the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, one that already has been reached, in part due to Achieve's mentoring and career exploration opportunities for Q-C kids. Our thanks to all for making it happen.
Jeers to all who continue to resist wholesale changes in an Illinois worker compensation system that the state's chief financial investigator found to be "ill designed to protect the State's best interests."
Auditor General William Holland uncovered a system staffed by overworked adjusters who too easily approved claims and failed to find fraud. Those adjusters worked as many as a mind-boggling 1,500 a year, many times the 250 the industry recommends. Disturbingly often claims were paid without medical evidence and sometimes without even a request being submitted.
It was fear of fraud that led lawmakers to commission the audit last spring. The request came in the wake of news uncovered by the Belleville News Democrat of a huge number of worker compensation claims from Menard Correctional Center related to turning keys.
Lawmakers were publicly outraged, but rather than craft more meaningful reforms, the General Assembly passed a severely watered-down workers comp reform measure that does precious little to fix the system. Disturbingly, Mr. Holland's audit also found the state had yet to take action on some fraud fighting measure the legislation did mandate.
Mr. Holland's audit and his 22 recommendations ought to be required reading for all members of the General Assembly. Then they should call for a new wholesale reexamination of a system that continues to hurt Illinois employers and contribute to its reputation of being bad for business.
Sherrard, IL Details
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