Column: Staying positive in hard times

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on March 9, 2010

The state budget crisis that is affecting our schools and cities continues to loom large on the Chronicle’s radar.

In today’s paper, we have stories from various school board meetings as administrators and elected officials try to figure out how to fill their budget gaps. Also, be sure to check out reporter Brenda Schory’s article on Gov. Pat Quinn’s expected proposal to cut a portion of the state’s shared income tax revenue, which could cost our cities hundreds of thousands of dollars, and how that might affect those cities.

It’s a scary time for our governments and our families. A few members of my immediate family have lost their jobs recently, and it’s getting harder to tell people that everything is going to be OK – that there is another job right around the corner.

I am very thankful for my own job. I have been blessed in my life and am grateful for the opportunity to be paid for something I love to do at a time when so many would be willing to do any job at all if it helped put dinner on the table. I certainly do count my blessings before I go to bed each night.

And even though many have called for governments to be trimmed-down in recent years, it’s still painful to watch people lose their jobs at a time when so few are to be found. It’s the right thing to do when taxpayer money is involved, but that doesn’t make it easy.

As with my own family members, I hope with all my heart that those who lose their jobs in this difficult process will bounce back onto their feet.

I wouldn’t feel right saying everything is going to be OK. But that can’t stop me from hoping it will be so.

• • •

I will be emceeing the 2010 regional spelling bee tonight, with the winner earning a trip to Washington, D.C., for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. It will be held at 6 p.m. at Richmond Elementary School, 300 South 12th St., St. Charles.

I have emceed a bee before when I was working in Lake County, and I loved every minute of it.

Some of these kids are ridiculously talented, correctly spelling words that I can barely pronounce (which is why I’m not the pronouncer at these events).

The contestants at the regional will be last year’s regional winner Brittany Hamling of St. Rita of Cascia School in Aurora; Brian Anderson of Dundee Middle School; Morgan Heileman of Sleepy Hollow Elementary; Emily Krasinski of Washington Middle School in Aurora; Alyssa Lach of Westfield Community School in Algonquin; Tam Nguyen of St. Charles Borromeo School in Hampshire; Daniel Oster of Rotolo Middle School in Batavia; and Bryan Zollinger of McDole Elementary in Montgomery.

As a former spelling bee participant, I wish them all luck.

And if you can’t make it to the bee, but still want to watch it, you can see it live on our Web site at http://www.KCChronicle.com.

Joe Grace is the editor of The Chronicle. Write to him at jgrace@kcchronicle.com or call him at 630-845-5368.

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