Of fireworks, li’l Grasshoppers & Bruno off the grid

Rambling through central Illinois, pondering the distances we critters will travel for love.

Well, that was one heckuva fireworks show in Elmwood Saturday night – and not just at Sweetwater Park, which was impressive. It seemed like half the town shot off fireworks, leaving smoke lingering long after the last boom. I’ve been hearing similar reports from other towns. This was a year for fireworks galore. Thanks to everyone who lit up the night, in particular the display a few blocks south of West Main Street. … Kudos to Blanche Wilson of Farmington, who on July 5 celebrated her 102nd birthday. In celebration, the bells at Farmington’s First Presbyterian Church tolled 102 times for Wilson, who has been a member for 87 years. Well wishers then paraded past her home. I am constantly impressed by how creative people have become in the face of Covid-19. … Another bit of good news comes from Brimfield Village President Dan Fishel, who reports that Jeffrey T. Hofer, the 19-year-old who fell 125 feet from Brimfield’s water tower on May 27, was transferred to a rehab facility in Lincoln, Neb., near his family. Fishel said Hofer is alert and recovering and hopes to be walking with assistance in three to four months and to be fully recovered within two years.

It is a mixed blessing having kids learning to repair their lawnmowers. On the one hand, you’ve got to encourage the initiative of your li’l Grasshoppers. But you’ve also got to be willing to roll on the concrete with them, get greasy, hurt your back and bust a few things. No, the trip is not always smooth. But when the mower final hums, the Ibuprofen tastes even sweeter. … After 400 miles of wandering, Bruno the bear has finally found a home in the woods. Of course, that required him being tranquilized and hauled out of Elsberry, Mo., a town of 1,934 residents located 60 miles northwest of St. Louis. Missouri’s Department of Conservation handled the move and was not telling where they finally released 350-pound Bruno. The big black bear captivated an international audience with his trek from Wisconsin into Illinois, then Iowa, then Illinois and finally Missouri. The good news for Bruno is that he should be able to find a girlfriend in Missouri, whose bear population has increased markedly in the past 10 years.

For the past few months, criticisms of Gov. JB Pritzker in this space have focused on his apparent belief that he is a ruler, not just a governor. That said, Pritzker’s overreaching, iron hand has been a factor in keeping Covid-19 cases under control in Illinois. That we can count coronavirus cases on one hand in many of our small towns is a blessing. But it’s not enough of a blessing for the governor to lose sight of our state’s rule of law. And the same problem exists for governors overreaching to cast aside restrictions without following the proper political process.

Contact Jeff Lampe at (309) 231-6040 or jeff@wklypost.com