Thumbs up to Jack Blomgren. The 2017 Craig High School graduate has landed in the starting lineup of a Big Ten team playing in the College World Series. A sophomore at the University of Michigan, Blomgren earned second-team all-Big Ten Conference honors at shortstop this year. Blomgren's fielding skills receive the most attention, but he's shined offensively, too. He's batting .309 and went 1-for-3 June 9 against UCLA, the nation's No. 1 ranked team, en route to a 4-2 victory in a must-win Super Regional contest. The upset propelled the Wolverines to their first world series appearance since 1984. Their hot streak continued Saturday in their first series game. They beat Texas Tech 5-3, while Blomgren went 1-for-4 with a stolen base.
Thumbs up to welcome home ceremony for Vietnam War veterans. The apathy and disdain shown toward service members returning from the Vietnam War ranks as one of this nation's worst moments in the past century. There's no apology that can undue the horrible treatment of these veterans. All we can do is learn from this mistake and try to ease these veterans' pain. The planned July 4 Welcome Home Ceremony at Riverside Park in Beloit is an event all area residents should consider attending, whether you lived through Vietnam or not. It promises to be an emotional day for veterans and nonveterans alike. Hopefully, the ceremony will give attendees a chance to bury old wounds and regrets.
Thumbs down to smartphone app for tracking school buses. The Milton School District has good intentions, and maybe some parents will find the app useful. But spending an estimated $36,540 so parents can track their kids' buses is excessive. The price tag won't go unnoticed among taxpayers, especially with legislators and school officials continually complaining about funding shortages. We'd prefer money go toward educating students, not tracking them. Apps such as this pander to paranoid parents who feel a need to know where their kids are at every moment of the day. But delays happen. Inclement weather happens. Buses sometimes pick up kids late and arrive late for school, and an app isn't going to change that. It's just going to give parents another reason to fixate on their devices.
Thumbs down to Scott Cramer. The city of Edgerton's decision two years ago to dump the Harry Potter Festival continues to look like a smart one. Jefferson, on the other hand, looks like the sucker for taking Cramer's bait and agreeing to host the festival last year. Cramer changed the name to the Wizards & Warriors Festival last year over copyright infringement concerns, and he then proceeded to renege on a deal to reimburse Jefferson for $25,000 in marketing cost, according to court documents. He's also facing fraud charges for more than $50,000 in bounced checks and declined credit card authorizations. To make matters worse, his festivals have been widely regarded as major flops because of excessive prices, overcrowding and disappointing exhibits.