July is over, but we don't want it to recede too far in the rearview mirror without commenting on some good things that happened during the month.
Facade grants in Rock Falls: Three applications were approved for $5,000 apiece as the city's facade improvement grant program got underway a few weeks ago.
The work will be done on Selmi's Bridal, 223 First Ave., Katy's Country Financial office, 225 First Ave., and the Grapevine Wine and Martini Bar, 205 W. Second St.
Sterling and Dixon have similar programs that have yielded positive results in their downtowns.
Based on the plans of the first three grant recipients, Rock Falls is on the road to similar success. We wish the program well. Congratulations to the city for getting it started.
Abate lead for safer homes: The city of Sterling also has a new grant program. This one, financed by a $78,800 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will award grants to qualifying residents to get rid of lead-based paint hazards in their homes.
Announced this week, the program could abate lead paint in a minimum of seven homes ($11,200 a home). The house must have been built before 1978. At least one child younger than 6 must live there, too. And the program targets people who make less than 80 percent of the area median income.
The idea is to make homes safer for children, who are particularly vulnerable to the dangers posed by lead, and their families.
This program has the potential to improve lives by lessening the threat of lead poisoning. We hope qualified local residents investigate it. Applications are available at City Hall.
Good luck to new director: We wish the best of luck to the new executive director of the United Way of Lee County. Jenny Koch, a longtime United Way volunteer leader, was hired to take the place of the late Susan Hohlen, who died in April.
Koch, a certified professional accountant, brings enthusiasm to the job.
"I'm eager to help my hometown community in this meaningful role," she said.
The United Way conducts annual fundraising drives and distributes the proceeds to member agencies that provide community services.
Koch offered a saying that is the soul of volunteerism: "No one can do everything, but everyone can do something."
Urgent care in Dixon: Monday's opening of an urgent care facility at 1672 Galena Ave. in Dixon is good news.
The facility, a partnership of KSB Hospital and Physicians Immediate Care, is open 7 days a week for people with non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses.
The walk-in clinic is not for emergencies, such as heart attacks, but will be able to clean and stitch wounds, put splints on broken bones, and the like.
This marks the third walk-in clinic in the region and increases the availability of urgent care for Dixon and the surrounding area.
Glad to see you, Rue 21: The new Rue 21 store, a discount fashion retailer that generally targets teenagers, had its grand opening last week at Northland Mall, Sterling.
The new store is one of more than 1,000 that the company operates in 47 states.
Along with providing 15 jobs, mostly part time, the store offers area shoppers greater variety in clothing and accessories for girls and guys.
Congrats, and good luck.