Last night on the 10 p.m. news, two stories caught my attention: Beloit’s casino complex has been approved, and Mercy health wants to isolate their COVID-19 patients at their Rockton Avenue locations and begin elective surgeries on Riverside. I believe we are still waiting for the Illinois’ gaming commission’s approval before Rockford can proceed on our Hard Rock Casino, even though the plan was submitted prior to Oct. 31, 2019. So again, Illinois shows its ineptness.

But we now have another opportunity to be a leader. Mercy is offering both OSF and Swedish American to move their COVID-19 patients to Mercy’s Rockton Avenue location so they too could begin needed surgeries. What a great idea! I commend Mercy Health for taking the lead like this! This would enable the hospital to bring back many furloughed healthcare workers and relieve the pain and suffering of those patients waiting for these needed surgeries.

I would also suggest that the mayor and county board chairman get together and formulate some plans to begin opening up our community with some other common-sense ideas. We somehow are able to control the flow of customers at "essential businesses," I don’t see why the supposed non-essential businesses can’t do the same. And open the parks and golf courses, reiterating the need for social distancing. And deal with those that choose not to comply rather than having a few isolate us all.

Rockford could be ahead of the curve, demonstrating leadership to the rest of Illinois and possibly the nation. I hope we don’t let politics and egos get in the way.

— Jeff Bieck, Rockford