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posted: 4/24/2010 12:01 AM

Saturday Soapbox: We're all in this together

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All in this together:

If nothing else, Earth Day brings a good reminder. No matter if one is a fervent believer in global warming or believes it's nothing more than a silly hoax (and all those in between), it's really simple: Let's all pick up after ourselves, be considerate of others and be kind to our planet whenever and wherever possible. What do we have to lose?

Earthly creativity:

We like Dan Duggan's creative invention that aims to bring solar heating to the masses. The Pingree Grove resident's invention could truly make every day Earth Day for those who use it.

Giving back to Special Olympics:

Mildred Argust of Rolling Meadows has amassed 184 medals in her Special Olympics career, and now she's returning some to melt down for medals for future winners. At 67 she'll be competing again next month. A high-five goes to her and family members in Elk Grove Village - two of whom want to be special education teachers because of their experience with their great-aunt.

Other side of the story:

Streamwood police officer James Mandarino must be happy with a new Freedom of Information law that made his personnel file public information. The officer's file shows an exemplary record before he was accused of beating a motorist after a traffic stop. We urge state lawmakers to take note of the way this complicated story is being told more completely - and fairly - because this information is available. Again, we urge rejection of HB 5154 and thank Republican State Sens. Carole Pankau of Roselle, Pam Althoff of McHenry and Randy Hultgren of Winfield for voting no in the Senate Labor Committee.

Wouldn't it be nice?

On the other hand, taxpayers in Lake Park High School District 108 probably are not very happy that the legislature and governor capitulated to lobbyists and agreed to keep superintendent reviews secret. We really would like to know more about the performance of John Butts, the departing District 108 superintendent who continues to collect pay and benefits.

New place to go to bat:

Improvements at Century Park in Vernon Hills cleverly include a cricket pitch. Sure, it's still rare to find cricket enthusiasts around the suburbs. But we know you're out there and looking for someplace to play.

A buddy system worth keeping:

A new program pairs minority male students at Elgin Community College with their younger counterparts in Community Unit District 300. These mentors spend with the boys - some of whom who have no father in the home - and encourage them to make college their goal. A grant started the program; here's hoping outside funds can keep it going.

Heroes among us:

Two acts of selflessness and courage inspired us this week. Christopher Skeet won the Carnegie Hero Medal for his 2008 rescue of a teen caught in a raging current in the Des Plaines River. And a group of passers-by acted quickly to lift an SUV off a pedestrian following an accident in Lombard. Your communities thank you.

More heroic work:

And let's not forget the everyday heroes at Northern Illinois Food Bank, named Food Bank of the Year. That's an honor shared by everyone who has donated or helped collect the 35 million pounds of food distributed last year. Congratulations.

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