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posted: 5/1/2010 12:01 AM

Saturday Soapbox

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A legend returns:

Former Daily Herald sports columnist and longtime editor Bob Frisk makes his 60th appearance today at the 78th annual Palatine Relays. After seeing it in 1950, the former sprinter competed from 1951-54 with his Arlington High track team. For a sprinter, he sure has logged a lot of miles at this venerable event. Keep those legs going, Bob.

Beyond the bonus:

Metra Executive Director Phil Pagano is in hot water over allegations he received a $56,000 bonus without board approval. Nice to see the board checking it out. but why isn't anyone raising a flag over his $269,625 base salary in this era of fare hikes and cutbacks?

Pleased with the freeze:

Eight Lake County Board commissioners agreed to freeze their pay at $40,945 for two years following a pay freeze for county employees. Because of staggered raises, 15 other board members will get 3.75 raises to $44,074 by 2012. Let's hope they voluntarily return some of that money.

Two more that deserve praise:

Support personnel at Batavia schools agreed to a benefits concession to save about two dozen jobs. And teachers in Addison Elementary District 4 signed a three-year contract that calls for a salary freeze in the first year, leaving intact about 10 positions. We appreciate it.

Deadlines should be deadlines:

We side with taxing bodies in the suburbs that are calling on Cook County to issue the second installment property taxes by Aug. 1. For 32 years the county's bills have been late, and the delays have been getting longer. Take the politics out of the process.

Standing out:

We applaud state Rep. Mark Beaubien of Barrington Hills for standing as the lone Republican to publicly congratulate Chicago Democrat Rep. Deborah Mell on her engagement to her longtime girlfriend this week. While Beaubien said it is unlikely the General Assembly will approve civil unions this year, we renew our support.

A big oops:

CN Railway claimed 14 railroad crossing blockages along the former EJ&E line in November and December, but federal regulators found the number actually was 1,457. It's hard to buy claims by the railroad that it didn't mean to deceive. Federal regulators said as much and threatened to extend oversight of CN's operations on the line. We agree that's a necessary step.

Building great minds:

We applaud Dundee-Crown High School for continuing to invite renowned thinkers to speak. This spring, students and the public can hear from "Nova" contributor Charles Kernaghan, linguist Noam Chomsky and philosopher Peter Singer, among others. The series strives for ideological diversity and will certainly boost students' critical thinking skills.

Quick action, mini lesson:

When Jill Mikesell saw one of her kindergartners with a panicked look on his face at the snack table, she knew what to do. She performed the Heimlich maneuver on the choking boy and dislodged the grape in his windpipe. Afterward, she explained to her class at Anne Fox School in Hanover Park that the boy did the right thing in calling attention to himself. Smart teacher, not to let a teaching moment like that pass by.