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posted: 6/26/2010 12:01 AM

Saturday Soapbox

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Be ready for emergencies:

Unprepared for power outages of the past week? The federal government says we all should be equipped to go it alone for three days, with emergency food and water, flashlights, a battery-powered radio and more. Check out ready.gov.

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It's disconcerting that many drivers still don't feel the need to buckle up. Stepped-up enforcement in Lake Zurich and other towns recently led to a number of citations along busy roadways like Route 12. How long have Illinois seat-belt laws been in force now? Since 1988. And by how much do seat belts lower crash fatalities? Forty-five percent. Sadly, statewide usage remains at 71 percent.

Play fair with endorsements:

The flap over 10th Congressional District candidate Dan Seals' use of an old endorsement from the Daily Herald reminds us to send a message to all candidates: Our primary election endorsements expired on Feb. 2. If you mention one, please specify which election it was for.

He did it all:

Some people just can't help getting involved in everything they come across. Gregg Ziegler was one of those men. He ran a successful hardware business in Elgin, fought in the Marines in World War II, headed chamber of commerce and other business groups, led and founded banks, steered a hospital and drove to a NASCAR record in Daytona. Ziegler, of Barrington, died this week. He'll be missed.

Gave it all she had:

We also remember the contributions of an Itasca resident and longtime Lake Park High School District 108 school board member Patty Szerlong, who continued to serve right up until she lost her battle with pancreatic cancer this week. Szerlong, who was 64 and the owner of Artful Touch salon, received last year's Bloomingdale Area Women in Business Georgene Geils Award. She too will be missed.

A sensible move:

Showing fiscal restraint is especially touchy when the issue is public safety, but we applaud Rolling Meadows aldermen for deciding not to fund a third fire station at this time. We encourage officials to seek alternatives to reduce response times in the city's south areas.

Can Hassell move up on list?

The village of Hoffman Estates does a great job of communicating its street project progress on its website, as well as its bike route plans. Hassell Road west of the village hall is on the bike plan. It should be on the resurfacing plan; boy, it's getting bad with some of the right lane virtually buckling.

Help for the bewildered:

If you don't understand how your property tax bill is calculated, you're probably in good company. Lake County hopes to take the mystery out of the process with its 12-minute online video explanation by Willard Helander, county clerk. It provides solid information, at lakecountyil.gov/countyclerk.

Was that necessary?

We asked Buffalo Grove officials to release minutes of a closed session, and we salute them for acting quickly. We're just not sure what to make of a comment by Village President Elliott Hartstein. Referring to Monday's Opinion page, he stressed, "I wish to emphasize I am not reacting in any shape or form to that editorial." Is it that terrible that we see eye-to-eye? We've agreed before and we're sure we will again.

Inspirational leader:

And finally, family and friends will say goodbye today to Mary Lou Cowlishaw, a beloved local and statewide leader, who lost her battle with cancer at age 78. She served for 11 years on the Naperville Unit District 203 board before her two decades in the state legislature, where she was known as an advocate for education. She led the way on legislation that helps homeless students, championed Chicago school reform and helped create the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora.

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