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posted: 11/26/2011 5:00 AM

The Soapbox: Congressional candidate Christmas in Springfield?

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By the Daily Herald Editorial Board

We know not everyone in Illinois celebrates Christmas, and we understand the difficulty of squeezing in congressional candidates' election filing dates, which have been pushed back due to a federal lawsuit over remapping. But requiring candidates to file nominating petitions in Springfield between Dec. 23 and 27? Now, that's inconvenient.

Real action against fake drugs:

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Batavia Police Chief Gary Schira recently proposed the city council ban the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana and stimulants. The ordinance passed unanimously. These substances, often packaged as "herbal incense," have no redeeming qualities and are dangerous. Kudos for the quick action.

Stay open for village business:

Lake Zurich village board members are learning you can't be too careful. They're required to undergo training on the state Open Meetings Act after an investigation revealed a discussion about village business by email and a wording change on a document already voted on. No criminal charges, but it certainly raises eyebrows.

Real estate woes:

Big Hollow Elementary District 38 officials know firsthand how tough it is trying to sell property in this weak economic and real estate climate. This week, District 38 cut the asking price by $800,000 to $4.2 million on land it owns along busy Route 12 in Fox Lake. Officials hope to spark interest in the site that has been available since 2008.

Friends indeed:

We compliment those who volunteered time and money to feed hungry strangers on Thanksgiving Day. From the Lazarus House's annual feast in St. Charles to a Mundelein restaurant and Girl Scout troop that provided turkeys to dozens of families -- and everyone in between -- we're in awe of your desire to ease the burdens of others.

Why not help out year-round?

We've written stories this week about people in need and those giving thanks at the start of the holiday season. The food pantries, shelters and similar organizations provide assistance not just at Thanksgiving but year-round. Please remember them the other months of the year and contribute if you're able.

And while we're on the subject:

A Facebook friend gave us a great idea for teaching young ones about service that we thought we'd share. How about if you and the kids find a way to give each day leading up to Christmas? Families can sacrifice a treat for the local food pantry, make a card for a veteran, leave seeds out for the birds -- the possibilities are endless. And all good.

Keeping the money local:

Elgin-area businesses want you to shop close to home, and they'll pay you back for doing so. A new program uses rewards cards that give users credit for local purchases. Everybody wins: customers, stores and the community through economic development dollars. It's recognition that sometimes we might need a little incentive to buy local.

Special needs, special achievement:

Burt Constable's column about Jack Donehy-Nykiel was remarkable. The 26-year-old will graduate from DePaul University magna cum laude with a degree in Islamic World Studies. He speaks more than five languages. And, oh yes, he has Asperger's syndrome. His parents have to drive him to class and wait for him. Inspirational people.

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