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updated: 8/18/2012 2:07 PM

The Soapbox

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Going the extra mile:

Teachers at Anne Fox Elementary School in Hanover Park know family involvement is important to students' success, and they went out of their way this week to build that connection. Thirteen teachers visited students and families at their homes, welcoming them and encouraging parent participation. What a great way to kick off the year.

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Like the Hatfields and McCoys?

It might have worked in the old frontier, but not in East Dundee, where a frustrated village president was thwarted in his threat to deannex two homes of feuding neighbors. Turns out the battling couples can't be pushed out of town, but maybe the spotlight will lead them to peaceably settle their differences.

More feuding:

You can see how a dispute over access to one's yard could land in court, but we really ought to expect more from our leaders than schoolyard name-calling. Gov. Pat Quinn alluded to Rep. Joe Walsh as "the worst congressman in America" and Walsh countered by calling Quinn "the worst governor in the country." Nanny nanny phoo phoo, indeed.

Making a trail deal:

Chicago Area Mountain Bikers has proposed a promising public-private partnership for separate forest preserves near Downers Grove and Bloomingdale. The group would build trails to be used by bikers, runners, hikers and dog walkers. The DuPage Forest Preserve District would handle maintenance and policing. It's worth thinking about.

And, on biking urban:

One of us last week had to navigate the city of Chicago by bike at night from the Loop out to the Far Northwest Side. The bike lanes were impressive and the streets well-lit, making the trip more comfortable than expected. Pockets of the suburbs are bikable at night like this, but nothing so consistently, especially with the lighting.

Good project, bad timing:

Resurfacing is under way on two sections of Libertyville's Lake Street. Unfortunately, one is right in front of Butterfield Elementary School, which opens next week. The goal was to have the major work done by then, but it looks as if parents, students and staff will be negotiating a construction zone. Be extra cautious.

Not much recourse:

Aurora's Alia Bernard, who was responsible for two motorcyclists getting killed and 12 others injured in a May 2009 crash near Elburn, got a year knocked off her seven-year DUI sentence. Too bad no judge can knock time off the sentence of Jerry Bozonelos. He was severely injured in the crash and requires a specialized wheelchair to get around. For life.

Don't let the bugs bite:

Health departments across the suburbs are raising concerns about what looks like a bumper year for Culex mosquitoes and the West Nile virus they may carry. Experts say the best way to avoid the disease is to avoid bites. That means using repellent and wearing long sleeves at dawn and dusk, and eliminating standing water.

But you'll miss those cicadas:

We're hearing summer cicadas everywhere pretty much at all hours now. What a cacophony. Lest you think they're too loud, soon September will come and they'll be gone, and that means summer will be, too. So enjoy them while you can.

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