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posted: 10/27/2012 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Why in the hotel business?

Wheaton Park District officials have three developers proposing to lease land near Arrowhead Golf Course for an adjoining hotel. We share the concerns of Commissioner Kim VanderSchaaf, who says the idea is far afield from the park district's mission. Others worry about how much money such a deal could make. Time to refocus on other park business, perhaps?

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Talking point:

RTA Chairman John Gates' apology for calling paratransit rides "limousine service" highlights the importance of this service, which thousands of disabled residents depend on. But it also serves as a reminder that words matter. Speak wisely, public officials.

First class, all the way:

These are some of the words Brian Curtin, the Illinois State Board of Education's Teacher of the Year, used to describe the distinction: inspiring, honored, humbling. Curtin, an English teacher at Schaumburg High School, has to know that those are the same words to describe how his students must feel to be in one of his classes.

Why they call it dope:

Judging by the number of people we've seen busted with huge loads of illicit drugs in their vehicles -- the results of traffic stops when they're driving too slow, skipping tolls or having problems with their vehicles -- you have to think these crooks are high on their own supply.

A+ in environment:

Efforts to restore wooded areas, remove invasive species and plant prairie gardens were among projects that earned Rondout Elementary School the Conservation@Home program certification. In doing so, it became first school in Lake County to earn that designation. The school, near Lake Forest, incorporates "ecological literacy" into its curriculum.

Mutually assured destruction:

Is negativity a campaign arms race that politicians just can't resist? Come on, people. Does the need to win really justify willingly surrendering your integrity and insulting voters with vague character assassination, knowing gross distortions and guilt-by-association distortions? Such campaigns are a disservice.

For example:

Michelle Mussman is among other state Democrats knowingly misrepresenting their opponents' positions on Social Security and Medicare; Tammy Duckworth beating the "deadbeat dad" refrain against Joe Walsh; Walsh making outlandish insinuations about Duckworth's honesty and loyalty; both 10th Congressional District candidates making wild claims -- despite a joint promise to campaign cleanly. And many, many more. You all should be ashamed.

Friendly reminder:

He's back! At least for now, thanks to having the right person at the right time, Mount Prospect is reviving its Officer Friendly program, cut in 2010 for budgetary reasons. Money issues could always threaten the program again, but as Trustee Steven Polit said, "I'm happy to get the Officer Friendly whenever we can get him." (Or her, of course.)

Simple things:

A statement by one of the Cook of the Week Challenge finalists describes her cooking philosophy: "Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best as they let the main ingredients stand by themselves." Perhaps that applies to life in general, too. Best wishes to all four finalists, who stand spoon to spoon in the final round on Thursday.

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