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posted: 12/22/2012 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Still moving:

The tragic case of Elgin High School teacher Carolyn Gilbert, spotlighted through Daily Herald reports, led to state legislation that should make teachers safer from dangerous students. Now, the federal government is taking up the cause, with Sen. Dick Durbin sponsoring a workshop that may lead to improvements nationwide. Let's hope.

On the bright side:

We thank all who entered our holiday lights contest. We're constantly amazed by your enthusiasm and creativity in dressing up your homes and neighborhoods for the holidays. We also appreciate those who cast roughly 60,000 votes to declare Jeffery Lawnicki of Hampshire the winner.

Grab your tissues:

We bet many of you were touched by the story this week about Petland in Naperville giving a dog to Matt Plackowski. Matt's younger brother and his dog were slain, along with a 5-year-old girl, Oct. 30 in Naperville. Matt fell in love with a chocolate dapple dachshund.

An inspiring athlete:

Joe Aguilar's column reminded us there are no limits to our determination. Despite being born with spina bifida, Carmel Catholic wrestler Cristian Migliarese already has victory to his credit this season. We loved coach Bob Kuykenall's reaction: "It was glorious. It made everybody in the building a little bit better person for having been a part of it."

Thankful kids are OK:

Two bus crashes this week sent the hearts of many parents racing. In Palatine on Tuesday a truck hit a school bus. On Wednesday, about 20 students from Lake Villa were injured in a crash on the Tri-State Tollway. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

We see you're still here:

Hmmm. Must mean the world didn't end as the Mayans predicted. We're glad to find we're all still here together to enjoy life in the suburbs and find ways to make it even better.

Time to move on:

The municipal soap opera continues in the dispute between the village of Gurnee and Trustee Kirk Morris over a memorial to soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The project has devolved into a lawsuit. In this week's episode, the village agreed on a settlement, only to have Morris reject it the next day. Isn't it time to end the drama?

Truly good sports:

Take a close look at the high school sports calendar in the Daily Herald and you'll see dozens of basketball tournaments getting under way this weekend and after the holidays for our boys and girls teams. An impressive array, but equally impressive are the hundreds of volunteers staffing those events. That scores with us.

Think spring?

Not only did we survive the end of the world scare, we also are on the upswing toward spring. Friday had the longest period of darkness for the year, and now we start adding a few seconds of daylight every day until June, when it will be hard to imagine that the sun ever set at 4:23 p.m.

God bless us, every one:

Thieves can't crush the Christmas spirt for Anthony Orlandino, who for nine years has placed an 8-foot "Happy Birthday, Jesus" sign in front of his Algonquin barbershop, only to have it stolen this year. "You pick up the pieces and keep on moving," he said. May such optimism carry us all through the season.

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