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posted: 1/5/2013 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Just walk the extra steps:

Pretending to be disabled to get a good parking spot is pretty low, but it's rampant enough that a new state law cracks down on using the disability placards or plates of someone who has died. Says Secretary of State Jesse White, whose office ticketed 166 people over the holidays for misuse, "if you don't belong there, don't park there." We agree.

Spend like it's 2008:

Some taxes went up this week, but at least shoppers in Cook County are getting a break at the register. Jan. 1 marked the completion of the sales tax rollback, which puts the county's portion of the tax at .75 percent, where it was before Todd Stroger raised it in 2008. We compliment board President Toni Preckwinkle on keeping her promise.

Still standing out:

Our Thursday story that caught readers up on the continuing amazing exploits of some of our Suburban Standouts proves that these young people are no flash in the pan.

Chance of a lifetime:

Bowl season let two suburban schools shine nationally. The pom squad at Larkin High School in Elgin joined dancers for the halftime show at the Orange Bowl in Miami New Year's Day. The Elk Grove High School marching band performed at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans a day later. Even if our team (NIU) didn't win, our kids sure did.

Chances, Part II:

The head football coaches at Northwestern and Northern Illinois provided some valuable lessons in their New Year's Day games. Pat Fitzgerald's NU team won its first bowl game in 49 years, proving no obstacle is too big. And the trick plays NIU's Rod Carey used in the Orange Bowl are great examples of the importance of taking risks. Nice work, coaches.

Driving us crazy:

Enough already. Stop making left turns through the intersection after the arrow turns red. Honestly, you'll get where you're going. Minute or two later, maybe, but you'll get there. Even worse, turning left when traffic is backed up and you just sit in the intersection blocking green-light traffic.

Schaumburg brain ache:

Possible new year's resolution for Schaumburg: Add traffic light sensors at the intersection of Braintree Drive and Schaumburg Road. Don't you get stuck stopping at Braintree for an awfully long time with no traffic crossing? Or is that just we editors who drive home late at night?

His moment in history:

Waukegan High School teacher Joshua Bill knows a thing or two about making history fun, and he has the award to prove it. Bill was named National History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. He makes sure students go beyond memorizing dusty dates, places and names.

Pension questions:

The pension debate is still swirling in Springfield, with discussion of the proposed cost shift now apparently tabled. We'll be interested to see if lawmakers can get real and long-term reform without that provision, but there's still time for productive work over the weekend. Use it wisely, lawmakers.

You can help:

And if you're as concerned as we are about these costly delays, you can add your voice to those calling for action. Sign the petition urging passage of pension reform at

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