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posted: 3/9/2013 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

The right call:

While no law will ever get everybody to stop using handheld cellphones while driving, state legislation to ban handhelds is the best of ideas. Even if it stops just a percentage of drivers from doing what could soon be illegal, this would be one very welcome law. Drive alert, drive alive.

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Big-hearted librarian:

When Director Bob Harris closed the Lombard library early during Tuesday's snowstorm, he also chose not to send homeless patrons into the nasty weather. Instead, he sent his employees home about 1 p.m. and waited for four hours until the PADS shelter across the street opened. Said Harris, "It just seemed like the right thing to do."

Church helps, too:

Harris' wait was shortened by two hours because the church that runs the PADS shelter -- First Church of Lombard -- agreed to open at 5 p.m. instead of the usual 7 p.m. Said Sandra Hill, the church's outreach coordinator, "It's just another example of how well a community can work together when we try to take care of people." Indeed.

Problem solved:

Three Buffalo Grove trustees up for re-election bowed out of a candidate forum earlier this week, fearing their presence would violate open meeting rules. Then they decided they would split up and speak in two separate, back-to-back sessions. That seemed to work for everyone. Score one for openness.

Driving us crazy:

Two things, and we have to keep bringing them up because too many are not getting the message: When the light turns yellow, hit the brake, not the gas pedal. And stop making left turns after the arrow is red.

Tony remembered:

It was a touching scene this week at Butterfield School in Libertyville where students, faculty and parents remembered 10-year-old Antonio "Tony" Borcia, who died last summer in a boating accident. A ceremony during a basketball game included retiring his No. 7 jersey and guarantees his memory will live on at the school.

Lost -- one hour of sleep:

Gained -- a sun that goes down later in the day. (This is our subtle reminder to change your clocks tonight.)

March Madness:

Sure, for most people it's all about college hoops. But we can't help but get inspired this time of year about our high school ball players. When you see the jubilation of the girls winning state championships or the guys on their way, it's hard not to celebrate with them.

Progress, please:

Of the pension reform proposals before the legislature, each has elements that would fairly solve the problem. Picking out the best ones remains the challenge. After Gov. Pat Quinn's budget speech Wednesday, his spokeswoman told editorial boards across the state that he is committed to signing one of them. We need more of that resolve from the rank and file.

Activist extraordinaire:

In 60 years of public service, Dawn Clark Netsch was ahead of the curve. She graduated first in her class at Northwestern law school. She was the state's first woman to run on a major party ticket. As a state lawmaker she championed ethics, education and the rights of women and the poor. Her death on Tuesday is a loss to us all.

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