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posted: 5/25/2013 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

What's a chaparral?

It's the formal name for a roadrunner, silly. The bird, no doubt best known through its cartoon character, is not common to Illinois. It also has been the official mascot for College of DuPage since the school was founded in 1967. Our only question is: Why?

Forty leased sites:

In 1967, COD was anything but a cohesive, self-contained campus. It consisted of 40 leased sites scattered through DuPage County. The chaparral was an apt symbol for the students having to run like the wind from one class to the next.

A 'hybrid' school:

Today, COD is in the midst of a $550 million building program. So, why honor the chaparral with an 8-foot-tall bronze statue of the bird? According to President Robert Breuder, the bird, which also appears on signs and team jerseys, is a symbol of the college's role as a "hybrid" institution, one that is comparable to a state university. We get it. We think.

A fitting tribute:

Some high school games mean more than others, and some are bigger than the final score. That was the case when softball teams from Palatine and Fremd high schools got together recently and raised more than $3,400 to help fight non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In doing so, they honored the late Dennis Lynch, a longtime coach and teacher at Rolling Meadows. Nice job, everyone.

Impressive finish:

Conrad Oberhaus of Lincolnshire made his knowledge of geography pay off big time. The 13-year-old Daniel Wright Junior High School student earned a $15,000 scholarship for finishing second in the National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C. He was one of the finalists in Wednesday's round hosted by "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek.

It's OK to take some time:

This week, Rolling Meadows wrestled briefly with the idea of naming a city park for Larry Buske, who died in December after nearly 10 years on the city council. The council rejected the idea for now, but it's a thorny question every town faces -- who gets something named for them? City officials are wise to take some time to decide.

Da Tribute:

So, while many of us were debating if Brian Urlacher is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and if the Bears should retire his number before Mike Singletary's, Papa Bear's franchise makes an end run with news that they'll retire No. 89 to honor Mike Ditka during a Dec. 9 game against Dallas. Why didn't we see that coming? And why did it take so long?

The numbers game:

So, Ditka's honor news means the Bears will have 14 jersey numbers retired. They say his will be the last, so perhaps it's time for alternatives, such as putting some statues around Soldier Field to honor players and coaches. Or building a team Hall of Fame as the Packers have done, or a ring of honor. Then again, that would cost some money, and the Bears don't always embrace that option.

Know the drill:

The devastating Oklahoma tornadoes have put preparation for this type of natural disaster front and center. While schools conduct drills regularly, they're a good idea for businesses, too. We held one in our Arlington Heights building this week. Do you know where to be safe while on the job?

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