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posted: 7/6/2013 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Tragedy in Arizona:

The horrific wildfire in Arizona that claimed the lives of 19 firefighters was a national tragedy but hit close to home for Lake County residents this week. One of the victims, Anthony Rose, grew up in Wadsworth and Beach Park, and attended Zion-Benton High School for two years, before moving to Arizona. He was 23.

Wearing Chicago pride:

Let's hear it for Brittany Smith of Elmhurst, recent winner of the Miss Illinois pageant, who moves on in September to compete for the coveted Miss America title. She'll be wearing her civic pride during a parade in host city Las Vegas, where she'll be bedecked in Blackhawks attire. We like that. Go Hawks!

Suburban Chicago's Got Talent:

The first 15 of the top 30 finalists for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent have performed, and the second round takes the stage Sunday. Regardless of which performers move on in this competition, the acts themselves speak volumes about talent in the suburbs. We wish them luck and look forward to seeing who's crowned the winner next month.

And speaking of talent:

Suburban Chicago's Got Talent focuses on amateur acts, but you don't have to look far to see that dreams like theirs do come true. A good example is Keith Huff, an Arlington Heights native and writer whose words have graced stage and screen. His latest play, "Big Lake Big City," is now in its world premiere at Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre.

Historical headbutting:

Letting go of history is never easy. Take the 144-year-old Joel Wiant House in West Chicago, a gorgeous relic that has been vacant for years and has fallen into disrepair. The city has twice tried to sell it for a buck to have someone spruce it up -- to no avail. Here's hoping that with one more chance, a buyer steps up.

Kudos to Batavia, committee:

Batavia's fireworks show was in danger of not happening, but with the help of many and the guidance of the Batavia Fireworks Committee, more than $40,000 was raised since March. If you witnessed Thursday night's spectacular show, you know the hard work was worth it.

Still a bright celebration:

The state of Illinois doesn't ban the sale or use of sparklers, but lots of our suburbs do. We finally stumbled upon some Thursday but then were too nervous to let our 5-year-old granddaughter in Northbrook hold one. And is it a safety measure that the boxes contain less than half the sparklers they did in our childhood days?

Fourth on the Fifth (or Sixth):

The Palatine Fourth of July parade is at 10 a.m. today (Saturday), the Bartlett parade is at 1 p.m. Sunday. It's a tradition in both towns to hold their parades on days other than than July 4, but we've heard from a few people in Palatine who wish the Jaycees would reconsider and move the parade to the Fourth, like most other communities. Maybe it's time for a survey.

More thanks for Hawks:

We cover a lot of big events on many stages, so it can take some doing to send chills through the Daily Herald offices. The Blackhawks and President John McDonough had what it takes when they brought the Stanley Cup by for a visit Friday. It gave us all one more reason to thank the Hawks at the end of a special season.

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