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posted: 11/16/2013 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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It was a quake:

Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey say it was an earthquake that shook some western suburbs after a quarry blast earlier this month -- further evidence of human activity causing quakes. Texas, Ohio and other states have had dozens of quakes linked to fracking, something to keep in mind as Illinois gets set to allow the practice.

Lost, found and finished:

Doesn't get much better than a story with two happy endings. Aurora's Kathy Contreras got lost in the forest preserve midway through the inaugural Naperville marathon. With the "gift from God" (her words) she got help from a forest preserve district police officer and a few strangers and made it to the finish line. Well-deserved smiles for all.

Touching tribute:

A year ago, Robin Parfitt's life was ripped apart when her teenage daughter, Nicole, and husband, Todd, died in the crash of a small plane. Robin turned her grief, loss and love into creation of the not-for-profit Shine Bright Dance Studio in Antioch to honor Nicole's love of dance. Robin thinks Nicole would be proud. We do, too.

Simple, but life changing:

This week, Salvadoran teens William Bautista and Gerardo Aguilar had simple procedures at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington to fix irregular heartbeats. Good Shepherd has been donating medical services to kids from Third World countries since 2007, services their families couldn't dream of procuring for them at home.

Strong like bull:

Dominic Swanson had already earned his place in our Suburban Standouts column when we first profiled the young weightlifter. But the Huntley High School sophomore just keeps compounding his success, now holding five world records in powerlifting for his age group. Who knows how far this kid can go?

Honor guard:

Northern Illinois University raised awareness this week for the Active Heroes organization, auctioning off special black jerseys adorned with stars and stripes from their win over Ball State. Today, the Northwestern Wildcats will do the same to support the Wounded Warriors Project. Such support and generosity is always in style.

Honor guard II:

Beauty -- and fashion -- is in the eye of the beholder, however. While many praise NIU's attire, Northwestern's daring design has sparked debate, with some suggesting its almost blood-spattered look crosses the line. Others, echoing sentiments of the Daily Herald's late columnist Jack Mabley, say the U.S. flag should never be reduced to fashion.

A debt-free school district?

It's hard to grasp -- a school district that has paid off, well, everything. No outstanding building bonds remain in Arlington Heights Elementary District 25, and as a result the taxpayers who paid them off will get a little break next year. We know it can't last, but congratulations to District 25 and its taxpayers on a brief respite from debt.

10/11/12/13:

Joshua White of Villa Park entered the world at 10 a.m. on 11/12/13, aka Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. Parents Jennifer and Doug say it was a lucky twist of fate that led to his delivery at the numerically significant time. Joshua was due a week earlier, but, as Jennifer noted, "He was worth the wait."

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