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posted: 1/26/2014 5:00 AM

Editorial: The lengthy winter of our discontent

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  • Steve Lundy/slundy@dailyherald.comA snowplow makes its way down Garfield Avenue in Libertyville.

      Steve Lundy/slundy@dailyherald.comA snowplow makes its way down Garfield Avenue in Libertyville.

 

There are, we understand, people who cozy up to winter, who regale like children in the drifting snow, come alive at the icy bite of a freezing wind, find beauty in the stark jagged lines the tree branches trace across the graying sky, enjoy the dim of the dark and early nights. They are, we believe, carefree people who dress in sweaters and savor hot chocolate and marvel endlessly among themselves at the simple poetic virtue of a single snowflake, how each -- can you imagine? -- is different from any other.

Yes, we understand there are people like that in this frigid world. Some of them, we're told, even live in the frigid suburbs. But rest assured, this month, none of them sits on our Editorial Board.

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Don't get us wrong. We do not have any philosophical problem with winter. A little white Christmas is nice. And we enjoy the change of seasons as much as the next fellow.

Well, for a day or two, or maybe even for a week. Yes, we're hardy Midwesterners to be sure.

However, there are limits.

We don't know whether to blame this tiresome winter on Springfield, an easy target to blame for most of the suburbs' problems, or on Obamacare, which seems to get the blame for everything else.

But our patience has grown thin. It's time that the wintry weather stop. Unfortunately, despite our editorial position on the matter, that's not going to happen anytime soon. The forecast for this week calls for more dangerous subzero weather, and the long-range forecast doesn't portend much better throughout February.

That being the case, let us all remember the safety lessons the Polar Vortex has reinforced. If you need to use a space heater, exercise proper caution, and unless it's absolutely essential don't go to sleep with it running. When you need to shovel snow, don't overdo it; take breaks and know your limitations. On snow-covered streets, set aside extra time, drive defensively and try to avoid sudden stops and turns. Check in on older friends, relatives and neighbors. Use common sense in dressing for the weather; wear scarves, caps and mittens, and make sure kids and teenagers don't slip out of the house without them,

Mainly, let's all look out for each other.

And let's give thanks too to those who are forced to work outside in this weather, the police and firefighters, the school bus drivers and crossing guards, the mail carriers and utility company workers and everyone else who works outdoors. Yes, the newspaper carriers, too.

Let's give special thanks to the street crews that plow our roads and salt our streets. This winter has provided those teams challenges beyond anything that could have been anticipated. Yet, despite winter's relentless assault on our roads, they are almost universally clear. We may be unhappy about many things this winter, but the work street crews have done isn't one of them.

Stay safe. Stay warm. And c'mon, Spring!

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