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posted: 2/1/2014 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Not quite the same venue:

Look at video from Gov. Pat Quinn's State of the State speech and you'll see different levels of attention among the lawmakers sitting in the Capitol. Some were even slumped, looking at their phones. At President Obama's State of the Union address, lawmakers may not have always clapped, but they were largely sitting at attention.

Cooling it:

Maybe the schools should have been air-conditioned in the first place, but at this point Indian Prairie Unit District 204 appears inclined to let the voters decide if it's worth the estimated $13.6 million cost to install classroom-only cooling at 20 schools. The plan could add $11 to $40 to the annual tax bill of an owner of a $300,000 home.

More hats to tip:

While they are not volunteers, this winter has also been brutal on mail carriers, pizza delivery drivers, newspaper carriers and many others who have to brave the conditions to deliver the services we seek. If not a tip, they deserve our gratitude and thanks.

And you can help:

When the shovels come out again this weekend, avoid piling snow from the driveway near any fire hydrants. In fact, clear the area around them. It could be a lifesaver in an emergency.

A matter of perspective:

One good thing about the temperatures dropping to as low as 14 below zero is that 20 degrees above zero actually feels kind of warm now. Imagine when we hit 40 above again.

Longest tenure:

Here's wishing a happy retirement to Vernon Hills Village Manager Mike Allison, who stepped down Friday after 15 years -- becoming the village's longest-serving manager. His 38 years in public service also included stops in Hanover Park and Bensenville. It's no accident that he's enjoyed a stream of accolades and testimonials in recent weeks.

They got it right:

Congrats to NBA coaches for recognizing that Joakim Noah of the Bulls deserves a roster spot for the NBA All-Star Game. He may have one of the ugliest jump shots in the league, but his hustle, rebounding, attitude and pinpoint passes are beautiful to watch.

Walter is smiling:

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which recognizes a player's community service and his playing excellence, will be presented tonight, and Payton must be smiling that Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is a finalist. Through his Cornerstone Foundation and other programs, Tillman's contributions have helped millions.

At the starting gates:

On Wednesday, the legislature passed and the governor signed a law allowing Arlington Park and other horse racetracks to operate a full season this year, and that's great. But now, the debate has to begin in earnest over whether online betting on horses should be made permanent. We have three years; let's not wait until the deadline.

Political sportsmanship:

It's often hard to gauge a politician's sincerity about being cooperative. After a discussion with our editorial board in which consensus building was among the topics, the 14th District Democratic candidates for Congress walked to their cars in a dark parking lot, stopped, and when they thought nobody was looking -- shook hands. That's nice to see.

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