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updated: 4/11/2014 4:42 PM

The Soapbox

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Kudos to Drury and Franks::

Opposition from within Michael Madigan's own party from state Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood and state Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo apparently has been enough to do in Madigan's ill-considered "millionaires tax." We laud their courage to stand up to the speaker.

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Print it in 3-D:

Naperville's 95th Street Library has opened its Idea Lab, which offers patrons 3-D printing, among many other services. One person came in to print out a broken washing machine part that would have cost him $250 to order. Suburban library services are ever expanding -- first coffee shops, now high-tech wonders.

Diversifying the housing portfolio:

Many underused or vacant sites in some suburbs are being filled by rental developments. A developer sees demand from people not willing to commit to owning condos and wanting quick access to amenities such as in a downtown. It's smart to diversify our housing stock so we don't wind up with another mortgage-inspired recession.

A job for every need:

Meanwhile, developers of new rental communities are hiring "community life architects" to plan events and gatherings to bring residents of apartment complexes together. It's interesting what a person can do for a job these days -- and the creative titles these jobs have.

Good news for Wheaton::

Nice to see the long-vacant Jewel Food Store in downtown Wheaton replaced with something that should be a boon to the entire community. A DuPage Medical Group building consolidates services now offered at three separate buildings. "You've taken a darkened site ... and you've turned it into a vibrant part of our downtown," Mayor Mike Gresk said.

But not so good for Rolling Meadows:

First Walmart left Rolling Meadows; now the retailer has dropped plans to put one of its new Neighborhood Markets in the vacant bowling alley on Kirchoff. We hope the city, which didn't think the bowling alley was the right fit for the grocery, will find a suitable tenant soon.

Bumping into spring:

It seems (fingers crossed) that the toughest winter in memory is behind us. But is it really? Maybe not when you consider the terrible condition our roadways large and small are in as you bump along this spring. Might be the worst pothole situation in a long time.

And solving the problem:

Indeed, there has been precious little time for drivers to move from sliding on ice to maneuvering around orange cones. Like dandelions in spring, new road projects are popping up each week. The idea that there are two seasons in the Chicago area -- winter and road construction -- rings especially true this year.

Money well scent, er, spent:

Lake County forest preserves will invest more than $800,000 in improvements that include 10 "odor-friendly" toilet buildings. That's about $80,000 per facility, but visitors may find it worth the cost once they remember the foul-smelling latrines often found in preserves.

Dixon a tough act to follow::

The impact of Bill Dixon on Arlington Heights during his 21 years as village manager has been immeasurable, as anyone who has witnessed the village's progress can attest. A true professional, Dixon will be missed when he retires in June.

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