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posted: 3/8/2014 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

When it's too much:

The tragic story of animals found dead and neglected on a pair of farms in western Kane County this week reminds us that there are places to turn when you can no longer care for your animals. Even if they're horses. The Hooved Animal Society in Woodstock is one of them.

The sound of splashing water?

Buffalo Grove High School is getting a beautiful new pool and diving area to replace its 30-year-old facility. The $11 million upgrade will undoubtedly ratchet up the pool envy among the three District 214 sites that have never had pools. Now, it will be interesting to see the school board's debate on how to allocate "excess" reserve funds?

Need for civility, Part 1:

This week's call by Wauconda Village Trustee John Barbini for rules to govern public comment was sparked by an audience member's outburst at a recent meeting. The village has not yet published commenting rules, but the situation underscores another need -- for officials and audience members alike to calm down and treat each other with respect.

Need for civility, Part 2:

Which brings us to the race between state Rep. Ron Sandack and his GOP challenger in the 81st House District GOP primary, Keith Matune. It has devolved into a debate about a pair of 25-year-old arrests -- or non-arrests, depending on whose view you take. Both sides are getting dirty slinging mud about events that are more sideshow than substance.

Need for civility, Part 3:

Then, there's the GOP race for the 8th Congressional District. Here, Manju Goel resents being linked to a super PAC's deceptive, dirty-trick online ads hitting her opponent, Larry Kaifesh. The county party chair says, rightly, that this is what gives politics a bad name. It's good Goel says she's not associated with the ads, but why can't she at least urge their removal?

The 'War' has been won:

Congrats to Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti and Tim "Gravy" Brown, winners of last week's "Food Court Wars" on the Food Network. They get a one-year lease rent free and will open their Taco in a Bag restaurant March 14 at Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee. "I am super excited and super, super scared," said Brown, a Barrington native.

And the app's coming soon:

Elgin has been slowly rolling out its 311 call system, which allows residents to ask questions about city services, kind of like one-stop shopping for municipal information. They can even report potholes. Chicago's been doing this for several years; maybe it's time for other towns to start their own.

Speaking of call centers:

The Illinois Poison Center will close in June without more funding. Democratic state Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park is pushing to direct a portion of a cellphone fee used for 911 services to pay for the Chicago-based call center, which handles 82,000 cases a year. It's an interesting idea that merits close study.

Now's the time:

March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois. It's hard to imagine a tornado when you're shoveling another 3 inches of snow off your driveway, but we certainly (sigh) should prepare for flooding.

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