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posted: 3/29/2014 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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At least one sign of spring:

It would be nice to feel warmly about Monday's opening of the Cubs and White Sox seasons, but it has been difficult to think warmly about anything for far too long now. Let's all hope baseball brings sunshine and seasonal temperatures and keeps the snow at bay.

Debt forgiven:

DuPage County is forgiving about $60,000 in overdue rent for a nonprofit school that helps young people with severe behavioral and learning disorders. The reason for Joseph Academy's debt: the state's inability to reimburse local school districts. The situation is another sad example of fallout from the state's financial morass.

An important mission:

So DuPage is extending its mercy on rent payments through September for the academy, which occupies the county's former Juvenile Detention Facility. "I think that because of the compelling merit of the (academy's) mission ... this is a reasonable step to take," county board Chairman Dan Cronin said.

Paying attention in class:

It shouldn't be surprising that the guys at the forefront of the effort to unionize college football players are from Northwestern University. They need to worry about protecting those big brains of theirs.

Restoring the trust:

Gov. Pat Quinn, who met with our Editorial Board this week, says he inherited a difficult situation. Yes, and it's tough when there's so little trust in government to begin with. In the coming months, he and the General Assembly have a lot of mending to do in the credibility department.

Advice from one who knows:

One year ago, Sasha Stefanov, a nurse who helps others diagnosed with colon cancer, began her own fight with the disease. Now the Buffalo Grove mother is working during Colon Cancer Awareness Month to increase awareness about a cancer expected to kill 50,310 people this year. Stefanov is only 39. Turning 50 this year? Get the test.

More accountability:

Kudos to Elk Grove Village officials for toughening their oversight of firms granted Cook County Class 6b tax breaks to make sure promised improvements really are completed. It's a good omen about accountability as the village launches a huge tax increment financing district to upgrade its industrial area.

The silver lining:

If a CTA train had been destined to crash, thank goodness it didn't happen three or four hours later instead of when that Blue Line train did this week. The train and platform would have been filled with passengers. It's hard to fathom how many people would have been hurt or killed.

Another silver lining:

Despite a winter that has produced nearly 80 inches of snow, Lake County emergency management officials say there's no immediate threat of flooding. They credit "near-perfect" snow melt conditions. Experts still see an above-normal probability of significant flooding this spring, but so far, so good. We're due for some weather good luck.

A dedicated craftsman:

Our staff and the Chicago sports community are deeply saddened by the death of Daily Herald Blackhawks writer Tim Sassone this week, but we also celebrate a life that touched many others. He was talented, kind and a true professional. Rest in peace, Tim.

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