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posted: 8/10/2014 1:00 AM

Town shuts down; school boss quits; horse racing ban

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Some opinions require lots of words and elaboration. This is Sunday Soapbox, not-so-briefly-stated commentary from one Daily Herald editor, shamelessly stolen from the Saturday feature with almost the same name.

Some week:

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It was quite the week for staff writer Madhu Krishnamurthy.

She covers the second-largest school district in the state (Elgin Area School District U-46), Elgin Community College, education issues in general, Lake in the Hills, Huntley and anything else we throw her way.

Such as in Friday's paper. She penned the story about tiny Oakwood Hills, where a government shutdown -- threatened ad nauseam at the federal level -- actually came to pass. Madhu chronicled residents' fears about the damage that could be wrought by a proposed $500 million, 430-megawatt power plant, got the village administration view of the threats that prompted the unprecedented closing of village hall all week, and put together a thorough story about this community of 2,000 in turmoil. She put in a long day on the story, but extended it by discussing her piece on our weekly spot at 9:20 p.m. Thursday on WBBM Newsradio 780.

Madhu also found time during the week to do: an exclusive Q&A with just-resigned U-46 Superintendent Jose Torres; an advance story on ECC giving away 3,000 backpacks filled with food and supplies to students in need; a piece on the McHenry County Board delaying a vote on restricting the unofficial horse racing that goes on there; a story in today's editions about teachers imploring U-46 not to end an in-the-classroom breakfast program. In Monday's paper, you'll read her profile for our continuing series on our top teachers. Madhu got up at 3 a.m. Friday to polish that one off.

Heroin epidemic:

I'd be hard pressed to find a story that has grown in stature quite as much as what the heroin epidemic. It was hammered home again this past week by the death of 20-year-old Nick Ryan, who overdosed on the same drug that consumed his father for years. But Nick's dad, Tim Ryan, now a staunch advocate in the war against heroin, soldiered on just a few days later, hosting a session for about 20 parents on how to administer medicine that can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose. We have written numerous stories on the growing incidence of heroin deaths, and we are working on more to illustrate the efforts many are putting in the stem this disturbing tide.

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Bob Woodward must have been really busy marking the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon's resignation. It was the first time anyone around here could recall that the Wheaton native who helped break the Watergate scandal, didn't have time to talk to the Daily Herald. I say that with absolutely no malice. In a stunning development, it's always when something big occurs, like a presidential resignation anniversary, that we decide to ring him up. In the past he's always found time for the local newspaper. Maybe on that 50th anniversary ...

jdavis@dailyherald.com

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