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updated: 12/2/2017 10:14 AM

The Soapbox: A helpline in Naperville, a canine cop in Rolling Meadows, paying it forward in Waukegan and more.

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Help is a text away

Thanks to the Naperville Police Department and the Crisis Text Line for giving students in need a new way to get help with problems ranging from anxiety to drug abuse to bullying. They can text "reach" to 741741 to get a quick response from a trained volunteer. It's a great resource for teens who might never make a face-to-face request for assistance.

McGruff, meet Scar

It wasn't the usual swearing-in ceremony at a Rolling Meadows City Council meeting. And the subject, a 2½-year-old Belgian Malinois/German shepherd, probably didn't understand a word of his oath. But the RMPD's new police dog Scar became a full-fledged cop this week. The chief says Scar will improve crime-fighting and help build community relations.

Make yourself heard

Hey, Arlington Heights, here's your chance to influence a $15 million dollar upgrade at the Olympic Indoor Swim Center. The park district is hosting open houses Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday for the public to view plans including a high school-sized gymnasium, indoor walking track, therapy pool and more. Let officials hear your ideas.

Elmhurst students support troops ...

Good things happen every day in our schools. A recent project at Elmhurst's Jackson Elementary -- spearheaded by Principal Christine Trendel and the staff -- is a nice example. Students wrote more than 500 personalized cards and letters as part of a radio station promotion to bolster the morale of our troops serving overseas this holiday season.

... and provide message of kindness

Trendel says the letter-writing campaign is part of a larger effort at Jackson to encourage students to be themselves, try something new and choose kindness. What a cool message for kids. What a great message for us all.

Random act of kindness

People enjoying a Thanksgiving Day meal at Gojo's Cafe and Pancake House in Waukegan were happily surprised to receive a holiday treat. A man, who was there with his daughter, picked up the tab for fellow diners. The anonymous customer spent $180, plus 20 percent in tips. The cafe owner said some diners opted to pay it forward for others.

Exploring the options

For nearly as long as there has been talk of a Route 53 extension into Lake County, there have been opponents of such a plan. Most have offered little in the way of alternatives. So, the Midwest Sustainability Group at least deserves praise for its new campaign that aims not just to prevent the extension but to offer other ideas for alleviating gridlock.

Hail to the champions

Last weekend provided high school football fans with one of the best state championship weekends in recent memory. And the suburbs came away with three state champions. IC Catholic Prep won its second state title in Class 3A. Batavia was Class 7A champ, and Prairie Ridge won its second-straight Class 6A crown. Congrats to all.

Congrats, but you didn't do it alone

A hearty congratulation to the newest members of the Daily Herald's All-Area Football Teams for DuPage County, Northwest suburbs, Fox Valley, and Lake County regions. And when you accept those well-deserved accolades, don't forget all the help you got from your teammates, coaches and family, as well as the support from your school.

Thankful consolation

Television fans learned this week that we'll be losing two local icons -- WGN-TV's Mark Suppelsa and WBBM-TV's meteorologist Steve Baskerville. We'll miss you both, but thank you for providing a timely reminder that prominent media personalities can depart with class and honor -- and without the stain of scandal. Best wishes to them both.

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