The Soapbox: A gift of life in Palatine, best wishes in McHenry, a dedication in Hoffman Estates and more.

Gift of life

As you scramble through holiday shopping, consider one more gift - one that could save a life. Fremd High School in Palatine will host a bone marrow drive 5-8 p.m. Thursday for Aaron Lee, an alum battling Stage IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma. There's no blood involved in the test, just a swab. Who knows? You could be a match for Lee or someone else.

Good luck to Jack Franks

Jack Franks was sworn in Monday after becoming the first popularly elected McHenry County Board chairman. The former legislator said he wants a leaner board, lower property taxes and bipartisanship among the two dozen members, all but one of whom are Republican. He said he wants to "put the good of the people first." We can get behind that.

Wet Christmas

Palatine High School isn't far from getting its swimming pool back, as a yearlong renovation nears completion. The Pirates hope to have their tank back in working order for the upcoming holiday break. Almost there!

Holiday memories

Our Food section's holiday cookies stories brought back wonderful memories - a toasty kitchen, the kitchen table assembly line, the delicious aromas and that first warm taste of deliciousness. They also remind us it's time to get baking.

Ben Carson's cancellation

Yes, a cabinet post can be all-consuming. But it's too bad Trump cabinet nominee Ben Carson won't be able to find the time to keynote the Judson University World Leaders Forum in Elgin this April.

Please repeat

The food was good, the company great, but the conversation ... Well, we did a lot of smiling and nodding. Is it age or is it getting harder to hear at restaurants? How about a decor that looks nice and absorbs ambient sound?

Be careful

Friday's ceremony dedicating the Route 59 tollway overpass in Hoffman Estates to Chong Lim, a state trooper killed more than 20 years ago on the expressway near there by a drunken driver, was another reminder of the dangerous work officers do. Don't drink and drive. Drive defensively. And be on the lookout for road workers and troopers.

More is less

The pitch was interesting at Randhurst AMC Theatres. Let us increase the size of alcoholic drinks maybe more patrons will buy them - but drink less. So far, the alcohol experiment is working at theaters. Maybe this one will, too, but as board members said, it bears watching.

Keep believing

Our "Believe Project" continues to brighten the holidays. If you know someone deserving a $100 boost, tell us their story at

Remembering Vern Hagenbring

With the passing of Vern Hagenbring at age 99 last week, we lost a little of the early suburbs. His Hagenbring's general store was a 75-year icon in downtown Arlington Heights until it made way in 1998 for the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. It was also a part of who we are.

Remembering Ronald Allen

Ronald Allen wanted to make the world a better place. The Naperville man didn't just talk about that, he worked at it. Allen, 73, was shot and killed while driving home from visiting friends in Chicago, but no bullet can destroy his legacy as a special man who cared about bringing people closer together.

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