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posted: 12/8/2012 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Give it your all:

Hersey High School senior Alex Baratta of Arlington Heights may be intimidating with his perfect GPA, his multisport prowess and his big, giving heart, but Thursday's Suburban Standout has a message that applies to mere mortals: "There's no point in not giving something your all."

An honor well deserved:

Clayton Muhammad of Aurora is the 2012 Roscoe Ebey Award recipient, the equivalent of Kane County's citizen of the year. It's an honor in memory of a local veteran who was killed in his home in 2007. Congrats to Muhammad, who founded "Boys II Men," an organization that helps at-risk youths.

The need for more giving:

Kudos also to Stevenson High School students, the folks at Hewitt Associates in Lincolnshire and St. Gilbert Catholic Church in Grayslake, who contributed toys and gifts for 235 families in need. It's one of many shows of generosity throughout the suburbs. But Catholic Charities says it has 800 more people on its list. Call (847) 782-4210 to help.

E-mags for free:

You know about e-books, but many suburban libraries are now offering a digital magazine service. It's so popular after just two weeks at the Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire that officials are expanding the titles. Check out your own library and take advantage of this technology.

High-tech 911:

Elgin will be spending $12 million to upgrade its police and fire radio system, which will be able to accept text messages, videos and photos sent via cellphone. In St. Charles, a person can upload evidence, like photos, as they report a crime on the village website. Other governments have or are pursuing similar options. Cool!

Let's go beyond stickers:

Lombard's budget calls for an end to its vehicle stickers. Good idea. Don't we have better ways to be registered for things than with stickers? We can put chips in our pets to find them, but governments are still putting stickers on our windshields and license plates. How about QR codes on plates that cops can scan to ensure we're all up to date?

Dick Tracy or George Pradel?

Naperville programmed QR codes into 40 downtown art projects to see which ones resonate. The statue of Dick Tracy (an homage to resident Dick Locher, who did the comic strip for years) is the most popular with 39 downloads. Mayor George Pradel's "Officer Friendly" exhibit has yet to crack the top 10. Hey, a little respect for America's sexiest mayor.

Lesson in longevity:

Celebrating 105 years of life this month, Lois Mary Arbanas of Arlington Heights continues to exercise each day and has a piece of candy -- only one -- after lunch. If only we all could be so disciplined and restrained.

Keep the Christmas spirit:

Santa Claus banned from libraries, Nativity scenes causing controversy, people hesitant to say "Merry Christmas" when out and about. Does this all have to be so contentious? Is it really so difficult to figure out what "holiday spirit" really means? Even for a few short weeks a year?

To Sen. Mark Kirk:

We welcome your expected return to Washington on Jan. 3. Your courage and perseverance have been remarkable.

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