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posted: 3/16/2013 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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Daily Herald Editorial Board

Park edges closer:

Forgive the blatant boosterism, but we're excited about the opening of RiverEdge Park in Aurora. With a gorgeous spot on the Fox River, its pavilion and music garden will open for the popular Blues of the Fox festival June 14-15. This week, the city closed a deal with Two Brothers Roundhouse, across the street, to be the main food vendor. We can't wait.

It's pure madness:

The Blackhawks got us through the toughest stretch of winter. Now the sports worlds collide in a frenzy with high school spring sports emerging as the Hawks and Bulls bid for the playoffs. The Cubs and White Sox start the season on April 1, and the NCAA basketball tournaments get under way next week, ending just as practice gets under way for The Masters. Enjoy, and take a deep breath.

Consolation prize:

St. Francis High School in Wheaton received a bit of a salve for its loss in the Class 3A basketball supersectional: A pope named himself after the school!

Smoke signals:

Maybe officials in Springfield and Washington, D.C., should adopt the Vatican's low-tech approach and lock themselves in room until they get votes to solve the budget crises. With every impasse, a puff of black smoke would emerge. Can you image thousands of citizens cheering when they spot the white smoke? You're right, that would be a stretch.

If everyone had this problem:

Naperville City Council had a nice problem this week: Too much income from its food and beverage tax. This fiscal year it brought in $3.3 million, $2 million more than was projected. Now $825,000 no longer has to be diverted to help balance the budget, and the city can provide more funding to cultural organizations and pension obligations. A positive sign in tough times.

Similarly in Kane County:

The Prairie Parkway project fell dormant, but the federal government already allocated $51 million to it. Now Kane County, Yorkville and Sugar Grove want it for an interchange at I-88 and Route 47 while widening a stretch of Route 47. IDOT was planning to use it south of Yorkville. It's another nice problem to have: fighting over a spare $51 million.

Again in Kane:

Kane County refinanced some of its debt to save $2.53 million in interest over the next seven years. The county surprised even itself by finding an investor willing to buy the debt for 2.1 percent interest. The county had been paying 4.3 percent. Score!

Try to remember:

This week's message on the sign of Schaumburg Church of Christ: "Life is a cup to be filled, not to be drained." But it's hard to remember that as this winter lingers. Spring is next week?

No, not again:

If you rejoiced when the Jane Addams Tollway resurfacing finally ended in 2011, you're probably cursing that it will be torn up again to add a lane between Chicago and Rockford (west of Elgin next year; east in 2015 and '16.) But you'll be smiling in 2016 when it's all over.

Long lives, legacies:

Death takes us all eventually, of course, but the legacies of dedicated village leaders endure. Two suburbs have recently lost giants: former Mayor Ted Sherwood in Des Plaines at age 91 and former Mayor Chet Rybicki in Naperville at 96. Their work will long be seen in the communities they helped build and grow.

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