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Our View: Making sure Memorial Day has meaning

Published: Saturday, May 24, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down:

Thumbs up: To all of the veterans and volunteers who decorate graves, take care of flags, stage parades and coordinate ceremonies across McHenry County to make sure residents understand that Memorial Day weekend is about much more than kicking off summer, grilling and getting a three-day weekend. Without these efforts, many might forget the ultimate sacrifice so many have made for this great nation.

Thumbs down: To Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for bringing back his idea to impose a higher tax on millionaires and small businesses. Madigan didn’t have the votes when he first pitched this bad idea as a constitutional amendment earlier this legislative session, so he pulled it. Now it’s being pitched as a nonbinding referendum. As we’ve said before, if approved, this proposed tax hike is a jobs killer because it would directly affect the small-business owners who create the jobs in the first place. Same old, same old out of Springfield.

Thumbs up: To Crystal Lake Central wrestling coach Justen Lehr, who is selling raffle tickets for the opportunity to cut his hair any way the winner wants May 29 to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Lehr’s father, Randy, is in remission from esophageal cancer.

Thumbs down: To McHenry County College’s Board of Trustees. During Thursday’s vote, the trustees split, 3-3, with likely supporter Mary Miller absent, on accepting President Vicky Smith’s contract extension. There were no changes to the contract offer to Smith before the vote. She already accepted the extension. Now the board must hold a special meeting Wednesday to discuss and act on a contract already agreed upon. The board has better things to do than create another sideshow over Smith’s contract.

Thumbs up: To U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, who refused to postpone state Rep. Derrick Smith’s bribery trial so he could finish the legislative session in Springfield. Smith, a Chicago Democrat, is charged with accepting a $7,000 bribe. He is scheduled to go to trial May 28, but the Legislature isn’t scheduled to adjourn until May 31. Coleman said Smith’s defense knew for months about the legislative session and only objected now.

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