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TALKING POINTS: Honor the otter?

Apparently the idea of the river otter taking the place of Chief Illiniwek as the mascot of the University of Illinois has gotten some attention over the winter.

Why not the otter? After all, Minnesota has the Gopher, Michigan with its Wolverine and Wisconsin has its Badger.

Most of the animal names, crops and even flowers have already been adopted by other schools.

While some folks say they were offended by the Chief Illiniwek mascot it seems rather strange that Illinois’ flagship university is still without a “proper” mascot.


The growing crowd of presidential wannabes might just push the National Democratic Party into oblivion.

While that’s something lots of die-hard republicans would celebrate, they might want to be just a little concerned about their own party.

Some of the democrats running might be too old, others are downright boring or way too far outside the mainstream. The forums or debates are certain to put many watchers to sleep, tuning to other entertainment or sports channels or even picking up a good book.

The year 2020 just might have the potential of hastening the end of the two current archaic political parties and begin a new era of common sense.

There, I feel better already.


Ottawa’s WCMY radio celebrated 67 years on the air last week.

That’s a lot of hours devoted to providing what’s important to Starved Rock Country listeners by a great group of broadcasters.

I’m proud to have been a part of a great team for over 30 years before retiring.

Keep up the good work at 1430 AM.

The community is fortunate to be served by great local media with WCMY and The Times.


What a great season for high school basketball in Starved Rock Country.

Several schools had 20-plus win seasons, earned conference titles, won playoff tourneys and a number of area high school players took top honors as all-staters and earned all-conference recognition.

To the guys and gals who play the game every season and your coaches thanks for the hard work.

Whether you go on to the hardwood at a higher level, to the college classroom, the military or the workforce here’s hoping you learned teamwork, leadership, made life-long friends and had some fun, too.

We’ll see you on the ball fields, tracks and courts … when it warms up.

JIM FRENCH, of Ottawa, is retired after 43 years in radio broadcasting, including 33 in Ottawa. You can reach him through The Times by emailing

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