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Local Columnists

TALKING POINTS: Local speedways

This summer’s construction season has seen many improvements to our local highways and byways making for a smoother, faster ride.

And faster ride it is, along Illinois Route 23 between Streator and Ottawa and on U.S. Route 6 between Ottawa and Illinois 178. More than a few folks have been observed driving “just a little” over the posted speed limits.

According to casual observations the resurfacing of Route 23 through much of Ottawa has also seen in-town traffic speed up, probably a little over or sometimes more than a little over the speed limit depending on traffic. Some have been known to swerve across two lanes of law-abiding traffic while accelerating to the light about to stop them on red or the construction arrow directing everyone into other lanes, especially in downtown Ottawa.

Come on folks, the speed limits are posted.

Slow down doggone it.

Rewatering the canal

It’s good to see the Illinois and Michigan Canal project in Ottawa underway again and hopefully the powers that be will soon decide on a source for the water itself.

Maybe by next summer season a kayak or two, maybe a couple of canoes will lazily glide through the re-watered section of the canal in Ottawa.

Hopefully the mosquitoes will be kept under control and unsupervised children and pets will be prevented from swimming or wading in it.

The polls

Cable TV news channels’ talking heads are all atwitter over the latest polls in the presidential wannabe sweepstakes.

Although most polls are simply testing the water to see which way voters are leaning months out from the first caucuses and primaries it’s doubtful the actual election results can be predicted from them.

The daily poll coverage still seems just a bit premature, considering the obligation to cover the current occupant of the White House, the rest of the government and the hurricane season.

And in sports

It’s another year in the rebuilding process for the Chicago White Sox and their loyal and sometimes grumpy, impatient fans. There’s hope, but next year is expected to see a whole lot more improvement.

Meanwhile the Chicago Cubs still have a chance for some playoff fun, but don’t bet the house on a World Series appearance. Next year?

Fall sports are underway at all levels from the school yards and stadiums to the pros.

It must mean we’re closer to hoops.

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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