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Local Columnists

TALKING POINTS: IDOT wants your input on rest stops


The Illinois Department of Transportation is asking for input on the best use of its roadway rest areas.
The state operates 30 rest areas and 11 welcome centers.
Perhaps these convenient pit stops could generate a little money for the state. Pay potties, maybe a reasonable parking fee, coin-operated dispensers for doggy doo bags, and why not lease the larger buildings to fast food vendors or sell the naming rights to big advertisers?
Give IDOT credit, currently none of the state’s welcome centers or rest areas appear to be named for current Illinois politicians. How did that happen?
The 20-question survey is available at

Veterans Day approaches
There’ll be plenty of observances and celebrations for Starved Rock Country veterans as Veterans Day approaches.
In Ottawa, the ninth annual 24-hour Veterans Honor Guard Vigil will be held overnight at the Washington Square War Memorial beginning with opening ceremonies on Friday, Nov. 3, at 4:45 p.m., followed by 15-minute honor guard shifts or local veterans who sign up. The vigil will end with a closing ceremony on Saturday evening at 5 p.m.  A Veterans Day ceremony is also scheduled for Nov. 11 beginning at 10:15 a.m. in Washington Square.
Veterans’ organizations will also host the “Tunes of Glory” bagpipers for music, coffee and snacks Saturday afternoon.
A big celebration is also scheduled again this year in Utica on Sunday, Nov. 5. Many other communities will also have Veterans Day observances.
Check the paper for times, places and dates.

It could be worse
It might be time for a little reflection as the disaster season winds down for the most part.
Here in Starved Rock Country we have our share of tornadoes, flooding, and other natural disasters. A few earth tremblers have also given us a tiny taste of what a major earthquake might be like, although chances aren’t real high locally. 
Meanwhile be happy. Get out and enjoy what fall foliage there is this year, and stay on the trails.
Winter? Bring it on.

And in sports
Good luck and congratulations to Starved Rock Country prep football teams headed into the annual playoffs.
To those who ended the fall season last weekend: Thanks for wearing your school colors. Hope you had some fun.
More important than the won-loss record: Here is hoping you made new life-long friends, and learned something about teamwork and yourself.
  • JIM FRENCH, of Ottawa, is retired after 43 years in radio broadcasting, including 33 in Ottawa. You may reach Jim through The Times by emailing

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