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Local Columnists

TALKING POINTS: Illinois at 199 and counting


The celebration of our state’s 200th birthday began last week.
Our communities took part in hoisting the state’s official bicentennial flag.
Civilization arrived in Starved Rock Country long before statehood and our area is among the richest in the history of the state’s settlement and rise to prominence.
Yeah, there’s been political corruption, rising taxes, sagging economies and even professional and not-so-professional criminal activities along the way. The state’s people have also suffered racial and other injustices.
Illinois has had its share of heroes, bad people and sports teams that haven’t always lived up to championship standards.
And some will complain that Illinois weather is the worst in the nation no matter how many times it changes abruptly.
Illinois is still a great place because of its people. The state boasts of top-notch educational opportunities and an excellent health care system. It’s a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family.
All of that and much more outweigh the negatives by far. 

What would Mr. Lincoln think?
As Illinois celebrates its bicentennial year some might wonder what it’s more well-known historical figures might think.
Would Abraham Lincoln be impressed by the debate cities he visited or the interstate highway system, the many international, regional and even rural airports around the state and the fairly modern transit systems? Those choices sure would’ve made his forays to all those courthouses easier.
And, what would those average folks contributing to the development of Illinois over those nearly two centuries think of our great state in 2018?

A gentle seasonal reminder
Don’t forget your local mail carrier or express package and newspaper delivery persons at this time of year. A little thanks and holiday greetings are always welcome.
A warm greeting, a nice card, or in the case of the guy or gal who faithfully delivers your newspaper a nice tip will always be appreciated.
The delivery business isn’t easy work in all kinds of weather, whether it’s on foot or in a vehicle.

'Tis the season
Snow routes are posted in most communities across Starved Rock Country and in some communities, like Ottawa, there are some streets where parking is prohibited from Nov. 30 until March 1.
May your snow blower or trusty shovel be ready and your vehicle prepared.
Good luck and safe plowing to snow removal crews this season.
Let it snow.
  • 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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