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July 2009 Archives

On Tuesday, Brian Dugan pleaded guilty to the murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville in 1983. Dugan would have pleaded guilty years ago except that he wanted to avoid the death penalty, which State's Attorney Joe Birkett insisted on seeking. With this guilty plea, Dugan requested a jury to determine if he should face the death penalty or life in prison, which he is already serving for two other murders.

A life sentence on top of existing life sentences wouldn't really add punishment for Dugan, but Illinois has suspended the death penalty and may never reinstate it. So was it worth it for Birkett to hold out this long seeking a punishment that may never be administered? Do you think Dugan deserves a death sentence?

Sleep is a precious commodity, one that for many people is hard to come by.

Millions of Americans take sleeping pills and other drugs on a nightly basis in a hope of getting their rest. Many spend thousands on doctor visits and other therapies. And there are few things more certain to get you on someone's bad side than when you disturb their dreams with an early phone call or knock on the door.

That's why I'm so upset and mystified at the behavior of a group of people who, on each of the last two Saturdays, have driven through my neighborhood between 6:30 and 7 a.m. all honking their horns furiously, with no regard to the fact that the vast majority of their fellow Napervillians were trying to get some rest.

And this isn't a group of teenagers out acting like idiots; that would be frustrating, but at least I could chalk it up to stupid kids who don't know any better. No, I have been informed this is a local swim team heading to a competition. So this group of parents and their kids apparently decided that since they are up early no one else deserves to sleep either.

What's sad about this is under other circumstances, the success of the swim team would be something for the neighborhood to rally around and all be happy about. But because they have been so obnoxious, this is one resident at least who hopes they finish dead last in every contest as long as they keep up this horn-blowing routine.

How can so many adults be so ignorant about what they are doing? I'm sure someone came up with this brilliant idea as a way to pump up the kids and the residents, and that would be fine if they were heading out in the afternoon. But they're not doing it in the afternoon; they're doing it in the early morning.

Many people like myself work second shift, and for me, 6:30 a.m. is literally the middle of the night. I'm guessing if I came through honking at 11 p.m. on my way home from work, I wouldn't make too many friends and would probably get the cops called on me.

This is just the latest example of the self-centered nature of much of our society. We have abortion protesters camped out at major intersections with no warning to the community, exposing little children to grotesque images of aborted fetuses and alienating people who would otherwise support them with their confrontational tactics.

When I go to the post office, there's always the person who has 73 packages, or the one who gets up to the clerk with their box still unsealed and unaddressed. At the grocery store, there's the person with 25 items going in the 10 or fewer lane. Recently there was a 20-something man standing on the sidewalk beneath my bedroom window carrying on a shouted conversation at 2:30 a.m. with another resident a few buildings down, totally oblivious to the situation.

What type of behavior do you see in your life that demonstrates a blatant disregard for others? Is it the neighbor who has to mow his lawn at 7:30 every Saturday morning, or the person who makes you miss the stoplight by sitting there for 10 seconds after it turns green?

By Chris Magee
Night editor

I saw the press release earlier in the week that there was an abortion protest planned for Naperville, but other than realizing we'd be doing a story on it, I didn't think much of it.

That is, until Saturday when I was driving down Ogden to Jewel to pick up some milk. Traffic was heavy and as usual backed up at the lights, so there was a lot of time to look around. On the side of the road next to Naperville North, I notice a sign warning of graphic abortion images ahead.

Now, I suppose if you have young kids in the car that sign might give you time to tell them to avert their eyes, but it's not like you can take another route, because Ogden is the main road through the north side of town, and since my destination was at the intersection of Ogden and Washington - where the protest was centered - there would be no avoiding it.

The kids are why this protest bothers me. I am an adult and I can handle reality. Those protesters were set up in front of the grocery store, a place families are likely to be taking their young kids. Thekids are going to see that and they won't know what it is or why it's there and then the parents are stuck having to deal with a very uncomfortable situation they weren't prepared for. And the kids will never understand a complicated issue like this anyway.

And I'm pro-life, so if I don't approve I can only imagine how the pro-choice people feel about this. Regular readers of this blog will have learned how sometimes the message can get lost in the tactics of the messenger. Someone has a decent point, but their tactics and the way they go about the debate turns people off.

That's what happens with a protest like this. Instead of a conversation about abortion, the conversation is going to be about "you're scaring my kids." That's not helping the cause these protesters represent.

It was revealed at Monday's District 204 school board meeting that the administration has had discussions about eliminating class rank.

Opponents of the ranking system say that among the drawbacks, rank can be misleading because in a highly competitive school district such as D204, those students lower down on the ranking list still have very good grades. In District 203, which eliminated ranks in 2006, administrators found that students were basing their choice of classes on how they would affect their rank, steering away from non-honors classes like music and technology.

Contrary to fears, D203 found that students signed up for more honors classes after the ranks were eliminated.

Some students the Sun talked to, however, were protective of their ranking, seeing it as a tangible goal and a way of comparing themselves to their peers. Others said a high ranking was a reward for hard work.

About 45 percent of high schools in the country have eliminated the rankings. Is it time for D204 to follow that course?

Both Joliet and Aurora already have theaters on the scale proposed by the Omnia group for the area near the downtown Naperville train station. A spokesman for the Joliet's Rialto said another theater would seriously affect his venue's revenue base. But officials with Aurora's Paramount say they think there's room for more arts options in an area that houses more than 300,000 people. However, they also say working together to create "synergy" between the two would be most important to make sure both would be profitable.

What do you think? Is Naperville's art community alive and well? With the recently constructed Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center at North Central College, would a 950-seat venue be overkill? Would you see second-run Broadway shows in downtown Naperville at a venue here? How about the promise that the theater would be self-sustaining? How would owners be able to generate enough revenue to keep it from becoming a drain on the local economy?

What's on your mind? Talk about it.

Sexting, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is sending sexual pictures to someone else with a cell phone.

Increasingly popular among teenagers, the trend has led to some teens being charged with child pornography and left them facing serious jail time and a lifetime of registering as a sex offender. Many times the intentions are (relatively) innocent - the teens just think of it as flirting - but after a relationship goes sour, the photos can end up being distributed throughout a school.

Naperville state Rep. Darlene Senger is sponsoring a bill that will make it illegal for a minor under the age of 17 to knowingly disseminate any material that depicts nudity or other sexual conduct.

Those caught would meet with a juvenile officer and receive consequences such as community service, writing term papers, apology letters, curfew regulations and allowing parents to install software on their cell phones to closely monitor their child.

Under current law, sending a naked or lewd display of genitalia of a minor is a felony, as is requesting that someone else take, receive or distribute such an image.

Senger's bill would seek to step back from the severe penalties currently permitted by law and take more of an educational approach, at least for first-time offenders.

Do you think sexting should be a crime? And if so, what is the appropriate level of punishment?

Since purchasing the Chicago Tribune in 2007, owner Sam Zell has been looking to sell the Chicago Cubs. A sale was expected in 2008, then before the start of the 2009 season. Now it's July, the season is halfway over, and the sale is far from complete. In recent weeks it looked as if the Ricketts group, who had been selected to purchase the team, would not be able to buy it after all and the process would have to start over again from scratch.

On Monday Tribune Company completed a written agreement with the Ricketts family, committing to a sale. There are still details to work out, but it appears that the sale will finally be completed soon.

Ricketts, of Wilmette, represents a return to family ownership for the team, which was purchased by the Tribune Company in 1982. Over the years, Tribune was often accused of caring more about profit than the team on the field, and many believed there was a conflict of interest with a newspaper supposed to be offering unbiased coverage of sports owning one of Chicago's major sports franchises.

Do you think this is a good move for Chicago and the team? Is it good to remove the potential conflicts of interest and take this private? Or will a family find itself unable to cope with the steadily rising salaries and expenses that go with modern major league baseball teams? Do you think this will bring other changes to the organization?

The first day of Naperville's annual Ribfest came with a few changes to help manage the crowds. Electric scanners and barcoded tickets, and bike racks were a few of the changes to help control the hoards of people who will make their way to Knoch Park this holiday weekend.

In years past, complaints about overflowing crowds, closed gates and too many people for local residents to catch the fireworks have plagued the Fourth of July weekend festival. Organizers hope to alleviate some of those problems.

We're curious to know if these measures are making a difference this year. How was crowd control? Did the new ticketing system make a difference. Then, of course, we'd also like to hear your opinions about the ribs and other food, the rides, the musical acts, the spectators and whatever else you'd like to tell us about this year's fest -- good and bad.

And remember: Have fun!

Naperville Potluck

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2009 is the previous archive.

August 2009 is the next archive.

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