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Editorials

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Keeping downtown green just got easier

Recycling downtown recently became much easier.

Thanks to collaboration between city officials and the Downtown Improvement District, eight new recycling receptacles now grace the downtown landscape.

Before the recycling receptacles were installed, being environmentally friendly was inconvenient.

People walking around downtown drinking a bottle of water or a can of soda had to choose between tossing their empty in a nearby trash can or taking it home for recycling.

Thanks to instruction signs on the recycling receptacles, courtesy of the city’s Solid Waste Management Department and Asher Agency, people will know what can and can’t be tossed in the containers. Empty aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic and non-contaminated paper products can be discarded in the recycling containers.

The recycling receptacles throughout downtown should reduce any excuse to litter and should help keep downtown looking sharp.

Tribe eyeing casino site

Hoosier casinos now face another threat of competition that would likely reduce their revenue – and this comes from within Indiana.

The Pokagon band of Potawatomi Indians is considering building a casino near South Bend, just about 40 miles southeast of its casino in New Buffalo, Mich. That casino has already siphoned money away from Indiana’s northern casinos, particularly the Blue Chip in Michigan City.

The tribe wants to buy 64 acres near the intersection of U.S. 31 and U.S. 20.

A public forum in South Bend last week included predictable debate between opponents who don’t want a casino and supporters who touted the economic development benefits. The tribe has asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs to approve “land trust” status for the property, which would give the Pokagon Potawatomis much power to determine how it is used.

For its part, representatives of the Pokagon band said their priority is a health clinic, housing and a tribal center, not a casino.

An official disparity in pay

Here’s a priorities check for anyone who might have been angered by the Chicago Public Schools’ teachers strike and thrilled by the NFL’s sudden settlement with its referees’ union:

The median salary for Chicago teachers for the 2010-11 school year, the most recent year for which data are available, was $67,974, with teachers required to submit 2 percent of their pay to pensions. The agreement worked out between the district and union last week sets the school year at 175 full days and six half-days of instruction.

With the referees’ deal, compensation for NFL officials will increase from an average of $149,000 a year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013, rising to $205,000 by 2019. This is a part-time job, of course – for up to six months of work each year.

Shoulder-to-shoulder unity

City police have rightly increased patrols on the Rivergreenway following the late-morning attack on a jogger along the Rivergreenway last weekend. Police should consider conducting some of those patrols on bicycles along the trail to increase their visibility and allow them to cover wider areas.

An unidentified passing motorist warrants the community’s praise for noticing the attack, intervening and forcing the attacker to release his female victim and flee.

So does Melissa Renner, a frequent user of the trails who is organizing Strength Against Violence at 11 a.m. Oct. 13 off the Rivergreenway trail at the Lower Huntington Road bridge, where the assault took place.

“I want people to understand the trails are a very safe place,” she said. “This isn’t a trail issue, it’s a violence issue.”

Renner and other trail users will wear white, to symbolize non-violence, and line the trail shoulder to shoulder. She emphasizes the trail will not be blocked.

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