No one likes to pick their way through a trash-strewn sidewalk, but it’s not everyone who takes the time to pick up a little litter on their way. Keeping our community and the environment at-large clean are responsibilities we can all share.

Sometimes, though, we need a little encouragement to do our part. On Monday, the village council expressed support for a new provision that would make business owners responsible for tidying up outside their shops. If you work in Forest Park, soda cans, candy wrappers, cigarette butts and other debris are likely to fall under your job description – and soon. We would agree with the mayor that everyone’s sense of civic responsibility should largely take care of loose litter; it’s just a shame local government has to enforce it.

Entrepreneurs not on Madison Street – that is, those on Roosevelt Road – are largely responsible for spurring the mayor to bring this new ordinance to the council. It seems there are a few bad apples in the bunch who can’t be bothered to do a little sweeping. Unfortunately, this has become a missed opportunity for businesses along Roosevelt to work together.

In the last six months, much has been said about duplicating the sense of community that exists on Madison Street in other commercial sectors, chiefly, on Roosevelt Road. That the council is willing to step in and assist is fine, but the magic of Madison Street is not found in any of the village ordinances.

$52,170 and counting

As District 209 continues to spend tax dollars defending school board President Chris Welch against a defamation suit the public has no business paying for, we’ll be tracking how many students could have been educated with that money.

Classroom costs for 6.6 kids (at $7,900 per student)
Operating costs for 3.1 kids (at $16,346 per student)
One education for 2.1 kids (at $24,246 per student)

Using information from the state’s 2007 annual report card, Welch’s $52,170 in legal bills could have covered classroom costs for more than six kids, operating costs for more than three kids and the entire school year for more than two kids.

If you’ve got questions or comments about how your money is being spent, call Superintendent Nettie Collins-Hart at 708-338-5912 or Chris Welch at his Chicago law office at 312-641-1555.