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News Does Not Take Off in Summer

Fourth of July is now in the rear view mirror and summer is in full swing. It seemed not long ago that people were mystified about the cool weather and constant rain. Now we are dealing with rising temperatures and TV weather forecasters discussing heat indexes.

Many of my contacts seem to disappear in the summer. Most schools are not in the session and civic organizations are in retreat until after Labor Day.

However, I still received a couple of calls on Monday from individuals I hear from often during the fall, winter and spring. One caller was checking on a possible meeting, while the other just wanted to say hello.

It was interesting to note that both callers assumed the same thing, that news was slow and were wondering if anything is going on.

I told them that news is constant. All I have to do is look at the editorial email. News releases continue to arrive at a steady rate. I assured both callers that my days are filled.

Someone said that all news is local. I suppose that is true. Just in the last week we have heard about the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman was charged with murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. The teen was walking near some condos when the seemingly overzealous Zimmerman called into police that they he noticed a suspicious person in the area.

Zimmerman continued to follow the teen despite warnings from police. We know what happened after that. Martin was dead from a gunshot wound and Zimmerman was later accused of murder. The story continued to be reported at a fever pitch because Martin was black. Zimmerman was described as being white and Hispanic.

The six-person jury, all women with no African-Americans, ruled that Zimmerman was not guilty of the murder charges. He was not guilty of manslaughter charges, either. Since the verdict, protests have taken place across the country criticizing the decision to let Zimmerman walk free while a male black teen was shot dead.

Protests have taken place in Chicago as well. However, we have heard of no protests on the city’s Southwest Side or the southwest suburbs of Bridgeview, Burbank and Oak Lawn, all part of our coverage area.

While Zimmerman was allowed to walk, he is far from being a free man. He has had death threats. It will be hard for him to live a normal life. We were not there when this happened, and there were no real witnesses. Zimmerman is hardly a sympathetic figure. If Zimmerman is guilty of anything it is profiling.

He just assumed that the teen was up to no good. This was a tragic situation that did not have to happen. Zimmerman’s actions were the result of that, whether he is innocent of cold-blooded murder or not.

In just the past week we have also learned that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who has been avoiding stating if she is going to run for governor, decided on Monday that she will not.

She essentially said that the state would not be served well if she is governor and her father, Michael Madigan, remains as House Speaker.

Perhaps Lisa thought that her father, who is 71, would retire. But in interviews with the News-Herald over the past year, he did not indicate that at all. He once chuckled at the suggestion.

Lisa Madigan is popular among most Illinois voters, Her father is a polarizing figure who has been blamed by many for the current state pension mess. Now the Metra controversy is brewing and Michael Madigan is at the forefront of that. He claims that he just suggested that someone receive a pay hike, not demand it.

Michael Madigan is a local story. Raised in St. Adrian Parish in Chicago’s Marquette Manor neighborhood, he rose from the ranks to become the most powerful Democrat in the state.

News in constant. Even on hot summer July days.

(Joe Boyle is the managing editor of the Southwest News-Herald newspapers. He can be reached at [email protected].)

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