Short takes for Dec. 27

On call for the holidays

Thumbs up:

The Balaton Fire Department responded to a chimney fire in Balaton on Christmas Day, which reminded us to send a special thank-you to all area fire departments, ambulance crews and law enforcement for the service they provide during the holidays. Fires, auto crashes and crime don’t take holidays off, and neither do our on-call emergency workers and those who respond to these incidents while we sit inside our warm homes and enjoy holiday time with our friends and family. No one wants to find themselves working on Christmas Day – let alone in stressful and intense situations – so we should all be thankful for those who quietly make sacrifices to assist others and keep the peace during the holidays.

Taxing bicyclists?

Thumbs down:

A Chicago councilwoman recently proposed the implementation of a $25 cycling tax to help pay for maintenance of the city’s bike lanes. The city is apparently one of the more bicycle-friendly metro cities you’ll find in the U.S., and concerns over who pays for bike lanes and keeping them in good condition have become a point of contention in some areas. We think such a tax is a complete joke; taxing people who opt to leave their car or truck in the garage and hit the roads on their bikes is a ridiculous concept. The city of Marshall has become more bike-friendly in recent years with walking/biking paths and new pavement markings for bicyclists on local streets, and we sure hope this goofy idea doesn’t filter down to smaller towns that have made concerted efforts to encourage residents to hop on their bikes more often.