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Larry Lough

Lots of letters – on politics and other stuff

Comics readers: Don’t say you were not warned!

Starting next Saturday, the SV Weekend comics section will change – but only slightly.

King Features, the service that provides our color comics section, is dropping the “For Better or For Worse” strip.

In its place will be “Rhymes with Orange,” a three-time winner of the National Cartoonist Society’s award for best panel.

We dropped the daily strip of “For Better or For Worse” a few years ago, after Lynn Johnston retired and her syndicate began to recycle her old strips – but refused to lower the price.

You were looking for something new in your life, weren’t you?

Letters objecting to the change – or supporting it! – are always welcome.

WE DO GET LETTERS of appreciation for the newspaper, and they are very much appreciated.

But more often, we get letters – emails, mostly – with complaints.

The crossword puzzle was left out. The Sudoku answer is missing. You published the same story twice. The story was supposed to be continued on Page A4 but it’s not there. Etc.

That’s fine, too. We like that readers care enough to comment about their newspaper – good or bad.

We welcome their responses so we can fix the problems, if possible.

Sometimes it has to wait until the next day, when we publish the print edition again.

Sometimes, if it’s a question of judgment, we just have to agree to disagree.

Keep those cards and letters coming.

AT CERTAIN TIMES, we get so many letters we have to clear extra space to accommodate them all.

Political season is like that.

You might have noticed that in the week before the March 18 primary election, we published dozens of letters about the candidates – mostly candidates for sheriff in Lee and Ogle counties.

The editor counted 63 campaign-related letters in that final full week before Election Day.

If one candidate was supported by more letters than his opponent(s), that was because his backers wrote more. As long as letters meet the deadline for submission, we make room to print them.

We also had published dozens more letters in the weeks (and months) before the campaign entered its final few days.

Everyone had the opportunity to have a say – for or against.

WE ESPECIALLY LIKE the variety of letters sent to the editor – some of them not for publication.

Like the hand-written letter from Shirley, who wrote about verbs.

“There was an article ... about the man found lying along the road, ...” her letter said. “[The reporter] used the proper forms of the verb [to lie]. The only incorrect form was used in quotes by the motorist who called 911.”

That was an interesting observation.

We seldom change direct quotations to correct verb forms, even the common conversational confusion over lay/lie.

Shirley sent along a couple of comic strips she had clipped from the paper. In them, Nelson was getting a grammar lesson from his grandmother in the strip Pickles.

“‘To lie’ means to rest or recline,’” she told him. “‘To lay’ means to put or place something, like when a hen lays eggs.”

She had it right.

Shirley also disagreed with our style to use “couple” as a plural noun when it means two people, which is consistent with the use of plural pronouns “they” and “their.”

She suggested we restructure a sentence to “get around the pronouns,” which would avoid the “couple are” construction she finds awkward.

We’ll keep that in mind, Shirley.

IN A RECENT LETTER, occasional correspondent Meredith made a number of observations.

One topic was the pronunciation of the editor’s last name.

“Had a neighbor Herbie Hough,” she wrote, indicating he pronounced his last name like Hoe.

That pronunciation of -ough would be consistent with dough – but it also could be pronounced How (like bough), Hoff (like cough), Huff (like tough), Hoo (like through) or a number of other ways – even Haw.

As the editor has noted in a couple of his columns, his last name is pronounced Law – consistent with ought, thought, sought, etc.

The editor has never met anyone who got it right on the first try.

So you could say he is accustomed to being called a lot of names.

Such is the life of an editor.

AFTER WE PUBLISHED a letter from a local woman who was down on her luck, we received a note from a concerned reader.

Wrapped inside the hand-written note was a $20 bill and a request that we forward it to the woman.

Although the writer said she was on a fixed income, “She needs this more than I do.”

What a kind gesture.

Because we require – but don’t publish – the addresses of people who write letters for publication, we put the money in the mail as requested.

We’re sure it was much appreciated.