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Thanksgiving will always be a roseworthy holiday, even in the darkest of times. So accept this bouquet of roses from your EDN editor and his family. It’s not our place to tell you how to celebrate. Find joy in whatever way you are able. We hope that you stay safe and remain healthy throughout the holiday season. Keep in mind that the Associated Press reported this on Friday: “The surging coronavirus is taking an increasingly dire toll across the U.S. just as a vaccine appears close at hand, with the country now averaging over 1,300 COVID-19 deaths per day — the highest level since the calamitous spring in and around New York City. The overall U.S. death toll has reached about 254,000, by far the most in the world. Confirmed infections have eclipsed more than 11.8 million, after the biggest one-day gain on record Thursday — almost 188,000. And the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 hit another all-time high at more than 80,000. With health experts deeply afraid Thanksgiving travel and holiday gatherings next week will fuel the spread of the virus, many states and cities are imposing near-lockdowns or other restrictions.”

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Roses, always, to Effingham County FISH and its leader, Susan Elke. When your EDN editor arrived in Effingham in November 2014, one of the first community events he attended was the Thanksgiving community meal. That’s when he knew he had made the right choice in moving to this community. This year the meal will be different – no communal gathering because of COVID-19. Every Thanksgiving since 2005, people have gathered for a free meal made by Elke and her swarm of volunteers. Last year, more than 250 meals were enjoyed at the St. Anthony Church Parish Center and another 420 were delivered to people’s homes. Like many things in 2020, this year’s Thanksgiving meal will be different. “It’s gonna be hard,” said Elke. “The whole lockdown situation has been hard on everybody.” That won’t stop her from serving the people of Effingham. She knows that people depend on the holiday meals that FISH provides. She’s going to have the meal, but without the gathering. “There will be no congregate meal,” she said. To reserve home-delivered meals and curbside pickup, call the Senior Center at 217-347-5569 by Nov. 23. Residents receiving delivered meals will need to have a cooler or space available for the volunteers to put the meals. There will be no face-to-face contact. Volunteers are also needed to package and deliver all meals. Because of social distancing, there will be three shifts: 9 to 10 a.m., 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m. Each shift will be limited to no more than 40 people. Masks and gloves will be available. To volunteer, call Elke at 217-868-5913.

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The EDN Editorial Board called for the resignation of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan in July after news of the ComEd scandal broke. It keeps getting more thorny for the Chicago Democrat. Capitol News Illinois this week reported: “Support within the ranks of Illinois House Democrats to reelect Rep. Michael Madigan to another term as speaker eroded further Thursday after federal prosecutors in Chicago issued four more indictments Wednesday night linking him to a bribery scheme involving utility giant Commonwealth Edison. Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, became the latest Democrat to defect on Thursday when he announced on Twitter that he would not support Madigan for another term. ‘Last night’s news only confirms what we already knew: the old ways of doing business in Springfield won’t be adequate to rise to our present challenges,’ he said. ‘So let me say publicly: I will not be voting for Rep. Madigan as Speaker in the 102nd (General Assembly).’ That makes 15 Democrats who have said publicly they would not vote for Madigan, who has been speaker for all but two years since 1983. If all stick to their positions, that would put Madigan at 58 votes for speaker, two shy of the needed 60 to retain the position when lawmakers vote on the matter in January.”

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker, also a Democrat, pricked Madigan on Thursday with some thorns of his own. “If Speaker Madigan wants to continue in a position of enormous public trust with such a serious ethical cloud hanging over his head, then he has to, at the very least, be willing to stand in front of the press and the people and answer every last question to their satisfaction,” Pritzker said this week. “Written statements and dodged investigatory hearings are not going to cut it. If the speaker cannot commit to that level of transparency, then the time has come for him to resign as speaker.”

Effingham Daily News Editor Jeff Long can be reached at jeff.long@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151 ext. 129.

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Editor

Graduated with a degree in journalism from UW-Madison in 1987. Reporter at a newspaper outside London, England. Then a reporter at papers in Pennsylvania and Virginia. For 13 years, a reporter and editor at the Chicago Tribune. Named EDN editor in 2014.

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