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The Observer paper 12/26/14

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Drought is certainly nothing to make light of, and our area may face a difficult fire season, with irrigation water in short supply. It's good, then, that a new bill on combatting global warming sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., will at least spark discussion on this important issue and take a step toward a solution.

Expect current dryness and warmer-than-average temperatures to continue through the winter and spring, forecasters say. They blame El Nio. The phenomenon occurs when sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean remain above average for more than several months. El Nio is causing weird weather everywhere in our country, including wetter-than-average conditions along the southern tier.

Some SAY global warming is at least partly to blame for the strange weather. The burning of fossil fuels, many scientists believe, is causing an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, triggering the greenhouse effect. This trapping of the sun's heat could raise temperatures and mean a potential reduction in winter snowpack, which threatens hydroelectric power. Others fear dealing with global warming will harm the economy and cut jobs, but a healthy environment leads to a healthy economy. A healthy economy won't stay healthy for long with a sick environment.

The bill sponsored by Sens. McCain and Lieberman at least should jump-start discussion about what can be done to keep the planet livable and make the economy strong, now and years from now.


For people under 40 who don't know much about him, or for people older than 40 who can't remember, Mickey Rooney was a huge motion picture star in the 1930s and '40s.

It's a tribute to Rooney's abundant energy and lasting appeal that the 82-year-old is still doing stage shows. He and his wife, Jan Chamberlin, will be performing twice Jan. 31 at the Elgin Opera House.

Rooney was born in 1920 in Brooklyn, N.Y., as Joe Yule Jr. He quickly became part of his family's vaudeville act and, beginning at age 6, starred in more than 50 episodes of the two-reel comedy series, "Mickey McGuire." Perhaps that explains how he adopted his stage name in 1932.

Rooney is remembered for his roles in the "Andy Hardy" film series (1937-47), and classic motion pictures like "Boys Town" (1938), "The Human Comedy" (1943) "National Velvet" (1944), "Baby Face Nelson" (1957) and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961).

With songs and comedy routines, the actor and his wife lead their audiences down a nostalgic path, recalling Rooney's movie career. We hope many will greet Rooney in Elgin. Those attending are sure to be inspired by someone who started his show business career as a child and still has the youthful vigor to keep on entertaining as an octogenarian.


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