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Oliver: Time to clean up more than just our rooms

Now that we’ve finally turned the corner into spring, a lot of us are thinking about spring cleaning.

We look around after a long winter and decide we’ve had enough of dark colors and heavy coverings. Who doesn’t want to start flinging open the windows and switching up the color scheme into something more perky?

Maybe a lot of that has to do with gazing outside and seeing the same old colors of dead – parched grass, brown leaves and gray bark. Not to mention the leftover dirt that seems to be covering everything from all that driven-over and plowed snow.


Mother Nature no doubt is ready to change into something a little more green, but we McHenry County residents have a little cleanup work to do outside, too.

And I’m not just talking about our yards. Although the Oliver homestead certainly needs a bit of attention in that department.

Have you noticed how littered our county’s roadways are? Have you driven along Route 31 between Crystal Lake and McHenry lately?

There is so much litter that you’d think a music festival had blown through without any of us noticing. Plastic bags, fast-food containers and the like are everywhere.

Some of the junk blew in from elsewhere, no doubt from overturned bins on trash day. 

However, a great deal probably came from senseless littering. Our county deserves better.

It’s not just Route 31. Why, there was even a rolled-up area rug along Alden Road on the way to Harvard over the weekend.

It does look as if the folks in Harvard already are addressing the mess since there was a pile of newly filled trash bags at the corner of McGuire and Route 14 on Saturday night. Nice work, if that’s the case. 

While we’re at it, there’s also a bit of repair work to be done throughout the county.

Reporter Joe Bustos tackled the problem of the area’s potholes for a story that published Monday.

We’re not just imagining that the potholes seem to be plentiful this spring.

The up-and-down temperatures in March didn’t help, public works officials told Bustos. More water seeped into cracks in the roadways, froze and then thawed as the temperatures climbed. 

A lot of towns are putting out extra crews to deal with the craters. In Crystal Lake, the city encourages residents to report potholes that need to be filled.

Even Bull Valley, which is notoriously bad for potholes, is doing something.

The village is having a study of its roads completed, with the goal of knowing what to fix first and how to pay for it.

The village also has a road resurfacing project planned along Bull Valley and Country Club roads. Of course, completion is still a couple of years away. 

With all this talk of cleaning and repair work, I’m more than ready to spring into action.

Maybe the tulips will follow my lead.

• Joan Oliver is the assistant news editor for the Northwest Herald. She can be reached at 815-526-4552 or by email at

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