Since my father was a general news reporter and sportswriter over a 40-plus-year career, I began reading newspapers and columnists at a young age. There are three columnists I deemed the best at their craft. Mike Royko was a Chicago-based writer who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for commentary. Red Smith started his career in 1928 and wrote for four newspapers in five decades. This sports columnist won the Pulitzer in 1976. Finally, Russell Baker began his career in 1947 and wrote for the New York Times for 36 years. He claimed two Pulitzers during his career: one in 1979 for distinguished commentary and another in 1983 for his autobiography “Growing Up.”

These gentlemen entertained readers for years with their thought-provoking and humorous observations on politics, sports and life in general. I mention these writers not to align myself with their long and outstanding careers but to suggest that even these three skilled writers would struggle to decide what to write about during this COVID-19 pandemic.

While this is a unique and challenging issue, our country has a history of facing and overcoming difficult circumstances. Each one was unique but unsettling. Polio attacks the nervous system causing paralysis in sections or in the entire body. The disease spread quickly through direct contact. Polio was a serious problem for over 40 years with a substantial decline in 1962. Other diseases included smallpox, diphtheria and tuberculosis. More recent battles were fought with HIV-AIDS, and an outbreak of measles. Eventually, the research from dedicated scientists and care provided by doctors and other medical personnel, brought these under control.

As most of you know, the Library and Community Center is closed along with most other park facilities. Programming and special events are canceled until further notice. People are to stay home unless travel is necessary.

Like most everyone else, I’ve searched and read multitudes of information about this virus from a variety of sources. My goal was to filter out opinions and focus, or at least make the attempt to, read the opinions and news from medical sources, especially comments from epidemiologists.

No one can say with 100% certainty when our lives can begin to return to normal. However, the best educated estimates I’ve read, place the timetable anywhere from April 31 to May 31.

This pandemic has affected nearly everyone. But, when the virus has peaked and the best information says we can resume our lives, our entire department staff are anxious to resume services to the community. Until then, please stay safe and follow recommendations from our medical community.

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