Riverside was decked out in its best red, white and blue on July 4, celebrating Independence Day with crowds lining the parade route and local residents enjoying the company of their friends and neighbors.

But there was one notable absence this year. Schofield “Scuffy” Gross, who was as ubiquitous in Riverside as the trees and windings streets, died Monday at the age of 88.

If there was a nicer, kinder man we haven’t met him. When Scuffy greeted you, it was as if you’d always been friends. When it came to Riverside, he was one of its best friends, involved in so many aspects of village life – from his four decades in the township assessor’s office to helping found the Riverside Swim Club to being a force of nature for the Riverside Township Lions Club.

It’s no wonder that he was named Riverside Township’s Person of the Year in 1988. He could have been a repeat winner, if that kind of thing was done.

Even though he and his wife, Sue, moved to Plymouth Place a couple of years ago, Scuffy could always be seen around town, a Riversider to the end. 

We’ll miss you, Scuff. 

Illinois, still pathetic

Elected state officials were entitled last week to exhale, to survey the patchwork, stop-gap, all-too-short, completely-unbalanced, status quo budget deal they struck and to feel momentary satisfaction. Compared to the purposeless morass in which all parties have been mucking about for 18 months, the temporary fix, the bipartisan pact represented some semblance of governing.

With social service agencies, schools and infrastructure extended a puny lifeline, however, there is no gratitude due our electeds. Instead they need to be whacked upside the head repeatedly so they know this is a totally unacceptable, minimal effort. No one should be congratulated for doing the very least possible.

Sure, we get it. Now we enter election season with no hope of getting anything accomplished until December or January. Anyone expecting notable shifts in the party makeup of the legislature in this election should just smile and spend down Mike Madigan and Bruce Rauner’s millions on dubious campaign mailers.  

Grandma’s social service agency will get paid, schools will open, roads will be paved. Still an utterly pathetic performance.

Working together

Last week, Brookfield became the third and final participant in the West Central Consolidation Communications joint dispatch center to sign an intergovernmental agreement to form the agency.

The three villages have been working on their state-mandated application to form the agency since last year, and we have to say we’re impressed with the level of cooperation that’s been displayed throughout the process.

It’s taken some agencies much longer to get off the ground, and the one formed by Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside could be a model for others looking to do the same. All are equal partners, sharing costs and responsibilities.

We’re not sure this arrangement is going to save anyone any money, at least in the short term, but as a model for cooperation and the possibilities of consolidation, it’s a heck of a start.