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Editor's Note: Free vehicle safety checks for seniors

Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

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The weather on Saturday threatened not to cooperate with our local egg hunts, but let nothing come between a mob of children and their candy.

The skies were ominously dark on Saturday morning. As my family walked in to a children’s clothing sale, we kept one eye up and wondered if we’d get wet when we came out. When we emerged, however, we noted the clouds had moved along north, without shedding a drop on us.

Later, a friend in McHenry County sent me a photo of quarter-sized hail piling up in her front yard.

But here in DeKalb County, the Easter egg hunts went on as planned, though some took a somewhat accelerated approach. From the looks of the photos reporter Doug Oleson took in Genoa, the children didn’t really care. Most of the egg hunts I’ve covered as a reporter were over almost before they started, anyway; those kids move like lightning when there’s candy involved.

• • • • •

I don’t really go to the doctor. Not often, anyway. For years, when I filled out forms that asked for my primary care physician, I would write down, “convenient care,” because whoever was pulling clinic hours the day I happened to get sick was my doctor.

According to a police officer friend, many people treat their cars the same way – they don’t take it in for service until something goes wrong, even if warning lights on the dash insist disaster is near. Officer Chad McNett said senior citizens, in particular, have told him they’re afraid of being tricked into paying for vehicle services they don’t need.

That’s why McNett and a group of his classmates at the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Leadership Academy – myself included – have set up a Senior Citizen Vehicle Safety Check April 26 at the DeKalb Township’s newly renovated building, across from Manning Ford on Route 23 on the south side of DeKalb.

We’ve partnered with automotive technology instructors and students from Kishwaukee College, who will perform the checks. It’s a win-win – seniors get a free vehicle inspection and students get some hands-on practice. The students, supervised by their instructors, will perform a 25-point safety inspection that includes things like lights, belts, hoses and fluid levels. Afterward, a DeKalb Boy Scout troop has offered to wash the cars, at no cost to the seniors.

At the end, the seniors will receive a checklist they can take to their mechanic, saying exactly what the inspection found. The students will not make any repairs or oil changes, but will tell seniors what should be done.

We’re hoping this is something that will catch on and become an annual event. Those of us who are on the committee like feeling we’ve helped keep our communities’ seniors a little safer.

As I write this, there are about a dozen slots still open for inspections. If you or someone you know is 60 or older and would like to sign up, call McNett at the DeKalb Police Department, 815-748-8439, to reserve your time slot.

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