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    I get nostalgic at this time of year. Whenever I see incoming SIU students and their parents it makes me think of the exciting days when I left my boyhood home in Rockford to begin my college studies at Valparaiso University, in northwest Indiana.

      Just six months ago, we were huddling against the cold and throwing more logs on the fire -- unless we were slipping on ice or skidding into snowdrifts. Ah, the memories.

      For Boston subway riders, it seems every week brings a new tale of transit woe. There have been runaway trains, subway cars belching smoke and fire, fatal accidents, rush hour trains running on weekend schedules and brand-new subway cars pulled from service. The situation has stretched the nerves of riders, prompted a probe by the Federal Transit Administration and worried political leaders. One of the more maddening failures came in June when the MBTA temporarily sidelined all its new Orange and Red Line cars. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker says despite the troubles, the vast majority of trips end without drama.

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