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This and that

It’s been a while since I’ve written a Saturday column. Thanks to all the folks who have called, wondering why I haven’t been writing and asking if I’m feeling well. First and foremost, I’m great ... very, very busy, but I’m doing well. I appreciate your calls, your concern and your kindness.

Writing this column for the BCR is probably my favorite part of my job, however, it sometimes takes a backseat to other more pressing obligations. As you know, there’s been a lot going on. It’s been a crazy few weeks, so rather than try to come up with one single idea, I thought I’d just give you a rundown of some of the things that have been swirling around in my mind ...

• The election. There’s probably not one among us who isn’t absolutely delighted they no longer have to be subjected to campaign advertising. The amount of money raised and spent is mind-boggling, and the real winners were the major market TV stations in nine highly-contested states, including Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida. That’s where the biggest concentration of dollars were spent.

And I’m not talking just a few bucks, friends. Millions and millions of dollars were doled out to all media markets — TV, Internet, newspaper and radio. Even though it’s not a crime, it sure feels like one when many in our own backyards are so very needy. Though I don’t want to bite the proverbial hand that feeds me, I have a hard time justifying it all in my mind.

• Citizens First National Bank. When Citizens failed last Friday night, and federal regulators infiltrated this local icon, I don’t mind telling you my heart broke. This bank has been a stalwart in our community for many, many years, and its loss will be felt for years to come.

As a little girl, I remember going into the bank with Grandpa. Hand-in-hand, we’d walk to the teller’s window, where Grandpa would do his banking, and the teller would give me a sucker. They called my grandpa by his first name, and it didn’t matter that he had worn his farming overalls into the bank’s lobby. After his banking, we’d always stop outside the bank, and Grandpa would read the most recent obituaries posted on the window. Ironic, yet admirable, that those memories were still being practiced in 2012.

Those long ago Friday nights at Citizens were another hot spot. Friends and neighbors would drive into Princeton and park along Main Street. Everybody would come early and hope to get a parking space in front of Citizens because that’s where the center of all the action was, as people walked up and down the street and chatted with their friends and neighbors.

Perhaps my friend, Richard, said it best when he told me, “The loss of Citizens is like a death in the family.” Please keep the staff in your thoughts.

• Mark Verstraete. My sympathy goes out to the family of Mark Verstraete, who died at the age of 64 on Tuesday. The BCR and myself had worked with Mark for years, while he served on the Bureau County Fair Board. He was a good man and never failed to engage me in a conversation. He loved the Bureau County Fair. He will be missed.

• Superstorm Sandy. I’d like to tip my hat to the city of Princeton and its Electric Department, who sent four Princeton linemen — Brad Snethen, Toby Lindeland, Joe Law and Kevin Amy — and two bucket trucks to the state of Ohio to help with restoration efforts. Also, applause goes to Lori Compton, director of the Bureau County Red Cross, as well as all the folks she works with for their efforts. A big thank you to all the folks who have donated to the effort, whether through a financial donation and/or a blood donation. The spirit of America always becomes so obvious in times of need. Despite the awful circumstances of that storm, the benevolent actions close to home always warm my heart.

• Veterans Day. Sunday is Veterans Day — a time to reflect on those men and women who have served our country. If you know a veteran, a handshake, a hug, a thank you will mean the world to them. Many towns/villages/schools are holding Veterans Day ceremonies. I urge you to attend and reflect on how lucky we are to have these veterans in our midst, as well as those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. If you can, please make sure you take the kids/grandkids along. They will be the ones to continue honoring our veterans.

• Illinois Valley Living. The winter edition of the BCR’s Illinois Valley Living magazine is headed to the press in the next week or two and will be available the first part of December. Wow! Each edition of this fun-filled magazine gets better than the last, and I’m excited for you to see it.

The craziness and the chaos will, no doubt, continue as the holidays are right around the corner. Please try to carve out some time for you and those you love. Life is short. Breathe. Exhale. And remember ... you are important to me and the BCR.

BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at tsimon@bcrnews.com.

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