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From the editor’s desk

Published: Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 2:46 p.m. CDT

While I should be writing this editor’s column about the upcoming Christmas holiday and all the hoopla associated with the season, it’s difficult to do so with the tragic events that have unfolded in Newtown, Conn. Wow ... I don’t even know where to begin. I’m sure you’re like me — the murders in this quaint New England town have shaken me and torn my heart into shreds.

As the national media relates more and more information, the conversations have turned to issues of gun control, mental illness, safety in our schools and more. As a nation, I know we feel the need to lay blame for the results of that terrible day where 20 children and six teachers were brutally and innocently killed, but for me, the unknown image of that scene is what continues to haunt me. The issues will come later ... those families who have lost so much is where I believe our thoughts should be right now.

This past weekend as I was doing a variety of pre-Christmas tasks around the house, the TV in the background kept spitting out more details of the Newtown murders. Christmas cards, wrapping gifts, baking, etc. occupied my own world, and quite frankly, the dismal details from reporters seemed so surreal as I scurried from one task to another. A few times I thought about turning the channel or turning the TV off altogether — replacing the horror being brought into my home with a Christmas CD. But I didn’t ...

You see, there was something that quickly put life into perspective for me during the Christmas chaos at my home and the devastation of an entire nation reeling from yet another mass murder — this time involving very young children. The word “priorities” comes to mind. Yes ... in the midst of my Christmas preparations, I needed to hear the awful details, which was a really quick lesson on what’s important ... and what is not.

As the rest of the details unfold, I hope we’ll continue to keep the families and the town of Newtown in our hearts and prayers. We must also remember our nation has got to be better than all of this horror and devastation. We have got to fix this and find a way to heal our broken and saddened souls.

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Every week, the Bureau County Republican partners with area businesses to offer one of our BigDeals! You can find this week’s BigDeal! on our website at www.bcrnews.com. If you’re a business and you’d like to take advantage of this great promotion to help boost sales and bring in new customers, call BCR Sales Development Manager Pam Pratt-Marsh at 815-875-4461, ext. 241.

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Congratulations to the Mendota Trojans — winners of the Colmone Classic at Hall High School. This is the first time they have won the tournament.

Basketball is in full swing with Christmas tournaments on the schedule. Make sure you go and support your favorite team and athlete.

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Speaking of sports, our newspaper deadlines are such that we will provide coverage of Friday/Saturday games in our Tuesday BCRs. Monday games will be published in Thursday’s BCRs. Of course, you can always find updates on our website at www.bcrnews.com. Questions? Contact BCR Sports Editor Kevin Hieronymus at 815-875-4461, ext. 231.

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Early deadlines: Because of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, our deadlines are considerably earlier for ads, obituaries, etc. Feel free to give us a call if you have questions.

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Because of the holidays, our office will be closed at noon on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31, so our staff can enjoy these holidays with their families.

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Freezin’ for a Reason: Congratulations to United Way Co-Chairperson Steve Frey who pledged to stay in the Cocoa Cottage next to the Prouty Building until he either received $5,000 or 500 toys for the United Way Toy Drive — Christmas for Kids. I’m proud to report that Frey, who began his quest at noon on Wednesday, was warm in his home by about 8:30 p.m. He collected $3,700 and 532 toys for Bureau County children. If you see Steve, make sure you give him a huge pat on the back for this fun-filled and benevolent effort.

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I’m always amazed at the generosity of Bureau County residents. You folks are wonderful when it comes to sharing what you have with others. As you cross off the names on your Christmas gift-giving list, please make sure you think of the many area organizations who could use a little help this season. Food pantries, church efforts, service organizations, schools, stray animal shelters ... the people who orchestrate these causes need your help all year long — even after the holidays. As you make your New Year’s resolutions, maybe think about a way you can offer your goodwill to these worthwhile services that benefit so many of our friends and neighbors.

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The countdown to Christmas is on. By the time you read my next editor’s column, it will be Christmas Day. I know there’s a lot to accomplish before then, but please carve out some time to spend with those you love. Let something go if you have to ... but hug the ones you love; spend time in conversation; let them know they are the best gift of all. 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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