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From the editor’s desk

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I was in Henry County during the weekend working on a story for the Bureau County Republican’s AgMag. It was a beautiful drive, and I couldn’t help but notice how the leaves are beginning to change colors. Many of the trees were already tipped in varying shades of yellow and orange — leaving me to imagine what they will look like in a few weeks.

Now is the time to plan a couple of drives through the fall countryside. While the leaves clearly aren’t at their peak yet, why not set aside a future day some weekend to take a leisurely drive. Bureau County and the surrounding areas are some of the prettiest in the state of Illinois. Make sure you reserve some time to enjoy this magnificent masterpiece given to us by Mother Nature!

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On today’s front page, you probably already read the story about Abbey Fields, a $13 million project to be located on the northwest corner of the St. Bede Academy campus just east of Spring Valley. What an absolutely cool endeavor. I read BCR Senior Staff Writer Donna Barker’s story on the project, and I found myself smiling about the possibilities this will afford not just senior citizens, but also the St. Bede Academy students who will be volunteering at Abbey Fields. Not only is this a great way to raise educational funds for the school, but it will also build awareness, compassion and more. My hat is off to St. Bede and the folks behind this worthwhile project, who are clearly thinking outside of the proverbial box.

•••

Every week, I receive quite a bit of mail. Some of the letters contain comments, suggestions and questions from people regarding potential stories, stories we’ve already covered and current events affecting our area. I also get what I like to term “fan mail” and “hate mail” — letters from folks who either like something that I or the newspaper did or on the flip side, letters from folks who didn’t like something that I or the newspaper did. I don’t mind telling you I appreciate both. Constructive criticism is good, and of course, who doesn’t like to get a note or letter from someone who is happy and satisfied! First and foremost, I welcome your correspondence, and it’s important I learn what you think, what you feel and what you believe.

But then there’s the flip side of the equation. Mixed in with the aforementioned mail is always an envelope or two from someone who wants to remain anonymous (usually for good reason I’ve come to learn). In other words, I occasionally get letters, notes, newspaper clippings, etc., that are unsigned.

With stamps at a premium these days (still a bargain, though), I feel I must tell you what I do when I receive any correspondence ... The first thing I do is look for a signature. If there is no signature, the next step is easy ... I throw it away. That’s right. I don’t read it; I don’t scan it; I don’t even glance at it. It goes immediately into the trash, and I don’t think another thing about it.

A little ungracious and grouchy, considering someone took the time to correspond with me? Absolutely not. And here’s why ... My staff and I sign our names to everything we write, without exception. I expect the same courtesy ... without exception.

•••

It’s Homecoming Week at St. Bede Academy in Spring Valley! Go Bruins!

•••

The new Illinois Valley Living Magazine is on the street. I hope you’ll enjoy it. On the front you’ll see Princeton’s own Kathy O’Malley on the cover, who is our keynote speaker for our upcoming Women of Distinction Award luncheon on Oct. 17. O’Malley is also the co-host of the well-known and much-loved “Kathy and Judy Show” on Chicago’s WGN.

I hope you’re planning to attend our Women of Distinction Award Luncheon at Deer Park Country Club in Oglesby. The event will begin promptly at 11:30 a.m. and finish up around 1:30 p.m. Not only will there be a delicious lunch and much fun delivered by O’Malley, but we’ll also introduce you to our 10 inaugural winners of our Women of Distinction Award. Once you meet them, I know you’ll be able to understand why our judges (from McHenry County) selected these 10 women. Wow! I could go on and on about all 10 of them, but the word “Wow” pretty much sums it up.

But the Women of Distinction Award luncheon is far more than just an event honoring these 10 women; the luncheon is about all women who have made a difference in the Illinois Valley, regardless of how great or small. This is a celebration of women and the energy they bring to so many lives. I hope to see all of you there — both men and women, who appreciate the impact women of the Illinois Valley have on us all.

Tickets are still available. Call our office at 815-875-4461 for credit card orders or feel free to stop in our office at 800 Ace Road for cash/check purchases. There is also an order blank in the BCR and in the Illinois Valley Living Magazine you can send in with your payment. Tickets are $28 per person, and they are limited. I hope to see you there.

•••

Thought for the day: “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” Eric Hopper.

Thought for tomorrow: “When we win, I’m so happy, I eat a lot. When we lose, I’m so depressed, I eat a lot. When we’re rained out, I’m so disappointed, I eat a lot.” Tommy Lasorda.

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The BCR Editorial staff is already starting to work on our winter edition of Illinois Valley Living Magazine. If you have any story ideas, feel free to send me an email at tsimon@bcrnews.com.

•••

The Honor Flight of the Quad Cities is set to take off Thursday — a wonderful opportunity for our area veterans to visit Washington, D.C., to see the military sites dedicated in their honor. The flight is scheduled to return to the Quad Cities International Airport around 10 p.m. if you’d like to be there and applaud their efforts.

•••

It’s a beautiful time of the year. I hope you’ll be able to take a few minutes out of your day and enjoy the outdoors, where the crisp air invites us to appreciate Mother Natures’ beauty. Relax. 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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