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From the editor’s desk

Published: Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 1:07 p.m. CDT

Wow! As I sit at my desk on Monday morning, the sun is shining, and compared to last week at this time, the weather outside almost feels balmy.

Last week, Bureau County along with much of the country underwent a polar vortex that caused dangerous, below zero wind chills. The what ifs were frightening, to say the least, and all schools and many organizations and businesses closed their doors, not only to keep people from venturing out in the brutal weather but to also keep their employees safe at home. I applaud those decisions, which aren’t always easy ones to make.

I also need to tip my proverbial hat to many, many people. I won’t offer any names because surely I would forget someone, but there were/are many people who had to brave extremely adverse conditions for the benefit of others. Those who first come to mind are mail carriers, police and sheriff officials, emergency service personnel, fire departments, hospital staff, street/road departments ... the list is long, and on behalf of the Bureau County Republican, please know we noticed your commitment in helping to keep all of us safe.

Also, I’d be missing some special people, if I didn’t acknowledge the staff at the BCR who braved the weather to make sure you had a newspaper on Tuesday. Likewise, a huge round of applause to our newspaper carriers who delivered your newspapers through drifts, snow-covered sidewalks and bitter temperatures. We have a group of very dedicated newspaper carriers, and if you think so too, I hope you’ll let them know.

I had a conversation last week with WQAD News 8 Chief Meteorologist James Zahara, and while he thinks our area won’t see any more of those very cold wind chills, he assured me winter is still long from finished. Stay safe, my friends.

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The BCR is working on a variety of fun, innovative and interesting projects for 2014, including our Hometown Heroes special section. If you’d like to advertise in this piece which will have a long shelf life and high readership, give BCR Sales Development Manager Pam Pratt-Marsh a call at 815-875-4461, ext. 241, or email her at ppratt@bcrnews.com. This is going to be a fantastic piece filled with unique, highly-localized content, plus the advertising rates are very affordable. I know folks are really going to enjoy this piece.

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Customer Service Kudos: Don’t you just love it when you experience great customer service? I sure do, and I always reserve a space in this column to let readers know of customer service that goes above and beyond the normal business as usual. If you know of a business or a person who delivers great customer service, send me an email at tsimon@bcrnews.com. Following are the Customer Service Kudos I received this past week:

• Cammie said, “I would like to thank Jon Mabry for helping us out on the night of Dec. 13. We had to rush a family member to the hospital in Peoria. Knowing the snow would close our drive by the time we would return, we called Jon to see if he could come and plow the drive out. We told him we would pay him when we returned, but his response was “Don’t worry about it; consider it a Christmas gift!” Jon is a very considerate young man and was willing to help us out at a very stressful time.”

• Bev said, “My Kudos go to my mailman who made sure my mail was delivered during the bad winter storm we had. We are unable to get out and shovel, and the person who usually does it for us had the flu, so our sidewalks were drifted and deep. But our mailman still got to our mailbox. That’s pretty good customer service, and we all should learn from that determination.”

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I’m excited about the upcoming public program in Princeton to honor the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., set for 11 a.m. Jan. 20 at the Prouty Building. The First Christian Church and Open Prairie United Church of Christ are co-hosting the event. They have planned speakers and have invited area children to also participate by writing short essays or drawing pictures to honor King. From what I understand, this is the first local observance to honor the legacy of this American civil rights leader, and I’m impressed with those who are taking the time and energy needed to conduct this program. I hope many of you will be able to attend this worthwhile event. For more information, call First Christian Church at 815-879-0916 or Open Prairie at 815-872-5150. The program will last less than an hour.

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Thoughts for the week, all from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

• “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

• “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

• “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

• “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

• “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

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A couple weeks into 2014, and I have to wonder how things are going for you so far. I’ve had some “interesting” situations these past two weeks, and I have to wonder if the rest of the year will be so “interesting.” In my world. crazy times call for compassion — not just to others but also in keeping some for ourselves. We’ve got to start being kinder to each other, and we need to save a heaping helping of that kindness for ourselves. Have a great week, my friends. And remember ... you are important to me and the BCR.

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