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Still thankful

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving.

Police departments are concentrating their patrols on city streets this year, so please don’t drive impaired.

The recreational use of marijuana will be legal on Jan. 1, but many people are not waiting until then to get high. Remember the designated driver is not the person who has smoked or drank the least. The “DD,” is the person who doesn’t imbibe at all!

Tickets for driving under the influence will cost $10 to $12 thousand dollars by the time all the costs are in. And that is just the out-of-pocket expense. Time in jail, court appearances, loss of driving privileges, and the list of life-interrupting punishments goes on and on.

The remedy is simple. If you want to get intoxicated go for it, just stay put until you are sober. If you plan on sleeping it off in the car, don’t do it from the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition. Rules about carrying open containers of alcohol carry additional citations. Put that partial bottle of booze in the trunk.

I know I issue these dire warnings nearly every holiday and over time must sound like a broken record. I don’t care, the message is still valid every time. Don’t end your holiday celebration in the drunk tank at the Department of Corrections.

Everything in its own time and now that Thanksgiving has passed it is finally time to decorate and celebrate all things Christmas. This year, instead of wrapping paper or paper gift bags I’m going to be delivering gifts in reusable shopping bags. The one-use-plastic bag laws have many stores already collecting an extra dime or more while bagging purchases.

I have recycled plastic bags for years. We use the big bags for kitchen garbage and put the smaller ones in the blue recycle cans. My frugal nature makes buying trashcan liners, to pay for something to throw away, just aggravating.

Shop small in Madera

Today is Small Business Saturday, a day that encourages holiday shoppers to support their local economy by spending money at hometown businesses. According to Forbes Magazine there are 28 million, small businesses, representing 54 percent of all sales in America. These businesses contribute to the communities in which they live. They sponsor sports teams, contribute to fundraisers and their sales tax revenue pay for emergency services such as police and fire departments.

The businesses owned by our friends and neighbors deserve our support. Every time you shop out-of-town that foreign community benefits from your sales tax dollars.

Stores such as GBS, Leighton’s Jewelers, Circle Gallery, This and That Boutique, Massetti Appliance, Evans Feed and Andy’s Shoes are just a few of the unique hometown merchants who welcome shoppers. Keep them in mind when shopping this holiday season.

My family celebrates Christmas, some people celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanza and other winter holidays. Whatever festival you celebrate you are free to wish people from other faiths a “Merry Christmas.” Dec. 25th is on their calendars too. Extending peace and brotherhood to all our multi-cultural neighbors during this season of love is always appropriate

Those who are offended by this gesture have problems that are much deeper than the wrong holiday greeting. And to the people who are afraid they will offend others with a Christmas greeting, get over it. Let’s vow that 2017 is the year we quit being a nation of over-sensitive, whining, candy-pants.

Kindness and generosity are not copyrighted by any one faith. Not all our immigrant neighbors wish us harm. Drug abusers and gang violence is far more likely to mar our safety and peace of mind. These miscreants come in all ethnicities.


The recent wet weather has been great for the air quality. The Weather Channel calls for rain in the valley and snow in the mountains this weekend. I have always wanted a white Christmas.

The seldom-heard first verse to Irving Berlin’s classic song “White Christmas” is a lament from a Southern California resident who misses snow at Christmas time.

“The sun is shining, the grass is green, the orange and palm trees sway, and there’s never been such a day in Beverly Hills, L.A. But it’s December the 24th and I’m longing to be up north,” then we hear the familiar voice of Bing Crosby singing, “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas…”

Winters in Madera rarely produce snow. We have had snow twice in my life but neither time resulted in a white Christmas. With us still fighting the drought, the smattering of rain early this week was nice but more importantly we need snow in the mountains. We need the revenue the ski lodges generate and to create surface water for next year’s growing season.

During the next big rain the street-sweepers and merchants should clean their parking lots and sidewalks of Madera retail shops. Clean entryways to stores welcome customers and convey the message that the business cares about the conditions where their customers shop.

Sales associates don’t have much time to tidy up merchandise so help them out. If the person in the aisle before you knocked merchandise on the floor, pick it up and put it back on the shelf. Sure it isn’t really your job but it needs to be done, so do it.

Have a great weekend.

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