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Let us hear your thoughts for the coming year


A reader suggested we print letters to Santa from grown-ups this holiday season. It seems like an idea worth trying. She has already sent hers in, and a friend of hers sent one, too. If we get enough letters we’ll fill the editorial page for the week before Christmas.

Santa, as we know from the writer of the famous column, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” and from the book, “The Polar Express,” lives in the hearts of all who believe.

Let’s believe for an instant, not only in Santa, but also in the essential goodness of each other.

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A reader suggested we print letters to Santa from grown-ups this holiday season. It seems like an idea worth trying. She has already sent hers in, and a friend of hers sent one, too. If we get enough letters we’ll fill the editorial page for the week before Christmas.

Santa, as we know from the writer of the famous column, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” and from the book, “The Polar Express,” lives in the hearts of all who believe.

Let’s believe for an instant, not only in Santa, but also in the essential goodness of each other. Let’s think deeply about what we would ask of Santa, beyond world peace, the go-to for many people when they think about wishes.

This week we’ve had an unusually large response to stories Guy McCarthy wrote about a sophomore at Bret Harte High School who wants to be allowed to express his religious beliefs in science class. On Facebook and on our website, most people have stayed within the lines of expressing their own opinions about creationism and evolution.

And then there are others who decided the best way to win a debate is through name calling and insult. This, frankly, says a lot more about them than the people they are insulting.

I’ve decried many times in this space the death of civility. Let me try again. Make your argument. Keep the badmouthing to yourself.

A reader wrote recently that he thought politics should be off limits for the editorial page. We won’t do that, but maybe for a Grownup Letters to Santa week we could abide by that suggestion.

On another matter, we’re considering many new features for The Union Democrat in the weeks to come, including one I’ve been interested in reviving for a long time: a question and answer column. You ask. We find the answer.

Send me your questions about local people, places and things. Did you see or hear something you’re curious about?

Also, send me some suggestions for a name. The paper I came from called their column Q&Amy — a clever twist. When Amy left, they renamed it Ask and the last name of the new reporter.

Maybe there’s a local twist we can give it. Maybe the long-lost miner from our front page needs a comeback.

Another new feature we’re considering is for our creative photographer Maggie Beck to take a picture of a small piece of a building or some local thing and you send us your guesses for what it is. Or for her to find an amusing photo and you send us a witty caption.

We’re also considering a column similar to Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story, but based on our ever-popular News of Record.

Alex MacLean wants to write a column on politics. The inside stories of campaigns, the stories you wouldn’t ordinarily see. The year ahead will be a busy and important time in the world of politics and we want to be on the forefront of letting you know what’s going on.

I’d like to hear your ideas as well. What can we add to The Union Democrat that would make it more enjoyable, more interesting? I’m looking for constructive ideas.

Our goal, as always, is to increase our involvement with our readers. As I’ve said many times, newspapers must reflect their community. We need to hear your thoughts.

Please contact me at lriddle@uniondemocrat.com or 209-588-4541.