You have probably noticed a little different look to this week's edition of the Faribault County Register. Particularly to the front page.
Since this is our annual "good news" edition, this week's front page has two feature stories instead of the usual hard news of crime, car accidents and City Council meetings.
Those stories are still in this week's Register, but you will find them further inside the newspaper, and not in their normal position of on the front.
Because this is Christmas week, we want to focus on the stories that are about people doing good things or having good things done to them.
Take those two stories on the front page, for instance.
At first glance both seem to be about tragedy striking people. What is so good about that? But, the stories are really about how these people miraculously survived what happened to them with a little help from their spouse, friends and medical personnel.
I want to personally thank the Teems and Andersons for sharing their stories with me, and with you, our readers. It takes a lot of courage to have your very personal story put out there where everyone can read it. However, in a small town, people care about what happens to their neighbors and friends and I think they read these stories with concern in their hearts.
In fact, I hear that all the time. Sometimes folks tell me a story will move them, emotionally.
This kind of concern for our neighbors is probably true to some extent in the bigger cities, as well, but it is a huge deal in a small town such as Blue Earth.
Cheryl Teems put it best during her interview.
She was born and raised in Blue Earth and when she was younger she once thought she wanted to leave the small town and explore the world.
In a small town, opportunities are limited. In a small town everyone knows your business.
But, she adds, in a small town everyone rallies around you with love and concern when you have bad times or tragedy hits your family.
She was overwhelmed with calls, cards, concern and everyone pitching in to help.
I have heard that same refrain from people a hundred times, but it never fails to bring a smile to my face.
In the past few weeks we have brought you stories of people helping people. Stories and photos about some guys camping out in the cold raising food and cash for the food shelf, churches gathering shoes and coats for those who need them, a group raising money for our schools, others who pack food bags for kids to have over the weekend.
Then there are my two favorites the Giving Tree and Shop with a Cop. Both provide a way to get Christmas gifts to kids who might not be getting much under the tree.
The list goes on and on.
There is the old joke about "you know you live in a small town when you drive off the road into the ditch a few miles outside the city limits and news of your accident gets back to town before you do."
But, the truth of the matter is, when you do get back home, people are going to express concern and say they hope you are OK and are not injured.
And, if you are hurt, they are going to bring you food. And, mow your lawn, shovel your sidewalk, harvest your crops. Whatever you need done.
It's what we do in a small town.
That's why we live here.
We hope you enjoy reading this week's Register. While it isn't totally full of only good news, we think the good outweighs the bad.
And, our wish is may you have nothing but good news come your way in 2014.
But, if that doesn't happen, our wish is that your family, friends and neighbors will rally around you when you need it the most.
Thanks for reading us, this week and all year long.