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Editorial: Time to get in the holiday spirit?

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The New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Christmas parade is slated for Saturday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m.

Parade units will start out at Mary Park and proceed down Green Avenue to the Middle School.

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Immediately following the parade, Santa will visit the Chamber office from 3 to 5 p.m. Parents wishing to have pictures taken with their kids talking to Santa are invited to stop by.

Put the day's events on your calendar. It's a nice kick-off to the local holiday shopping season.

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The New Richmond National Guard unit (Company B, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry) will be heading to Florida for three weeks of training in January.

The training is in anticipation of the units expected deployment to Iraq in early 2009. The mobilization is expected to occur in mid-February, with a couple months of training in Texas before traveling overseas.

This will be the unit's second tour of duty in Iraq.

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I'm putting in my request for federal bail-out money. It seems like the thing to do these days.

My wife and I purchased a new car a year ago. It wasn't the best choice in the world.

We like the car well enough, but my wife drives it most of the time and it's a manual transmission.

It's great on the gas, but we forgot how challenging a stick shift can be in heavy traffic. Her left leg gets tired in the stop-and-go clogs on her regular commute to her job in the Twin Cities.

We now realize it was a mistake to buy that particular car. It turned out to be a poor choice, and we're stuck paying $210 a month on the loan. Now we want out.

Our federal bail-out request is a drop in the bucket compared to the major automaker's call for help.

But why are our poor research, buying choices and looming financial responsibilities any less of an issue than Ford's, Chrysler's or GM's?

Those corporations seem to have goofed up along the way, just like us. They failed to react quickly enough to the changing marketplace, where motorists were clamoring for fuel-efficient options. They failed to remain competitive on a global scale and have suffered the economic consequences.

I suppose it makes sense for the government to prop up the failing industry, because so many jobs depend on vibrant auto and truck sales.

But where will the plea for hand-outs end if Congress and the President open up the bail-out floodgates? Already major cities across the U.S. are saying they need federal help to avoid bankruptcy.

I suppose I'd better get my request to Washington, D.C. soon so that I'm in line for help.

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Are you ready to respond to the bell?

When you see volunteer bell ringers at area stores over the next few weeks, dig deep and help out.

The Salvation Army goal in St. Croix County is $100,000 this year, even though the need for even more donations than that exists.

The goal could be a stretch in these challenging times. But the local Salvation Army organization accomplishes a lot with the funds entrusted to them and you can be sure that they will put your contributions to good use throughout the community.

Anyone who can ring bells from now through Dec. 24 is urged to call Amy at 715-554-7127 to set up a time that works for you or your family.

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That was Jim Counter playing the part during Friday night's comedy night at the Old Gem Theater. Counter was "recruited" to enter stewardess training during the "Around the World in a Bad Mood" show.

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