Proofing last week’s (Dec. 27) end-of-the-year review, which took up more than half of The Lincoln News Messenger, was an eye opener to me.
Reading all the articles editorial assistant Shoni Jones selected for the review made 2011 seem unusually busy and productive, from news about balancing the city of Lincoln’s budget to new stores opening here.
We had to cut a third of the story summaries last week to fill the space (see the full version online at lincolnnews messenger .com).
The full-version review put our share of roller-coaster rides, such as the ESL program possibly being cut at Western Placer Unified School District, into perspective. While that program was fortunately saved, 49 classified employee positions were unfortunately eliminated or cut back.
Similarly, in continuing the financial roller-coaster ride, the city of Lincoln’s budget was approved but without new services or more personnel. On the up side, there were no layoffs this time around.
But what really stood out to me were the individuals who help others just because it’s the right way to act.
Not because they want to be recognized for being nice.
And not to impress others.
But rather because they can help others.
For example, the approximately 265 nonprofit Friends of the Lincoln Library members are why the Mother Goose on the Loose program at the Twelve Bridges Library continues each year.
Mother Goose on the Loose is a reading program for preschool children that helps them learn how to interact with their peers.
“During the (Mother Goose) program, kids have a huge smile and they look like they want to absorb all this information and try all the things the staff is showing them,” said Jeff Greenberg, the Friends’ immediate past vice-president.
Friends of the Lincoln Library provides the city with $7,500 a year to fund the program, Friends’ immediate past President Karen Jarrell said last January.
And Vic Freeman, who attends every City Council meeting and makes it a point to let his sentiments be heard, is another resident who makes a difference year-round. He’s also actively involved as a Planning Commission member and a Rotary member.
In addition, Freeman recently started a bicycle column for The News Messenger because he wants to create awareness between bike riders and car drivers.
Whether I agree with Freeman’s statements at city meetings isn’t important.
What matters is he’s one of less than a handful who attends every City Council meeting to hear what’s going on and to offer input.
We’ve gone through extreme cuts to the city’s budget and services the last few years due to the national, state and local economies.
Although the federal government on Tuesday avoided a fiscal cliff that would have included a $110 billion reduction in government spending and tax hikes to all citizens, the economy overall is not improving. Every level of government is in for more hard decisions.
But at least Freeman understands the problems Lincoln faces and can offer possible solutions to city staff.
Then there are philanthropic residents such as Kim Strong, who helps other residents of all ages quietly, behind the scene.
Strong, the Kim’s Country Kitchen owner, donates a few hundred Christmas dinners she prepares on Christmas Eve. She also donates pasta dinners to the Lincoln High School football team the night before their home games.
That’s according to resident Linda Bush, who with her husband, John; helps prepare and deliver the Christmas Eve meals.
“The night we volunteered to deliver Christmas meals, they made over 200 meals, with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn and dessert,” Bush said.
“I’ve always known Kim (and Dennis Strong) to be very helpful and generous people,” Bush said. “They work hard there too. Working there on Christmas Eve, it was a great feeling. That’s what Christmas is about, being with family and friends and also helping the less fortunate. We left there feeling so good. It just felt really right to do that.”
I’m sure we’ll have more of a roller coaster ride the next year as the city of Lincoln’s revenues are still below what we need to maintain a high level of services.
But there are a lot of unsung heroes in Lincoln doing their part to make Lincoln a better place.
Please let The News Messenger know of their efforts. While your next-door neighbors don’t help others for the publicity, we want to recognize them for their gracious acts and let them know of our appreciation.
And hopefully, their actions will cause the rest of us to do the same.
Here’s wishing for a happy new year and a year of many more kind acts by residents.
Carol Feineman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.