We are now firmly entrenched in winter, that most deaded of seasons for many of us. All of the distractions that kept us from actual hibernation are in the rear view mirror, and we find ourselves looking for something to take their place.


Such a wonderful time of the year! We get the opportunity, if we are wise, to look back at the year behind us, evaluating the choices we have made, and then start fresh with the blank page of the new year.


Last week, while the country was still reeling from the tragedies in San Bernardino and Paris and the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado, a friend who lives in Ohio posted a story on social media about a man in Cleveland who was strolling around urban areas with a big rifle slung over his back. Ohio has “open carry” laws that make it perfectly legal to do just what that man was doing.


It seems we once again find ourselves in that special season when we give thanks, spend a lot of money, and make resolutions – pretty much in that order. And if there is one thing that should play an important role in all of these endeavors, it is the North Boroughs business community.


By now, any of you not living under a rock know that The Pitttsburgh Steelers have hired dog fighting poster child Michael Vick, and you more than likely have formed an opinion on that. In an area as crazy about dogs as it is about football, the hiring was bound to result in some epic battle lines being drawn. I do believe the Steelers grossly underestimated the fallout from this decision.

But I am not here to rehash the many, many stories published by the media or the vicious battles being waged on social media. I am here to tell you about Phoenix.


Let me start out by saying that I feel bad for Bellevue Council parks and recreation committee chair Lynn Tennant Heffley. She's taking the heat for decisions that are being made by a lot of other people. It's part of the nature of doing anything by committee, which can be both a blessing and a curse. The curse part comes in when, as chair, you have the duty to announce the decisions and reasoning of the whole committee. It's a double curse when the committee is saying stupid stuff, which is the case in the recent decision not to substantially change the rules at Bayne Park.


In the week since the "Incident" in Bayne Park, the social media drama queens and kings have been hard at work expounding on the probability of Bellevue's imminent demise as a town where anyone at all would want to live, shop or worship.

It's time to get a little perspective.

First of all, the incident itself.


It occurred to me recently that the role fathers play in their children's lives has changed dramatically since I was a child.

Most children today will grow up with fathers who are active participants in their up-bringing. Dads today are often equal partners with moms in providing hands-on care, overseeing education and development, health and safety. They carry diaper bags and push strollers and are responsible for making dinner.

Such was not always the case.


This year The Citizen will publish its 11th annual Pet Photo Contest, benefitting a local animal-related project. It is usually our biggest selling issue of the year, because if there is one thing most of us can agree on, it's that we love our pets.