A little bit about a lot of things:

• Community service can take many forms, from volunteerism to serving on the local boards, councils and commissions which guide government agencies.

In Newman (and the Newman area), two such opportunities currently exist.

A Newman City Council vacancy, created when Casey Graham vacated his seat on the governing board to become mayor, will be filled by appointment later this month.

The deadline for application is this Friday, Jan. 15. So far, one applicant - Walter Waite III - has stepped forward to express his interest in the appointment. We appreciate his willingness to serve, which is to be commended.

For any other prospective appointees who wish to be considered, time is running short. Call City Hall, 862-3725, or visit the city website to download an application.

Regardless of who is appointed, we look forward to having the council back at full strength in a few weeks.

The vacant Zone 1 seat on the board which oversees West Side Community Ambulance had drawn no interest from prospective appointees as of Monday…..which unfortunately is not unusual for our local ambulance board. The zone includes areas of the northern, western and southern edges of the city of Newman west of Highway 33, as well as the rural Stanislaus County reaches of the healthcare district west of the city and Highway 33.

The deadline for appointment to that seat is Thursday, Jan. 21. Call 862-2951 for more information.

Our hope when these types of vacancies occur is always for substantial community interest.....for the same reasons that we always like to see local races contested. It is a matter of choice.

And a reflection that people are engaged, interested and willing to be involved to help better their community. Involvement, volunteerism and willingness to step forward to serve (in any capacity, formal and informal) is an indicator of a community’s health and vitality.

We need more of that, quite frankly.

Whether serving in a formal capacity such as City Council, as a volunteer with a youth sports program or on the organizing committee of the community events that we all enjoy so much, it seems like there are more opportunities to make a difference than there are people willing to pitch in.

We can change that, one person at a time.

• Speaking of examples of community service.....we extend our thanks to Jim Lagrutta for his 35 years of dedication to the Newman Volunteer Fire Department.

That’s dedication....above and beyond what anybody could expect.

Jim has been a familiar figure for years as part of the crews responding to various calls, which come at all hours of the day, on holidays, during family gatherings, etc.

I have a deep appreciation for the volunteers serving on our local fire departments and their willingness to drop everything on a moment’s notice to respond to our emergencies.

One never knows when their services might be needed, but it is comforting to know that help is on the way when a crisis strikes.

Thanks, Jim, for your service and the selfless example you set for others to follow.

Have a great retirement!

• Multi-tasking has never really been a strong point….as I was reminded recently when juggling three different computers in two separate rooms.

That’s one more than I usually work on, and two more than I probably should be working on.

For starters, I have to remember each different password…..and which screen I want to use to type notes, check emails and write stories.

More than once recently I caught myself typing away on a remote keyboard only to realize that I was working on the wrong screen.

I have also had to get squared away with new access to our central server, and install text programs on the computer I have started using.

When I say “I” what I really mean is that our talented and very patient staff tech guru led me through the process. Well, he didn’t exactly lead me through it, as much as he tried. Eventually, he did it while I watched.

I like having multiple screens at times, but I am also very much a creature of habit, so my learning curve is a little, shall we say, slow.

Ran into the same thing with another new app I’m using on my phone. As all the various features were explained to me, I’m sure a blank look came across my face.

Let’s start with the basics, and walk before we try to run, was my response.

And for anybody who would say that one can never have too many devices, I would respectfully beg to differ.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.