A little bit about a lot of things:

• March Madness is just around the corner, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament which captivates hoops fans each spring.

Mattos Newspapers and local sponsors are offering fans the opportunity to turn that passion for college hoops into prizes through its first-ever “March Madness Contest.”

Fans are invited to register by following the instructions found on a link at westsideconnect.com. Complete contest rules and the scoring formulas are also on the website for those who want to get the low-down while waiting for the brackets to be announced.

The tournament bracket will be announced on Selection Sunday (March 17), and brackets may be filled out until the first game tips off two days later.

Let the madness begin.....

• Congratulations, Orestimba!

The local high school was one of six high schools and 18 schools overall in the nation recognized by the International Center for Leadership in Education as a “Model School.”

Orestimba will share the story of its transformative journey and practices at a national conference in Washington, D.C., this summer.

The honor reflects Orestimba’s achievements, innovative changes and evolution as a school....an ongoing effort to better engage and meet the needs of its students.

Those changes don’t happen without the support and involvement of all parties involved.

Great job, OHS!

• Sometimes it seems my life revolves around meetings.....which usually is just fine but at others is frustrating to say the least.

School boards, city councils, ambulance board, and occasionally water boards or county boards or planning commissions are on my schedule.

Rarely do I have a week without a meeting of some sort, and about once a month the schedule lines up with three evening meetings in a row.

My ideal meeting is one that goes 90 minutes to two hours and produces two to three solid stories. The worst meetings are the ones that drag on for two to three hours of incessant discussion about the minutia and results in little of real substance.

A close second on the frustration dial are the meetings that leave those in the audience wondering, “what the heck did they just do?”

What’s interesting about meetings, though, is that each council, board or commission has its own personality, so to speak.

Newman City Council meetings, for example, tend to be pretty fast - sometimes in the ballpark of 30 minutes - while on the other end of the scale Gustine school board meetings can often be counted on to run two hours or longer.

Most meetings run somewhere in between.

Brief meetings sometimes lack the discussion that helps flesh out issues, so short does not always equate to productive, at least from my standpoint. On the other hand, I don’t feel bad about a long meeting if I come away with something of substance.

I know. I’m hard to please.

One thing I definitely notice is that meetings in Gustine often seem to draw more members of the general public with no particular reason for being there other than just taking an interest.

True, Newman meeting videos are available for viewing through district and city websites and board meetings are live-streamed as well (great service, would love to see Gustine agencies do the same), but it still isn’t the same as being there.

I think it would be great to see more people attend meetings in both our communities for no reason other than having interest in the decisions being made which shape their city and school district.

• Just a reminder.....Daylight Saving Time returns this weekend, officially occurring at 2 a.m. Sunday.

To me, the time change is a sure sign that winter is fading away and spring is arriving, one of the best times of the year.

And while we don’t actually “add” an extra hour of daylight, shifting it to the evening hours certainly feels like an extension of the day.

I often don’t get home until 5:30 or 6 p.m. even on non-meeting nights, so having a little bit of daylight to just relax on the back patio or play around in the yard is always welcome....and often good medicine after a tough day.

That hour of sleep “lost” this weekend is a small price to pay for the extended evenings.

So remember, set your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night.....and begin enjoying your spring evenings!

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.