A little bit about a lot of things:

• Our thoughts and prayers go out this week to the family of the young Newman child who was fatally attacked by a family dog last week..... what a terrible, unimaginable tragedy.

We don’t fully know the circumstances surrounding the attack as only limited details were released by authorities.

But a young child lost his life, and a family is left to mourn.

Our hearts go out to them.

• Not a huge Facebook fan, but that sure seems to be where a lot of people live these days.....virtually, at any rate.

Activity on our Facebook page exploded last week when it came to two big stories, the tragic death of the Newman toddler killed by a family dog and the Del Puerto Canyon fire which burned more than 2,400 acres.

Other posts, such as videos from the Saturday morning color run and the Miss Gustine Pageant Saturday evening drew solid responses as well.

I believe social media has a place and a purpose, but it certainly has some drawbacks as well.....not the least of which is that sometimes people’s sense of common decency (or not so common any more?) sometimes disappears when they log on.

Social media can certainly be used to inform and entertain, but it can also be weaponized and used to demean or spread misinformation. Anything goes, in the eyes of some users. There is no accountability, which has always been a big sticking point for me.

We still monitor subscription numbers and store sales, but now we also keep tabs on Facebook followers, shares, comments and the like.

Part of a changing world, I guess.....even if not entirely change for the better.

• Speaking of the color run....how great is that event?

Three hundred or so folks roll out of bed first thing on a Saturday morning to converge on downtown Gustine....many colorfully dressed (and they only get more colorful as the run goes on).

Some participants in the 5K run/walk emerge relatively unscathed, but for many the more covered they are with the dyed corn starch the better! A lot of folks certainly had some cleaning up to do....

The most striking part of the event for me was simply that everybody was just out having fun with the whole thing....just reveling in the moment. The spirit was amazing!

Congrats to Recreation Coordinator Tiffany Vitorino and her team of organizers and volunteers for another job well done. The color run, like any community event or program, doesn’t happen without a lot of work behind the scenes....and once again organizers hit it out of the park!

• Kudos, too, to the city of Newman and Newman Chamber of Commerce for a successful June farmer’s market. We heard only positive comments about the weekly event, and were glad to see community support for the market.

I don’t think I ever saw the market packed, but there always seemed to be a steady flow of people moving through to check it out....and stopping to buy a few things in the process. Hopefully the vendors fared well through the four-week market.

Kat and I are fans of farm-fresh produce, so we greatly enjoyed the event and hope to see it continue in the future.

· Wonderful gesture on the part of the Gustine Chamber of Commerce.....the group is dedicating this year’s July 4 parade to the late Al Romero. Al was a long-time member, director and supporter of the Gustine chamber and community who passed away in April. He is missed, and the chamber gesture is very fitting.

• Congratulations to new Miss Gustine Aubrie Hazan, who will represent the community for the next year after winning the crown Saturday evening.

Four very worthy candidates competed in the annual pageant.

I particularly enjoyed the “Gustine-wear” segment of the pageant, partly because it was a little less formal (which suits my tastes just fine) but mostly because it was an opportunity for each contestant to really let their personality shine through.

Truth be told, though, I find the “littles” portion of the evening most entertaining.

One never knows what the Little Mr. and Miss contestants are going to say....we’ve heard some memorable thoughts and comments through the years, and Saturday was certainly no exception.

With those formalities out of the way, it’s on to another festive Fourth on the West Side!

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.