A little bit about a lot of things:

• Banners honoring West Siders serving in the military are on display in downtown Gustine (with more to follow).....and in my humble opinion the look not only meets but exceeds expectations.

Friday was the big day for backers of the banner project and the families of service personnel represented.

Military parents whose loved ones are depicted on the banners, local dignitaries and representatives of service clubs involved in supporting the project were on hand to commemorate the moment as the banners went up on downtown poles.

The banner project is an extension of the “Yellow Ribbon” program organized by local veteran Kris Walton and his wife, Shannon, to show support for West Side men and women in the armed forces and to welcome them home upon their return.

Gustine is a community well-known for its deep patriotism and appreciation for its veterans and for those serving today, and the banner program exemplifies that pride.

“These are our men and women serving in the military, and we as a community are proud of them,” is the message behind the banners.

The Yellow Ribbon program, by the way, is open to all West Siders serving. At least one Newman man serving in the military is among those represented by a banner.

As with most things Gustine, community involvement and support made the banner program possible.

The city, veterans organizations, and local service clubs were among those stepping forward to support the banner project.

Friday was a proud moment in Gustine, and those honored are richly deserving.

Those wishing to learn more about the Yellow Ribbon initiative and banner program may contact Kris Walton at 704-1362.

• Our pets become part of our families, and saying farewell to them is hard.

One of our two cats of nearly seven years, Jax, left us last week.

I was never really a big fan of cats, but that changed after Jax and his feline sidekick Molly came to live with us.

There was a bit of just tolerating one another at first, but they eventually adopted us. Or we adopted them. Not quite sure how that went.

My attitude toward cats was based on the premise that, unlike dogs, felines were aloof and impersonal.

That is not entirely true, as Jax and Molly have taught me in their own ways.

Molly is probably the more stereotypical cat, an aggressive hunter of gophers, birds and such who can certainly keep her distance But she can also be quite affectionate, though only on her terms.

Jax would go through the motions of hunting but wasn’t really all that interested. He probably wouldn’t have known what to do had he ever actually caught something. More a lover than a fighter, he was just fine as long as he had a full food bowl and a lap upon which to curl.

We believe Jax was most likely a Maine Coon, a large but gentle feline breed. He was truly a majestic cat.

He had a good home, was loved and did become part of our family.

Our animal friends offer us lessons and love, and Jax was no exception.

If we let them, they enrich our lives.

• Community journalism is an interesting calling, with emphasis on “community.”

I particularly enjoy when residents take time to share information, story ideas and photos with us.

Seems like everybody carries a cell phone these days.....which means that they are carrying a camera. And the quality of cameras on newer cell phones is really pretty remarkable....which means that people on the spot at an event or happening can snap some photos and send them our way to be shared with our readers.

One such example is the outstanding photo of the SpaceX rocket which Newman resident Shelli Alves sent us Sunday evening.....we have also had readers share photos of everything from solar eclipses to winning sports teams to, well, you name it.

We love getting photos from our readers, and use as many as we possibly can.

Community journalism is a two-way street of sorts, and local newspapers are only stronger if they have involved, active readers who become part of the process.

Thanks Shelli....and to all who send in photos and story ideas, submit sports results and club news, share their thoughts with us (even if critical), advertise in our publications and read through our pages each week.

Your support of community newspapers is truly appreciated, and we couldn’t do it without you.

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.