A little bit about a lot of things:

• Congrats to our newest public official and Newman City Council member Scott Ball!

Ball was appointed to the city’s governing board last week, filling the remainder of the term Casey Graham vacated after being elected mayor.

Ball will serve the council and community well, I believe.

I was particularly pleased to see five candidates step forward for consideration....each of whom certainly had something to offer. The quality of candidates was noteworthy, and as others suggested I would hope that those not appointed last week consider offering their services in some other commission or committee role.

Glad to see the council back up to full strength and ready to move forward. Significant change has come to the council of late, with a new mayor and two brand new council members.

Elective bodies tend to take on their own identity and characteristics....their own style of doing business, so to speak, which includes the meshing of five different personalities.

Whenever there is significant change, it is interesting to see that collective personality emerge.

I encourage our new council members - as well as any new elected officials - to always remember that they are an independent voice and should ask questions and speak their own mind (with courtesy, respect, civility and forethought, of course).

We elect groups of five to our school boards and city councils and such to introduce different perspectives and viewpoints.

Wouldn’t be any point in having five people who all think alike, would there?

Just my two cents’ worth.....

• And, speaking of boards and councils and such.....I love it when our elected/appointed leaders discuss matters going before them rather than simply accepting staff reports and voting. Certainly some items are so routine in nature that little conversation is necessary. On the other hand, you don’t need to talk an item to death either. That’s where the discretion comes in.

But I find healthy, concise discussion on agenda items which beg debate to be both interesting and enlightening. On matters which have significant, direct impact on constituents, and those which may be controversial, I like to know what our elected officials think and why.

One of my pet peeves, though, is when a group takes part in a discussion and then just kind of lets the matter trail off.....leaving no clear summary of the direction offered. Summarize, please, and then move on.

Just sayin’.

• Will there be a Newman Fall Festival, in some fashion, this year?

We hope to soon be bringing readers more information on efforts to resume the popular celebration.

Much will depend, of course, on not only the willingness of volunteers to step forward and help organize the celebration but guidance from county public health officials and what restrictions are in place when late summer rolls around.

Last year would have been the 50th annual edition of Newman’s signature community celebration.

Hopefully, that grand tradition can resume this year, even if it is somewhat scaled back.

Labor Day weekend just wasn’t the same last year without the Fall Festival, was it?

• Well, as the forecasters promised winter arrived last week, bringing rainfalls reported to be well in excess of four inches to these parts.

We were drenched, to put it mildly.

We probably got more rain in three days than we did in the previous 12 months combined.....which is not often a statement that can be made.

Long overdue, and more than welcome.

• Maybe it’s a sign of the times, or maybe my interest in sports is just on hold until we can return to some semblance of normalcy.

But is anybody else looking at this weekend’s Super Bowl and thinking, “Sunday might be a real good day to clean out the garage.”?

Or wash the cars, rearrange the medicine cabinet, work in the yard.....or maybe just dial up a movie and chill.

Even the prospect of Super Bowl commercials has not stirred my enthusiasm for the day.

I might end up watching just out of habit, but at this point find myself remarkably disinterested in this year’s Big Game......

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.