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Sidney Herald
Sidney , Montana
January 1, 2014     Sidney Herald
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January 1, 2014

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4A WEDNESDAY, JAN. 1, 2014 montana S00DNEY HERALD Time to slow down I  sually this time of  year makes me feel ,, mildly depressed. I love Christmas so much. And this year, I was antici- pating it more than ever. I had such high hopes for a fantastic holiday, and for the most part, all my expecta- tions were realized. And yet, I'm oddly re- lieved that Christmas is over. Maybe it's because with two kids there are now twice the presents to buy, twice the pressure to make their holiday memories great, twice the money spent. Or maybe it's that I'm get- ting older, and I struggle to maintain the frenetic pace. My older son had a sched- uled activity every day for nearly the entire month of December. Art class, '1 had enough anxiety just choosing a salad to bring and making three different kinds of cookies.' Sara Wald Columnist woodworking, birthday parties, Christmas parties, Christmas program prac- tice, Christmas programs, Christmas caroling, and on and on and on. Every night I went to bed and prayed fervently that the child would not get sick. Every activity was hard earned and eagerly anticipated. Thankfully, the 7-year-old stayed healthy. The baby, on the other hand, had an ear infection most of the month of De- cember that kept him up all night, and thus his parents as well. Of course, we just thought it was teething and didn't take him to the doctor until the day before Christ- mas Eve. Oops. Guess we aren't in the running for Parents of the Year this year. I do not have to cook a big holiday meal. That is left to my mother and the aunts. It will be a stressful =''-LiVing in day when Montana that torch is passed on to my genera- Sara Wald tion. I had enough anxiety just choos- ing a salad to bring and making three different kinds of cookies. My son loves toffee crunch cookies, and my husband loves red velvet moon pies, and Santa loves good old fashioned sugar cookies. I love seeing all of my fam- ily, and this year was extra fun because we have six new babies since the last time we'd gathered. That was a lot of drool and poopy diapers. My older son absolutely loves my youngest brother. He moved away a while back, and he misses him dearly. He was gracious enough to take time away from his growing family to come to our house to help my son build a robot out of cardboard. (We have a lot of cardboard robots at our house.) After he left, my son made a vivid observation that made me grateful for my sense of humor. He said, "Uncle Blake is really smart. It barely seems like he's your brother." He wasn't trying to be mean. He just really, really admires my brother's robot making abilities. And I can't argue with that. If smartness were mea- sured solely on a person's ability to build a cardboard robot, my brother has me soundly beat. Nothing like a friendly sibling ivalry to remind you of your place in the world. Yes, the holidays are great. But this year, as blessedly wonderful as they were, I have to say, I'm not sorry they are coming to a close. ROBERT ARROWSMITH ]SIDNEY HERALD Best of winners Johnson Hardware and Furniture owners, from left, Phil Johnson, Kris Gifford, Paul Johnson and Chip Gifford show the awards that their business won in the Sidney Herold's Best of Northeastern Montana contest. Johnson Hardware took top honors for best furniture store, best hardware store and best home improvement stare. Campaign school offered again in Montana Running for office can be a technical endeavor, and while no one can predict all the obstacles and challeng- es, being prepared by learn- ing from professionals can help ensure a winning cam- paign. That's where the 2014 campaign school can benefit prospective candidates and campaign workers. The one-day school will again be offered this year by co-sponsors the Mon- tana Electric Cooperatives' Association, the Montana Credit Union Network, the Montana Chamber of Commerce, the Montana Association of Realtors, the National Rural Elec- tric Cooperative Associa- tion and the Credit Union National Association. The dates and locations of this year's schools are Jan. 21 in Missoula, Jan. 22 in Helena and Jan. 23 in Billings. All schools begin with registra- tion at 8:30 a.m., with ses- sions beginning at 9 a.m. The agenda for this year's school includes topics such as working with volunteers; communication, includ- ing using social media in a campaign; fundraising; campaign and finance laws; talking with the press and other relevant campaign topics. Attendees will meet with campaign profession- als familiar with Montana's unique political landscape. Republican Rep. Jesse O'Hara, a veteran Great Falls-area legislator who has attended several campaign schools over the years, said the training is ideal for anyone looking to seek public office. "I've found them all to be helpful," O'Hara said. "They just had a fair and common- sense approach that I think all candidates, Democrats or Republicans, could benefit from .... I would highly, highly endorse it." Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said the nonpartisan school familiar- ized him with all the neces- sities of filing. "There were all kinds of great information that dispelled any myths," he said. "I learned what I could do and what I couldn't do -- and what I needed to do. I came away with an education, and I felt confi- dent in my ability to run an effective campaign after I attended." Rep. Steve Fitzpatrick, a Great Falls Republican, said the school was invaluable for him when he attended as a first-time candidate. He said it helped him with a number of campaign basics and taught him the importance of organiz- ing the grassroots. He also emphasized the importance of networking with other candidates at the school. Gary Wiens, assistant general manager of the Montana Electric Coopera- tives' Association said, "The schools are intended to encourage people to run for public office. If voters want better government, then they need choices when they cast their ballots, because good government doesn't just happen. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, 'In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.'" Cost for the campaign school is $35, which includes lunch. 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