Jeanette Sekan was the first of several Highland County Press columnists to offer her feelings of gratitude this week of Thanksgiving 2017.

Among Jeanette’s many reasons to be thankful, here are a few of my favorites:

• “Precious time was spent with family and friends, though too many miles separate us most of the time.”

• “I have a home. It requires care and continual maintenance, but it is my home. I remind myself there are many who have lost their homes to natural disasters. I remind myself there are many who have no place to call home.”

• “Our local community talked openly about the importance of – and need for – a return to civility in our discourse with each other.”

Although Jeanette’s home newspaper is the Cody, Wyo. Enterprise (founded by Buffalo Bill Cody, with whom my grandfather supposedly once worked), and she lives more than 1,000 miles west of most of our readers, when it comes to a need for “a return to civility in our discourse with each other,” the same holds true on this side of the Continental Divide.

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One can hope that the Hillsboro city government soon will have a similar return to civility in early 2018 as a few new faces will join the city council. (Thank you, voters.)

One of those who’s sure to bring a renewed sense of public service and professional leadership to council is Mary Stanforth. Mary has experience in private business and as an administrator with St. Mary Catholic School. The fact that she’s used to dealing with 5-year-olds is another added bonus.

I may be wrong (yes, I’m often wrong, but never in doubt), but I can’t help thinking that council president Lee Koogler is looking forward to working with the new city council in six weeks.

It’s only a hunch, but I’m guessing that Lee is thankful for the voters who made wise choices on Nov. 7. I know a number of Hillsboro residents and taxpayers are.

With one onerous legislative ruse from the mayor now dead on arrival – the DDRD (Dubious Downtown Redevelopment District), maybe we can thank the current lame-duck council if they’ll wisely delay voting to needlessly join the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District. One can hope.

Best of luck to the new city council in January. You’ll need it. And thanks for having the courage and initiative to serve.

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Speaking of the DDRD, let’s give thanks to the Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education, which voted, 4-1, against the city’s proposed district at its Wednesday, Nov. 15 board meeting.

School board members are to be commended for putting an end to a political boondoggle – rife with potential conflicts of interests as it was. Sadly, for the board’s appropriate – and thoughtful – action, they were – like many others – insulted by the Republican mayor of Hillsboro – and for the record, the insult was made in his official capacity as mayor.

Oh, well, you can lead a jackass to water, but it's still a jackass.

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Enough about politics.

As I read in Chris Kahn’s article for Reuters, “One in three U.S. adults to avoid talking politics over holiday season,” politics won’t be on the holiday menu.

Kahn writes: “Nearly one-third of all adults will actively avoid political conversations when they see friends and family over the Thanksgiving and December holidays. About half said they do not expect to discuss politics at all.

“People appear to be more interested in talking about religion, or even their personal finances, with cousins and in-laws than they are in discussing hot-button issues such as tax cuts, Obamacare and the Russia investigation.”

Fair enough. But I will give a quick tip of the cap to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who skewered Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown for claiming that he was intentionally trying to hurt the middle class during a Nov. 16 debate on the tax cut bill that recently passed the House of Representatives.

"I really resent anybody saying that I'm just doing this for the rich,” Sen. Hatch said. “Give me a break. You guys overplay that all the time and it's getting old. I come from the lower- to middle-class, so don't spew that stuff on me.”

Brown just got a well-deserved taste of the Hatch act. Game, set and match to the senator from Utah.

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As is customary during Thanksgiving week, here's my friendly shout-out and Happy Thanksgiving wishes to Lynn and Galen Neal. In previous years, Lynn has commented often and occasionally requested a reprint of my old Thanksgiving tome entitled "Giving thanks for a clean stove."

She will be happy to know that once again the stove has been cleaned without incident. A significant change of plans is in store for us this year; however, as I'll be making sage dressing on a Friday night for perhaps the first time.

Given that Pam has a 12-hour shift at Highland District Hospital on Thanksgiving Day (yes, nurses and newspaper folks do work holidays), we’ll be giving thanks as a family on Saturday, Nov. 25.

If the plan comes together, we will say the standard Catholic prayer before the meal gets cold (Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord, Amen), sometime close to noon.

My thinking is simple (as it usually is): If we eat our first Thanksgiving (Saturday this year) meal at noon, those of us so inclined ought to be able to eat again at 6 o'clock that evening.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. From all of us at The Highland County Press, we wish you a safe, happy and blessed holiday.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.