Giving A Gift That Keeps On Giving

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Is the last-minute shopping Christmas meltdown moving in — like the first storm of winter?

Trying to figure out how to make your remaining money synch up with the names on your shopping list you haven’t crossed off?

Having trouble remembering when you used to love Christmas? Here’s a thought.

Give away $200 — then another $200 for your spouse.

Specifically, if you want to help kids, then you might make a note that the deadline for donations to Credit for Kids runs out on Dec. 31. The program lets you take $200 right off your taxes if you make a donation to the Payson Unified School District, the Time Out Domestic Violence Shelter, Payson Area Habitat for Humanity, the Payson Christian Clinic or Rim Country Arizonans for Children, the Pine, Young or Tonto Basin school districts.

Last year, people who care about kids donated $262,000 to the Payson Unified School District through that program. The school used the money for a host of vital purposes, including art, band, choir, gifted programs, outdoor clubs, the library and field trips.

The Time Out Shelter also has a critical need for support. In the face of the recession, donations have dropped while the demand for shelter has risen. Worse yet, the deficit-plagued state has cut its support in several categories. Women and children trapped in violent relationships often have no escape — especially when the recession has warped family finances.

Of course, the recession has no doubt warped your finances as well. You can’t buy everything you’d like for friends and family as it is — much less find an extra $200 or $400 to donate to even the most worthy of causes.

So here’s a thought: Find someone on your gift list who you suspect feels just as trapped as you do by the commercialization of Christmas. Make a deal with them. Tell them you’re making a $50, or $100, or $200 donation to the schools or the battered women’s shelter with money you were going to spend on their present — and tell them that if they’re going to get you a present, you’d much rather they did the same.

Bet they’ll love you for it.

Bet they’ll respect you for it.

And if you’re wondering whether it’s a good idea —just ask yourself: What would Jesus do?

It’s His birthday, after all.

Watch out kids, move it along

Gotta keep that traffic moving.

Yes siree. Move it along.

Hey. Hang on. Is that a kid in the road?

Little bugger — what the heck is she doing there? Shouldn’t she be in school?

Oh. What? She’s trying to get to school?

Well, what the heck’s she thinking?

Doesn’t she know Longhorn Drive is the second busiest road in Payson?

Best she just toddle on down the block — go find a crosswalk somewhere.

That seems to be the approximate logic of last week’s Payson Town Council decision to not even vote on the engineering staff’s recommendation that Payson join with the school district and seek a grant to put a crosswalk with a flashing warning light on Longhorn.

The town engineer said the crosswalk would likely bring traffic to a halt during those busy school-in, school-out periods. Might even produce some rear-end collisions. And the police chief allowed as how they haven’t been nabbing a lot of jaywalkers at that location.

So the council figured it just wouldn’t respond to the school district’s request to submit a joint application, since a federal school safety program would likely pay the whole cost of the crosswalk — complete with flashing yellow light.

Of course, maybe the vote would have gone differently had we at some point lost a child, dashing across that busy street with the foolish energy of youth.

So, maybe we’ll just roll the dice and bring it up again after some student gets run down.

In the meantime — we’ve got places to go, people to see, things to do. Got no time to waste sitting around in front of the school waiting for a bunch of kids to cross the street.

Gotta keep that traffic moving.

Yes siree.

Move it along.

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