Not bad for the first time!

In the first local observation of Wreaths Across America, Yuba-Sutter residents, businesses and organizations donated enough to decorate about a third of the veterans' graves in the two counties.

Wreaths Across America originated at Arlington National Cemetery, and has spread across the country. It is a way of honoring the memory of the veterans, the service they provided, and reminding the living of their sacrifices.

Now come the ceremonies marking the placing of the wreaths. According to Cindy Languell of Yuba Sutter Stand Down, and Tom Walther, who has been helping with the project, ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 17, will all start at 9 a.m. (the same time that ceremonies are being conducted at Arlington and other cemeteries across the U.S.).

Sutter Cemetery: The Military Officers of America, Alta chapter, is conducting the program, with local state Assemblyman James Gallagher speaking.

About 850 wreaths will be placed. Sutter, with more than 3,600 veterans' graves, was the main focus for this inaugural year for the program. American Legion Post 42 and Tri-County Blue Star Moms were involved in getting wreaths sponsored.

Sierra View: The service is co-hosted by American Legion Post 807 in Linda and the Civil Air Patrol Beale Squadron 19, with Commander Cindi Sheldon.

There are close to 500 wreaths sponsored out of a goal of 2,500. The CAP team was very active in getting wreath sponsors for this cemetery.

Wheatland: The Wheatland Cemetery Board was actively involved in the program, and raising funds, and will be actively involved in the ceremony along with Wheatland's American Legion and Lions Club. All of the veterans' graves will have wreaths placed — 330 in all (which includes one veterans grave at the Lofton Cemetery).

Yuba City Cemetery: All of the veterans' graves there, 35 of them, will be covered. A scaled down ceremony will likely take place there and Languell said they are hoping that a group steps up to take care of it.

Meridian and Noyesburg cemeteries: There are 97 wreaths for each veteran grave at Meridian and two for the Noyesburg Cemetery. Languell said she is also hoping a group will step up to conduct those ceremonies.

"We are very excited for the inaugural year with this program, and hope it becomes a tradition," Languell said in an email. "We currently have around 1,800 total of the 6,000 goal."

NOTE: The online donation deadline was extended to today. Go online at WreathsAcrossAmerica.org for more information or call Languel at 301-3074 or Walther at 218-3847.

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Thumbs Down: There was something that especially struck us in a recent story, by our crime, courts and public safety reporter Monica Vaughan, about a couple being arrested at a home where it was suspected that drug sales — including heroin and methamphetamine — were happening.

The house was home to a 14-year-old child, who seemed thankful when officers raided the place.

It was the statements reportedly made by the father of the girl — we didn't see any expressions of guilt or anguish for keeping his child in those conditions.

Instead, he focused on himself and how he needed to save himself by kicking the habit.

And that seems to us to be one of the things, if not the most important, about addiction: It turns the user's life entirely into an immense self-centeredness. We understand that it, in essence, becomes a necessity to self-survival … but here's hoping for the best for the kids and families, friends and neighbors.

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Thumbs Up: We appreciate that so many people got out and about last Saturday — despite the cold and rainy weather — and shopped locally. Just after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, it's known as "Shop Local Saturday."

We're not down on the box stores and chain retailers. Not at all. They provide a good many goods we need and lots of jobs and they do support the local economy.

But we also love our small businesses — they add character to the community. And it's fun to visit, from store to store, and see the changes that individual personalities make.

It might be fun to drive from big store to big store, or to walk around inside the mall, but there's something especially nice about hiking around from small shop to small shop, hunting for unique items, antiques and collectibles, and goods sold on a more personal level.

Here's to local retailers!

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Uggh: My favorite word-play post of the week: How do you tell the sex of an ant? You throw the ant in some water. If it sinks, it's a girl ant. If it floats, it's a buoyant.

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