Editor's Notebook

James Miller is valley editor for Okanagan Newspaper Group. To contact the writer: james.miller@ok.bc.ca

The “Be An Angel” campaign for both The Daily Courier and Penticton Herald will return for another year on Dec. 1. It will have an exciting, new format and hopefully the generosity of our readers and advertisers will be there again as we want to help some of our less-fortunate enjoy the holidays. Keep an eye open at our print and online editions in the next several weeks for details.

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Pastor Tim Schroeder’s column from last week — whether you are a spiritual person or not — should be mandatory reading for everyone on how to act at a funeral.

People often don’t know what to say or do and end up saying something dumb that hurts the family. If you missed it, you can find it online.

One thing I would add to Tim’s words is when delivering a eulogy, avoid using the pronoun “I.” It’s about the dead person — not you.

His column today is also excellent.

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SCAM ALERT: Scammers are phoning unsuspecting seniors with a Canada Revenue “you’re behind on your taxes” caper. The newest twist is they’re instructing the victims to purchase gift cards from large retailers and then mailing them to an undisclosed address. Should you get one of these calls, hang up immediately.

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MAIL BAG: I took some criticism (mostly voice-mail messages and emails) from Conservative voters asking why there were so many pro-Liberal letters in The Daily Courier and pro-NDP letters in The Herald.

Answer: their supporters wrote.

Provided a letter is within our 400-word limit, footnoted (when requested), doesn’t qualify as a hate crime and won’t get the writer and/or the newspaper sued, I run everything. We also had to announce a deadline for letters because so many come in during the final days of a campaign.

A previous editor of The Penticton Herald, believing letters can be hijacked once established had a “no-election letters” policy. I don’t think that was the right way to go.

If someone thinks enough of our newspaper to write, it would be unimaginable for me to say, “sorry, there’s too many letters supporting the same cause.”

I will never silence free speech, which includes not censoring our columnists.

We would have loved to have had more letters on why Helena Konanz, Tracy Gray or Dan Albas would make great MPs. Somebody just had to write to us.

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It’s great to see the Skate Canada championships right here in our backyard. The three-day event continues all weekend at Prospera Place. Thanks to everyone who helped make this event happen. The skating is incredible!

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Just in time for Halloween, I repeat two lists from 2012.

The five best Halloween songs:

1. “Thriller” (Michael Jackson),

2. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” (Blue Oyster Cult), 3. “Tubular Bells” (Mike Oldfield), 4. “Ghostbusters!” (Ray Parker Jr.) 5. Monster Mash (Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett and the Crypt Kickers).

The five best horror movies:

1. “Psycho” (the original),

2. “The Shining,”

3. “Carrie” (because of the final five seconds),

4. “The Exorcist,”

5. “Night of the Living Dead.”