While Halloween is looming as I write this, Thanksgiving is still weeks away and Christmas is nearly two months away, there is an important holiday deadline for those who want to make the Christmas season brighter for local children.

The Live Oak McMullen Counties Child Welfare Board’s Christmas Angels program helps provide gifts for local youths who might not otherwise receive much – if anything. We can help make someone’s Christmas morning magical, and that’s no small thing. Bringing happiness to a child anytime is a good thing, but being able to do that on Christmas is even better.

Those wanting to make a donation to the Christmas Angels program should send their donations to LOMCCWB — Christmas Angels, P.O. Box 1024, Three Rivers, Texas 78071. by Friday, Nov. 1.

Because Toys for Tots does not serve this area, these donations are even more important in helping to spread holiday cheer for local kids.

The program is focused on the Three Gift Christmas, which provides children with a Christmas wish, something they need and something to read.

Most of those served by the program are either from low-income or foster homes.

There may be other programs that provide similar services, and if so, we hope to let you know in The Progress. But Christmas Angels gets the ball rolling and is definitely a worthy way of giving the gift of Christmas cheer.

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The Three Rivers and George West High School marching bands both displayed great performances during the recent University Interscholastic League competition earlier this month in Sinton.

The Three Rivers band received a Superior – or I rating – the highest given, while George West’s band earned an Excellent – or II rating – on a scale of I to V.

I have been fortunate to be able to attend several local high school football games this fall, and the music, spirit and pageantry provided by the bands is always a great highlight of the overall game night experience.

I have been impressed by both bands and the accompanying drill team performances. Three Rivers and George West may not have the number of students that some of the larger schools are able to feature, but one thing is for sure: their bands provide spectacular entertainment for those who attend the games, and they get the most out of the members who take the field each week.

Just like the football teams, these bands start practicing during the summer well before classes begin to fine-tune their performances, and the hard work, dedication and talent these bands display is evident each time they take the field.

Live Oak County is blessed to have two outstanding high school marching bands, and if you haven’t seen them, I encourage you to do so.

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I am looking forward to my first Dobie Dichos event in Oakville this Friday, along with the Day of Stories on Saturday in George West.

These special events help put Live Oak County on the map as offering an interesting and unique cultural offering that helps the area earn the title of “The Storytelling Capital of Texas.”

When the old Storyfest was discontinued, Glynis Holm Strause spearheaded an effort to make sure a new event would take its place, and the Day of Stories was born. This will continue to feature the popular Liars Contest, as well as ghost stories and a tribute to two longtime public servants: Sheriff Larry Busby and County Judge Jim Huff.

Dobie Dichos has long been an autumn highlight in Live Oak County, drawing people from far and wide, and the Day of Stories will continue to bring both culture and tourism to the area.

While there is a cost to attend Dobie Dichos, the events of the Day of Stories, which will be held at Dobie West Performing Arts Theatre in George West, are free.

We are definitely fortunate to have these events right here in our own communities and owe gratitude to those who work so hard behind the scenes to make them happen.

Jeff Osborne is the editor of The Progress. A Texan since 1973, he has worked at Texas newspapers for 25 years.