Congratulations to Lifestyles Editor Debra Mayeux!

She and husband David just welcomed into the world their third son, Peter James, who was born last Tuesday night.

If you've noticed fewer bylined stories by Debra lately, that might explain why, as she is on maternity leave.

Debra and the family are doing well, and we wish them the very best with their new baby boy.

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Sometimes the most interesting wire stories in the newspaper seem tucked away deep inside.

We try to put the best of the local news on Page 1 and fill the paper with good stories throughout, but some days have more offerings than others when it comes to the national news.

Such was the case last Wednesday, on Page B6, for example, with a story about President Bush.

It was a story about a book on Bush's presidency, "Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush," which went on sale last week.

Among the many items highlighted from the book is the emotional roller coaster Bush must manage while serving in the pressure-filled role of being the president. For example, he says he cries a lot.

"I try not to wear my worries on my sleeve," he said. "I fully understand that the enemy watches me, the Iraqis are watching me, the troops watch me, and the people watch me." Yet, he said, "I do tears."

Personally, I don't see how any president who really cares — Republican, Democrat or otherwise — can't help but break down in tears every day. The stress must be tremendous. But Bush explained his own emotions.


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"I've got God's shoulder to cry on. And I cry a lot. I do a lot of crying in this job. I'll bet I've shed more tears than you can count, as president. I'll shed some tomorrow."

The book includes much more than just about his tears. It should be an interesting read for anyone wanting further insight into the personal life of our president.

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Across from that story on Page B7 was another good one, about the cleanup of World War II bombs in Germany that continues today, more than 60 years after the war.

British and American bombers dropped almost 2.7 million tons of bombs on Germany during World War II, and quite a few did not go off, becoming buried under the soil and remaining a danger today to school children, construction workers, road builders and so forth.

An average of 900 explosive cleanup operations take place each year in just the city of Berlin, which was finally captured late in the war by the Soviet army after a bloody battle in April and May 1945.

Throughout Germany, during 2004, workers found 160 bombs, 2,400 grenades, 1,500 explosive devices and 2,700 guns and other weapons.

Therefore, as the story noted, the horrific legacy of World War II continues to kill innocent victims, even today in 2007.

***

Closer to home, it was interesting to see the local mall celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Monday's business story included an old photo, and I enjoyed looking at it up close to observe the many changes in the landscape around the mall since 25 years ago.

Animas Valley Mall opened in 1982, and it does indeed continue to be a focal point for Farmington and the Four Corners area.

I certainly enjoy going there. I took my sweetheart to the mall Friday for a quick bite of Chinese food and then a night at the movies to see the new western, "3:10 to Yuma," which, by the way, was fun to see, as I feared they had quit making westerns.

While in line for the movie, it was entertaining to talk to some of the others waiting to get inside, including one old cowboy who looked like he might have ridden with the real posse if this movie was based on a true story.

The mall is a fun and necessary part of our community. Just ask my kids.

Happy 25th anniversary!

***

Since we're sharing so many kudos today, how about one for our local United Way?

At San Juan United Way's annual Day of Caring event last week, Dr. Carol Spencer of San Juan College announced that $701,364 was raised last month, which represents 30 percent of this year's $2.4 million goal.

More than 280 volunteers from 14 companies showed up for the Day of Caring, which allows these volunteers to spend the day helping various local nonprofits in need of everything from painting to landscaping.

This is good stuff, and speaks well of our community.

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Thanks again for the many recent personal letters and e-mails, and once again, please forgive me for the slow response if you haven't heard back from me yet.

I try to answer every note sent to me, but I was overwhelmed a bit during a couple of recent stories and other business that has kept me occupied here in the office. Just please know all such correspondence is appreciated and every word is read.

***

Speaking of correspondence with the editor, be looking soon for a new feature that will allow you to ask questions or make suggestions that might be more routine and seem less important than writing a formal letter to the editor in print, or having to take the time to call.

We plan to announce soon several new online and print initiatives to help us with making reader interaction easier to do, and one such tool will be a new blog started by yours truly.

A blog is a running online dialogue between readers who write, and the blogger who responds or writes live about a certain topic.

Those who don't speak computer talk will see it as a new column in print, where we will take the blog talk from the computer and look at it for a column in the daily print edition from time to time.

More on that soon, and yes, there will be other blogs on our Web site, and converted to print, that will open other avenues of correspondence.

It should be fun.

Have a great day!

Troy Turner is the editor of The Daily Times. He can be contacted at P.O. Box 450, Farmington, N.M., 87499; or at tturner@daily-times.com.