Jan. 8 was spent "taking down" the Christmas tree. That is normally a New Year's Day chore, but this year the tree had sparkle and my Christmas spirit was still overflowing on Jan. 1.

A Thanksgiving tradition (whenever there are little ones of the appropriate age in the family) is reading "The Berenstein Bears Christmas Tree." Papa Bear and the cubs set out to find the perfect tree. A tree "fair, full and fat." A tree with "nooks that have crannies and crannies that have nooks." This year our tree lived up to the ideal, so, with a touch of sadness, the lovely tree was hauled to the curb. If you, too, have procrastinated in packing away the holiday decorations, it is time to make haste. Jan 14. is the last day the Village Service Department will pick up trees.

The weather certainly cooperated to make Christmas break an outdoor holiday time for the kids. Just enough snow for some great days of sledding, and at least a couple of days when Silver Lake was frozen solid with a glass-like surface for skating. Since great, and safe, skating conditions are a rarity on the lake, the village is, once again, planning to flood the area by the picnic pavilion to provide a safe skating rink. If the temperatures cooperate, hopefully we will have a skating rink by this weekend.

The village is again having a free Driveway Snow Removal Program for qualified residents who are permanently disabled and/or are 65 years of age or older and whose total household income meets the guidelines set by the village.

The program will run from Jan. 8, 2013 to April 1, 2014, providing funding is available. Driveways must have a hard surface such as concrete or asphalt and the property owner must provide adequate markers to outline the driveway. Since there will be only one "push" within a 24-hour period, snow removal will be completed when snowfall exceeds 3 inches. Contact Village Hall to check on income guidelines and to complete an application for the snow removal service.

Village Council meetings take place on the first and third Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in Village Hall. All residents are invited and encouraged to attend.

Jerry Jones, At Large, has again been elected president of council for 2013, and Carol Steiner, District B, is vice president.