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But Christmastime makes up just a small part of the 365 days on the calendar, and the need for assistance by members of our communities doesn’t magically disappear after the holidays are over at the snap of a finger.

MONMOUTH -- Chris Eggen was waiting to have an official grand opening for his bike shop on Saturday, but community demand persuaded him to open the doors a few days early.

State budget a step in the right direction

INDEPENDENCE - The city will spend about $5.5 million during the next 20 years to develop new water sources and enhance distribution equipment to make certain demand doesn't outpace supply.

POLK COUNTY - There are probably more than a few households in Independence that have been running low on ramen noodles, baked beans and cake mix during the past few weeks.

*Scientists find "aha!" moments in new and amazing places*Irony: Petroleum alternative may fuel spike in feed costs*Look out, Democratic candidates: Oscar just nominated Al Gore

Gifts give more than just financial benefit