Cheers — to the many readers who responded to the Mail Tribune's Light One Candle series of holiday stories highlighting local residents who needed extra help this holiday season. Stories appearing in the paper described the struggles facing local families and, in many cases, their hard work to overcome addiction, escape abusive relationships and cope with homelessness and unemployment. Readers responded, as they do every year, with tremendous generosity. Their caring contributions brightened the season for all the Candle families and many more besides. As always, donations that exceed the needs of the featured families are distributed to many others who also can use a helping hand.

Cheers — to the many readers who responded to the Mail Tribune's Light One Candle series of holiday stories highlighting local residents who needed extra help this holiday season. Stories appearing in the paper described the struggles facing local families and, in many cases, their hard work to overcome addiction, escape abusive relationships and cope with homelessness and unemployment. Readers responded, as they do every year, with tremendous generosity. Their caring contributions brightened the season for all the Candle families and many more besides. As always, donations that exceed the needs of the featured families are distributed to many others who also can use a helping hand.

Cheers — to Schnitzer Steel Industries and the Kimmel Family Foundation for matching gifts that pushed the cash collected in the annual Greystone Court Food & Fund Drive to $100,000. In addition to the money, the annual Greystone Court food drive pulled in more than 10,000 pounds of food for local food banks.

ACCESS Inc. coordinates the annual drive sponsored by residents of Greystone Court, where homes are decorated for the holidays and visitors who come to see the light displays bring food and funds to contribute. Because every dollar can purchase 5 pounds of food, the donations will yield half a million pounds of food.

Schnitzer Steel Industries is a worldwide metals recycling company based in Portland that operates a recycling yard in White City. The Kimmel Family Foundation, based in Eagle Point, focuses on caring for children. Schnitzer and Kimmel each donated $25,000, the community gave $25,300 and Schnitzer also matched that amount.

Jeers — to white supremacist and other hate groups that capitalize on the economic recession, the growing distrust of government and resentment toward minority groups to stir foment criminal activity. The Pacific Northwest has long been a haven for such groups, and the past year saw an increase in violent incidents that mirrored an uptick in extremist activity across the country. This incidents included a bombing attempt at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane; the killings of four people in three states, allegedly by a young Washington couple acting on white supremacist beliefs; and a militia member who traded gunfire with police before disappearing into the woods in Montana.

Cheers — to the arrival of rain and snow at long last. After an unusually dry December, a normal winter storm system is bringing rain to the valley and snow to the mountains, just in time for the New Year. The Siskiyou Pass and Highway 140 over the Cascades are expected to be snow-covered by tonight — an inconvenience for travelers but well worth the aggravation for the much-needed moisture.