Here are some mini-comments on a variety of recent items, people or events:
* Congratulations and well-earned respect to the Iraqi people, who ran the gauntlet to vote for a new government. And congratulations to President George Bush, the troops and others who hung in there for the election while withstanding a barrage by many doomsayers.
* Congratulations to Jim Limbaugh for his well-deserved selection as the Rush H. Limbaugh Award recipient for 2005. Jim has a passion for his city, Southeast Missouri State University athletics, his associates, his family, "Pops" (his grandfather for whom the award is named) and his many business associates and community involvements. His acceptance remarks were outstanding and motivating.
* Congratulations to Dr. Charles Wiles, the marketing pro who guided the three-year-long planning of the Southeast Missouri State University transition from the Indians nickname to the Redhawks.
The more than 6,000 people (no matter how many officially passed the turnstiles) who saw the introduction of the new, highly animated Rowdy mascot spent a historic over-the-hump evening topped off by the two basketball victories.
Also, congratulations to athletic director Don Kaverman and university president Ken Dobbins, who both had to ride out the many suggestions and criticisms that are normal for such an athletic team name change.
And no thanks to the politically correct NCAA Division I guidelines that motivated the action.
* Congratulations to Sonny Minor, the good old boy who's made good with his motorcycle retail center which was recognized by the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce as its small business of the year.
His giving back to the city and county set a fine example for others.
* Congratulations to Glenn and Rhoda Reeves of Horizon Screen Printing for their singled-out recognition at the 375-attendee Washington, D.C., summit meeting of the National Federation of Independent Business.
Both serve on the NFIB's Missouri state council. This top lobbying group's DVD features five or six individual interviews with either Rhoda or Glenn.
Most of the attendees were members of state leadership councils, and the DVD will be played to many throughout the nation. Their remarks displayed their beliefs in the group, and their local and state involvement put their actions where their mouths are.
* Special thanks to the Jackson Board of Aldermen and Cape Girardeau City Council for their open-to-the-public joint meeting recently. They've come a long way, and much credit goes to the original partnership of former Cape Girardeau mayor Al Spradling III and new mayor Jay Knudtson and Jackson Mayor Paul Sander.
The cooperation on building-code reviews, highway planning, police and fire assistance, and area economic development should give us all much of which to be proud.
Adding in Scott City, which abuts the Cape Girardeau city limits, this three-city area (plus Cape Girardeau County) has a total population of about 70,000 people.
* A special welcome to Lee Enterprises Inc., which this week signed an agreement to purchase Pulitzer Inc., which includes the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Suburban Journals and the Park Hills (formerly Flat River) daily newspaper.
Lee is a well-respected and well-managed group.
* Also, this week Rust Communications welcomes a number of our publishers from the eight states in which we have newspapers. They are here for their annual budget reviews, informal training sessions -- and a shuffleboard tournament.
Gary Rust is chairman of Rust Communications.