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We're entering a key stretch in our annual Cheer Fund drive, and the near-annual worry is also settling in.

Applications are up, and donations are steady but falling behind the need. In other years, we've been able to distribute gift cards to applicants before the holiday. That's a tenuous option for the 2018 drive.

Recall a year ago, the Cheer Fund was in a similar situation. North Iowans came through to reach the $125,000 goal, but it was close. And many families did not receive their gift cards until after Christmas.

Your neighbors need those donations now so their children and family members can smile, if even for a few minutes during their challenging times.

If you're waiting to make your donation, we ask that you make it this week. Mail that envelope or stop by our office.

You and the people you're helping will feel better sooner.

Winter reminders

The cold season has comfortably settled in North Iowa, and it's a good time for a series of safety reminders.

• Fires this time of year are often deadly. Go over escape plans in your home. Check the batteries in your detectors.

• Extreme temps are a threat to our extremities. Dress in thin layers that can be easily added or shed. Don't forget a hat and gloves.

• Check and refresh the safety kit in your vehicle. Leave some snacks in there. Make sure you can charge your cell phone. 

Like the snow and chilly temps, none of this is new or surprising. But we hope a quick refresher might help save you some time and keep you safe.

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Local editorials represent the opinion of the Globe Gazette editorial board, which consists of Publisher Samuel Gett, Editor David Mayberry, News Editor Ashley Miller and Regional Editor Jim Cross. Contact the board or send letters to news@globegazette.com.

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