Editorial: Some news to be thankful for this holiday season

As we approach the holiday season, we begin to reflect on the year that was — and in the case of 2014, it’s been a year of some pretty bad news on the North Fork.

But in recent weeks — even as our coverage has included reports of gang activity and controversies at town and village hall — we’ve been happy to also report some positive news.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’ve decided to use this editorial space to shine a spotlight on a few of those items this week:

• The Southold Town budget approved last week funds the hiring of eight new police officers — welcome news for a department that has been understaffed by nearly a dozen officers in recent years. That same town budget also dedicates $6.9 million to anticipated land acquisitions through the Community Preservation Fund. At a time when many municipalities are struggling to balance a budget, the Southold Town Board has approved one that is mindful of protecting open space and improving our quality of life while hardly raising taxes.

• It gave us great pleasure to produce last week’s cover featuring a jubilant state champion Mattituck boys soccer team. Two weeks earlier, the county champion Southold boys soccer team and the Mattituck girls volleyball team also graced our cover. Our schools continue to find success on the athletic fields and this fall was as successful a school sports season as any of late.

• Our page 2-3 spread on Nov. 13 featured coverage of several Veterans Day ceremonies on the North Fork and a piece recognizing the 50th anniversary of Community Action Southold Town. The Veterans Day piece told the story of Sgt. Luis Remache, a Marine who lost his legs in Afghanistan and was awarded a $3,500 gift card from the Southold American Legion to furnish his new home. And that an organization like CAST can still be thriving after five decades and numerous economic recessions is further testament to how giving a place the North Fork can be.

• This week’s story about Scott Raulsome, who recently purchased Burton’s Bookstore in Greenport, also left us with a smile. At a time when we often read reports of struggling independent bookstores, it’s great to know the village is the type of place that can still support such a business.

This year has certainly been difficult, filled with a bit more tragedy than triumph on the North Fork.

But we live and work in a beautiful place that, though it changes more each year, still manages to excite us and make us proud to call it home. For that we are thankful.