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Letters and our Stars

If you have been waiting to send a letter to the editor regarding the Nov. 2 election, know that you are running out of time.

The deadline for submissions related to candidates or issues is noon Thursday, and those letters will run next weekend, depending on the volume. After that deadline passes, letters dealing with this year’s vote will not be accepted.

That leads to a question that comes up frequently at this point in every election cycle: Why are submissions not permitted the weekend before an election?

It’s a fair request, and the brief answer is that by running a letter so close to the election, there would be little time before the vote to correct an obvious misstatement that appeared in a submission. By keeping the weekend before the election open, there’s an opportunity to correct such an issue. It’s a system that has been in place for many years now, and one that helps to keep the playing field level.

Whether you are writing about the election or not, remember that our regular guidelines remain. There is a 500-word limit for submissions, and each writer is entitled to one letter every four weeks. That ensures more people have the opportunity to have a submission printed.

While responses to a letter are acceptable, we do not allow responses to responses. The original writer had his or her say, other readers had the chance to offer differing perspectives and then it’s time to move on to another topic.

Anonymous letters will be rejected, as will any letters that are deemed to be libelous or a personal attack. We need your name, town where you live and a telephone number we use to contact you if we have questions. The numbers are never published.

Oh … it’s the responsibility of the writer to make sure we receive the letter before the deadline.

Submissions from readers are important — they offer a chance to share varying points of view. Letters to the editor have been a staple of newspapers since the first one was printed many centuries ago.

We’re happy to make the forum available.

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We are seeing the return this fall to many in-person events.

One of those we are happy about is our annual Community Stars dinner. This year’s event, during which we will honor 10 of the Tri-State Area’s unsung heroes, will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 28 at Froehlich’s Classic Corner, located at the intersection of Washington and Fifth streets in downtown Steubenville.

It’s traditionally been a relaxed event. The stars will gather with members of their family and friends, enjoy camaraderie and a meal and receive their awards. Some honorees make long speeches, other say a simple thank-you. Each of the dinners has been a chance for the community to tell recipients thanks for making the region a better place to live.

This year’s stars include Steve Forte of Wintersville, Jon Greiner of Toronto, Dennis Jones of Weirton, Flora VerStraten-Merrin of Richmond, Kathleen Cass Michael of Brilliant, Holly Pate of Steubenville, Mattie Patterson of Steubenville, Chuck Svokas of Weirton, Bobby Westfall of Mingo Junction and Brian Wilson of Steubenville.

While there’s a new presenting sponsor — Main Street Bank — M&M Hardware continues its support of the program, providing a gift certificate for each of the stars and making a donation in the name of each star to a charity of his or her choice.

Last year’s dinner was another victim of COVID-19, which broke our string of annual recognition events that the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times started in 1998.

Tickets for this year’s dinner are $20 for adults and are available by contacting Diana Brown at the Herald-Star at (740) 283-4711. There’s a sense of urgency to make your reservations this year — the deadline is Oct. 25.

Community Stars is a chance to honor area residents who do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. We hope you will join us in honoring them Oct. 28.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

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