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Weekends are perfect for taking it easy, so while you’re busy doing that today, think about what you have, and what others may not have.

We bring this up because we’re well into the season of giving, which in most cases means you get something in return. Paying it forward or whatever, the love you give is the love you get back.

That attitude seems to have invaded the Central Coast, as so many individuals and organizations are taking time out of busy — some would say hectic — schedules to make sure their neighbors can enjoy the holidays as much as they do.

And because this is the season of giving, we’ve opted for only handing out roses today. Besides, the raspberry season ended in late October.

The first batch of red beauties goes to the 20 or so members of the Santa Maria Fire Department and City Attorney’s Office who got together earlier this week to wrap gifts for families that really need their holidays to be brightened up.

It’s part of the Child Abuse Listening Mediation’s Adopt-a-Family program. Firefighters and other city employees bought and wrapped dozens of gifts for four Santa Maria families.

CALM’s Adopt-a-Family program has been in operation for eight years. Staff members, who work with families and children that have suffered abuse and other hardships, identify families that won’t be able to provide gifts for their children this year.

CALM has arranged for 80 families in Santa Maria to be adopted this year, with more than 250 families getting the same help countywide.

This gives a whole new meaning to “protect and serve” — especially at this special time.

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We’ll have more to say about this in the days ahead, but for now, roses to Santa Maria city officials who are going full-steam ahead on the Downtown Multimodal Streetscape Concept Plan, which in plain English is the re-imagining of the city’s downtown core.

The city Planning Commission signed off on the plan, which now goes to the City Council in mid-January.

The overall mission is to make downtown Santa Maria streets more accommodating to pedestrians and bicyclists, focusing on a conceptual redesign of Main Street between Pine and Miller, and Broadway between Cook and Mill.

Communities that prosper are the ones that change with the times, and now is the time for downtown to be modernized, and made more suitable for walking and biking, instead of simply accommodating rivers of cars and trucks.

Bravo to city officials — and keep on moving on.

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Ask your typical senior citizen to define “coding,” and you’re likely to get all kinds of answers — and most of them will miss the mark.

But really, it’s pretty simple. Coding is what older adults may have known as computer science and programming, and it’s something kids these days pick up at more or less lightning speed.

Dozens of second and fifth-graders at Santa Maria’s Miller Elementary School got a chance to test their coding skills last Wednesday, exploring the basics, and some tricks, of computer programming and computer science. The "Hour of Code" lesson was prepared by teachers.

Actually, the local program is part of a global movement to introduce millions of kids to computer science, and be thoroughly challenged to develop programs that respond to both timed events and user input.

Tech stuff is second nature to kids these days, and coding is the bedrock of computer science. Another sign of the accelerating world of high technology. Roses to all the young coders.

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