By crikey our local council has had a roasting from readers over the past 12 months, seemingly not being able to do a single thing right, be it with the airport, the emptying out of the CBD and now the floating wetland.
The wetland costing about half a million bucks has been thought to endanger aircraft with the birdlife it attracts.
Sigh _ the task of a councillor in any city is a thankless one and I certainly wouldn't wish to jump into the hot seat.
But there is light. With the festive season upon us, Rotorua District Council has made a gesture that has clawed back a fair few brownie points.
The council has introduced 12 days of free parking in the central city putting smiles on shoppers and retailers.
Initially after they first announced the "Christmas gift'', they backed down but, after a change of heart, decided (very wisely) to offer free parking after all.
Of course, these freebies always come at a price with lost parking fine revenue as well as marketing and promotion costs _ but that's okay.
The upside is that businesses will benefit immensely and there are reports of the city being a lot busier.
The council can be reassured knowing that the public are showering untold accolades on this decision to allow them to do their shopping during this stressful part of the year without having to worry about topping up pesky meters.
Let's just for now at least, back off throwing darts at our local council team and wish them and their families all the very best for the festive season.
Our city has been going through tough times, but right now it's looking pretty good and the streets are buzzing.
Let's back off the tetchy letters for a while and show a little Christmas spirit. Remember _ tis the season ...
Friday's mass shooting at a school in the United States where 27 people died makes us ask once again what drives someone to commit such an evil act.
The belief that "something snaps in the brain'' is a popular theory, brought on by some deep-centred mental condition over which the gunman has little or no control.
Much more likely however is that there is a period of weeks or even months of preparation leading up to the assault.
The assailant is often intelligent and meticulously prepares his (almost always a male) assault. A search of his home invariably reveals an armoury of destructive weapons, documents pertaining to violence and related online activity.
Let us never take for granted that these assaults tend to be confined to communities such as those in the US. They can spring up anywhere, without warning, such as the 1990 Aramoana shooting where 13 lives were taken _ and, unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to prepare ourselves for it.
At the other end of the scale, there are those in the community who wouldn't harm a fly _ literally.
We have a lovely friend who even has difficulty disposing of beasties such as cockroaches.
Her daughter pleaded with her not to kill one recently, so mum obliged by covering the beast in an upturned jar overnight and arranged for it to "disappear'' before she awoke the next morning.
I have witnessed this same woman pick up a ladybird from her car and carefully place it on a branch nearby. Being a little queasy by nature, after catching a mouse in a trap, rather than go through the gory unclamping process, she will dispose of the crushed rodent into the fire _ trap and all.