The temperature as this is written is 52 degrees and the forecasts expect a high of 55 before the day is out.

That’s the good news.  Rain arrives around noon in Floyd County and is expected to drop wetness on us until about 4 p.m. as temperatures drop and Christmas Eve gets colder with highs maybe to 40.

White Christmas?  Doesn’t look like it.  Christmas Day will be cold with highs a degree or two above freezing but no precipitation — wet, flakey or icy — in the forecast.

Sun returns on Tuesday, the day after Christmas — with highs in the lower 40s as the madness of returning gifts and looking for sales begins at malls and big box stores.

Then cooler weather Wednesday with a high of 37 and low of 17, followed by five days of highs below freezing and lows near 10 or high single digits.

On New Year’s day of each year, a group of hard-core motorcycle riders gathers in Roanoke for the “Happy Hangover” ride, which is ironic since most of us on the ride are recovering alcoholics who plan to wake up without a hangover or headache.

Snow showers may arrive, starting on Jan.2 but still no talk of any serious snow storm — yet.

Next week will bring our annual roundup of what we feel were the major news stories in and around our area for 2017.  Looking back through the headlines and articles, some may mirror the news that has dominated national reports while others are endemic to our area.

As noted before, I find that the two areas that have consumed my life’s work over the past 57 years are journalism and politics — professions held in low esteem by many but necessary in our democratic form of government.

We depend on one to keep us informed about what may or may not really be happening and the other provides the leaders and representatives who may or may not fulfil their oath to serve the people.

As a political operative in the 1980s and early 90s, I worked to mold and shape public opinion, often by concealing real motives or agendas. As a newspaperman, I have tried to uncover those hidden truths.

Yet both professions provoke disbelief and distrust by large areas of the public.

In his book, The Paradox of American Democracy, john B. Judis blames “elites, special interests, and the betrayal of public trust”

He writes:

There are thousands of lobbying organizations in Washington representing every conceivable interest group, from Alaska crab fishermen and Armenian-Americans (two organizations) to mink exporters and motorcyclists.

Yes, I was part of that too, as vice president of political programs for The National Association from 1987 to 1992.  I directed millions of dollars to support candidates who represented the narrow focus of the real estate business.

Did these millions support the needs of most Americans?  Of course not.

Another sin.  Another controversy. Two things that mark my life as both a reporter and a political player.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good fright.