By Karen T. Braeckel
HSPA Foundation

I just celebrated my December birthday.

According to the decades-old Braeckel house rule, this means we can now get serious about the holidays. (More on that later.)

Passage of my b-day also means the last major

HSPA Foundation event of the year already occurred. (Dec. 8 cannot fall on the first Saturday of the month – the day designated for the Newsroom Seminar – unless someone changes the calendar system.)

You will find seminar information throughout this issue. If you could not attend, you missed some great sessions and the celebration of the superb journalism talent in our state.

(I still cannot figure out the logic of some newspapers allowing only their winners to attend. It makes sense to me that those not carrying home the plaques or certificates could use training too. I guess I should remember the advice of a former boss at The Star and The News who told me, “Braeckel, don’t get logical on us!”)

So now what? Let’s just say boredom never sets in here.

First we thank individuals and corporations for their generosity throughout the year – contributing financially, volunteering time and service on boards and committees and sharing talent. We will send documentation soon to those who have not yet received it for donations.

We also remind you it’s not too late to give to the 2014K campaign, honor or remember someone through a contribution, or add to the directors’ fund. And those who plan to pay dues before the end of the year, please consider adding a voluntary donation to the Foundation so we can continue our programming.

Next we turn our attention to future journalists.

Colleges and universities will receive information about registering for the APME and HSPA Foundation Job and Career Fair Jan. 31 at Ball State, and applying for a Eugene S. Pulliam or advertising internship by Feb. 27.

We announced the Job Fair and Pulliam Internships to students and advisers at the awards luncheon.

Thanks to Publisher Chuck Wells and Home News Enterprises for donating the registration fees for first-place winners of the Indiana Collegiate Press Association categories. George Garties and The Associated Press also provided financial support to the seminar.

Editors still interested in signing up to recruit interns or employees at the Job Fair, please let us know as soon as possible. Students can register through Jan. 9. After that date, we begin scheduling.

Within the next week we will send information to ad directors about advertising interns. With this program the newspapers pay at least minimum wage, plus a commission of at least 1 percent.

We will add requirements to the students’ application to weed out those not really interested and to provide more information about the student.

The end of this week we will meet with the Annual Conference planning committee to select a site for the September conference and decide other details about the event.

To add to the December fun, our recruitment program for editorial and advertising contest judges officially kicked off at the Newsroom Seminar. We will turn in our list of volunteers by Jan. 9 to the New Jersey Press Association. We got a great start on the editorial side as we collected sign-up sheets at the seminar.

Did I mention finalizing the budget? We won’t go there.

So let’s return to the holiday scene at our house. Our California son and Miami daughter and their families will share Christmas at home with our miracle man and their Indy sister and her family. (John just got another “cancer-free” scan last month. He now battles with the side effects of chemo and radiation, but as I tell him, “You’re here!”)

While it will bring much happiness to have the whole family together, it also causes some angst. In July we tackled a project we canceled with John’s diagnosis almost two years ago. We remodeled our almost 50-year-old kitchen – as in gutting it completely. The “eight-week” project stretched into four months, and we turned on the new oven and stovetop Thanksgiving Day for the first time. (Picture turkey and operating manuals side-by-side.)

But I still need to find the dining room. Oh, I remember where it is. I just can’t walk through it with all the kitchen stuff yet to find a new space. The Christmas Eve deadline will crank up the speed of completion.

Now that my birthday passed, the HSPA Foundation wishes everyone Happy Holidays – however you choose to celebrate.

Karen T. Braeckel is director of the HSPA Foundation.