We've all heard of spring cleaning, but in this case "Ye Olde Editor" is doing a little holiday cleaning. I've reached that point where my stack of accumulated news briefs and opinions need to hit the Citizen somewhere. It turns out that this column is that "somewhere." I'm thinking you'll find this column to be a little like the weather. If you find something you don't like, just wait a little bit, it'll change. The VJ Smith visit A couple of weeks ago, the Citizen ran a page 1 story trumpeting the impending arrival of VJ Smith as this year's guest speaker for the Beef Royale banquet. In preparation for the story, I did some research on Smith's speeches and learned that he was consistently met with rousing applause and standing ovations. I heard so many good things about Smith, I wondered if I was in for a letdown. That certainly wasn't the case. Smith had the entire audience on the edge of our seats. His message reminded us how important it is to be a good person, how to treat people, how to look for the good, rather than consistently focus on people's bad qualities. Smith spoke a lot about a Wal-Mart clerk who he called "the richest man in town." It was clear that this clerk understood people and understood what it took to live a happy and fulfilled life. One example of how this guy lived was when he told Smith that he often got in trouble for reaching into his own pocket to help folks who didn't have enough cash to cover their bill. "Did anyone ever not pay you back?" the clerk was asked. "One time, and it was $10," came the reply. "But that didn't bother me because I know he felt worse about it than I did." Christie's approval rating This week, a New Jersey poll showed that the approval rating for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is at 77%. That number is absolutely astounding considering that Christie is a Republican in what has historically been considered a blue state. To take it a step further, the poll showed that Christie's approval rating among New Jersey Democrats is 67%. I know I tend to dwell on the fact that this country suffers greatly from the "We vs. Them" mentality in the Democratic and Republican parties. While it's true that some folks thrive on this kind of strife, the key independent American voters - the folks both parties fight over every election season - are sick and tired of it. That's why folks appreciate Gov. Christie. He embraces bipartisanship, he's not afraid to speak his mind and he's not afraid to cross Rush Limbaugh, who, by the way, ripped Christie last month because he said something positive about the U.S. President during a campaign. (Christie praised Obama for his help in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Apparently, that's not allowed.) Support the Chamber I realize Damon Weinandt has been our Chamber Executive for just a few months, but I've been impressed with his work to date. Weinandt always seems upbeat and energetic about his job and that spirit just has to be contagious around Windom. I've already heard positive comments about his work from Chamber board members. By the way, Weinandt says the Chamber still has a number of ornaments for sale from the Windom collector's series. There are also a few prints available depicting Toro's 50th anniversary, the 2000 Pine Inn and the 1988 Windom portrait. Also, Tim Jenniges will once again be doing custom gift-wrapping at the Chamber office. He will begin sometime after Dec. 8. I expect we will have details in next week's Citizen.