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Here is an e-mail I received Wednesday night from Aruba Today's, Tito Lacle:

E-mail No. 1

Joran arrived in Aruba tonight!

As you probably know, the "Joran" is Joran van der Sloot and he has been in school in Holland the last few months. I assume he is home for the holidays and will go back to school in Holland in January. I have no idea if the police intend to question him or not.

Incidentally, the typical media cycle about the investigation into Natalee Holloway's disappearance has occurred. First we had "Stage One," where almost everyone (and I mean everyone) covered her disappearance and the investigation. All of prime time on all the cable networks covered it as well as at least one magazine show on the networks. Magazines also covered it: Vanity Fair, People, etc.

Now we are in "Stage Two" of a long story, where the media criticizes the coverage even though the viewers remain interested. The cycle is so predictable. Yesterday I read with some amusement an Associated Press column that was critical of the coverage of Natalee's disappearance. I guess the A.P. columnist writing that story did not know — or chose to ignore — that there was an A.P. reporter in Aruba covering the story. As an aside, the A.P. does a great job of covering news and did a great job in Aruba.

Here's the bottom line: If you don't want to read about the investigation for Natalee or watch the coverage, don't. No one is making anyone watch or read about it. And far more important, it remains a tragedy that this young American is missing in Aruba and her family has no answers. An even bigger tragedy is that there are many, many more Americans missing here in the United States with families who everyday grieve for their loved ones. The pain is immeasurable. I only wish we could cover all these missing person stories in order to help. I don't know what is better to do: Concentrate on one story and drive home the point that we need to better investigate cases or do many, many, many segments on many missing people to drive home the point that missing persons is a huge problem and one that can not be ignored anymore. It may not seem so serious to some, but I am sure their opinion would change should they meet the many parents who are searching for their children.

What do you think?

And now for some more e-mails:

E-mail No. 2 — this e-mail is from my California colleague Adam Housley. I asked him to e-mail me as to how he would be spending Christmas. Note that he mentions red wine — but what he does not mention is that his family has a vineyard in California and makes GREAT wine. I buy it online!

Thanks so much for asking about my family. As you know, they mean everything to me! This Christmas and eve, I have once again volunteered to work since I don't yet have a family of my own. So, I will spend the week prior with my mom, dad, brother and his family. We will celebrate the holidays a couple of days earlier, but it is no matter to us as long as we are together. The fireplace will be glowing, the tree will sparkle, my niece will sing us some of her kindergarten songs and my 2-year-old nephew will amaze with his ability to tear apart everything in sight!
Dinner will be at my parents' house, we'll have a roast, mash potatoes, corn, salad and pie for dessert. The top off will be a bottle of red wine! I love holidays in the wine country. Please send my best holiday wishes to all who support you and may the coming year be filled with happiness, prosperity and good health.
Adam Housley

Did you really have fun last New Year's eve? E-mail me, I might post your e-mail:

E-mail No. 3

Hi Greta,
I usually catch up with you on the Web, so sometimes I am a day behind. I generally enjoy your blog and the show when I can watch it. I can't believe the number of people who comment on your hair and clothing. They need to get a life, or listen to someone on the radio. Hey, one big thing I would like to see you cover: Myself and another gentleman from our church took a 20-foot trailer full of toys, blankets, and building materials down to a group of folks in need in Gulfport, MS this past weekend. It is truly more blessed to give than to receive when people receive like they do. One 90-year-old lady was so precious. But here is the story: The hurricanes were months ago, and everybody jumped on board to send aid right away, but now it looks like a lot of folks are pulling out or acting as if the need has been met. Greta, they need help for years down there, not just a couple of months. Please do a story on the continued relief effort in that region. I can give you some great contacts that would make compelling stories if you need some.
Enjoy the show. Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. God bless.
Ron Beatty

E-mail No. 4

God bless your husband... he will surely be a saint. Obviously your ratings far outweigh all the criticism received in your blog otherwise FOX would dump you. The gal that e-mailed several days ago who commented about how quickly New York Ciry cleaned up the debris of the WTC and why couldn’t NOLA do the same — I just shook my head. But it’s been bugging me and I can’t stay quiet anymore, especially since you and now Shepherd Smith are revisiting the hurricane areas, showing us footage of destruction. Obviously that woman never took geometry. I can’t imagine trying to compare the few acres in New York City to the hundreds of thousands of square miles from Texas to Florida and far inland that just don’t exist anymore. Heartbreaking.
Merry Christmas,
Fresno, CA

E-mail No. 5

Hi Greta,
Thanks for the head's up with Shep being in the Gulf Coast this week. I watched yesterday and today. I had not idea of how bad it is, and I am livid. Some people just moved into tent towns, who just recently lived out in the elements on their property with temps going down to 32 degrees. What's going on? Charity begins at home. If I weren't disabled, I'd be there in a nanosecond. I implore your readers to consider helping where it is needed.... Perhaps, Habitat for Humanity can step up their operations. Do you have any "volunteer" phone numbers?
Sharon Chandler
Modesto, CA

E-mail No. 6

Merry Christmas Greta,
I have to echo the sentiments of several others. The story of New Orleans is getting old! Plus, other than a few other mentions, the rest of the area, from Alabama to Texas, is brushed aside. My Guard unit was in Pasqugula, Moss Point, and Ocean Springs, MS. I haven't even heard these towns even mentioned! But we searched for bodies, handed out food and water there. We saw homes that were wrecked, and empty land where homes once stood. We consoled people that lost everything they had. I guess if you are poor, black, and living off the government dole, you get the media attention. Where, it seems, if you are middle class, black or white, and don't whine about whose fault it is or stand in line for your welfare debit card, you are not news.
I am starting to feel like the lady from Texas, I'm starting not to care about New Orleans simply because it is being forced down my throat as "America's Challenge." Why should I care for a highly corrupt city government that has it's hand out for my tax dollars, so it can take those dollars and waste it on business as usual politics?
Thomas Bowers
Dahlonega, GA

Here is a good news story:

WEST CHAZY, N.Y. (AP) — Thanks to a stop at a convenience store to pick up a soda, Fannie Spoor can now switch to champagne.

The 57-year-old grandmother from northern New York won two (m) million dollars after buying a ten-dollar scratch-off lottery ticket at a Wilson Farms in West Chazy, near the Canadian border north of Plattsburgh.

Yesterday she received the first of 20 annual 100-thousand-dollar payments, minus taxes.

Spoor — the mother of six and grandmother of nine — was at the store to get a soda when she decided to buy a lottery ticket. She scratched off the ticket in her car and realized she had won.

Spoor is a homemaker and her husband is a truck driver. Her children says she's devoted to her family.

The newly-minted (m) millionaire says she'll probably buy a new house with her winnings — and visit her sister in Albany.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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