Rant: Traffic ticket vans are out of control.

Here’s a familiar scenario: You’re cruising around town with your holiday shopping list whittled down to just a few stragglers. The flow of traffic is steady, you’re jamming to some tunes, and then … FLASH! You are temporarily blinded by the bright lights of a photo radar van. Just like that, your bubbly holiday spirit is replaced by the reality that your stocking will be filled with a traffic ticket.

These are not the kind of blinking lights you want to see around the holidays. Yes, I get it, speeding is wrong. But a warning sign 325 feet in front of a stationary van isn’t particularly helpful in reducing speeds (plus you rarely notice the sign until it’s too late). And the van always seems to be hidden on a median between trees. If so many people are driving above the speed limit in a particular area, put a line of cops out there to write them up. Make a scene about it. Actively encourage safer driving. If speeding in critical areas of the city is such as issue, reinforcement should be left up to police officers, not a machine.

Rave: Brewing Homes for the Holidays

Adopting a family for the holidays isn’t a new idea. But the folks at Family & Senior Homeless Initiative are taking it to the next level—and they need business partners to help. Their mission: Help seven local families achieve their dreams of living in their own homes this holiday season. A sponsoring/mentoring business team (made up of two to six people) will fund the $1,200 that makes up a family’s first month’s rent and security deposit. Then, the group dedicates time over the following months to give these working families support and help guide them toward a self-sustaining lifestyle.

If that warm, fuzzy feeling you’ll get isn’t enough, Wynkoop Brewing Company is sweetening the deal with a few cups—er, bottles—of holiday cheer. Businesses that sign up as mentor teams will enjoy a month’s worth of Wynkoop beer, a holiday meal for the team and their sponsor family, lots of hugs from the Wynkoop crew, and maybe an extra growler (if you’re feeling extra thirsty). This is one holiday good deed that won’t go unrewarded.

Image courtesy Shutterstock

Follow editorial assistant Lindsey R. McKissick on Twitter at @LindseyRMcK.