by Joel Burgess

As the Christmas season wraps up and the New Year begins, do you ever get the feeling that any resemblance of good cheer that existed quickly gives way to long, angry, customer-service lines? (Those same lines that trampled people at Wal-Mart on Black Friday?)

I am always thankful for the Christmas season, and yes, I do receive many more gifts than anyone deserves, but that is not why I am thankful. I am thankful because Christmas is about happy news!

Every morning, I make an attempt to read, or at least glance over, the Financial Times , New York Times and the Grand Rapids Press . I also make an effort to skim through,, and

Talk about bummer news galore. Let’s take today, for example. Front Page headlines verbatim: “Beirut Car Kills Lawmaker, Critic of Syria – String of Assassinations” (NY Times), “U.P. Nursing Home Fire Kills Two” (GR Press), “U.S. Gang Leader Executed””(, “Warden: Williams ‘Frustrated’ Execution Didn’t Go Quickly” ( I could go on, but I think you get the point. On the other hand, you have to dig much deeper to find happy news.

Well, now there is a website dedicated to Happy News – .

HappyNews is the brainchild of Byron Reese, chief executive of Austin, Texas-based PageWise Inc., which publishes several how-to and advice Web sites. He decided the world needed a refuge from all the unpleasantness served up by newspapers and television news shows, so he launched HappyNews in July.

HappyNews uses articles from The Associated Press and other news outlets, as well as press releases that come from 150 citizen journalists, who must follow standards for fairness, accuracy, spelling and grammar, and provide sources so HappyNews can fact-check their stories.

So who reads HappyNews?

Reese states that there is no clear geographic pattern – it doesn’t appear that one part of the country likes happy news more than others do – but about 60 percent of the readers are women

…and perhaps, myself.