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Holiday options

If your Thanksgiving holiday plans include travelling 50 miles or more this week, you won't be alone. An estimated 43.6 million Americans will be doing the same thing, a slight increase from last year.

AAA, formerly known as the American Automobile Association, projects such travel plans annually. The company predicts air travel will be down, placing more people on the nation's highways. Lingering memories of the recent recession will drive median spending down some 10 percent.

Those driving to spend time with relatives and friends will not be the only ones on the road. Law enforcement agencies across Kansas are taking part in the Kansas Thanksgiving Traffic Enforcement Campaign through Sunday.

Funded by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation, officers will be on the lookout for impaired drivers as well as enforcing seatbelt laws.

As Thanksgiving traditionally outranks other holidays in the number of crashes involving impaired drivers in the Sunflower State, such a concentrated effort does not surprise.

"Keep in mind that if you are going to be drinking any amount at all, don't consider driving home," said Ellis County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Garner.

Safety issues aside, the AAA estimates would suggest the majority of people are not travelling for the holiday. For those without plans either to cook a Thanksgiving meal or gather with family, there is an alternative that allows one to indulge in traditional foods and share a sense of community.

The Ellis County Ministerial Alliance once again is ready for the annual Thanksgiving Day Feast. Scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the National Guard Armory, 200 Main St., the celebration just keeps getting bigger every year. More than 400 individuals were served in 2010. Last year, it was close to 500.

By any measure, the feast is a huge success. Individuals and families alike who might not have anywhere else to go are treated to a traditional meal with all the trimmings. More than a hundred volunteers assist the ECMA, which has perfected the process over the years. Those who need a ride will be picked up by the Access van; those who need meals delivered to their home have that option as well.

We are grateful the ministerial alliance ensures such a gathering takes place. The need is obvious -- as is the caring of the ECMA and all the volunteers.

Wherever the holiday finds you, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net