Here are the top stories around Ipswich this week
DECEMBER is upon us and the Christmas spirit is well and truly starting to shine.
Despite a tough year, Ipswich people have been as generous as ever in the lead up to the festive season, with offers of support to those doing it tough as prevalent as ever.
The Queensland Times Adopt a Family for Christmas Appeal is making excellent progress, with about 20 families remaining to be adopted out of the 80 we started with only a couple of weeks ago.
There is more work to be done to make sure all families receive the support they need, so if you can help, please check our latest list of families and call the relevant organisation to let them know you want to adopt a family.
Now, on the topic of helping the needy at Christmas, here is this week's Friday Top Five.
Raj Sharma of India Mehfil has been calling out to the battlers and the lonely for a decade now, as part of what has become a proud tradition.
This year he will be doing it again, with his doors opening on Christmas Day to offer free meals to those who need it most.
This is a shining example of the Ipswich spirit and something we can all be proud of.
Well done to Raj and his team for keeping this going on the back of what must have been a very tough year.
It has been a quiet year on the live music front, for obvious reasons, but there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel, we hope.
A mini-festival has been planned for Willowbank in late February next year that will feature some classic Aussie bands including Icehouse, The Angels, Boom Crash Opera and James Reyne.
Being a fan of the odd tune myself, I can understand how much people will be looking forward to enjoying a live show again.
On that note, if you are a fan of The Whitlams, lead singer Tim Freedman will be making a solo appearance at the Ipswich Civic Centre on Sunday, December 13, where he will play some classic Whitlams tunes, along with some new stuff, and some covers.
Now that we know you can't take live music for granted, let's embrace it.
Anyone who has ever had a family member suffer from cancer - and I know that will be most of you - will know of the difficulties involved in attending different appointments and treatment.
In days gone by, this usually required countless trips to the big smoke.
Things are changing, slowly, and there was some good news for Ipswich this week, with the Icon Cancer Centre at Springfield announcing its new treatment facility.
For anyone in Ipswich going through what is an awfully challenging time with cancer, this new technology should certainly reduce the strain.
It has been a long time coming, but finally we are seeing new parts of the redeveloped Ipswich Mall open up to the public.
Last Saturday it was the outdoor civic plaza, Tulmur Place, and coming up on Monday, it will be the new library - the first building to open in the new Nicholas St precinct.
Built at a cost of about $17 million, the Ipswich Central Library will be aimed at adults and young adults, with a dedicated children's library to open mid-2021.
While it is great news for the city, the jury is still out on how big the impact will be on business in the mall.
Retail has been doing it tough and a lot of work still needs to be done to get Ipswich people back in the centre of town.
The recent death of her mother has forced a dramatic reappraisal for Ipswich born and raised National Basketball referee Toni Caldwell.
After a career spanning 13 seasons, Toni announced her NBL career would come to an end, but stressed she hadn't decided to give up on basketball all together.
Toni comes from a strong sporting background, with her father Kevin - better known as Butch - one of Ipswich's most notoriously tough footballers of the 70s and 80s.
There's certainly a shade of Butch in Toni's determined attitude, and that no doubt has served her well over the years.