(NOTE: Nick in the Morning is taking a Christmas break next week, but not a long one. We'll be out Monday and Tuesday, Christmas Day, but plan to return bright and early Wednesday. Merry Christmas.)

Good morning, troops. It's Friday, Dec. 21.

Nick in the Morning is heading into the pre-Christmas weekend with hopes our readers and their families have a fantastic holiday, and with profound thanks for following us this year.

We also hope the new year brings better health tidings to one of the good guys in public service in the Tri-County Area.

Metamora Village President Ken Maurer is fighting a recurrence of prostate cancer. He said it's Stage 4 and aggressive.

In September, Maurer underwent what appeared to be successful surgery, but recent tests revealed the cancer had returned. He was to receive other test results this week, including those from a PSA exam, which helps gauge prostate health.

"If they're going down or at zero, that's good news," Maurer said earlier this week. "If they're going up or doubling, I might be counting my days.

"They're still saying they can maybe get me another four years. It just depends on how bad it is."

The main, current side effect is fatigue, Maurer said.

Maurer, 72, is a legendary figure in western Woodford County. Before he first was elected village president, in 2013, he spent 24 years as superintendent of the Metamora Township High School district.

The average tenure for a school-district superintendent tends to be in the low single digits.

A 2010 Journal Star story stated Maurer was able to last at Metamora as long as he did because he had the trust and support of faculty, parents, staff and students. He helped lead the district through fiscal difficulties and growing pains.

Maurer also was in contention to be appointed to an Illinois State Senate seat vacated when Dale Risinger resigned in 2011. That appointment went to Darin LaHood, who now is the 18th District congressman.

Maurer is undergoing medical care in Peoria, and he appears ready to fulfill his civic duties as long as he can. He consented to make public his health situation in hopes it might spur men 50 and older to have their prostates checked.

"If you live long enough, you're going to get it," Maurer said about prostate cancer. "Ninety-two percent are slow growing. I'm in the lucky 8 percent that's a little more aggressive."

As some readers might be aware, Nick in the Morning is a cancer survivor. We've been in remission for almost three years. Although our cancer wasn't in the prostate, we still underwent a PSA test last year. It was quick and painless, and the results were good.

Here's hoping Maurer receives more hopeful results soon.