We hope this week between Christmas and the start of 2013 will give everyone pause to reflect on the good and bad of 2012 and make the appropriate changes as the new year breaks.
We’ll talk more next week about where I would like to go. This is the week we look back on the past year and try and gauge if 2012 was good or bad.
We didn’t have earth-shattering news this year. The tornado of 2011 dominated the news a year ago, but we still had some pretty significant events.
I believe the biggest news was the return of the 288th Sappers without any combat casualties. The military does a good job of keeping the lid on troop activity and I don’t think people around here realize how often our guys were shot at and how often they were in dangerous situations.
Having them all home for Christmas made this holiday extra special for a lot of families.
The Houston Hilltoppers going to the third round of the Mississippi High School Football Playoff was also big news. As was our softball girls actually going all the way to state and coming back home with a State Championship trophy. I hope Houston got a good taste of what winning prep programs can bring to our town and community.
We also saw Okolona schools come out of state conservatorship. They named a new board of trustees last week. Those are two big steps for Chickasaw County. We need more good news coming out of Okolona schools in 2013. Charter schools will be big news in 2013 and if Chickasaw County doesn’t deal with education issues we will see one in our county.
On a more general note, we saw a lot of retirements around here this year. It’s good news when people get to live out a life and career and can then enjoy retirement.
I will point out it is also good news when young people step up to fill the gap. We’ll see if any of those newcomers make any news this year.
A lot of things changed this fall in Chickasaw County. I won’t rehash old news, but some significant changes were made at the national level. We are seeing the results with the “fiscal cliff” fiasco and the new cry for gun control. The culture wars also intensified in 2012 and will get hotter and nastier in 2013.
A lot of things changed around here, too. I will say I was surprised to see Chickasaw County vote Democratic.
In 2013 we will vote for city leaders in Houston, Houlka, Okolona and Woodland. It will be interesting to see how those municipal elections turn out.
We will see if the winds of change continue to blow over the political landscape.
My personal observation is 2012 was not as good as 2008, but better than 2010 and 2011.
I feel like things are looking up around here. Yes, there were many unemployed in Chickasaw County on Christmas Day, but overall I think most rode the upswing of the Fall of 2012.
At last count there were seven major factory announcements across Northeast Mississippi in 2012. And Toyota has moved ahead and is at full production.
I shopped local stores this Christmas and every time I stepped up to the cash register, I had to wait on someone in front of me to get out of the way. And before the cashier could take my money, there was a customer behind me waiting his or her turn.
In case you haven’t noticed I am an optimist and look forward to what tomorrow brings, despite the curve balls that were thrown my way over the past 12 months. I personally believe 2013 will be a great year for business and industry across Chickasaw County.
Like most of you, I’ve seen my share of ups and downs this year, but I have to say we are winding up on a positive note.
Community journalism is never easy, but there are rewards to living and working in a small town like Houston.
I’ve gotten to cover some exciting and controversial news in this community over the past 12 months. I’ve had people shake my hand for what I’m trying to do and others vow to get me fired.
But all in all, 2012 has been an interesting and good year in my life. And, for better or for worse, I’m glad to say it’s over.
I can’t wait to see what the next 365 days bring.