This is the time of year when we take a look back at 2013 and at the same time look forward to 2014.
It’s a bittersweet time of year. There have been weddings and funerals, cars bought and trucks crashed, profits and losses, good times and sad times.
I try not to dwell too much on the past. Yes, there is much to be learned by looking back at what went wrong and what went right in 2013. But I’m an optimist and I prefer to look forward to good times ahead.
I have never heard of someone honestly trying to fail. None of us should head down any path knowing full well that heartache and misery are waiting. Life is for the living and we need to look to each new day as opportunity and a chance to make this world a little better place.
So with all that said, let’s take a look back at 2013 and a then peer into 2014 and hope for the best.
• Houston was listed on the National Register this year with the businesses and streets around The Square as its boundaries.
I have said repeatedly we sport one of the prettiest Courthouses in the state if not the country. A lot went on, on the square this year: the Easter Egg hunt, July 4th Homecoming and most recently our Christmas Parade.
• We had three homicides in Chickasaw County this year. As bad as they were, I want to tip my hat to local law enforcement for making arrests as quickly as possible. This is a safe place to live and we all need to work hard to keep it that way.
• Chickasaw County unveiled a 959-acre industrial mega site south of Okolona this spring. There are folks working everyday to fill it up. This was big news for this community. It has the potential to be even bigger news in 2014.
• The Chickasaw County Museum opened during the Spring Houston Flywheel Festival with lots of local history, artifacts and information on display at the building on Woodland Circle in Joe Brigance Park. We have a story on the front page of today’s paper about the museum. The Museum continues to bring people and recognition to our community.
• Baird Machine Shop celebrated 100 years of business at its building on Jefferson Street in May. That was unique and historic news for this town. We need more stories like it.
• Excel in Okolona celebrated 25 years of addressing social concerns in that community with a weekend-long series of events in August. Houston, Houlka and even Woodland need something similar to Excel.
• Houston School District went from a “D” to a “C” in state accountability ratings. That was a move in the right direction, but all schools in Chickasaw County have a long way to go.
• The Chickasaw Development Foundation has ramped up with four unique committees hard at work. Look for them to host more community events this year. Look for them to come ask you to get involved in making Houston a better place to live and do business.
• Look for development of two areas in our community this year. I think we will see new business and renovations on The Square in 2014. I also think this will be the year someone takes the risk and starts some kind of development around the Highway 15 Bypass.
• The opening of the Tanglefoot Trail will big news in 2013. I believe before 365 days pass we will see two new restaurants and a half dozen new businesses open around or because of the Trail. That includes Houlka, too!
• I hope this is the year we figure out how to break the gasoline gouging that goes on around here. When gasoline in Houston is .20-cents higher than fuel in Tupelo and Starkville something is bad wrong. And we wonder why people go out of town to shop?
• Chickasaw County farmers had a good year in 2013. Agri-business is big business around here. I hope and pray we have a good growing season in 2014.
• There is no daycare center in Houston. I firmly believe someone will address this need and open one this year.
• Houston will continue to get tougher on cleaning up unsightly property in this community. A clean town benefits us all. Our aldermen know this and I hope they don’t back off.
• We have heard rumblings of a charter school opening in eastern Chickasaw County. Right now it is nothing but talk. But if Okolona, Houlka and Houston schools don’t get on the ball, parents will demand something better.
I hope you can look back on 2013 and see the blessings that have fallen on you. I hope you can put to rest those failures and losses that you suffered – I had them, too.
Like I said earlier, let’s look forward to 2014 and when we meet here again at this time next year we can all smile and say it’s been a good year!
Let’s get excited. Let’s make a plan. Let’s get to work on 2014.