This is the last column for me to write this year -- since it is scheduled to be published on the last day of 2008. It will be next year before I write another one.
A great thing about this time of the year is the large number of good football games to watch on TV. There are a numerous bowl games -- perhaps too many. If there were fewer they would have more meaning. Still, it is good to watch a large number as we have the opportunity. It is especially fun when the team I favor wins.
This has been a significant year in many respects. It has had it good points and bad points. A number of reviews of the year will be presented by the media. Much of it I do not want to review.
What goes up, comes down. We have had several years with a good economy. This year has seen a major decline. Hindsight is much better then foresight and as we look back on it, there were several signs that should have prepared us for the economic conditions that we are in at present, which many refer to as a disaster.
George Graham and I worked together in extension for a number of years. When we had challenges, perhaps reports we had to get done, a he would often comment, "This, too, shall pass." He was right things got better. We can say the same thing with the economy as we see it at present -- it will get better.
When I was born we were in a deep depression. Recently, I have wondered if I might die during another depression.
As I review the events of the past year and look forward with anticipation to the events in 2009, I think of a number of subjects that might be considered for future columns. Certainly, the subject of the economy might be considered. Many senior citizens have lost much of their savings that they were counting on. One person told me recently that everyone in his company has received a 10 percent pay cut.
There are some bright spots in the economy; there are some firms that are doing well. The good things that are happening never get mentioned. It is hard to move from this subject to consider other subjects, although in this area we have not been hurt as much as people in other areas -- we did not have as large of a bubble.
We can bet that things will get tight for many communities, with many needing to make cuts in their services. Our local governments, as well as at the state level, will need to be conservative with their expenditures. Thank goodness that we have a constitution in Missouri that prohibits the state from going into debt.
In this area we are in a good position for a number of things that could benefit our economic development. We need to define what those things are and work together. Too often the energy by our community leaders is put into endeavors that do not need as much attention. Someway, somehow the citizens of this community need to work together and to pull together.
We have been placed in a position of needing to hire another city manager. Getting in this position has never been fully explained and probably should have not occurred. There is a need for the city charter to be followed more fully then perhaps it has been in recent months.
There certainly needs a review of all of the great things that have happened in recent months that have a major impact on our community. One of the significant things is that Prairie Pride is not in full operation with the bio-diesel plant. This will have a major impact on this area for years to come.
How do you get to Champion Diamonds? There is not enough appreciation shown for what Champion Diamonds does for this community. It brings a large number of tourists into the community that spend money. It makes a major impact on the economy, yet many do not realize its' importance to the community. There needs to be a new street put in that goes directly to this attraction.
Again, this year some of the subjects that I will be discussing with you will include the McGennis Youth Center, 4-H, Nevada/Vernon County Chamber of Commerce and the street expansion program. One of the popular subjects relates to diabetes and there will be other subjects worthy of using.
One of the great things that are observed in this community is the large number of people who give of themselves and their talents to volunteer in a variety of ways. Probably this is true in other communities, but it is especially true in this area. You name it and there are volunteers including Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army bell ringers, volunteer youth leaders, volunteers at the hospital and at the museum. There are many more places where there are volunteers. These people are helping to make this a great community. They make a major contribution. Still, there is a need for even more volunteers.
These are some of my thoughts for this week. As we go into a new year, hopefully you will have a Happy New Year and may the year be prosperous for you.