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Hello, 2004! That was the year that was

Friday, December 26, 2003

Many years ago there was a television show that was called "That Week Was The Week That Was". It was a favorite around our house, and I can remember the little opening jingle - it was a catchy ditty.

Well, now the year 2003 is almost the "year that was", and it seems that the changing of the calendar is always a good time to sit back and take stock of just where we as a community have been in the last 12 months.

Just were did the last year go? It seems as though these last 12 months have just flown by - wasn't it yesterday that we started this whole process for 2003? And now you say 2004 is just a few days away. Heck, I still have 2002 calendars at my house!

For the last several days I've been reviewing the news pages of this newspaper as we prepare to count down the top local stories of 2003. It's been an enlightening experience -- and one in which makes me wonder about my memory. There were so many things that happened during the last 12 months that somehow I just forgot about!

For me at least, I would like to have a December in which there were no big news stories from the past months to review. It would be nice, wouldn't, if there wasn't any bad news -- only good. Just imagine, no controversies, no problems to address in the community. For instance, in this "dream world" end-of-the-year review there might be items like --

* State officials announced in May that everyone in the Show-Me State who wanted or needed a job had one; unemployment rate in Stoddard County remained at zero for the third straight month.

* Railroad officials announced the company would once again move the railroad tracks to skirt around the city in an effort to alleviate traffic and safety problems in Dexter. City officials offered heartfelt words of thanks.

* Dexter school administrators report that 100 percent of all high school seniors received diplomas in graduation ceremonies in May. There were no dropouts recorded in the DHS class.

* For the third straight year there were no mosquitoes or blackbirds in the community.

* Farmers reported they received just enough rain and sunshine during the growing season, and prices for all crops were at an all-time high.

* Praise was voiced for all city, state and federal officials for their diligence to serving the people and the congenial manner in which they conducted business. All political leaders agreed to once again "agree to disagree" and to "do what is right because it is right".

* Attendance at all local churches was at an all-time high.

* Police Chief Paul Haubold announced there were no motor vehicle accidents, burglaries or drug arrests made in the city during the past quarter of the year, making four straight quarters of no crime or accidents in Dexter.

Wouldn't that be an amazing year? Of course, it might be a little bland -- a tad bit on the boring side for news reporters and photographers. But then again, maybe not.

We have a lot to be thankful in this community. There are signs of economic progress everywhere we turn. There are still far more kids that are good, decent young men and women than there are kids in trouble. We have parents that care, leaders that work together, churches that reach out to help others.

Problems? Sure there are problems, and we should never let down in our resolve to work together to resolve those problems and to make this community a better place to live, work, grow and learn. Yes, there are children who go to bed hungry and are hurting, but as a community we can roll up our sleeves to help those around us who need our helping hands.

A scripture that was engraved on a stone in the ancient Church of St. Mary the Virgin Aldermanbury in London (now in Fulton, Mo.) has a thought that would be good to remember as we begin a new year. It is from the 29th chapter of Proverbs -- "Where there is no vision the people perish."

Annabeth Miller is the editor of The Daily Statesman.

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