To the point week of 01-03-08

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I USUALLY TAKE THE FIRST issue of a new year and try and look ahead to what may or may not happen in the coming 12 months.

In order to do that, I usually look back a year to see what types of things I talked about in this space at the beginning of last year.

I had some hits, and I had some misses – sort of.

A year ago I went out on a limb (yea, right…) and predicted that Switzerland County would have an animal shelter in 2007. That one, I was right about, although it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see that one coming.

It had been several years in the discussion phase for an animal shelter; but quite honestly I think both sides of the issue would tell you that there were times when it didn’t look like it was going to happen.

But it did.

The new Switzerland County animal shelter is a testament to hard work and cooperation, because it is a wonderful facility that will serve the animals of this county well, along with the residents.

I also predicted a year ago that this county would see the announcement that a new industry was locating here at the new industrial park.

That hasn’t happened - yet; but I do believe that this county is on the right track when it comes to taking the time to develop the right kind of strategy that will bring the types of jobs to this county that we have all been talking about for decades – ones that pay a good wage and enable families who want to stay in Switzerland County the opportunity to do so.

Sometimes these wheels move rather slowly, but I firmly believe that my prediction will eventually come true – maybe just a year later than I planned.

So what’s coming in 2008?

This will be the year when an old foe rears its ugly head.

With the Indiana legislature poised to try and figure out a way to curb property taxes for homeowners across the state – and they will visit a popular money source to hunt a solution.

County officials are already bracing for yet another attack on riverboat revenue sharing funds. The state legislature sees this money as its own, private “cash cow”, and at some point during 2008, I think you’re going to see state officials try and “milk” ours.

County officers and our state representatives need to start preparing the battle plan, but before I write this column again, I think another hunk of Switzerland County money will be heading to Indianapolis.

This prediction isn’t hard – that the school system will have new leadership – since currently there is a vacancy in the superintendent’s office.

Yes, Darin Gullion is filling the role on an interim basis and may decide to apply for the job permanently – but whoever the new superintendent is – he or she better have a lot of self confidence and some pretty thick skin.

After years of hearing a community wonder just who works for who; I believe that the Switzerland County School Board will take a more active and hands-on approach to the school’s business.

Since the school board works for the people of the county, and the people of the county are seething right now after the past year’s events, I think that this year will bring the members of the board to the forefront in leading our schools.

Just how that will or won’t play with a new superintendent is yet to be seen, but if the new person has trouble with someone looking over his or her shoulder, then it might be a rocky marriage.

My main prediction?

It is my hope that the things that came to the forefront in 2007 don’t come up again in 2008.

No embezzlement.

No robberies.

No kidnappings.

And no soldiers killed in war – or anywhere else for that matter.

I’d like nothing more than a nice, quiet year filled with good news and good people.

That may, in fact, be my biggest longshot of the year.