12/31/05 — 2005 brought accomplishments and created new challenges

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2005 brought accomplishments and created new challenges

2005 was a year of ups and downs.

It began with the loss of a downtown Goldsboro landmark — the Paramount Theater — and ended with a tremendous show of compassion for neighbors and others in need as Wayne County residents opened their pockets and hearts to victims of Hurricane Katrina, sending more than $200,000 to New Orleans and Mississippi.

And then, despite higher gas prices and the call for donations for Katrina, a few months later, this community again showed its generosity by making sure there wouldn’t be a child in this county who would wake up to a present-less Christmas as donors overflowed the Empty Stocking Fund.

And those were just a few of the examples of what went right this year. The rest wasn’t always easy.

Wayne County waited nervously for news about the Base Realignment and Closure Commission and then celebrated when the verdict came back — Seymour Johnson Air Force Base had not only escaped unscathed, but was gaining personnel and airplanes.

What better news could there be than that.

But consternation over gas prices occupied many discussions at McDonald’s and Wilber’s this year, as drivers anxiously watched the pumps for the exact right time to fill their tanks — and then wondered how gas could be cheaper in Los Angeles.

Wayne County residents have had their arguments this year, too. There were some calls for concern over the county commission’s travel plans, while the debate continued through the summer and fall about how much to pay for improvements to school facilities.

And then there were the strong feelings about the county’s animal shelter.

There is a plan for the shelter, but the discussion of the school facilities question will continue into 2006.

But that was all right, too. Talking about issues and working out problems seemed to be a bit easier this year, as many groups joined forces to make the community a better place. Goldsboro residents in a couple of areas even got a chance to meet face-to-face with city officials this year to talk about what worries them and what they need to make their neighborhoods better and safer places to live.

That will continue into 2006 as well.

The Mount Olive and Goldsboro Committees of 100 also forged a historic partnership with Wayne County this year, deciding one voice is better than three when it comes time to court new industry and jobs.

We will have to wait until 2006 to see if their new cooperative effort will be successful.

As Wayne County residents and the world welcome 2006, there are many reasons to be hopeful — and thankful. This nation remains free, and it looks like our armed forces are getting the job done in Iraq and will soon be coming home.

We can truly say this is a nation that means what it says, lives by its principles and stands by those words — no matter how tough that can be sometimes.
Freedom, pride and hope for the future — those are reasons enough to look forward to what the new year will bring.

Published in Editorials on December 31, 2005 7:40 PM