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Conflict resolution: Goals for 2004

Oh, please, make 2004 better than 2003! It’s a possibility. Of course, few things ever go exactly as planned, but here are some things we’ d like to see happen this new year.
On the international stage, we hope our soldiers will be able to leave Iraq with Iraqis in charge of their own democratically elected government. We hope American forces will capture Osama bin Laden and his No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and squelch the leadership of the al Qaeda terrorists. They and Saddam Hussein need to be tried for crimes against humanity in such a way that the world would see that we want justice, not revenge. We hope the trials will not be a farce, like the one involving former Yugoslavian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
We need to help Iraq rebuild with a massive aid program ‘ not a temporary, insubstantial police force made up of ill-trained soldiers ‘ but it must clearly demonstrate that we mean to assist and rebuild but not control their culture, which is so different from ours. Somehow, our country must begin to earn the respect of these ancient Middle Eastern cultures, parts of which have no desire to adopt Western ways. We must respect that.
Like everyone else, we wish the Israelis and Palestinians would stop slaughtering each other. That will only happen with new leadership on both sides.
Nationally, we’d like to see the Bush government concentrate on reducing the massive federal debt, which, if left untended, will be a huge burden for our children and grandchildren. The administration and Congress must address the high cost of prescription drugs for senior citizens.
Statewide, we’re anxious to see new Gov. Joe Kernan succeed in stopping the brain drain while creating more jobs and improving the climate for business and industrial growth in Indiana. As Kernan hits his stride, we think he and Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis will provide vigorous,, forward-thinking leadership and continue to make Indiana a good place to live, attend school and work. It looks like the national economy is improving, which will only help our state.
We’d like to see a class in international relations be required in high schools so students could study why there is so much hate, turmoil and war in the world. It would be helpful and might contribute to world peace if students seriously studied why fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and Jews hate each other when they have so much in common. Schools need to do more to foster the ideas of inclusion, tolerance, diversity and understanding at a young age.
Locally, we hope for success for Keller, Tower Automotive and other businesses that have had a rough year.
We’re anxious for the YMCA to open because it’s such a health-oriented organization, for the mind, spirit and body. And, perhaps most important, the services the YMCA provides will be available for everyone, whether they can afford the membership fee or not.
We’d like to see the formation of a blue ribbon task force to quickly study the issues surrounding a new hospital. If that doesn’t happen, we’d like to see the hospital plans go forward, with the support of county government and casino revenue. We need and deserve a modern, state-of-the-art medical facility for now and the future because this community is growing. Over the past half-century, our hospital officials, most recently led by Parvin Baumgart and Steve Taylor, have compiled an outstanding record.
The hospital is also an important economic institution in our county, providing hundreds of jobs, although county government, over the years, has contributed surprisingly little to it.
It’s time the county council released adequate funding for a good animal control facility that will serve our needs for decades. County government has dithered on this issue for so long that it’s become a bad joke.
We hope and expect that the Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau will continue to be a pro-active organization that promotes tourism and helps local businesses thrive. Leaders like Michael Wiseman, Jim Epperson and Sean Hawkins are highly motivated, well-schooled and full of good ideas for our community. They work well with Darrell Voelker and Sarah Turpin at the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County. We’d like to see more local business people take advantage of their skills and support their efforts at coordinating local business success.
The Indian Creek Trail is another project that’s hanging fire. When it’s completed, it will become a unique asset for Corydon, giving people of all ages a constant opportunity to exercise and walk all around our little town and appreciate its lovely natural riverside setting ‘ what the late New Yorker writer Berton Rouech’ once called ‘a limestone bowl.’
Last but not least, a perhaps totally unrealistic goal. It would be nice if Harrison County became known throughout the state for the hospitality our sports fans show opposing teams, coaches and referees. We’ve been very lucky to have had some great coaches and gifted young athletes perform here the past few years. But the behavior of some of our adult fans, who are otherwise quite sane, is downright embarrassing and sometimes overshadows the game. It would be wonderful if visiting teams would look forward to playing here, and referees would like to work here, because the fans here recognize and appreciate great athleticism and great coaching, regardless of which team they represent.
Best wishes for a great year!