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To a ‘little brighter, bit safer, more positive’ new year

Sunday is the last day of 2006. This past year, South Harrison teachers signed a new contract, the Friends of the Corydon Capital held its first Corydon’s Unsavory Past, Main Street Corydon was revitalized and is working on some lofty projects, the South Central Lady Rebels advanced to the state championship and the Harrison County Central Democrat Committee lost its leader, just to name a few things that happened. Change, heartache and joy impacted Harrison Countians in 2006. I expect there will be more in the New Year, which begins Monday, but I also have high hopes for 2007.
For starters, I hope the Harrison County Council will continue to share its riverboat revenue with Crawford County when agreements are renewed in June.
Here are some of my other wishes for the new year:
‘ I want our county government to continue to do what they can to help the people who live and work in Harrison County. I hope the county commissioners and council develop a more sensible, fiscally responsible plan for spending riverboat revenue especially since the Indiana Legislature will reconvene in January and Harrah’s has just entered an agreement to sell out to Texas Pacific and Apollo Management.
‘ I hope county officials will listen more to the concerns of those who elected them and plan projects to the best of their ability. The county is growing, and it will take a collective decision of county officials and those who live here to decide what is best for Harrison County. Residents also have to accept the fact that the county will continue to grow, so they need to be open to change and trust county officials to do their job, which hopefully will be done in such a way as to not seemed forced upon them.
‘ County officials need to support Lifelong Learning and its services. I think the $270,000 the county commissioners want to spend on a higher-learning facility would be better spent on Lifelong Learning to develop existing programs and provide the funding to allow Lifelong Learning to bring in more classes. However, don’t just provide monetary support; county officials need to actually support the program. County government created Lifelong Learning, yet some officials seem ready to throw it in the gutter for something they view as a better deal. Lifelong Learning does a good job and could do much better if everyone supported it.
‘ In 2007, Harrison County needs to continue to support its downtown Corydon merchants by shopping with them and eating at the restaurants there. The county also needs to keep offices downtown to help keep a flow of traffic to the area. There are so many historical aspects of the downtown area that this county needs to preserve.
‘ $11,000 sits in an account set aside for a humane society in Harrison County. This money was saved from a dog tax the county used to have. We have a humane society in Harrison County. The money should be given to them to further the cause.
‘ Do something with the old Keller Manufacturing property in Corydon. Turn it into a park, build a water park, anything. It’s been sitting vacant way too long. Here’s a thought. I keep hearing about developing Harrison County and bringing in more tourists and residents. How about a Harrison County Convention Center?
‘ I wish Gov. Mitch Daniels would remember he no longer works for Eli Lilly and Co. but for the state of Indiana now. The bottom line isn’t everything, especially when it means taking away Hoosiers’ rights. If we continue to privatize everything from the lottery, social services and roads, then what are we Hoosiers paying Daniels to do? We might as well pay some big-shot CEO to do his job. Governor, how about listening to Indiana in 2007 and doing what is best for us instead of the bottom line?
‘ The late Frank O’Bannon began pushing for all-day kindergarten when he was governor, an office he was elected to for two terms, first in 1996. This year, Indiana had some of the lowest ISTEP scores in the country. I think it’s time the Hoosier state had a program designed to better prepare our children for school.
‘ State Sen. Richard Young announced recently he is running for governor in 2008. I hope people continue to support him in 2007 so that he can be prepared for what the election campaign will bring. I hope he gains the support and funds he needs to run a strong campaign. He is one of the few politicians I have met who simply wants what is best for Indiana and those who live here.
‘ I hope that local, state and federal officials will be held more accountable for their actions in 2007.
‘ One of the aims of the United Nations is to safeguard human rights. In fact, it was one of the main reasons for its creation. The United States is part of this organization. This year, the United Nations anti-torture panel recommended the closure of Guantanamo. I want to see it closed. I want to see the United States hold itself to the same standards it holds every other country. We expect other countries that are members of the United Nations to abide by their recommendations, and we should as well.
‘ If anyone in this world is in need of help right now, I think it is the people in Sudan. The crisis in Darfur, a western region of Sudan, has been called the worst humanitarian crisis in the 21st century by many. If this is so, I want to see more aid to these people by our government and others. I have already donated money to the cause, and I hope others will too. More than two million people have been displaced due to the conflict and an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 have been killed, many as a result of a militia formed by their own government.
‘ Finally, my last wish for 2007 is something I believe is long overdue. It is time the minimum wage be raised above $5.15 per hour, whether it be at the state or federal level. The minimum wage hasn’t been raised since October 1996. Rep. John Day, D-Indianapolis, already has a bill which he will introduce to the Indiana General Assembly that would raise the minimum wage to $7.50 an hour. While it may not be the most decent of wages either, it is certainly a start, and I hope our legislature passes it and the federal government follows. Decent wages is something everyone in the country needs.
That’s my list of things I hope to see happen in 2007, my New Year’s resolutions if that is what you want to call them. I just hope that 2007 is a little brighter, a little bit safer and a lot more positive than 2006. Have a good year!

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