Welcome to the new year

I am hesitant to talk about my personal goals for 2014 largely because I know my parents read this column. They have a most irritating habit of holding me accountable to my word.
As the year goes on, and my resolutions recede into the softer and more manageable world of complacency, my mother will call me on Saturday morning with the inevitable questions:

“How’s that weight loss thing going, huh?”
“You doing that longer writing project you said you wanted to pursue?”
“Playing that fiddle any better, are you?”
“Are you challenging yourself this year?”

Of course, now that I casually mention these things in the most public of all forums — the public blog — I am aware that I have armed you readers with a set of personal jabs you can lob at me at will. These will be especially coveted by those of you who, on occasion, won’t be pleased about the content of an article I write sometime during the year.
However, though many of us joke about how fast we lose sight of our personal new year’s resolutions, I still think it’s an important and healthy practice to set annual goals.
I found myself thinking about larger goals a lot while gathering information for the 2014 edition of the Harrison County Answer Book.
The 2014 Answer Book, by the way, will be available as an insert in the Jan. 30 edition of the Democrat. It’s a fantastic resource and, seriously, every home should have more than one copy.
Local businesses and organizations whose function is to promote this area should have multiple copies ready to hand out to anyone.
In an age where even the phone book is no longer a reliable resource for contact information for all community resources, the Answer Book is indispensible.

You can find bites of information faster in that single publication than it takes to run a Google or Bing search for all that info.
But while I was in the process of putting my assignments for the book together, it reminded me of an important, historical function of the local newspaper.
It is a routine function of successful companies to require their managers to set annual goals that will help the organization achieve a larger vision. They’re evaluations are often based on how successfully they achieved these goals.
In a similar fashion, the community newspaper is the public’s information and evaluation resource on the annual success of local government, regional development districts, school systems, and other public service organizations.
These organizations are tasked with moving this area forward, whether that be Cynthiana, the other communities and residential areas that make up Harrison County, or Harrison County as a whole.
There is even a reasonable notion that this county has a leadership role to perform in moving the entire region forward.
Just like my parents hold me accountable for my annual resolutions, the Democrat has a responsiblity tp publish the stated goals of our organizations and report on their progress.
Based on the conversations and decisions made in the last four months of 2013, there are some projects coming up that, in our opinion, should be well underway by 2015.

Renovation of the Harrison County Courthouse.
The fiscal court has moved cautiously forward every month in anticipation of renovating the Harrison County Courthouse. While there are still some bureaucratic hoops the court is required to jump through, actual renovation work should be well underway by December.
The courthouse should be more than an aging and deteriorating shell in the center of town. It should be a functioning hub for all county activity and the center of life in a rejuvenated downtown. Under that kind of a vision, the courthouse renovation takes on a much greater significance, reflecting the general health of community.

Development of After School Programs for Teens.
After all the November community forums focusing on the incidence of teen suicide and drug abuse across the board, conversations should be leading toward action plans and some experimental programs.
Even if they don’t work the first time, it will give us insights into ideas that will work.

The Technical Education Academy.
The idea, which originated from the EDA, has been endorsed by the Kentucky Tech Harrison ATC and the Licking Valley Campus of the Maysville Community and Technical School. Significant sources for funding of the project have been identified. By December, it would be great to see the conversation turn from locating funding to hiring builders for the project.

Handy House Preservation
It is fast becoming a make or break time for efforts to save the Handy House.
There is no doubt that the renovated home could serve an important and valuable function at Flat Run Veterans Park. But if no significant progress is made by the end of the year, either in terms of funding or permanent structural improvements, other options for that space should be considered.

There are plenty of other things to look forward to this year. In addition to the ambitious plans to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Battle for Cynthiana at the park, according to the 2013 Answer Book, there is the upcoming Home and Garden Show, the Cynthiana Art Walk, the golf tournaments at the Cynthiana Country Club, The Longest Day of Play, Little Feet Big Feet Family Fun Walk, The Taste of Harrison County, The Farmer’s Market, and the third edition of the Cynthiana Rod Run.

And that’s barely half of what this area can look forward too in 2014.

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