Challenges remain as nation greets another year
By Gene Kemmeter
Hope springs eternal every Dec. 31 as the new year approaches. The new year gives everyone a chance to turn the page on their life. Some will enumerate their planned changes with a list of new year’s resolutions. Others will just pooh-pooh the changes and see what the new year brings.
The likely scenario is 2019 will be much the same as 2018. And the older one gets, the faster the year seems to go by. Perhaps some people will also wish the year would go by faster than it does.
Some people will try to see into the future and make predictions about what is to come. Others would rather continue to live in the past and ignore modern conveniences or inventions that others delight in using.
Portage County will continue to experience changes in 2019, including the annual challenge to write or type the new year on their checks and other documents instead of the old year for the first several days.
County farmers aren’t immune from the growing trend of small dairy farms forced to close because of declining milk and crop prices brought on by factors beyond their control. The colorful red barns that dot the rolling hills and valleys may be destined to disappear from the landscape, another victim of “progress.”
Small family farmers have always portrayed themselves as stewards of nature, who were one with nature in protecting it for future generations. That put them in contrast to the large corporate farms that seek the favor of legislators to pass laws that will decrease public input and impact into their operations.
The new year will also bring changes to the landscape, as new buildings arise to provide employment opportunities to the community, such as the new Sentry Insurance building on Stevens Point’s north side. There will also be a number of road projects as the area contends with problems of an aging infrastructure system, just like the rest of the nation.
While the projected growth is beneficial to the community, people need to work to protect the county and surrounding areas from urban sprawl while preserving natural resources. Nothing is more important to the region that the quantity and quality of groundwater, which has experienced threats in recent years.
Natural resources have become a major reason why people choose to settle in Portage County, which is billed as a recreational playground in the heart of central Wisconsin. The attractions of the area include the Wisconsin River, the Green Circle Trail, Schmeeckle Reserve, the Tomorrow River State Trail, Lake DuBay and a multitude of local parks.
Other issues will undoubtedly arise that will divide people, and everyone should respect those differences of opinion. The challenge for all is to work for the common good of all people.
Happy New Year! May 2019 meet everyone’s dreams and expectations.