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Put best foot forward this year

Ready, set, go! I am going to hit the ground running in 2013. Well, not really running. That sounded as if I plan on exercising. I do, however, hope to be able to keep up with the pace life seems to be going these days. Have scientists studied to see if the Earth is spinning faster on its axis? I feel like I am going in and out of a revolving door as the months start and end. I checked and we did do 52 weekly issues of The Erwin Record last year. As this year begins, I am going to make a resolution not to make any resolutions. There, I am already a step ahead of 2012 where I remember making a few resolutions. However, I don’t remember what they were, so I can’t really attest to the fact of whether I kept them or not. Hopefully I cleared that slate of failure recently with a party I attended. It was an interesting sort of “ritual” in December.

I was invited to a Winter Solstice. Evidently the couple hosting have been doing this for years, but I just recently got to know them. The event took place on the night of Friday, Dec. 21. Guests arrived slowly to form what totaled a mix of around 50 men and women, with an average age close to mine. Inside the house, bushel baskets held approximately 75 handmade dolls from corn shucks. The dolls had arms open wide and a gathered waistline,with fringes of shucks fl aring out below. The top had been tied off to form a rounded head, which had been adorned with long, fringed hair.

Written on the skirt pieces were the numbers one through seven. This was to represent the seven deadly sins. Sheets of paper were available for listing anything from the year 2012 that you wanted to put behind you and not carry forward into 2013. I had several items ranging from stress to health issues to personal. When the final guests had arrived, we all went outside and circled around a big fi re. After a brief makeshift explanation and opening ceremony of sorts, we were to all take our turn throwing the doll and our list into the blazing fire. Now, I know this probably means nothing in the whole scheme of life, but I was willing to try.

There were some things I had carried through 2012 that were bringing me down. When we have done all we can to remedy something, we just have to walk away from it and find peace. In some regards, I was hoping this was my chance.

As we go forward in Unicoi County this year, I hope we can do the same. There have been several things this past year that have nearly split us as a community. It is difficult to see when we are a small, close knit family of sorts. I know it is the American way to have our own opinions and to
stand on what we believe. I fully support that. I am sure there have been many things this past year
that readers feel we should have done another way. In the end, we do our best to be fair and unbiased. Even though each of us here at The Erwin Record have our own opinion, when it is all said and done, we have to work together to present readers the facts as straight forward as we
can.

I hope that as we enter 2013, we can put issues from this past year behind us. This week we have included our year in review of the highlights from 2012. I almost hesitate to bring some things back up that may have been forgotten. But, as you read through the items, I hope you can remember
where we have been and look forward to where we hope to go. This year had our county in debate
over the issues surrounding former Sheriff Kent Harris. After two trials, two outcomes of a hung
jury, much expense, and neighbors siding or split with each other, I hope we can put that in our past. Let’s support our current officers and departments that risk their lives daily on our behalf.
On another note, I hope our dominantly Republican county can stand behind President
Obama and support his office. Think of what could be done if we all join efforts in prayer for those leading us rather than split over differences. After a much contested debate over who was going to purchase Unicoi County Memorial Hospital, Mountain States Health Alliance was selected. Many were still trying to sway the decision to Wellmont, which is a very slim shot at this point. If the decision to overturn is denied, I hope our county will support MSHA. They are much better than the direction we were going. They have made some amazing promises for our community. Let’s give them a chance. I feel like if we embrace them, they will do much to contribute to our county. I hope the new year brings good news for Love Chapel Elementary School and the misfortunate sinkhole they had on the property earlier this year. I know students and teachers feel out of place and would like to be back in their familiar environment.

One thing I don’t want to change with the 2013 is my ever growing list of friends. I made so many new friends in 2012 and have enjoyed getting to know each of them. Some have even become best friends. One such friend is my realtor Josh Tipton with Preferred Realty. His personality was one of the selling points when I purchased my home, along with his hard work and determination to find the right place for me. When life got too serious this past year, Josh helped me to find laughter.
During the Christmas holiday, I was amazed at the friends that reached out. I received well wishes
from nearly 50 friends through text messages, numerous cards, gifts from neighbors and many
phone calls from friends away from here.

As we enter 2013, I hope it is a good year for us all in Unicoi County. Let’s put our best foot forward.

From the publisher's desk
By: Keith Whitson