What would be nice to see in 2017?
Here are a few things.
Snow, and lots of it. In terms of snowfall, the winter of 2015-2016 was one of the worst in history. While that may be good for those who don’t enjoy winter sports, or those who make their living off of them, for most of the region a warm, dry, snowless winter makes for tough economic sledding. That’s exactly what happened this past winter. We certainly don’t want to see that again. So far, 2016 is winding down with a bang. Lots of snow and cold weather have made for a good start to the 2017 winter season. Here’s hoping that continues.
In terms of politics, we don’t think there can by any way that 2017 can outdo this year. For one, it’s not an election year, so no races for statewide or national offices. That’s not a bad thing, and given what happened in 2016 it probably is a good thing that voters will get a chance to catch their collective breath.
That’s not to say the new year will be drama-free when it comes to the political arena. After all, the Vermont Legislature will still meet, laws will be drafted and debated, and no doubt there will be some fireworks over something. Just what that may be remains to be seen, but past history says there will be something controversial before the Legislature wraps up its work in the spring. Also, incoming President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to put his bold talk into action. How that plays out is anybody’s guess, but we’re anticipating there will be some bumps along the road to making America great again.
Overall, though, a relatively drama-free year in state and national politics would be most welcome.
One thing we will see is that voters in local towns will have a say on school district consolidation plans. Both Windham Southwest and Windham Central supervisory unions are in the process of preparing “side-by-side” district merger plans. What the voters in the individual towns decide to do with them remains a mystery. Whether they are accepted or rejected will say a lot about what people think about Act 46 and the consolidation plans the law has spawned.
Speaking of schools, we’d really like to see a resolution to the fate of the old high school building in Wilmington. There are any number of plans, and at least one group willing to take on the property. We hope that leaders of the Twin Valley School District and the Wilmington Selectboard can find common ground and move forward with a plan for either the building’s use or its demolition. The last thing needed right now is inaction. That just costs taxpayers money and keeps the property from being used to its full potential. Kicking the can down the road just isn’t a good solution.
Something else we’d like to see are more events, especially the home-grown kind. While big events like the X Games are great for the area, they also can be moved without much notice. Just look at how quickly the Dew Tour and the ITVFest decided to pull up stakes and move. More events like the Wine and Harvest Festival and the Blueberry Festival are exactly what restaurants and inns need to fill seats and rooms, and there are plenty of open weekends when more events would be welcome in the valley.
There are certainly plenty of other things we would like to occur in 2017, but no need to get greedy. Perhaps the new year doesn’t need as many highs and lows as the one we’re about to leave behind. There is no doubt 2016 will go down as a tumultuous, unpredictable year.
Whether 2017 comes close to that remains to be seen.