Make 2014 a year of progress for all of Morrison County

With the calendar turning over to a new year, it presents all of us with the opportunity to set new goals, to re-make ourselves, our families and our communities into something better.

It is our habit to set priorities for Morrison County to help establish a focus for the coming year.

What should be the goals for 2014?

1. We continue to support legislative funding for the Pine Grove Zoo and the Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail. The second year of each legislative session is the year that the Legislature passes its major bonding bill. Last year, it approved a smaller bill to fund emergency repairs to the state capitol as well as to build a new building for the state Senate. In addition, it approved almost $500 million in bonding for a new Vikings stadium.

The Legislature needs to rein in its deficit spending, but if it bonds for more than $500 million this year, these two Morrison County projects deserve to be in the mix.

2. Morrison County continues to score near the bottom on county health rankings. We back efforts to improve that ranking through such programs as Live Better, Live Longer, which encourage people to eat healthier food, exercise daily and belong to community organizations. It is not a cookie cutter approach; each individual needs to do what’s right for them, but eating, moving and belonging are proven factors in improving health, happiness and longevity.

3. In conjunction with that, we urge everyone to be kinder to each other. Life can be hard and sometimes cruel, and one doesn’t always know the burdens others are carrying. A little more caring and a little more loving can go a long way. A speaker will be at the Little Falls Community High School  Jan. 20 to help encourage such behavior.

4. Although the economy has improved somewhat, job development remains a challenge outside of the Twin Cities and regional centers. We back the efforts of Community Development of Morrison County to bring more jobs here and also encourage would-be entrepreneurs to act upon their dreams.

5. We also support efforts to build a strong agricultural economy, as well as efforts to increase tourism here. Those two sectors are the cornerstones of the county’s economy and both should be embraced.

Finally, we wish for all our readers that you achieve all your individual goals for 2014.