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December 31, 1996

Cheeriest New Year's greetings to one and all, tempered by the traditional admonition to all of us to salute the arrival of Baby 1997 with restraint and moderation, no matter how compelling the urge to celebrate the completion of another year and the advent of still another 12 months. Friends, a new calendar lies open before us with clean sheets awaiting to be filled with engagements and miscellaneous notations. What good cheer can we wish for one another? Here are a few that come to mind, coupled with the hope that these, unlike our resolutions, may absolutely come into fruition.

To Mayor Bud Hollingsworth and the city council, a way to solve the need for money to improve the hospital's facilities, repair our pothole-plagued streets and guarantee an adequate water supply. Last November's proposed tax increase obviously was not acceptable to a majority of folks, so what IS the answer? May the solution become manifest soon and then be readily acceptable, for the needs are both real and urgent.

The Perry Development Coalition, Perry Main Street and Perry Chamber of Commerce, continued success in keeping our town on a growth pattern. More hands to accept roles of responsibility would be of immense help here. Step forward, volunteers. There's work to be done.

To Perry school administrators, faculty and school board members, a greater public awareness of the smooth course you are charting to improve our local public education program with adequate facilities, curriculum, knowledge, personnel and philosophy. May the harmony you have cultivated prevail forever. Many districts envy what we have here. Young minds are being shaped to meet the future.

To the leaders and workers in all the youth programs of this community, renewed vigor and vision as you strive diligently to develop our most precious natural resource. You will never know how great a debt this town owes you.

To the young people of this community, reassurance that you are being reared in a town that cares about you and wishes earnestly for your ultimate success and well-being as citizens of Perry, or wherever you choose to reside. Consider well the opportunities for careers in business and professional areas that exist right here in unique abundance. You could do worse than casting your lot in Perry America.

To PHS football coach Mickey Ripley, an infusion of both numbers and talent for the Maroons, including perhaps a few move-ins who are big, fast and mean, to go with the willing stalwarts now on the premises. Similarly, may all our athletic teams and their coaches find the right combination that will bring them the recognition they strive for and deserve.

To all pastors and churches, a refreshment of spirit to enable your continued endeavors to deliver a message of hope and rescue that touches each one of us and encourages us to live lives that have meaning despite the succession of pitfalls and desperation that we encounter daily.

To each of you, a full cup of joy, good health, peace, prosperity, the realization of all your fondest dreams, solutions to your most difficult dilemmas, a new storehouse of energy, bright horizons, a glimpse of the rainbow, the healing of any lingering wounds (real or imagined), a reunion of families and loved ones, ample time to enjoy precious memories, new ways to share your life with those you love, exciting vistas of a better tomorrow, and achievements you never dreamed possible.

Happy New Year!