We live in a time of uncertainty -- both positive and negative.
Our economy hasn't been in worst shape in decades, with the nation's major automakers near bankruptcy, huge government bailouts of major financial institutions and unemployment reaching new highs.
We're at war on two fronts, wars that are draining U.S. resources and which many believe have run their course.
In Minnesota, lawmakers face a huge state budget deficit that threatens to reorganize our quality of life and force tough decisions on what services Minnesotans place priorities on, and which services must go by the wayside.
It also affects local decisions, as state aid dwindles and cities and counties must restructure the way they do business, also. Unemployment is also a problem, especially with massive wood products plant layoffs right before Christmas.
These are challenging times, true, but they also can provide opportunity. We will soon see a different administration in Washington, D.C., one that pledged itself to change. While we know the Obama administration doesn't have all the answers, we are eager to see what it will discover and what direction it will take to help meet our challenges.
At the state level, budget woes often lead to great reforms. We hope that state government can be prioritized, that we provide the services Minnesotans need and a proper safety net for those who can't provide for themselves. But we also hope that we can trim those services we don't need, and do the whole thing more efficiently.
Locally, we need to grow the economy responsibly, and the new push for "green" jobs offers that opportunity for us to retool in a new industry. We also look forward to improving our stature as a tourism destination point with the Bemidji Regional Event Center -- a home not only for Bemidji State hockey but also for conventions, concerts, trade shows and unlimited events that draw people and increase business.
Through all of this, we must rely on our foundation -- the people who live and work in the greater Bemidji community. On this Christmas Eve, let us celebrate our families and friends and the cohesiveness that accompanies "community." Together, we can accomplish great things. We celebrate the birthday of a man said to emulate peace and good will throughout the ages, so let us pause this Christmas to remember that and embrace peace and good will for our community, as well.