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A few odds and ends to start the year

We’re officially kicking off 2021, but as I’m trying to write this a little ahead of time to meet some of our early deadlines, I’ll pick a few rambling topics to, hopefully, provide some thoughts over your weekend breakfast.

¯ A thank you to Paul Lauttamus for inviting me to see first-hand the plans and progress for Lauttamus Communications and Security’s new offices in the former Serbian-American Cultural Center in Weirton. The couple of photos we published only show a little bit of the transformation, but, in my opinion, this is going to be a world-class facility when it’s finished. It’s amazing such an operation will be located in our community.

It’s still difficult knowing our area no longer has such a large banquet and event facility, but it’s good to see the building won’t be sitting vacant much longer.

It’s always good when local businesses grow, creating new jobs and potentially bringing more attention to our region in the process.

¯ While I don’t like the pressure we put on ourselves by making New Year’s resolutions, there’s nothing wrong with a little goal setting for the year. Make it something simple, like patronizing a local business twice a month or reading three new books.

¯ As we move out of the holiday season and begin the new year, don’t forget those local organizations which work tirelessly to help our residents in need.

While it had to make adjustments as a result of COVID, the Weirton United Way continues its efforts to raise money for its member agencies. The annual “Big Game” tailgate event will be going virtual this year, which should make it a memorable experience.

If you don’t want to participate in these adjusted fundraisers, though, there is still the option to send in a donation of whatever amount you are able.

You also can find ways to assist some of the member agencies, or other local non-profit organizations, directly if you would prefer.

¯ Bringing up COVID (you knew it was coming somewhere)…keep in mind, we’re not fully out of the woods with this pandemic. The United States has two vaccines available, but there are processes put in place as to when each of us will be eligible to receive them.

It’s still going to be a few months before the general population will get the go-ahead. We need to continue take precautions in our daily lives.

¯ I would like to see an increased sense of communication and cooperation among our communities in 2021. Our region can’t afford to have one or two cities or organizations go out on their own with a “better than you” attitude. The Ohio Valley, as a whole, lives or dies together. Everything that happens in one area affects the others. Every major project of the last couple decades, if you really look at them, has been a result of collaboration among a variety of communities, groups or other entities.

Might I suggest the idea of some sort of roundtable (once it’s socially possible) with representatives of each of our communities in Hancock and Brooke counties to talk about their projects, hopes and experiences. Just the sharing of ideas can lead to new opportunities for everyone.

So, with all that said, here’s to hoping 2021 is better than the last year. Take some time to look back, learn from your experiences, find ways to make a difference and maybe plan for some fun when you have a chance.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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