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New year brings new hope, opportunity

In these early hours of 2020, memories of the dismal 12 months of 2019 should be the basis for strong will and incentive by individuals and leaders alike to make this year much better than the one just completed.

Whether that will be possible, with the divisive presidential election campaign shifting into high gear, must be considered a toss-up at this point.

Because of that front alone, many people already are doubting that 2020 will be better — and, all considered, that pessimism is not an outlandish notion.

Nevertheless, with newness comes hope and opportunity, and everyone has his or her niche for making a positive impact and constructing a path beyond himself or herself toward something better.

Don’t allow elements of the unhappy past doom upbeat opportunities that could lie ahead.

As 2018 was giving way to 2019, there were fears that a major economic downturn was looming, but that didn’t happen.

Hopefully, 2020 will continue the current positive economic picture, although some people have expressed the viewpoint that the economy might not be as rosy as it seems.

But the impeachment of President Donald Trump last month by the House of Representatives, the product of serious, disputed allegations against him, has brought uncertainty about how this election year will proceed toward the Nov. 3 balloting.

Beyond that, there should be concern by all Americans about the prospect of foreign interference in the election, whether or not they support the president.

On the Pennsylvania front, those opposed to legalizing marijuana should continue raising their voices against that proposal. Legalization holds too many risks and uncertainties.

On the local front, the business community needs to beef up efforts to attract new enterprises and to encourage improvements, where needed, to existing ones — although it is no secret that such efforts already are well-entrenched, and they have been since at least the 1970s.

The strength of the local economy is evident clearly by traveling Plank Road and Pleasant Valley and Valley View boulevards and also by visiting downtown Altoona, which is experiencing a rebirth — not as quickly as the community would prefer but consistently nonetheless.

There is capable leadership, not only in local governments but in the business, industrial and services sectors as well.

That leadership is equipped with strong abilities to keep Altoona and Blair County moving forward in the year ahead, as long as existing positive attitudes remain embedded.

This county has excellent schools, although people of the Altoona Area School District need to demand that the unrest of recent years, resulting from the high school construction and renovation project, be put to rest.

Meanwhile, even though a more harmonious future seems destined as a result of last year’s elections, there must be caution regarding undoing elements of what has been accomplished leading up to this year, simply for the sake of undoing.

Medical services here are outstanding and are poised to continue that way.

One of the best resolutions you can make for 2020 is determination to express your opinions to the people who have the power and authority to make the kind of positive changes that you think are necessary.

Indeed, consider that a personal obligation, not an option.

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