WILLIAM NANGLE: Reviewing 2011, we have lots to celebrate

2011-12-25T00:00:00Z WILLIAM NANGLE: Reviewing 2011, we have lots to celebrateBy William Nangle nwitimes.com
December 25, 2011 12:00 am  • 

So many people make light of the holiday season.

Singing "Jingle Bells" and decorating a tree, most people find this a season of merriment.

I agree it's all for the better, but I also recognize it can be a sobering season. For me, it is a time to count blessings.

When I look back over a year about to end, I naturally remember the tough times, but I also recapture the moments of success and accomplishment.

There are many good things for Northwest Indiana to recall. Here are a random few:

• Agreement for $153 million to expand the Gary/Chicago International Airport.

• U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan heaping praise on the New Tech program at Calumet High School.

• Ivy Tech Community College's program to train health care workers.

• An international fertilizer company pledging to build a $100 million facility in Hammond.

• Analysis of U.S. Census data showing racial barriers in the region are slowly crumbling.

• A project telling of those who served in the Civil War from the region resulting in dozens of tombstones being replaced or repaired.

• U.S. Attorney David Capp successfully launching a campaign against gangs.

The list is longer than I have space here to recount. Looking for the good in 2011 outshines the negative news.

But if you need more proof the Christmas season brings out the best, take a look at how Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr., a Democrat, and state Rep. Ed Soliday, a Republican, came together at year's end.

They were dramatically at odds over how to maintain the Little Calumet River flood control system early in the year. In December they put pettiness aside to come up with a compromise plan far better than any of their original ideas.

And so as they sat together in my office last week excitedly telling me of their plan, I offered congratulations and sincere thanks. I couldn't help but think of a better ending for 2011 and a signal of hope for the year about to begin.

I agree we have lots to celebrate, so let me add my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

William Nangle is executive editor of The Times. He can be reached at The Times, 601 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321 or bill.nangle@nwi.com.

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