I WAS THINKING…
All is quiet. The hustle and bustle of Christmas is over. I trust you had a meaningful and joyous holiday. There is more celebration awaiting, the bringing in of the new year.
I like to keep the lights on my tree until New Year's Day. It usually takes a lot to get them up and the thought of waiting a year to see them again brings a tinge of sadness.
Until the last string is put away, however, here are some other "bright" things to consider. They happened in 2007 to people in Roscommon County.
A lack of plentiful snowfall threatened the success of Tip-up Town, U.S.A., but the festival went on as planned "full steam ahead."
Following the flooding of Houghton Lake High School's gym floor, a new, shiny floor was installed, and, in the meantime, basketball schedules were rearranged and the season went on.
Roscommon High School senior Sarah Ritchie performed her original song, "Tough Guy," at the Musicbox Montage. The concert proceeds benefitted UNICEF.
Area paramedics and EMTs were highlighted for the work they do and the lives they save.
Senior Buck wrestlers finished their Jack Pine Conference season undefeated (achieving a perfect 28-0 record over four years).
Parker Seiler of Prudenville built an ice slide in honor of Ryan McDonald, who was killed by a drunk driver, creating something positive in light of tragedy.
Mercy Hospital, Grayling, opened its new emergency department, expanding it to 18,000 square feet.
Roscommon County Special Olympians earned medals at the Winter Games at the Grand Traverse Resort.
Eleven-year-old Drift James won the St. Helen Friends of the Library Talent Contest.
Houghton Lake High School seniors Courtney Meyer and Terra Muckenthaler competed in the Michigan Junior Miss scholarship program in Alpena, and Muckenthaler was awarded the scholarship achievement award.
The Resorter's Glenn Schicker was recognized by the Houghton Lake Rotary with the Outstanding Vocational Service Award.
The Roscommon Bucks earned their first conference title in basketball.
RHS senior wrestler Joey Schneider won the state championship, another first for the school.
Hungry Howie's pizza delivery guy, Mike Whittington, stopped a truck from rolling into M -55. A child was inside the vehicle at the time, waiting for mom who was in the restaurant.
Roscommon volleyball players and basketball players were recognized with all-conference honors.
Houghton Lake High School graduate Anna Yardley was featured for her work as director of sponsorships and promotions for the new Mountain Rock and Mountain Country, established in Farwell.
Paige Wisniewski, an Our Lady of the Lake eighth grader, placed first in a vocational awareness contest.
Jeremy Smith, 7, and Blake Erickson, 9, both of St. Helen, won the Richfield Township Public Library's annual March Reading Month.
Pauline and Carl Sikkenga, residents at Country Village Senior Apartments, celebrated 70 years of marriage.
Forty-five Collins Elementary students were honored for perfect attendance during the school year.
Richfield Township purchased a generator and a new patrol car with USDA funds.
SUMMER The Roscommon Steel Drum Band and the Catch and Release Blues Band performed at the gazebo on the lawn of the CRAF Center.
The Houghton Lake Bobcat Boosters met their goal of $108,000, plus some, for the 2006- 07 year.
Earning the NRA's light rifle "distinguished expert" award were Atalie Hebel, Kyle Wollam and Zack Parr, members of the Houghton Lake Sportsmen's Club.
Cassie Deamud, 12, Houghton Lake, earned her black belt. She is a member of the American Tae Kwon Do Academy.
Robert Woodbury of St. Helen caught the first "Wally the Walleye" in the contest sponsored by the Houghton Lake Area Tourism Bureau.
The Gerrish EMS Explorers earned first place in the cardiopulmonary resuscitation competition at the National Fire and Emergency Service Explorer Conference in Champaign, IL.
The new Roscommon County Courthouse opened.
The Roscommon Relay for Life raised $96,000 to benefit the American Cancer Society.
The third annual Special Olympics Car Show at the Houghton Lake Eagles drew 60 cars and raised $7,600 for Area 4 Special Olympics.
Bill and Bernadine Ayres of St. Helen were named husband and wife MWC East Division "team of the year" in the Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit.
More than 200 kids lined up for a casting call to audition for CBS's second season of "Kid Nation."
The Houghton Lake Education Association and the Board of Education reached a contract settlement, ending two years of often contentious negotiations.
Cathy Erickson was promoted as the new principal at Roscommon High School.
Denton Township officials cut the ribbon on the new EMS headquarters.
About 90 people attended the Stone School reunion. The former school holds memories for many mature Houghton Lake High School graduates.
The Houghton Lake Marching Band hosted Roscommon's marching band at the annual band exchange. The bands alternate hosting dinners for each other, depending on which football team plays at home.
New Day Preschool's board of directors, upon the closing of the school after more than 50 years, disbursed final funds to groups such as the Houghton Lake Public Library, Sunshine Kids' Club and Houghton Lake Little League.
Artesia Youth Park opened to area youths. It offers a skate park and activity center, and was spearheaded by JoJean Thompson.
Houghton Lake High School seniors Stephanie Foster and Jacob Cooley were named homecoming queen and king.
Fourth graders at Houghton Lake schools attended "Camp MacLeod," named after the late Joanne MacLeod, a beloved teacher at the former Prudenville Elementary.
Roscommon High School seniors Lyndsey Hodnett and Trevor Tyler were named homecoming queen and king.
The Roscommon Bucks volleyball team went undefeated in the Jack Pine Conference, for the second year in a row.
Houghton Lake youth wrestler Dalton Bailey scored a first place win in the Border Wars National Youth Wrestling Tournament at Kellogg Arena, Battle Creek.
Houghton Lake High School senior Brittany Manifold was named Houghton Lake Junior Miss, and her classmate Adrienne Linskey was named Prudenville Junior Miss.
The Roscommon Bucks defeated the Tawas Braves on the academic quiz show, "Quiz Central," on WCMU public TV.
Tips from observant citizens helped Denton Township Police, Michigan State Police and Roscommon County Sheriff's deputies solve several breaking and enterings in the Prudenville area.
Those are just a few of the good things that happened to area residents, young and old, prominent and not-so-well-known. There were many more.
They happened in between and right alongside the regular, the boring and sometimes painful things of 2007.
But the good things should always be remembered for their own sake.
I recently heard a Josh Groban song that reminds me to stop and truly think about the goodness in life. It's called "Thankful." In the song he talks about being caught up in ourselves, but also the hope that we can still make things better.
He sings, in part, "Look beyond ourselves/there's so much sorrow/it's way too late to say I'll cry tomorrow/each of us must find our truth/it's so long overdue/so for tonight we pray for/what we know can be/and everyday, we hope for/what we still can't see/it's up to us to be the change/and even though we all can still do more/there's so much to be thankful for."
The best to you in 2008.