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Here's to a great year in 2006

A few of our hopes and dreams for the valley in the next 12 months

Last week we shared some of our readers' Christmas wishes for the coming year. Today, the first day of 2006, here are some of our hopes for the new year:

The people of Iraq hammer out a way to govern their country while protecting the interests of all the ethnic and religious groups who live there. Iraqi security forces gradually take on more of the responsibility for protecting the population, and American troops begin to come home in significant numbers.

The federal government responds to the growing groundswell of state efforts to address global warming by acknowledging this country's obligation to join in and further those efforts, regardless of what the rest of the world is doing.

Congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. come to grips with the fact that they govern a nation that remains deeply divided, and that riding roughshod over any and all opposition and dissent is not the way our system was designed to work.

Federal, state and local governments work together to rebuild the devastated Gulf Coast, and they do it in such a way that the next major hurricane to come ashore there does far less damage to property and lives.

The Oregon Legislature uses the year to examine how it has failed to effectively govern the state, and how lawmakers might do a better job when they convene for their next session in January 2007. In particular, they begin to seriously discuss reforming the state's roller-coaster tax system, put education on a solid footing, provide health coverage for more Oregonians and find a way to put more Oregon State Police troopers on the highways.

Jackson County commissioners wake up one morning, slap their foreheads and renounce Measure 37, realizing that if it is once again implemented, it will diminish the quality of life for their children and their children's children.

City governments throughout Southern Oregon resolve to follow Oregon's public records and meetings laws. To that end, city leaders make sure they and their staffs have copies of the Attorney General's Public Records and Meetings Manual, and see to it that everyone reads it and understands it.

Lithia Motors decides to build its corporate headquarters downtown, adding a huge boost to Medford's urban renaissance.

The first baseball game is played on the new field in Medford's new sports park.

To all our readers and all the communities in Southern Oregon, Happy New Year!