One constant: change


   Some things never change. What haunted/tainted/overshadowed all of 2012 -- contentious national politics splitting our country in two -- is pushing us into 2013.
   Instead of the election, it's called the fiscal cliff. Hopefully a last-minute plan can find acceptance and the cliff -- and all the projected economic fallout that it could bestow upon us -- can be averted. By the time this newspaper is out, the answer will be known. How wonderful to think that we could enter the new year on the crest of an agreement in Washington to right our sinking budgetary ship. With all the entrenched partisanship, it seems somewhat of a longshot. As of this time Monday, it's already 2013 in some part of the globe, but I'm still hopeful.
   Oh, politics. From the front-runner-of-the-week fun of the Republican primary through the general election, it dominated 2012, even more than that strange horsedance craze. At least 2013 will be an "off year" and we won't have to put up with an election and those soul-smashing, spirit-dousing negative ads.
   On the local level, it was a big year politically -- not with any individuals as nonpartisan races have pushed that off the plate -- but with levy votes. The local school district got theirs passed in the spring while the Madras Aquatic Center's failed in the fall.
   As for the landscape of our local economy in 2012 -- housing, retail, job growth -- it looked much like the landscape of the Agency Plains: flat. About the only blips on the retail radar screen was that of restaurants coming and going.
   But housing prices are inching upward and we did add 100 jobs in Jefferson County in the year. Things are getting better. Here's hoping that improvement kicks up a gear, or two, in 2013.
   No doubt it is a "new year" in Madras. January marks the opening of the new Madras City Hall. It will become a community centerpiece that should serve to meet our community's local government needs through the century. I can't wait for spring to see it surrounded by green trees, in full bloom.
   The new year marks the start of construction for the initial projects within the aforementioned 509-J School District school bond. The bond brings a new K-8 school in Warm Springs (with the tribes pitching in about $10.7 million to split the cost), a revamped football/track facility, and a performing arts center at the high school, plus safety and structural improvements throughout the district's facilities.
   For all or parts of seven decades, our local hospital has been public-owned Mountain View. By the time this paper is out, Mountain View Hospital will be no more. It's a new dawn for our local medical industry.
   The inability to be economically sustainable forced the hand of Mountain View's board of the directors. Mountain View contracted with St. Charles for management for years; now, it's St. Charles' facility outright. No matter the name on the sign, may it remain a hospital in which we trust and take pride.
   As our economy changes -- as our world changes -- change seems to be about all we can count on. All we can hope for, work towards, is that a vast preponderance of that change be positive.
   Here's to 2013!