The turning of one year to the next elicits in us the desire to start over, to change, to set things right. On Jan. 1, Rome decided to end its gladiator contests, the United States banned the import of slaves, Britain and Ireland united, French rule ended in Haiti, 26 nations joined to form the United Nations and President Abraham Lincoln took the occasion to enact the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves nationwide.

The New Year is the time when many decide that the old way of doing things is insufficient. It's as if the whole world waits for Jan. 1 to roll over for us to make life different, make life better.

Here are a handful of New Year's resolutions we suggest for the community in 2008:

Drive safely

We've had far too many fatal accidents in our community over the past year, and although most of them didn't involve Sandy residents, we hope you'll take extra precautions on the road this next year to ensure that we all don't have to go through such another heartbreaking year.

Don't tailgate. Don't speed. Understand that just because the speed limit on Highway 26 is 55 most of the way, that doesn't mean you should go that fast during a deluge or a snowstorm.

Use common sense; don't drink and drive, smoke and drive, talk on a cell phone and drive or sleep and drive. Look out for drivers who might not be as sensible as you.

Embrace Sandy for what it is

Like we've said on this page recently, the Sandy community needs to leave behind the idea that it will one day become a tourist destination, instead focusing on its eternal strength: being a great place to live and work. Government Camp has the corner on the market for mountain-area tourism.

We can work on being friendlier for out-of-towners seeking middle ground between the mountain and the big city, but we need to focus on keeping our small-town feel, fighting off out-of-control urbanization and maintaining our unique quality of life - improving Sandy from the inside out, for the citizens. Since Sandy's inception, the town has always been about its people. And that's just fine.

Vote for the bond

The biggest issue in the Sandy-area community in 2008 will be the bond on the November ballot to construct a new high school in town. Economic times are hard, and it's going to take a lot of work by the Oregon Trail School District and the Value Oregon Trail Education political action committee to convince some people that digging deeper into their pockets will be worth it. We assure you, it will be worth it. The district isn't going to plan some Taj Mahal of a new high school on Bell Street; it just wants to create something functional that will serve the students of our area.

Before you make up your mind about the bond, resolve to take a tour of the existing high school. The conditions will speak for themselves. This is an issue that has been around a long time, and district officials say the conditions are such now that they're affecting the learning process. We can't stand for that. Educate yourself, see the school and vote for the bond in November.

Get involved

Sandy, a once self-sustaining town, is sometimes called a 'bedroom community' of Portland. That indicates a level of disconnect with the city in which one resides. Sandy, Boring and the mountain villages have so much to give for those who give back. There's a lot going on here that even Portland can't touch. If you've never been to a public meeting (City Council, School Board, CPO), try it just once. Join the VOTE group. Check out the Pioneer Booster Club. Attend a Sandy Chamber Good Morning Sandy networking event. At least resolve to be informed (and if you're reading this paper, you're well on your way).

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