The Garden City Telegram
11/27/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Good signs

Time to relish the positive while observing the holiday.

'Tis the season to count our blessings.

Thursday brings Thanksgiving, which began as a way to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and friendships between English settlers and American Indians.

Since that autumn day in 1621, the annual holiday has remained a time for Americans to take stock of the good in their lives.

Locally, there's much to celebrate in the community.

The recession and other economic setbacks may have presented many difficulties nationwide, but this region managed to elude much of the negative fallout. Even drought that's been a constant pain hasn't completely dampened spirits.

Unemployment rates remain relatively low. And in Finney County, retail growth is poised to be a difference-maker.

From the new Menards store to a variety of retailers and eateries ahead in planned Garden City developments, it's easy to see the impact of efforts to make the community even more of a destination.

The retail growth not only promises to bring more people to town, but it also will boost sales tax revenue that helps pay for local services and improvements benefiting all in the community.

That said, challenges loom and demand attention.

For one, there's still a pressing need for more moderately-priced housing in Finney County.

The community also could lose Amtrak passenger rail service, an important mode of transportation for many local and area residents, if funding for track repairs doesn't materialize.

And, a disturbing tax-cut plan from ultraconservative Republicans in the Kansas Statehouse could shift even more of the financial burden for public schools and other vital services to local governments.

But Thanksgiving is about much more than the state of the economy.

The day should bring an opportunity to celebrate family, friends, good health, career success or countless other examples of good fortune. The holiday has become the ideal time to give thanks for what we have, reflect on what life has to offer and share good memories.

Above all on Thanksgiving, we should make a point to savor the precious and irreplaceable moments we have with our loved ones.

Enjoy the special day to its fullest.