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Archive for Friday, January 1, 1999

A NEW YEAR

January 1, 1999

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As much as we would like to shut the door on parts of 1998, some of the most troubling issues will follow us into the new year.

There are some years you'd just as soon close the door on.

President Clinton certainly feels that way about 1998, but hopefully the past year has been a good one for most of our readers and their families.

It was an eventful year for Lawrence. The new Free State High School graduated its first students and the school district got its first female superintendent, Kathleen Williams. Kansas University basketball marked 100 years, and one of its biggest legends, Wilt Chamberlain, came back to Lawrence to help with the celebration.

Elections were held in November, but the August primary may have been the big event for Kansas Republicans. Gov. Bill Graves soundly defeated challenger David Miller in the primary and went on to win the general election by a record margin. Also in November, local voters approved bonds for a new elementary school and other school district projects.

Major new retail stores opened on South Iowa Street and Lawrence's two outlet malls struggled to survive. The Lawrence Arts Center plugged away on plans to expand downtown, and a group of investors bought and began renovation of the former Barteldes Seed Co. building in the 800 block of New Hampshire.

Lawrence is ever-changing and growing, and yet, some issues always seem to be with us. Providing more convenient parking downtown is still on the city's agenda. Federal legislation and federal court decisions failed to unravel the South Lawrence Trafficway maze, but as the year closed, highway officials offered a ray of hope by deciding not to appeal a court decision and to help complete an environmental impact statement that could lead to a resolution of the trafficway matter.

As important as all these issues are, they probably don't matter as much to most people as what is happening in their own lives and families. Commentators have been quick to point out that much of the public's tolerance of President Clinton is based on the fact that the economy in strong and most Americans are comfortable. Our own health and security and that of our loved ones is what is most important to all of us.

There definitely are aspects of 1998 that we all would like to leave behind us. Some of them will follow us into 1999 whether we want them to or not. But it's a new year full of opportunities and hope. Have a wonderful 1999.

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