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Onward and upward while remembering those who left us

We thought 2021 would never get here. We welcome the new year with hopeful optimism while keeping in our hearts the 62 Beaufort County residents who died of COVID-19 and their families.

2020 was the toughest year probably all of us can remember. We’d like to interview anyone who can lay claim to a harder one for humanity.

Amid the gloom and negativity that has been recounted time and again, it might brighten our spirit to look back on some of the positive things that happened in our area during the past year.

Washington’s Main Street re-opened after a nine month improvement project that our late mayor Mac Hodges envisioned, then championed. The splendidly well done streetscape will be his lasting legacy and hopefully, spur continued prosperity for our cities heart.

While some business sectors certainly struggled, others thrived. Beaufort County is on pace for a record year of sales tax collections. The real estate boom continued as the final numbers will show well over 700 homes and lots sold in the county this year, a little more than two a day.

Perhaps most uplifting is the news that vaccines are finally here. We encourage you to roll up your sleeve as soon as it’s your turn.

We draw inspiration from everyday people doing extraordinary things like Treva Inzerillo, who rode her bike from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, starting in Pine Knoll Shores and ending at the northern tip of Oregon.

We met 71-year old Mickey Burden, aka The Happy Runner, who brightens local motorists’ mornings with a big smile and wave as he completes his daily five mile journey.

There’s also plenty for us to look forward to as 2021 begins.

Washington’s downtown is alive with renovation projects. No less than eight buildings from Market to Gladden Street are in some form of renewal.

High school sports begin to reappear, as basketball season starts next week. Football season is in February (better late than never) with baseball and other spring sports hot on its heels.

Once restrictions are lifted, restaurants and entertainment venues will re-open for indoor use. How nice it will be to enjoy a show at the Historic Turnage Theater after a terrific meal at a local eatery.

Several projects, like the 15th Street redesign and the second phase of Moss Landing, are in the works to continue to enhance our quality of life.

In the meantime, we encourage you to continue to practice safe habits. Wear your mask, wash your hands and maintain a safe distance from non-family members. Take advantage of numerous outdoor exercise opportunities so you are ready when summer comes.

Here’s to a prosperous and safe 2021. Happy New Year.