A tough year, but local problems are not insurmountable

Consider the touchpoints of local news developments this year.

There’s a heroin problem in the City of Williamsport and outlying municipalities that police liken to a nuclear bomb.

Housing in rental properties may be the nesting ground and, as such, is getting a new examination with a city plan to have those properties registered and monitored more closely.

The county prison has a problem too many inmates and limited alternatives to house them.

School districts, reacting to a half century of steady enrollment decline, are closing some facilities and modernizing others to handle students in new configurations of grades.

A failed some would say fraudulent hockey franchise left Williamsport, leaving the city with a bill.

Local health care officials, like the rest of the country, are climbing a tough slope attempting to adjust to the implications of the national Affordable Care Act.

Pretty daunting stuff, it would appear, dominated local headlines in 2013.

But there is a half-full glass, also, which bears mentioning.

There is plenty of development in downtown Williamsport and in the rest of the county, signs that our area remains attractive to people who follow bottom lines, business people.

There is a new YMCA rising up next to the Susquehanna Health Williamsport campus and promise of development in the block downtown that the Y is leaving.

There is a major housing development rising up in the block that formerly was the Brodart warehouse in Williamsport.

Eastern Lycoming County continues to grow and the gas industry, even in a leveling-off year, is having a major long-term impact on the region’s business climate.

Beyond those finite observations, there is the knowledge that our region’s non-profit and human services entities continue to perform at a level that is the enemy of most other regions.

Objectively, it’s been a tough year.

But for every problem, there appears to be solutions or at least prospects for them.

Ultimately, beyond the work of powerbrokers and newsmaking leaders, the quality of life and success of our region hinges on each of us in 2014.

The best news we want to report at the end of next year is that the region pulled together to solve its issues in 2014.