Focusing on the positive

Published 9:09 pm Monday, January 2, 2012

The biggest stories for journalists are the ones that tend to generate the most interest in the community. Unfortunately, time and time again we’ve learned that negative stories tend to get the most interaction from readers, whether that be through website comments or letters to the editor.

So it’s no surprise that on our list of the top stories of 2011, most of those stories involve murder, disaster or highly contentious issues, such as redistricting and the closing of two elementary schools.

But 2011 was so much more than that for many.

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Personally I marked the one-year anniversary of my wedding, I jumped out of an airplane with my husband and I was witness to a great many positive events in Suffolk.

While it’s true that 2011 included the shuttering of U.S. Joint Forces Command, a bad hurricane, a surprising earthquake and months of smoke, the year also brought many great things to Suffolk.

Last year brought the opening of some great businesses downtown, including Rosa’s Coffee Cantina and Embroidery Etc. These businesses represent the possibility of great things to come in an area of Suffolk that has struggled to draw even Suffolkians.

It was also a boom year for North Suffolk, where everything from Dick’s Sporting Goods to PetSmart celebrated grand openings. These all represent the fact that despite what many worried would be the crippling closure of JFCOM, Suffolk remains home to a burgeoning business community.

Even though the economy wasn’t fully revived in 2011, the year brought some successes to charitable events, of which there were many in Suffolk. Earlier in the year, the Suffolk Chapter of the American Red Cross held its annual Paint the Town Red event and sold out for the first time in 13 years of the event.

Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life also broke records, raising $243,757 for cancer research — about $40,000 more than last year’s Relay.

Even high school sports saw a banner year in Suffolk, when Lakeland’s varsity football team went from an 0-10 season in 2010 to its first playoff season ever.

The lesson we learn from year-in-review stories is this: The New Year is a time to be thankful for the good things that happened and grateful we survived the bad things, but mostly it’s about looking forward to the improvements we can make this year.

Here’s hoping 2012 is the best year yet.