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Give thanks: we're fortunate in Crook County

On Thanksgiving, people take time to join their families for a delicious meal, some well-deserved down time while enjoying a televised parade and some football.

It grants us a time to set aside the daily grind and reflect on what we have to be thankful for, an exercise that helps many realize how truly blessed they are in spite of continual challenges.

In the spirit of that tradition, we want to take time to examine the ways that Crook County has been blessed throughout the past year in spite of its continual challenges.

The past year, the community has seen walls go up for a brand new hospital, replacing a more than 60-year-old facility, and a new elementary school that will replace two aging, difficult-to-maintain buildings. Students, parents and teacher will undoubtedly appreciate the change and Crook County will soon gain a facility that will likely provide a place to educate children for the next few decades. Similarly, in a short time, residents will have an up-to-date healthcare facility to utilize.

After enduring several years of recession, the local economy has begun to rebound, and while Crook County unemployment is higher than most other counties, it continues to decline and the job market is steadily growing. Construction work has shown a modest uptick, the wood products plants have increased business, and several new businesses have opened in town.

Sure there is still work to be done and challenges left to meet. Residents remain vocal about the need for a new jail, while attempts to retrofit such a facility in the soon-to-be-vacant Pioneer Memorial Hospital building has drawn mixed reviews. Unemployment has yet to drop into single digits, and elected officials still say job creation is the greatest need and challenge facing the community.

But those challenges should not take away from all of the positive developments that Crook County has enjoyed and as you take time to set aside your own personal challenges and express gratitude for all of the good things in life, we ask that you do the same for your community. No matter its challenges, we live in a great place that people often praise and feel privileged to call home. We should be thankful.

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