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Hopefully this perfect high desert winter weather hasn't dampened your Christmas spirit. It hasn't mine. One shouldn't need snow, bad traveling weather and cold hands to realize it's a magical time of year.

While bursting with holiday spirit, I have a few Christmas wishes I'd like to pull out of the bag ...

2014 promises to be special. It's Jefferson County's centennial, for one. With the differences within the communities, and each with its own unique history and social culture (think Madras, Crooked River Ranch, Camp Sherman), I wondered if there was going to be an organized effort at all to mark the year. Cheers to the county for establishing a committee to work up a plan.

My wish for the committee is simple: may it be successful in spreading our history, its uniqueness and diversity, in getting residents to take part and embrace that history, and to take pride in our county.

For all the governing bodies spread about this county of ours, may each in 2014 witness multiple sightings of what for about four years now has been the rarest of occurrences: the building permit. Until those start filing in more routinely, economic recovery will still be mostly hope.

For Warm Springs, the wish is for some good economic news, some answers. It was announced this fall that per capita payments to tribal members are being reduced, and it will cause hardship, more hardship, on many people on the reservation. Tribal leadership has a huge task on its hands, working on financial and ongoing social problems. May 2014 bring positive progress.

The new K-8 school in Warm Springs may be a start to some answers. The facility

is a key element of the 509-J school district's $26.7 million bond (passed in the spring of 2012) that will change the face of the local schools. The new football-track stadium and performing arts center will transform Madras High School.

The bond truly will bring a new beginning to 509-J, and 2014 will be the year it takes it shape. My wish: may they be blessed with great construction weather and meet no substantial delays. Back to school will be an exciting time.

2014 will also be the year the Erickson Air Museum takes root at the airport. Wonder if they have any old sky-writing planes in their collection? If so, my wish is that some pilot would sneak up there, fire up the plane, and spell out a huge: "Welcome to Madras!" across

the sky. The museum will make great economic,

educational and social contributions to the community.

Speaking of museums, my wish for the Jefferson County Historical Society in 2014 is simply that: a museum. To be in limbo, to not have a place to showcase our history, is a minor tragedy, especially in this centennial year.

For our expansive ag community, a near-perfect

summer season, to help make up for that one nasty Sunday afternoon last August.

For all of us sports fans, may we enjoy the splendid winter before us: the Olympics, the Blazers’ resurgence, a possibly snowy Super Bowl in New York, followed by the best tournament in athletics, March Madness. And may the aura of wonderful wintertime sports help us to somehow, someway, learn to like the Yankees once spring comes.

For all of our readers and advertisers, for everyone, the simple wish of a Merry Christmas. Stay warm.

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