Mike McKibbiin
Rifle, CO Colorado

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December 26, 2012
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Looking for the upside in a down time

You know the saying "hope springs eternal," and it still does as the new year approaches. It's getting harder and harder to believe that these days, though.

We have unthought-of violent tragedies, continuing conflicts around the world, an economy that seems to only limp along, an ever-expanding waistline in America and a political system that seems to be headed downhill without any brakes.

But there are some things that make me hopeful and optimistic as 2013 nears.

Locally, it could turn out to be a very good move by Rifle City Council to approve a three-year lease of the former Sno-White Linen property for a number of community events. And, more importantly, events that boost downtown business activity.

The Rifle Main Street program, which was established a few months ago by the city and the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp., is making its first move by helping to arrange the lease with the property owner. All kinds of fun community events, such as farmers markets, sports expos and the like, would attract locals and visitors who enter Rifle on Railroad Avenue.

People would get a sense of a fun, vibrant and active downtown Rifle and likely explore local businesses and restaurants after they've enjoyed whatever function is held on the now-vacant site.

I really hope organizers make it a huge success, especially if you've been keeping up with our stories on the city sales tax revenue. It's not a rosy picture. Looks like the city will end the year slightly below 2011 in sales tax funds, and when you think of the businesses that either closed or moved away in the past year, it can get frightening.

So everyone should get behind the Rifle Main Street program and make these upcoming events a huge success.

The good folks working hard to make the New Ute Events Center a reality scored some major gains this past year, with the city patching together the funds to help finish the renovation and remodeling of the former Rifle Creek Theater in the coming year. And more memberships and donations have started to come forward, too, a key to establishing and maintaining a funding base for ongoing operations costs.

The folks with the New Ute Theatre Society are a positive, forward-looking group that wants to make downtown Rifle a more vibrant and alive place, too. Kudos to them, a huge congratulations for what they've been able to accomplish this year and many successes in the coming year.

Elsewhere, the Broncos are having a great season, one I have to admit I didn't expect. I thought it would take Peyton Manning most, if not all, of the year to get back to where he was after sitting out an entire season due to four neck surgeries.

As usual when it comes to sports, I was wrong. Thankfully.

I'm excited and anxiously looking forward to the playoffs, something I didn't expect to keep me in a happy mood this year.

So while the news, by its nature, is often filled with stories that don't leave us feeling too chipper, if we look closer and appreciate some things in our own lives and communities, it shouldn't be pessimism we feel about 2013.

Let's focus on the good things - friends, family and whatever faith you might have in spiritual matters, work to make the world a better place however we can and strive to be optimistic in the new year.

And, go Broncos!

Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.

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The Post Independent Updated Dec 26, 2012 06:04PM Published Dec 26, 2012 06:03PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.