If the holidays — and the craziness that often comes with the return to reality from the holiday break — have not distracted you too much, you read various stories produced by the Index-Journal staff in which government and school officials reflected on the year that was and projected on the year just underway.
Not all was picture perfect throughout the Lakelands, as readers know, and simply being hopeful will not effect positive change. Change will take work and commitment. But there is reason to be upbeat about the year before us, at least in terms of what area leaders are portending.
For example, in McCormick County, the school board appears to be poised to work more in a spirit of cooperation with the new superintendent, William Wright, and within its own ranks. While no one should expect the board and superintendent to be in lock step with each other at all times, the contentious nature that existed there in 2013 was counterproductive.

Calhoun Falls just elected a familiar face to the job as mayor, Johnnie Waller, and on the first day of the new year set about the business of choosing a mayor pro tem and making committee appointments. Mindy Boggs-Rogers was chosen for the mayor pro-tem spot. Given her passion for the town and serving its people, we suspect this might be a good beginning to the new year in Calhoun Falls.
As noted earlier, leadership's messages of hope and change — where have we heard that before? — must be accompanied by real and meaningful action. Governing is no easy task, but far more is and can be accomplished when at least those in office and those paid to do the job work through their differences for the common good of those they ultimately serve.
And so, as we dive into 2014 in the Lakelands, our New Year's hope is area councils, boards and appointed officials will keep their focus on the bigger picture in service to the residents.