As 2013 winds down and the dawn of 2014 approaches, we use this space today to reflect on the year that was.
As you can read on many of our section fronts today, Northwest Herald’s Editorial staff has compiled a list of our stories of the year in a number of categories, from local news to business to sports and entertainment.
And as can be said of any year, 2013 had its highs and its lows.
Nationally, the debacle that was the rollout of Obamacare dominated the headlines, as did the National Security Agency’s massive spying program and the controversy over the former contractor who leaked it.
Heading into 2014, Congress should work together with President Barack Obama to significantly overhaul the Affordable Care Act.
Obama himself must scale back the spying program, which we think infringes on Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Of course, the Boston Marathon bombing reminded us that we still need to be ever vigilant in the fight against terrorists.
In Illinois, lawmakers finally passed a pension reform bill that we’re not fully certain will reform anything. Regardless, state employee unions say they will sue, so we’ll likely see the beginning of a long legal battle in 2014.
McHenry County, too, had several highlights in 2013.
Centegra Health System received final approval to build a hospital in Huntley. When ground breaks next year, hundreds of construction jobs will be created.
Several transportation projects – the Algonquin bypass, Routes 31 and 176, and the full Interstate 90 interchange at Route 47 just south of the county border – either made significant progress or were completed.
Two of McHenry County’s larger social service agencies took big steps forward in 2013.
Family Health Partnership Clinic, which provides low-cost health care to the uninsured and underinsured, moved from its cramped Woodstock office to a new, larger facility in Crystal Lake, closer to a larger portion of its client base.
Pioneer Center for Human Services expanded its programs and grew into the three-story building at 4100 Veterans Parkway in McHenry that was vacated when Family Service and Community Mental Health Center closed in 2012.
As we close the door on 2013 and look forward to 2014, we want to thank all those area residents, hard workers, generous volunteers and local businesses who continue to make McHenry County a great place to live.