As 2018 winds down and the dawning of 2019 draws near, we—along with most other people on the planet—reflect on the past 12 months with a mix of nostalgia, gratitude and even relief.

As the stories in these pages have reflected, the Tri-City area is a unique and sometimes controversial place to live. Unique in that its location is considered rural, as is the lifestyle, though we’re situated within a 30 minute drive of both Port Huron and Flint, and a mere 60 minutes away from the metro-Detroit area.

Local residents also make for a very unique community—an engaging mix of musicians, artists and entrepreneurs alongside lifelong farmers and farming families, beekeepers, vintners and growers. It’s a community where people still greet each other by name, know each other’s kids and reach into their wallets whenever help is needed.

But it’s not always Mayberry.

Contentious local politics, lawsuits involving a sitting judge, a prosecuting attorney and former county employees; the opioid crisis; debate to opt in for medical marijuana related businesses and the quick, decisive action to opt out of any recreational marijuana related endeavors; the looming problem of dwindling downtowns, increasing development of land and open space with the housing boom and the traffic that comes along with it are all changes the Tri-City area continues to face.

One thing is certain. Whatever is happening around the area, residents aren’t and won’t be in the dark. We will continue to provide the kind of award-winning, top-notch local news coverage our readers have come to expect, along with feature stories that inspire people in their daily lives. We’ll continue to acknowledge the area’s heroes, and be there when tragedy strikes as well.

Fore the past 12 months, we’ve covered a wide variety of stories and issues. We know that what happens locally affects our lives the most, and we’re committed to making sure Tri-City area residents are in the know.

Thank you for another year of readership and loyalty. We’re grateful to all who support our efforts to provide the best community newspaper coverage possible. Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.