Contributors reflect on 2023; Welcome the New Year


TRI-CITY AREA — Typically at the end of a year, many of us look to the coming year and ponder resolutions—ones that are often kept for a few days or months and then fall by the wayside.

This year, instead of asking for New Year’s resolutions, we have asked area officials for their thoughts on 2024.

A varied group of folks responded including law enforcement, agriculture and local governmental agencies.

We want to thank those that took time to respond during this busy holiday season.

Christine Malzahn
Imlay City DDA Executive Director

“The Imlay City DDA made a significant impact in the downtown area in 2023 with the completion of several projects.

“As we transition in to 2024, I am excited to build on this positive momentum. The DDA is committed to a focus on “placemaking” projects next year and we hope to kick it off with good news from the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity about our Community Center Grant.

“This grant, if awarded, will fund the building of a $1.2 million-dollar open-air pavilion on the Farmers Market corner, including public restrooms and a fireplace.

“The DDA is also seeking grant funding for improvements to the three pocket parks in downtown, a new functioning EV charging station in the Lamb Steele Parking lot, and bringing several new businesses to downtown that will enhance shopping and dining offerings.

“We look forward to welcoming more attendees to our Tuesday evening summer concert series with a more robust lineup of performers, and a bigger and better- than-ever Farmers Market season in 2024. Please plan to join us in downtown Imlay City!”

Phil Kaatz
MSU Extension Crops Specialist

“For the new year, I’d like to encourage every farmer, farm employee, or those involved with agriculture to think about farm safety as they strive to produce food and fiber and to be safe for the new year.

“Farm safety is and continues to be something every farm can improve upon for the new year.

“Health and well-being can be fleeting and difficult if you’ve been injured, so take a moment to hug your family and promise them you’ll be safe each and every day.”

Brett Selby
Imlay City Police Chief

“2024 will hopefully be an amazing year for the Imlay City Police and Fire Departments.

“There are so many positive projects we have in the works in both departments that will enhance and strengthen the services that both departments provide to the citizens and visitors of our community.

“As costs go up and expectations are high, both inside and outside the department, we look toward the potential passage of the millage in February 2024 to enhance our level of police and fire services to the Imlay City community.

“In an effort to maintain our small town appeal while preparing for the influx of the future, the citizens will have an important decision to make in the millage proposal in February of 2024.

“The merging of police and fire services will allow for streamlining operations, prepare for growth and place an emphasis on training and hiring in both departments.

“It is important to our future that we prepare in advance for the changes and challenges we will face with growth in Imlay City and Imlay Township. It is much better to be ahead of the curve that chasing it.

“In the last two years, the police department has made significant progress in modernizing and employing the very best individuals to serve the community and created opportunities within the department to better serve our citizens such as a detective’s position and our newest position of Hispanic Liaison officer.

“We look forward to the coming year and wish all of our friends and residents a happy and safe holiday season!”

Mary Finnigan
Dryden Superintendent

“As we leave behind the challenges of the past year, I look forward to new opportunities and new challenges in 2024.

“The 143rd graduating class of Dryden High School will close the book on their high school careers when they graduate in May.

“Their hard work, resilience, and dedication have truly paid off, and it is with immense pride that I watch them move on to the next chapter of their lives.

“The start of the new year is also a time to reflect on the importance of family. Our community is not just a collection of individuals; it is a network of families, united by a shared commitment to our children’s growth, education, and well-being.

“The involvement and support of our Dryden families play a crucial role in the success of our students, and I am truly grateful for their partnership.

“Navigating the challenges of daily life is not easy. I understand the constant juggling act that parents and caregivers face. It often feels like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything.

“In 2024, I encourage everyone to step back and appreciate the small moments that make up our children’s lives.

“These fleeting moments of joy, laughter, and connection are the building blocks of memories that will last a lifetime. In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to get caught up in the hectic pace and forget to slow down.

“However, I urge you to cherish these precious moments of advancement and discovery, for our children are growing up faster than we can imagine.

“Whether it’s a family game night, a walk in the park, or simply sharing a meal together, these seemingly small moments create lasting bonds and shape the character of our children.

“As we embark on this new year, let us strive to create a healthy, nurturing, and inclusive community for the benefit of all our children.

“The love, dedication, and active participation of our students’ families are invaluable assets that contribute to the richness of our community.

“I am truly looking forward to the amazing experiences and accomplishments that lie ahead in 2024.

“The Dryden Community Schools family wishes everyone a year filled with happiness, health, and the joy that comes from treasuring each and every moment.”

Craig Horton
Imlay City Manager

It takes a lot of hard work from everyone at the city to keep Imlay moving in the right direction.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department Heads for their leadership and support, the City Hall staff for their dedication to the residents of Imlay City and all our Police Officers and Firefighters for putting their personal safety aside to protect life and property of the citizens of the city.

I’d also like to recognize the hard working employees oven at DPW, who are out there working in the rain, snow sleet and hail to keep the streets safe and the water flowing, and last but not least our Waste Water Treatment Plant employees who worry about and deal with all the stuff none of us want to think about.

I would also like to thank the City Commissioners and all the members of the various Boards and Commissions for giving back so much to the city and it’s residents.

From everyone here at Imlay City, Merry Christmas to all and may 2024 bring new and exciting opportunities to the City.

Dawn Sawicki-Franz
ImlayCity Clerk/Treasurer

From the office of the Imlay City Clerk/Treasurer: “Wishing you a joyful and peaceful Christmas season filled with love, warmth, and cherished moments. May the spirit of Christmas bring you and your loved ones, happiness and serenity.

“As the year comes to a close, may the new one usher in prosperity, success, and countless opportunities for growth. Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!”

Dawn shared some changes with elections coming for the new year as well.

She noted, “The City of Imlay City will be having elections at City Hall at 150 N Main Street, Imlay City, MI 48444 on Tuesday, February 27, Tuesday, August 6 and Tuesday, November 5.

“Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

“Early Voting (EV) for the City of Imlay City will be held for nine (9) days prior to each election.

“February’s Early Voting will be held at Imlay Township, 682 N Fairgrounds Road, Imlay, MI 48444 beginning on Saturday, February 17 through Sunday, February 25 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Thank you for expressing your right to vote!”

Angela Edwards
Almont School Board President

There is a lot going on in Almont, both in the downtown district and with the school system. Angela Edwards wears at least two hats in the community, serving as the DDA Director and also is the School Board President. She is looking forward to 2024 being a good year for the Almont area.

“I am looking forward to the continued revitalization of our vibrant downtown district as well as a successful bond passage for our schools!”

Voters will be going to the polls February 27 to determine the outcome of a $58.4 million proposal for the district.

Barb Yockey
Imlay City Commissioner

“My first hope would be for real and lasting solutions to the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, which have led to so much devastation and loss of life in those regions, as well as creating such horrible repercussions in this country and the rest of the world.

“Closer to home, it would be my hope that people would truly listen to each other more to attempt to resolve conflicts without resulting to hateful words and violence.

“My wish is that people would turn off social media and actually enjoy interacting with the people that mean the most—friends and family members.

“My hope for the City of Imlay City is for the city to continue on it’s great and productive course to build an even better city for us all to enjoy.

“Lastly, I wish to express my boundless gratitude to my husband, my family, my friends, my clients, all of the employees of the City of Imlay City, the elected officials of Imlay City, and the Lapeer County judges and their staffs, all of whom enrich my life everyday.”

Dave Fredrick
Tri-City Times Editor

“At this time of year, it’s good for all of us to reflect on where we’ve been, how far we’ve come and where we are headed.

“As 2023 comes to a close, I look back at this year as a busy one, even though I am officially retired.

Thanks to the ownership here at the paper, they offered—and I accepted—a full-time position as their Editor.

For what it’s worth, they replaced three people with one. Take that for what it is.

The reality is, in these economic days, we all make adjustments, both at home and in the work place.

“I’ve met some great folks throughout the area in my first 10 months here at the paper. And, like any responsible journalist, I’ve written several pieces, both liked and disliked by readers, depending on which side of the issue they fell.

“I can assure you, that it will most likely continue into the coming year. It’s just a fact in our business.

“Wherever I go, not just in this area, but as I look around in society, I see angry people. People mad about everything and wanting some sort of revenge or way to vent their anger and built up tension.

“I’d like to encourage everyone to take a deep breath, look around at what we have been blessed with and maybe try having a thankful heart. Maybe even crack a smile or two at someone along the way.

“I found out the hard way, life is too short. Take time to tell someone you appreciate them. Or that you love them. Shake a hand. Hugs are usually free, as are smiles.

“I look forward to what 2024 has in store for myself.

“I hope above all, we can make an extra effort to be more thankful, friendly and happy. Don’t be afraid to lend a helping hand or send a note of encouragement to someone. You may not realize the impact it could have for the person on the receiving end of your kindness. Or the satisfaction it gives you after doing acts of kindness.

“Happy New Year. Here’s to making 2024 a year to remember.”