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Hart Beat

Taking stock of our pride

People tell me all the time that there is never any good news in the newspaper. I always question which paper they are reading, because it sure isn't mine.

Actually, I don't claim any ownership in the newspaper other than being a 21-year veteran of the Daily Sun News. But as a writer, I take a great deal of pride in knowing that we at the Daily Sun News do everything we can to maintain a balanced point of view about our Lower Valley communities.

Besides, I know there are a lot of good stories in the newspaper - stories about new businesses opening, people moving to town, new people taking on positions of leadership in the community and there is always a story or two about people getting married, celebrating anniversaries and doing well in many different areas of life.

There is always news in the Daily Sun News about our friends and neighbors doing something good. That is our bread and butter in this business. Oh sure, we have to report the grisly, the nasty and the criminal, but that is part of our public duty to keep the public aware of the dangers in our community. But because we write those stories doesn't mean we like writing about them. In fact, if most of us had our way, we'd only write good news stories, which is why I am happy to be embarking on one of my favorite special Daily Sun News projects, our Pride of the Valley section.

Our crew, from writers to production staff, are all gearing up to put together our Pride section, a project I like to call a community showcase section, which highlights many of the things we have to be proud about as citizens of the Lower Valley.

This year's Pride section is focused on the future. We are taking a look at the leaders, businessmen, educators and everyday Joes who are laying the framework for what the future of the Lower Valley will hold.

What will the next five or 10 years hold for our corner of the world? Judging from the list of businesses, people and agencies being included on our list of stories we're working on, I'd say the future looks pretty bright.

Call me a Pollyanna if you want to, but I think in general we've done a good job of "keeping up with the times." Having dedicated nearly 30 years to community newspaper work in and around Mabton, Sunnyside, Granger and Grandview, I've met a lot of truly amazing people and have loved having the opportunity to write their stories.

We really do have a lot to be proud of when it comes to living in Sunnyside, and frankly sports fans, I can't image living anywhere else. So for the jaded readers among you, let me just point out some of the areas where I think we can all take a bit of pride in this community we call home. For example, we have a great school system in the Lower Valley, filled with people committed to the education of our future leaders. We have a lot of Mom and Pop businesses that help keep the economy going, along side the larger retail chains, which have all helped to maintain Sunnyside's status as the shopping center of the Lower Valley. In Grandview we are seeing a surge of educational opportunities at the Lower Valley campus of Yakima Valley Community College, which will soon be even bigger, offering more medical training, as well as wine and tourism opportunities.

Housing starts are going up all over the area in preparation for what leaders say will be a burst of growth in the coming years.

Even in the entertainment arena we have something of which to boast, namely the Yakima Valley Grand Cinemas, which offer state-of-the art moving-going experiences with its new digital technology.

Since the closure of the Monson feedlot, I think we all have to agree the quality of air in the Lower Valley is better.

We have great parks, which are almost always filled with people taking advantage of the recreational opportunities under fantastic weather conditions.

For all our disagreements, we still look out for each other. We still know who our neighbors are, and we still feel comfortable about calling our lawmakers and giving them "what for" when we aren't thrilled with their public decisions.

Frankly, all of these things add up to a place with a great quality of life. And, I'm thrilled just to be allowed to record some of our accomplishments for the history books.

This truly is a great a place to live.

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