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Local leaders share their wishes for the New Year

As we wave goodbye to a tumultuous 2017, the Pine Journal asked community leaders in Carlton County what they wish, hope and dream for the various communities they serve in 2018.

Here's what they said:

Cloquet Schools Superintendent Ken Scarbrough

We should focus on all the good that is happening in our community, continue to develop a sense of pride in what we are accomplishing, and have confidence that we can continue doing good things. Our roads, parks, businesses, new retail and improved educational facilities are signs of our commitment to grow and provide better opportunities for our citizens.

These signs give us confidence that we can meet current social, economic, infrastructure, and personal challenges with success. City, tribal, county and school governments will be stronger and accomplish more, as we work together and have meaningful dialogue with our citizens.

Cloquet Area Fire District Chief Kevin Schroeder

Once again, 2017 was a costly year on our area roads, with motor vehicle accidents taking far too many lives. The CAFD takes great pride in serving our communities and we resolve to do everything in our power to ensure the safety and improve the quality of life for the citizens we serve, but on this issue we need your assistance.

We ask each of you to be attentive while driving, slow down, limit distractions and ensure that every person in your vehicle is wearing a seatbelt every time you drive. Together we can all look forward to a safe new year.

County Commissioner Susan Zmyslony, District 4

My wish is for the County Board to continue working to make Carlton County the best place for our citizens and taxpayers.

We have so many great things happening in our county that we need to continue to promote, including schools, parks and recreational activities. I'd like to see the county look for ways to continue to improve the quality of life for our employees and citizens, including a goal of substantial health and economic benefits, now and in the future.

I wish that Carlton County continues to promote economic development by encouraging businesses to meet the needs of all individuals within the county and continue to support sound infrastructure including roads and broadband availability.

I would like the County to continue to promote public safety in Carlton County, with a major focus on the opioid crisis.

My final wish is that, through collaboration and partnerships, Carlton County will continue to be a leader within Minnesota.

State Rep. Mike Sundin, District 11A

Among the bills that I have forwarded this year will be a proposal for a combined heat- and power-generation project at the WLSSD facility in Duluth. This will enable WLSSD to produce its own electricity and will provide a substantial savings to operation cost. Residential and industrial customers and the environment will benefit from the savings.

Another bill, the Buy American bill that protects manufacturing jobs, should be welcomed across party lines. Efforts will continue for sustainable funding for transportation needs.

Community Memorial Hospital CEO Rick Breuer

I hope that in 2018, people enjoy good health, wellness, prosperity and happiness for themselves and their loved ones.

Our society has many issues to address in the year ahead, and people have many different opinions about solutions to the problems we face. I hope we can approach these issues and our differences with respect, tolerance and a desire to truly find the best solutions for everyone.

I raise a glass and toast all of the people and organizations who help make this area such a special place to call home. Happy New Year!

Carlton County Commissioner Marv Bodie, District 2

Here's hoping for a 2018 that leads to more progress and less divisiveness on all levels of our society and government. Whether we are rich or poor, young or old, or somewhere in the middle, we're all in this together.

Cloquet City Councilor Jeff Rock, Ward 1

My wish for the new year is that we all make a conscious effort to put down our electronic devices, shop local and get outside and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the country.

Happy New Year! Dream big dreams. There are no limits.

State Sen. Tony Lourey, District 11

I look forward to filling 2018 with opportunities to have a meaningful and civil dialogue. I am hopeful that both in St. Paul and across the state people will listen and participate.

The many voices in our communities are what makes Minnesota special, and it is essential that we fill the widened gap between parties with our neighbors' stories and concerns. By initiating and contributing to important discussions, we will create an environment where compromise and progress exist.

Through these exchanges, we will be able to harness our diversity and work toward bettering the lives of all Minnesotans.