The year that was, 2006 was a good year for the Mad River Valley. It saw the completion of Sugarbush's long-awaited renovation of the base area of Lincoln Peak.
The year saw Fayston residents sit up and take notice of the pace of development in their town - and that led to greater citizen participation in the town planning commission's rewrite of the Town Plan. Greater citizen participation is always a good thing.
Citizen participation was not lacking in other Valley towns this year either. Local boards frequently found not the typical single visitor (or an empty room) awaiting them at the start of meetings but rather a roomful of people with concerns who cared enough to get up off their couches and attend.
This was a year when many Valley residents and visitors took a closer look at the food sources and began to contemplate how the origins of food are as important, or more important, than other factors.
Contemplating local food led people to consider whether it makes sense to truck food thousands of miles to get it to their plates and also made people think about their own and our collective use of fossil fuels.
Emissions from burning fossil fuels for energy either do or do not cause global warming, but tell that to a community dependant on cold winters and snow after this year's November and December weather.
And speaking of energy, people in The Valley are talking about energy and talking about how we use what we use, where it comes from, and how we might do things differently. It's a good start to a critically important process. Hopefully our municipal leaders and planning will reach out to work with others in the community on this necessary undertaking.
And it's always a good year when a school board is deterred from cutting the school's jazz department instructor due to parent and community outcry. Music, at a minimum, soothes the savage beast, and at Harwood does more for more students than any similar program in the state.
Happy New Year!