It's too early for Santa's list of who's been naughty and who's been nice, so maybe we just settle for a list of things we can be thankful for heading into the Thanksgiving weekend.
My list: friends and colleagues who are passionate, vocal and remain committed to what they think is important in their community -- even to the point of disagreement.
I'm always struck by folks who think Jody Miller and I treat each other like junkyard dogs because we find ourselves at odds on the issues on NewsNight Akron. Nothing could be further from the truth: Jody is one of the kindest, more thoughtful people I know and a forceful advocate for what she thinks is right (even when she's wrong.) I'd say the same for the Mayor (who probably won't like being lumped in as either friend or colleague on this blog) as well as Mendenhall (who will find it amusing.) Akron is fortunate to have women and men who give thought and aren't afraid to express themselves. The community is better for it.
I'm grateful we aren't Detroit these days, although Northeast Ohio ranks second only to Michigan when it comes to overall impact on the economy by automotive. God knows we have plenty in common -- their mayor wears a jumpsuit after a sex scandal, a pair of Cleveland's county officials had very public knocking on the door from the FBI and IRS; the Browns can't beat the Steelers or the Texans, the Lions can't beat anybody; Detroit has those wacky Big Three CEO's flying around on private jets, Cleveland has Dennis Kucinich flying around in other dimensions. At least we have to share Dennis with the rest of the nation every four years; seems like the CEO's are going to be with us (or on our dime) for some time to come.
Thanks to Luis Proenza and the University of Akron Board of Trustees for the most excellent timing of transforming the campus from commuter-ville to student magnet with an interesting mix of facility upgrades to put what was once Akron U. on the map as the U of A. At a time when dollars are expected to be tighter than ever, the remake of the downtown campus and extension to Wayne and Medina Counties helps find Akron well-positioned to display what the University calls the "Akron Advantage" in attracting students to take another look.
Thanks to the men and women who will get us where we need to get to tomorrow and through the weekend: the folks working the service stations, restaurants, airline ticket counters, pilots, attendants, baggage handlers -- even the TSA security acting as the glue holding the transportation system together. That includes the snow plow drivers ready to give up that leg of turkey when called upon to get a leg-up on Mother Nature. These folks are real heroes for the holidays, trying to make sure we are safe and sound.
Finally, thanks to the real heroes for anytime: the men and women who wear a uniform and put themselves in harm's way so we can overeat, collapse, take naps and watch bad football games without a care in the world. Whether wearing the uniform of police, fire, ambulance or half a world away wearing camo, these are the Americans to treasure because they shoulder the burden of keeping freedom and liberty our way of life. Politicians and pundits come and go but the true leadership of America has always been regular people capable and willing of making extraordinary sacrifices, even for those with the luxury of being ungrateful.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.