Members of the staff of The Greater New Milford Spectrum -- Editor Norm Cummings, writer Susan Tuz, writer/photographer Deborah Rose and office manager Janine Toussaint -- present their wishes and hopes for the Greater New Milford community for the coming year.

Norm Cummings, editor: Many a lofty resolution is made as each New Year dawns, most to be abandoned in short order.

Instead, we're focusing on wishes for our readers and our communities, and we'll do our best to help make those wishes come true in 2010.

To begin, I wish that everyone will find more cause to smile during 2010. It never hurts one to smile, no matter the circumstance, and it almost always has a positive effect on those around.

Across our seven-town Greater New Milford area, projects which will affect many of our residents to varying degrees are either nearing completion, early in the construction cycle or still in the planning stages.

We hope in New Milford the landmark Grove Street/Route 67 project is finished in 2010 on schedule and, once that has happened, the new intersection actually achieves the goal of a safer and smoother transition through town for the thousands of motorists who use that corridor each day.

We wish a successful transition for New Milford Community Ambulance as it moves this year into its new facility while adjusting to a new series of state-mandated guidelines created to improve its efficiency.

We hope, too, that a new MRI facility at New Milford Hospital is ready soon, adding to the many vital services provided there.

We also wish that New Milford will come to grips soon on the need for a larger and more user-friendly library.

We wish Sherman well with renovations to its firehouse and in its quest for a larger library.

We hope, too, that Warren experiences a smooth adjustment into its new town hall and Roxbury is able to achieve needed changes to its firehouse.

To our town's chief executives -- Pat Murphy in New Milford, Mark Lyon in Washington, Bill Stuart in Bridgewater, Barbara Henry in Roxbury, Andrea O'Connor in Sherman, Jack Travers in Warren and first-time First Selectman Bruce Adams in Kent -- we wish the wisdom, patience and foresight to guide their town's fortunes in what surely will be both a promising and challenging New Year.

In our schools, new administrative faces will be in prominence in several towns. We wish them well as they attempt to integrate their talents and educational philosophies.

Throughout the area, new businesses of all types have joined those long established in battling against the odds amidst a challenging economic climate. We wish each and every business owner the good fortune, resolution and savvy it will take to survive until the economy might prove more profitable.

From a personal vantage point, I wish those well who are lobbying for passenger rail service from Danbury to New Milford (and, eventually, northward), as well as New Milford's Village Center Organization in its bid to transform Bank Street into a pedestrian zone.

To all of our readers, I wish much happiness and good health in 2010. May your wishes come true.

Susan Tuz, writer: As 2009 comes to a close and 2010 is about to begin, I wish for a year full of promise for our towns.

The past year has been one of strides for New Milford.

Significant progress was made on the Grove Street-Route 67 intersection project after years of delay; the expansion of the town's sewer plant began and construction on the new ambulance barn was started.

As I look ahead to 2010, I wish for continued improvements in New Milford. At a completed ambulance barn, I wish for a volunteer staff and a paid staff to work together, 24/7, to assure the improvements in service planned by and already started by New Milford Community Ambulance come to fruition.

I hope incidences of domestic violence never occur again, such as the November stabbing in New Milford.

As I look to future local elections, I wish they will be conducted with the dignity and civility that New Milford mayoral hopeful Bob Coppola and incumbent Mayor Pat Murphy showed during the 2009 campaign.

For the town of Bridgewater, I wish for an end to the animosity that reared its head in 2009. I wish the issue of the Burnham Fund, fueled by the lost friendship between First Selectman Bill Stuart and former Board of Finance member George Allingham, would be resolved for the good of the community.

For all of our towns, I wish no further tragic teen deaths will occur -- that the death this fall of Shepaug Valley High School student Cody Montana will be the last such heartbreaking motor vehicle accident we experience.

As a closing wish for our communities, I hope the newly redistricted probate court system proves to be an efficient change and works well for the families who need to use it, often in times of strife.

Deborah Rose, writer/photographer: I'm clicking the heels of my ruby slippers together like Dorothy, blinking my eyes like Jeannie and wiggling my nose like Samantha.

I may look a little silly doing this, but all that effort is certainly going to make my wishes come true, right?

First, I wish for a boost in the economy, restoring jobs to people who have lost them and are looking, as well as filling storefronts that have emptied in recent months.

I look forward to the day motorists don't need to drive off to the side of Bridge Street in New Milford to avoid the dip/pit at the railroad tracks on Railroad Street.

And it'd be great to see strides made to bring passenger rail service to town.

On a more personal level, my hope is that people slow down enough to experience life and all the gifts that unfold before them every day.

Sometimes the simplest acts are the hardest to do but make the greatest impact: hold the door open for a stranger, let a fellow motorist out in front of you from a side road and, if they respond, gesture "you're welcome" with your hand.

A few years ago, I mentioned to a friend that I had been getting frustrated when I prayed because I felt I was repeating myself with the same prayers. His answer? "That's probably because the prayers are worth repeating."

The same goes for my annual wish that New Milford would open a permanent homeless shelter.

Beyond these wishes, I'm sure more will arise as 2010 kicks in. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Janine Toussaint, office manager: Just as many others wish, I'd like to see the economy get better and the job market open up so all those people who have lost their jobs can get back to work.

Some experts say things are on their way up, but I can honestly say I haven't seen or heard of much improvement, except maybe the road construction projects that are done or will be soon.

It's too bad it took so long to get it done, but the bypass for Route 7 is awesome. I hope it helps make life better for many area residents.

At the start of 2009, I said I would make more time for myself. For the second year in a row, it did not happen. Some say the third time is a charm, so I'll try again this year.

I hope you will, too.

And, if you see only one movie this year, make sure it's "The Blind Side." Let's all try to learn from that true story of changing a person's life forever, for the better.

For all of you, I hope you have enjoyed the holidays with your family and friends and you have a happy, healthy and safe year.