It's a new year if you hadn't heard.

Much like on Jan. 1, 2020, we feel a sense of new beginnings; a closed chapter. That feeling only lasted a couple of months last year. We hope that won't be the case in 2021.

We still face challenges from a troubling year that we’ve not left behind. We know that in 2021, more people will die from the coronavirus and people will continue to be infected, spurring hospitalizations and serious illnesses in some.

But, we also know two vaccines for COVID-19 are here with more likely to be approved in the coming weeks and months. Vaccine rollout has begun. While slower than originally hoped, a couple million have received their first dose of the vaccine.

Experts fully expect in 2021 we’ll be able to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us and get back to normal.

2020 was a hard year for us all, and our industry was not spared. But we have great hopes for the future. We wish everyone reading this a safe and prosperous 2021. We’d like to take this time to thank our readers who continue to support the Ottumwa Courier and local journalism, as well as the advertisers who recognize the value we bring to their advertising portfolio.

Before the pandemic, we used space on this page in the closing days of 2019 to layout our wishes for 2020

One of those was for Ottumwa and Blackbird to do more to get work moving at the former St. Joseph Hospital site. Blackbird made some more promises to city officials over the course of 2020. Would you be surprised if we told you they didn’t meet those promises?

We can’t wait for the redevelopment of this site. No seriously — we can’t wait any longer. The time for this project to get going was a couple of years ago. Further promises mean nothing. We need this tree to start bearing some fruit. We hope 2021 is the year something can be done that accomplishes substantial progress.

Beyond that, we hope our country can come together and be decent to each other again. President-elect Joe Biden’s leading campaign pitch was he would be able to turn down the volume of our society’s highly partisan and weak on facts fighting. We hope he is successful. Let 2021 be the year we remember the other side of the aisle isn't an enemy, just someone with different ideas. No one party and no one person knows it all. We do best at finding answers to our societal problems by working together.

We'll have to wait a couple hundred days to see if this happens. We know already the effort will get off to a rocky start. Some Republicans (not all) plan to bring the theatrics to what should be a mundane approval of the electoral college vote in a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6. We just hope it won’t further sow divisions in our democracy like we fear it will — as this entire 2020 Election process has so far.

America has accomplished many great things through bipartisan compromise. And as we hope to close the book on this pandemic, that’s exactly what we’ll need in 2021.

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