Community leaders make resolutions for 2015

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, December 31, 2014


It’s almost the New Year. 2015 is upon us.

And with that holiday comes the age-old tradition of making New Year’s resolutions.

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Frequently made, and almost as often broken, these well-intentioned promises we make to ourselves and to others at the beginning of each new year come in as many shapes and sizes as the individuals who make them.

They are the promises to enjoy life more, to improve our health and well-being and to just be better people, in general.

This year, the Elizabethton Star wondered what resolutions were on the minds of our community’s leaders, so we made calls asking each one to give us his or her top resolutions —– personal or professional or both.

Several of those we called needed some time to think about their answers while others knew immediately what their best plan for the new year would be and answered without hesitation.

“I need to get more physical activity and be more health conscious and eat better,” said Kevin Ward, Carter County’s Director of Schools. “I love hamburgers, especially Pal’s — that’s my weakness — but I plan to do more walking when the weather warms up.”

On a professional note, Ward said that he has plans for “the board and us as a whole to continue the efforts to utilize best practices in the curriculum and any efforts to improve our test scores.”

If Interim Director of Elizabethton City Schools, Dr. Corey Gardenhour, has any personal resolutions, he didn’t share them, but his goal for the next year is at the heart of the classroom.

“My New Year’s resolution would be to accentuate the positive things that our teachers are doing in the classroom with their children because they are really the force behind our school system,” he said.

Carter County Clerk Mary Gouge said although she doesn’t usually make resolutions, there is one she believes anyone can keep.

“I suppose it would be to strive to be a better person,” she said. “We can all do that.”

Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey’s resolution is centered in his work with the citizens of the county. “My resolution,” he said, “would be to serve the people to the best possible level in 2015 and provide the highest level of government service to the people of Carter County going forward.”

Jon Hartman, Elizabethton Planning and Development Director, is also focused on serving the community.

“Actually one of the things I’ve talked about — and it would make a great New Year’s resolution — is increasing the level of customer service for my department. That’s a goal for next year,” he said. “By that I mean, we want to provide better customer service by both improving the quality of service and making access to those services more customer-friendly.”

And for Hartman, himself?

“Personally, I’d like to get more fit,” he added.

Physical fitness is also on the mind of Elizabethton’s Chief of Police Greg Workman.

“Well, I need to lose some weight,” he said. “That would be a personal goal.”

But in his professional life, his other resolution is “to continue working to make progress to get things ready for this new police department facility which will be ready in 2017-18.”

Carl Brickey, Carter County Tourism Coordinator, says his resolution is “to increase the hotel/motel revenue as well as grow our tourism tax dollars.”

Tom Anderson, Director of Carter County Tomorrow, will also focus on growing the community as his resolution.

“I hope to get the organization more focused on the community and on actually getting projects completed,” he said. “I want to align the board of directors with the organization for the betterment of the community.”

But Anderson also has a resolution for his family. “I usually do one adventure a year with my kids,” he said, “but this year, I’d like to go on more adventures with my children.”

Family is also at the heart of Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander’s resolution. “My top resolution is to enjoy more time with my wife and little two-year-old daughter and my new daughter who will be here in May,” he said, “so I have a full plate. That’ll be enough for me.”

And for Kelly Geagley, Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency Executive director, it will be enough to just “be a better person.”

“I’d just like to a better person, all around,” he said, “in every way.”

For Rita Booher, Chairman of the Elizabethton City Schools Board of Education, deciding on a resolution took a little time.

“Typically, I don’t make resolutions,” she said. “Let me think about it for a few minutes and I’ll text you.”

Five minutes later, her answer came:

“This year, I am choosing a New Year’s Resolution I can keep,” she wrote. “I am going to eat more chocolate and drink more coffee.”

“Thank you for asking me,” she added. “Happy New Year!”