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2012 wasn't that bad
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Every December, we at the Journal do a year in review story.  Hopefully, you read the 2012 review in Saturday's paper; if not, you can find it online at This is always a daunting task as it is more than just a review of the year's top stories; it is also finding the reoccurring themes during the last 12 months.

This year, we made it easy to understand the themes the editorial department found looking back; every section was labeled, from Changing economy to New leaders and Expanding services. At the start of this annual project, I thought the overall review was going to be somewhat depressing. The Valley is still in the throes of economic recession, unemployment remains high and there hasn't been a lack of crime stories in 2012.

After pulling all the top stories and grouping them together, what I found, however,  surprised me. 2012 wasn't so bad.

Turlock was a bright spot in the Valley economy, with the opening of Blue Diamond, the filling of once vacant storefronts at Monte Vista Crossings and a downtown resurgence.

Development in general saw a comeback with the completion of the Regional Transit Center, the first bus hub in the city and the second in the county; the construction of the Public Safety Facility, a $33.6 million new home for Turlock’s police and fire departments; and the groundbreaking of Avena Bella, an 80-unit low-income housing development at 500 W. Linwood Ave.

The Turlock City Council also voted to plan for less residential growth and preserve more farmland in the city's General Plan, music to the ears of area growers, longtime residents and the Planning Commission.

2012 brought exciting changes to the city in new police chief Robert Jackson, new city council member Steven Nascimento and interim president of California State University, Stanislaus Joseph Sheley.

As the city grew economically, so did its social services. The city's first homeless day center opened, as did a grief support center for children and families. Haven's Women Center moved into the old city recreation building, and the Turlock Family Network was able to reopen its doors and offer the community a much-needed parenting resource.

And then there was the joy of watching Turlock native Colin Kaepernick rise to the challenge of leading the San Francisco 49ers and former THS and Fresno State Bulldog get picked up by the Oakland As.

When these happenings are listed together, it makes 2012 seem pretty good. Of course, there were the bad times. Turlock was not immune to a rise in gun violence seen around the nation and another Turlocker paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

But when taking stock of the previous year —  as many of us do before making plans for the new year — don't overlook the positive. It's way too easy to fall into a negative frame of mind, especially when it's 40 degrees outside and you can't remember the last time you were able to use the barbeque. Building on the successes of the previous year is always better than trying to start a goal from scratch.

Happy New Year from me and all of us at the Journal! And may all your 2013 resolutions and goals be as easy as subscribing or renewing a subscription to your source for local news, the Turlock Journal. Call 634-9141 today to subscribe.

This column is the opinion of Kristina Hacker and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Journal or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.