Another winter has arrived and the North Country transitions and shares its natural beauty in another special way. We are blessed to be in such a dynamic environment. After spending all but one Christmas in the Champlain Valley, there is nowhere else I would rather be at this time of year. I don't think any of us enjoy the cold, shoveling, getting stuck, the ice and mud, etc., but on those days I choose to think about the very short time I have before the lawns will again need mowing and it will once again be hot and muggy. It's the North Country and if you don't like the weather just wait a few minutes and it will change! It's important that we all respect the season by not pushing the situation or ourselves. Winter driving skills are important and as my father used to say, "If you're going slow, even sliding in the ditch won't be as bad." It's important that we all give a little extra time to reach our destination when driving on snow covered or icy roads. As natives, we know what's required and just need to remember to adjust our driving habits to be safe and to prevent injury to others. Winter is also a good time to keep an eye on neighbors and spend time with family. We have a long history of taking care of each other and working together. By nature we are a mix of being both very independent and very clan like, as demonstrated during the ice storm. North Country hospitality is second to none. The short days and added expense of the season can be difficult for many who will need the patience and support of the rest of us. The holiday season is a great way to begin our personal transition into the winter season with family and friends. Take time to enjoy the blessings you have and your opportunity to make a difference in someone's life. I have great expectations for the Town of Plattsburgh in 2008 and look forward to working with like-minded people who want to make a difference! We are building a great team that is focused on the future and our future economic success. Let's all work together to build a sense of community and family each and every day in 2008. We are in the right place, with the right people, at the right time seize the opportunity! There is an old saying that, when the student is ready the teacher will appear. Will you be ready in 2008? Happy New Year!