Happy New Year - 2022!

From the failed insurrection on January 6th to the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID contributing to 40 deaths of Waynesboro residents since 2020, the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Twenty-One has been a challenging one.Yet, through it all, you have survived. Welcome to 2022!

Waynesboro begins 2022 with a new Assistant City Manager (former Police Chief Mike Wilhelm), a new Chief of Police ( Chief David F Shaw), a new City Sheriff (Sheriff Christopher Johnson, Jr), and a new Assistant Superintendent of Schools (Dr. Ryan Barber). Fresh faces often bring a greater variety of ideas and attitudes in their areas of influence.

2022 is also a year of municipal elections, with three of the five City Council seats coming up for contention in November (wards C, D & at-large). The change of dates from May to November gives those considering a run for office an additional half-year to form their campaign organizations. I hope that more Waynesboro residents decide to grab this opportunity, which for some will be their first foray into political office. Running for City Council is an eye-opening education about your home town that you will never forget. City Council needs new faces and greater diversity, and that is not possible if people just like you don't run for office.

Before 2022 is over, we will have several new businesses operating in the city, including those currently being built in the Waynesboro Marketplace development on the former Ladd Elementary School property. Sheetz Popeye's Chicken, Chipotle Mexican, Take 5 Oil Change Shop and Aspen Dental should all be open by Spring.

Ollie's is expected to be open, in the former west side Kroger location by Spring, and who knows what may be coming to the former Captain Sam's Landing location. Our brand new Dunkin' shop is being joined by a Tropical Smoothie Cafe, next door.

Gio's 503 Salvadorian Restaurant will be moving to the former Gavid's Steakhouse location, next to Burger King, and will have a new name and a new menu. That leaves its current location, at the eastern confluence of Main Street & Broad Street, available for another restaurant to open. Dairy Queen, are you listening?

Impulse Gay Social Club is planning to close down in the small building next to the Main Street bridge. That building could be a prime location for a restaurant that serves the kind of food that people will be wanting at the various outdoor events being held in Constitution Park, on the other side of the river, as well as refreshment for walkers and cyclists on the South River Greenway. An energetic & creative entrepreneur should be able to make a great success in that location, with the right mix of offerings.

This welcome to 2022 could go on and on, but the bottom line is that Waynesboro has a lot to be positive about. Businesses are growing and the labor issues will eventually resolve themselves, even if it does mean higher prices for some items. People are finally being paid more than people were making 30 years ago, and that is long overdue.

With so much to look forward to, it might be worth considering doing less complaining and more working to improve our city for the future. Whining never put beans on the table. Happy New Year!