The good news in 2016

Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Earlier last week, a column appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette titled “Iowa Not So Nice.”

     The author proceeded to describe incidents throughout the State Of Iowa that showcased people being “not so nice,” or as he called them, people who “have lost their basic human dignity.”

     His goal for 2017, to go back to “Iowa Nice.”

     In the final days of 2016, you couldn’t turn on the TV or news without reading about all of the amazingly talented actors and musicians (not to mention the inventor of the Red Solo Cup) who lost their lives in 2016. Too mush craziness and sadness…

     So, I want to share the positive news that happened in 2016!

     Personally, the day I will never forget last year was July 24. I had just finished covering the fair’s demolition derby. Earlier that morning, I helped cover the 4-H/FFA Horse Show.

     I was making my way to the Lions Food Stand in the midway for a delicious breaded pork loin and fries. (I was starving!)

     As I sat down to eat and cool down (thanks to the Lions Club for the free ice-cold beverage), I received some text messages from my cousin. She was attending my sister’s water ski show in Manchester that morning. Apparently, there was a mishap during the show and my sister fell off the top of the human pyramid. She landed wrong in the lake and was bobbing in the water, almost lifeless. (Wait, this story has a positive turn.)

     My cousin said my sister was taken by ambulance to the Manchester hospital, but didn’t know the extent of her injuries. I thought everything would be fine; I hadn’t heard from my mom who was also at the show, so I continued to eat.

     Then, my cell phone went off. My mom called to tell me my sister was being airlifted to the University of Iowa because it appeared her neck was broken from the fall.

     I was in shock!

     I dumped my tray of food and ran out of the Lions stand to find my car near the livestock barns.

     I tried calling my co-workers who were also somewhere on the fairgrounds that I had to leave for the day and get to Iowa City.

     That was in July. Now, two days before Christmas, my sister was finally downgraded to a more convenient neck brace. She had been wearing the most uncomfortable contraption for roughly six months. She was also cleared to drive! That was great news as well because ever since her accident, I assisted by driving her from Dyersville to Dubuque every Thursday morning so she could still attend graduate school. I also helped by driving her to work appointments on the weekends.

     While she still has to wear a smaller neck brace for the next three months, things definitely could have turned out much worse! She’s alive. She survived. She’s not paralyzed. She’s back to her normal self (Ha!). Clearly a bad situation with a happy ending.

     Now, some other highlights of 2016 for the masses:

     Team USA dominated at the Summer Olympics in Rio, bringing home 212 total medals. Stars of the Games were female gymnast Simone Biles, and the unstoppable swimmer Michael Phelps. He chose to end his swimming career as the Rio Games came to a close. Phelps now has 28 total Olympic medals and holds the title as the most decorated Olympian of all time.

     The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent as the year came to a close. This is the lowest the rate has been in nine consecutive years. People are working.

     Now I am not a sports fan, but even I was pumped to see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series title, their first in 108 years.

     Once again, Iowa held its first-in-the-nation caucuses in February to help kick off election season. For good or bad, we now have a new president-elect who will take office Jan. 20. Despite the negative news and attitudes (even I am at fault here), Donald Trump will lead our nation for the next four years.

     But, also related to the election, Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential nominee in the U.S. (Some day we’ll have a female president.)


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