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What are you going to do for the New Year?

A bright New Year always means a fresh start. And with 2010 starting not only a New Year, but a new decade coming up with special goals seems even more appropriate at this time of year.

Traditionally, one of the ways most people ring in the New Year is by making resolutions, whether they have a track record of keeping them or not.

These can be attacking concrete goals like losing weight, giving up smoking, changing careers or trying to be on time. Or resolutions can go into more abstract, almost spiritual, goals that focus on making changes the individual sees as desirable character traits.

As we approach the end of 2009, The Tribune has asked some Lawrence Countians to share their resolutions. This group of randomly chosen individuals features both the public faces of the county and those not quite as well-known.

Here is what they’re going to do for 2010. Maybe it can you an idea or two on how to honor the New Year.

Anne Dobbins of South Point said she would like to have staying closer to home as her resolve this year, but with her varied interests and the involvement with her husband, Tom, in several music groups around the Tri-State, that may be wishful thinking. That’s why she offers a substitute

“I used to make resolutions when I was working, now that I am retired, I play it by ear. We try to say we will cut back on spending time away from home,” Dobbins said. “But our resolution is to stay happy and healthy.”

Bob Smith, president of the Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, admits keeping a resolution may prove harder than coming up with one. However, he gives it a try.

“When I was a little younger, I might have done a few, but it got to a point where I never kept them so I gave up on them,” he said. “(This year) I resolve to try to be a better influence on those around me. I like to be of benefit to other people: family friends and business associates.”

A number of men who spend their lives in the political arena have provided a diverse offering to the question.

Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship has double goals for 2010 focusing on both his private and public life as he starts his third year at leading the city.

“I would like to be able to spend some more quality time with my family and still give my best efforts to the citizens of Ironton,” the mayor said. “There’s the old exercise thing and I’d like to start doing that but the biggest thing is my family — 9-year-old twins, Emma and Joel — and I do want to continue my best efforts as mayor.”

Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Burcham bypasses the tradition of the New Year, believing instead that the good intentions of the making resolutions should be on the radar screen all-year long.

“I never make any resolutions. That is one of those things where I try to do what I am supposed to all year long,” he said. “The New Year doesn’t necessarily represent a time to do something. It is not that I am successful, like eating the food you are supposed to. But I am trying to do it all year long.”

Chesapeake Mayor Dick Gilpin has an agenda for both his private life and that as the leader of the village.

“I threaten to lose weight, get healthy, all those resolutions you try to make,” he said. “And I’d like to tear some buildings down in Chesapeake, eyesore buildings and get some more paving and road repair.”

As to whether he will be successful on either front, Gilpin exudes confidence.

“You don’t make those resolutions and not think you are going to keep them,” he said.

Lawrence County Commissioner Jason Stephens exhibits a pragmatic bent when asked about his resolutions.

“I usually don’t do them,” he said. “I wouldn’t keep them anyway. I try not to make promises I can’t keep.”

Doris Boster of Proctorville saw much of the spirit of Christmas in action this season and has taken it as her guiding light for making up her resolution.

“I want to be a better person and appreciate people more,” she said. “I try to, but you know how it is.”

The year 2009 was the end of part of the legal woes of Ironton historian Steve Shaffer after the Commonwealth of Kentucky dropped criminal charges against him for retrieving the Portsmouth Indian Head Rock.

“I saw an old Chinese proverb and it kind of goes like this. When we live with resentment we dig two graves,” Shaffer said. “I am going to try to live a kinder and more forgiving life. That is my wish for the New Year.”