So, this is it. The day before the day the world is supposed to end, (December 21, 2012) as predicted by the Mayan calendar and apocalypse freaks all over the world.
Depending on who you believe we will be hit by Planet X (aka Nibiru) or be engulfed by solar flares. So, no point hanging out your washing or doing the Christmas shopping, by the time Santa has double checked his "naughty" and "nice" list, the only ones left standing will be the cockroaches and the scorpions.
But on the off-chance that we make it through, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has contributed to the pages of The Echo throughout the year. To the journos, designers, ad reps and support staff that share the office space with me; thank you for your hard work and dedication to keeping the good ship Echo afloat and on an even keel.
To our columnists and letter writers: you are what makes this paper unique and the feedback I get continuously is that our readers love you (or love to hate you).
To our advertisers: your ongoing support is the reason we can continue to report on what is happening in our community and hopefully our readers will continue to support you too.
To our readers: in this world of information saturation, I hope you still find something of interest to read in these pages every week that you won't find elsewhere.
And to our community (which is by definition everyone): thankyou for being such a diverse and dynamic bunch. A newspaper can only be as good as the community it seeks to reflect and I feel privileged to live and work here.
It has been a turbulent year at The Echo headquarters, with major changes to the look of the paper and to our distribution. There have been some casualties along the way and I would like to pay particular tribute to journalist Terra Sword who spent 16 good years with this newspaper before deciding it was time to move on, and to S Sorrensen, who also left the building a couple of months ago, but will continue to grace us with his insights and observations on the back page.
The biggest single issue this year has been, without a doubt, the growing opposition to the coal seam gas industry. Never before have I seen so many people united and so passionate about a particular issue. But out of that opposition a social movement has blossomed and brought diverse groups of people together in a shared desire to hang on to what we've got.
For me, the highlight has been the growing CSG-free road movement that began at The Channon back in April. It quickly spread across the region and now to other parts of the country. The simple act of neighbours talking to each other and showing strength in numbers promotes social cohesion and clearly demonstrates community opposition.
So if the rapture doesn't come tomorrow, have a Merry Christmas, love the ones you're with, and I look forward to whatever 2013 may bring.