The swirling uncertainty casting a pall over the national scene seems to pervade everything, almost magnifying things that go wrong locally or cause controversy. We’re quick to outrage these days.

But there have been many good things that have transpired locally, and we can too often overlook their impact or forget them too quickly. Before we blow out the candle on 2018, we’d like to take a look at a few of the stories that made us feel better this year.

Linda Sokol Francis sometimes gets a rough ride in Brookfield. Her influence at Eight Corners and her mission to bring a church to the business district frustrates some people. At her core, she is incredibly generous.

Her $1 million gift to ensure Brookfield will have a library that will suit its 21st century mission was nothing less than a breathtaking gesture of public goodwill. In a couple of years, Brookfield will have a library that will serve its residents for generations, one that will be a point of pride. Francis’ gift ensured its existence.

Harry Carlsen left Brookfield in late 1941 and his family never saw him again. Killed in the first hours of the Battle of Tarawa during World War II, his remains were buried on the island where he fell and then lost.

Earlier this year, through DNA tests and U.S. Navy medical records, forensic specialists were able to identify a set of unknown remains interred at a military cemetery in Hawaii as Carlsen.

Surviving family members were able to bring those remains back to the Chicago area this fall and interred Carlsen at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, not too far from the home he left 77 years ago.

With Riverside’s decision to join the West Suburban Special Recreation Association (WSSRA), residents with special needs and their families in all three communities the Landmark covers have access to recreation and social opportunities.

The cost to taxpayers is minuscule compared to the benefits the WSSRA membership delivers for these residents and their families. 

North Riverside, it turns out, isn’t the nicest place in America, it sure is in the team photo. That verdict came from the folks at Readers Digest and “Good Morning America” who urged folks nationwide to cast their votes for 10 finalists, including North Riverside.

How much does it mean in the long run? Not a whole lot, but when you’re a place whose motto is “a small community with a big heart,” it feels good that so many people agree.

You know what else is good news? That the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark is here to document what’s happening in our communities and tell the stories of the people who make and have made it all happen.

Sometimes it’s joyous. Sometimes it’s infuriating. And sometimes it’s downright depressing. But that’s life, isn’t it? And the local paper – in duress as a paper-focused  species – is the only place where that story is most comprehensively told.

We love doing that. And we hope the feeling is mutual, if not always comfortable. 

Happy New Year.