It’s been a mixed bag, 2021. While we are clearly still mired in a pandemic, vaccines have shown they can limit the damage. While national politics are still characterized by extreme division, the daily circus acts have ended, at least for now and we’re slowly working toward accountability for an insurrection that kicked off the year in ominous fashion.

At the local level, elections in Riverside and Brookfield were much calmer – well, to be frank, somnambulant – due to a lack of challengers for president and trustee. North Riverside voters pushed the button for change, but not too much change. 

School districts all navigated the pandemic as safely as possible and in different fashions during the spring before charting a more uniform course in the fall. Even with the re-emergent pandemic as 2021 ends, there seems little appetite to usher students out of the classroom as in 2020.

We’ve long given up predicting the future, so we have no idea what 2022 holds for us. But here are a few things we’d like to see:

The emergence of the delta and omicron variants of COVID-19 this summer and fall were warnings that pandemics don’t simply go away because people tire of them. After nearly two years of masks and social distancing and canceled events, it’s easy to throw up your hands and say, “Well, we’re just going to have to live with this.”

But there are tangible solutions right in front of us, if only we rally the collective will to act. Vaccines are widely and easily available – at no cost. With all of the evidence of their efficacy and with nearly 1 million fatalities from the disease in less than two years, there is no reason, beyond an actual medical one, not to be vaccinated.

If the solution is making it even harder for the unvaccinated to participate in everyday activities – by imposing vaccine mandates to visit restaurants and bars or to fly on planes – then we hope those measures are part of Pandemic Mitigation 2022.

The vaccinated are doing their part to end this thing and make life better for all. It’s time for the unvaccinated to do their part.

The Brookfield Avenue bridge project has been, shall we say, not exactly smooth. But the biggest hurdle – getting a water main rerouted under Salt Creek – appears to have been cleared, and that work ought to recommence as the calendar flips the page.

Here’s hoping there are no more bumps in the road and we can be crossing the new, improved bridge as we pass the reviewing stand on July 4 at the end of the Brookfield parade.

Speaking of unending projects, will 2022 be the year Riverside pulls the trigger or decides to blowup completely the idea of building a floodwall along the Des Plaines from Park Place to the BNSF tracks?

To say the Army Corps of Engineers is taking its time letting everyone know the exact impact would be an understatement. Those who live in the floodplain and those whose properties would be directly affected should not have this matter hanging over their heads indefinitely. Let’s get an answer in 2022.