New year’s wishes, predictions: Anything goes

So, 2015 is finally winding down, and 2016 is just a few days away. As we often do this time of year, our Ideas & Voices staff asked a number of local influencers, thinkers and leaders to look forward and back as the calendar nears a turn. We asked these contributors to make either a wish or a prediction for 2016 — the topic was open and up to them. From politics to sports to concerns very close to their own hearts and interests, what they turned in runs the gamut. We hope you’ll find their ideas thought-provoking. Meanwhile, Happy New Year! Here’s wishing everyone a safe, productive, creative and interesting 2016. — Ron Rollins

I predict that the candidates in the upcoming presidential election will spend more money than any previous political campaign. I wish that the candidates would instead donate the money to charity. — Andrew Reitz, general counsel at CareSource.

With some confidence, I predict we will have a new president in 2016. My wish is that our new president has personal humility and professional will, has the talent to unite the House and the Senate to a middle ground, is a voice for the voiceless, makes us feel safe and lifts our belief in integrity and justice for all. — Michelle Riley, Chief Executive Officer of The Foodbank

As we enter a new year, I wish the Greater Dayton area a fresh start and a new beginning for a brighter tomorrow. My hope is to set reachable goals and improve the quality of life for all. I wish for people to be more involved in our community and that we could all work collaboratively for stable, thriving communities and be open to positive change. It is my wish that we give more, expect less and seek out the new adventures and love one another. My wish for the Greater Dayton area is a prosperous and joyous 2016 and beyond. — J. Thomas Maultsby, President and CEO of United Way of the Greater Dayton Area

Let this coming year be better than all of the others. I vow to do some of the things I have always wanted to do but could not find the time. Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. I won’t make promises I don’t think I can keep. I’m going to smile more. My wish for 2016 is that all of us adopt a spirit of happiness and appreciate the great strides we have made together over the past year. We’ve come a long way, Dayton, and it’s only going to get better. Cheers! — Michelle L. Kaye, Vice President and Director of Client and Community Relations, PNC Financial Services Group

My wish: That people of all ages put aside their electronic devices and phones each day and take a walk, hike or ride on the region’s abundant trails — or just sit in the woods, back yard or in a park, take a deep breath and soak in the beauty of the world around you. — Rebecca A. Benná, Executive Director, Five Rivers MetroParks

Nationally, I predict Donald Trump will be humbled but will get a speaking role at the Republican Convention in Cleveland. He will not run as an independent. Locally, another Chinese-owned company will locate in the Miami Valley, following in the footsteps of Fuyao Glass America. Finally, Ohio will once again be the epicenter of the race for President, and voters in the Miami Valley will see a lot of the candidates next fall, even after the first debate. — Former Ohio Gov. Robert Taft

I predict that there will be an even larger urban migration back into the city of Dayton. People will recognize that downtown Dayton has so much to offer such as River Run, art galleries, shopping, museums, restaurants, brew pubs and music venues such as the Levitt Pavilion. We will again see Dayton as a thriving, urban, walking community. — Amy Deal, artist and designer of the River Run mural

Someone will steal the carburetor from under the hood of Facebook. The driver will rise next morning and try to start it, but all we will hear is a sad clicking and then nothing. After the initial shock, we’ll wake from our collective trance, put our devices down, and step outside. There, we will find other embodied humans, our neighbors. We will talk to each other. Later, we will go inside and find these flat, rectangular paper bricks on shelves, and remember, and practice, the lost art of reading. — Rebecca Kuder, writer, blogger and educator

I predict that we will elect our first female president of the United States. In so doing we will continue our rocky but righteous path toward creating a society in which everyone, regardless of background or identity, can reach their unique potential. Although I am sometimes deeply disappointed in how we treat each other, it is times like this in our history in which I realize how privileged I am to have been born in a country that truly aspires to create inclusion and justice for all. — Kimberly Barrett, Vice President for Multicultural Affairs and Community Engagement, Wright State University

I believe downtown Dayton will have a banner year with housing, restaurants and other retail expanding to a level making it a premier area to live in the Miami Valley. On the negative side, I believe the price of gasoline will rise to over $3 a gallon, maybe approaching $4. — Jim Newby, former Dayton Police chief, community volunteer

For 2016, the Dayton Development Coalition sees our region strengthening our relationship with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The collaboration between the Dayton community and Wright-Pat is the best in the country. Strong local partnerships with industry, academia and our public partners allow us build on Wright-Pat’s innovative work for our nation’s military. Supporting Wright-Pat’s mission is critical to the continued economic recovery of our region. We see a strong pipeline of projects and job opportunities in the areas of aerospace and defense, advanced materials and manufacturing, IT, bioscience, logistics and more. We need to continue to build off of recent wins like Fuyao, PSA Airlines, Navistar, Whirlpool, Speedway, P&G, NuVasive, CareSource and so many more. Their growth gives our local economy momentum and provides opportunities for so many. We believe 2016 will be another strong year, and regional collaboration will be the key to making sure the great accomplishments will continue. And, I can’t resist … the Browns will get the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft and waste it on another quarterback that doesn’t work out. Bengal fans, be happy you have Andy Dalton. — Jeff Hoagland, President and CEO, Dayton Development Coalition

It is my wish for 2016 that the rewards from this region’s diligence, patience, resolve and determination take root. That the seeds we have planted grow into an economic engine that blossoms into a revitalized greater downtown, a thriving regional economy with new and expanded business, recreational and charitable investments in communities throughout the Miami Valley. I wish for an environment where opportunity abounds and all are eager to participate. — John North, President/CEO, Better Business Bureau

I would like to see our community increase collaboration efforts around ending violence. It is difficult to praise our successes as a community when people’s lives continued to be lost at the hands of another human being. Do we believe that life is precious, or do we believe that any life is dispensable? — Judy Strnad, Executive Director, Artemis Center

My wish for 2016 is that we continue to find ways to expand and strengthen the partnerships among non-profits that are developing today in every sector. Groups like the National Aviation Heritage Alliance, Dayton History, Culture Works, Wright Dunbar Inc., to name just a few, are seeing tremendous success in expanding their networks. Handshakes beat arm wrestling any day. — Mary Mathews, community volunteer with Wright-Dunbar Inc. and the Dayton Regional Walk of Fame

I’ll pass on the predictions. Wishes, on the other hand, have no bounds, so here is my list: The Wright Company factory buildings are acquired by the National Park Service or one of our preservation partners. Visitation to Dayton’s historic aviation sites remains high, we have had a 20-30 percent increase at several of our sites. Low gas prices and the David McCullough book were often mentioned as reasons for visiting Dayton, so by extension I’m wishing for continued low gas prices and another noted author to write a book about the Wright brothers. To be able to afford to open the Dunbar house more days each week. This past year, we achieved a 150 percent increase in visitation at the Dunbar house and were open only three days a week. Also, Carillon Historical Park’s Tree of Light reappears next year. It was a great morale boost to the community. — Dean Alexander, Superintendent, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

Based on Secretary of State Kerry’s remarks in October of this year when he addressed Members of the Executive Board and the President of the General Conference of UNESCO (the United Nations, Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) indicating that he and President Obama “… are fully committed to working with the American Congress in order to do all that we can to re-establish full U.S. financing, contributing to the success of the Organization,” I predict that the U.S. will resume its contributions to UNESCO in 2016. The U.S. ceased its funding in October 2011, when Palestine was voted in as a UNESCO member, and lost its UNESCO voting rights two years later due to nonpayment, in accordance with UNESCO regulations. Among its other activities, UNESCO supports freedom of the press, facilitates scientific research, promotes girls’ and women’s education, and protects and preserves the world’s natural and cultural heritage, through its World Heritage Fund. Renewed U.S. contributions to UNESCO will directly impact Ohio, as the current Hopewell Ceremonial Sites of Ohio nomination for the World Heritage List, administered by UNESCO, reaches its final stages. With the U.S. back in compliance with UNESCO contribution regulations, this nomination, which includes the Newark Earthworks State Memorial, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, and the Fort Ancient State Memorial, can proceed to the ultimate goal of these sites being added to the World Heritage list, which would provide a tremendous boost to archaeological heritage tourism in the state. — Mark J. Meister, President and CEO, Dayton Society of Natural History and Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

I wish that 2016 will be remembered for its civil discourse, but I predict that my wish will be trumped again and again by politicians focused more on their own personal agenda than on the welfare of our country. — Merle Wilberding, attorney and community volunteer

An exciting year in 2016! So many things are going on in downtown Dayton. RiverScape, River Run … pretty soon you can kayak on two new passageways. There are lots of new condos or apartments in construction. You can peddle around on the Link Dayton Bike Share. Did you see the murals on the River Run? And pretty soon a new restaurant at Wympees! — Charlie Campbell, writer of the weekly It’s Great In Dayton e-newsletter

I wish that as human beings, we weren’t judged on our physical differences, but based on our hearts. I believe that most people have good hearts, but stereotypes and assumptions make it difficult to see that. For certain groups of people, those stereotypes are a major disadvantage and we begin to own them making it difficult to defy them. Too often stereotypes stifle a person’s influence and ability to overcome challenges. I wish that we would not judge based on physical characteristics, but work from the heart and the belief that all human beings should be treated with fairness and equity. — Catherine Crosby, Executive Director of the city of Dayton’s Human Relations Council

In 2016, the Dayton Art Institute wishes that all residents of the Dayton region would make at least one visit to the museum, as well as our other fantastic museums and galleries, in order to gain a greater appreciation of both the DAI’s amazing permanent collection and the many other remarkable cultural amenities available in our community. — Michael Roediger, Director and CEO, the Dayton Art Institute

I predict that in 2016 there will be a negotiated Dayton Basketball Accord that results in UD playing Wright State in men’s basketball in 2018 for the 30th anniversary of the Gem City Jam. This historic Dayton game will be televised globally through pay-per-view and, as a result, raise millions of dollars to support student scholarship and success. — Sean Joseph Creighton, President, SOCHE–Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education

In 2016, I wish that the positive energy surrounding the resurgence of downtown increases, and those who have not been downtown in years give it a second chance by enjoying the wonderful entertainment venues that we are all so blessed to have in our community. — Jessica Barry, President of the School of Advertising Art

Prediction: That Dayton and Montgomery County will finally commit to providing high-quality preschool for every 4-year old! And, that those 4-year olds will then become proficient readers as third-graders. Wish: That every parent of a young child will understand that high-quality early learning is important and imperative and will find ways to provide it. — Thomas Lasley, executive director, Learn to Earn Dayton

Most people might expect me to produce predictions/wishes for the music/arts world, but saying “full houses and full coffers” would be too predictable, so I’ll go for something lighter: 1. A nice, deep playoff run for the Bengals. 2. Continued NCAA tournament successes for the Flyers (men and women). 3. A ring for LeBron and the Cavs. 4. Spring training starting in about eight weeks, followed by a better year for the Reds and Dragons. 5. A completed grand slam for Serena. 6. A healthy back for Tiger. Now back to Nutcrackers and Messiahs, sports fans! — Neal Gittleman, music director and conductor, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra

Predictions for a new year tend to bring out the cynic, while wishes for the new year bring out hope — so my wishes for the new year: That we may consider/respect those of differing opinions, instead of demonizing them; that we will celebrate those trying to make our community a more attractive one; and that we recognize our individual power to initiate positive change, within ourselves and the world around us. — Shaun Yu, President/CEO of Discover Classical 88.1 & 89.9FM

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