Cheer to a new year

Today is one of the most special days of the year.

It is a time to look back on 2017 – the good and bad things that happened to each of us, as well as to our communities and the world. It is a time to reflect on accomplishments and on how quickly our kids have grown.

It is also a time for looking forward to all that 2018 has to offer. It is an opportunity to consider what we want or need to achieve in the coming year, as well as a chance to consider how we might fulfill those hopes and dreams that have not yet come true. It is a time to plan and prepare, and to form the outlook that will guide us through the coming year.

Residents of Eastern Ohio will mark the occasion in a variety of ways. Some will simply go to bed this evening as usual and awake to celebrate a new year on Monday. Others will ring in 2018 quietly at home, perhaps watching the ball drop over Manhattan on TV. Still others will attend parties that celebrate the transition from 2017 to 2018 at midnight.Whatever forms our celebrations take, traditional foods and beverages will likely play a role in them. That means alcohol will be involved in many events this evening, and drinking too much of it could lead to dangerous or even deadly situations.

Whether you celebrate at a local bar or tavern or just enjoy a glass or two of champagne at a friend’s home, please remember that you should never drink and drive. If you plan to consume any amount of alcohol, make sure you designate a driver in advance. That simple, responsible step could save your life – and the lives of anyone else you might encounter on local streets and roads.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have consumed alcohol and do not have a designated driver, remember that there are other options available to you: Call a friend, a cab or an Uber driver, or choose to get a hotel room or stay where you are.

The last thing anyone wants is to start a new year on a tragic note. If you drink this evening, do so responsibly.Have a safe and happy new year!