Murch: A few things I’d like to see happen

We are just days away from the end of 2013. Is it just me, or do the days seem to be passing by faster every day. Have you made, or do you make, New Year’s resolutions?

I don’t make resolutions. The closest I come is my resolve to take a walk while bringing in the new year. I will admit to being a little worried about the forecasted temperature for Tuesday night – I’m not fond of the thought of frostbite.

I do have a few things I’d like to see happen in 2014. Some of what I’d like to see in the new year includes (there are plenty of sports hopes, as fair warning):

* A Center of Excellence designation for Alpena. The positive effects it could have on the community are nearly endless. While there is no silver bullet when it comes to the local economy, this would be as close as it comes to that. Creating new white collar jobs ranks high on every community’s list, and this would bring those jobs to Northeast Michigan.

* A new head coach for the Detroit Lions. Anyone who watches the team with regularity sees it’s one that lacks a maturity, which you also see with the way its head coach acts. The same mistakes have been made year after year under his watch. The worst part is watching the Lions squander the talent of Calvin Johnson. Until Matthew Stafford improves his consistency significantly – which is doubtful under current leadership – the Lions will continue to have more promise than performance.

* More people – especially locals – “get” what a great place Alpena (and Northeast Michigan) is. I’m not sure if “it’s not too bad” means they really like it but don’t want to admit it, or if the emphasis is on the “too,” meaning they think it is bad just not as bad as other places. Either way, it’s not a positive comment. Come on folks, get on the bandwagon now before the seats are all taken. We have a great place to live and you really should open your eyes and see what you’re missing.

* A top 10 recruit commit to Tom Izzo and Michigan State. Izzo does so much with less-heralded athletes and always just misses on the crme de la crme that it would be nice to see what he could do with that kind of talent at his disposal.

* A Main Street Select level designation for downtown Alpena. We have a terrific downtown in Alpena, and being Select would help it become even better. Regardless of development elsewhere, the heart of a community is its downtown. Making and keeping it vibrant is vital. If we get the Select level designation AND a Center of Excellence designation it would be the dawning of a new era – perhaps a golden era – for Alpena and all of Northeast Michigan.

* Michigan football coach Brady Hoke quit trying to prove to us he’s a tough guy and start showing us he’s a smart guy. Coach, I think you are spending too much time (quietly) thinking about how cold you really are because you don’t wear a coat and aren’t focused on the task at hand. Do you walk around without a coat throughout the year? I think you can afford a few, so put on a coat and get more involved (and maybe send Al Borges packing – I don’t know whose play calling has been worse this year, Borges’ or the Lions’ Scott Linehan).

* A World Series title for the Detroit Tigers. It’s hard to believe, but 2014 will mark 30 years since the team’s last championship. The team has the best hitter in baseball, who also won the last two AL MVP awards, and two of the last three Cy Young winners (one of whom was also AL MVP), yet they don’t have any titles since the days of Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, and the player in my last hope …

* A long-overdue Hall of Fame induction for Jack Morris. The winningest and best pitcher of his era deserves to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

I hope everyone has a great 2014 and you get everything on your wish list.

Steve Murch can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5686. Follow Steve on Twitter at sm_alpenanews. Read his blog, Pardon, Me But … at