Residents hopeful, wishful for 2014

ALPENA – As Northeast Michigan welcomes in the new year, residents are making plans and setting goals for 2014.

Today is the last day of December, and at midnight people will be celebrating the start of 2014, along with all the hopes and dreams a new year brings.

Sara Grochowski said she hasn’t planned a resolution, but rather will be setting goals for herself to achieve periodically throughout the year.

“I’m planning to make mini goals instead of a big resolution,” Grochowski said. “I think smaller goals spread out are more approachable than setting a resolution.”

Some of Grochowski’s goals include making more time for some of her favorite activities.

“I already read a lot, but I am hoping to branch out and read about all kinds of things,” she said. “I want to be more well rounded in my habits and read books about things I am not familiar with.”

Kevin Ballmer said he is looking forward to September, when he can enjoy a music festival he has been helping to organize.

“I am excited for the Thunder Bay Folk Society Festival,” Ballmer said. “We’re working on putting it together for the end of September at the antique tractor grounds.”

Ballmer’s friend Eric Glatz said he wants to spend more time in Alpena in 2014, and play more music.

“I’m looking forward to music, music and more music,” he said. “I’d love to be able to stay up here more often.”

Others, like Ron Armstrong, hope the economy improves. He said he hopes the new year will bring new jobs and more sales. As the economy improves, he hopes more people will come out and invest in their community.

Winemaker Jeremy Sahr said he is excited for the new year, and is hoping his business continues to stay steady with people coming to enjoy his wine. Sahr and his wife opened Thunder Bay Winery in 2012, and he said it has kept him busy since its opening, which he is thankful for.

“I love Alpena and the winery,” Sahr said. “I am looking forward to having more free time this year to enjoy the parks and fish and hike around Alpena.”

Megan Grochowski hopes to spend time with her brother in 2014 while he is home from the University of Michigan during the summer.

“I like spending time with my brother,” she said. “I also like the farmers market downtown. We sell vegetables and my mom makes artisan bread for the market.”

Spending more time with family is also near the top of the list for Mary Rajasekhar. She said this is the first time in two years her whole family will be home for New Year’s Day. She enjoys talking with her kids about their hopes and dreams for the new year while they are home.

“You just can’t have good conversations like that on the phone,” Rajasekhar said. “We had a heart-to-heart with the kids and now have a better direction on how to hope and pray for them through the year. We’ve been working on the relationship with our family and can keep hoping for open opportunities in their lives.”

Whether it’s a resolution, personal goals or some relaxation time, New Year’s Day seems to bring a feeling of a new beginning along with a chance for closure and a fond farewell to 2013.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.