The Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center in Belfast is getting closer each day to opening its doors and accepting residents, but as the year comes to a close, that day is still in the future. As Dec. 31 approaches, we’re told it will happen soon, but there’s still no official date yet.

The Waldo County Sheriff’s Office recognized five Brooks volunteer firefighters for their roles in rescuing 9-year-old Hannah Clifford of Brooks following a traffic accident. Honored with meritorious service awards were Roscoe Kinney, Clayton Ellis, Louis Brown, James Coulsey and Bryan Medard.

From the cops and courts pages, two Palermo juveniles were charged in a camp break-in and attempted arson on Dow Pond in their town; a seizure was blamed for a Starrett Drive accident in which a woman struck a tree and two parked vehicles; 19-year-old Jason Beal of Swanville was summoned for numerous infractions, including operating after suspension, following a two-car crash in Belfast; and electrical wiring was blamed for an attic fire in Thorndike Dec. 4.

Maine State Police Trooper Shawn Porter and his K9 partner, Tex, were in the spotlight for their work finding fleeing felons and sniffing out smoking guns, as well bodies left behind.

Waldo County Sheriff Scott Story, among others, appeared on Maine Public Broadcasting’s “Maine Watch” program to talk about the Restorative Justice Project and the Community Re-entry Program.

City officials ordered the newest owners of the former Stinson Seafood plant on Belfast’s waterfront to tear down one of the derelict buildings, secure the remaining buildings and clean up the grounds. An eyesore, the buildings are potentially a danger to those who don’t heed the warnings to stay away. City officials have said that cost of demolition is likely the reason nothing has been done to date, but they are losing their patience.

Maine School Administrative District 3 learned it will be losing its superintendent, Joe Mattos, who plans to retire next year and spend more time with his wife and family.

Fertile Mind Bookshop owners LaRue and Bruce Hayne announced plans to sell their 30-year-old business to free them to move to Costa Rica to be closer to their grandchildren. If they can’t sell the business before they go, they said, they’ll close it and move anyway.

A 24-year-old Searsport man was charged with attempted murder after he allegedly shot 41-year-old Richard Brown following an argument. Bail for Matthew Sylvester was set at $250,000, and he remains in jail.

In a move that continued to elicit angry letters to the editor in the final week of 2009, the Regional School Union 20 Board of Directors went into an executive session for the purpose of evaluating Superintendent Bruce Mailloux and came out voting in favor of advertising the position. In response, Mailloux blasted the board for not including him in his own evaluation proceedings and for not following customs and procedures when it comes to evaluating employees. As of Dec. 31, the school board had not issued a retort and nobody had filed legal action to overturn the decision or continue the dialog.

County officials may appear to be in sync on their legal obligation to provide public documents to a man who ultimately wants to make them available online for a fee, but at what cost is still up for debate as we roll into 2010.

Several Maine National Guard units that were preparing to ship out to Iraq in the coming months learned their mission had been canceled this month.

Gov. John Baldacci announced he was slashing $438 million from his supplemental budget, with the cuts mostly coming from education and health and human services spending.

As is nearly always the case, the year’s good news was tempered by the bad news, and there’s plenty of even-keel news to fill in the middle. That point was made clear by a story in the Dec. 23 edition, in which downtown Belfast businesses were queried on the state of the holiday shopping season. Some reported the news was bad, with down sales and few people walking in the doors. But others reported exceeding projections, though they countered that projections had been lowered in anticipation of a slow season. On balance, we can be thankful that the news is not all bad and look forward to brighter futures around the bend.