I have to give you credit, loyal N-D readers. In about a year on the job as the Managing Editor here, you really kept the "Stick to sports, Parkhouse" comments to a minimum.

So, thanks for that!

It's certainly been an interesting year around here. As much as I value and loved my time in sports - at heart, I'll always be a sports guy - it sure does seem like the constant action that is news side here at the N-D made 2014 go by much faster than any of my previous 33 years on this planet.

In a lot of ways, I've been able to grow up in my time here at the N-D, joining the sports staff as a part-time before my 21st birthday.

I always feel like I'm learning something, so here's what you taught me in 2014, certainly my most interesting year at the N-D.

You taught me that I-94 can be a dangerous place.

I suppose on some level I knew that interstate driving and snow can be a dangerous mix, but nothing quite prepares you for the horror that happened on I-94 in January when 46 cars collided, causing three people and a dog to lose their lives.

Rather than focus on the carnage of that day, I want to publicly tip my cap to all the first responders who braved impossible elements that day to save lives. That's exactly what these brave men and women did on that day, they saved a lot of lives. The efforts of these people on this day has been widely lauded, but it can't be said enough, frankly.

You taught me that huge sports things can actually happen in La Porte County.

So, in case you're scoring at home, since I left the sports beat, a girls and a boys basketball team (Oregon-Davis and Marquette, respectively) won state championships and two football teams played in the state championship team, when not one team from La Porte County had ever reached that level previously. Ever.

I have no idea how 2015 can possibly top that, but I'm hopeful that it will try. Kudos to all our local sports guys and gals as they pursue the ultimate dream. We now know — in case we didn't before - that dream is achievable.

You taught me that Michigan City's future could not be brighter.

From the citywide acceptance of and reverence for the Lake Michigan Gateway Implementation Strategy to the Artspace project to all the private enterprise projects happening around the city, it's difficult not to be downright giddy when considering Michigan City's prospects for five, 10, 20 or 50 years down the road.

Over this past year, I've met or have better gotten to know so many of the people who will be the driving force behind Michigan City's re-emergence, and I can honestly tell you we're all in really good hands here. There's more reason than ever to be optimistic.

You taught me that, at its heart, Michigan City is a warm, compassionate community.

There are many examples of this. Of course the efforts of so many to fight homelessness in the area are front and center, especially considering the relative inactivity in this department of some other towns in the area.

But every day, it seems, we manage to hear from someone or have a story about someone who's volunteering their time or going above and beyond their general call of duty to help make the community in which they live a better place. If that doesn't warm the heart, nothing will.

Finally, you taught me that you have a fighting spirit that will endure.

Look, we get fired up about things around here. We disagree on issues. What I really like is that, for the most part, we also have an ability to move on after disagreements in the community and get on to the next thing.

That's what it's all about, really. There are a lot of big personalities around here with even bigger ideas and thoughts. From time to time, those thoughts are going to clash with one another.

But there's no need to take these things personally, is there? There's new challenges — and arguments — ahead. You win some, you lose some, but with everyone working together, we'll all reach the finish line faster.

Contact Managing Editor Adam Parkhouse aparkhouse@thenewsdispatch.com or 1-219-214-4170.

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