From the hallowed halls of government to the grease pit at the auto mechanic's shop, from homeroom to the nursing home, the people who will lead central Pasco are, it seems, full of resolve.
A straw poll of New Year's resolutions from the area's movers and shakers indicates that 1999 will be a time of great growth and great loss. The growth will be in our area's institutions. The loss, if everyone's diets work out, will be in our area's institutional leaders.
"I don't smoke and I don't drink too much, but I'd like to lose a little weight," said Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce president Terry Moses.
On a professional level, Moses said the chamber is resolved to help make Heritage Park, a central Pasco historic and athletic venue, become a reality.
"Our efforts are to make things bigger and better," Moses said.
Pasco County Commissioner Pat Mulieri, already a bundle of civic energy, said she wants to get more exercise.
"I've just been doing stair-stepping, but I want to walk more," Mulieri said. "It helps me relieve stress, and I'd like to lose some weight. That's one of my goals. Another goal is to do more with computers than I do."
For the county, Mulieri has resolved to try to make inroads on the dirt road issue.
"I want to get rid of them," she said.
In the coming year, Mulieri said, she wants to secure grant money to try a new paving process that costs about a third less than current methods.
If Land O'Lakes Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tom Mock were any thinner he'd disappear under the weight of his firefighter's gear. But Mock has another goal in mind.
"I'd like to quit smoking," he said. Ever since cigarettes went up 50 cents a pack, "I can't afford it anymore."
For the department, Mock said he would like to upgrade equipment and training and look into the possibility of opening a second fire station.
Joe Selig, owner of Sparrow British Automotive, was hard pressed to think of any way to improve life in 1999.
"If things were any better, I couldn't stand it," Selig said. "Honestly, I have everything in the world that a man could want except money. And if I don't have that, it's okay. I have a great wife and two healthy boys and that's great."
Selig said he, too, would like to quit smoking but won't put a time frame on it.
"When you're ready, you do it," he said.
Gilliam Clarke, central Pasco's 63-year-old water warrior, kicked her decades-long smoking habit in 1991. And after beating lung cancer in 1997, there are only a few areas of improvement she envisions.
"I want to get Publicats off and running," she said of the bipartisan think-tank she has helped found. "And I want to go for a wiser and more responsive government in Pasco County."
Personally, Clarke said she wants to lose another 35 pounds or so, after having already shed 30. And she also hopes to write another novel after completing Fools Rush In in 1998.
Also on the book front, Land O'Lakes library branch manager Gene Coppola has some goals relating to children and books.
"I really want to try to improve the amount and number of children's books that are checked out in this branch," Coppola said. "I'm trying to reach more and more kids of all ages with off-beat things to attract children and teens in the community to read more."
In an effort to stem the ubiquitous rise of video-game culture, Coppola said getting books into the hands of kids will pay off in the long run.
"They're our future public," he said.
Oh, and Coppola wants to lose some weight, too.
Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce co-founder Beth Brown said she "would love to see the chamber get 300 members by year end."
Brown juggled chamber responsibilities with her work at Weightman Middle School and work on finishing her master's degree at the University of South Florida in 1998.
With a new diploma on the wall, she said she wants to "go further in new directions in my profession."
Land O'Lakes High School principal Max Ramos, who has gone pretty far in education himself, wants to use the new year to strengthen his roles away from the office.
"I want to be a good father and friend to my family, I want to be a good role model to my co-workers and friends, and I want to try to reacquaint myself with some old friends from throughout my life who I haven't talked to in several years," Ramos said.
Kate Hawk, administrator of the Baldomero Lopez State Veterans Nursing Home, is looking forward to the facility's grand opening in late February. But her goals for the new year are even more far reaching.
"My personal resolution is to more graciously accept the things I cannot change," said Hawk, who has had to deal with delays in getting the home ready for opening. "Instead of yelling and screaming and using four-letter words.
"Professionally, I want to provide an environment of peace and healing for my patients, and professional satisfaction and growth for my staff."
Land O'Lakes honorary Mayor Karla Turcotte said her resolution is "just to continue to have a good time and improve the community. Just continue to promote the positives of Land O'Lakes."
On the home front, Turcotte said, she's looking forward to buying a home in 1999 sometime after her Air Force officer husband returns from a one-year assignment in Korea.
"And there's the same old "lose weight and get in shape,' " Turcotte said. "I think that's everyone's resolution."
Logan D. Mabe covers growth and development in central Pasco. He can be reached at (813) 226-3458. Send e-mail to mabesptimes.com.